Albany Cops Sound Like Abusive Spouses in Teen Workshop

There’s this pattern that happens with abusive spouses. They often explain to their victims how to behave so they won’t get beaten up again. All the victim needs to do is give them proper respect, not burn their dinner, remember to leave out their slippers at the right place, never buy the wrong brand of toothpaste, never make them feel like they are being laughed at, never give them attitude or make them mad. And then, supposedly, they’ll be safe.

Of course, the abuser is not actually owed any of those things in the first place. And in any case, it’s always a lie. It’s a losing game. The abuse will continue, because periodic reminders of control are necessary and because the abuser will keep finding new things to add to the reasons they were “forced” to administer a beating.

This was one of the first things I thought of when I heard the details of the police portion of a recent “workshop” on police encounters that Albany youth were forced to attend as part of the city’s summer employment program.

Although the workshop was presented by a civil rights advocacy group, and also had lawyers there advising the kids to exercise their rights, what has been reported about the police portion of the event was completely stomach-turning.

From the Times-Union article by Paul Grondahl:

[Officer] Brice said if he pulled over a group of kids in a car, smelled marijuana and spotted in the ashtray a roach — the extinguished butt of a marijuana cigarette — the next few seconds and the attitude of the teens would influence the outcome of the police stop.

“If you are respectful and cooperate, I’m going to tell you to throw the roach away, wish you a good day and send your on your way,” Brice said.

“If you get all cocky and give me attitude, I am going to write you up for every possible ticket in the book,” Brice said. “And if you continue to argue and disobey my orders and fight, fight, fight, you could lose your life.”

This happened at the end of this week. This heartbreaking week. This week when it was shown unavoidably that even being respectful and following every order doesn’t prevent you from being murdered in cold blood in front of your partner and four-year-old daughter. This is the week that a police officer decides to tell a group of teenagers that if you take an attitude with him over some pot, he might kill you.

Make no mistake, that right there is a threat.

But then it gets worse:

In response, Officer Nicole Reddix, one of several police department members at the workshop, deadpanned: “Make it easier for us. We don’t want to deal with all that paperwork.”

Oh ha, ha. I bet Philando Castile’s family found your little joke very funny, officer. So did the family of Dontay Ivy. Ha ha, you don’t want to do the paperwork. You know that you’ll get no other consequences for killing someone, and you decided to remind the people you are mostly likely to kill that all that matters to you about whether they are alive or dead is some bothersome paperwork. Did you hear yourself?

For the people in the back row:






Resisting arrest and fleeing may be illegal, but THEY ARE NOT CAPITAL CRIMES, and unless the person fleeing is running toward someone else trying to kill them, then killing them is not an acceptable tradeoff for keeping them from escaping. (File under: I can’t believe I have to say these things. [[Edited to add: Here’s a story on why police training means I have to say these things; and why it could be different.]])

Oh, and “enforce complete subservience” is not actually part of your job description. Not that we’d know it.

Meanwhile, pretending to a group of teens that there is a clear set of rules that will keep them safe while the list of things that gets you killed on the spot if you happen to be black gets longer and longer is just like that abusive spouse trying to shift blame on to the victim.

When parents give kids of color “the talk” about how to act around police officers, the advice might be roughly the same as what Officer Brice gave. But the context is different. The context, sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken, is “this is because police are too often unstable, unpredictable, violent, and racist, and we know it’s wrong and infuriating, but we want the best chance of getting you home alive.”

To have a representative of the police force giving the same advice as if this is how things should be is a totally different thing. A sickening thing. And definitely something that will escalate violence, not reduce it.

Locals (and others if you want, but especially locals): Please write to Chief Brendan Cox,, about this. [7/11, Edited to add: Chief Cox has responded.]



84 thoughts on “Albany Cops Sound Like Abusive Spouses in Teen Workshop

    1. The scary part is this is happening in a department that is better than many. Talking the talk at the upper level (sometimes), trying to implement some change in various ways. Shows how much work it takes. Now imagine those departments that haven’t even done that. Shudder.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I am going to go out on a limb here and I am sure I will face harsh reaction to this post, but I have to say that there is a lot of disrespect going on. I have given it a lot of thought over the years, but have you wondered why some cops (not all but some) are so frustrated with attitude over authority? There are bad cops, but not all are bad, there are bad humans, but all humans are not bad (I will leave color out of it). Just because one human of a particular race shoots a child in a stroller doesn’t make all humans of that race bad does it? And when a cop is too forceful and results in the death of an individual, this doesn’t make all policemen bad. We are supposed to obey the law, not give lip. Just like in school, we do not give the teachers attitude, nor are we supposed to give our parents attitude. But the truth is, we do. We do and there are consequences for this bad behavior, it brings out bad behavior in people with the right to have guns on the job.

      With that said, let me add this, you might not like authority, but authority is needed. We cannot be so entitled that we have everything our way, we can mouth off like children and oh by the way, be there for us when we need help. Life doesn’t work that way and that’s why we are messed up as a country right now. No one is allowed to get grounded (they cry abuse), no one is allowed take away cell phones from these kids (because mom and dad are attached to theirs too and besides, cell phones shut the kids up so they can Facebook on theirs).

      Cops have a hard job, they have to be the parents that our parents failed to be. Worse, in training cops, they cannot weed out as good as they used to, they cannot train these people in the ways that the used to because now it’s called “harsh” and “cruel” to tell someone they don’t cut it in the force because they lack the common sense to know when to pull a gun. Now, everyone gets a trophy, everyone gets to be a cop.

      My rant may be a long one, and I hope I don’t receive too much hate mail for it, but I think the fault is an all around fail by everyone.

      All lives matter. The human race matters. Traffic stops will never stop, that’s their job. Respect those who are paid to protect us, to be there in our darkest times. Stop the entitled whining and the overall FU attitude towards people who you think you don’t like. Respect all humans.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. No, I haven’t. Not really. I guess that I am just frustrated because I tend to look at the reasons behind things. Some cops have attitudes. Some humans have bad attitudes. Some cops are poorly trained to deal with attitudes. Some humans are poorly raised and give attitudes. It was a moment to rant and speak on something I have been passionate about lately. When the two things meet (cops and human attitude), bad things happen and then suddenly the world erupts in violence protesting violence. It’s just sad.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. “Stop the entitled whining…”???? Your log in name hit where it hurts, “Mom in Shining Armor”. We want to play Yankee Doodle Dandy and display the Declaration of Independence, but it is OK to tell our CHILDREN, that it is not ok to exercise their rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That we, the ADULTS, are fine with their public execution without due process for a misdeameanor of resisting arrest. That is not ok to me, sorry if you think it’s whining but that is not American to me. Wrong country, Wrong uniform.

        Liked by 6 people

      3. It’s easy to throw stones when you don’t actually have any skin in the game. Put on that uniform and go deal with the scum of the earth. Then see if you value your life more than the guy that is “resisting arrest” (as if that’s the only thing that’s happening when some of these people are shot). Watch all the video out there of your fellow officers making routine contact with people and getting killed in a split second. Then put your self in that situation where you need to make that split second judgment call. When someone you are trying to arrest is not complying with your commands, resisting, and reaching for their pocket or waistband.

        Liked by 4 people

      4. they choose this as their way to make cash. no one make a person be a cop. if danger is too much for them and shatters the calm needed for the work, they need to get new work, not keep taking money while only pretending to earn. paid incompetence is. never good but in a job where incompetence can kill, it turns into an actual evil. its unacceptable .

        Liked by 3 people

      5. Actually, my name is for having to be the one who saves the day in our family. Now, let me address some of what you said. It is always sad when a life is lost. I want to see no one die, and certainly the last two deaths were in fact different than any other. What we should teach our children (and here it is different than the last two deaths), is that we do not mouth off to people, we do not run when a police man says stop. We should teach our children not to have an arrest record nearly a mile long too, there’s no excuse for bad behavior. There is a right way to do things, and there is a wrong way. Copping an attitude (no pun intended) is never ok. I don’t know why you think it is. A public execution is where a person is drug out, hands bound and then shot. These cops, none of them, wanted to shoot and kill anyone.

        Now, resisting arrest, I am going to go back to what I said, why are we so disrespectful that we resist? Would these people have been shot? The last two… that is a head shaker and is the product of poor police training, that is a system failure for allowing these three cops to be cops, but the others should not have been resisting. It is not for the cops to be hurt so a career criminal can continue being criminals and hurt them. Why is that ok with you?

        Freedom isn’t free. It never has been.

        Liked by 3 people

      6. I would like to respond to your thoughts. This is in no way an attack on your opinion because everyone has the right to voice their opinions as long as it’s respectful. But I think what, for me, I feel like your missing is this. Having a bad attitude or lip towards a police officer should NEVER result in death. Being unarmed while resisting, or running away should NEVER result in death. Police officers almost always claim self defense when they have taken the life of a citizen who is unarmed. Which falls under the deadly force law that tells them they can use deadly physical force when they feel threatened. But proving that someone actually feels threatened or does not feel threatened is very subjective. It leaves too much room for error. I say that because most often than not when citizens are resisting it’s because THEY feel threatened as well. If you are being kneed in the stomach by a police officer, tasered, body slammed, or tackled your fight or flight instincts kick in. It’s human nature. To act as if you would just gladly let a person do bodily harm to you, even if a police officer, without some kind of reaction is a bit naive. If you hold your citizens to a higher standard than your police officers it puts the rights of the citizens at a disadvantage. When a police officer swears to protect and serve it’s citizens they are aware of what could happen to them. This is not a career that you go into blindly. My uncle who is a police officer has always told me. “I am here to protect the rights and lives of the citizens. Not myself. The moment I go into any situation with fear for MY life, is the moment I no longer am their to protect theirs. And then that’s when mistakes happen.” I firmly believe that police officers can de-escalate and disarm individuals. I have seen it happen plenty of times. Deadly force is supposed to be the last resort, but these days it seems to be the first. But I also am not blind in believing that biases do not play a role either. There are certainly police officers who have biases towards individuals of a specific color. Who believe the stereotypes and react because of them. And that stems from not knowing the community and individuals within those communities that you are patrolling. As a society we have to start humanizing people. We’ve become so desensitized to it all that we try and justify any killing of an individual. Whether it’s justified or not the loss of life should be unacceptable to us all. The statement “well if they hadn’t resisted” should never be uttered. For me, resistance doesn’t equal death.

        Liked by 6 people

      7. I actually agree, giving lip should never result in death, but let me ask you this and then I will wait for your response: Do you think people should be held responsible for their portion of the problem? After all, we are in control of our actions. I think I would have more of a bleeding heart if these people all did what the last gentleman did, comply, do as he was supposed to and still got shot. I might be out there protesting too. But, as it is, people are mouthy and they shouldn’t be. No, they shouldn’t die, but do you not see their part in this whole mess?

        Liked by 2 people

      8. I do think people should be held accountable for their actions, but you can only do that if their alive. Everyone handles certain situations differently. Teenagers and y0ung adults have a tendency to be more reactionary and hot headed. I had my moments when I was a teen and I’m sure you did as well. It sometimes happens at the most inopportune times. But if you’re given the chance you learn from it to do better next time. There’s also occasions, and I’m speaking from personal experience, where the officer can push you and continuously push you and you reach a breaking point. You can be as respectful and compliant as possible, but if the police officer you are dealing with doesn’t respect your rights it won’t matter. And then their are moments that biases of the police come in to play (I have experienced that as well). People need to be given a chance to do better. But when their life is taken you don’t give them that chance. For me personally I do not see any justification for a police officer drawing a weapon on an UNARMED individual. Morally, to me, taking a life is wrong in any situation so I will always have a bleeding heart for any loss of life. Because as a society we have a gross lack of respect for human life. In 2015 there was 986 deaths by police (and that’s all races and genders). We are up to 620 this year and we are only on the 12th of July. I personally feel like there’s lack of education in our police departments when it comes to de-escalating a situation. I also believe when we put a quota on police officers we also jeopardize the lives of our citizens. Instead of knowing the community in which they patrol, they are now just simply policing their community. There is a lack of transparency when it comes to the police departments too. However, Dallas PD is a prime example of what a police department should be doing. They don’t police the community, they know their community. They know the members of the community by name. It makes people human instead of just statistics. They are extremely transparent when it comes to crime within the community and with deaths by police shootings. You can go on their website and find just about anything. And if you saw the pictures from the protest in Dallas the police officers wore their normal uniforms, they took pictures with the protestors. They kept them safe. Whereas if you look to other protests around the country and their police departments, some of them came out in riot gear. That doesn’t help bridge the gap or develop communication between the two groups. That shifts the environment from a peaceful protest to automatic self defense mode for both sides. It’s extremely unfortunate that one individual took matters into his own hands in Dallas. But if we’re going to be honest. If you want to claim you can’t lump all police officers together than you can’t take the action of one individual and lump them together with black people or the black lives matter movement. There can’t be a double standard. I guess what I’m trying to say is knowing my rights and expressing myself verbally should not get me killed or any of us for that matter.

        Liked by 2 people

      9. Having moments is one thing. Being blatantly disrespectful is another. The only one who was not acting correctly was the last man who was shot. That was in fact, a tragedy.

        I never have mouthed off and I’ve been pulled over and searched. I didn’t cop an attitude towards authority. It wasn’t how I was raised.

        Do you think cops want to pull people over anymore? Do you think they wake up saying, “Let me shoot someone today”. That’s the most ridiculous thought if you believe that.

        There is a lot of violence. And I’m sorry, but I have been the victim of a black on white crime five times now. How about bridging the gap by stopping committing these acts? How come there are no protests when they kill a Caucasian?

        Consequences. If you mouth off to a cop who isn’t trained, if you resist arrest when you have an arrest warrant for being a violent criminal then the consequence could be unfortunately death.

        Liked by 2 people

      10. Let me tell you, I wasn’t going to but I will now. I have a friend who is a policeman, he isn’t Caucasian. He says he dreads when he has to enforce the law or when a look out is given for a “black male” because he knows there’s a chance he could get backlash even if he does things right.

        I’m not sorry in saying this, the bad behavior has to stop and not just from the police side. That’s my final thought on this matter.

        The lives that matter are the lives of those who do not harm others.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I expect that old-fashioned letters might carry additional weight, as they do with Congress, but email allows for immediacy of response. So I’d say go with whatever moves you. Unless the local activists make a call for a specific type of action, which I will share.


  1. “unless the person fleeing is running toward someone else trying to kill them, then killing them is not an acceptable tradeoff for keeping them from escaping. ”

    not then, either.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The effectiveness of letters vs. emails is somewhat known. Hard copy letters actually carry a lot of weight, and are worth writing. If one is going to spend a few hours in a given week doing something along these lines, you can get a lot of bang for your buck by sending out lots of emails and working with on line petitions, but a few hard copy letters will be worth more per minute of effort than anything else.

    My friend Shawn Otto noted in his book “Fool me twice” that he asked a member of Congress what constituted a groundswell of support in terms of word from the public. The number of hard copy letters that congressperson claimed was significant was very very small. I can’t remember the number but it was something like less than 20, for a representative in the US House.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. When you pick and choose the parts you take excerpts from, you can definitely convey this. However, the article also speaks of how the lawyers say that the important part is to not get into such a situation in the first place. What you decided to amplify into a passive-aggressive stancr against the police is actually a pretty standard idea for dealing with any LEO, they are there to keep people safe. If they have a concern and you comply, you may get a ticket but you’ll be on your way after a short inconvenience. You act like a defensive asshole because your college education taught you personal rights are power, fight the establishment, etc, the cop is going to be an asshole back and find every infraction to make things miserable. Why does he bring up losing a life? Because hate escalates into violence very quickly and you are making the decision that that LEO’s life isn’t valuable in the trade, and they have to decide if the lives of others are worth yours. Violence will always create violence, and hate creates hate, but controversy will always sell.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I acknowledged the lawyers and their contributions. And I did not at any time suggest not being cooperative with law enforcement. I merely noted that not doing so is not a capital offense. LEO should be there to keep people safe, but unfortunately that seems to be less and less often the case. I am not saying their lives are not valuable. They are. But theirs are not actually the lives that are mostly being lost in these encounters. And damaging community relations by threatening kids doesn’t make their lives safer, it puts them in more danger.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Zachary – I don’t know you. Perhaps you are white like me. If you are, maybe your privilege prevents you from ever ‘getting into such a situation in the first place’. Try to reflect on that kind of privilege. Here’s an article that might help you to realize we are all complicit in the structural racism that prevents POC from accessing the same opportunities (for jobs, education, pay, promotion) that white folks benefit from every day. Please consider reading this article before you or these lawyers pass judgment on ‘such situations’ or try to deny that injustice wouldn’t happen if they didn’t get themselves in ‘such a situation’. Sandra Bland was arrested a year ago today for failing to signal and was found hanging in her Texas jail cell 3 days later – was she in ‘such a situation’ to be arrested and violently pulled from her car and abused and what many believe to be murdered? Was Tamir Rice, the 12 year old with the toy at the park, in ‘such a situation’ that he should have known better? Was Trayvon Martin shot for ‘walking while black’ – should he not have found himself in such a situation, walking home from a convenience store at 17? Should Rodrigo Diaz not have used GPS that sent him to the wrong driveway to pick up a friend and be killed for that? Don’t be so egregiously naïve. There are black men and women and CHILDREN being killed due to a deeply embedded bias of structural racism that has been put into place since people were stolen, kidnapped and brought over here into slavery. Perhaps read this article and open your eyes to the assumptions people make like those in your statement above. Ms. Joy wisely and accurately points out that all these victims could have been doing everything ‘right’ and the fact is people are still shot – just look at Philando Castille and Alton Sterling neither of whom did anything illegal ON TAPE and they were both murdered this very week. Find within yourself enough respect and humility to try to read this, please before saying people shouldn’t find themselves in ‘such a situation’ like breathing, for instance. I’m disgusted with all the victim blaming privileged people like to do with their shrugs and pointed fingers. Walk in their shoes before you criticize them or ‘such situations’.

      Liked by 9 people

      1. Alton Sterling was a multiple convicted felon in possession of a weapon and fighting with the police, definitely not ‘doing everything right’ to avoid getting shot. You are grossly misrepresenting the facts. And the false idea that you are more likely to be killed by the police if you are a minority has been clearly disproved by none other than the Washington Post, which found that of people killed by police in 2015, “494 (almost exactly half) were white. 258 were black, 172 were Hispanic, and the remaining 66 were either “other” or unknown”. So 50% of the time it is a white person getting killed by the police.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Um, the Washington Post, no less, knows that raw numbers instead of proportionate numbers, are meaningless. Of course more white people are killed by the cops–there *are* more white people (they also commit more crime). Proportionately, however, black people are killed more often, stopped more often, imprisoned more often and for longer for the same crimes, etc. If you are going to argue with statistics you need to be more subtle than that.

        As for Alton Sterling, about whom we weren’t speaking, but since you brought him up: his background actually doesn’t matter. Police are not judge, jury, or executioner, and past convictions do not give anyone a right to kill you over a minor infraction. As for resisting arrest, it’s a physical response, very very hard to subdue when one is scared and being attacked. While police should have training to allow them to keep their cool in such situations, the rest of us don’t get that. And resisting arrest is not a capital crime. When someone is pinned to the ground there are many ways beyond shooting them in the chest to keep them from getting at their gun. Philando Castile on the other hand, did EVERYTHING he was supposed to, but was still murdered. I notice you didn’t bring him up.

        Liked by 4 people

    3. The Lawyers in this story were also demonstrably exasperated with what the Police Officers were saying though. Nobody involved agreed with the approach expressed by the LEO’s; least of all the Legal professionals in the room.

      Liked by 3 people

    4. First off, what’s an LEO? Why not just say “person”? Second, why the education-bashing? Do you feel passive-aggressively inadequate? Many of us non-police citizens think some more education is exactly what many police need. You might learn how to resolve a conflict without using brute force. You would still get to be in charge, which you clearly like, but nobody dies. Sounds nice.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. First you said the kids were “forced”, by gun? by knife? by threat of physically violence? It sounds like a *condition* of employment, no different than say- dress code, drug test, training, schedule, and so on, these kids aren’t forced to work the city. So if a employee is required to attend sensitivity training, does that mean they are also forced and it is wrong? I’m pretty sure no matter what the police said in that class you would have had an issue with it. The old adage of “walk a mile in my shoes” goes along way. So before you bashing the people you would call in a millisecond something bad was happing to you are you’re family, go do a ride along for a day, week, month. Did you even clarify what the one officer said about paperwork? Probably not right?, most likely because that would not make the story gripping and dramatic. Maybe, just maybe, she was talking about the paperwork that goes along for arresting someone for something petty- but hey! who cares right? that does not carry the same “ummph” as a cop who would rather shoot someone and do less paperwork. Being polite to someone as opposed to being a rude ass to someone in ANY JOB, will get you different treatment. I wish more people were as perfect as you and the commenters here, the world would be a magical place, but this is reality. And while there are bad things that happen, those people should be held accountable, but people passing on inflammatory circus barking narratives don’t.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. True, there are conditions of employment that aren’t inherently wrong. But if something is itself problematic, it adds insult to injury when it is a condition of employment–and with jobs as scarce as they are for youth of color these days, arguing “they didn’t have to take this job” is pretty hollow.

      And no, actually I think of many many things that could have been said in this class I wouldn’t have had a problem with. In fact, I don’t have a ton of trouble with communicating “You know, if you’re polite and working with me, I might overlook a minor infraction. After all, my ultimate goal is everyone’s safety.” That’s kind of where he started, though “throwing every ticket possible” at someone with attitude is overreacting. Also, “I hate to say it, but some officers out there feel really easily threatened. We’re trained to see threats everywhere, and as is clear from the news, some of us overreact to that feeling. It’s not right, and it’s not always enough, but as it is, your lives are valuable and not making a police officer feel threatened is probably a good safety move for you.” So so making options.

      Also, what’s to clarify with the paperwork statement? Unless you doubt the original reporting’s factual accuracy? Because it doesn’t really matter what she meant. I can fully believe she didn’t mean it the way it came across, but that actually doesn’t matter, because in this context, that’s what she said, and that’s how it came across. It was tone deaf and insensitive at best, and if it horrifies her that it came across that way then she’ll learn not to do it again.


      1. Weird? The whole blog post written on material taken out of context?! Again, this types of “posts” do NOTHING to help the real issues and only serve the people who write them to get more hits! Congrats on that part.
        Please do a simple google search-jobs are not as scarce as you would hope they would be- look at monster,simply hired,snagajob, indeed, times union, and craigslist- numerous jobs are posted, numerous jobs are posted geared towards summer employment.
        “Because it doesn’t really matter what she meant”, really? that’s the stance you are going to hang you’re hat on? In that case you can write 100 blog post about whatever you want if you make it what YOU want to mean and not what the person speaking.
        It helps to know what you are talking about before getting people fired up over NOTHING

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Brice: “If you are respectful and cooperate, I’m going to tell you to throw the roach away, wish you a good day and send your on your way”

    Does the law give officers that discretion or is exercising such discretion unlawful on the part of the police officer? Does that discretion get exercised the same way with all people?

    Brice: “If you get all cocky and give me attitude, I am going to write you up for every possible ticket in the book”

    NYCLU booklet “What To Do If You’re Stopped By The Police”: “Stay calm and in control of your words, body language and emotions. Don’t get into an argument with the police. Never bad-mouth a police officer.”

    Cocky isn’t illegal, just cocky… and stupid. But if something’s illegal, officers probably ought to be ticketing regardless of attitude if that’s what the law requires and if that’s the only way to avoid bias in policing.

    Brice: “And if you continue to argue and disobey my orders and fight, fight, fight, you could lose your life.”

    NYCLU booklet “What To Do If You’re Stopped By The Police”: Keep your hands where the police can see them. Don’t run. Don’t touch any police officer. Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m not saying his advice was necessarily bad. But as I noted in my piece, the context matters. I would tell someone whose abusive husband had a gun trained at their head not to taunt him at that moment also. That’s far different than saying it’s ok for him to tell his wife “if you don’t taunt me I won’t have to hurt you.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Brice didn’t say cockiness would result in hurting. He said cockiness would result in tickets (which I think is inconsistent with the rule of law – tickets should be issued regardless).

        Brice said “if you continue to argue and disobey my orders and fight, fight, fight, you could lose your life”. Frankly, I could easily see how that could be true. If that’s the reaction to a mere roach that the officer was going to overlook (the example he was working from) or issue relatively minor tickets for, then there’s ample cause for suspicion that there’s something far more serious at issue.

        Physical assault on an officer or moving one’s hands out of the officer’s sight while disobeying orders quite obviously have the potential to end badly. I think the NYCLU would say the same, as might any activist training workshop (and common sense). Perhaps Brice explained at greater length; we don’t have the context. It could be nice if media in addition to their stories made available recordings of entire events they report on, or entire interviews, though I suppose that often might be impractical.

        Analogies don’t typically make for the best arguments. Ditch it, make your case without it.

        I realize, of course, that some officers engage in force when there’s been no crime, or when there has been a crime but not one that warrants lethal force. Obviously the government needs to put an end to that!

        I’d seriously like to know, though: do officers legally have the discretion to let people who they know to have committed a crime go with just a warning, or are officers committing a crime when they do so?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. True. But a culture telling you that if you do such and such and you won’t get hurt by police, when people like you are constantly hurt by police even when they do whatever they’ve been told to do (and what they are told to do is far more than they are legally required to do) is rather like that. Which was my point.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Chris: “argue, disobey orders, fight, fight, fight” is pretty vague. It still has “continue to argue” in that category, and fight could mean many things. And while fighting certainly a very bad idea and not anything I’d recommend, is also not a reason to get killed. He didn’t say “If you draw a gun on me, I’ll shoot first.” He also didn’t say “if you fight, it’s going to go badly for you, you might be charged with a felony, etc., all true, even if I find the whole “touch a police officer in any way and be charged with felony assault” thing very troubling. He said you might *lose your life*.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Certainly “argue” is fairly vague and I agree that if no further explanation was offered that it wouldn’t seem to belong in the category of things that might lead to losing one’s life, but then if accurately quoted he had said argue AND disobey AND fight (not OR). _Don’t argue with police, save your arguments for court if it comes to that_ would be sound advice though – the NYCLU booklet says “Don’t get into an argument with the police.”

    The disobeying orders part is not so vague. What he said is true, whether we like it or not, whether it’s just or not. Disobeying an order to put one’s hands where the officer can see them, for example, is going to elevate that officer’s anxiety level at the very least – and it’s perfectly reasonable and understandable why it would.

    Maybe he gave examples about what kind of orders, what kind of fighting, how that could lead to a chance one might lose one’s life. Maybe he didn’t give any. Ask George Brice? Ask the TU? Ask Chief Cox? Melanie Trimble of the Capital Region NYCLU said Chief Cox is very approachable, though I have my doubts given how unapproachable his predecessor was.

    Maybe the department should have someone else speaking to people, or sticking closer to a script. But anyone who’s ever been interviewed knows reporters are not always accurate. As a former Metroland writer (how I miss it!), you of all people should know the Times Useless can be particularly bad!

    Had he said “if you continue to argue and disobey my orders and fight, fight, fight, you have no chance of losing your life” he would have been lying. Maybe he worded what all he said poorly, but it’s nonetheless true. The issue is not so much what he said or even how he said it but the underlying problems, no?

    The department should be constantly reviewing with officers when they should use force and when they should not, and doing what it can to bring about a condition wherein people need have little fear that a routine interaction with a police officer will end in violence.

    This might help:
    “Use-of-force training should also emphasize de-escalation and flexible tactics in a way that minimizes the need to rely on force, particularly lethal force. Police agencies that have emphasized de-escalation over assertive policing, such as Richmond, California, have seen a substantial decrease in officer uses of force, including lethal force, without seeing an increase in officer fatalities (there is no data on assaults).”

    Have all local police had that training? Have all local PEOPLE had that training? It could be useful. My K-12 education had practically nothing regarding effectively interacting with other people; it seems to be assumed that people will just pick that up naturally even though it’s clear that they don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Grondahl’s one of the TU’s better ones, to be sure. However, ALL reporters make mistakes.

        That graphic is supposed to be titled “Slaves in New York” not “Slaves in Albany.” The difference is significant!

        Also in 1790 Albany County was *considerably* larger than it is today (including what’s now Rensselaer, Saratoga, Greene, and Schenectady counties, and parts of Washington, Schoharie, and Ulster counties) which may contribute to the total number of households with “five of [sic] more slaves” being 217 and the number of slaves in those households being 1,519. Can the census be broken down by current county, I wonder?

        Aside from mistakes, ALL newspaper reporters have a limited amount of column inches (and the puny TU more limited than the NY Times), and sometimes that may mean that not enough of a quote is given to understand what all was said in connection with that quote.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m one of the lawyers who does these programs. I’m also a civil rights lawyer who primarily represents plaintiffs in lawsuits against police and corrections officers. I will not apologize for, excuse, or minimize bad police or bad policing, and there is plenty of bad. However, assumptions in this case are running amok and the wrong people are being unfairly excoriated. To be clear and fair, I was not in the same room with Officers Brice and Reddix on Friday, so I will not pretend to know with 100% certainty what was said or how it was said. But I have done these programs and worked with Officer Reddix and a few other Albany police officers enough times to know that things here have very clearly been taken out of context and given an entirely incorrect tone and meaning. In fairness, without my personal experience I would be making the same assumptions as most people here. But in this case those assumptions are wrong. It’s unusual that I find myself defending police but what’s happening here is unfair, incorrect, and it helps no one and no cause.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Jessica, Could you say more? Do you think they were misquoted? I don’t believe either officer had conscious bad intentions. That actually makes it more scary to me, because what they were quoted as saying, in the context of this country right now, was really disturbing. They were describing a reality that shouldn’t exist as if it were ok. Everyone I know who read the original article had the same reaction, and I am hard put to imagine the context that would make those words a good idea. But I am curious.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I can’t speak with certainty to the technical accuracy of the quotes, but my understanding, which is consistent with my experience doing these and with the officers I know, is that things were at least taken out of context and just did not unfold as they read. We emphasize safety as a priority in these programs and we are very clear that asserting their rights takes a second to staying safe. So we do tell the kids that if they are in a heated situation or dealing with an officer they feel is a hothead to just comply, to mind their words and movements, and to do everything they can to get out of the situation safely, even if that means not doing things they should be able to do or doing things they shouldn’t have to do. There is a difference between what we think they should do for safety reasons and what we think they should HAVE to do. We acknowledge that they are only responsible for their own actions, but we also recognize that to stay safe in some situations they may have to do more than their “share.” We typically spend a lot of time talking about recognizing the differences between what should happen during an encounter and what could happen and we try to give them the tools (legal and otherwise) to handle a bad situation, not because we think it’s acceptable but because we want them to come out as unscathed as possible. However, we also remind them that they have a voice, whether during or after an encounter, and we encourage them to use it if they think they’ve been violated.

    With few exceptions, the officers I’ve worked with have made safe spaces for the kids to ask honest questions, express honest opinions, and get honest answers. These topics are difficult and the officers and I don’t always agree (though, perhaps surprisingly, we agree much more often than not). But I can say without the slightest hesitation that I would never stick up for anyone, officer or otherwise, who I thought was harming or undermining these kids or the respectful and peaceful police-community relationships that we all deserve and are working for.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I certainly understand telling kids to prioritize their safety, though that makes more sense coming from you guys than from the police themselves. But it’s just still troubling to have the police themselves telling kids “if you disobey me, I might kill you.” Maybe because you know them you know what they meant and it doesn’t sound to you like it sounded to others who read about it? But the real question would be how it was heard by the kids, especially after Philando Castile’s murder.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ok so I see ever one points, as a person who has been long term victim of police brutally, I strongly believe that it is a person to person case. I have personally witness great police conduct in front a store front and bad police essentials with relative issues to the neighborhood due to druses grounds. How can you unravel the damaged on both sides when to wounds are too deep.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. The link to the Chief’s response appears to be broken. Here are the links to the two page letter that worked for me:

    Page 1:

    Thank you for the informative article, and the many links contained within it, especially Seth Stoughton’s piece in The Atlantic, “How Police Training Contributes to Avoidable Deaths”. Reading all of this has given me much food for thought.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Reblogged this on MMontserratblog and commented:
    “Resisting arrest and fleeing may be illegal, but THEY ARE NOT CAPITAL CRIMES, and unless the person fleeing is running toward someone else trying to kill them, then killing them is not an acceptable tradeoff for keeping them from escaping.”

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Comparing a wife abuser to the police is genius. It makes you pay attention because this can hit so close to home. The actions police are making are not justified and just because they have power, doesn’t mean they can treat us like victims. Honestly, not enough people know of this, and spreading the word is crucial. Great work!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Reblogged this on bhalsop and commented:
    I’ve been meaning to address this issue, but I found this, and say “Why bother?” This post says it all and better than I could. Please read it if you want to understand why the way cops act seems so incredibly offensive to some people.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I mean it’s kind of sad for me today because as entertainment agency I just don’t feel the need to trust the police anymore I mean you know you see so many people getting killed nowadays it makes you think who’s nicks who son daughter or mother are we going to lose next so I really did appreciate this article hey thanks

    Liked by 3 people

  16. This appears to me to start with an incorrect premise. The abusive spouse has no authority or right to expect compliant behavior. Police officers do have authority and the right to expect a certain level of compliant behavior.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nor does a police officer. People are innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law and not by a beat cop on the street.


    2. Well, Wyzelli, who decides what “level of compliant behavior” the officer has a right to expect? The officer?

      Does the officer have a right to expect you to waive your legal rights at his pleasure?


  17. Reblogged this on jetude and commented:
    it has been excruciating to sift through those words and images which may try to sort the continuum of events of last week, it’s foreboding pallor for our future,
    so I thank you, MJ🌹for this, these words, I could read.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I enjoyed reading your post. The problem is that cops are brought onto departments with the idea that they are “Law Enforcement Officers” rather than “Public Servants.” City governments reinforce this by using police as revenue generators. It’s a culture of violence meant to react to a violent society. There’s no way to change whats happening unless city governments change the requirements that they require police officers to have and provide the support to highly educated, non-militaristic independent thinkers that should be public servants. The term “police” alone indicates that communities need to be policed rather than to be part of the culture change.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. (I can’t access the Chief’s response.)

    If you want respect for the law, make the law respectable. Everyone who wears that uniform willingly joined an organization that enforces unjust laws while insisting (falsely) that it is the only conceivable way to enforce the few just laws.

    They’ll say: “We don’t get to choose which laws we enforce.” Everyone knows that’s not strictly true, but never mind. Suppose it is true: either quit that job or accept responsibility for it. Your so-called authority comes from your role as a representative of the system; you don’t get to disclaim it.

    Maybe you’re a Good Cop. I can’t know that. I have no way of knowing, when you pull me over, whether your concern is for road safety or you’re looking for an opportunity to abuse your power. If you make insinuations about drugs, l’ll assume the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

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