In July I shared a story of an incident in which my city’s police stormed a man’s house looking for drugs in the middle of the night and executed his two (understandably startled) dogs. One of the dogs was shot to death while fleeing in fear, and as I noted then, this isn’t an isolated incident. Just a few years ago, the Saint Paul Police killed another family dog…and forced handcuffed children to sit next to its bleeding corpse. The kicker? The raid wasn’t even in the right house!
Now, a new report has surfaced of SPPD brutality. This time, a young father named Chris Lollie was arrested while waiting to pick up his kids from school. The charges were “Trespassing, Disorderly Conduct, and Obstructing Legal Process,” and police claimed he refused to leave an area reserved for employees of the bank building he was in. However, not only were there no signs indicating that the location was private, but Lollie wasn’t even in the bank proper; he was in the skyway.
(For those who aren’t familiar with the skyway system, it’s a thing we have in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and some other Minnesota cities. Basically, it gets hella cold here in the winter, so they built enclosed sidewalks, or skyways, one or two stories up. In the downtown areas, the skyways form a whole second network of pedestrian roads, and once you get inside your office building—or whichever building is closest to your parking garage or bus stop or whatever—you can use them to move from building to building to get around the whole downtown area. It’s an easy way to go to lunch or meetings without having the snot in your nostrils freeze. I mention all that to say: Skyways are public spaces. You do not have to be an employee in the buildings they connect to use them. Lollie was not trespassing.)
Fortunately, Lollie had the presence of mind to capture his interaction with the SPPD on film. Here’s a transcript I’ve made of the first few seconds:
Lollie: So what’s your business with me right now?
Officer: I want to find out who you are, and what the problem was back there…
Lollie: There is no problem—that’s the thing.
Officer: So, talk to me, let me know, and you can be on your way.
Lollie: Let you know…why do I have to let you know who I am? Who I am isn’t the problem.
Officer: Because that’s what police do when they get called.
Lollie: Well, I know my rights, first off. Secondly, I don’t have to let you know who I am if I haven’t broken any laws. Like I told him, I’m going to New Horizons [School] to pick up my kids at 10 o’clock. I was sitting there for ten minutes…
As the officer brushes aside his explanation and continues to illegally demand he identify himself, Lollie cuts to the chase: “The problem is I’m black. That’s the problem. No, it really is, because I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Next, Lollie and the female officer he’s been walking and talking with meet a male officer. When Lollie politely asks the officer not to touch or obstruct him, because he has to go get his kids, the man immediately responds, “Well, you’re going to go to jail then.”
As the police initiate the arrest process—telling him to put his hand behind his back or “otherwise things are going to get ugly"—the camera visuals go black. Lollie continues to be heard pleading, still polite even while he’s assaulted, that he be allowed to go meet his children.
Next, they tase him.
If that’s not enough to convince you that this is gross police misconduct, seriously, take five minutes and watch the video. The calmness of his tone alone should make it obvious that there is no possible argument that the situation merited this kind of police action:
After multiple witnesses verified Lollie’s version of events, prosecutors dropped all charges against him. One woman who is also not an employee at the bank the skyway links noted that she regularly sits during her lunch break exactly where Lollie was sitting, but she has never been harassed by police. However, the SPPD continue to defend their actions.
At The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf points out how simple it would have been for police to resolve this situation without violence and an arrest had they cared to do so:
His story about getting his kids wasn’t merely plausible, given the man’s age and the fact that there was a school right there–it was a story the female police officer shown at the beginning of the video or the male officer shown later could easily confirm.
Lollie is also absolutely correct that no law required him to show an ID to police officers. As Flex Your Rights explains, “Police can never compel you to identify yourself without reasonable suspicion to believe you’re involved in illegal activity,” and while 24 states have passed “stop and identify” statutes “requiring citizens to reveal their identity when officers have reasonable suspicion to believe criminal activity may be taking place,” Minnesota isn’t one of those states.
The female officer shown in the beginning of the video could easily have de-escalated the encounter by saying, “You’re right, sir, you have every right to refuse to show me identification, and if you’re just picking up your kids I’m so sorry to have bothered you. If you don’t mind, I just want to walk with you to confirm that your story checks out so I can inform the 911 caller of their error. That way we can make sure this never happens again when you’re just here to pick up your kids.”
Or she could’ve said, “Sir, I totally see why this is confusing–a lot of people would think so. Let me try to explain. That totally looks like a public seating area, but it’s actually private. Don’t you think they should have a sign saying so? Calling me may seem like an overreaction, but technically they can ask you to leave. You’re walking away now, so there’s actually no problem as long as you’re not going to go back. Are you? Okay, then we have no problem, have a wonderful day.”
As Lollie is carried away post-tasing, he can be heard challenging the officers’ “legal” assault: "Who are you? You don’t rule me. I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t hurt anybody. I didn’t touch anybody."
If only the SPPD could honestly say the same.
That video that was being passed around yesterday
Protests in the St. Louis suburb have continued since Saturday (August 9th). Here’s what we know about the events of the past few days.
And in the nature of keeping everyone in the loop, please reblog this link if you’re going to spread word about it. It’s just a list, impartial, a great way to know everything from start to current events.
Ryo Oyamada, a 24 year old student from Japan, was struck and killed by an NYPD vehicle in a hit & run. Witnesses say the police car had no lights or sirens on and was going over 70 mph. The released footage by NYPD was proven to be heavily altered in a cover-up, showing “lights” on the vehicle, when compared to footage from the NY Housing Authority on the same street with the same timestamp.
On a personal note: I know that this will probably not be shared or reblogged very much, because Asians are not very prominent in American culture. I understand this, because Asians (like me) are partially at fault for being so passive. But I am begging you to please consider signing this petition out of human decency. Ryo was just a student walking home, then struck by a nearly silent police cruiser going at excess speed, and the NYPD covered it up.
Here is the side-by-side comparison of the released video footage, including updates from the case. *Edit* This article contains a link to a graphic video moments after the crash, showing the body of Ryo Oyamada and NY citizens yelling at the police. Please advise, it is highly disturbing.
And the following is an excerpt from the petition, which as of now only has 286 signatures.
On February 21st, 2013, Ryo Oyamada was struck and killed by a police cruiser while crossing the street. NYPD claimed that the cruiser’s lights and sirens were on before the collision, but multiple eyewitnesses stated otherwise, that the lights and sirens were only turned on afterwards, and that the cruiser was speeding in excess of 70 mph down a residential street. None of these eyewitnesses were interviewed for the police report.
PLEASE SPREAD THIS AND SIGN THE PETITION!!!!
6.1 earthquake in Cali - thankfully I was far away enough to only feel a little bit of it. Remember to check for gas leaks and all that
alternative bad end, idea sketches
It began simply enough. Commuting home from my work at Reno’s alt-weekly newspaper, theNews & Review, on May 18, 2012, I drove past the aftermath of a police shooting—in this case,that of a man named Jace Herndon. It was a chaotic scene, and I couldn’t help but wonder how often it happened.
I went home and grabbed my laptop and a glass of wine and tried to find out. I found nothing—a failure I simply chalked up to incompetent local media.
A few months later I read about the Dec. 6, 2012, killing of a naked and unarmed 18-year-old college student, Gil Collar, by University of South Alabama police. The killing had attracted national coverage—The New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN—but there was still no context being provided—no figures examining how many people are killed by police.
I started to search in earnest. Nowhere could I find out how many people died during interactions with police in the United States. Try as I might, I just couldn’t wrap my head around that idea. How was it that, in the 21st century, this data wasn’t being tracked, compiled, and made available to the public? How could journalists know if police were killing too many people in their town if they didn’t have a way to compare to other cities? Hell, how could citizens or police? How could cops possibly know “best practices” for dealing with any fluid situation? They couldn’t.
The bottom line was that I found the absence of such a library of police killings offensive. And so I decided to build it.
a comment on the article:
past year, 33 police officers were killed by firearms, where as the amount of “justifiable homicides” by police is over 300. In Seattle in 2012, 20% of the homicides in the entire city that year were committed by police officers. That’s fucked and that’s institutional.
Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. I only just heard the sad, sad news of Robin Williams’s death. My wife sent me a message to tell me he had died, and, when I asked her what he died from, she told me something that nobody in the news seems to be talking about.
When people die from cancer, their cause of death can be various horrible things – seizure, stroke, pneumonia – and when someone dies after battling cancer, and people ask “How did they die?”, you never hear anyone say “pulmonary embolism”, the answer is always “cancer”. A Pulmonary Embolism can be the final cause of death with some cancers, but when a friend of mine died from cancer, he died from cancer. That was it. And when I asked my wife what Robin Williams died from, she, very wisely, replied “Depression”.
The word “suicide” gives many people the impression that “it was his own decision,” or “he chose to die, whereas most people with cancer fight to live.” And, because Depression is still such a misunderstood condition, you can hardly blame people for not really understanding. Just a quick search on Twitter will show how many people have little sympathy for those who commit suicide…
But, just as a Pulmonary Embolism is a fatal symptom of cancer, suicide is a fatal symptom of Depression. Depression is an illness, not a choice of lifestyle. You can’t just “cheer up” with depression, just as you can’t choose not to have cancer. When someone commits suicide as a result of Depression, they die from Depression – an illness that kills millions each year. It is hard to know exactly how many people actually die from Depression each year because the figures and statistics only seem to show how many people die from “suicide” each year (and you don’t necessarily have to suffer Depression to commit suicide, it’s usually just implied). But considering that one person commits suicide every 14 minutes in the US alone, we clearly need to do more to battle this illness, and the stigmas that continue to surround it. Perhaps Depression might lose some its “it was his own fault” stigma, if we start focussing on the illness, rather than the symptom. Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. He died from Depression*. It wasn’t his choice to suffer that.
Right, I may as well explain myself from earlier when I said burn isn’t a real deck. I played at Game Day today, and I ended up going with Junk Constellation. I won round 1 vs. mono-green easily, and pulled out a 2-1 vs. a mono-black aggro deck round 2 (not much of a contest but I got stuck on 2…
If you actually think that a magic deck requires no skill at all to pilot, you are doing yourself a disservice as a magic player. Every deck requires skill to pilot, and burn is no exception. Just because you’re angry about losing in the finals of game day doesn’t mean you can just mouth off about your opponent playing a deck that requires no skill.
You’re also very off in regards to your comments about the validity of burn in standard. “Barely can exist with the current card pool?” The deck just top 8ed a pro tour and has been a good deck for quite some time. I don’t know where you got the idea that burn is a barely viable deck, because it has existed with a card pool several sets smaller as well.
Burn has just as many complex decisions as any other deck. Do you throw the spell at their face or their creature? How fast is their creature clock, and am I able to race it? Could they be holding up a counter spell? Should I play this phoenix and commit to the board, or use a burn spell? How does my plan change if my opponent gains life, and what outs are in my deck? What is the chance I draw any of these answers? I’m not saying that Junk Constellation isn’t a skill intensive deck as well - it is a very skill intensive deck. In terms of average complexity in a game, your deck will have more decisions to make in terms of thoughtseizing your opponent, which threats to deploy, etc than a burn deck would, but the different isn’t very large. Burn requires just as much play as any other deck in standard.
The problem with your line of thinking is that you’re too busy being annoyed that you lost to a good draw than thinking about what decisions you made during the match. You brush off the fact that you missed a trigger when it literally cost you an entire game. To improve as a magic player, your mindset can’t be ‘oh, my opponent just got lucky,’ or, ‘it’s not fair that he won like that.’ Those lines of thinking are pointless and won’t teach you anything. You have to stop and think about the match you just played and what went wrong, and any changes you could make to your deck or your playstyle to improve it.
And although you may not like it, non-interactive decks do exist in magic. I play storm in modern, and often, my opponents cannot interact with me game one, and die without doing anything relevant. But the important thing to remember is that this is just another part of the metagame. It’s a real deck you will have to face. If you want to improve, then you can’t just say “oh, I hate that deck.” You have to think about sideboarding choices and different options you could take for game one.
Tilt happens, I understand - I tilt off myself at particularly frustrating games. But you have to take a deep breath, remember that the other player was just as entitled to win as you were, and try to focus. (Besides, this was just a game day. It’s not like you’re in the finals of a Grand Prix or an SCG invitational or something.)
I’m sorry if I came off as condescending here, but this is a very unhealthy viewpoint to have when it comes to losing a match. Variance is one of the pillars of Magic’s design, and losses are going to happen. You have to accept that to move on and improve as a player.