Imagine if, in your role as an employer, you had to explicitly list every potential offense, short of criminal activity, that would result in the firing of an employee. Would putting someone in a choke hold (resulting in a $1.4 million lawsuit) and later calling it a “semi-bear-hug hold” have made your list? This is the …Read More »
Articles by Tate Fegley
In a previous post, I discussed how fired police officers are often able to get their jobs back by appealing their termination to independent arbitration and thus how only time will tell if the officers involved in the arrest and death of George Floyd will remain fired. Even if they are unable to return to …Read More »
When you hear a cop has been fired from his job for some heinous act, be sure to check back a few months later. He may have been rehired thanks to the fact that it’s very easy for cops to appeal termination and win. This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated …Read More »
What does it take to fire a cop? In comparison to several other high-profile cases in which a police officer has killed someone on video, things have moved remarkably fast in the George Floyd case. The other four officers involved in his arrest were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department the following day. By comparison, …Read More »
There is a case — Timbs v. Indiana — currently before the United States Supreme Court regarding civil asset forfeiture and whether the excessive fines clause of the 8th Amendment also applies to the states due to the 14th Amendment’s incorporation clause. The petitioner is Tyson Timbs, who became addicted to the opioid hydrocodone after …Read More »
Police departments in a number of U.S. cities — Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans — are receiving increased attention for their failure to clear even half of the homicides that occur in their jurisdiction. And note that to “clear” a case doesn’t even necessarily require that someone be convicted of the crime, but only that either …Read More »
Of all the factors that contribute to police brutality and misconduct, one that has been relatively neglected but has received a growing amount of attention is police unions. Their influence became harder to ignore after all of the anecdotes of police unions making it more difficult to investigate and discipline misconduct.Notable examples include Pittsburgh officer Paul Abel, who, after being sucker-punched through his car window while driving under the influence, took off in pursuit of whom he thought had punched him, pistol-whipped him and accidentally shot him in the hand while doing so. He was fired but later reinstated through arbitration as allowed by his union contract. Oakland officer Hector Jimenez shot and killed two unarmed men on separate occasions, one ofRead More »
In a previous post, I argued that there is little evidence for the existence of a “war on cops,” at least when measured in terms of the number of police officers feloniously killed. Some readers suggested that such a measure is too simplistic and does not capture precisely what is meant by commentators when they call it a war. In response to this, I consulted one of foremost proponents of the war on cops narrative, Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute. According to her book, The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe, the war does not consist primarily of violence against police officers, but rather lack of proper fealty to what Will Grigg so appropriately dubbed “the punitive priesthood.” That is, the main artillery in thisRead More »
With the FBI releasing the 2016 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted data this month, reports on police deaths have once again found their way into headlines. Such reports offer a great illustration of how reporting the same facts in different ways can dramatically change how big a problem seems to be. Also interesting is the information that is reported depending on the media outlet. NPR, for example, emphasizes the number of police killed with firearms specifically, rather than the general category of “feloniously.” Fox News will emphasize the “War on Cops” narrative while reporting total officer deaths rather than violent officer deaths, presumably because the former is a bigger number. This is misleading, however, since it includes deaths due to things such asRead More »
Policing in America has been a contentious issue, especially since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. Many different explanations have been extended as to why confrontations between the police and citizens so often become lethal: racism, poor training, availability of firearms to civilians, etc. As such, “solutions” to the problem target these issues. However, the ideas of Ludwig von Mises regarding economic calculation, despite being developed almost a century ago, offer far more interesting, and potentially more fruitful, insight into the matter of policing in a free society.Mises’s argument was that without private property in the means of production, there can be no market prices for capital goods and therefore no way of calculating theRead More »
Big GovernmentLegal SystemCompared to the general population, advocates of a minimal state and those of a stateless society overwhelmingly agree on a vast majority of political issues. I wish to argue here that there should be at least one more agreement between them than there traditionally has been: policing services need not be monopolized by the state and would be more efficiently provided by the private sector.Almost every individual who has argued for the desirability of having policing services provided in a free market does not stop there, but applies the same reasoning to other services monopolized by the traditional minimal state and thus conclude that a stateless society is optimal. Unconvinced minarchist libertarians, given the choice between their ideal minimal state — one that provides policing, courts, and the military — and a stateless society, will tend to stick with the former.1An alternative that is seldom considered, however, is one in which private enterprise competes to meet consumer preferences for policing within a state system. Such a framework is immune to criticisms of the stability of a stateless society, such as that by Tyler Cowen, who argues that arbitration networks in a stateless society would eventually collude and resemble a state.
On Monday, January 23rd, President Trump announced a hiring freeze on federal workers, with an exception for jobs that are ostensibly related to national security or public safety. The exception includes uniformed military personnel, but does not include the military’s civilian support staff, which already numbers around 750,000.This has led to somewhat of a brouhaha regarding two major US Army bases – one in Fort Knox, Kentucky and the other in Wiesbaden, Germany — that have sent out memos to soldiers informing them that child care services would no longer be provided by the Army, specifically claiming that the closure is due to the hiring freeze. On its face, such a cut seems like a great burden to put on military families and may lead one to question whether this hiring freeze is really worth it. And that is precisely the intention.The First Rule of Budget Cuts: Cut the Most Popular Programs FirstIf one takes any time at all to consider the options Army bases have for cutting expenses, it requires an extreme form of naiveté to think that they had no choice but to cut child care. Don’t just take my word for it: go to the Garrison Wiesbaden website and look at the recreational opportunities that remain funded.Read More »
The EnvironmentLegal SystemThe Police StatePolitical TheoryBoth before and after September 11, 2001, the FBI has considered “eco-terrorism” one of its primary domestic terrorism concerns. The FBI defines “eco-terrorism” as “the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an environmentally-oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature.”It comes in several forms, but one of its primary tactics is “ecotage” or “monkey-wrenching” where radical environmental groups sabotage the property of companies whose activities they deem to be bad for the environment (such as the capital goods used in the logging industry).But, some groups have discovered a tactic in which they are able to not only avoid punishment by federal law enforcement, but also enlist the feds as willing partners in their effort to destroy private property or deprive people of it.One of the groups that has practiced this method to perfection is the Western Watersheds Project (WWP), which has the intention of abolishing all grazing on lands claimed by the federal government.
The Police StatePrivate PropertyMany people recoil from the idea of policing being done by private, for-profit enterprise. They imagine that such companies, in their attempt to maximize profit, would be even more abusive than government police. But what most fail to realize is that private ‘police’ already exist in America and to a large extent: there are an estimated 3 persons employed in private security for every public cop. These include a wide range of roles and skills, from the night watchman at a construction site to sophisticated cyber security experts ensuring that financial transactions are secure.Private policing isn’t some fantasy, and it isn’t just a luxury enjoyed by the rich: every time you enter a shopping mall, go to a department store, visit an amusement park, enjoy a live professional sporting event, or use PayPal, you are being protected by people trying to maximize profit. In a free market, where transactions are voluntary, customers need to be pleased in order for companies to survive. People generally prefer to not be groped when they travel, choked for selling cigarettes, or have their homes raided by SWAT teams in the middle of the night for possessing a plant.
Legal SystemThe Police StateU.S. HistoryLast month, the Supreme Court issued an opinion regarding the case of Edward Strieff. In this opinion, the majority of the Court argued that it is constitutional for a police officer to detain someone without suspicion and demand their identification in order to see if they have any outstanding arrest warrants. (Or, more accurately, they consider such a search illegal, but will still accept in court the evidence obtained via the illegal search.)The facts of the case are as follows: An anonymous tip to police claimed that “drug activity” was taking place at a South Salt Lake City residence. Narcotics Detective Douglas Fackrell monitored the property over the course of a week. He considered the number of people making brief visits to the residence to be indicative of drug dealing. He observed Edward Strieff leave the residence, followed him to a nearby parking lot, and detained him. He forced Mr. Strieff to provide his identification and contacted the police dispatch, who informed him that Mr. Strieff had an outstanding arrest warrant for a traffic violation. Detective Fackrell then arrested Mr. Strieff and, upon conducting a search incident to his arrest, found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, and he was charged with drug possession.Mr.
Tags Legal SystemThe Police StatePolitical Theory
While you are likely still recovering from Tax Day, don’t be lulled into thinking that the pain is over. Your property is never fully safe from government confiscation.
One of the few areas of innovation in which the state excels is how to extract ever more wealth from the productive class, and one of the fastest growing sources of revenue for insatiable governments is civil asset forfeiture (CAF).
What Is Civil Asset Forfeiture?
Law enforcement agencies engage in CAF when they suspect that your property was either used in the commission of a crime or if your property was gains from the commission of a crime. Officials do not need to prove anything in court in order to seize your property; rather, they simply take it and you are forced to prove the “innocence” of your property in order to get it back.
Courts have attempted to justify this disregard for property rights by creating the legal fiction of having the case being against the property rather than the owner (resulting in case names like U.S. v. $10,000 in Cash), thus bypassing 4th and 5th Amendment protections. Perhaps also as disturbing are the perverse incentives of CAF legislation, which often allow law enforcement agencies themselves to keep the majority or all of the proceeds from forfeiture for their own budgets.
Tags Philosophy and MethodologyPolitical TheoryPrivate Property
An argument used time and time again against the idea that individuals have the fundamental right to own firearms is that such a right would have no practical limits; that is, if governments may impose no gun controls then individuals would be able to freely own weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Recently, philosopher Christopher Freiman redirected this argument, not to argue in favor of gun control, but to contend that rights-based arguments against gun control fail. Freiman constructs his argument using a hypothetical scientist named “Bobby” who builds an atomic bomb in his garage. Surely Bobby should not be allowed to own such a weapon due to the risk it poses to his neighbors, even if he plans to never use it. Taking this latter point as given, Freiman lists the shortcomings of three “typical” rights-based arguments or objections that libertarians make against gun control:
The right to a means of self-defense: the argument that individuals have the right to self-defense and therefore gun control is a violation of this right would imply that they also have the right to defend themselves with nuclear weapons.
The right to private property: another argument against gun control is that it deprives individuals of their private property.