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Sat Oct 24, 2015, 06:48 AM

 

Conyers asks FBI director about spy planes flying over Dearborn

http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/conyers-asks-fbi-director-about-spy-planes-flying-over-dearborn/36019296

FBI director: We do not use planes for mass surveillance

WHICH BEGS THE QUESTION

U.S. Rep. John Conyers put pressure on the FBI over the "spying" controversy in metro Detroit. Conyers asked FBI director James Comey about spy planes that flew over Dearborn last summer and put the community on edge.

Comey says the government isn’t spying on Dearborn residents as a whole.


"We use planes in our predicated investigations to conduct surveillance on people under investigation," Comey said. "We do not use planes for mass surveillance."

Conyers asked the questions during a congressional hearing on Thursday.

The FBI says the flyovers are not limited to the Detroit area.


LOVELY. JUST LOVELY. WHAT A MESS THIS COUNTRY IS. AND THEY ARE TRYING TO TELL US THAT NOT ONLY IS THIS A LEGAL THING THEY ARE DOING, IT IS ALSO A SENSIBLE USE OF RESOURCES?

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Reply Conyers asks FBI director about spy planes flying over Dearborn (Original post)
Demeter Oct 2015 OP
Demeter Oct 2015 #1
Demeter Oct 2015 #2
Demeter Oct 2015 #3

Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 07:00 AM

1. F.B.I. Chief Links Scrutiny of Police With Rise in Violent Crime

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/24/us/politics/fbi-chief-links-scrutiny-of-police-with-rise-in-violent-crime.html

WHICH CAME FIRST...THE SURVEILLANCE OR THE VIOLENCE?

The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said on Friday that the additional scrutiny and criticism of police officers in the wake of highly publicized episodes of police brutality may have led to an increase in violent crime in some cities as officers have become less aggressive.

With his remarks, Mr. Comey lent the prestige of the F.B.I., the nation’s most prominent law enforcement agency, to a theory that is far from settled: that the increased attention on the police has made officers less aggressive and emboldened criminals. But he acknowledged that there is so far no data to back up his assertion and that it may be just one of many factors that are contributing to the rise in crime, like cheaper drugs and an increase in criminals who are being released from prison...

I THINK IT IS THE AUTHORITIES THAT HAVE BECOME EMBOLDENED...IF THE FBI WANTED TO DO SOME GOOD, IT COULD START BY SURVEILLING THE BULLIES IN BLUE

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Response to Demeter (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 07:01 AM

2. OPINIONS VARY

 

Mr. Comey’s remarks caught officials by surprise at the Justice Department, where his views are not shared at the top levels. Holding the police accountable for civil rights violations has been a top priority at the department in recent years, and some senior officials do not believe that scrutiny of police officers has led to an increase in crime. While the department had no immediate comment on Friday, several officials privately fumed at Mr. Comey’s suggestion.

Among the nation’s law enforcement officials, there is sharp disagreement over whether there is any credence to the so-called Ferguson effect, which refers to the protests that erupted in the summer of 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., over a police shooting.

In Oakland, Calif., for example, homicides are on the rise after two years of decline. But shootings are down, and the overall crime rate is about the same, said Oakland’s police chief, Sean Whent. “Our officers are very, very sensitive to the climate right now, but I haven’t seen any evidence to say our officers aren’t doing their jobs,” Chief Whent said.

In Washington, homicides are also up, but violent crime and crime over all are down, said Lt. Sean Conboy, a police spokesman. “Trying to correlate it to a Ferguson effect, I don’t believe is appropriate,” Lieutenant Conboy said.

After civil rights leaders and the Justice Department accused the Seattle Police Department of discriminatory policing and excessive force, the number of officer-instigated stops declined and crime ticked upward, said Kathleen O’Toole, the police chief.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 07:16 AM

3. Rajiv Sethi: Race and Police Bias – Threats Perceived When There Are None

 

http://rajivsethi.blogspot.com/2015/10/threats-perceived-when-there-are-none.html



Sendhil Mullainathan is one of the most thoughtful people in the economics profession, but he has a recent piece in the New York Times with which I really must take issue.

Citing data on the racial breakdown of arrests and deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers, he argues that “eliminating the biases of all police officers would do little to materially reduce the total number of African-American killings.” Here’s his reasoning:

According to the F.B.I.’s Supplementary Homicide Report, 31.8 percent of people shot by the police were African-American, a proportion more than two and a half times the 13.2 percent of African-Americans in the general population… But this data does not prove that biased police officers are more likely to shoot blacks in any given encounter…

Every police encounter contains a risk: The officer might be poorly trained, might act with malice or simply make a mistake, and civilians might do something that is perceived as a threat. The omnipresence of guns exaggerates all these risks.

Such risks exist for people of any race — after all, many people killed by police officers were not black. But having more encounters with police officers, even with officers entirely free of racial bias, can create a greater risk of a fatal shooting.

Arrest data lets us measure this possibility. For the entire country, 28.9 percent of arrestees were African-American. This number is not very different from the 31.8 percent of police-shooting victims who were African-Americans. If police discrimination were a big factor in the actual killings, we would have expected a larger gap between the arrest rate and the police-killing rate.

This in turn suggests that removing police racial bias will have little effect on the killing rate.


A key assumption underlying this argument is that encounters involving genuine (as opposed to perceived) threats to officer safety arise with equal frequency across groups. To see why this is a questionable assumption, consider two types of encounters, which I will call safe and risky. A risky encounter is one in which the confronted individual poses a real threat to the officer; a safe encounter is one in which no such threat is present. But a safe encounter might well be perceived as risky, as the following example of a traffic stop for a seat belt violation in South Carolina vividly illustrates:



Sendhil is implicitly assuming that a white motorist who behaved in exactly the same manner as Levar Jones did in the above video would have been treated in precisely the same manner by the officer in question, or that the incident shown here is too rare to have an impact on the aggregate data. Neither hypothesis seems plausible to me.

How, then, can one account for the rough parity between arrest rates and the rate of shooting deaths at the hands of law enforcement? If officers frequently behave differently in encounters with black civilians, shouldn’t one see a higher rate of killing per encounter?

Not necessarily. To see why, think of the encounter involving Henry Louis Gates and Officer James Crowley back in 2009. This was a safe encounter as defined above, but may not have happened in the first place had Gates been white. If the very high incidence of encounters between police and black men is due, in part, to encounters that ought not to have occurred at all, then a disproportionate share of these will be safe, and one ought to expect fewer killings per encounter in the absence of bias. Observing parity would then be suggestive of bias, and eliminating bias would surely result in fewer killings....

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