Thursday, January 26, 2006

The PoPo

This shit just needs to stop. There's only one plausible reconstruction of the events here: the NHPD wrongfully arrested and abused another Yale student, then falsified the documentary record to cover their asses. And surprise, surprise, the creep at the center of this affair is none other than our old pal, that's right, Marco Francia.

Okay, so it's pretty clear to anybody who read's Radley Balko's blog that cops, like the president, are above the law, and so Francia and his accomplices won't be heading to the prison cell they've been working towards, at least not anytime soon.

Still, this situation creates what Kant would call a perfect duty for one member of our community. As some folks may recall, I endorsed Nick Shalek's candidacy for alderman in the fall on the grounds that as someone who isn't party to New Haven's regnant political machine, he'd have the chance to do a small something about the political rot and sclerosis that cripple urban government and, among many other consequences, enable urban police forces to plod along lawlessly, corruptly, and without any capacity to admit error, much less correct it. So here's a simple proposal for Shalek. Get Officer Francia permanently removed from any detail in which he'd be likely to deal with Yale students; Shalek, to be sure, has no authority to make personnel decisions for the PD, which is why it is his absolute obligation to his constituents to raise hell at every board meeting until the city holds this thug accountable.


At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm puzzled as to why you think moving this police officer away from Yale would constitute an appropriate response to the problem. In fact, it hardly seems a response at all: it focuses what most certainly is, even in your own estimation, a systemic problem onto one individual (culpable though he may be), and then calls not for that individual to be reviewed or investigated (internally, governmentally, or even by a civilian review board), but to be... transferred or something. Your prescription might very well have a positive, if small and short-term, effect on the Yale community, but it seems too narrowly conceived both to diagnose this problem in proper spatial and temporal terms (do you seriously believe that this could be a problem just for Yale? and that it hasn't already been a problem for many years?) and to cultivate the kind of serious redress your appeals to Kant and "absolute obligation" imply.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Finnegan said...

Let's not make the best the enemy of the good here. My working assumption -- see graf #2 -- is that any kind of serious accountability is just not in the cards; abusive cops just don't get punished.

My proposal is not just that Franica be removed from the Yale beat, but that Shalek make a public issue about it. Any kind of chipping away at police immunity is progress.

But yes, as a matter of the demands of justice, Franica & co. obviously belong in jail. The only point on which we might disagree is that the systematic problem, I think, isn't abuse -- that's a matter of a puffed up bully getting off on assaulting rich college kids -- but the cover-ups and falsified reports.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it matters here whether one thinks that the problem of police misconduct is in the first place about systemic violence or corruption or both. You nevertheless seem to think that there is a serious problem, a systematic injustice, which requires public accountability. But why is your response to say that a representative should merely (if rightly) make a fuss, and not say, urge the creation of a public police review board?

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Finnegan said...

A public police review board is a terrific idea -- we don't disagree. Would it be better if I said that what I was proposing was Shalek's minimal duty?

Even so, I think you might be underestimating the semiotic power that removing an officer who has been a menace to the Yale community would carry. Evolution and revolution don't have to be at odds.

At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anaxagoras said...

Finnegan, your self importance is staggering. As is your total lack of subtlety.

At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't you think that moving the officer, while bringing the issue to public light, would only make this dangerous person a threat to other, likely poorer, New Haven residents with less access to the media to make their claims known? Let's face it, the public is much more likely to hear a complaint of systematic corruption/violence from a Yale student than from the average New Haven citizen.

At 11:41 PM, Blogger Finnegan said...

Not necessarily. What's going on when a cop abuses Yale kids is a kind of "ya think yer better'n me" ressentiment; what's going on when cops abuse the poor is preying on the powerless. Obviously these are compatible motivations, but the presence of one doesn't indicate the presence of the other.

My working assumption is that in New Haven as in virtually every other urban community, cops routinely, though perhaps not systematically, abuse those who are not in a position to complain. That's simply the nature of law enforcement. Any little chipping away at cops immunity for such abuses is, on balance, a positive.

At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For your Info, If the Yales would Not over Drink and use Drugs, There would be No Problem period!!!
Use New Haven Citizens have our open on their bad behavor and will no longer put up with it and will report it the the NHPD.
We are very Thankful to have our Police Dept to keep out of control people off our streets.


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