Later On

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Archive for March 6th, 2018

Finally, Trump does something Republicans can’t stomach

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Dana Milbank has a good column in the Washington Post:

What would it take for Republicans to turn against Donald Trump?

Now, finally, we know.

For nearly three years, Republican lawmakers have stood with Trump, offering only isolated protest, through all manner of outrage. Disparaging Mexican immigrants. Videotaped boasts about sexually assaulting women. Alleging that his predecessor put a wiretap on him. Falsely claiming mass­ive voter fraud. Racism directed at a federal judge. The firing of James B. Comey. Talk of women bleeding. A payoff to a porn actress over an alleged affair. A defense of white supremacists in Charlottesville. Support for Senate candidate Roy Moore despite allegations of child molestation. The guilty pleas of Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Rick Gates and the indictment of Paul Manafort. The botched travel ban and bungled repeal of Obamacare. Insulting Britain and other allies. Attacks on the FBI and judiciary and attempts to fire the attorney general. Talk of African “shithole” countries. Questions about his mental stability. The lethargic hurricane response in Puerto Rico. The stream of staff firings and resignations and personal and ethical scandals, most recently Tuesday’s finding that Kellyanne Conway twice violated the Hatch Act.

Republican lawmakers were, by and large, okay with all that. But now Trump has at last gone too far. He has proposed tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. And the Republican Party is in an all-out revolt.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) fielded four questions at a news conference Tuesday morning and answered the same way four times: with a warning about the “unintended consequences” of Trump’s proposed tariffs. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 March 2018 at 6:29 pm

It’s not just NYPD: Radley Balko’s law-enforcement links

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America really needs criminal-justice reform. Balko lists these links in the Washington Post:

  • A Kansas man wrongly imprisoned for 23 years will get no compensation from the state.
  • A charity set up in Philando Castile’s name has eradicated the school lunch debt for all of the kids at the school district where he worked.
  • There was another botched execution last month, this time in Alabama.
  • Philadelphia’s police unions are freaking out over newly elected, reform-minded District Attorney Larry Krasner. That’s probably a good thing.
  • Body-camera footage shows a San Diego police officer lied multiple times under oath about his citation of a homeless man.
  • Body-cam video shows an Asheville, N.C., police officer beating a man for jaywalking. The police chief is furious … not about the beating, but that someone leaked the video. The fact that city officials didn’t know about the beating until the video was leaked and posted by a newspaper shows why North Carolina’s law exempting body-cam footage from public records laws is pretty much the opposite of police accountability.
  • Report: Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials shackled 92 Somalis for a 40-hour deportation plane ride. The Somalis say they were forced to urinate on themselves, were beaten, and were subjected to threats.
  • Justice Neil M. Gorsuch provided the deciding vote in a case that will undermine the ability of prisoners to sue for abuse at the hands of prison guards.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 March 2018 at 11:04 am

Secret NYPD Files: Officers Can Lie And Brutally Beat People — And Still Keep Their Jobs

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Kendall Taggart and Mike Hayes report at BuzzFeed:

Secret files obtained by BuzzFeed News reveal that from 2011 to 2015 at least 319 New York Police Department employees who committed offenses serious enough to merit firing were allowed to keep their jobs.

Many of the officers lied, cheated, stole, or assaulted New York City residents. At least fifty employees lied on official reports, under oath, or during an internal affairs investigation. Thirty-eight were found guilty by a police tribunal of excessive force, getting into a fight, or firing their gun unnecessarily. Fifty-seven were guilty of driving under the influence. Seventy-one were guilty of ticket-fixing. One officer, Jarrett Dill, threatened to kill someone. Another, Roberson Tunis, sexually harassed and inappropriately touched a fellow officer. Some were guilty of lesser offenses, like mouthing off to a supervisor.

At least two dozen of these employees worked in schools. Andrew Bailey was found guilty of touching a female student on the thigh and kissing her on the cheek while she was sitting in his car. In a school parking lot, while he was supposed to be on duty, Lester Robinson kissed a woman, removed his shirt, and began to remove his pants. And Juan Garcia, while off duty, illegally sold prescription medication to an undercover officer.

In every instance, the police commissioner, who has final authority in disciplinary decisions, assigned these officers to “dismissal probation,” a penalty with few practical consequences. The officer continues to do their job at their usual salary. They may get less overtime and won’t be promoted during that period, which usually lasts a year. When the year is over, so is the probation.

Today many continue to patrol the streets, arrest people, put them in jail, and testify in criminal prosecutions. But the people they arrest have little way to find out about the officer’s record. So they are forced to make life-changing decisions — such as whether to fight their charges in court or take a guilty plea — without knowing, for example, if the officer who arrested them is a convicted liar, information that a jury might find directly relevant.

BuzzFeed News’ reporting is based on hundreds of pages of internal police files that, like all disciplinary records, the department keeps secret, citing a controversial state law on “personnel records.” The files were provided by a source who requested anonymity. They were subsequently verified through more than 100 calls to NYPD employees, visits to officers’ homes, interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers, and a review of thousands of pages of court records.

Over the coming months, BuzzFeed News plans to publish a database with information about the NYPD officers and civilian employees who have received dismissal probation.

The Probation Files do not include all officers who received dismissal probation during the years in question. According to the NYPD, of the more than 50,000 people who work for the department, at least 777 officers and an untold number of other employees received the penalty during the five years in question. During the same period, 463 officers were forced to leave or resigned while a disciplinary charge was pending.

But the Probation Files are by far the most thorough accounting of this practice to date. They pull back the curtain on one of the NYPD’s most fiercely guarded secrets, providing the most extensive record available of which officers, despite committing serious misconduct, continue to wield tremendous power over New Yorkers’ lives.

New York is one of only three states, along with Delaware and California, that has a law specifically shielding police misconduct records from the public, according to a study conducted by WNYC in 2015. In recent years, the NYPD has doubled down on its stringent legal interpretation of those laws, even as departments around the country face growing public pressure to be more transparent about police misconduct.

In addition to letting some officers off the hook, sources told BuzzFeed News that dismissal probation is also used to punish other officers arbitrarily, for reporting misconduct or just for getting on their supervisors’ bad sides.

“If 10 cops did the same exact thing that was bad, the outcome is different every time. If you’ve complained, forget about it,” said Diane Davis, a former internal affairs investigator who later sued the department for racial discrimination.

Bill Bratton and Ray Kelly, the NYPD commissioners who ran the department during the years covered by the Probation Files, both declined to speak to BuzzFeed News. (The current commissioner, James O’Neill, took over in 2016.)

BuzzFeed News attempted to reach every NYPD employee named in this story, with phone calls and letters to their homes. Some employees could no longer be located, so we also sent a list of names to both their unions and the NYPD, with the request that those organizations notify the officers of the opportunity to comment. Most officers did not respond.

Speaking for the NYPD, Kevin Richardson, the deputy commissioner of the Department Advocate’s Office, which determines which officers to charge and prosecute at the NYPD’s internal disciplinary trials, said the law prevented him from commenting on specific officers’ cases. But in general, he said, dismissal probation serves a valuable purpose.

“The department is not interested in terminating officers that don’t need to be terminated. We’re interested in keeping employees and making our employees obey the rules and do the right thing,” he told BuzzFeed News. “But where there are failings that we realize this person should be separated from the department, this police commissioner and the prior police commissioner have shown a willingness to do that.”

Richardson added that, since he joined the department in 2014, he has worked to make the process fairer and reassessed the penalties given to officers guilty of misconduct. The department declined to offer any examples of penalties that have changed, or any data that would support his claims.

Asked about the misconduct of his members, Gregory Floyd, the president of the union representing school safety agents, said “that’s something that we don’t condone.”

Al O’Leary, a spokesperson for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the largest police union representing NYPD officers, had a different message: “We’re not going to talk to you about anything negative as far as any of our officers.”

Former NYPD detective sergeant Joseph Giacalone, who spent two years of his two-decade-plus career in internal affairs, said, “Dismissal probation is supposed to be used for somebody who screwed up something big but it wasn’t intentional — they made an honest mistake.”

But any officer who is caught committing an egregious offense, such as lying or stealing department property, should be fired, Giacalone said. “They have broken the trust of the oath that you took.” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 March 2018 at 9:03 am

A dark-chocolate shave with Vie-Long and Old Type

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The Dark Chocolate from Phoenix Artisan has a wonderful fragrance … of dark chocolate, of course. And it made a good lather with the Vie-Long horsehair brush shown. The RazoRock Old Type is a totally reliable razor for me: an easy BBS result (without trying for it) in three passes, no problem.

A splash of Dark Chocolate aftershave splash, and the day begins.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 March 2018 at 8:40 am

Posted in Shaving

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