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See? I really was a police writer. Maybe the world’s ugliest. I’m not making it up.

I sometimes wish that people knew more about cops, who they are, and the world they live in. There are pretty good cops (most) and very bad ones (few) but accounts in the press usually bear little relation to the truth. What happens on the streets is not as clear, not nearly as clear, as the immaculately coifed indignations of the flickering screen would have you think. Permit me a few examples of routine ambiguity.

First, though, a journalistically unwelcome reality: Almost everyone charged by the police is guitly, no matter what Jesse Jackson thinks. There are two reasons. First, the perps are almost all caught in the act: They are swerving all over the road and blow museum-pickled on the Alka-Sensor, or caught coming out the window with the TV set, or the car is reported stolen and they are driving it, or caught slinging rock and it’s in their possession. Second, the case load is so great in the cities that the DA won’t paper a case unless he is sure he will win. The cops know this, and know the DA will raise hell with them if they send him iffy-maybe-could-be cases, so they don’t.

Cops engage in, and have to engage in, a lot of Not Quite by the Rules policing (NQBTR). Sometimes the rules just don’t quite work. For example, the aging widow in DC who didn’t sell in time when the neighborhood went bad and drug dealers started hanging on her corner. Property values died and she can’t sell for enough to buy elsewhere, and she is afraid to leave to walk to the grocery store past a cloud of dirtballs. The cops tell the dealers, “Get your sorry butts off this corner,now, and don’t come back.”

It isn’t legal, but the druggies don’t know it. Or maybe they do, but know better than to push their luck. They move to another corner, the old woman gets her groceries, and everybody is happy. Got a better answer? I don’t.

A modus vivendi often exists between the cops and the street life. One of the federal buildings in Washington, I forget which but maybe SEC, overhangs a tiled walkway, protecting it from the rain. I’ve seen a dozen grocery carts there on a wet night, each containing some homeless bozo’s life. The owners (almost owners, anyway: the carts were liberated from Safeway) slept on mats and, if they were gone early, the cops left them alone. And why not?

That was pre-9/11. Things may be different now.

The city is full of crazies, and the police have to deal with them. One night in an almost middle-class region of the city, the cop I was with got a call about a rapist in some woman’s home. The officer said he would look into it but didn’t seem much interested. That was odd, I thought. Anything “in progress” usually gets instant attention. Was this guy cold-blooded, or what? We casually drove to the location.

She turned out to be one of the head cases released to the streets years before to save the city money, a paranoid schizophrenic obsessed with being raped. She lived in a nice house paid for by the city. We went in. The walls were covered with obscene scrawled admonitions, “Stop putting your…” etc. The officer said a friendly “Hello, Mrs. Smith, where is he? Back there? Let me check it out.”

He went into the back part of the house for a minute or so, returned, and said, “He’s gone, you’ll be all right.” She thanked him, and we left. In a few days she would call about another imaginary rapist, and he would do the same thing.

Real-life policing. Got a better idea?

Chicago, the Austin district, I think, a bad neighborhood and under-policed. I was riding with a plain-clothes guy in an unmarked car. An old jalopy swerved dangerously in front of us. We stopped it.

Two old black guys, probably in their sixties and clearly drunk. License and registration please. Well, see, officer, I left my wallet etc, and I borrowed the car from a friend, I guess the registration is at, and I didn’t know the license plates were different, etc.

Their story was likely true, or close enough. The cop knew that old black guys don’t steal cars. This is called “experience” or, in the media, “profiling.” The cop also knew that if he took them in, the magistrate would let them go on recognizance because the available cells were full, give them a court date, which they wouldn’t keep, and the next day they would be drunk again. They weren’t criminals and didn’t need to be in jail. On the other hand, the driver was drunk at the moment and dangerous. Solution?

He locked their car keys in the trunk of their car, figuring the two would be approximately sober by the time they figured out how to retrieve them. They would be driving smashed again the next day anyway but not for a few hours. We left.

Got a better idea?

DC, summer night, walking a foot-beat in empty streets. We encountered a blonde woman, forty-fiveish, crawling on the sidewalk in cruddy jeans. She was sick drunk, incoherent, barely able to stand, with the grey-vegetable look that comes of living on gin and Vienna sausages. She protectively clutched a bottle as if it were her child, obviously terrified that the cop would take it away—as he should have. Technically should have.

Technically, he should have taken her in for public drunkenness. But why? There was nowhere to put her. Cells are few and usually full of people who ought to be in them. The city can’t afford to send endless alkies to Betty Ford. The next night would be the same thing. She would die of liver failure no matter what we did.

We watched as she crawled on all threes, clutching the butte in her free hand, into an alley. We went on our way.

Got a better idea?

In a suburb in Prince George’s County, the drug-and-gang situation had gotten so bad that mothers were afraid to walk their kids in strollers. It was ugly. The question had become who was going to control the streets. Somebody up the power ladder decided that enough was enough.

A massive police presence followed. I went with the cops. Police cars parked everywhere. When a couple of bangers congregated on a corner, a cop stood two feet way, looking at them. If they walked down the sidewalk, he walked five feet behind. This is not optimal for selling crack. A civil-rights lawyer would have called it police harassment. It was. It was intended to be. It probably wasn’t legal.

Maybe two weeks later, I saw women pushing strollers along the sidewalk. No bangers. They had just moved to another region to do the same thing.

Real-life policing.

Several years ago I published in Kindle format my police-procedural novel, Killer Kink. Since then I have received thousands of emails–ok, five emials, but I’m rounding up–asking for a print version. Well, here it is: Killer Kink Buy it. We know where your children go to school

(Republished from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Crime, Police State 
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  1. All of those people need therapy, especially Fred.

    /that’ll fix ’em.

  2. pyrrhus says:

    Great column, Fred, perhaps another good example of the map not being the territory.

  3. pancho says:

    Thanks, Fred, for again trying to help us keep it in perspective.

  4. Cameron says:

    And then there’s the guy caught on the streets of Staten Island selling cigarettes illegally. Choked to death by five attacking cops. Video shows he put up no resistance.

    Got a better idea?

    And the Civil Asset Forfeiture laws where the cops charge the asset (not the owner of the asset) on “suspicion” of wrong-doing, then keep the asset for themselves to do with as they please (could be worth many thousands of dollars–a camera, cash, a car, a house), often with little recourse for the owner who did nothing illegal. The courts find this very common system of literal highway robbery a legal procedure.

    Got a better idea?

    Real-life policing.

  5. mh505 says:

    Cameron –
    As much as I am a great fan – you might even say “follower” – of Fred’s, I must admit that by now it is more likely to me that in the US the police has become your enemy rather than your friend. I personally would be very careful indeed to get in their way under any circumstance. This is no longer – and hasn’t been for a longish time – “Wired” territory …

  6. rod1963 says:


    The guy refused to leave and resisted the police. BTW he was no saint, he had been arrested over 30 times for robbery, assault and drug dealing. He was a very bad man. It explains why so many cops were on hand to remove that 400lb blob of a career criminal.

    Now being a 400 lb fat giant, you can’t move a blob like that without pain and force. The cops had two choices: either a choke hold or tasering the shit out of him. Problem with a lot of big fat black guys is that they have bad tickers from a lifetime of junk food eating, boozing, drug use and smoking cigs. Put a bit of pressure on the old ticker then add a massive surge of adrenaline and then it’s good night gracie.

    In short he brought it on himself and it’s good he’s no longer with us, saved the tax payers a lot of money.

    Second example: This isn’t the cops doing but the DA’s and has been sanctioned by the government and it’s statists in both parties. The fact is either party could end this law. They don’t. People miss the big picture is that this is about power. Governments do not cede power, they always want more of it.

    In short the situation is more complex than simply blame the cops. The amusing thing is the cop bashers wouldn’t last a day in the cop’s shoes. I don’t personally like cops, but they have a nasty job nowadays dealing with rampant Black and Hispanic criminality that is eating away at our cities and towns.

  7. Cameron says:


    You don’t choke a man to death because he’s selling cigarettes illegally, no matter how prejudiced you are against fat, black men as you seem yo be. A good idea might be for the police to look away and just leave him alone. Whom was he hurting enough to kill him? He did not resist; he just pleaded, yes pleaded, to be left alone–an unalienable right in a free republic, but obviously not in this police state where some citizens like you approve of such police behavior. The police did have that third choice of leaving that poor man alone. He repeatedly implored the polic to stop choking him because he was unable to breathe; he was ignored and died.

    But it seems you approve of unlimited taxation, unlimited, coercion, unlimited control of the market which used to be free but is now completely controlled; there’s unlimited control of all citizens’ behavior, and you seem to approve, especially when it concerns fat, black people of whom you know nothing. He was trying to earn a living in a free, unobstructed manner, but unapproved by you and our police state.

    I’m amazed that there are still mindless persons like you who have the gall to excuse this completely unconstitutional police behavior and the unconstitutional judiciary who support and encourage these police who are only too happy to steal from innocent citizens on the basis of these unconstitutional forfeiture laws for one reason: to enrich themselves.

    Wouldn’t it be a good idea for you to spend some time reading our constitution and absorbing its intentions and its protections of free citizens, and thus learn something valuable for yourself and for the others with whom you interact (and ignorantly condemn) as well? There’s nothing like education. Try it; you’ll like it.

    • Replies: @William BadWhite
  8. @Cameron

    Let me explain life in the big city to you. Cops stomp on criminals for EVERYTHING, from selling black market cigarettes to rape and murder, and New York City gets to remain a SWPL-Jewish playground. Cops start saying what-the-hell and looking the other way in exchange for a pack, then the tax base leaves and no more net-positive cash flow to keep sistahs like Rachel Noerdlinger employed.

    Got it, or that too real for ya?

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  9. @The Anti-Gnostic

    But the victim of the police murder wasn’t selling cigarettes illegally was he?

    He was interceding to try to stop violence between two other people.

  10. Fred, great column. I used to be in law enforcement in N.J. Some of these incidents are hard for civilians to believe, and yet they are quite common.

    We had a harmless deinstitutionalized character who in order to look menacing, stuck a knife into telephone polls all day. Calls came in from frightened housewives to do something about him. This was understandable. The fellow was as harmless as a worm but had learned to put on a tough front back in the nuthouse. So we took his knife away from him and took him for a ride around the block. He would have another knife and a different poll the next day. And so it went.

  11. Cameron says:

    The Anti-Gnostic,

    What you say is true, and is precisely the opposite of what Fred Reed is saying in his essay, and precisely what I am saying in my reply. Perhaps you, too, need an education in comprehension.

    You’ll have to explain what Jews have to benefit from in our police state.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  12. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Growing up I observed that cops were notorious cheapskates and moochers. They wanted everything for free or at a discount: free meals, free haircuts, free everything. This in spite of the fact they were paid enough to be able to pay their own way like everyone else. I think they developed a sense of entitlement from their job.

  13. @Cameron

    Higher property values, being able to walk to the grocery store without being accosted.

    Police–hell, soldiers with automatic rifles–have a large and proactive footprint in Israel.

    Jews seem to thrive there, as they do in New York.

    • Replies: @Cameron
  14. Marty [AKA "wick"] says:

    Cameron is a black guy. What Cameron is really telling us, but isn’t honest enough to say outright, is, “why y’all have to enforce your laws against us black folks?” Exemption from rules is the new black entitlement, in the minds of blacks. Equal treatment is unfair. If anyone here lives in California, chime in with your tales of ubiquitous handicapped placards among black drivers in their ’20’s and 30’s.

    • Replies: @Cameron
  15. Cameron says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic


    So now we know at least three things about you:

    1. You hate fat African-Americans.
    2. You’re jealous of the success of Jews and express this jealousy irrationally.
    3. You lack enough acetylcholine in your cerebrum to enable proper function.

    Got it, or that too real for ya?

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    , @Cameron
  16. Cameron says:


    I am often amazed by some commenters like you who speak so authoritatively from their asses as though they actually know what they’re talking about. No, Wick, I am not Black, nor Brown, Red nor Blue. Get those weak, unsynaptic neurons together and take a guess what ethnic group I do belong to. You must have been misinformed by your spies in the NSA, CIA or perhaps, more likely, the KKK.

    Politically, I describe myself as an anarcho-capitalist, very sympathetic to Lew Rockwell, Murray Rothbard and–heaven forfend–that Jew Walter Block (whom I especially admire), am an admirer of Ron Paul and despise such politicians as Pelosi, Feinstein, Boxer, the Bushes and our emperor. Unlike you, I actually live in California, while you apparently only exist here wasting your life flapping your mandible like an ignorant chimpanzee.

    Next time you comment, try to make an effort to contact your cerebrum before you embarrass yourself again.

  17. @Cameron

    Not a single point of yours follows from my comments.

    So you’re an an-cap? You should realize that men like Lew Rockwell, the late Murray Rothbard, and Walter Block live in an academic bubble. Most an-caps, actually, live in state-funded or non-profit bubbles. That should tell you something about the strength of their ideas.

    Lew and his bunch are peddling snake oil. We know exactly how things shake out when the State’s civil order disappears. If you’re going to read anything from that bunch, read Hoppe. I say this as somebody who used to donate to the Mises Institute.

  18. Dutch Boy says:

    A superior court judge down my way just retired and was interviewed by the local rag. He more or less agreed with Mr. Reed’s assertion that they are all guilty. Most will cop a plea for a reduced sentence. Those who don’t are facing long years of hard time with no chance to cop a plea and will go to trial hoping for an error that will get their convictions reversed.

  19. Cameron says:

    On the contrary, everything I’ve said about you is true. Your comments prove it.

    Concerning Hoppe I’ve read his essays on If he and Rockwell differed as you claim, I doubt that Hoppe would permit his essays to appear there and that Rockwell would post them. I don’t always agree with Rockwell and his writers; they are sometimes too idealistic; I certainly strongly disagree with his religious ideas. But I do agree with his NAP (Non-Aggression-Principle). That black man was no threat to anyone. He was pleading to be left alone, as any free citizen should be. I don’t know what his history was, but at the time he was definitely not combative. He was selling a product that people wanted at a lower than market price. Unfortunately, the state disapproves of initiative and demands obedience. The representatives of the state prove this daily as they attack peaceful, private citizens on the streets, in their homes and on their farms.

    Five cops jumped this overweight, physically sick man and choked him to death as he was pleading that he could not breathe. If those cops had behaved the way Fred Reed’s cops used to behave, the situation would have been resolved peaceably.

    Yes, Jews thrive in New York, In Israel,, in London, in San Francisco, in Chicago, in most places they live. If you’re a reader of Fred Reed you probably will understand why. He explains this more than once in various essays. There are also successful criminal Jews, just as there are criminal Christians, Muslims, atheists and probably some criminal Anti-Gnostics. The senators representing California are a good example.

    BTW, I’ve been reading Fred for a long time. This last essay is the first one with which I’ve disagreed. He seems to be completely out of touch with modern police behavior. His remarks all pertained to when he was a police reporter years ago. And most of those who commented did so reflexively and fawningly, not stopping to understand that Fred was talking about the past, not the modern, militarized, jack-booted thugs. I hope Fred comes to realize this, too.

    • Replies: @TWS
  20. donut says:

    Yes , we’ll just forget about the hundreds of YouTube videos of the otherwise unemployable thugs murdering and falsely charging people and pretend it’s still good ole’ Andy and Barney out there.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  21. @donut

    If you want Mayberry-style policing, you need Mayberry-style demographics.

    • Replies: @donut
  22. donut says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    We should be armed as well as the police . Better yet I’ll be my own police .

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  23. @donut

    No argument on that score, but an armed populace doesn’t seem to be pacifying Chicago. Why do you think that is?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  24. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Why aren’t they “pacifying the city”? It’s too much fun shooting folks! You get more babymamas that way. You get more respect on the street. And their ain’t nothing so quick to destroy a bad boy’s reputation than taking lip from some p*ssy.

    Hell, if I grew up there I’d be offing some smart- mouth homeboys, too. And that why I don’t live there. And that’s why I don’t want them living here. To each his own. Let them live in and enjoy the culture they like. Who am I to tell them that brutha down the street didn’t need a cap in his azz. The last thing I am going to impose on them is The White Man’s Paradigm (as President Jacob Zuma puts it).

    As that great Black woman, Ida B. Wells said, “a Winchester [rifle] should have a place of honor in every Negro home.” Who am I to tell them when or how to shoot it? They aren’t my people, and I am not a cultural imperialist.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  25. @Anonymous

    Then back to the discussion at hand, you shouldn’t be upset when the two completely disparate and unassimilable groups clash over territory and the inevitable happens: white cops take down the disruptive black guy selling stolen cigarettes, and he dies due to his morbid obesity and intractable attitude.

    SWPLs get to enjoy Manhattan, sales taxes get collected, and less restive blacks get to enjoy make-work jobs at City Hall. Don’t like it, find a city with a black monoculture where the cops will let you do pretty much whatever you want.

  26. An unarmed police force only exists with homogenous white populations.

  27. “In a suburb in Prince George’s County, the drug-and-gang situation had gotten so bad that mothers were afraid to walk their kids in strollers. ”

    The funny thing is, these neighborhood thugs are their own baby-daddys and brothers.

  28. “Every cop is a criminal…” – The Rolling Stones, 1973

  29. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I remember meeting an good cop once. It was back around 1993. I think the species has since gone extinct.

  30. Biff says:

    The golden rule:

    Habits of the wealthy are to remain legal and re-enforced..

    Habits of the poor and minority are made illegal, and met with crushing enforcement..

    Example: Marijuana was made illegal because ‘Mexicans’ smoked it.. Wealthy people smoked cigars..

  31. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Fred, you have this all wrong. There HAS been a sea change in the quality and values of police over the years. I’m 67 years old. Decades ago when I was having the standard issues with my teen age son, I told him, “Take the car (without permission) and I’ll call the police.” He had made a second set of keys and took the car. I called the police. The police found him and brought him home. The officer clearly understood what I was doing. He took my son out on the front porch and gave him a “talking to”. On the way out, the officer said, “If there is anything else I can do to help, let me know.” He understood what I was confronting and what needed done. My son never took the car again without permission. Today I would be putting my son at risk of his life to call the police on a car stolen by my son. If he failed to stop on the lights, he would have chased him and perhaps shot dead. One has only to read the news that this is happening through out America. “Serve and protect …” you have to be kidding! Today, the police have morphed into paramilitary thugs.

    • Replies: @abj_slant
  32. bob says:

    Nice one Fred Reed, I won’t bother to read anymore of your stuff.

  33. TWS says:

    You are aware the guy was yelling the whole time the police were ‘choking’ him? If you can yell or even speak you’re not being choked. He died from a positional asphyxiation brought on by being a lard ass, fighting with cops, then cuffed. They warn you about it in the academy. Don’t put a big chested guy on his chest cuffed if he’s flushed or fighting.

  34. TWS says:

    Again not choking because he was yelling.

    You know what would have saved this habitual criminal’s life? Turning around and cuffing up. Or maybe I don’t know, not committing the crime in the first place? Look there are plenty of cases of police brutality. This is not one of them.

  35. Rex May says: • Website

    Nice quote, Anti-Gnostic. I’m making a quibcag from it and will build a blog post around it.

  36. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Fred is totally out of touch with modern day police officers.

  37. I believe I am somewhat close to Fred’s age. I am 74 and remember in my younger years that the police were really your friend. Today’s police are not only not your friend, they are your enemy. A large majority of them are sadistic individuals on the lower side of average on the IQ scale. They have become militarized and view all of us as their enemy. Many of them are worse than the criminals they are supposedly protecting us from. What is needed is true civilian review boards in order to hold them accountable for the various offenses that they commit. Those that are found guilty should be permanently banned from law enforcement and find a different line of work. That is not too much for a free people to expect.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  38. @Aaron Klein

    We’re no longer a free people.

    Diversity, liberty or equality – choose one.

  39. donut says:

    Just BTW there wouldn’t even have been a crime to commit without the social engineering policies of Bloomberg and and fellow tribesman Thomas R. Frieden . In their determination to force us to do what they deem good for us they have created a whole new area of crime just as prohibition did. Frieden’s reward was to be appointed as Obama’s director of the CDC . Where he has continued to push the policies of the anointed. His incompetence would never have become an issue if the CDC hadn’t been called on to do the one thing it was created for.

  40. You write columns like Mike Royko used to, and that sir is high praise.

  41. Sam J. says:

    Fred is right but things have changed. My belief is the change in testing due to affirmative action and changes in training are the main problems. I’ve read that the Israelis do a lot of police training now. I think they’re treating us like Palestinians.

  42. abj_slant says:

    When your son took the car, did he also have a loaded gun with him? And was the cop approaching the vehicle with that thought in mind?

    I’m guessing the answer is “no” to both. But that just isn’t the case nowadays.

  43. @Cameron

    Do you know why he was arrested? For selling single cigarettes (as opposed to by the pack).

    Why was the NYPD arresting people for selling single cigarettes when doing so does not violate New York or New York City law? Because it violates Food & Drug Administration regulations.

    When did the FDA issue these regulations? Shortly after the beginning of Obama’s 2nd term.

    Why does the NYPD or any other big city police department enforce FDA regulations but not say, laws against illegal immigrants? I don’t have an answer for you there. Well, I do know the answer actually…

  44. @Cameron

    “You don’t choke a man to death because he’s selling cigarettes illegally, no matter how prejudiced you are against fat, black men as you seem yo be”

    He was not choked to death. He died of a heart attack. He was breathing when he was put into the ambulance. Get your facts straight before you begin your hysterical rant.

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