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Thursday, January 17, 2008

News Cops’ Gun Stats By Race: Auditor And IPR Hit Back At Mercury’s Reporting

Posted by Matt Davis on Thu, Jan 17 at 12:32 PM

The City Auditor, Gary Blackmer, just told this Mercury reporter: “I think you’re despicable,” and “fuck you,” in the corridor at City Hall, in front of a witness. To say Blackmer was verging on violence would be going too far, but his manner was certainly unprofessional and bizarre. Indeed, I was concerned I might be called upon to defend myself. gary_blackmer.jpgBLACKMER: “FUCK YOU…”

What’s he so upset about? Specifically, this line in our news lede about racial disparity in the cops’ use of force numbers:

Handelman is concerned that a report on use of force released last spring by the Independent Police Review (IPR) chose not to include data on race for this reason.

“I just hope the IPR and the police bureau didn’t keep hold of this data for so long because the numbers are so skewed,” he says.

IPR Director Leslie Stevens and City Auditor Gary Blackmer declined to comment.

Meanwhile Blackmer’s colleague, IPR director Leslie Stevens, sent this email:
It is an outright lie to write to that I declined to comment to Handleman’s irresponsible and dishonest insinuations that I had data and chose not to release it. The Use of Force Report clearly states and I confirmed to you that we never RECEIVED the data. You will be getting no comments from me in the future.
It’s frustrating to receive such a forthright response to one’s reporting after having made extensive efforts to get comments from both parties on the eve of publication of this story, and been met with a wall of silence. Read more after the jump.

Messages were left via voice mail and through an assistant for both Auditor Blackmer and IPR director Leslie Stevens, to which the only response we received was the following non-comment from IPR Director Stevens, quoting 2 lines of an earlier use of force report. At 5:36pm on January 14, she wrote:

Hi Matt. I understand you wanted to know why there was no racial breakdown on force statistics and whether IPR was sitting on those numbers. The answer is on page 3 of the report:

"The Task Force did not receive or analyze suspect data such as gender, race, or age. The Task Force agreed a meaningful analysis in this area would not be possible within the time or funding provided for this project."

Nothing more than that. Let me know if that does not answer your questions.

Leslie

If I wanted a quote from the report, I could lift it from there. So I responded, sending this email at 5:52:
Hi Leslie

The racial profiling committee has just started looking at the use of force numbers broken down by race.

They show a trend—30% of those who had guns pointed at them between 2004-6 were African American.

Handelman says he sincerely hopes the IPR didn't decide to sit on these numbers back in the Spring for fear of the controversy they might provoke.

I was hoping you could hit back.

Best

Matt

When Auditor Blackmer confronted me in the corridor he said "we did give you a comment," to which I responded, "no you did not. you gave me two lines quoted from the original report." That was when he said: "Fuck you."

I don't feel I've got anything to apologize for. I told Stevens I wasn't happy with her response and didn't receive a phone call to discuss my follow-up email. To say the auditor and IPR director declined comment is fair, and I would challenge them to state publicly, here, why they did not. Defensive non-cooperation is not what I expect of our civil servants. Blackmer has just emailed all elected officials, and our editor, as follows:

I will not respond to any communications from Matt Davis of the Portland Mercury in the future. The email from Leslie Stevens below clearly responds to the question he asked, and asks if his question is answered. I was copied in her response. His subsequent hope that she would "hit" Dan Handelman did not constitute a clear request for more information in either of our minds.

His story in the Mercury stated, "IPR Director Leslie Stevens and City
Auditor Gary Blackmer declined to comment." When I saw him in City Hall a
few minutes ago I called him despicable and he said two lines from Leslie
Stevens do not constitute a comment. I then lost my temper and swore at
him. In the future Leslie Stevens and I will only respond to him through
one of my staff.

Gary Blackmer

This strikes me as at worst a misunderstanding. I cannot comprehend the reasons for Blackmer's over-zealous response. What do you think, readers? Am I a piece of shit journalist? Incidentally, this is the best email I have ever gotten from a city official. I will frame it.

Comments

1) You should have written that she responded with a quote from the report and then quoted said report.

2) Please stop making everything about you. Your narcissism is getting in the way of your reporting.

Blackmer is a bitch. The response was not in line with your question, what so ever.

Matt, a suggestion: Say "Hello Gary! Great to see you!" in the nicest way possible every time you see him. Then ask for a comment directly from him. Heh

My narcissism gets in the way of everything, Green Peas. It's indiscriminate.

Yet I don't see why it plays a role in this case.

My news editor, Amy Ruiz, is writing Blackmer a response which I expect she may post here, shortly.

I like hearing about the inner-workings of reporting and the kinds of things that really get said in the background.

You called Blackmer on his bullshit, and now he's mad that he got caught. Good work, Matt.

i'm not a journalist, but what's the rule on what "declined to comment" means? if a person's comment is BS, can the journalist say the person didn't comment?

Hindsight being 20/20 and all that...I'd say:

1) Stevens did respond to a request for comment without answering the question. Two different things. Again, 20/20, but you wrote:

"IPR Director Leslie Stevens and City Auditor Gary Blackmer declined to comment."

...which might've been better phrased:

"IPR director Leslie Stevens responded to a request for comment by saying..."

2) A good followup might've been "Okay, but now we've had a chance to look at the racial stats, and here's what they say. What do you think?"

3) Blackmer sounds like he's getting Charm 'n' Poise lessons from Sam Adams. Way out of line.

4) You say that Blackmer sent this to "all elected officials." Who dat? Seriously, how far and wide did he go to make himself look petulant and foolish? All city council members? The mayor? The governor? Dick Cheney?

5) Given the intemperance of his response, I'd say Blackmer is better off in the office than in the police bureau. He obviously can barely be trusted with a Blackberry, much less a Glock.

Wait - I don't get it. The IPR didn't do a racial breakdown on the use of force report?
Why the hell not?

Race and gender would require exactly two more columns in a spreadsheet. I would guess that once you actually enter the use of force reports into a data system it would take a matter of seconds to get the breakdowns. A first year econometrics student or basic stats program will break down all the numbers for you in a matter of minutes.

It's not that complicated. When city committees or the city auditor can't explain why they can't look at or even provide (much less analyze) basic numbers (which have already been gathered) to the council, citizens or committee members then we can assume they are hiding it.

I think Dan Handleman is being too polite. The city auditor should certainly be able to explain the data and should have had the racial data last year if they were really interested. Leslie Stevens should have demanded the data from the police bureau. I think that we should be able to expect that the IPR would get the data if it existed. Now we know the data existed.

So your inquiry is entirely appropriate. You are simply asking them to respond to Dan Handleman's insinuation that the city might be choosing not to look at its own data.

I know this will only provoke you, but I think you're a terrible journalist, Matt. Your style mostly consists of throwing molotov cocktails and then acting outraged when people call you out for your irresponsibility.

Fuck you, indeed.

Good job Matt. You got a comment after all and now we know how they really feel about the question. I hate to encourage you as well, but well... maybe you could get yourself pepper-sprayed after all, just hang in there man!

In the interest of transparency, and as long as you're all enjoying this peek behind the curtain (I, for one, do not enjoy throwing Molotov cocktails), my response is below.

In short, I was unaware of these emails until now, and relied on what Matt told me on Tuesday, while editing the piece. In hindsight, Kevin is correct—we should have written "Stevens responded with a quote from a report that did not answer Handelman's accusation, and she did not respond to a follow up request for comment." We'll run a clarification.

That said, the original point remains—Matt's question went unanswered. Declined to comment seems more flattering than the clarified version, which could also be read as "evaded the question."

Gary—

I appreciate you bringing this to my attention. Incidentally, that line in Matt's piece is one that I scrutinized—I like to be sure that the way we phrase how a source did or did not respond is as accurate and fair as possible.

Matt's original piece said you both "chose not to respond to Handelman’s theory by press time."

I asked Matt for clarification—had he been unable to reach either of you and assumed you were choosing not to respond at all? Or had he been in contact with you both, but not received a response to Handelman's accusation? Matt told me it was the latter. I rephrased it as "declined to comment" to make it clear that he'd gotten in touch but that you'd "chosen not to respond" to the specific issue he was inquiring about, as he explained to me.

I did not know the details of the email exchange until today. I can see where Matt is coming from: He asked about the IPR's handling of the numbers, as Leslie Stevens reiterated, and received a response about how the Task Force handled the numbers—indeed, the response indicates that the Task Force did not receive suspect data on race, which re-emphasizes Matt's question. Was IPR sitting on those numbers, or keeping them from the Task Force? Matt reiterated Handelman's theory, and again asked for a response to it.

Having seen those emails now, "chose not to respond" still strikes me as unclear. In hindsight, it would have been most accurate to say that Stevens responded with a quote from a report that did not answer Handelman's accusation, and she did not respond to a follow up request for comment. We'll run a clarification to that effect in next week's paper.

Absent that longer explanation, it strikes me that "declined to comment" is a fairly neutral way to sum up what happened, given that Matt didn't hear back in the 24 hours before we went to press.

I apologize if Matt's saying he hoped "you could hit back" with a comment directed at IPR's handling of the stats wasn't completely clear. I hope the two of you can connect, and discuss this further—it seems there may have been misunderstanding on both sides that has escalated.

Let me know if you'd like to discuss this further, and again, thanks for your note.

-Amy


Perhaps we should have run with "evaded the question."

Amy wrote:

I rephrased it as "declined to comment" to make it clear that he'd gotten in touch but that you'd "chosen not to respond" to the specific issue he was inquiring about, as he explained to me.>>

OK. Now it sounds more like a breakdown in the editing process, with a miscommunication based on the various shades of meaning inherent in the phrase "chose not to respond."

I think Matt's original is closer to what actually transpired with Stevens than is Amy's edited version, though there's a lot of room for disagreement there.

Rather than "discussing this further," how about offering Blackmer 300 words in the next issue, completely unedited, to say whatever he wants to say about the matter, without response or defense from anyone at the Mercury? Simple, direct, fair, and - most important - unfiltered.

I like Kevin's idea. If those numbers are disputable, I'd like to know about it...

Geez Matt... I never got a verbal "fuck you" out of anyone at city hall... (plenty of telepathic ones though, I'd wager). You must have a gift.

All arguments about who said what when aside, maybe you (or your editor) could ask them the following questions and put his responses on the blog:

1. What happens to information gathered from the Use of Force Reports?

2. Does that data include the race of the suspects?

3. Why haven't you requested/examined this data previously for the IPR or the Racial Profiling committee?

4. Has anyone asked you for the numbers before?

5. Hasn't the city always had the data? If not, why was the data inaccessible?

6. Why did Chief Sizer wait until December to give the data to the racial profiling committee?

Looks like Matt messed up. Matt, the follow-up e-mail should have asked why there weren't resources to investigate racial breakdowns, and when that investigation is going to start. If you'd already asked that in your initial questions, you should make that clear. The follow-up e-mail you sent essentially asks, "did you guys do a cover-up", but Blackmer's e-mail has already said "there wasn't a cover-up, we just didn't have the money". By pushing for a specific response you missed a chance to get these officials on record as to when they'll actually start looking at the numbers. It could be there's a real scandal here and they're pushing back hard, but you still come off looking like a jackass.

But keep pushing--you're doing good work for the most part. Just don't get bogged down in simple scandals.

You're a journalist. Maybe you need thicker skin. I'll bet Blackmer has been called worse and he doesn't put it in the paper. I doubt you've done your career much favor by publishing this. Get over it.

I don't know, Matt. You've got two separate issues here.

One is the whole respond/didn't respond bit. My read is that Leslie Stevens did respond, just not to what you asked specifically. Her right, certainly. But to say that she declined comment is especially inaccurate. She commented, then apparently evaded follow-ups. You and your editor decided to punish her in print. She's right to be pissed at you.

A separate issue is the matter of collecting, analyzing and reporting race from the use-of-force forms. The police bureau deliberately set up a system by which it could analyze the data without taking people's identities into account. The database for the use-of-force records replaces a subject's name, age, race and other identifiers with a number, called a CRN. (I forget precisely what the acronym stands for.) Then, through that number, the bureau can access the subject's identity which is kept in a wholly separate database.

The problem with that approach is that because the information is kept separately, the database of records alone is not enough to get a picture of the demographics of uses of force by Portland police. Without the second database, the analysis is impossible.

To backtrack is easy. The Portland Tribune identified the person against whom cops used force the most times at one point; that story is here:

http://portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=116466973495159000

Why IPR didn't ask for both databases and cross-reference them I have no idea. Part of IPR's mandate gives it access to every single record the police bureau creates. But it's clear the data weren't in the report because IPR didn't have them to give.

Why that isn't enough of an answer for you I'm not entirely sure.

No Unit, he's not a "journalist". The "journalists" are over at the Oregonian reprinting press releases. I think he's more of a a gonzo/new-media/annoying investigative reporter kind of guy and getting swore at and blogging about it is part of the schtick. Don't know if its useful or not, but it does help us outsiders see the absurdities in the system and at the end of the day Davis' little pissing match with Blackmer demonstrates yet again that city has no real interest in looking at its own numbers (be they racial profiling data, tram costs, drug zones or whatever).

"...a number, called a CRN. (I forget precisely what the acronym stands for.)"

Let's call it the Color Replacement Number.

You all can judge for yourselves if we tried to hide anything (read bottom to top):

-----Original Message-----
From: Matt Davis [mailto:mdavis@portlandmercury.com]
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2008 5:52 PM
To: Stevens, Leslie
Subject: Re: Force Report


Hi Leslie

The racial profiling committee has just started looking at the use of force numbers broken down by race.

They show a trend—30% of those who had guns pointed at them between
2004-6 were African American.

Handelman says he sincerely hopes the IPR didn't decide to sit on these numbers back in the Spring for fear of the controversy they might provoke.

I was hoping you could hit back.

Best

Matt


On Jan 14, 2008, at 5:36 PM, Stevens, Leslie wrote:

> Hi Matt. I understand you wanted to know why there was no racial
> breakdown on force statistics and whether IPR was sitting on those
> numbers. The answer is on page 3 of the report:
>
> "The Task Force did not receive or analyze suspect data such as
> gender, race, or age. The Task Force agreed a meaningful analysis in
> this area would not be possible within the time or funding provided
> for this project."
>
> Nothing more than that. Let me know if that does not answer your
> questions.
>
> Leslie

Dear Matt Davis Davis Davis,

If it's an consolation I was also accosted today in the line of duty.

Regards,

Mr. Jay Williams

So you didn't have the time or money to say to the police bureau (which has data folk already on salary) "Please give us a list of all of the use of force reports and tell us how many are [race x] and how many are [race y] by combining a list from two separate spreadsheets?" And then dividing those numbers by the total use of force reports to get percentages?

It's not that expensive or difficult. Not everything requires some expensive consultant. Surely you can understand why people are a bit suspicious about this issue especially given the police bureau's and the city's "lack of intellectual curiosity" when it comes to looking at the race data.

And the questions remain: Did the racial profiling committee or IPR ask for the data earlier? Who decided it was too expensive or that there wasn't enough time?

Gary,

Many of us have wanted to tell Matt the same thing, but we are not representatives of this city. While you may be upset at the way you are being portrayed I think that you should have acted more appropriately considering the position you hold. Matt's job is to agitate and provoke thought/action - your job is to hold municipal government accountable. Are you doing your job? By your response Matt obviously is.

I thought you weren't ever commenting on anything I said again, Gary? That exchange is included in the blog post, above. Reader: Leslie Stevens responded to Amy's email as follows:

Amy

Matt left a message with my staff asking why there was no racial breakdown in the Force Report and he left Gary a message indicating that Handleman had said he wondered whether the Auditor's office sat on the numbers. I responded and I do not know how much more clear I could have been: "I understand you wanted to know why there was no racial breakdown on force statistics and whether IPR was sitting on those numbers." I responded that the "The answer is on page 3 of the report." How does that not answer the question?

Matt did not ask me any questions in his response to this answer. He gave me some context for his questions and concluded by saying he "was hoping I would hit back." I had answered his questions and nothing in his response asked me for more information or asked me for a comment.

My answer clearly responded - the information was neither received nor analyzed. It is disingenuous to say otherwise. If you intend to print a clarification I would it expect it to be accurate.

Leslie
Now, it seems to me there are two issues here:

1.The auditor is under a great deal of pressure with the IPR's independent review due to come back to council next Wednesday. It's expected to say that the IPR isn't using the teeth it's been granted under the Oregon statutes. In other words, it's not being as effective as it could be. And he's bracing himself for that by rounding on his perceived "enemies" in advance.

2.Blackmer, I sense, has viewed the Mercury as hostile to him since I began reporting on these issues, and more generally, is over-sensitive to criticism in general. He has tried to ignore sincere questions asked in good faith from the start, and now his office evades our question, and we call him on it—I admit that we put a little pressure on for a legitimate comment, rather than a standard evasion—and he blows.

Given the seriousness of his role, and the seriousness of the public's being able to ask questions of this nature, I wonder how Blackmer's "fuck you" might be taken by, for example, a person of color asking the same question about why the IPR might have sat on the data. Or not.

Sure, Blackmer can say "fuck you" in a city corridor to another white male. But what about to the wider community? We deserve a more sincere effort to engage.

I think Blackmer and I would benefit from a discrete coffee somewhere to discuss these issues. Perhaps a discrete coffee somewhere public, with easy access to exits. Just in case.

A person of average intelligence (and no personal agenda) should be able to accept the answer given with regards to racial data in the report. Why wasn't it in the report? Because it was never received. Pretty straightforward.

If I were the subject of this article and a response I gave was as badly mischaracterized as in this article, I would be pissed off too. Most reasonable people would.

There's quite a bit of unprofessional conduct in this entire sordid episode.

Gary, stop posting under pseudonyms.

Joke.

Fairplay,

Let's face it, "I didn't receive the data" is a poor cop-out when you only have to shout down the hallway at city hall and say 'hey, get that data for me' to the staff paid to get the data for you. It's not like some outside parties are being researched or are involved or some varying levels of jurisdiction apply. Blackmer's office and the racial profiling and IPR committees are actually part of the city itself and tasked with looking at the freaking numbers. It's the city talking to itself about city data that the city has been gathering to answer just that kind of question about the city policies and practices.

It's also interesting that the discussions in the racial profiling committee seem to be completely separate from the IPR and the auditor's office.

Yet the data is undeniable. It's so blunt.

ha. The Portland Mercury, 'Where the media creates the news'.

Oh, grow up and get real, Sv. At least I'm honest with it.

Jesus, Matt. You whine like a baby because someone swears at you, then have the audacity to tell someone to grow up? Your greatest ambition is to be known as a piece of shit journalist but that would be stretching things. You're no more a journalist than the people who post their opinions as fact on indymedia. The sooner your editors send you packing, the better. Take a lesson from Amy and learn how to write investigative reports if you want to pass yourself off as any kind of reporter with a shred of credibility. How the hell did you get hired, anyway?

Jesus, Matt. You whine like a baby because someone swears at you, then have the audacity to tell someone to grow up? Your greatest ambition is to be known as a piece of shit journalist but that would be stretching things. You're no more a journalist than the people who post their opinions as fact on indymedia. The sooner your editors send you packing, the better. Take a lesson from Amy and learn how to write investigative reports if you want to pass yourself off as any kind of reporter with a shred of credibility. How the hell did you get hired, anyway?

By telling my editor: "I have the patience to wait while my comment publishes, instead of clicking "post" repeatedly, like a nervous wreck."

And because I could take criticism.

And because I am REALLY, REALLY, REALLY BRILLIANT at what I do.

Ex-cep-tional. Do you hear?

Maybe African-Americans are overrepresented in use-of-force statistics and prison populations BECAUSE THE COMMIT MORE CRIMES?

It is certainly as likely an explanation as The Man keeping them down.

Join the 21st century (the water's fine), and leave the race card at home.

Sure, Messieur Tee. And the reason we point our guns more at African Americans, is because they're more threatening than white people. Right?

I read the thread and thought, more static, nothing a latte between two blokes can't fix, then went next door to WW which writes, "Carpe diem, Gary!" in the snide little way they've cultivated over the decades of drift...

Which makes me think Davis is violating a prime directive of Portland: not calling people on their sh*t. Which is in conflict with journalism 101. Which answers why the snide remark from WW. They have freedom of the press and sell plenty of ad space. They're just short on competency, courage and hard work.

We're a polite society here. Everyone seems to have the privilege to tell their own little lies. Truth becomes relative, a show of hands, a cult of vague or ambitious personalities. Quite pathetic to the outsider, I imagine.

Quite.

See, Matt? Dreams can come true! You'll have that Facebook group in no time.

This just proves what a horrible journalist Matt Davis is. I am happy someone in "power" finally called him on his BS.

Matt, you need to be fired, you fuck up.

Why didn't you just stay in the homeland?

Someone, call Matt what you will, but I don't see him violating any of the Mercury's rules. Gary, on the other hand, violated HRAR 5.01 (no. 9) http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=11983

The rule technically doesn't apply to Gary, but still... He should know better, and if this were a rank and file worker, the City would certainly issue discipline.

Just to make sure I have this straight.

1. He asked a stupid question. (one that was answered on page three)

2. He got a stupid answer. (ie: "read page three")

3. He failed to get an answer to the real question by press time. (ie: "Why was racial data not considered important enough to include?")

4. He went with the incomplete story he had, and his editor made it worse by making it seem like the city never bothered to respond.

5. When folks got pissed that became the story, creating a nice smoke screen over the real issue here. (see #3)

I think the Merc should keep trying, no such thing as too many reporters in a city, but this is a pretty cut-and-dried case of a fumbled news story.

I am so jealous of Matt Davis. He has my dream job.

Amy, I can do this stuff, too, and I'm at least as brilliant as Matt. Plus I speak American and won't try to expense all that warm beer.

Kidding - mostly (I really am just as brillian).

Good job, Matt. Keep at it.

did this story get pulled from the rss list?

did this story get pulled from the rss list?

did this story get pulled from the rss list?

I would think "would not respond to repeated requests for comment" or "unavailable for comment"

I'm not a journalist, but after reading the piece, that's what came to my mind.

thoughts?

Here's Dan Handelman's comment:

As always, I have a few minor things to correct, one of which may be Leslie Stevens' mistake, two others of which are yours, and, since I don't generally go on blogs, I'd love to add a point or two of clarification in
the timeline.

Correction 1:
If you told Stevens that I asked why "the Auditor's office" might not have released the numbers, it would be inaccurate; your article and its exceprts accurately note that I wondered aloud about the IPR and the
Bureau, who co-wrote the Use of Force Report. (Her mistake?)

Corrections 2 & 3:
The IPR is not guided by an Oregon Revised Statute, but rather by Portland City Code, Chapter 3.21 to be

precise.http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=28413

The consultant's report, to my knowledge, is not being addressed at City Council next Wednesday, but rather sometime in February. Which is good because it will give the community and the Council time to READ the
report before talking about it.

Timeline:

April, 2007: IPR and PPB release Use of Force Report. Portland Copwatch notes that (a)there are no statistics on race because, they claim, they don't have time or money and (b) no people of color were on the report work group.

August 9, 2007: Portland Copwatch and other members of the Racial Profiling Committee's Data Subcommittee formally request the data
in the Use of Force Report broken down by race and precinct.

December 20, 2007: After two months of being promised, the RPC receives a printout showing the aggregate Use of Force statistics citywide and by precinct.

January 17, 2007: When Chief Sizer hears that we meant to get all the data in the Use of Force report, including armed/unarmed suspects and how often batons, pepper spray and other uses of force were used broken down by race, she said, "Ah, I guess I thought it was a strange request and should have asked for clarification. I guess I was being literal." That sounded sincere, but whether or not it was a misunderstanding we're now 9 months after the report was released and the statistics are still not complete.

Thanks Matt,
dan

--Portland Copwatch
(a project of Peace and Justice Works)
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065 (office)
(503) 321-5120 (incident report line)
copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org
http://www.portlandcopwatch.org

If African Americans are committing a disproportionate percentage of crimes, they will comprise a larger percentage of police contacts and use of force statistics.

According to the FBI (in 1997), 9% of the American black population was under some form of correctional supervision, vs. 1% of the white population. You can argue about selective enforcement or disparities in crack vs. powder cocaine sentencing, but African Americans are far more likely to get caught than whites.

In 2005, fully 40% of American prisoners were black , while 35% were white. Some progressives have suggested that all crime committed by the black underclass is the result of the lack of economic and educational opportunity. But the Bill Cosby and Colin Powell counter argument suggests otherwise.

It's pretty easy to avoid contact with Portland's Police Bureau: abide by the laws. If you do have contact with the PPB, a respectful and calm demeanor is the best way to avoid an escalation of force.

If you are belligerent (shouting, fighting, threatening) or refuse to follow verbal commands, an escalation of force will likely result.

Yes: I'm white. And I've always found the PPB to be exceedingly polite and professional. Even when they were citing me for a traffic violation. If the only thing that changed was my skin color, I do believe they would have treated me with similar professionalism.

@Megaloman- you assume too much; myself, a college-educated, professional, erstwhile business-owner, I have been stopped repeatedly in the 20 years I've lived in the city, sometimes while walking to my neighborhood bar.

Even when I've been with a group of (white) friends, they speak to me first, and seldom politely or even civilly. Mind you, they never actually approached me during times when I've broken any laws (and I do speed, jaywalk, smoke more than sausage, etc., from time to time). At one point a friend was pulled over for a broken taillight and the officer came around the passenger side to ask me for my documentation. I seriously (and seems like I have more experience than you in this regard) doubt it'd been the same case every (or any) time were I white.

That being said- who reads the Merc for the hard-hitting journalism? Matt made a barely scandalous accusation, Gary Blackmer reacted in an inappropriate way, and everybody made way too big a deal of both issues. I gave the articles as much weight as I give One Day at a Time. Gossip, the local edition.

I agree with the earlier post: the issue is why the information wasn't provided - and to be fair, this being PCville, I also believe the separation of the data came from a well-meant place... because the numbers would support the misguided notion of people like messieur tee (shouldn't that be "monsieur" or "messieurs"?) - you're right on that, Matt, some people find dark skin terrifying and threatening.

Oh, if we could all be brilliant!

This whole thing is ridiculous - what kind of reporter HASN'T been sworn at or called an asshole before?

I certainly never wrote about it on my blog when it happened.

Give me a break!!


1) Reporters should be assholes.

2) Flaunting your asshole status while simultaneously clucking about a source using the word is kinda bush league. Be either Hunter S. or Brian Williams, but don't mix asshole and puritanism -- it's just *creepy*, son.

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by far too distant to suit the conveniency of a bank. Traders and other The maintenance of those three parts of the circulating capital, therefore,

birth to the principal improvements of agriculture. The manners and customs banker, who gives him no interest for it, in order to answer the demands

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