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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Seven Days

Re: “Keeping Police Misconduct Secret

Of course. That's why it takes several days before a police report is even made public in a "possible" misconduct of a cop. They have to edit it to fit their stories. This is what happens when you let cope investigate cops.

Posted by CB Chalale on 08/26/2015 at 7:37 AM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

Posted by Editor on 08/13/2015 at 1:55 PM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

The Germans after 1933 made the funerals of a slain policeman into an extraordinary grand affair with lots of flags, banners , and that outstretched arm salute.

Posted by Side Unes on 08/13/2015 at 1:41 PM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

Wow A new low Mr. Gammon! Had Donald Trump said what you wrote he would have been excoriated and so should you be.
The fact that the only occupation you cite that is a public servant is a police officer- not a politician, bureaucrat, technician or teacher. For a man in the media complaining about what the media reports on and cries foul when Mr. Gammon's sensibilities are disturbed because of the size of a police officer's funeral is folly- who said the media is fair or that there should or has to be proportionality. From 2011to Aug, 2013 21 children were caught in the crossfire of shootings and killed in Oakland- sure sounds like a war zone to me. cite… and from the looks of it most of the children were children of color. What justifies police firepower is the brutality and firepower of the criminals- from the Black Panther Party bombings to the firepower of Lovelle Mixon demands a response.

At the Black Lives Matter today the chant was "We're ready for war", "No justice, No Peace", calling police officers "pigs." In Oakland the protestors have vandalized wide swaths of legitimate businesses. These are not peaceful events.

Mr. Davidzon advocates for the ability to fire public servants at will- OK I agree.

However I am not without criticism of police. In Oakland there are too few and what ones we have are too highly paid. They clearly have faults (and Mr. Burris has made a career of it.) Mary is correct to point out that Oakland is the top city for crime in CA and top 5 nationally- shouldn't that factor in to your proportionality calculation?

Why is it we name buildings for failed politicians and glorify them?

Posted by Jeff Diver on 08/11/2015 at 3:38 PM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

Posted by Editor on 08/10/2015 at 8:10 AM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

noun, plural heroes; for 5 also heros.
a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal:
He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.

a person engaged or experienced in warfare; soldier.
a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.

Although all work related deaths are tragic, the difference is, Police officers often die while trying to protect others. This officer wasn't killed by an accident, he was murdered. I don't know if the author actually knows the definition of the words "warrior" or "hero".

12 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Robert Murphy on 08/08/2015 at 12:38 AM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

Thank you East Bay Express for publishing this well thought-out and well reasoned piece. Our police officers serve an essential public function, but at the end of the day, it should be looked upon as just another job where standard corporate performance metrics ought to be applied.

The risks of the job are just part of the reality of the job; and as the facts clearly bear, the risks aren't all that unreasonable when considered against the context of other professions and the compensation for each of those professions. Sometimes people die at work, and that's just life.

The data also clearly demonstrates that in order to protect themselves, police officers have set out unreasonable standards for "justified" shootings which amount to comply or die. This is unacceptable, and there is absolutely no reason why the taxpayer cannot reasonably say that if you want the paycheck, you have to assume a higher level of risk as part of the job. Yes, that means you could be killed and you have to accept that risk because minimizing it means you will otherwise kill otherwise innocent people.

Amnesty International has very clearly stated that in no US State do the justifications for police using deadly force meet international norms and standards. In other words, it is an undeniable fact that American police unnecessarily kill civilians in order to protect themselves. This is absolutely unacceptable and has to change.

Yes, the taxpayers absolutely can and must say "if you want this paycheck, you get to accept a higher risk of death". We also must implement standard corporate management performance procedures, including at-will employment and other best practices that ensure the best possible quality of service at the lowest possible cost. This is just a job - and should be treated as such. After all, garbagemen apparently are at a far higher risk of death than police officers!

As a private industry employer, I am allowed to fire people for any reason, including but not limited to the mere fact of waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Yet the taxpayers, collectively, have no such recourse against our public servants. For that matter, the very supervisors who are responsible for managing these public servants do not have that authority. This must change.

At the end of the day, some jobs mean you might be killed (soldiers are certainly sometimes given assignments they're not expected to survive), and that's perfectly okay when the alternative is you're going to kill a disproportionate number of otherwise innocent people. Comply or die is not a reasonable standard for use of force, and is not one that meets international norms and standards for civilized nations. We can and we must do better.

-Vladislav Davidzon
Berkeley, California

9 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by Vladislav Davidzon on 08/07/2015 at 2:50 PM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

The Washington Post's tally understates the problem. According to The Counted (The Guardian's list of those dead at the hands of police by all means, not just gunshots), this year's victim count is now 683 (…). By the end of the year, somewhere between 1000 and 1100 U.S. residents will have been killed by police.

While the widespread availability of guns is a huge part of the problem, and certainly a contributory factor to the massive number of killings by American police, the legal protections afforded officers exacerbate things. Laws such as the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act make it extremely difficult to investigate and prosecute the out of control 'cowboys with badges' marauding our streets.

12 likes, 22 dislikes
Posted by John Seal on 08/06/2015 at 7:09 AM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

The article is correct in its main points, as is the historical comment made about the origins of urban police forces. We need to separate the issues of the often unnecessary dangers many workers face on the job (and why there is so little attention given to Workers Memorial day every April) from the issue of the what police do in society (mainly protect the state and political economic/racial status quo from disruption by the rest of us). This is why the UAW grad union at UC is petitioning within the labor movement to remove affiliation from police unions nationally.

11 likes, 19 dislikes
Posted by Joe Berry on 08/06/2015 at 6:54 AM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

Gammon's warped logic and leftist desire to control every aspect of humanity seems to give him the impression that he can dictate even the size of one's funeral - specifically "cop" funerals, as he calls them. As laughable as that may be to any but the most naive, his screed is a symptom of his mounting abject failure as a thinker and a writer. Only a narcissistic need for attention or perhaps the failing prospects for the survival of his paper could have prompted Gammon to write such a ridiculous and hurtful commentary.

This article goes beyond Gammon's normal far-left ideology into the realm of things sick and disgusting. While the family and children of police Sergeant Scott Lunger still reel in shock over the loss, Gammon trots out this despicable tirade complaining about the size of Lunger's funeral. Then in a show of his own insecurity, Gammon also invokes the venom of two local pariahs, attorney John Burris and riot-baiting Cat Brooks, neither of whom garners a scintilla of law-abiding citizens' admiration.

We have read the vomit of a writer who is a cop hater at heart and an advocate of the anarchy that disrespect for laws and law enforcement are bringing. His article has no socially redeeming value whatsoever.

44 likes, 26 dislikes
Posted by William H. Thompson on 08/06/2015 at 1:04 AM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

" We've lost sight of the fact that while many police officers do fine work and deserve our respect and admiration, they don't deserve hero worship or to be labeled as "warriors.""

Wow, Robert Gammon has really jumped the shark on this one. I took note of the term "warriors" in the recent death of the police officer.
However, as a thinking adult, I realized that term emanated from a family member of the murdered police officer.

As I have lived some 60 years, I have come to make very large allowances for what family members say in the immediate time after the death of a loved one. That is what I did when I heard the family use that wording.

Apparently Robert Gammon is so set on dismissing the heroic acts of officers, that he makes no such allowance for the grief of family members.
In my mind, during their initial week of grief, they can pretty much say anything they want, and normal thinking adults make allowances for such statements even though they may not be the most precisely descriptive.

If this family wants to think of their fallen father as a hero and warrior, so be it.
Only a very small man fails to allow the family such a latitude during their week of grief.
Robert Gammon needs to take some time to reflect on the natural actions of his fellow humans as they deal with the death of a loved one.

49 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Dan de'Data on 08/05/2015 at 11:52 PM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

Robert Gammon...of all the idiot editorials and columns you have pushed it over the top.

Police officers every day risk their lives in enforcing the laws that the both local communities and the State legislature make. Every time a police officer is killed doing the dirty work of politicians, it makes perfect sense to ensure their funeral is public, grand, and celebrates how the "thin blue line" keeps us from anarchy.

This officer was a good man and a dad. He was killed in cold blood by a man who knew he would be imprisoned. How dare you suggest that celebrating the life of a man committed to all that's right with police work be degraded.

When police officers are killed or are injured I want the self-centered people of the Bay Area to be inconvenienced, delayed, and made more uncomfortable even more so when a funeral of an officer is held. Turn off your damn cell phones and recognize that officers who wear blue are men and women of honor.

Robert Gammon...You are a much better writer than what you produced this week. Hope you can reflect and do better.

Michael Sagehorn
Oakland, California

45 likes, 19 dislikes
Posted by michael.sagehorn on 08/05/2015 at 11:11 PM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

Another article that has no social value and in fact contributes to the entrenched way of life that makes Oakland the #1 most dangerous city in California and in the top 5 nationally, year after year. It devalues a profession and a life, in this case police, giving he murderous one more excuse to justify their criminality. Yet one more ax to grind by Mr. Gammon.

40 likes, 21 dislikes
Posted by Mary Vigilanti on 08/05/2015 at 9:56 PM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

I was wondering how this column would be received. I suspect had it appeared in the Trib (perish the thought), there would have been numerous police and prison guard union trolls responding angrily.
Apparently, they don't read the Express, but when this paper had the audacity to challenge a local reporter's bias against pensions for public workers, and you only have to be able to read to see the bias, other reporters jumped all over the Express, all very curious.
The real issue beyond policing and what it really means and who it serves, is that these humongous funerals and media hysterics end up making police officers more paranoid and more willing to shoot first and ask questions--not at all--since later is too late. The perception that it is a more a dangerous job than it is, endangers us all.
a former cab driver.

23 likes, 25 dislikes
Posted by Pamela Drake on 08/05/2015 at 2:53 PM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

The job description of police officers includes protecting individuals from physical danger. When a police officer is killed while attempting to protect other citizens from a danger, that officer has committed an act of heroism. It is entirely appropriate to honor that officer.

It should be obvious that heroism and danger are different. It is heroic to value another person's physical safety over your own. Police officers often do this. By contrast, truck drivers (one of the cited "more dangerous" jobs) perform a valuable service to society, but aren't placing others safety ahead of their own. While the death of a truck driver on the job is tragic, it is unlikely heroic.

Lastly, some officers are so bad at their job (or racist, evil, etc) that they make society a more dangerous place--as we have seen all too many times. However, this does not mean that we shouldn't honor those officers who are killed in the line of duty while protecting the general population (as it appears Scott Lunger was doing).

56 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Tommy Katz on 08/05/2015 at 1:27 PM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

People still don't realize the origins of police forces. In the south they evolved out of slave catching patrols. In the north they were established in the 19th century for social control (putting down strikes by workers) NOT to protect the people, (except to protect the one percent from the workers) for thousands of years there were no police forces. In ancient Rome for example armed forces (the legions) were banned from carrying arms and wearing armor in the city itself. The government was rightly afraid of abuses by armed men employed by the government

30 likes, 38 dislikes
Posted by Blaine Dixon on 08/05/2015 at 9:04 AM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

The disproportionality is tremendous. When a Caltrans worker dies or any other public servant is killed on the job, you don't see anyone using the Oracle Arena for the funeral. In fact, when cops kill citizens because of a cigarette, a tail light or lane change ticket, the first thing that happens is that the Police Department leaks things about the victim. He or she had an arrest record or had marijuana in their system. All in an attempt to vilify the victim who died , many times for doing nothing, but from actions by the people who are sworn to protect them. This as absolutely part of a national pushback by law enforcement to paint themselves as victims. Look at what is happening in some major east coast cities. Cops are purposely pulling back from doing their jobs in order to drive crime numbers up. They hope to illustrate that the demands by the public that they be professionals and obey the law themselves is an obstacle to police work. That is ridiculous. Whenever there is a video recording of police acting way beyond what is necessary or legal, you can bet there will be an old white (usually) police retired cop or police union representative on television trying to convince you that you did not see what you saw on the tape. Even after nearly a year of almost weekly tape evidence from all over the country that police behavior is out of control, they still don't get it!

39 likes, 35 dislikes
Posted by Gary Patton on 08/05/2015 at 3:44 AM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 08/05/2015 at 3:36 AM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

I think the article's correct. "Warriors" and other aspects of modern police does create a sense of a war zone, etc., as the article describes. Nice insight. I never thought of that.

East Bay Express, can you find out how expensive this funeral was for tax payers?

The article missed that: the outrageous expense of the funeral using our tax payer money. Ok, ok! Have an awesome funeral, but Oracle Arena? Did the arena donate that time? What about all the employees working the arena? Who paid them? Our tax payer money!? What about all those taxpayer-funded police cars driving to the funeral sucking up taxpayer-funded fuel? Overtime for officers doing traffic control? Lost productivity for stopping freeways? Etc. etc.

HAVE A BIG FUNERAL BUT NOT AN IDIOTICALLY EXPENSIVE ONE, which police were able to pull off because (1) it wasn't their money (it was ours) and (2) politicians are too afraid to offend the police union.

That's the thing about all this police and armed forces over-the-top spending of our taxpayer money. Another example is the CA prison guards union pushing 3-strikes laws (the biggest donors I think) so they could make more overtime and pull in $100k-$200k a year with their high school diplomas (though hiring requirements have increased in recent years). As gov Brown said when he was mayor in Oakland: the first time he was gov, CA had 30k inmates in CA prisons; now it HAS 30k prison GUARDS!! That's insanely expensive besides the other ramifications.

And aside from obvious the evil of police brutality, related settlements alone should get bad cops permanently fired, not fake-fired where the arbitrator reinstates them repeatedly. Oakland paid $74 million in settlements from 1990 to 2014; Chicago paid $521 million in just 10 years -- 2004-2014. Bad cops are evil and expensive (E&E).

Aside from a hedge fund, what type of company would retain a front line employee who cost his or her organization several million dollars for bad behavior, not even a "mistake"? I can't think of any except police departments, hedge funds, brokerage firms and banks (oh, and the Oakland Raiders).

39 likes, 34 dislikes
Posted by John Gordon on 08/05/2015 at 2:18 AM

Re: “Cops Are Not 'Warriors'

Police officers may not have the most dangerous job but they could die while protecting society from danger. I'm disappointed in you because you're trying to make a pissing contest out of this.

Have you talked to the people of the communities that police officers work in? I dont know why you think Cat and John are representatives of "our" voice.

What is screwed up are the people who attended the memorial for Lovelle Mixon. The throngs that attended the public funeral of Felix Mitchell. These are men that poisoned our communities and they are the ones that actually dehumanized people... They have turned our neighborhoods into war zones.

67 likes, 28 dislikes
Posted by John Blankenship on 08/04/2015 at 9:06 PM

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