Cops taking hostages


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Norton
October 25, 2004, 08:41 AM
So....what if the cops decide that they want to hold you hostage for a car because you might drink and drive?:fire:


>>>>An arresting offer: guns for freedom

By Ryan Davis
Sun Staff
Originally published October 25, 2004


Two police officers dropped the handcuffed man on the brick steps before Sheila Harding's front door, she says.

From his knees, 23-year-old Richard William Rogers Jr. pleaded to the woman who helped raise him. "They're locking me up," he remembers saying. "But if you give them a gun, they'll let me go."

It was a startling proposition, Harding says: Trade a gun to avoid a criminal charge.

Interviews and court documents reveal this is a common deal offered by Baltimore police to the suspects they arrest, usually in minor drug cases. It's so typical that one lieutenant recently declared it a regular procedure within the Police Department's Southern District. And some officers developed forms to complete when conducting such exchanges.

"That's kidnapping and holding for ransom," says Harding, a 59-year-old South Baltimore resident. "And because they have a badge and a gun, they're allowed to get away with it."

Guns-for-freedom trades have persisted in Baltimore for years, largely unchecked by police department leaders and entirely unsanctioned by the rest of the criminal justice system. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and residents say it raises serious concerns about the authority being exerted by the Baltimore Police Department.

The deals aren't legal or enforceable, experts say.

Residents such as Harding say the practice promotes unwarranted arrests. Criminal defense attorneys say the deals are frequently broken, prompting distrust of police. Prosecutors say police are usurping the power of prosecutors and judges.

"How is that justice?" asks Cheryl Jacobs, the chief prosecutor of the city state's attorney's narcotic division. "That's not the way our system of justice is set up to work. ... It's laudable to get guns off the street, but this is not the way we go about it."

Unofficially, officers and supervisors say it can be a good way to get a deadly weapon from someone arrested on a minor charge unlikely to yield punishment.

'What's the problem?'

"If you lock up somebody for a joint or one pill, unless they're on probation or parole, what do you think the court is going to do to that guy? They're not going to do anything," says one officer who requested anonymity for fear of retribution. "If you can get a handgun without a foot chase or a pursuit and nobody got hurt, what's the problem?"

Police say that since being asked about the practice by The Sun, they have begun drafting a policy to ban such deals.

But some high-ranking commanders defend the intent.

"It was a worthwhile and beneficial effort to take crime guns off the street," says Maj. Frederick H. Bealefeld III, the Southern District commander. "I can't apologize for our intentions. Our intention was 100 percent public safety."

Told of the practice, Mayor Martin O'Malley says he had heard about it previously, but it now appears to be more common than he knew. "It's certainly something we can look at," says O'Malley, a former prosecutor, "and certainly something the police commissioner should look at."

At issue is a basic tenet of policing - discretion.

One of the best demonstrations of that discretion occurs when police stop a speeder. Officers can let the driver go, issue a formal warning, write a lesser ticket, issue a ticket for the actual speed or make an arrest.

But gun trades go beyond discretion to negotiation, prosecutors say. Once police arrest, they cannot determine who is set free. They can question suspects, experts say, but in exchange for information or guns, they can offer little more than a promise to put in a good word with prosecutors.

"This is in a murky area," says professor Abraham Dash, a criminal law professor at the University of Maryland. "They're carrying discretion, I think, a little too far."

It works like this: Officers will either have a suspect lead them to a gun or allow the suspect a phone call to arrange the drop of a gun, possibly in a trash canister, according to officers and court documents.

"If it's an ends-justifies-a-means thing, that's problematic," says Eugene O'Donnell, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former New York police officer and prosecutor. "That's not our legal system. The means matter in our legal system."

Officers say top city police officials haven't specifically ordered gun trades, but they revel in the resulting statistics, officers say. Baltimore police seized more than 3,000 guns last year, though it's unclear how many earned suspects freedom. Prosecutor Antonio Gioia says the deals occur in specific areas or districts where commanders favor them.

Reviewing policy

The process has been discussed several times this year within the department.

In May, police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark issued an order banning use of the unofficial gun-trade form officers had developed. "Effective immediately discontinue using the unauthorized form to document an individual's release in exchange for information about illegal firearms," he wrote. But the commissioner stopped short of condemning the practice.

So it persisted.

At an Aug. 18 public safety meeting for the Washington Village and Pigtown neighborhoods, Lt. Jerry Vandermeulen explained the activity as a common tactic, according to meeting attendees. A suspect arrested on minor charges has an hour to find a gun, hand it over and walk away uncharged.

The lieutenant said the program had enabled the Southern District to seize nearly 150 guns in less than a year - a way to take guns off the streets and curb jail overcrowding.

Last month - after inquiries by The Sun and discussion about the practice by department leaders - the process almost entirely ceased, police say. James H. Green, the department's director of special projects, says the department will soon implement a policy against "gun flipping."

If the deals are carried out as advertised, the suspect never formally enters the criminal justice system and there's no paperwork. But there are documented instances where police made promises and apparently broke them.

Wedged in the middle of Kavon Graves' court file are ballistic test reports for two guns, a .38-caliber revolver and a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol. It's a seemingly odd place for them because Graves was charged with marijuana possession and his arrest reports make no mention of guns.

Graves' attorney Nicholas Comaromi, says his client gave those guns to police with the promise he would be let go. But Graves was sentenced in August to 12 years in prison for violating his probation, including the new conviction for possession of marijuana.

"It's going to foster mistrust between the community and law enforcement," Comaromi says.

Another case apparently shows that even though the deals may be unenforceable, police can find ways to ensure they are enforced.

Sean Cason was arrested in 2002 on heroin distribution charges that carried a minimum 25-year sentence, according to court documents. His attorney, Warren A. Brown, says police offered to set Cason free if he turned over a gun. Cason did so, Brown says, but wasn't set free.

After lengthy delays, the charges were dropped this year. Brown says the deal prompted the charges to be dropped. Prosecutors say the charges were dropped because the case detectives repeatedly failed to show for court, possibly because they had made the deal.

"It raises the question as to what may have occurred outside our jurisdiction," says Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the city state's attorney's office.

Adds Brown: "It's kind of a tricky situation because you're letting 'drug dealers' go free."

Just how tricky was a point of debate during a hearing last year before Circuit Judge John N. Prevas.

In the case, Cantie Evans was handcuffed March 10, 2002, by detectives conducting a major drug sweep in West Baltimore. Officers found six vials of crack cocaine inside his Lexus, according to testimony by Evans and a police sergeant.

Following instructions from officers, Evans called a friend and had the friend deliver a gun in a brown paper bag to a nearby trash canister, according to testimony. The detectives checked to make sure the pistol worked, set Evans free and never charged him.

But days later, Evans was arrested for alleged drug dealing caught on tape by the same sting operation. His attorney argued that those charges should also be dropped based on the gun trade.

Prevas denied the request but chastised the police for the confusion. Officers who aren't trained in the law shouldn't be negotiating with suspects who know just as little, he said.

In the case of the young man dropped on Harding's front steps, police records confirm the 23-year-old's account that he was arrested July 16 in Pigtown. He says he was waiting for a friend when he and two men he doesn't know were arrested. Police say he was about to hand money to a person who was arrested with cocaine.

Both Rogers and the police account confirm that he was arrested on charges of attempting to possess drugs.

Rogers, who enrolled in the Army National Guard and recently left for basic training, says he previously had a drug problem but successfully completed rehabilitation. Upon arrest, he says, he asked police how he could avoid going to jail, and they suggested getting a gun. The only one he could think of, he says, was the one kept by the woman who helped raise him in Morrell Park.

No deal

Sheila Harding didn't accept the gun-for-freedom deal proposed to her that day. At the time she had a broken, triggerless shotgun upstairs in a closet, she says. A neighbor had given her the gun because he didn't want it around his children, she says.

Rogers was taken to Central Booking and Intake Center, and several hours later, prosecutors declined to prosecute the case because the charges were legally insufficient, they say.

Rogers was released. Harding remains incensed.

"They just wanted a gun," she says, "so they could go to the police station and say, 'Look what we got.'"



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CannibalCrowley
October 25, 2004, 09:21 AM
Sounds like they're asking for bribes. They're making a contract between the officer and the suspect that for payment of a gun, the officer will let the person go.

HankB
October 25, 2004, 09:46 AM
I believe the proper term is called "shakedown."

(Could say more - much more - about the proper response to this kind of activity. But it would be decidedly "Un-HighRoad-Ish.")

rbrowning
October 25, 2004, 10:07 AM
Isn't this kind of short sighted (regadless of legality!)? If I was a dealer in Baltimore I would arrange to rob a gun store for a ready supply of "Get Out of Jail Free Cards".

A black day on the road down the hill.

Cool Hand Luke 22:36
October 25, 2004, 10:15 AM
"Officers say top city police officials haven't specifically ordered gun trades, but they revel in the resulting statistics, officers say. Baltimore police seized more than 3,000 guns last year, though it's unclear how many earned suspects freedom. Prosecutor Antonio Gioia says the deals occur in specific areas or districts where commanders favor them"

So crack-heads in Baltimore were let go approximately 3000 times last year.

Free to rob, burglarize, and murder.

No wonder Baltimore County has the second highest robbery rate in the nation, right behind #1 Prince George's County Maryland next door.

Spot77
October 25, 2004, 10:36 AM
O'Malley's comments and indifference on this need to be remembered when he attempts to run for Governor.


A nice billboard on South Hanover Street should remind the city folk how he's treating them.:evil:


"Paid for by Concerned Citizens Against Raping the Constitution"

Edward429451
October 25, 2004, 10:58 AM
How unmitigated can they get here?

Sorry, couldn't resist.:D

Mulliga
October 25, 2004, 11:01 AM
"They're locking me up," he remembers saying. "But if you give them a gun, they'll let me go."

I'd give the gun to these nice officers...bullets first. :rolleyes:

armoredman
October 25, 2004, 11:07 AM
Illegal shakedown, like when Border Patrol seizes your vehicle and charges the VEHICLE with a crime. This is garbage - total UnConstitutional garbage.

Art Eatman
October 25, 2004, 11:09 AM
Folks have been talking about the "revolving door" of the criminal justice system for decades. It's a common joke that a crook is out the copshop door before the cop finishes doing the paperwork for the arrest.

Folks gripe and moan about all the petty crooks on the street, who do drugs and burglaries and other relatively minor crimes and eventually wind up involved in a murder via knife or gun.

We gripe about how much money we spend on prisons and yet our prisons are over-crowded. The world at large points fingers at the US about how many of our people are in jail...

Hundreds of articles in all manner of publications talk about how "The System Is Broke".

When you work within a broken system, you generally try some work-around fix. It looks to me like some Baltimore cops tried their own version of a work-around fix. Legally right, wrong or indifferent, they think it helps them do their jobs. From a human nature standpoint, it's no different from when I was in the Army; I did a lot of "scrounging" for stuff the supply chain was supposed to provide but didn't.

Art

Pilgrim
October 25, 2004, 11:14 AM
Once upon a time I believe the medium of exchange was some chickens or a pig or a goat.

Pilgrim

Zrex
October 25, 2004, 11:15 AM
Welcome to the police state.

Edward429451
October 25, 2004, 11:15 AM
Art you make a fairly decent stab at minimizing this situation, but I'd hardly think the two situations are even close to each other.

That said, I think the real thing Art was trying to say is please, please, don't let this be just another cop bashing thread! Too bad the cops keep feeding us ammo like this though.;)

Isolated incident folks, move along...

CannibalCrowley
October 25, 2004, 11:36 AM
Edward429451 Isolated incident folks, move along...
Isolated?
Guns-for-freedom trades have persisted in Baltimore for years, largely unchecked by police department leaders and entirely unsanctioned by the rest of the criminal justice system. As Inigo Montoya would say, "I do not think it means what you think it means. "

JPL
October 25, 2004, 11:55 AM
And people wonder why I have such unmitigated hatred for the "servants of the public"?

El Tejon
October 25, 2004, 12:00 PM
Gee, I wish I could get the po-po to implement that program here!:D

Art Eatman
October 25, 2004, 12:07 PM
I ain't sure whether or not I approve, but the behavior certainly is understandable and is rational in the context of "The Job". In many ways, it's a return to the 1950s and earlier, when the police actively maintained order on their beats.

Wambaugh described it quite well in his novel about Bumper Morgan.

The BaltCop focus seems to be on the relatively petty types of crooks. The increase in numbers of these creatures seems to me to have begun its rise when city bosses decided to take cops off walking beats and put them into patrol cars. Didn't want to spend the tax money for hiring people to patrol, with the increasing size of city populations.

This reduced the consequences for petty crimes, which is the same deal as "If you want more of something, subsidize it." Ergo, more petty crooks. More hassle for cops, squeezed between the public demand for Law'n'Order and today's political correctness in the criminal justice system.

When people are put into squeezes, they work out solutions. We all do it, every danged one of us. We may not do it all legal and righteous, but we do it.

Here, probably, a (not "the") solution would be more cops, more jails, more courts--all of which means higher taxes, which we're unwilling to pay.

Damfino...

Art

Master Blaster
October 25, 2004, 12:08 PM
The police are breaking the law, ignoring law that was passed by elected officials, making their own vigilante justice system.

They are letting potentially dangerous violent felons go free, or shaking down minor offenders who wouldn't be charged anyway.

They fail to understand that the problem is not the gun, but the crimminal who uses the gun.

Coronach
October 25, 2004, 12:35 PM
Yeah, I gotta go with "bad idea" on this one. ;)

The beat cops were trying and innovative workaround solution to the problem, and one that the chain of command, apparently, approved (there was a form?). Moreover, there was obviously some traffic with the prosecutors, too...as gun paperwork made it to court with marijuana possession cases. So, everyone up the chain said it was OK...and there is some reason to believe that it might be. You have the discretion to arrest or not arrest. No one is keeping the guns that are turned in (an assumption, but it better be a valid one). To a beat cop, this must seem just like the deals worthed out by detectives for informants.

And still? Yeah. Bad idea. If for no other reason than this...as long as I own a pistol at home, I have a Get Out of Jail Free Card. Criminals aren't stupid. I'm sure that more than one of them has pulled this stunt already.

Also, the judge would be correct:Prevas denied the request but chastised the police for the confusion. Officers who aren't trained in the law shouldn't be negotiating with suspects who know just as little, he said. there is a legal, court approved method to plea bargain and negotiate. This is not it. ;)

What bothers me more than anything else is the fact that they're letting them go uncharged. Apparently, not just released on a summons (which is a perfectly normal way to end a contact). Not released pending direct indictment by a grand jury (also normal). Just...released. On instances of misdemeanor charges, this is potentially borderline OK (if utterly shady). On felony charges? Hell, that could be misfeasance or nonfeasance.

As always, the details will matter, but at face value this is poopy. ;) Also, sounds like weak leadership in the chain of command is what got this perpetuated. Go figure.

Mike

Cosmoline
October 25, 2004, 12:53 PM
Un fricking believable. It's like "A Clockwork Orange," where the worst of the criminals are made into cops. That's what you get in an anti-gun police state like MD. There are parts of the Mat-Su where any trooper stupid enough to try this would get a whole lot more gun than they expected.

RW_Reagan
October 25, 2004, 01:01 PM
my first thought on this was ***?

then I remembered that its Baltimore, the Chicago of the east. Wouldn't surprise me to learn that there is more than this going on down that way.

Joe Demko
October 25, 2004, 01:23 PM
This nothing new. I remember my dad and other cops doing things not too differently back in the 60's. Pro-active policing, I guess. Lots of guys who, today, would end up facing charges had knives or handguns confiscated, maybe got whacked upside the head with a nightstick into the bargain, and were told "Go home. Don't let me see you again for a long time." As Art Eatman has said, officers in those days concentrated more on controlling petty criminals and other street-level pusbags. It wasn't Constitutional then, and it isn't now. On the other hand, the streets were safer then, or at least were perceived as safer.

CannibalCrowley
October 25, 2004, 01:49 PM
Joe Demko This nothing new. I remember my dad and other cops doing things not too differently back in the 60's. Pro-active policing, I guess. Lots of guys who, today, would end up facing charges had knives or handguns confiscated, maybe got whacked upside the head with a nightstick into the bargain, and were told "Go home. Don't let me see you again for a long time."That's not what's happening here. Read:
Following instructions from officers, Evans called a friend and had the friend deliver a gun in a brown paper bag to a nearby trash canister, according to testimony. The detectives checked to make sure the pistol worked, set Evans free and never charged him. See, in your example the cops are confiscating weapons that are being carried by the suspects. That's different from telling am unarmed suspect that you'll let him go if someone gives the cops a gun as a ransom/bribe.

Joe Demko
October 25, 2004, 02:08 PM
See, in your example the cops are confiscating weapons that are being carried by the suspects. That's different from telling am unarmed suspect that you'll let him go if someone gives the cops a gun as a ransom/bribe.

Not as different as you think. Are they randomly snatching citizens off the street? I don't think so. They're picking these people up for some reason. The only difference between the old timey cops and these modern ones is the scope of the search. My dad would yank some mope of the street for public intoxication/loitering/disorderly conduct, pat him down and relieve him of any hardware, illicit herbs and spices, liquor, etc. These cops are no doubt doing the same but also giving said mope a lift home and then removing any hardware from those premises. You have to figure there has must have been a degree of questioning taking place too. The mope must have admitted, possibly under duress, that he has a gun in the first place. Even cops aren't dumb enough to demand what the perp can't give up.

Black Snowman
October 25, 2004, 02:33 PM
Even cops aren't dumb enough to demand what the perp can't give up. Just how would they know if they didn't push?

The whole thing stinks. I prefer justice to law and this is neither.

txgho1911
October 25, 2004, 03:31 PM
Just what a city in this country needs. A dept that will never again have a mistaken ID shoot on an unarmed bandit, House-wife, teen-ager, Pizza delivery guy.

goalie
October 25, 2004, 04:03 PM
Ben Franklin said it well: "Those who would give up their freedom.............

moa
October 25, 2004, 04:20 PM
I wonder what happens if the LEOs get a gun and release the perp. Then they discovered the gun was used in a murder or other serious felony. And, maybe the perp knew the history of the gun and it might be traced.

Now you have perp, perhaps a murderer, who instead of being in jail is now on the lam, and maybe desperate enough to commit more violent crimes.

And, maybe there are detectives who would like to speak to the perp, but have no opportunity because he has fled.

Linux&Gun Guy
October 25, 2004, 04:21 PM
This is sad. If it is just minor drug charges why don't they give them a minor fine? Whats next? Cutting people's hands off it they don't give up the gun?

Spot77
October 25, 2004, 05:12 PM
What a positive thing for the RKBA!!

as I own a pistol at home, I have a Get Out of Jail Free Card.

I think it was Coronach I'm quoting above???


Every thug and low level street scum will run out and buy a pistol to keep as their "get out of jail free" card.....

Won't the gun manufacturers love that!:rolleyes: :evil: :neener:

feedthehogs
October 25, 2004, 05:33 PM
The police are becoming judge and jury instead of a court of law.

Wether the system is broken or not, due process in a court of law before a jury or judge is essential. No representation by counsel?

This should scare the crap out of people.

tcsd1236
October 25, 2004, 06:48 PM
Isolated?
I would say isolated to that agency. I have never heard of such dealings going on around here.

Standing Wolf
October 25, 2004, 08:13 PM
"It was a worthwhile and beneficial effort to take crime guns off the street," says Maj. Frederick H. Bealefeld III, the Southern District commander. "I can't apologize for our intentions. Our intention was 100 percent public safety."

Yeah, but we're not a police state. We had to burn down the village to save it.

anapex
October 25, 2004, 09:39 PM
I'm really REALLY not surprised that this is happening in Baltimore. But what I can't help but thinking is that we'd be hearing a lot more public uproar if it was the police getting tricks from hookers instead of arresting them. Darn Maryland.

Selfdfenz
October 25, 2004, 10:43 PM
In an ends-justifies-the-means situation like this:
1. why not ask for dope?
2. why not ask for stolen stuff?
3. why have limits on what you demand?

Pretty soon, in B'more, you really could get away with murder if the price was right.

Wonder what happens to all those guns?

I bet there are a few here and there that never get turned in. Which means the police are crooks (twice over) or are doing things in a fashion that naturally may lead them to become so.

But, the bottom lines is the police have given up trying to stay on the best side of the law or even the better side of the law in B'more......I'm sure this kind of dealing really inspires the bad guys to respect the whole LE system up there. And the bad guys kids grow up really respecting LE too, and the people that live in neighborhoods where crime is a point you can negotiate with LE come to love and respect LE and so on and so on....

S-

carpboy
October 25, 2004, 10:58 PM
Boy this reminds me of The Wire,the HBO seriesabout Balt detective squads..But as gritty and profane as the fictional series is the cops never stoop to illegal shakedowns like this.I gotta keep up with the show since now the brass is putting the heat on the beat cops to recover an officers stolen pistol taken after he was murdered.Boy!What a concept!A major heroin dealer get a Get Out Of Jail Free card by mail ordering a black powder revovler thru the mail,and stashing it in his grandmothers basement.Take it out and fire it once so it shows some signs of use.Then the cops would be in 7th heaven after they recovered a"crime gun" Then they let the lowlife go free after presenting another token to be offered up for sacrifice on the altar of Political Correctness.I wonder how much humans have really learned after 5000 yrs of recorded history? :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

hammer4nc
October 25, 2004, 11:49 PM
If there was truly any integrity left in law enforcement circles, we would be reading about this case under an ongoing Title 18, Section 242 federal prosecution..."deprivation of rights under color of law". What a good and fitting use of "Project Safe Neighborhoods" resources this would be, to help eliminate police corruption.

Instead, some in the LE community have the temerity to classify this as: an innovative workaround solution to the problem,

I guess its OK for cops to break the law if their intentions are good (snicker, snicker). Shows just how far gone this country is.

:(

LiquidTension
October 26, 2004, 12:03 AM
Great, so if my friend accidentally dropped one of her prescription Xanax pills on the floor of my car and the cops found it, they'd steal my Kimber in exchange for not pressing drug charges.

Remind me to never go to Baltimore. Wait, I never intended to!

Joe Demko
October 26, 2004, 08:48 AM
In the heat of competing to see who can most loudly denounce this, could any of you answer this question: Are the guns that are confiscated the legal property of people who are legally entitled to own them? Or are the police taking illegally owned weapons from convicted felons or other people prohibited from owning arms? Yes, I already know that All Gun Laws Are Unconstitutional and the rest of my gunboard catechism, please just answer the question if you have a factual answer.

longrifleman
October 26, 2004, 09:18 AM
Are the guns that are confiscated the legal property of people who are legally entitled to own them? Or are the police taking illegally owned weapons from convicted felons or other people prohibited from owning arms?

There's that whole due process thing that is such a drag to deal with. Also, in the original story the perp was told to get a gun without the police caring where it came from, assuming the story was accurate (a big assumption).

The rule of law exists for a reason. For the law to be respected it must be based on clearly defined principles that are applied equally to all. That is not what is being done here. This will lead to all kinds of problems, not the least of which is viewing the police as crooks and shake-down artists by the folks dealing with this. There is already way to much distrust of the police to think this will be anyting but bad for the long term benefit to society.

Coronach
October 26, 2004, 12:31 PM
Instead, some in the LE community have the temerity to classify this as:an innovative workaround solution to the problemI guess its OK for cops to break the law if their intentions are good (snicker, snicker). Shows just how far gone this country is.Just a moment! You're quoting me, there. Did you read my reply? Do you really believe I am condoning this practice? Or are you deliberately pulling a quote out of context?

Hey, its cool. I'll quote you, too.

Hammer4NC:its OK for cops to break the law if their intentions are goodWow. You're quite the socialist!

Mike ;)

Art Eatman
October 26, 2004, 05:56 PM
For those commenting about "police state" and "deprivation of rights": Maybeso. But, if this weren't a fairly isolated situation, it wouldn't occur to you to think of it in this fashion.

No more than 40 or 50 years back, this would have been seen as a relatively benign way of being "proactive", to use a modern term. And back before WW II, cops' "street justice" was often much harsher.

The thing is, 40 or 50 years ago, the cops didn't have near the numbers of Joe Demko's dad's "mopes" to deal with. Sorta funny-odd: At the same time we create a societal structure that allows or causes more guys to be mopes, we've also begun worrying more about the civil rights of these mopes.

But we don't want to pay the cost of having enough law enforcement to control the mopes via truly constitutional means--and then we bitch at the cops when they use "creative enforcement".

Art

WilderBill
October 26, 2004, 08:56 PM
OK, so you are 'detained' for something and the LEO holding says,
'give me a gun and I let you go".
You reply, truthfully, 'I don't have a gun, but I'll give you enough money to go buy your own'.

Did you just offer a bribe to a police officer?
Did he just ask for one ?
Both?
Neither?
:scrutiny:

Joe Demko
October 26, 2004, 10:27 PM
Much of the loud "denouncing" (word of the day here at THR) seems to center around the idea that the cops in question are shaking these people down for guns which the cops then keep for personal use. I won't say it never happened, in fact it probably did, but I also don't think that anybody can make the case that it was the rule rather than the exception.
Which do you think is the more likely situation:
1. The cops are shaking down random, innocent citizens for legal guns which they then keep for personal use.
2. The cops are nabbing petty criminals, some of which they probably know from priors, and are shaking them down for illicit firearms which are then turned in for storage and eventual disposal.

There is a tendency here when the cops and gun seizure turn up in the same story to automatically assume that the cops have the basest possible motivations and the person who had his gun confiscated is a poster child/martyr for RKBA, and launch straight into "denouncing mode."

joab
October 26, 2004, 10:43 PM
How about this senario Joe

Kid hanging out on the corner with his buds.
One is holding some dope.
Cops offer all the same deal
Kid calls his security guard dad with his self bought duty revolver or poor single mom with only a Raven for protection.
Being concerned and trusting parents of a child who has never caused them any grief they pay the ransom.

Have the police disarmed a criminal and taken an "illegal" gun off the street.
Or have they disarmed a pretty young woman living in a bad area or put a father out of work

As long as we're speculating I'm gonna go with the humanitarian non- statist angle

I'm sorta in agreement with Coronach. But I put most of the blame on the higher ups that have either turned a blind eye or have taught the rookies that this is the correct way.

CGofMP
October 26, 2004, 11:45 PM
Lets cut through the Bravo Sierra here...

Cops are not supposed to be the entire system wrapped in one. We have courts to meet out the punishments and confiscations. LEGALLY.

Lets ask ourselves, if this is such a great idea why do we not give everyone this power? Would it be legal for a private citizen to do such a thing? HELL NO.

Remember the constitution of the USA and our traditions do NOT give police that much more power than the average citizen. This is by design. Police are civilians for a reason - to keep the power of the commoner in commoner hands.

We are not a feudal system with the Blue Knights of our society given free reign to do what they please in some fiefdom where their primary purpose is to protect the barons, cardinals, and kings.

How far do you think you'd get in your chosen career at Burger King if you grabbed some guy on some punky little charge, took him into custody as a citizen, then took him to his home and let him know youd let him go if he just gave you a gun.

Lets say you really are truly good-hearted-citizen-soldier-wanabe-cop and you then take the gun to the PD, turn it in and let them know how you obtained it.

How many seconds do you think you would stand there at the front desk of the police station without having YOUR butt placed in custody?


Bottom line is that this is extortion, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and infringement of civil liberties under color of authority.

In my uninformed opinion, this insidious and illegal practice has probably given several officers a certain number of 'drop guns' to use next time they have to justify a bad shoot...

What absolute crapola...
http://memorableplaces.com/images/marching.jpg

Art Eatman
October 27, 2004, 12:03 AM
CGofMP, I don't think folks here see this deal as the proper way to do things. I've tried to point out that it's not reasonless, police-state thinking on the part of the Baltimore cops.

A few years back there was some discussion of Baltimore's crime/murder problems on the MsMagazine website. Some Baltimorean anti-violence lady was trying to explain her deal on local anti-crime efforts. From some of the data at that time, Baltimore's murder rate was just really way-high. I haven't read of much improvement, there, regardless of "hug them" vs. "jail them" efforts.

With that in mind, then, I can see where some cops would try to work outside the usual--and unsuccessful--system.

Reading through this thread, I note that there's little offered in the way of removing the perceived need for "pro-active" efforts by the Baltimore cops. Hollering "violation of rights" is about like prescribing aspirin for the pain of a brain tumor.

Art

longrifleman
October 27, 2004, 12:20 AM
Reading through this thread, I note that there's little offered in the way of removing the perceived need for "pro-active" efforts by the Baltimore cops.

Hmm. We're supposed to solve the social, cultural, economic and probably janitorial problems of a socialist poopy pile like Baltimore right here on our own little thread? Sounds like a challenge to me.:neener:

I think we can come up with a few ideas but I think we are in for some thread drift if not outright hijack. Of course, I've done that before.:D

End the War on (some) Drugs for starters.

S_O_Laban
October 27, 2004, 01:10 AM
The cops in Baltimore sound like saints.... compared to the last 100 years of the Chicago police racket. But it doesn't justify what is going on. Actually it was going on right here in a small midwestern town of a little over 700 people back in the 70s.....in that case most of the cops went to jail. This is certainly in principle nothing remotely new, but is should be delt with.

Art Eatman
October 27, 2004, 08:32 AM
longrifleman, I also doubt we'll "solve" such problems here, but the unending ranting and venting certainly doesn't accomplish a whole heckuva lot...

S_O_Laban, from what I've observed, overall, in policing efforts in the U.S., it's less of a police state, now, than it was in the past. On the local level, anyhow (if not in airports :) ).

Art

NineseveN
October 28, 2004, 01:46 AM
This is bad mojo. I see their intentions and they probably thought they were doing a good thing, but the LEOs had no business doing this. The DA should have been making these deals if anyone(and why don't they?).


Bad, bad stuff. I won't go as far as JBTs or "police state", but it is bad stuff none the less...

one45auto
October 29, 2004, 02:12 AM
I wish that I could say I'm surprised, but frankly I'm not. Disgusted, yes, but not surprised. This is probably just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to unconventional tactics as the police, under pressure and persistently hounded by both the media and public to produce visible results, adopt an "the end justifies the means" attitude.


Believe me, I'm counting the years until I can get the heck out of this state. Already the quiet little town where I grew up has degenerated into a crime-ridden cesspool that my parents will not venture into after dark, and the beautiful fields and wooded areas where I played as a child are being bulldozed into crowded (and overpriced) housing developments. Narrow, quiet streets are being widened and re-routed to allow more traffic while the "disreputable elements" continue to pour in, pushing up the crime rate and driving the stores out of business through theft and loss of customers. A movie theatre I watched being built has already gone under and the Mall is quickly becoming a ghost town. The net effect of it all is rather like watching your beloved and gentle sister gradually transform into a sorrid crack whore. :(

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