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Bringing back consequences - Use of Force board

Here's what I'd like to see to deal with the issue of police using deadly force when it apparently wasn't necessary. Create a database of incidents, and Use Of Force review boards. I'm undecided about whether there should be a national board or one per state, but the key is to get them out of the control of the police forces that would be involved.

The boards would involve every incident where there was a use of deadly force (whether the target survived or not) or where there was a complaint. They would review body cam videos, videos taken by witnesses, witness statements, security cameras, and so forth.

After review, the boards would issue a report with a number of possible findings. Here are the findings I've got off the top of my head, there might be others justified:

(1) Action was justified. The actions were taken due to the subject showing an intent to harm the officer or others and the only option to stop the harm was the one taken. This will presumably be the most common result.

(2) Honest mistake. The officer believed that there was an intent to harm, and believed the action was required - but in retrospect, they were wrong. No punishment, but a record noted in the database. If an officer gets more than a certain number of such mistakes, then actions will be taken, up to and including permanently being barred from law enforcement or security jobs.

(3) Reckless. The officer had may have believed there was an intent to harm, but the actions taken were excessive given the situation and no attempt to de-escalate the situation. The wild firing into the apartment of Breonna Taylor would, based on public action, fall into this category. In addition to noting the record in the database, the board can order a suspension without pay, removal of the officer's qualified immunity (they were not acting in accordance to the requirements of a police officer, so don't get the immunity), or in extreme cases, prosecution.

(4) Abusive. The officer abused his or her authority and took action without justification. The board refers for prosecution, and the officer is either suspended without pay or barred from future employment in security or law enforcement.

There will be methods to appeal the decisions. Lying to the board or in public statements, or failure to use a body cam, will be viewed as reasons to increase seriousness of conclusion or for punishments.

Law enforcement organizations are encouraged to do their own reviews and take action as they see fit. Their reviews will probably be faster than the board. But it's clear that we need an independent voice that is not subject to the thin blue line or police unions.

Whole raft of details, such as how the board members are picked to ensure fairness and methods to appeal the decision. And there will be some who will still be unhappy when cases are not referred to prosecution. But there will be a uniform method of review that takes misuse of authority as a serious matter.

Thoughts?

Posted on October 16, 2020, 8:51 am

Donald Brown
@GadgetDon

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Business immunity

Republicans want to give businesses immunity from COVID related issues if they open up. I get that. A business can do everything right and lose everything to a lawsuit. On the other hand, immunity removes the incentive to do everything right. So, here's a proposal that should make both sides, if not ecstatic, at least tolerable.

1. Business get immunity against lawsuits for cases of COVID if they follow recommendations for safety: Specifically provide face masks/gloves to employees and require face masks of customers. Also, to the extent possible, set up traffic flows for social distancing.

2. Employees can choose not to return to work if they are unwilling to risk the disease without losing their unemployment benefits.

3. All adult Americans who have a Social Security number or an ITIN will receive a check for $2000 each month starting in May, plus $500/month for each minor child. (This will probably need to be negotiated down to only Social Security Number or perhaps a lesser number for ITIN).

4. Any resident of America who develops COVID will be automatically enrolled in the state's Medicaid program for the treatment of the disease and related issues. This will automatic enrollment will last for one week after a test shows negative for the disease - with at least two followup tests to avoid the risk of false positives. The Federal government will cover 90% of those enrollees.

So, businesses get the immunity they want, and it's not on the worker's backs. Everybody happy?

Posted on May 12, 2020, 5:41 pm

Donald Brown
@GadgetDon

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Open protests - a bad idea done poorly

First, an admission: I'm a Walmart cashier, so I'm considered "essential", have a job, go out daily, am making money. So I am not experiencing the financial stress os many others are. Of course, I'm also worried that I'll get sick from being essential.

That said, I think the idiots saying "back to normal now" are insane. This is still a deadly disease, very contagious, and we have no natural immunity nor no vaccine.  It kills people, it puts far more in the hospital and causes lifelong issues. Yes, we're going to have to start loosening the lockdowns when it's clear the spread has slowed down a lot, but that's loosening.

I see those people protesting to "open up now", and they might as well be advertisements about why we need lockdowns. They gather tightly without protection, they're going to be spreading the virus among their groups, they carry signs that make it partisan, and they look like a mob.

If I was on their side, here's how I'd organize the protests:

  1. Everyone wears masks. Properly, over mouth and nose. If you can't wear a mask, you don't participate.
  2. Everyone dresses up as if they were going to an office or church. We're sending the message that we're serious people with serious concerns.
  3. All signs must be non-partisan and about the economic distress being caused. If you bring a pro-Trump sign or an anti-Democrat sign, it will be taken and you'll be asked to leave. Here's a list of messages you can adapt.
  4. There will be taped marks on the street, six feet separated. You go to a mark and stay there, unless you're called upon to speak. We're showing that we can be smart without being locked down.

 

Posted on May 3, 2020, 10:02 am

Donald Brown
@GadgetDon

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Changes in my life - my legs and feet hurt

Some of my friends know this already, but here's some updates.

I've discovered that nobody wants to hire a 60 year old programmer (and I am out of touch with some newer web technologies), so for the past four months I've been a cashier for Walmart. I'm finding I enjoy the job more than I expected, particularly bantering with the customers. My favorite new bit - when someone talks about how little they got away with spending, I declare that Walmart has instituted a (x) dollar minimum - would you like to buy a candy bar to bring you into compliance? Most get the joke and laugh, a few looks shocked and I have to quickly say I'm joking. There's the occassional customer from hell (not just nasty - but if you plan to buy $30 worth of goods with quarters, your cashier will not be happy), but those are rare, most are nice.

My legs and feet, though, are not fond of this new system and want me to find a desk job, any desk job. Usually I've got a pad that helps the feet, but after three hours of standing, it's really hard to reach down and pick up something.

I'm living in a room in a duplex in Cathedral City with T.C., currently my only furry companion. T.C. was a stray at the mobile home park I used to live at (don't laugh, mobile homes are actually very nice these days). He got upset when the landlord moved in with his three cats, so he's happy to be the only cat of the household. We do have a disagreement on whether he's an indoor cat or an outdoor cat.

Not exactly what I expected at 60, but it's not a bad life.

Posted on October 9, 2019, 10:23 am

Donald Brown
@GadgetDon


A deal to be made, @realDonaldTrump

OK, here's a deal that could happen.

First, government would have to be reopened while details worked out. When that happens, one bill that does the following:

$5B for fencing on public lands that are not ecologically sensitive.

$20B for non-barrier border security, with at least $10B to be spent on staffing for border patrol and immigration courts

Dream Act passed. Ideally with path to citizenship, but one gets what one can get.

 

Posted on January 13, 2019, 10:44 am

Donald Brown
@GadgetDon


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