Black U.S. Army officer sues the Virginia cops who told him he "should be afraid" of them and roughed him up

Originally published at: Black U.S. Army officer sues the Virginia cops who told him he "should be afraid" of them and roughed him up | Boing Boing


So good to see the follow up on this!

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While I applaud suing the officers, the town, the county and every other agency that bears even tangential responsibility in this, I wonder if this is effective. In the end, the town/county/state will end up paying the settlement, and they probably have some kind of insurance for this.

Instead, I wonder if one could sue the cops’ pension fund. I am willing to bet that would hurt a lot more.

Oh. Yeah. And the obligatory ACAB.


Yeah, it is a very indirect and ineffective way of achieving accountability. It’s hard to fathom how big the pro-police community is when it’s costing tax payers $3.2 billion over 10 years.

It’s not JUST the financial impact, but that is one perspective.


The state attorney general has also filed a lawsuit against the town of Windsor, ABC News reports, claiming that its police discriminate against African Americans.

Yeah, that was the former AG, Mark Herring. I didn’t think anyone in Youngkin’s cabal would give a shit.


$1 Million to make this all go away sounds like a pretty good deal for the department TBH.


Well, protesters tried directly asking municipalities to defund the police, and most refused to even consider it. So, every time I see them getting hit in the wallet and forced to consider what kinds of cops they are funding, I say…

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I hope Mr. Nazario receives some measure of justice from his suit, but unfortunately unless and until there is a sea change in the qualified immunity doctrine coupled with actual criminal/financial consequences for officers who assist in the coverup of incidents like these, the taxpayers are the only party who will bear any actual cost.

Right now, the absolute worst case scenario for officers who act like this is to be fired a few months or even years later, retaining all their pension and in all likelihood getting hired in some other law enforcement capacity. So they act accordingly.


Not sure on the pension fund angle specifically, but often in these cases the actual officers end up being dismissed from the case because of Qualified Immunity. The department and town itself are the only entity that can be held accountable.

Personally I wonder if a Malpractice Insurance type setup would go a long ways to addressing both problems? Possibly? Make officers carry individual coverage for possible lawsuits resulting from their actions, just like doctors are required to do. Crushing premium increases will take care of problem officers long before their actual departments are obviously willing to do so. And then the town/city/etc budgets are somewhat insulated from huge payouts and carrying their own insurance.


That would probably depend on coverage criteria and claims processing for mistakes or unintentional harm vs. intentional actions. For officers with a history of brutality / excessive force, insurers probably wouldn’t touch them with a 20-foot pole. On the plus side, maybe a database of uninsurable officers would prevent hiring better than the non-existent background checking many departments use now.

There would also have to be controls to avoid a money grab in which intentional actions lead to payouts for the municipality. Not sure we can trust insurers to prevent it, either. We’ve got employers offering life insurance to employees whose families discover after they’ve died that the beneficiary is the company. :woman_shrugging:t4: Even supposedly pro-police conservatives are alarmed at how cops are making claims that drain public coffers and increase their pension/retirement benefits:


Yea, that’s a feature of it, not a bug! If, in my imaginary world where this could actually exist (police unions and lobbyists would certain oppose), officers are required to have personal policies and no insurance carrier would provide it at any price, then they are not able to work. And even just as premiums rise, with individual risk being ranked with a dollar amount then departments would have to look at an officer with a $100K base salary but a $250K+ per year insurance premium and ask themselves ifs it really worth keeping that officer on the street if they can save a quarter million on the budget by dropping them to desk duty.

In our capitalist hellscape society, insurance, for all its ills, is an understandable way to tell people they are doing something stupid by putting an understandable dollar amount to how risky it is. Building your house on a flood plain in the path of storm surges? Maybe not after seeing this premium. Running a contest with a huge prize and easy odds? Yea, that’ll cost you! Employing a surgeon with a history of mistakes? Wait until you see how much the malpractice insurance costs! I’d love to see added to that: Want to let this violent white supremacist police your community? Here’s the bill.


I think most governments self insure. Just as gov Dr’s don’t have to carry malpractice insurance because the responsible party is the employer - clerks, firemen, police, teachers don’t carry individual insurance.


In the aftermath of incidents involving police misconduct, communities are also getting billed in a different way (on top of lawsuits) as some bad apples quit, retire, or get fired:

At some point, maybe folks will figure out that fewer cops doesn’t necessarily mean more crime or a decrease in crime solving statistics.


Yea I think that is the case most of the time. That’s another layer of the problem. There’s a ton of challenges to actually implementing a functional, personal liability insurance process with real teeth in this space. There’s a law professor, Deborah Ramirez, that advocates for this idea (probably heard this interview years ago and is what I am poorly referencing now), some good interviews from her on NPR: Liability Insurance Could Hold 'Reckless' Police Officers Accountable : NPR

She makes the point that right now most of this is a non-starter because of the power of police union contracts.


“ The preponderant evidence shows that over time, the arbitrary power granted to the police to carry out roadside stops without cause has become for some of them a vector, even a safe conduit for racial profiling against the Black community… rights can no longer be left in thrall to an unlikely moment of epiphany by the police. Ethics and justice must go hand in hand to turn this page…”

~ Judge Michel Yergeau, Quebec Superior Court, Canada


FWIW, there are many doctors that choose to practice without malpractice insurance (the signs clearly posted in their reception areas). So, unless it was mandatory for employment for police to personally carry the proposed insurance, not sure that the objective of assigning costs to bad behavior will work as intended.

I know it’s a US thing, but I am continually amazed at just how MANY police you have, with so many overlapping jurisdictions.

I live in a small town in Canada. The entire region we live in has maybe, maybe 20 police officers covering several towns. I see a police car at most once a week, and sometimes I go for months without seeing a single police officer.

The city of Vancouver, BC, has about 650K people (2M in the Metro area, but the city itself is smaller). There are rarely more than 5 cars on patrol for the entire city. Yes, there are all the other cops (i.e. detectives) but still.

That said, we have many of the same problems with police up here, particularly in the larger cities.


Update your tide chart. That sea change is upon us. Colorado, Connecticut, New Mexico, and New York City have all ended QI in their jurisdictions.


It’s a money thing. Promote fear of crime, convince folks that police will protect you from/in case of crime, hire lots of poorly trained people who are terrible at actually solving crime, convince business owners cops are too busy to protect their stuff so they need lots of private guards (many of whom are retired cops), arrest / fine folks on a regular basis for minor infractions, seize people’s stuff /money for “reasons” but never give it back, lock lots of people up in money-generating prisons (make sure that ruins their chance to earn a living aside from committing more crime), convince parents that crime is a big problem in schools so they need to hire special school cops, and … profit!

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There are hopeful signs, but if it’s all the same I’ll hold off on popping the champagne until a bit more than 8% of states are on board, the EQIA is passed, and/or and the Supreme Court starts trimming the doctrine beyond the admittedly decent opinion in Taylor.

Glad to see the agreement on the actual issue, though.