Dave Lindorff Police Accountability

The LAPD Murder of a 14-Year-Old Girl

Days before Christmas, Valentina Orellana-Peralta was found dead in a dressing room of a Los Angeles clothing store after being fatally shot by the LAPD.
Photograph Source: Chris Yarzab – CC BY 2.0

By Dave Lindorff / CounterPunch

The shooting death by Los Angeles Police of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta, who died in a changing room of a Burlington Outlet store while with her mother trying on a dress for her coming 15th birthday celebration, is an atrocity beyond comprehension.

I don’t care what kinds of excuses are made by the cop or cops who fired shots, one of which tore away this young girl’s life as her horrified mother had to watch and desperately try to save her. There is simply no possible justification for firing police guns in a crowded store.

I cannot even bear to try and imagine the agony her family is now suffering, especially listening to the tired police excuses and lame platitudes that always accompany such all too frequent monstrous acts by America’s centurions.

News reports quoting police officials say that the police were called because a man was attacking a store customer with a “heavy duty” bike lock and “threatening to destroy store property.” That in itself doesn’t sound terribly scary or grounds for the use of police firearms, especially with three officers on the scene at the time. There were also reports of shots fired, the police claim. But even if that were the case — and no gun was recovered from the attacker, who was also killed by police bullets, nor were there any reports that he fired at police or had a gun in his hand when he was killed — police should not be excused for firing their weapons in “self-defense” or to put a stop to a situation in a situation where there are crowds of people in the potential line of fire.

The primary responsibility of the police is and must always be protecting the public. Period.

Their primary responsibility is emphatically not protecting property, and it certainly is not protecting themselves. Police wear or should wear, body armor on duty, and they must, as a part of their acceptance of the job of being a cop, accept the responsibility to put the safety of the public before concerns about their own lives.

That is not what happened here.

We are hearing comments from the police in news reports that the kill shot that snuffed out little Valentina’s young life pierced a “solid” wall that police had “no way of knowing” had dressing room booths behind it. That is simply BS! Everyone, including police, has to know how department stores like Burlington Outlets are constructed, with cheap pressed-board partitions set up throughout a large open space to separate various departments and to create flimsy changing rooms. There is probably not a single concrete wall on any floor level within the confines of any large department store. It’s all ticky-tack
, easily moved and altered construction inside these spaces.

What happened in this tragic killing of a young girl was that police adopted the same approach employed by the U.S. military for assaults in its imperial wars: they went in prepared to “take out” a “bad actor” and placed concern about their own safety first. The civilians in the target zone were simply “collateral damage” in the wrong place at the wrong time.

What happened is not policing; it is engaging in a military assault. For that matter, when such an action happens in places like Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan or any of the other places where the US sends its “warriors” these days, it’s actually a war crime. That’s because, under the international rules of war, attacks are not supposed to take place when there is the probability or risk of significant civilian casualties. That is to say, at least from a legal perspective, police in the US have a freer hand to kill innocents than do soldiers.

We in the U.S. are becoming a society inured to this kind of casual and largely unpunished police slaughter of civilians. Police frequently fire shots through opaque doors during “no-knock” house break-ins to make arrests or home searches, and if someone gets killed, as happened to Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky last year in such a raid, the cops are exonerated. Prosecutors typically conclude the cops were just “doing their job” and refuse to indict, of if they do indict, judges and any juries that are selected typically reach the same conclusion.

This latest killing is even worse than shooting through an apartment door. Firing a police weapon in a crowded store in any but perhaps — and I say perhaps — a hostage situation where a gunman is holding a gun to a captive’s head has to be completely unacceptable. And there is no indication at all that this latest killing involved anything like that.

Just once I’d like to see a police officer who murders a child like this just turn his or her gun and badge in, admit to having committed an inexcusable atrocity, and not try to lawyer her or his way out of trouble and hang on to a job as a cop.

I have yet to see that happen in all the years I’ve covered police killings.

There should be an immediate firing of any police officer who fired a weapon in this particular incident because of the huge risk that was posed in firing a gun inside a crowded store. There should be a prosecution for at least reckless endangerment and involuntary manslaughter.

I’m not holding my breath.

This slaughter of innocent suspects and bystanders, and especially of children, by our nation’s cops, must cease.

Whenever something like this occurs, I keep thinking about firefighters and how they operate. As I reporter, I’ve watched firefighters arriving at blazes where there are at least feared to be victims trapped in burning buildings. The firefighters who rush in my experience don’t even hesitate. On arriving, if told there may be people trapped, they heroically race directly buildings putting their lives in grave danger, to try and locate and rescue whoever is at risk. That kind of heroism is largely lacking among the nation’s police officers, who all too often justify their murder of people, including kids, whom they later claim they “thought” were carrying a weapon, using the tried-and-true line, “I feared for my life.”

That cowardly excuse doesn’t cut it though. If you’re a cop, you need to put concerns about your life second to the lives of the public. There can be no justification for killing an unarmed suspect, and when that suspect is a kid, the offense is all the worse. It is even more intolerable when the person killed is just someone in the line of fire, like poor Valentina.

I was a reporter in Los Angeles back in the late 1970s, when the LAPD first introduced to American policing the militarized policing concept of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams — a violent approach now widely adopted and grossly overused by law enforcement agencies all across the country. I reported during those years on all too many cases of LAPD murders of unarmed people, which usually resulted in no legal consequences for the officers involved. So I won’t be surprised if we learn that it wasn’t just one wild shot that was fired when Valentina was killed in Los Angeles. U.S. police have a propensity to fire multiple rounds in incidents like these, and often several cops will fire at once. If that turns out to be the case, we’re lucky there were not more injuries and fatalities as a result of the unfortunate police arrival on the scene to “rescue” the public from a deranged attacker swinging a bike lock.

This is no aberration. The LAPD has for decades had one of the most deadly records of police killings. Just this year, which is not quite over, LAPD officers shot at least 37 people, killing at least 17, according to the Los Angeles Times. That tally represents a significant increase from 2020, when 27 people were shot and 7 killed by LA officers, and 2019 when 26 people were shot and 12 killed.

My heart goes out to the Orellana-Peralta family, whose members have to endure this Christmas season and then go on through life without their precious daughter.

There is no way that horror can be explained or compensated for, no solace that can be offered, no prayer that can bring her back.

Dave Lindorff

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

30 comments

  1. How the USA can keep pretending to be some sort of beacon of decency, law, freedom, democracy….. when this happens so often and people who are later found to be innocent are incarcerated for decades and never “compensated”, is astonishing. The inability or refusal to consider that the USA needs to rethink its “leader of the free world” ridiculous label and try to consider peace as a possible way of going forward means that the present situation of three “enemies”, Russia, China and Iran gives no chance of US “success” without destruction of us all.

  2. Well said. Police are the new slave patrols, and we are all slaves. All those we the people have vested authority to act on our behalf are on the take.

  3. Cops are the politicians’ thugs, protecting the interests of the powerful and wealthy, there will be no change, no accountability, no firing, and no jail. I disagree that murderous cops should lose their jobs. I am of the conviction that there should be prison for them, and not for a short time. This is systemic, is policy. They do these kinds of things to instill fear, to ensure that the public is compliant and sheeplike for their overlords to have more power. I was thinking of being more polite to the bastards and showing them some respect when facing them, to achieve some kind of merciful response. But what fits my attitude better is to respond to any attempted intimidation “why should I listen to a thug with a badge?” and show them my total lack of respect. Our fear is their power. Do not spare them any mercy.

  4. This paragraph sums it up:

    “What happened is not policing; it is engaging in a military assault. For that matter, when such an action happens in places like Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan or any of the other places where the US sends its “warriors” these days, it’s actually a war crime. That’s because, under the international rules of war, attacks are not supposed to take place when there is the probability or risk of significant civilian casualties. That is to say, at least from a legal perspective, police in the US have a freer hand to kill innocents than do soldiers.”

    The tactics of empire are always eventually brought home and turned against the citizens and society bled dry to pay for the criminal military expeditions abroad. We are an occupied country and the police can be expected to begin large scale killings after the fascists — in absence of any real resistance by Democrats — take control of congress next January.

    Contrasting routine police behavior to the real courage of firefighters is one I had never thought of before and needs to be echoed. Maybe it will shame a few police to resist their brutal military training and do the right thing: protect and serve.

  5. Amerika’s wars always come home! Just as Amerikan troops burst into the homes of Korean, Vietnamese, Iraqi, Afghan people now they do it at home. Assault rifles in a department store totally prepared to unleash death without a second thought. Yet every cop every soldier in Amerika is regarded as some sort of Rambo hero ready to wreak redemptive violence on terrorists, criminals, and those deemed unworthy of life. What kind of culture breeds this type of psychopathic state violence? One that has utterly lost its spiritual, moral, and ethical moorings. This is the culture of the most violent oppressive regime the planet has ever seen and the sooner Amerika disappears from the scene to be consigned to the dustbin of history like all empires eventually do, the better. Good riddance Amerika we will not be sorry to see you go! You reap what you sow!

  6. There was no need to use deadly force in the first place. The suspect was UNARMED. Police need to toughen up and go hands on. No reason all those officers couldn’t have just tackled this UNARMED man and handcuffed him.

    1. Read, study, do!

      ‘Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture’ by Angela Y. Davis

      From the author of Are Prisons Obsolete? comes this collection of interviews about the politics of incarceration and policing. Published just after stories of sexual exploitation and torture at Abu Ghraib prison came to light, Abolition Democracy covers the problem of international policing and human rights violations, and explores their intersections within the broader prison abolition movement.

      ‘Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement,’ edited by Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinhaon

      The U.S. criminal justice system focuses on punitive measures for individuals without considering how crime, prosecution, incarceration, and execution affect communities at large — a flaw that the restorative justice movement aims to correct. Read more about how restorative justice works and what it can accomplish in this collection, edited by Vision Change Win Executive Director Ejeris Dixon and Tonguebreaker author Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.

      ‘Unwarranted: Policing Without Permission’ by Barry Friedman

      If you’ve ever thought that innocent people have nothing to fear from government surveillance, put Barry Friedman’s Unwarranted at the top of your to-read list. Exploring everything from the Patriot Act to Edward Snowden and beyond, Friedman’s book examines how government and corporate monitoring of individuals, without their permission, does real harm to American society.

      ‘Policing a Class Society: The Experience of American Cities, 1865-1915’ by Sidney L. Harring

      But what would we do without police? We’ve always had them… right? Wrong. As Sidney L. Harring’s Policing a Class Society points out, the contemporary police force is a relatively modern outgrowth of a post-Civil War system built to protect wealth by restricting the freedoms of the lower classes.

      ‘Abolish ICE’ by Natascha Elena Uhlmann

      ICE is yet another new development in law enforcement, and it’s that many are calling to defund. Published late in 2019, Natascha Elena Uhlmann’s Abolish ICE examines how poorly regulated and critically damaging Immigration and Customs Enforcement truly is.

      ‘The End of Policing’ by Alex S. Vitale

      So what does the world look like without police? Alex S. Vitale’s The End of Policing is here to tell you. From exploring the reasons why the current criminal justice system is so rotten, to exposing new avenues for achieving justice in the United States, this book is a landmark text in the movement to defund police.

      1. where “restorative justice” programs proliferate—San Francisco….crime has increased by huge proportions

      2. @alexandr herzen
        Street crime is caused by poverty, period. Whether a community has a restorative justice program determines whether people who commit crimes will be reintegrated into that community, but has no effect on street crime, your right wing comments notwithstanding.

  7. And this is just a tip of the iceberg — https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/

    [Black people have been 27% of those killed by police in 2021 despite being only 13% of the population.]

    Look, I was a newspaper reporter for years, in places like El Paso, Bisbee, Tucson, state of New Mexico, Spokane, Portland, and elsewhere, including Seattle. I’ve hitchhiked from Nogales to Panama. Other fun stuff. Police generally are bad hombres. In the USA, the cops I was with as a reporter were pretty bad, but because I was a newspaper man, and white, they gave off a different persona. Until they thought I was in their fold.

    Corrupt, rapists, violent, gun-toting, shoot and don’t ask later. It is murder incorporated, and since 1976 when I first did the beat, until now, 2021, things have only gotten worse.

    I don’t think most Scheer folks do ground-truthing, so their perspectives are pretty academic and star chamber-like. The reality is I also did social work, for those finding themselves homeless, addicted to substances, and some were homeless veterans. Now that is another violent breeding ground. Every female client who was a vet was sexually assaulted by their own team members. Drill instructors, and even officers.

    Then, we have k12, the violent times of football, sports, hazing (into college). It is not the human way before civilization, this mass psychosis of violence, war, beating the drums of war.

    So, here is not a thought eperiment — veteran, asked to leave our facility in Beaverton, ends up living in truck, and his wife and dog still at the facility. He was upset. Ended up in the parking lot, suicidal (he has a pistol) and there we have it. SWAT closed the main streets. Eight snipers, and more than 20 dudes with guns drawn. Sniper with weighted rifle. Even an armored vehicle.

    All these vets and their family and a few case managers like myself, locked down. The people were listening to the incident via scanner apps on phones.

    I watched these pigs, looking at their watches, and then, 2.5 hours into the standoff, 13 bullets into the truck. Again, he was pinned in with armored vehicles behind the truck and on the driver’s side.

    It’s all about the cops making these murder decisions.

    He did survive, because SWAT and potential murder operations have a doctor or PA on hand.

    The head of the Salvation Army facility, a former vet, ramped up the situation.

    The Salvation Army did not get trauma experts to help talk out and calm down the vets and family.

    The bullet-riddled vehicle was towed back onto the property.

    One child at the center found two bullets where the cops were pistol-drawn heroes (sic).

    The VA took my angry letter and others to get people at the facility to do some counseling — three weeks after the incident.

    There were a lot of cops laughing and smiling after the vet was trucked off.

    Blood where he was pulled to the dirt was there for a day.

    But those snipers — guys with beards, sort of long hair, in military-civilian clothes. They even had a canopy popped up for them to keep the sun off their precious bodies.

    Now, imagine a much more violent and rapid situation happening, as in breaking down doors without a warrant. As in stopping vehicles and shooting to maim and kill.

    Imagine a country that sells weapons and intelligence gathering equipment, trains despots and their armies, and has plans for nuke war. Imagine those countries — USA, UK, Canada, EU countries, Australia, New Zealand and of course “Israel.”

    The violence encapsulated in that slug that killed this girl is the tip of the spear of Capitalism and violent men and women with armies.

    The cops in Beaverton were whites, and the vet was white. However, there is a reputation of that center having “those” people and “those family members” living there. Those people are ailing old vets, COPD young vets, diabetic vets, young injured vets, vets with drug issues, drinking issues.

    Those people — and they are me, they are you if you work for pennies, have bills, have taxes, fines, penalties, tickets, levies,, tolls, code violations, add-ons, and everything else in this rotten capitalist society that hobbles us, and weathers people, man, and weathering is a term utilized for black men in our society. Look it up.

    Cops, pigs, courts, bondsmen, judges, all the people in the poverty pimping game, they add to the weathering. Just navigating these systems beat down my clients. They beat me down, too, having to help them navigate all the things this society puts on their backs.

    Sure, that $18 an hour job, 12 hour shift, cutting DelMonte fruit, standing in wet cold warehouses sure looks good for a 58-year-old man just out of jail or prison.

    You just do not have enought writers with ground-truthing, man.

    I’d never get the dance ticket as a paid writer here — the same stuff on Scheer that makes the rounds at Commondreams, Counterpunch, etc.

    Happy New Year — https://dissidentvoice.org/2021/12/end-of-the-year-story-of-hope/

    1. you conveniently avoid relevant evidence; proportionately blacks commit far more violent and non violent crime than any ethnic group in USA. it is expected that police would kill more violent criminals than others

    2. Cops-pigs are the most violent boys and girls on the block. Been there with them, seen it, heard it. Violent and mentally ill. Tied so much into badge, gun, uniform, power. Idiots with weapons.

      I’d say, though, per capital, leave it to Israel to have the killing fields, the land thieves with AR-15s, and the murder of anyone not white Zionist.

      But, again, USA, Murder Inc. =

      Since 2015, police officers have fatally shot at least 135 unarmed Black men and women nationwide.

      But . . . Compared to the deaths recorded in the new analysis, NVSS also missed 56% (8,540 deaths out of 15,200) of deaths of non-Hispanic white people, 33% (281 deaths out of 861) of non-Hispanic people of other races, and 50% (2,580 deaths out of 5,170) of Hispanic people of any race.

      Deaths due to police violence were significantly higher for men of any race or ethnicity than women, with 30,600 deaths in men and 1,420 deaths in women from 1980 to 2019.

      But . . . More than 55% of deaths from police violence in the USA from 1980-2018 were misclassified or unreported in official vital statistics reports according to a new study in The Lancet. The highest rate of deaths from police violence occurred for Black Americans, who were estimated to be 3.5 times more likely to experience fatal police violence than white Americans.

      Researchers estimate that the US National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), the government system that collates all death certificates in the USA, failed to accurately classify and report more than 17,000 deaths as being caused by police violence during the 40-year study period.

      Philip Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and former police officer in Virginia and New Hampshire, said it’s difficult to prosecute officers charged with murder or manslaughter from an on-duty shooting because juries often sympathize with them.

      “The courts are very reluctant to second-guess the split-second decisions of police officers in potentially violent street encounters that might be life-or-death situations,” Stinson said. “They somehow seem to take everything that’s been presented in the case, in the trial, and just disregard the legal standard.”

      Ronald C. Machen Jr., the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia for more than five years during the Obama administration, said that prosecuting police officers who gun down unarmed Black men and women will continue to be challenging until there are more “minorities in the system.”

      “This is why you need Black prosecutors and Blacks on juries — to hold people accountable,” Machen said. “For police officers to have the credibility to do their jobs, they have to be held accountable.”

  8. What we need is to have the individual police officer be forced to carry liability insurance whereas the insurance companies will go after the officers involved in the shootings (since the payments given out for “bad” shootings” will be cared by the insurance industry and not the tax paying public). And if the before mentioned officers can’t get liability insurance because of their overzealousness and the ensuing insurance payments, well, they’d have to leave policing because the regulation should be: Wear a badge, carry the liability insurance. Will police shootings go down? Damn right they will as the individual officers will think twice about not being able to wear the badge thus no more paycheck.

  9. This is what happens when the love of power is the most ingrained addiction. The addicted cannot step back to see how their values atomize the society they have become fearful of. The more violence (including the structural violence of valuing power over life) is revered as strength, the more self-reflection is seen as weakness. A spiral of control without empathy makes us robots not humans.

  10. Valentina was choosing a dress for her quinceanera, her 15th birthday, when she was to come of age according to Hispanic tradition. Instead she is dead.

    What makes you think that the police exist to protect the public? That’s a dim daydream from the past. They exist to protect the rich from the public. The property of the rich and the employees of the rich are included.

    And, as far as firemen are concerned, I have told firemen to their faces that I admire them more than the police, since their job is much more dangerous, and they don’t shoot anyone.

    1. Ahh, read the facts and the police codes — There is nothing in writing where they have to put their lives on the line to protect YOU. Really. They do not have to rush into a burning building, or rush into a crack house with women and children being raped.

      There is not statute that puts any of that “cops must go to the aid of anyone putting their flak jacket clad, AR-15 toting, drone aided, SWAT reinforced lives at risk.”

      Pick and choose, and when they do high speed chases for stolen cars, or shoplifters, and then people die in wrecks, they still get the medals and the pensions.

      Why have the police become one of the most common perpetrators of violence in today’s America, rather than a measure of safety? It has been made clear, over and over again, that the killing of George Floyd is far from one cop being “a bad apple.” We have seen police violence escalate, tear gas and rubber bullets used on peaceful protestors. We have seen that the U.S. policing system is deeply rooted in anti-Black, racist structures of power that uphold white supremacy. The past week’s events have shown us, once again, that our national crisis is beyond a matter of police reform; it is long past time that we hold the police accountable for their brutal actions, and start thinking of more viable options for our future.

      To quote Alex S. Vitale, author of The End of Policing: “It’s time for everyone to quit thinking that jailing one more killer cop will do anything to change the nature of American policing. We must move, instead, to significantly defund the police and redirect resources into community-based initiatives that can produce real safety and security without the violence and racism inherent in the criminal justice system.”

  11. Why have the police become one of the most common perpetrators of violence in today’s America, rather than a measure of safety? It has been made clear, over and over again, that the killing of George Floyd is far from one cop being “a bad apple.” We have seen police violence escalate, tear gas and rubber bullets used on peaceful protestors. We have seen that the U.S. policing system is deeply rooted in anti-Black, racist structures of power that uphold white supremacy. The past week’s events have shown us, once again, that our national crisis is beyond a matter of police reform; it is long past time that we hold the police accountable for their brutal actions, and start thinking of more viable options for our future.

    To quote Alex S. Vitale, author of The End of Policing: “It’s time for everyone to quit thinking that jailing one more killer cop will do anything to change the nature of American policing. We must move, instead, to significantly defund the police and redirect resources into community-based initiatives that can produce real safety and security without the violence and racism inherent in the criminal justice system.”

    1. drivel—USA #1 violent crime, non-violent crime, rape per capita despite that experts claim 70% not reported….how dare you blame police for the American character. Daniel Boorstin argues that Americans can only feel with violent crime TV and violent sports
      US ruling class provides the peasants with the bread and circuses they demand, reminiscent of the German poet, Heine: “well fed rats”

  12. “The primary responsibility of the police is and must always be protecting the public.”

    That’s a very naive comment. That’s what the police SHOULD be, but it’s very far from what they are. The police are basically the army of the rich,* and their main purpose is to protect property and those who own it. And by “property” I don’t mean a house or a car, although you’ll get more protection if you own those than if you don’t. If you don’t understand this, then you don’t understand why cops are the way they are and do the things they do. That’s why the police need to be completely abolished and replaced with something much better (maybe community patrols, though we wouldn’t want them attacking people just because they’re not from the community). The police as they now stand cannot be reformed to any substantial effect.

    * Credit to punk rock band formerly known as Millions of Dead Cops (MDC).

    1. Slave partrols. Protection raqcket racketeers.

      The Police are Not Required to Protect You

      “To Protect and to Serve” – the ubiquitous creed emblazoned across millions of police cars throughout Los Angeles and indeed the United States. This motto is consistent with the common belief that police officers as well as other law enforcement officers are here to protect us. After all, we are all taught to dial 9-1-1 when we need help. Subject to narrow exceptions, the United States Constitution does not require law enforcement officers to protect you from other people, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. This notion contradicts our engrained perceptions, but it’s still the law today.

      In the 1989 landmark case of DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the failure by government workers to protect someone (even 4-year-old Joshua DeShaney) from physical violence or harm from another person (his father) did not breach any substantive constitutional duty. In this case, Joshua’s mother sued the Winnebago County Department of Social Services, alleging it deprived Joshua of his “liberty interest in bodily integrity, in violation of his rights under the substantive component of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, by failing to intervene to protect him against his father’s violence.”

      While the Department took various steps to protect Joshua after receiving numerous complaints of the abuse, the Department took no actions to remove Joshua from his father’s custody. Joshua became comatose and extremely retarded due to traumatic head injuries inflicted by his father who physically beat him over a long period of time.

      Nevertheless, the Court found that the government had no affirmative duty to protect any person, even a child, from harm by another person. “Nothing in the language of the Due Process Clause itself requires the State to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens against invasion by private actors,” stated Chief Justice Rehnquist for the majority, “even where such aid may be necessary to secure life, liberty, or property interests of which the government itself may not deprive the individual” without “due process of the law.”

      The DeShaney decision has been cited by many courts across the nation and reaffirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Namely—on June 27, 2005, in Castle Rock v. Gonzales, the U.S. Supreme Court again ruled that the police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm. The decision overturned a federal appeals court ruling which permitted a lawsuit against the town of Castle Rock for the police’s failure to respond after Jessica Gonzales tried to get the police to arrest her estranged husband Simon Gonzales for kidnapping their three daughters (ages 7, 8, and 10) while they were playing outside, in violation of a court-issued protective order. After Simon called to tell Jessica where they were at (in Denver at an amusement park), for hours she pleaded for the police to arrest Simon. But, the police failed to act before Simon showed up at the police department and started shooting inside, and with the bodies of the 3 children in the trunk of his car.

      In her suit against the town, Jessica argued that the protective order stating “you shall arrest” or issue a warrant for arrest of a violator and that it gave her a “property interest” within the meaning of the 14th Amendment’s Due Process guarantees, which prohibits the deprivation of property without due process. By framing their case as one of procedural Due Process and not of substance, Jessica and her lawyers had hoped to get around the 1989 DeShaney precedent. To no avail, the U.S. Supreme Court saw little difference between this case and the DeShaney case. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, stated that Ms. Gonzales did not have a “property interest” in enforcing the restraining order and that “such a right would not, of course, resemble any traditional conception of property.” The Court went on to reaffirm the DeShaney ruling that there is no affirmative right to aid by the government or the police found in the U.S. Constitution, and thus no legal recourse could be brought thereunder. The “no duty to protect” rule remains unwavering and the law today.

      Needless to say, the stories of Joshua DeShaney and Jessica Gonzales’ three daughters (and countless similar stories) are saddening, and the rulings seem to be at odds with our common and fundamental understanding that the police are here to ensure our safety and provide protection. One need only look to the door of a Los Angeles police cruiser to find those reassuring words. However, those words are misleading in light of these Supreme Court rulings.

      Though alarming, we simply have no affirmative right to police aid, even when a person, including a helpless child, faces imminent danger. We are all responsible for our own personal safety, whether we like it or not.

      RE: https://www.barneslawllp.com/blog/police-not-required-protect

  13. If Police Don’t Have to Protect the Public, What Good Are They?

    The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed, most recently in 2005, that police have no constitutional duty to protect members of the public from harm.

    https://www.mintpressnews.com/police-dont-protect-public-good/238250/

    This begs the question: if the police don’t have a duty to protect the public, what are we paying them for? And who exactly do they serve if not you and me?

    Why do we have more than a million cops on the taxpayer-funded payroll in this country whose jobs do not entail protecting our safety, maintaining the peace in our communities, and upholding our liberties?

    Why do we have more than a million cops who have been fitted out in the trappings of war, drilled in the deadly art of combat, and trained to look upon “every individual they interact with as an armed threat and every situation as a deadly force encounter in the making?

    I’ll tell you why.

    It’s the same reason why the Trump Administration has made a concerted effort to expand the police state’s power to search, strip, seize, raid, steal from, arrest and jail Americans for any infraction, no matter how insignificant.

    This is no longer a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

    It is fast becoming a government “of the rich, by the elite, for the corporations,” and its rise to power is predicated on shackling the American taxpayer to a life of indentured servitude.

    Cops in America may get paid by the citizenry, but they don’t work for us.

    They don’t answer to us. They’re not loyal to us.

    And they certainly aren’t operating within the limits of the U.S. Constitution.

    That “thin, blue line” of loyalty to one’s fellow cops has become a self-serving apparatus that sees nothing wrong with advancing the notion that the lives—and rights—of police should be valued more than citizens.

    1. obama a far more fascist prez than trump…police should not trust americans—a violent primitive people….indeed as Geoffrey Gorer wrote, “the american liberal/progressive wants to preserve the essence of the past, the american conservative wants more progress; the European radical wants to hasten the transformation of the future, the European conservative wants to preserve the essence of the past”
      these are reflected in backward policies the liberal/progressive has w gun control, anti test no standards education, community policing, Covid fascism—in Europe/South America the left wing takes the opposite position

      1. Yeah, Europeans, the Italians, the Belgium, the Brits, Germans, French, Italians, Portuguese, well, you get the picture, no violence in their DNA? Is the white race a cancer? Does DNA count? Oh, the military industrial complex, Wall Street, BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, all of them, pretty darned violent across the globe. But back to the dirty pigs, the mostly racist, killer inside cops — tip the racist ice berg:

        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/series/counted-us-police-killings

        Oh. My more than 40 years dealing with US military, two of them in the bloody hell hole as a “soldier,” oh, they are violent, twisted, wicked people, too. They are mostly conservatives, for sure, and the democrats are as left as Manchin in uniform. Christian as hell.

        It’s all in the blood of the religious, military and banking and merchantile zealots — Eterminate All the Brutes is in the blood of the crackers who go into badge-gun-power paid mercenary forces.

        https://www.hbo.com/exterminate-all-the-brutes

        . . . .data-driven best estimate is a death toll of 56m by the beginning of the 1600s – 90% of the pre-Columbian indigenous population and around 10% of the global population at the time. This makes the “Great Dying” the largest human mortality event in proportion to the global population, putting it second in absolute terms only to World War II, in which 80m people died – 3% of the world’s population at the time.

        A figure of 90% mortality in post-contact America is extraordinary and exceeds similar epidemics, including the Black Death in Europe – which resulted in a 30% population loss in Europe. One explanation is that multiple waves of epidemics hit indigenous immune systems that had evolved in isolation from Eurasian and African populations for 13,000 years.

      2. “Is the white race a cancer”? The white race has to get over the worship of power, control, wealth, class labelling. Within the last century there have been voices to disturb the comfortable hoping to comfort the disturbed. But we need to encourage institutions that mostly live within the constructs of power-over, to value life more than position and any other labels.

      3. Well, speaking of cancer: “The white race is the cancer of human history; it is the white race and it alone — its ideologies and inventions — which eradicates autonomous civilizations wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which now threatens the very existence of life itself.” s. sontag

    2. usa constitution: “ruling class document”. Charles beard/eugene debs
      “us constitution contains inherent contradictions that encourages dictatorship”. Kurt Godel

  14. Locked and loaded, looking for a thrill / Shiny badge, license to kill
    On the edge, in the city / Anyone, can be an enemy
    One-way glasses, narrow views / Right or wrong, you get to choose
    No more, no more, no more brutality, no more

    Bad-seed-cop, who are you workin’ for? / We the people, or the man behind the door
    Think about it, brothers in blue / Remember where, allegiance is due
    Close your ranks, to consequence / Same excuse, it was self-defense
    No more, no more, no more brutality, no more

    Eye for an eye, but no-one’s keeping score / Bullets before words, can’t be the only law

    Blood on the streets, lives down the drain / It’s on your hands, can’t wash away the stain
    Every cell-phone video / Proves what we already know
    Truth is all that’s left to tell / Last chance before the final bell
    No more, no more, no more brutality, no more

  15. sam peckinpah believed his violent films would disgust Americans, rather than delight them. he regretted this. if he had read examinations of the American national character —Margaret mead, Geoffrey Gorer, David Riesman, Christopher Lasch, Philip Slater, Paul Fussell, etc he would have not made this mistake. USA leads all nations in violent, non-violent crime, rape per capita, despite that experts claim 70+% not reported.
    that US police are not more violent is a miracle

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