The Night Chicago Died – Part 2

(Part 1 is here.)

A Chicago Boyz reader writes:

In addition to their own command structure and internal affairs division, there are now several additional entities that review officer involved incidents. These entities are staffed almost exclusively by people with no law enforcement experience or understanding of law enforcement. These include the Chicago Office of Police Accountability (COPA), and the recently constituted Civilian Oversight Panel. In addition to having no training in investigation, police procedure, and the use of force, these groups are largely composed of people with a strong anti-police bias. There is no due process, and there is not even the pretense of “balance” in their deliberations. From the comfort of their armchairs, these Monday morning quarterbacks sit in judgement of the actions of sworn officers who are compelled by circumstances to make life-or-death decisions under incredible pressure and often in a matter of seconds. Since it is functionally impossible to comply with all applicable policy and adhere to all applicable procedure in the real world, they have a near 100% success rate in finding fault with what is otherwise reasonable and appropriate law enforcement activity. The most charitable interpretation is that it is bizarre theater intended to allow the City to reap the benefits of policing at the cost of the unjust destruction of the lives of a steady stream of police officers. The least charitable is that it is intended to destroy the CPD. Ironically, the lesson of the Laquan McDonald and Anjanette Young cases is that the CPD brass and the City’s mayor will head off the referral of any really inflammatory cases if they can.

Chicago Police are no longer allowed to pursue offenders in their patrol cars or on foot. There is a very strict no-pursuit policy in place. That is correct: if you attempt to flee arrest, the CPD will not chase you. Pursuit in any context now requires the approval of a supervisor, which, realistically, cannot be obtained in a timeframe that matters.

Chicago’s criminal elements have learned this, and have built it into their modus operandi. If you are wondering why so many people are shot by assailants in cars, you now have the answer: in Chicago, they can drive away without risk of apprehension. For rank-and-file officers, to pursue is to risk everything for nothing.

Meanwhile, the rank and file of the CPD have come to understand that their every action is subject to review under a microscope by multiple entities, that their livelihood, their career, their pension, and their freedom are on the line every time that they act to enforce the law. The recent Toledo case is an excellent example. The officer’s body-camera footage was edited and broadcast in slow motion by television news in a manner intended to make the officer’s actions appear criminal. Anyone who bought the media coverage will be astonished and upset that the officer’s actions have been deemed completely justified. The quest to prosecute police misconduct to the fullest extent has brought about a situation where charges based on overwhelming evidence are dropped against a suspect, and brought against the officer on the basis of the flimsiest of evidence.

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The Night Chicago Died

(Part 2 is here.)

A Chicago Boyz reader writes:

Recently, two CPD uniformed officers were shot in the head during a traffic stop.

How did this happen? What happened? The detailed answers to these questions will be unfolded as the post-shooting investigation discovers the facts and assembles them into a narrative that “explains” what happened. As is so often the case, the analysis will focus on the actions of the officers, their failures to act as policy or training requires, and their poor performance even when they were acting as they were supposed to. All such analyses are riddled with hindsight bias, and invariably neglect the forces that now shape the interactions of the CPD with the public. You might ask: “What are you talking about?”

Several years ago, the City of Chicago signed a consent decree with the (Obama) Justice Department. The decree required that an officer formulate articulable suspicion prior to initiating any contact with a member of the public. As part of the decree, officers were and are required to fill out a detailed form every time they initiate such an interaction. Failure to fill out the form completely or accurately carries a risk of sanction. Net effect? Contact with the public went down by 80-90%, as did arrests. It turns out that seasoned police officers can talk people into disclosing a lot of information about criminal activity just by talking to them. A conversation that began with a hunch and without articulable suspicion often ended with probable cause for arrest.

No matter, the drop in arrests has become less important. Why?

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Quote of the Day

The Antiplanner:

Despite continued and growing preferences for single-family homes, a web search for “single-family zoning” reveals enormous animosity to such housing. Like the animosity to the automobile, this comes from a minority of people who refuse to recognize that Americans not only want but are better off in single-family homes and automobiles.
 
People should be allowed to choose to live in single-family or multifamily homes based on the actual costs of such housing, not costs that are artificially inflated by planning regulations. People should also be allowed to choose to live in single-family neighborhoods, protected by either deed restrictions or zoning, if they prefer such neighborhoods. Free-market advocates who want to “restore property rights” by abolishing single-family zoning are falling into a trap set for them by the central planners who want to ignore people’s preferences and cram more families into multifamily housing.

Where Do We Go From Here?

This is what a lot of us on the conservative – independent – libertarian-inclined, and otherwise classic old-style liberal have been wondering over the last six months or so. Where do we go from here, seeing that elections largely can’t be trusted, especially in blue-dominated states with a long, long, long history of election corruption and assorted ballot shenanigans?

Where do we go, and what can we do about a national news media which has become so nakedly, proudly partisan, basically the stenographer and mouthpiece for the Biden Administration? Besides patronizing those independent bloggers, reporters and aggregators, foreign newspapers like the UK’s Daily Mail, and that handful of mainstream reporters who actually appear to recall the original mission of ‘afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted’ and report the plain old who-where-what? While it does seem that formerly competent and respected outlets are shedding viewers like the Titanic shed lifeboats after the encounter with the iceberg, at least half the country does believe what they see on CNN and read in the New York Times, and those of similar devotion to perpetuating the Big Lie(s). What to do, especially when loved ones and co-workers swallow the lies whole?

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Dilèm Aksyon Kolektif nan Matisan

Generatim discite cultus

(Learn the culture proper to each after its kind)

— Virgil, Georgics II

Stephen Biddle, Nonstate Warfare: the Military Methods of Guerrillas, Warlords, and Militias (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021)

one-to-many entity-relationship symbol superposed over map of Martissant, Haiti

By way of making this more than a merely armchair review, I will be discussing the developing situation of state failure in Haiti, which is providing a personally harrowing example of the phenomena theorized and studied in this book. NB: additional situation reports like the one I quote from below will appear at this OCHA webpage.

I. Increasingly Scale-Free Military Activity in the 21st Century

In this follow-up to 2004’s Military Power: Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle (also from Princeton), Stephen Biddle continues to elucidate the many ramifications of the one-to-many relationship which came to dominate the battlefield between the Napoleonic Wars and World War I. Over that century and in the decades that followed, individual-service weapons increased in rate of fire from a (very) few rounds per minute to ~10 rounds per second, in effective range from ~100 to >300 meters, and in accuracy from (optimistically) 10 to 1.5 milliradians. Say 2½ orders of magnitude improvement in RoF, half an order of magnitude in range, and one order of magnitude in accuracy; multiplying these together to create a sort of index of effectiveness, I get an overall change of 4 orders of magnitude, with stark implications for battlefield environments.

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