The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 Rebecca Gordon Archive
Turning American Communities Into War Zones, Death By Death
When It Comes to People of Color, the Police Make San Francisco “Baghdad by the Bay”
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

In the photo, five of Beyoncé’s leather-clad, black-bereted dancers raise their fists in a Black Power salute. The woman in the middle holds a hand-lettered sign up for the camera, bearing three words and a number: “Justice 4 Mario Woods.” Behind them, the crowd at Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, is getting ready for the second half of Super Bowl 50, but the game’s real fireworks are already over.

The women in the photo had just finished backing Beyoncé’s homage to the Black Panthers and Malcolm X during her incandescent halftime appearance, when two San Francisco Bay Area Black Lives Matter activists managed to grab a few words with them. Rheema Emy Calloway and Ronnisha Johnson asked if they’d make a quick video demanding justice for Mario Woods. “From the look on the faces of the dancers, they’d already heard about the case,” Calloway told the Guardian.

Who was Mario Woods and why did Calloway and Johnson want the world to know that his life mattered? The answer: on December 2, 2015, Mario Woods was executed in broad daylight by officers of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and the event was filmed.

Woods was a 26-year-old African American, born and raised in San Francisco’s Bayview district, one of the city’s few remaining largely black neighborhoods. (In 1980, right before I moved to San Francisco, African Americans made up almost 13% of the city’s population. Today, the figure is around 6% and shrinking.) Woods died when police attempted to arrest him because they believed that, earlier in the day, he had stabbed another man in the arm. Like many victims of police violence, Woods had mental health problems. Indeed, his autopsy’s toxicology report showed that, when he died, his system contained a powerful mix of medications (both prescribed and self-administered) including anti-depressants, speed, and marijuana.

But it was the way he died that brought Mario Woods a brief bit of posthumous notoreity. His death was, like Beyoncé’s dancers, captured on video. A crowd of people watched as what CNN described as “a sea of police officers” surrounded Woods and shot him dead. At least two people recorded cell-phone videos of what looks eerily like an execution by firing squad.

Woods, his back to a wall, one leg injured from earlier rounds of non-lethal projectiles, attempts to limp past the half-circle of police. Arms at his sides, he sidles along, until an officer blocks his way and opens fire. Three seconds and at least 20 shots later, he lies in a heap on the sidewalk. Police said he was carrying a knife, although this is not at all clear from the video. One thing is clear, however: Woods was not threatening anyone when he was gunned down.

From Hippies to Hipsters — Policing the City of Love

San Francisco is known around the world for its gentle vibe, its Left Coast politics, its live-and-let-live approach to other people’s lifestyles — except when it comes to the police. For many of them, “live and let live” does not seem to apply to everyone, especially not to communities of color, and in the not-too-distant past to LGBT folk either. I remember, for instance, the infamous October 6, 1989, “Castro Sweep,” when police responded to a nonviolent Act Up demonstration for AIDS funding by occupying an entire gay neighborhood called “the Castro” (for its main commercial street). They ran into bars and restaurants, dragging patrons out to the sidewalks and beating them with truncheons.

I was working some blocks away at the headquarters of the “Yes on S” campaign, supporting what now seems like a quaint ballot measure (which failed) aimed at creating domestic partnerships in the City of Love. A bleeding man came stumbling into our office shouting that the police were rioting in the Castro. For once, the SFPD had gone too far and the city ended up paying out $250,000 (a pittance even then) to settle a class action suit by the victims. A couple of police captains were finally disciplined, but Chief of Police Frank Jordan was not penalized at all and went on to serve as mayor from 1992 to 1996. The Castro Sweep might hold a bigger place in the city’s memory and history, had the Loma Prieta earthquake not shaken San Francisco 11 days later.

Once a mostly white department — at whom demonstrators used to chant, “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, SFPD go away!” — the city’s police force is now significantly more diverse. Today, women, people of color, and open LGBT folk all wear the blue, but a hard core of the old guard remains. With them remains a still-dominant culture of sexism, homophobia, racism, and impunity. In 2015, a series of text messages involving at least 10 different SFPD members came to light during a corruption case against one of them,Ian Fruminger. Sent between 2010 and 2012, these messages revealed just how ugly the attitudes of that hard core are — and how entitled they seem to feel to end the lives of people they believe deserve it.

Here’s a sample: Fruminger texted a friend who was an SFPD officer, “I hate to tell you this but my wife [sic] friend is over with their kids and her husband is black! If [sic] is an Attorney but should I be worried?”

He wrote back: “Get ur pocket gun. Keep it available in case the monkey returns to his roots. Its [sic] not against the law to put an animal down.”

Furminger responded, “Well said!”

When the city moved to fire the officers involved, a judge ruled that the police department had missed a legal deadline for disciplinary action.

Not the First Time

Mario Woods was hardly the first man shot by the police in my adopted hometown. In fact, in the last couple of years two such killings happened in my neighborhood.

Alejandro “Alex” Nieto died on Bernal Heights. It’s a hilltop near my house where people go to run, often with their dogs, and take in glorious views of the city that San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen used to call “Baghdad by the Bay” to emphasize its exotic character, long before Iraq became part of the Axis of Evil. Alex Nieto, a community college student who made his living working as a security guard, came from the largely Latino and immigrant-populated Mission District.

On the night of March 21, 2014, Nieto sat on a bench on Bernal Heights to eat a burrito before going to work. On his hip was the taser he carried on the job. An anonymous call to 911 reported a man sitting in the park with a gun on his hip and the SFPD responded.

In January 2016, his parents, Refugio and Elvira Nieto, would finally file a wrongful death suit against Chief of Police Greg Suhr, up to 25 as-yet-unidentified police officers, and the city and county of San Francisco. The suit alleges that as their son, having finished his burrito, was “casually” walking down a jogging path towards the park entrance, the police arrived. Two officers took cover behind a patrol car, while several others, carrying what witnesses said looked like rifles, took up positions behind Nieto. One of the officers behind the police car, yelled, “Stop.” Here, in the words of the suit, is what happened next:

“Within seconds a quick volley of bullets were fired at Mr. Nieto. No additional orders or any other verbal communication was heard between the first Officer yelling ‘stop’ and the initial volley of gunfire that rang out. Mr. Nieto fell to the ground. After a brief pause of just a second or two, a second barrage of shots were fired. The Officers’ bullets struck Mr. Nieto in his forehead and at least nine other places leaving his body grossly disfigured and mortally wounded.”

The police claimed that Nieto pointed his taser at them and they had to kill him. But eyewitnesses say that he never threatened anyone. Instead, as Sergeant Furminger might have expressed it, those police officers evidently decided to “put him down” like a dangerous animal. The SFPD has never even released the names of those involved in Nieto’s death. (In the civil suit, they are referred to as John Doe 1 through 25.) As far as anyone knows, none of them have ever been disciplined in any way. Alex Nieto’s parents continue to tend a little shrine on Bernal Heights where he died.

The Death of Amilcar Perez Lopez

On February 26, 2015, a few blocks from my house, two undercover police officers shot Amilcar Perez Lopez, a 20-year-old Guatemalan man, six times in the back. The Mission District Episcopal church I belong to helped raise money for his family. As the members of my church community would come to understand from them, he was working in the United States without documents, the sole support for his parents and younger siblings back home in Guatemala. Through his efforts, he’d sent them enough money to bring electricity and running water to their thatched roof adobe house.

On the day he died, he was involved in some kind of altercation with a man who may have accused him of stealing his bicycle. After that ended, according to the civil suit his parents brought against the city, he was walking home along Folsom Street when accosted by those undercover police officers, named in the suit as Craig Tiffe and Eric Riboli. The two “surreptitiously rushed at Amilcar from behind.” One of them got him in a “bear hug.” Amilcar spoke very little English. It’s likely he had no idea that they were police officers. In any case, he managed to get free and started running down the sidewalk. That’s when they shot him.

The official police story was that he lunged at them with a knife and the officers had to shoot him to save their own lives. And that story might have stuck, had the family’s attorney not commissioned a private autopsy, which was performed by Dr. A. J. Chapman, a forensic pathologist in Santa Rosa, California. The city had already done its own autopsy when Dr. Chapman received Amilcar’s body, but had issued no report. Chapman found that Amilcar had taken six shots in the back, five to the torso and right arm, and one to the back of his head. If he was shot while attacking the two officers, why did the bullets strike him from behind?

It took the city’s Medical Examiner’s Office five months to release its autopsy, which ultimately concluded the same thing. What might that report have said if activists had not arranged for a private, unbiased report? There’s no way to know.

Public Servants or Occupying Army?

In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting death in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, many white people woke up to a reality that was hardly news in most communities of color where death-by-police is all too common. What’s new is that the rest of us are suddenly hearing about the Eric Garners, Freddie Grays, and Sandra Blands who die literally every day in this country.

The rest of the U.S. is beginning to understand what the police already represent to so many communities from Ferguson to Baltimore to Waller County, Texas, to — yes — San Francisco. Far from seeing the police as a source of help and protection, many Americans feel the same way about them as people living under corrupt authoritarian regimes feel about their police or armies. They see them as an occupying force, not there to protect and serve but to frighten and extort.

Many Americans are not used to thinking of our police as agents of extortion, but a recent Justice Department (DOJ) report on the police and the municipal courts of Ferguson, for instance, tells a different story. The department found that “City officials have consistently set maximizing revenue as the priority for Ferguson’s law enforcement activity. Ferguson generates a significant and increasing amount of revenue from the enforcement of code provisions.” The Harvard Law Review reported that in 2013, Ferguson issued more arrest warrants than the city has residents — one and a half for every citizen. The report adds:

”In Ferguson, residents who fall behind on fines and don’t appear in court after a warrant is issued for their arrest (or arrive in court after the courtroom doors close, which often happens just five minutes after the session is set to start for the day) are charged an additional $120 to $130 fine, along with a $50 fee for a new arrest warrant and 56 cents for each mile that police drive to serve it. Once arrested, everyone who can’t pay their fines or post bail (which is usually set to equal the amount of their total debt) is imprisoned until the next court session (which happens three days a month). Anyone who is imprisoned is charged $30 to $60 a night by the jail.”

After the Justice Department released the report, the city spent six months negotiating with the DOJ on a complete overhaul of its police and courts. But when Ferguson’s own negotiators brought this proposed “consent decree” to the city council, the council members rejected it. So now the Justice Department has announced that it will sue Ferguson to force it to make changes that the city insists will cost too much. “There is no cost for constitutional policing,” says Attorney General Loretta Lynch. She’s right. What she didn’t say, because she shouldn’t have to, is that the costs of unconstitutional policing include ravaged communities and a divided nation.

In many places it’s hard to get information about what goes on inside police forces because a thicket of laws protects them. In California, a 1978 law, signed by Jerry Brown in his first go-round as governor, makes it almost impossible to learn anything about the individual police officers involved in the deaths of Alex Nieto and Amilcar Perez Lopez, or whether their records reflect significant prior complaints or charges. The Modesto Bee reports that under this law:

“peace officer personnel records are confidential, including personal data, promotion, appraisal and discipline records, and ‘any other information the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.’ Only a judge can order their release as part of a criminal case or lawsuit.”

This makes it difficult, for example, to know whether a particular officer has a record of brutality complaints, or indeed whether a whole police department has such a record. Civil rights attorney and former justice of the California Supreme Court Cruz Reynoso told the Bee that citizens seeking information about police killings face “a wall of silence.”

Here in San Francisco, we might finally shake some of that information loose. In January, the Board of Supervisors responded to organized grassroots pressure by voting unanimously to request a Department of Justice review of the police department. We can only hope that when the DOJ releases its report on San Francisco’s police, my city will respond better than Ferguson did. We need more than a thorough housecleaning at the SFPD, starting at the top with Police Chief Greg Suhr. The whole community, indeed the whole country, would do well to rethink why we have police and what we really want them to do. Not shooting so many people might be a good place to start.

Maybe Herb Caen was more prescient than he knew when he called San Francisco Baghdad by the Bay. Maybe we should not be surprised when police forces claim impunity for crimes they commit against the communities of color they “serve.” They’re only doing on a small scale what the United States does on the international stage — when it claims the right to bomb,invade, and occupy foreign countries, without accepting any responsibility for the human misery that results.

Rebecca Gordon, a TomDispatch regular, teaches in the Philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author ofMainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United Statesand the forthcoming American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes (Hot Books, April 2016).

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Black Lives Matter, Blacks 
Hide 71 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. fnn says:

    Everybody knows that San Francisco is *totally* run by racist KKK redneck NASCAR fans.

    • Agree: Hibernian
  2. There’s no doubt the militarization of police (the cognate of empire for the Home Population) has continued apace, but what we are presented with here are anecdotal accounts where the boys in blue have shot some minority.

    Are whites being shot like this in proportionally equal numbers?

  3. Superman says:

    “Cause & effect … how does it work?” asks the silly journalist who spends a fortune to live in a neighborhood devoid of blacks and Hispanics.

    These people turn their neighborhoods into war zones. After dealing with the amazing levels of violence for years, some of the policemen become cynical. That’s a symptom of the problem. The disease is obvious enough to everybody wealthy enough to distance himself from it.

  4. Doesn’t matter. Rebecca Gordon is Lefty-Left. She isn’t concerning herself with details. It happened, that’s that. Blacks make a menacing nuisance of themselves, get shot, then complain. Cynical of Rebecca to post the link to the picture of the nitwit dancers at the Super Bowl rather than the actual picture of the criminal-looking (if not criminal) “women” in Beyonce’s troop. What a bunch of ugly fat-asses. The actual picture would have watered down her premise.

    Any time I see any mention of Michael Brown in ANY article telling of police brutality, I tune out. Michael Brown’s shooting was a righteous take down and a huge favor to the citizens of his community. The media and White House overstepped even THEIR PC instincts on that one to where I will never entertain them again. Blacks hurt themselves with Travon, but they destroyed themselves with Michael Brown and Freddie Grey on the police brutality issue, not unlike the campus rape activists destroyed themselves with the UVA rape hoax. I don’t want to hear any more out of either, ever again. They can go screw from now on. I suspect I’m not alone.

  5. Sam J. says:

    I protest the tying in of Brown and Trayvon with a lot of these other killings. It’s my belief that doing so is some kind of weird psyops. The press concentrates over and over and over and over on marginal cases to piss off the Blacks while not doing the same with a huge number of cases where Blacks have every right to be pissed. Such as the above case. They want White people to think that all Black people are mentally ill and that when they complain about the police it all the same story as Brown and Trayvon. If you pay attention you will see this is not the case.

    That being said White people need to understand, and I’m White, that the cops are shooting all kinds of people. Plenty of Whites also. They just don’t get any coverage. There was a student at Auburn University that went naked to the college police station and knocked on the window. Of course seeing that he was in distress they came out and killed him. He was like 5’7″ 130 lbs. and naked. A little thought would tell you he was probably doing drugs and went to the station for help. When he didn’t immediately stop they killed him. There’s lots of these and they will increase until there is vast strenuous backlash.

    In the UK the cops don’t even have guns and somehow manage. Here they just blaze away at anyone for any reason.

    I’ve read that the largest group that trains cops are ex Israeli police. My guess is they’re training them to treat us like Palestinians. It needs to stop.

  6. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This article, like so many others, encourages blacks to give police a hard time — which they do routinely — and to see themselves as victims no matter the facts. It is anti-cop and a disservice to the community, especially to black persons who aren’t going to win with dishonest, belligerent self-righteousness. What is the Unz Review really up to?

  7. Realist says:

    Blacks should worry about black on black murder. That is the problem .

    • Replies: @Thirdeye
  8. Art says:

    There are a lot of Seal Team 6 wanabe cops in our PD’s – end of story.

    • Replies: @SFG
  9. bomag says:

    Another day in the life of an academic from SF: three anecdotes of police misbehavior; a call for more regulation and oversight; a snarky swipe at White people who keep the department going; praise for the increased hiring from our current victim group overlords (hires that largely stand around and do nothing.); and complaining about information stonewalling from the department which is thanks to the adversarial court system.

    Let me fix one of the paragraphs:

    Maybe Herb Caen was more prescient than he knew when he called San Francisco Baghdad by the Bay. Maybe we should not be surprised when immigrants and SJWs claim immunity for crimes they commit against the communities they “serve.” They’re only doing on a small scale what immigrants and leftist government officials do on the international stage — when they claim the right to bomb,invade, and occupy foreign countries, without accepting any responsibility for the human misery that results.

  10. frizzled says:

    The vast majority of blacks are killed by other black civilians. The biggest threat to black men are other black men, so much so that they live longer in jail than out of it.

    It’s basically dishonest for blacks to complain so much about the tiny minority of blacks killed by non-black cops, but to blacks this seems to be the only thing that matters. This is why it’s impossible to take “Black Lives Matter” seriously. Blacks themselves don’t care about black lives.

    As a matter of community hypocrisy it is a lot like the objection of some whites to immigrant crime. It doesn’t matter that immigrants pose very little threat to whites, they proceed from the assumption that any level of immigrant crime is not acceptable. So it is with black deaths at the hand of cops.

    The harsh truth is

    1. Blacks are a persistent underclass in the US thanks to slavery, the dramatic breakdown of black families, and toxic black culture, which cannot be criticized
    2. The ubiquity of guns doesn’t help
    3. The basic problem, according to blacks, is any non zero figure of blacks, violent criminal or not, being killed by non black cops. In other words, given this happens in any government, the existence of non blacks in government over blacks. This is obviously a racist claim.
    4. The only way to satisfy (3) would be to re-introduce segregation and give Blacks their own country, isolating them from non-blacks. Even persistent slavery reparations would not help. This seems to be what BLM really wants: self-rule by Blacks. Understood as a nationalist self-rule demand this is not dissimilar from demands by other stateless peoples, like the Kurds.

    I therefore suggest the United States carve out a region of the South, possibly Mississippi, declare it a Black nation, make every black a citizen on application (like Israel), and then say: You’ve got your own country if you object to whites in government. You’re now on your own.

    • Replies: @bomag
    , @anon
    , @MarkinLA
    , @Olorin
  11. Presumably, Rebecca, as a Philosophy instructor at the university level, you, in the course of your career, encountered, in a Logic class, the concept of Inductive Reasoning?

    And in the course of this encounter you became acquainted with the notion of what constitutes passable levels of proof?

    So then, putting your hard-earned skills as a Philosopher to work, please answer the following question: does citing random, isolated instances of (what may have admittedly been) reckless–even illegal–behavior on the part of individual officers constitute adequate grounds for forming hasty generalizations about the character of the entire department? And not just their collective character but also in the larger sense (and perhaps more importantly) the General Nature of their interaction with the Public?

    More pointedly, have you, in the course of your career, ever felt the need to avail yourself of instruction in a course in Stastistics?

    You’re giving Philosophers a bad name.

  12. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Just 56 days into this new year Chicago has had 99 homicides with 453 total shootings, the overwhelming majority perpetrated by blacks. The writer is addressing a white audience that black lives matter when she should be telling this to the black population since they’re the ones actually engaging in all this homicidal behavior. But then perhaps it’s not assumed that they’re capable of taking any responsibility for themselves or of looking at what part they play in all this. Whites are expected to wave a magic wand and make this tsunami of black violence just disappear without blacks being expected to actually perform better.
    Police brutality is bad, everyone agrees, and cataloguing the various incidents serves the writer’s purpose. But notice she doesn’t list all the black perpetrated homicides one-by-one as she does with the police. There’s so many that there would be no time for anything else. Black gangbangers have committed so many atrocities it makes one’s head swim, doing things like riddling nine year olds with bullets or just killing people for sadistic fun in robberies or for revenge, etc. On and on it goes. Since only about 25% of homicides are cleared that means that three-quarters of murderers get away with it and are out there roaming the streets looking for their next victim. The black community doesn’t snitch on these criminals so one can only conclude that they’re ok with things as they are. Complaining and protesting have become careers for many but if they want to identify who is really to blame they should look into the mirror.

  13. Rehmat says:

    Black Panthers were for ‘Black Power’, Malcolm X was ‘anti-Establishment’, and Rev. Martin Luther was ‘pro-Establishment’. The first two are still being demonized by Establishment and the Organized Jewry while the third one has been turned into a national icon.

    Did anyone notice February 21 was Malcolm X’s 51st martyrdom anniversary?

    Last year, Chris Hedges, distorted Malcolm X image while calling him better than Martin Luther Jr in understanding American culture.

    “Malcolm X, unlike Martin Luther King Jr., did not believe America had a conscience. For him there was no great tension between the lofty ideals of the nation—which he said were a sham—and the failure to deliver justice to blacks. He, perhaps better than King, understood the inner workings of empire. He had no hope that those who managed empire would ever get in touch with their better selves to build a country free of exploitation and injustice,” Chris Hedges says at ‘Truthdig’ on February 1, 2015.

  14. This unhinged rant demonstrates the wisdom of the Arabs in castrating their slave blacks: no descendants of slaves shitting up the place a hundred years later, demonstrating why their people were fit only to be slaves in the first place. Blacks are all up in the raping, looting, murdering, mugging and generally thugging, treating life like it has no value, then suddenly acting all outraged that the police are learning from them and also behaving as though slave lives have no value.

    • Replies: @boogerbently
  15. What a general loathing of blacks and Latinos is disclosed in the Comments – right up with the hate on other threads directed at Jews and the putative operatives of the “Deep State” that gives Americans 9/11 controlled demolitions and faked videos.

    The sad and telling thing is that the article is fantasised rather than read and remembered. For example Michael Brown’s case wasn’t cited as an example of police brutality or murderous misbehaviour. It was merely mentioned as the catalyst for a lot of attention being paid to other cases. And how, I ask from the perspective of someone who, when in America, still behaves as if I am at home and happily walks back on my own across Central Park to 5th Avenue after attending the Lincoln Center … how can it not seem outrageous that a young Guatemalan is shot repeatedly in the back by police who are neither prosecuted, nor, it seems, disciplined? Is there not shown to be a need to reform such a police service? Is the case of Nieto any better?

    How can it help make a case for such a police department that blacks kill large numbers of blacks – far more than are killed by police?

    • Replies: @Wally
    , @Rehmat
  16. Mike1 says:

    It’s odd that black communities everywhere on earth are extremely violent. Even ones without any white people around.
    The true racism is always the belief that the color of people’s skin deserves different treatment. There is no reason why black skin could not be the ultimate status symbol. If the black community succeeded economically and behaved, as a community, in a civilized fashion you would see darkening creams flying off the shelves.
    Black people see themselves as different. They have no interest in fitting into stereotypical Western culture. Maintaining a distinctive accent is not easy to do and should be a hint even to the culture blind that they want to live life their own way.
    Does it ever get boring parroting conventional wisdom without observing the world around you?

  17. Black communities worldwide are full of chaos and crime. SF is no different.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  18. @Mike1

    But the two main victims were not black so why are you bringing up the blacks?

  19. @Epaminondas

    I accidentally made my reply appear to be to Mike1 – qv

  20. @Mike1

    The intended reply to you was to ask you how the maintenance of a different accent by blacks differs in difficulty or cultural significance or as an identity marker from the maintenance of distinctive Welsh, Geordie, Scottish, Louisiana, Texan, New Jersey etc accents?

  21. Mario Woods was murdered by police in broad daylight in front of God and everybody. If you are happy about it because you love police and hate black people just say so. Don’t try to tell me it’s not murder.

    • Replies: @Thirdeye
  22. A funny thing starts to happen when an aggrieved minority starts to complain too much about “police brutality” and the government then starts trying to appease them by throwing a few cops in jail for “overreaction.” The police then start to avoid such “professionally dangerous interactions” by simply ignoring crime while they patrol these neighborhoods.

    Oakland, California is probably the longtime US capital of this sort of aggrievement. There have been constant calls there over the years for the type of “justice” that this writer desires. The police in Oakland have routinely responded to outbursts of this type of pressure by either not patrolling or by driving through black neighborhoods with their eyes straight ahead while the very abundant criminal activities taking place around them are simply ignored. Local crime increases significantly while claims of police brutality head the other direction.

    Paris, France gives us a good example of what can happen next. The police there responded to constant calls for “justice” emanating from the mainly Moroccan suburbs that ring this city by simply turning them over to local warlords to control. The police will not even enter them now unless forced to.

    Maybe the author of this article is advocating the same sort of local control. After all, probably the safest place to walk the streets in the Chicago area during the 1920s and 1930s was Cicero, Illinois which was then under the control of Al Capone.

    The Black Muslims will probably be open to such an arrangement. Give sharia a chance!

    • Replies: @WorkingClass
    , @Stan d Mute
  23. Dr. X says:
    @Jim Christian

    The Left is not against police and police abuse per se, but rather, only when the police target their favored constituencies — namely, gays and blacks, the latter of whom frequently invite police abuse by engaging in violent, reckless, impulsive and stupid behavior.

    The Left is more than happy to call the cops to arrest anti-abortion protesters, conservatives who dare to speak on college campuses, lacrosse players falsely accused of rape, husbands and boyfriends falsely accused of violence by jilted women, and gun owners.

    I agree that the cops are too powerful, too abusive, frequently overpaid, and often immune from prosecution or even discipline for blatant violations of the Constitution.

    When the Bill of Rights was written in 1789 there were NO police, and every citizen had the right to arm himself. I’d be quite happy to return to that kind of situation, but Left wouldn’t. The issue for the Left is not whether we live in a police state or a free state; the issue is whether the Left sufficiently controls the police state to their satisfaction.

    • Agree: Stan d Mute
  24. @silly billy

    First. Murder is not a legitimate tool of law enforcement.
    Second. Cops who refuse to enforce the law must be fired.

  25. @Jim Christian

    No, you’re not alone. My reaction was that if even San Francisco police were having to shoot blacks, then blacks must really be doing impulsively stupid violent acts at the time of attempted arrests. That community is simply hopeless; time to write them off.

  26. What else can we expect from the US elites that oversee the police, their enforcer arm, that have used the US military to bring death and destruction to 4+ millions and several countries in the MENA and Eastern Europe since 1990?

    Until we end the foreign wars the American people will not be able to focus on our domestic wars on our own people and on other issues. Until we cut the military budget by over 50% nothing will change, and elections will not matter. What did electing Obama matter? The US Deep State rules.

  27. chopper says:

    These liberal San Franciscans do a pretty good job of covering up that economic apartheid thing they got going on over there . All this racism noise , meanwhile the black population down from 12 to 6 percent and still falling fast, a neat trick. An even neater trick to blame it on the cops who also can’t afford to live the city.The SJW’s get to pretend they’re down with the cause, while they price the undesirables out of town, pretty slick.

  28. I got as far as the first few paragraphs.

    Please find a “victim” that doesn’t involve drugs, knives, stabbing, robbing, resisting arrest…..
    Before you rant about “Black Lives” mattering, again.

    • Replies: @Thirdeye
  29. nickels says:

    I love a good satire piece!

    • Replies: @SFG
  30. dearieme says:

    I can quite see that US police often act as cowardly murderers. What I don’t understand is why so much fuss is made about cases such as Michael Brown’s where the shooting was entirely justified. You might almost think that the fuss is something akin to racism.

  31. bomag says:

    As a matter of community hypocrisy, it is a lot like the objection of some whites to immigrant crime.

    It would be a more apt analogy if there was an ongoing wave of non-Blacks entering formerly all-Black communities; becoming cops; and gunning down the youth.

  32. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Slavery? That ended over 150 years ago. Assuming a generation is about 25 years, that is at least six full generations of blacks that have not had any experience of slavery. Agree 100% with everything else you write though.

    • Replies: @frizzled
  33. @Bacon Eater

    Why, this smacks of political INcorrectness !

    When blacks act like their lives matter, we will.

  34. Wally says: • Website
    @Wizard of Oz

    Yeah, yeah, we get it, you’re from NYC. As if that’s a big deal.

    Why is that NYC people like to tell everyone that they live / lived in that dirty roach invested sewer?

    Thug Michael Brown got what he deserved. I dance on his grave.

  35. @Lemurmaniac

    Are whites being shot like this in proportionally equal numbers?

    More whites are killed than Africans. But it is not proportional to their population any more than the crime rates are. When over 50% of all murders in America are committed by Africans (13%) who are male (50%) between 18-45 years of age (50%) we have a situation where the police are disproportionately killing whites relative to the most criminal population subset.

    Yet EVERY time I see a screed about murderous cops I read carefully to find mention of a white victim. And I just don’t find them. #WhiteLivesMatter

  36. SFG says:

    Thing is, a lot of young guys are Seal Team 6 wannabe’s, and well, we need a Seal Team 6.

  37. SFG says:

    I think Unz likes to throw a few liberal pieces in to make his audience blink.

    Besides, it ties in with his general theme of suspicion of power.

  38. Thirdeye says:

    If you really look closely at the Mario Woods case it looks like suicide by cop. When he was cornered he said something to the effect of “you’re going to have to shoot me.” The cops went by the book on use of non-lethal force, to which Mr. Woods proved unusually resistant. Sometimes drugs will have that effect. His last move was also more threatening than as described in the article.

    • Replies: @WorkingClass
  39. @silly billy

    The police will not even enter them now unless forced to.

    This has been the case in many areas of America for decades at least. Back in the 1980’s, I was a very poor young college student and lived in the worst part of the town that was then “Murder Capital of America.” There were daily stabbings and shootings on my street. My rental house, occupied by myself and two other nearly as crazy young white guys, was a drop of white in a sea of Africans. I’ve had guns pointed at me several times but, as I said, I was nuts then and nothing scares Africans more than a crazy white guy.

    One night I’ll always remember, I was in the backyard shooting at rats with a 12ga (this is downtown urban area) when a neighbor opened a window and shouted, “Y’all needs ta stop dat o somebody gone call da police … … It ain’t gone be me, but somebody gone call dem!” Later (around 2am) we were blowing off aerial mortar fireworks in the middle of the street. The street was covered in debris. We were finished and trying to chop down a telephone pole with an axe when we see a parade of cop cars coming up the street. The first one pulled up to us and cracked the window 1″ then the cop inside asked if we had heard gunshots. We said we’d heard nothing. The cop told us to get indoors because it was too dangerous there then rolled up the window and the parade of cars beat a hasty retreat from the area. That was the *only* time in six months we ever saw cops on the street.

  40. Thirdeye says:

    Blacks should worry about black on black murder. That is the problem .

    That’s one problem. Bad (not necessarily in a lethal way) policing in poor and minority communities is another problem. Neither problem makes the other one go away. BLM and anti-black racists promote mirror images of the same fallacy.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  41. Thirdeye says:

    Please find a “victim” that doesn’t involve drugs, knives, stabbing, robbing, resisting arrest…..

    Most victims are people who get fined for some ticky-tack offense like a burned-out license plate lamp or a cracked tail light lens. A lot more people get tangled up in the extortion rackets that PDs run in inner cities than get killed by cops.

    • Replies: @boogerbently
  42. Black lives matter — but not when they’re snuffed out by other blacks.

  43. I am surprise the whites haven’t form the “white lives matter” activist group yet.

    why so one sided? form your own! only way to counter tribalism.

  44. utu says:

    To Europeans American police appears like an occupational force in the enemy’s territory. The rules of engagement in usage of fire arms used by American police are straight from a military conflict scenario. Unfortunately Americans are not really aware of it and accept it. Any discussion about it is always derailed by racial issues. The rulers recognize the great benefit of having color coded class structure and use it to the full extent: divide et impera. It always works and it works very well. The rulers in Europe are in the process of implementing this American achievement of social control by importing more and more Africans and Middle Easterners. It appears that the rulers are afraid of mono-ethnic, mono-cultural societies. They are much harder to rule against their own interests. It seems that the rulers have a special rule for Israel where mono-ethnic and mono-cultural dominance is acceptable. One may wonder why. Are the rulers Jewish by any chance? Cui prodest scelus is fecit.

    • Replies: @Da-Mith
  45. frizzled says:

    It’s curious that American politics largely hews to a 150-year old political axis defined in the Civil War, and a 250 year old grievance against the British, yet some Americans think slavery that ended 150 years ago can’t possibly be relevant.

    These social legacies have extremely long persistence times. The attitudes of Jewish people will still be shaped by the Holocaust in 150 years, in fact the most important aspect of Jewish culture, Zionism, comes from 2000 years of diaspora in ‘exile’. US Blacks will never “get over” slavery. They will never integrate.

    I understand where Blacks are coming from, but I think their interests would be better served by honest and open advocacy for Black nationalism, self-rule and separatism. That seems to be where this is headed.

    • Replies: @anon
  46. @Thirdeye

    You see, I view the common thread as being resisting arrest.

  47. MarkinLA says:

    As a matter of community hypocrisy it is a lot like the objection of some whites to immigrant crime. It doesn’t matter that immigrants pose very little threat to whites, they proceed from the assumption that any level of immigrant crime is not acceptable.

    Where’s the hypocrisy, keeping immigrants out keeps immigrant crime out? Immigrant crime is intentionally under reported by the authorities. That should tell you something.

  48. unit472 says:

    I grew up in SF so it wasn’t my “adopted hometown” and you have to understand the number of mentally ill and drug addicts that wander the streets today drawn by generous social programs and the city’s famous tolerance. Lunatics wander down main boulevards muttering violent threats and piles of garbage in doorways roll over to reveal they are alive. Places like Union Square have had to be redesigned so the public cannot sit and enjoy them because the derelicts will simply take them over. Where one could once sit and enjoy the city and its views it has become a ‘keep moving’ sort of city as any public place that allows one to loiter will be taken over by the legions of derelicts.

  49. MarkinLA says:

    Bad (not necessarily in a lethal way) policing in poor and minority communities is another problem.

    I don’t know about that. You can’t proactively police an area. All you can do is put more cops on the beat. You can only act if a crime is committed. Define “good policing” when the people are afraid to talk and a lot of crimes won’t get reported.

    • Replies: @Thirdeye
  50. for every one of these poor minorities being gunned down for nothing there’s a white person meeting the same fate.

    but no one cares about them.

    just saying.

    the tazer story reminds me of a white guy in long beach playing with a hose nozzle…..look it up.

  51. Rehmat says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Only some idiots would deny the facts, such as, Israeli Jews hate Black people, Jews played a major role in African slavery and were behind 9/11, 7/7, and other terrorist activities around the world.

    FBI in its 2005 report claimed that between 1980 and 2004, Jews committed 7% of anti-US terrorism as compared to 6% by the Muslim extremists.

    Republican front runner, billionaire Donald Trump, has cited several statics from “highly respectable” group to justify his racist proposal to temporarily bar Muslims entering United States.

    They include the assertion that 25% of American Muslims believe violence in the United States is justified as part of global jihad (against Israel) and that 51% agree Muslims in the US should have choice to be governed by the US law or Islamic Shari’ah.

    According to the Jew York Post (December 9, 2015) those figures came from a June 2015 poll conducted by Israel advocacy group, The Center for Security Policy, founded in 1988 by Crypto Jew Frank Gaffney.

  52. @Thirdeye

    The guy had mental problems and they found all kinds of stuff in his blood. It did look like suicide or just whacked out and oblivious. But they had him. He wasn’t going anywhere. With a bit of effort they could have had him in restraints. I think I could have disarmed him myself. It was a summary execution goddamnit. The cops were having so much fun they shot him twenty times. The people who condone this stuff are some sick mother fuckers.

    Anyway. Thanks for your civilized response.

    • Replies: @Thirdeye
  53. Thirdeye says:

    ….people are afraid to talk and a lot of crimes won’t get reported.

    Couple of issues here. One is that people don’t want to talk because they’re intimidated by the criminals. That’s definitely something to work on, but it’s not insurmountable. Online neighborhood watch type social media allow people to report and discuss problem situations anonymously. Monitoring, or even hosting, such social media to keep tabs on problem situations reported by the public could be tremendously beneficial. That could be supplemented by advisories and requests for information from PDs through those same social media.

    The other issue is that people don’t want to talk because they’re alienated from the cops. Granted, a lot of people don’t want to talk because they identify with the criminals more than with the cops. But one thing that makes people identify with criminals more than cops is the propensity for cops to make just about every interaction with certain groups negative, looking for excuses to cite or arrest. There’s a mundane bureaucratic reason for that. Numbers of citations and arrests figure big in police performance metrics. Those metrics aren’t as meaningful as trends in crime rates or persistent problems solved, but they are convenient metrics. And given the choice, bureaucracies tend to choose convenient metrics over meaningful ones. That is compounded by what amounts to for-profit policing, seeking revenue from fines. It’s essentially extortion. That has a disproportionate impact on poor and minority communities.

    So there are huge differences between good and bad policing, not even considering how to deal with knuckleheads who want to get physical with a cop.

  54. Thirdeye says:

    On the slowed vid you can see he was coming at the cop and he raised his hand with the knife. We know he had a knife in his hand because on another vid you can hear a woman’s voice pleading “drop it, drop it, please!”

    • Replies: @WorkingClass
  55. Thirdeye says:

    Is Rebecca Gordon really trying to imply that Woods might not have had a knife in his hand because she couldn’t tell from the video? She obviously didn’t want to find out. She also misreported the sequence leading up to the gunfire. Woods walked straight toward one cop while being told to stop and raised his hand with the knife. “Woods was not threatening anyone when he was gunned down” is an outright lie.

    Gordon is a slimy, dishonest writer who seems to think that nobody would double check the video and see that she was fibbing.

  56. Svigor says:

    Black Privilege means nice Jewish ladies like Rebecca Gordon take your racial interests not in a hostile way, as something to be poo-pooed, denied, like white “gentile” interests, but in a friendly way – to be championed in essays.

    Likewise, white racism and malfeasance are something to be exposed and trumpeted, while black racism and malfeasance are something to be ignored, denied, and swept under the rug.

    Are whites being shot like this in proportionally equal numbers?

    Gee, I dunno; are blacks shooting each other in proportionally equal numbers to whites shooting each other?

    White cops and racism against blacks: I’ll just go ahead and throw it out there: if Rebecca Gordon’s job was mucking out stalls all day, her view of horses might deteriorate over time. She might not finish with the same glowing opinion of them that she went in with. You take out the trash all day, your views tend to change. That’s a big part of cops’ job; dealing with black criminality all day. Now, I agree that once a cop has lost his professionalism to the point that he’s sending racist texts, he’s probably lost the plot, and should find another job; racism (against non-whites only, of course) is the new mark of the Kulak and the regime is obsessed with it, so part of the job is keeping your feelings to yourself. But my point is, cops aren’t typing out essays for a living, they’re dealing with human refuse daily, and a great share of that human refuse is black. Miss Gordon should try doing a dirty job like that some time, see how much criticizing she’s prone to do afterwards.

    I am no big lover of cops or authority figures, never have been. I find the fact that I have come to defend them from some of the juveniles on the web, well, I just find that supremely ironic.

  57. Svigor says:

    Let me see if I can correctly remember the few details I’ve read about this case:

    1. Career criminal (violent, IIRC)
    2. Fleeing from police after committing a crime
    3. Made threatening statements the while
    4. Pulled a knife
    5. Said he’s not going in quietly, or words to that effect (might’ve been “alive,” not “quietly”
    6. Waved the knife around, presented a general threat to bystanders
    7. Refused to drop the knife or surrender
    8. Lunged
    9. Got shot

    Oh, my, such an injustice!

  58. Svigor says:

    If a cop shoots someone and you want me to care, bring me someone who wasn’t waving a weapon around like a maniac, AND was easily outnumbered or out-muscled by the cops present (Brown was ginormous and no sane cop, weapon drawn and taking him on alone, would just let him charge without firing). Female cops only count in this calculus if it’s a female perp, btw.

    Basically try to put yourself in the cop’s shoes. “Gee, if I let this giant psychopath, who has already wrestled me for my gun once (leading to a discharge in my squad car – I can’t hear shit btw because my ears are ringing), if I let him wrestle me he’s probably going to take my gun and kill me with it.”

  59. Svigor says:

    Hell, try to put yourself in the CRIMINAL’s shoes. That would be an improvement: “gee, I’m a 6 and a half foot, 300 lb nut who just wrestled a cop for his gun while he was sitting in his squad car. The gun fired in the process, and I took a bullet. Now the cop is out of his car, well out of arm’s reach, and pointing his gun at me. I think I’ll charge him.” Do you expect a good outcome?

  60. Olorin says:

    Blacks are a persistent underclass in the US because they are blacks, and not capable of functioning within a First World civilization in any capacity other than as parasites or wards of the state.

    • Replies: @Macilrae
    , @Palerider1861
  61. Macilrae says:

    Blacks are a persistent underclass in the US because they are blacks, and not capable of functioning within a First World civilization in any capacity other than as parasites or wards of the state.

    This is the kind of statement we have to avoid.

    Sometimes I look at the black community, as somebody here said, with its toxic culture – and I especially look at the young uneducated males – and I too am tempted to use this kind of language. But then you meet a bloke, or a gal, whose character is wholly delightful – such as the ex policeman from Jamaica who used to work in receiving at my firm – and then you say to yourself “how could I ever possibly have racist feelings towards a person of this quality?”

    And then you ask “How could I say something so sweeping, hurtful and untrue as Olorin just said?”

    The answer is you mustn’t.

    Fred’s article is brilliant ( he seems to be flourishing!) but I am pretty sure he doesn’t say those sorts of things. Like me, he’s incensed at the white liberal propaganda which refuses to acknowledge that black culture is deeply flawed; thereby encouraging in the black community all those unreported outrages which are simply fueling racism.

  62. @Olorin

    The problems really started when the words “all men are created equal” were twisted from their original intent referring to European White males in America, to now everyone everywhere…equality doesn’t exist in nature, and attempts by man to create an artificial society based on an intentional misunderstanding, has no chance of anything but abject failure.
    So blacks were freed from slavery in 1865, then 100 years later relegated to the servitude of the welfare state…at least in chattel slavery they were made to work for a living, unlike today.
    We should make a sequel to the D W Griffith classic, and call it “Afterbirth of a Nation”.

  63. Wish the SFPD would keep cleaning up the city from the freaks and the apes.

  64. Da-Mith says:

    “It appears that the rulers are afraid of mono-ethnic, mono-cultural societies. They are much harder to rule against their own interests. It seems that the rulers have a special rule for Israel where mono-ethnic and mono-cultural dominance is acceptable. One may wonder why. Are the rulers Jewish by any chance? Cui prodest scelus is fecit.”

    You have nailed it. Unity . That is their greatest fear.

  65. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Let me clarify. It is certainly possible that their ATTITUDES may be affected by it. What I meant was that trying to explain their socio-economic status by slavery which ended 150 years ago would be incorrect. It would be like saying the economy and socio-educational status of Irish people in Ireland today is affected by the great famine also about 150 years ago (or so).

  66. In various cities throughout the U.S. police have been largely standing down due to pressure from Black Lives Matter. The result — black on black murders have increased. Only the lives of blacks murdered by non-blacks matter to Black Lives Matter.

  67. lavoisier says:
    @Jim Christian

    You are right on. Michael Brown was a criminal and a bully and Trayvon was a budding thug who assaulted the wrong man. By using these thugs as evidence of police brutality they lose any credibility to their claim.

    That being said, it is reasonable to be concerned about excessive police brutality and to monitor this carefully and punish it severely.

    But rampant black criminality is off the charts making it likely that there will be multiple encounters between the police and the black community, increasing the risk for bad outcomes.

    Bottom line: Punish bad cops but be honest about black criminality and stop making excuses for this savagery.

  68. @Lemurmaniac

    In San Francisco? No but there is obvious reasons for this.

  69. Mario Woods was apparently trying to get himself killed, randomly stabbed someone already (not in dispute) and was not responding to pepper spray and non lethal rounds and wouldn’t drop his knife.

    What would we say if the police let him leave to stab another innocent person?

  70. @Thirdeye

    OK. It was suicide. Sometimes the cops try to prevent suicide.

  71. joef says:

    Its cause and effect. Its not how we feel about radical afro americans that is important; its how they feel about us. The rest of us react to their actions, not the other way around. They act with animosity & resentment towards a ‘white’ culture, believe in the myth of white privilege, and that everything we obtained (through struggle & hard work) is from misbegotten gains that was somehow stolen from the black man. On top of that they excuse afro american perpetrated violent crime, and demand that we ignore that afro americans have killed more people within this nation than any other group, that includes cops, and that even includes terrorism (only war is more destructive than afro american crime).
    So it is, what it is. If afro americans want to truly assimilate in peace then stand down the radical rhetoric and other leftist propaganda (that means stop blaming whitey for everything); appreciate the benefits we tried to give you over the last 50 years; acknowledge that no one alive today is responsible for past afro american slavery; and condemn the criminal behavior within your own community. Then the rest of us would have no reason to believe what we do. But right now they are less than 20% of the population but more than 80% of the burden to this country; how long can that go on? If you said that it is not a sustainable situation, then you are correct.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Rebecca Gordon Comments via RSS