tw police abuse

retangis  asked:

This isn't strictly torture, but one of your earlier posts said you may be able to help with interrogation. MC has been kidnapped and they are trying to get information out of her. She is questioned in two separate instances, by a LEO and a civilian. What would the differences be in the two? MC is kind of a smart-ass and doesn't have the information they want. Would the LEO have a specific way of dealing with this? Thanks for any help you can give.

Weeeell I had to google LEO cos I am old and can not internet.

It’s a good thing I did to because well it doesn’t mean what I thought it meant. I assumed that you were referring to someone who might actually have expert training on interrogation. In reality most law enforcement officers do not.

I’ve posted this quote before but it really is worth doing it again-

-the average law enforcement officer in the United States in their career receives between eight and fifteen hours of [suspect] interview training. What fills in the rest? People use words and techniques from popular culture and what’s trendy.”

Joe Navarro, retired FBI interrogator, emphasis mine.

Police in the UK get a little bit more training but it’s not huge. And the result is that there might not be much difference between an officer and a civilian when it comes to interrogation.

Both of them are likely to be acting based on what they’ve seen on TV.

So…..this scenario largely depends on you.

I can give you a really realistic worse case scenario, based on actual torture cases in the states by police officers. But it’s not any more realistic than the best case scenario.

I think really the deciding factors are the civilian and police characters themselves with perhaps a side in what you the author want to say about the police and treatment of suspects.

I might be wrong but the LEO acronym gave me a US vibe. I’m aware that there are a fair number of issues to do with US police departments at the moment and while I’ve got opinions I don’t think it’s my place to tell you how to handle these issues. That would be too much like telling you what your story should be.

As I see it there are….four main possible combinations. Both interrogators are against forceful tactics and torture, one or the other might think it’s a good idea, or they could both be sadistic assholes.

Psychology experiments have repeatedly shown that we tend to obey people in authority. So if your LEO is in favour of ‘pushing hard’ whatever that entails, the civilian is statistically likely to go with that even if they disagree. However if the situation is reversed the LEO will probably be able to restrain the civilian.

So this largely comes down to your LEO as a character.

Even their experience and the amount of interrogations they’ve conducted are negligible factors compared to their personal attitude to the process. Abuses aside the whole thing is likely to go better if the interrogator goes in to it with an open mind. If the LEO goes in assuming your MC ‘knows something’ the whole situation is more likely to go badly. Though not necessarily in a physically abusive way.

The truth is interrogations are a pretty shit way of getting information. Humans have terrible memories and we’re very prone to editing our own memories without consciously being aware of it.

A good police officer with a lot of experience would probably be aware of that. But a bad or inexperienced officer might not be.

There are some techniques that don’t so much help with getting information but help spot inconsistencies in a story. I get the impression that is what you’re after over a history of police torture so-

Get the MC to tell their story backwards. That tends to make any inconsistencies much more obvious when compared to the version they told forwards. Lies are difficult to keep up when someone does this.

Get one of the interrogators to write down or record everything. They’ll need to go over it all later, something that should take several hours.

Try and build a repartee with the MC. Different people do this in different ways but the basic idea is to create a congenial and friendly atmosphere, to put the suspect at ease. This will be difficult or impossible if the ‘suspect’ has been kidnapped.

This move reeks of desperation on the part of the kidnappers. Because a good investigation relies primarily on people willingly volunteering information, then on forensic evidence and only lastly on interrogations. This kidnapping has the potential to utterly ruin the trust between police officers and the public, crippling future investigations and cutting off a potential source of evidence for this one.

Additionally it’s likely to cost the police officer their job, and because they’re unlikely to gain the MC’s trust by kidnap they’re unlikely to get any information even if the MC had it. Because the stress and fear from being kidnapped would affect the MC’s memory the same way torture would (though to a lesser degree).

I think you should consider whether this scenario is something you really need for your story. It seems very unlikely to end well for either interrogator. The fact that they’re attempting it or considering it at all suggests to me that they’re not overly concerned with evidence, procedure and facts.

It makes it sound as if this LEO is a useless police officer and that paired with the desperation of the scenario does make me think ‘torturer’ is a real possibility.

Of course with a desperate and personal enough situation, something this particular LEO would risk everything even jail or death for, that doesn’t have to be the case. They’re your character, and at the moment from what you’ve sketched out everything comes down to the motives, experience and personality of the police officer.

With an inexperienced officer, someone who doesn’t necessarily know that interrogations are rubbish, you have more range to play with. They could be well meaning and genuinely mistaken- Whatever sort of motive or personality an inexperienced officer in this position has their interrogation skills probably won’t hugely differ from the civilian’s.

With an experienced officer you end up with something more polarised: either a police officer who knows this is not going to actually work but tries to conduct it properly anyway, or a probable torturer who stopped doing real police work a long time ago in favour of beating ‘information’ out of anyone whose path they cross.

In which case their style will really differ from the civilian’s. Either by following some of the interrogation techniques I outlined above or by a lot of open-handed slaps and electric shocks (probably from stun guns, Tasers or riot gear).

I….appreciate that this answer is probably a bit more open than you were hoping for. I’m perfectly happy to take more questions, let me know if you need any more help.


Person A used to believe in happily ever afters. They met Person C, and thought that they might have met the one. Their thoughts were corrected, however, after one of Person C’s violent outbursts, that ended with Person A rather bruised, both emotionally and physically. Person A quickly headed to the police, desperate for a safe way out, only to find, that as Person C is [famous, politically connected, a fellow cop, etc.], none of the officers are willing to give Person A’s case any thought. Months [or years] pass, and Person A begins to think that there is no way out of this horror of a relationship. Until Person B, a brand new officer at the force, shows up and witnesses Person C attacking Person A. Person B quickly arrests Person C, not caring or knowing about their status. Person A is incredibly grateful, and as such clings to Person B, both for help dealing with the upcoming proceedings, and emotional support. Do Person A and B end up together? Is Person C arrested? Will Person A get a happily ever after?

There’s a huge problem with that viral photo being spread of the two adults passed out from a heroin overdose with a child in the background. The police department that snapped these photos offered no real solutions to the heroin epidemic. They didn’t provide any links, phone numbers, or other resources to help those in need. They don’t address the dozens of things that need to be addressed especially how law enforcement contributes to the cycle. From the post: 

“It is time that the non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis. The poison known as heroin has taken a strong grip on many communities not just ours, the difference is we are willing to fight this problem until it’s gone and if that means we offend a few people along the way we are prepared to deal with that.” 

Right… so all I’m getting from this stunt is that you want people to pat you on the back for being heroes and elevate your egos at the expense of a child’s pain. Addiction and those it harms is fucking real, they don’t need you to plaster their uncensored photo all over the internet. That child doesn’t need his photo to be shown to the world - his privacy was never even considered before his pain was posted for the whole world to weigh in on. 

Honestly the officers can say all day that they posted the photos to raise awareness or whatever bullshit they’re claiming but they were too busy praising themselves to actually bother posting resources or anything of substance. Like, you don’t have to post these images to start a conversation on child neglect and/or addiction. Doctors, nurses, EMTs, social workers, therapists, rehab workers, and a dozen other professions directly interact with addicts too and yet they manage to keep themselves from posting pictures like this every time they do their job. 

Potential Can of Worms: "It's Discipline, Not Child Abuse"

So, there’s this video going around on my Facebook feed (I live in a pretty conservative area, so that might contribute to its popularity). It’s captioned “It’s Discipline/Not Child Abuse”. It’s a dramatic clip of two police officers approaching a house because of a recent call. Mom answers the door, is confused. Turns out the kid called the cops because “she hit me with this belt!” Further investigation reveals that the kid had skipped class, his mom found out, confronted him about it, he lied, and so she smacked him three times on the butt with a belt. One of the policemen pulls the kid aside, asking him questions: has this ever happened before (no), did she hit him anywhere else (no), did she use her hands or any other object (no). Kid says “That’s child abuse! I have rights!” which, apparently, he heard from his friends.

At this point, the officer proceeds to FLIP OUT. He says, “You don’t EVER call the cops on your mom!” and tells him he got some crappy advice from his “playground buddies”. At one point he hands the belt (which the kid had brought out as “evidence”) back to the mom and says “you know what, ma'am? Hit him again.” The whole thing culminates with the officer telling the kid “If this ever happens again, I’m going to come back here and take this big old belt [meaning his uniform belt] and use it on you.” Exit officers, screen cuts to black.

I have some thoughts about this, as copy and pasted from the post I made after sharing tis video.

While there is a key distinction between “child abuse” and “discipline” that I feel needs to be explored more fully, I feel like this video does a poor [read: absolutely horrible] job of actually addressing it.

1) The kid says he heard about child abuse and his rights from his friends, which means the authority figures in his life (parents, teachers, etc.) have not actually explained to him what abuse is and what forms it can take, as well as not explained to him what his rights are or what they mean in connection with other people. While that IS a huge topic, it is possible to explain and discuss such things at a developmentally appropriate level, and I honestly feel like such discussions should be freaking mandatory. Children and parents both should learn exactly what forms abuse can take so that they can be aware of it.

2) The policeman said, “Don’t you ever call the police on your mom!” What happens to the kid who actually *is* being abused? What happens when they see this, and hear, “It doesn’t matter what is happening to you, Never Call The Police. You will get in trouble for calling the police on your abuser, and the police will not help you.” While there are some kids who do not understand what abuse is and may overreact, we have a responsibility to make sure that the channels that are meant to protect the innocent remain open to the people that need them.

3) The mother’s actions may not have been abusive, but the police officer’s actions certainly were. No crime had been committed, as far as I understand it, and so verbally assaulting a minor and threatening bodily harm is wildly unacceptable. That is not his jurisdiction. The mother can make decisions on how to discipline her child, but a stranger with less than thirty seconds of information has no right to behave in such a manner. And it makes me angry to think that such behavior is being lauded, even in a rhetorical situation. We need discussions and understanding, NOT threats.

This has been another of My Opinions™. Good night.

Using Writing With Colour Respectfully

@bubblerobot said:

I’m impressed that you responded to my reply with a post. I did not mean like an info dump. We are people too asking you for advice. And you are right about the librarian thing. It’s frustrating, but librarians can’t get mad at the same question over and over. shooting a simple privet message directing them to the navigation page is better and more helpful. If you can’t or don’t want to answer that question directly please ask us more questions before answering…So we can get a full idea. like I said it’s really hard to get everything we want to ask done well in tumblr. I get it’s frustrating and you are really putting yourself out there. But it’s also frustrating to read through a blog and only hear I am doing it wrong. I’m following you, I know I’m doing it wrong so I’m trying to figure out how to do it right. So even like a focus on one example that’s new to your blog on ask post would be nice. thanks

In response to: On Asking WWC Questions Without Prior Research and Research Guides and Writing With Colour  

We reply to extremely entitled attitudes we feel compelled to call out in detail, in the hopes they will learn. We are replying to you again for the same reason.

>>It’s frustrating, but librarians can’t get mad at the same question over and over.

Your example is null and void because librarians (as like all service workers, which we are), can and do get mad whenever they are asked questions that are clearly marked in signs. Read through Not Always Right and the bulk of questions are about people not reading the signs. These people make any service worker’s job living hell, and they make our lives living hell.

We have signs. If you click the “ask” link on our blog, you will find the FAQ… and the question I replied to was in direct violation of that (which I said as much in my reply). If people circumvent the FAQ by directly typing in an ask, that is their fault, not ours. The very top of the FAQ says to check the tags, first. We have a navigation which is also visible on mobile. On the computer, we also have a custom google search so you can literally treat the blog as google without having to ask a single question. If people ignore those, it’s their fault, not ours.

Most service workers are not in a place to show anger because they are at risk of losing their jobs, hence why you do not see it. “Can’t get mad because I will lose my job so I pretend to be polite” is not the same as “can’t get mad, period”, because “can’t get mad, period” is something no person can ever do. By requesting that we not get mad, you are acting in an abusive capacity. Emotion and tone policing where there is no grounds other than “you could be nicer in the face of hate and disrespect” is abusive, and a form of invalidation.

We run this blog for fun, in our spare time, and we have no such qualms about telling people when they have overstepped. This is doubly true because society as a whole has a racial bias against us, therefore they expect the service worker mask to be who we are. They do not entertain the possibility that we are not service workers full time, and that, in the back, we complain about people who expect us to be the racist caricatures they’re used to reading and watching. The very caricatures we try to fight against.

If you expect us to be absolute in our service work, you are not ready to write us. Even the most staunch activists need breaks. Even the most polite get mad. Constant service to white needs is the cause of most racist caricatures (note how many PoC tropes are “kind ‘ethnic’ mentor helps white character achieve goals”) and is exactly what we are standing against.

The matter is closed. We demand people respect the signs we have put up, and we are allowed to get upset when people insist we must still be polite when being constantly disrespected. If you got mad at my post, you are part of the problem. If you followed the rules and wanted to be a good ally, you would not even be targeted by that post. But you felt targeted. And that says more about you than us.

Additional Reading: 

~ Mod Lesya



TW: Rape, violence, police abuse and murder

This is important. PLEASE WATCH & SHARE THIS. This is an interview we conducted with Baltimore Black Panther and community leader Reverend Annie Chambers about the murder of her grandchildren by the police, and the long history of violence against Black people in Baltimore. 

This interview was conducted back in 2012. I blame myself for the video cutting out after 47 minutes. The camera died and I didn’t have replacement batteries. Someone in the Baltimore area should reach out and follow up with Reverend Chambers if possible. 

What we’re seeing in Baltimore today is the culmination of years decades  centuries of continuous violence and oppression against Black people at the hands of police and White supremacy.