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Suspect Freed After Exposing Cop's Facebook Status

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the goblin-tossed-out-of-court dept.

The Courts 653

longacre writes "A man on trial in New York for possession of a weapon has been acquitted after subpoenaing his arresting officer's Facebook and MySpace accounts. His defense: Officer Vaughan Ettienne's MySpace 'mood' was set to 'devious' on the day of the arrest, and one day a few weeks before the trial, his Facebook status read 'Vaughan is watching "Training Day" to brush up on proper police procedure.' From the article: '"You have your Internet persona, and you have what you actually do on the street," Officer Ettienne said on Tuesday. "What you say on the Internet is all bravado talk, like what you say in a locker room." Except that trash talk in locker rooms almost never winds up preserved on a digital server somewhere, available for subpoena.'"

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What the hell? (4, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161347)

That defense actually WORKED? Sorry, but that is nothing more than "locker room talk". If silly bits and pieces like that are valid in court, then the idiotic judge just opened a massive can of worms. Nice precedent, asshole. No more joking on the internet because someone could take it seriously!

Re:What the hell? (4, Insightful)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161363)

All that's usually needed is a reasonable doubt.

Re:What the hell? (5, Funny)

GrpA (691294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161685)

  The defendant had better hope never to see:

  Officer Vaughan Ettienne's MySpace "mood" set to "vigilante"

  GrpA

Re:What the hell? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161749)

A couple days ago, there was an article in the local paper. Someone (college athlete) had been cited for DUI but the charges were dropped. Why? Well, the arresting officer's report claimed he was visibly drunk, couldn't stand, was falling over, etc. None of which was corroborated by his own video taping of the event.

The alleged drunk driver refused a breathalyzer test at the time, which some people consider an admission of guilt. Now, I don't know if he was drunk or not, but consider this: can a police officer who lies on his police report be trusted to accurately report the breathalyzer result? (Keep in mind there's no evidence, just a number he writes down.)

Re:What the hell? (5, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162081)

Why? Well, the arresting officer's report claimed he was visibly drunk, couldn't stand, was falling over, etc. None of which was corroborated by his own video taping of the event.

Go to court a few times and you'll realize something interesting... for a lot of cases with the same charges, the officer's story is exactly the same, only with a few details changed to make it applicable to the particular defendant. Someone booked for DUI will always be slurring their speech, staggering, have bloodshot eyes, etc. Someone booked for resisting arrest will always have been waving his arms and cursing, etc. This isn't because all the offenses are the same. It's because the officer's testimony has no relation to the truth. He's simply telling the story that gets a conviction.

Re:What the hell? (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162129)

The term is "testilie".

Re:What the hell? (4, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162157)

Interesting how much of what the police can charge you with relies solely on the officer's report of it. Would it not be prudent that such stewards of community safety be at least reprimanded harshly for implying that they could be 'in a mischevious mood' or that they are 'watching training day for pointers' etc.

Whether it is bullshit bravado or not, what is different from this situation and that officer talking in the locker room about 'fucking niggers' and managing to arrest a disproportionate number of blacks? A bias demonstrated in the locker room or on the Internet is still a bias. The officer is clearly too stupid to be allowed even on Myspace, but nobody stopped him, now he got caught^H^H^H^H^H^H^H knows better.

This is little different than political correctness finding its way to the Internet via the court. Is it right? Perhaps not. Finding yourself the prime suspect in a murder investigation is exactly when you don't want someone telling the cops that they heard you say "I'll kill that SOB" about the victim.

It's a delicate balance indeed, but public figures should expect just a bit more scrutiny. On that note, lets smile now that we know exactly why video surveillance of all the population will cause as much problem for the 'law' as it will for anyone else.

Lets face it, there just are somethings you shouldn't be putting on the Internet. You can guess how many cops in that precinct will have myspace accounts now... can't you?

Re:What the hell? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161379)

That defense actually WORKED? Sorry, but that is nothing more than "locker room talk". If silly bits and pieces like that are valid in court, then the idiotic judge just opened a massive can of worms. Nice precedent, asshole. No more joking on the internet because someone could take it seriously!

I know! This really ticks me off! I totally want to grab a handgun and take out a large handful of innocent bystanders before turning the gun on myself. Or maybe I'll start a blog!

Re:What the hell? (5, Funny)

Mozk (844858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161715)

Please, no! Just kill the people!

Re:What the hell? (4, Funny)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161381)

Ok if i ever have a FaceBook page the status is gonna be set to "That cop set me up" or "I'm innocent" That should get me set free!! :D

Re:What the hell? (5, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161427)

Due to the fact that it was made as a public announcement on a publicly viewable board, it looses the "locker room talk" argument. Officer Ettiene admitted to bias in his police work and judgement. Training Day is a prime example of extremely poor police work, judgement, and ethics; needless to say outright criminality. By not sending a message to this officer, we silently condone him. An officer that exhibits bias cannot be trusted to fairly and impartially enforce the law and has therefore abused the public trust put in him. Officer Ettiene showed incredibly poor judgement and will most likely loose his job for it.

Re:What the hell? (3, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161499)

Due to the fact that it was made as a public announcement on a publicly viewable board, it looses the "locker room talk" argument. Officer Ettiene admitted to bias in his police work and judgement. Training Day is a prime example of extremely poor police work, judgement, and ethics; needless to say outright criminality. By not sending a message to this officer, we silently condone him. An officer that exhibits bias cannot be trusted to fairly and impartially enforce the law and has therefore abused the public trust put in him. Officer Ettiene showed incredibly poor judgement and will most likely loose his job for it.

Yeah. Personally, I just wonder what his Fark or 4Chan handle is.

(and it's lose, goddamn you! Loses the locker room talk, loses his job. Loose is what you do to the hounds)

Re:What the hell? (1)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161601)

(and it's lose, goddamn you! Loses the locker room talk, loses his job. Loose is what you do to the hounds)

You think the suspect had it bad? Keep talking like that, asshole, and you just watch that cop loose his job on you!

Re:loose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161611)

or goatse

Re:What the hell? (5, Funny)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161781)

I just wonder what his Fark or 4Chan handle is.

On 4chan, I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say it's Anonymous .

Re:What the hell? (1)

twotailakitsune (1229480) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161857)

Wow! He is Anonymous on 4Chan? This case is the less of his worry if the law finds out about what Anonymous puts up on 4Chan.

Re:What the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161639)

Loose? You fucking illiterate.

Re:What the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161989)

Loosey! I'm home!

Re:What the hell? (1)

vovin (12759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162033)

s/loose/lose/

Re:What the hell? (-1, Troll)

Smackintosh (1009941) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162073)

'Public announcement'?

'Sending a message to this officer'?

I seriously wish you were kidding, but I know you're not, and that's the sad part. I'm sure a police officer is using his own spare time on some chintz social networking site to post his deepest personal convictions related to his career in law enforcement via his 'mood update'. Right.

The fact that your post was labeled 'insightful' is both shameful and laughable. The fact that anyone would truly believe that line of reasoning is what's wrong with today's society...it's also why we're greeted by the astounding news that the criminal was actually allowed to subpoena anything so completely unrelated to the charge. Sorry, should have been tossed out. We don't have time, nor should we have any tolerance or patience, for this kind of nonsense.

Re:What the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27162123)

No mention is made of whether the Facebook data was public at all; it mentions only that it was acquired by subpoena. That, to me, could still qualify as locker room talk in the right circumstances.

On the other hand, his youtube comments on videos of police brutality...

Re:What the hell? (1)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162153)

That's ridiculous.

I'm a highschool teacher. Sometimes I'm in a bad, homicidal, don't-even-talk-to-me humour and that has NEVER made me fail a student or even treat them poorly.

I can be angry without being biased. I can do my job in a respectful, fair manner, no matter what my mood is.

So now what? Any policeman having a bad day is biased? Should they be sent home just because they had a rough day?

Re:What the hell? (5, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161435)

No more joking on the internet because someone could take it seriously!

Show me where I can joke in front of a cop without taking the chance of him taking it seriously and taking action based on it.

And you know, I agree, it sucks that it's come down to this but everyone is so uptight anymore and the cops like to flex their muscles a little too much. This is the end result of a bunch of old high school jocks with a chip on their shoulder and the people who get sick of their 10th grade antics with a badge.

Sorry for any cops that read this and think they're above that kind of thing, you just might be, but too many of your brothers in blue are nothing less than what I've described above. Most of us know police only when they meet them in a bad situation and all too often the asshole cops are the ones to be the most vocal. We rarely see the cop that lets small infractions slide.

Re:What the hell? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161589)

We rarely see the cop that lets small infractions slide.

Correct me if I am wrong but an infraction is still an infraction. The law was setup with punishments for every infraction that are suitable for the crime.

I'm sorry that crime has become so common place that we think that a "small infraction" deserves no punishment. Its like a child who pushes the limits of your patience day after day until you give in. Then you can no longer punish the child since you have set a poor example in the past.

As far as this particular case, possession of a weapon is a very serious issue and is by no means a "small infraction."

Re:What the hell? (3, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161723)

I was making the bigger point about police who know the right time and place to get in a suspects face instead of using his better judgment and understanding that people aren't always going to follow the letter of the law but that at the same time it's not done in the name of malice.

And overall it has nothing to do with this case in particular either. Everyone on the streets has their opinion of cops. Cops get a lot of shit thrown on them because of the ex-high school jock that I described up-thread. I think a lot of your better cops know this all too well and it makes their life just as rough as the asshole cop makes the life of the little guy.

Re:What the hell? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161867)

people aren't always going to follow the letter of the law but that at the same time it's not done in the name of malice.

Drunk drivers usually aren't being malicious...

Re:What the hell? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161965)

Drunk driving's not exactly what I'd call a small infraction. But let me ask you this: when was the last time you changed lanes within 200 feet of an intersection? Yeah, even that intersection 100 feet from the freeway exit ramp, that one counts too. Ignorance and the stoned chimps who lay out the roads are no excuse!

Or what about the exit ramp itself, the one from the 65mph freeway to the 50mph service road, with the little yellow square on it that tells you to exit at 45mph. Do you hold up all the traffic to slow down before getting on the exit ramp?

Re:What the hell? (2, Informative)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162047)

That little yellow square is not a posted speed limit, it is simply a recommended speed. Therefore, not going 45 is in fact, not a violation. On the other hand, traffic cops are given the right to cite people based on their judgement so even going 50 in a 50 speed limited zone could lead to a speeding infraction.

Re:What the hell? (5, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161727)

I don't think GP meant that letting small infractions slide is what distinguishes nice cops from the assholes.

The point I believe he was making was that cops who enforce with overzealousness the black letter of the law to the point where adherence is impossible are being unfair. The choice is that the law has to either stay well clear of the actual boundaries and allow for leniency, or go right up to them and enforce them rigorously.

Take speed limits. Do we want cops armed with super accurate speed detectors (assume they have such devices) trailing a car for 100 miles while it traveled under the limit, only to pull it over for breaking the limit by 0.5mph for a few seconds as it went down a steep hill? Personally, that's a small infraction that I think society as a whole would be better off letting slide because it would engender resentment towards law enforcement and, also, remember that issuing fines and the admin overhead of enforcement is a net cost to society. Having thousands of such cops on the streets means police resources are no longer used to track down real crime.

The specific principles of the Rule of Law [wikipedia.org] as conceived in a modern society must take into account the reasonableness of expecting compliance, and to what degree compliance is possible. To put it bluntly, sufficiently small infractions can, and should, be let slide.

Re:What the hell? (4, Insightful)

Marful (861873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161849)

Exactly how many laws are on the books in the state where you live?

20,000?
50,000?
What about federal laws?

Does anyone honestly know?


The point is, that there are so many laws on the book, it is impossible to not be guilty of one of them. And also given the fact that a vast majority of them are punctuated with discretionary conditions in them, such as "what an average person would believe" or "Probable Cause" or "Credible Suspicion", etc., who is to say definitively? Afterall, the officer has sole discretion in interpretation of these conditions.

Re:What the hell? (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162177)

In South Carolina, there is a law STILL on the books that when approaching a blind intersection, a motorist must exit the vehicle and discharge a rifle into the air to warn others that they'll be crossing the road.

An infraction is an infraction, they'd better get writing those tickets.

Meanwhile, some blind intersections in S.C. are in areas where it's illegal to discharge a firearm. Which law should they enforce there? According to you, both!

To go with your child analogy, let's say the rule is no yelling in the house. For some reason the young boy's pro football hero appears at the door one day and he lets out an excited yell. Do you REALLY think it's wrong to let it slide just that once?

Really, it's much better for society if the police avoid taking action in marginal cases.

Re:What the hell? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161595)

Police are there to enforce the law. Not interpret it.

Re:What the hell? (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161665)

Police are there to enforce the law. Not interpret it.

Impossible. Just by the fact that you can define an event (such as a crime) you've already built a personal interpretation. Why do you think there is so many squabbles around here that sound like two lawyers going at it in a court room?

Re:What the hell? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161759)

Sorry, GP is right. Courts are built to interpret, police are hired to enforce. If there's a dispute in enforcement, then the Courts are brought into play to further interpret.

Re:What the hell? (1)

twotailakitsune (1229480) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161943)

1st. This sounds like "kill them all, and let God sort them out".

But as a 2nd. I see the police brake the law a few times a week. They will pull up to a stop light, Stop, turn on their lights, go thru the Stop light, then turn their lights off. All this with out any need to. They Interpret the laws when they want too for their own good. You don't report them, or you will start getting speeding tickets.

Re:What the hell? (2, Insightful)

SirGeek (120712) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162173)

But as a 2nd. I see the police brake the law a few times a week. They will pull up to a stop light, Stop, turn on their lights, go thru the Stop light, then turn their lights off. All this with out any need to. They Interpret the laws when they want too for their own good. You don't report them, or you will start getting speeding tickets.

I still think that whenever a police car has its lights turned on, the station house should be notified. If he doesn't immediately call in, they assume its an issue and send backup (they pretty much ALL have a GPS now, right ?)

If it isn't a REAL issue then the office is written up for improper use of his police siren (or something).

Re:What the hell? (2, Insightful)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162057)

He's right, but he's also wrong.

It's impossible to enforce most laws as written. They require interpretation. The official intent is that police should enforce, but not interpret, the law. This, however, is totally impossible.

It has also been asserted, though I haven't seen it formally proven, that there are many situations where there is no possible choice of action that doesn't break some law or other. At one point it was illegal to use the social security number for any purpose other than social security business. And it was also a requirement that one include ones social security number on one's income tax form. That's no longer the case (they lifted the requirement that the social security number only be used for SS business), but it's a good example of what I'm talking about.

Re:What the hell? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162001)

But they DO interpret it every day. They are now super-lawyers, they can't possibly actually know every single law they are meant to enforce, any more than the rest of us.

Further, there are many laws that could, strictly speaking, be applied a lot more broadly than was likely intended.

Re:What the hell? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27162021)

Police are there to enforce the law. Not interpret it.

This attitude is why I left civilian law enforcement. Policing is not law enforcement, too many people in policing these days think they are a soldier, the job is that of a community protector, not the kings solider to be used upon the subjects. I was taught Officer Discretion; not every drunk needs a dui, not every speeder needs a ticket, not every pot head needs to go to jail. You examine the circumstances and make a judgement call, this art is being replaced with mindless enforcement.

Most of the kids that start the job these days are more interested then finding criminal acts to enforce as they ignore protection of the community. A good example of this is traffic, although there are no quotas, it is a highly encouraged enforcement activity due to the enormous amount of dollars it brings home to the local government. Were I worked a dedicated traffic car brought in 4x its annual operation cost in fine revenue. That isn't policing, that's being an armed tax collector.

As far as the original story, no surprise, kids these days need a little humbling. There will be a pile of AC's who will endlessly post pointless defences of the police, most of them will be cops or have some kind of police affiliation, they will all be under 35, with no military service. They are trained this way, to feel that this is how it should be, its normal, challenging this assumption will result in them "teaching" you a lesson.

Its too bad they don't understand their oath, or likely even remember taking it, much less understand how to keep it.

Re:What the hell? (3, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161735)

Most of us know police only when they meet them in a bad situation and all too often the asshole cops are the ones to be the most vocal. We rarely see the cop that lets small infractions slide.

We rarely see the cop that even enforces small infractions without making them a big deal. Part of their training is supposed to include not escalating a situation into violence.

Re:What the hell? (1, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161789)

"We rarely see the cop that lets small infractions slide."

That comment says more about you than it does about cops.

Re:What the hell? (3, Insightful)

DustoneGT (969310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161939)

Your reply says more about you than it says about the original poster, cops or me.

Re:What the hell? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162169)

That comment says more about you than it does about cops.

For being honest enough to admit that I neither know nor can adhere to every single law to the letter? I think any honest person would admit to it. Are you an honest person?

Re:What the hell? (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162063)

Sorry for any cops that read this and think they're above that kind of thing, you just might be, but too many of your brothers in blue are nothing less than what I've described above. Most of us know police only when they meet them in a bad situation and all too often the asshole cops are the ones to be the most vocal. We rarely see the cop that lets small infractions slide.

About ten years ago, I've been known to be a little speed racer on the highways here in Houston, TX (ahh, my youth). As such, I've had my fair share of run-ins with the police. Almost always they are polite but stern. They will listen so long as you don't give them a line of BS as they will always see through it. Hell, it's their job to sniff out and isolate the BS. Most of the time, an officer will have written me up a speeding ticket (I deserved it), and others they will yell at me till I formed a pile of goo in my driver seat. Yet, that same officer will have closed our little "meeting" with just a formal warning. I guess he thought yelling at me was punishment enough.

However, there has been a few times where an officer will have gave me a hard time for no good reason. Once, it was to impress how badass he was to a fellow partner that rode in the same patrol car. The other I felt he randomly pulled me over to fulfill his monthly ticket "quota". In all cases however, always prefix and end your conversations with "yes sir" and "no sir". Never get into an argument with an officer. Let me repeat... Never get into an argument with an officer. You will lose that battle every fucking time. Don't bother being sadomachoistic about it. Even if you're 101% in the right, just state your case once (politely) and let the chips fall where they may. But if you must, save your temper and proceed with a court hearing instead. Trust me; I've played this song and dance. You will not enjoy it when the tempo gets ugly.

Re:What the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27162165)

I've had a cop let me slide. A long time ago, I ran a red light because I wasn't paying attention (I was fairly new driver) right in front of a cop. I pulled over before he threw the lights on. I knew it was coming anyways. He asked if I had been drinking and a few other questions, then said "OK". He started walking back to his car, looked at my tags, came back and said they were expired. I said, 'yeah, i'm working on it, i got the papers for dmv'. He said OK again, and left. Pretty cool, I'd say.

Joking? (2, Insightful)

JoshDmetro (1478197) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161463)

How is it joking? Jokes are supposed to be funny, not hurt other people. The internet is a real place not some fantasy land. People are responsible for there comment regardless of what media they use to make their comment. If a terrorist make a threat on the internet should it just be dismissed because it was said on the internet. Oh I was just joking about blowing up the school. Should something like that be a defense, oh he said it on the internet so it was a joke.

Re:Joking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161551)

First off, it was hilarious, second, the joke didn't hurt anyone. What the fuck are you talking about?

Re:Joking? (1)

sleigher (961421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161661)

Sure sure there cop. Why don't you and the boys go down to the gym and pump each other, err I mean ....

Thanks Fletch!

Re:Joking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161873)

I totally disagree with you. The training day comment was HILLARIOUS!! I was on the floor after reading it. The only way it wouldn't be funny is if you hadn't seen the movie.

Between joining a crime family, being a pimp and selling my friends as pets it seems to me most everything on the MySpace meat market is either nonsense or filled with nonsense peddlers. Its a shame people don't have better things to do than to take MySpace seriously.

Re:What the hell? (1)

sleigher (961421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161579)

Are you kidding me? The Twinkie defense worked. This HAS to work.

Re:What the hell? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162071)

The Twinkie defense worked.

No it didn't.

Re:What the hell? (1)

sleigher (961421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162143)

5 years for a double homicide? He didn't walk no, but he didn't get life or the chair for that matter. Although they did get the charge to manslaughter. Weak anyways.

Re:What the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161605)

What are you a cop? If so what are you doing on /.

Re:What the hell? (2)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161627)

Sorry, but that is nothing more than "locker room talk".

What, "locker room talk" isn't valid evidence? If I'm in the locker room and confess to a crime, my confession doesn't count?

If a cop lies in the locker room, why would I believe he's telling the truth in court?

No more joking on the internet because someone could take it seriously!

If you're a cop? Yes, no joking about following proper procedure and respecting people's rights, on the net or in meatspace. If you can't take the topic seriously, you're in the wrong line of work. (Yes, this may apply to most cops. I'll stand by the conclusion that most people wearing a badge today, ought not to be.)

Re:What the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27162053)

Sorry, but that is nothing more than "locker room talk".

What, "locker room talk" isn't valid evidence? If I'm in the locker room and confess to a crime, my confession doesn't count?

Nope. Doesn't count. Not if you're a cop.

What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room. Things like when they pat each other on the butt. Or that thing that happens when they pat each other on the butt a little too much. You know, that stuff that they never tell their wives or their pastors about. Or that thing that happened on a stakeout with Larry. It only happened one. Really. Once. O.K. O.K. O.K. More than once. But we're just good friends. It doesn't mean that we're you know... that way. Really.

Re:What the hell? (4, Insightful)

pugugly (152978) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161647)

I've known too many cops - hell yes that defense would work.

One thing I've noticed about assholes with authority is that they *do* brag about how they are assholes with authority, and how they're going to screw up someones life. I've learned over the years - when someone claims that's the way they are, they are generally being honest.

Quite often, that's the only warning you receive, before they screw up your life.

Pug

Re:What the hell? (2)

SterlingSylver (1122973) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161711)

As the officer himself said, "I feel it's partially my fault...It paints a picture of a person who could be overly aggressive. You put that together, it's reasonable doubt in anybody's mind." If your judgement and demeanor are key to your job, don't go immortalizing your idiocy to the entire planet. If you're a cop who wants to be taken seriously, don't make public statements attached to your Real Name in which you discuss the "proper" way to punch a handcuffed subject. This case isn't all that different from folks who want to interview for jobs while their Facebook profile picture is them doing a bong stand that act surprised when they don't get the job.

Re:What the hell? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161765)

On the one hand, yes, it is little more than "locker room talk".

On the other hand, if there had been a recording of similar "locker room talk" where a cop boasts to his friends about learning from Training Day and comparing prisoner abuse techniques shortly before the arrest, you can bet it would be used (legitimately) by the defense.

It may not be a strong defense in either case (and from the little info in the article, it doesn't seem like it was in this case) - but it doesn't seem like there's anything surprising or invalid here, much less a new precedent.

The only 'new' thing is that this wasn't overheard in a bar or a phone conversation. As the summary indicates, people forget the Internet is, for some purposes, a large scale recording device.

Re:What the hell? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161833)

If we, as a society give you a gun, a badge, and powers of arrest, I think we can fairly hold you to a reasonably high standard of behavior.

Re:What the hell? (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161845)

I say good on him. Cops seem to think they are a cop 24/7, yet when it's turned against them it's "locker room talk".

This is why cops get no respect, they think they are above the law. The if I bragged about robbing a bank (even if it was bullshit), or put my status as wanting to kill someone important (prime minister/president) on Facebook or Myspace, the police would use it against me to remove reasonable doubt. I couldn't use the "locker room talk" defense there, I'd end up in prison.

The only issue here is that the cop won't be brought up on disciplinary charges, which is exactly what should happen.

Re:What the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161859)

I don't know where you live, but in Philly even nerds like me see cops breaking traffic laws every day.

Given what I've seen of people in general, and reactions such as yours, it is much easier to believe that the police are perfectly happy to trample the rights (and bodies) of the people they are arresting than to suppose they are genuinely concerned with upholding the constitution.

Re:What the hell? (1)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162015)

Then Mr. Lesher tracked down comments Officer Ettienne had made on the Internet about video clips of arrests. An officer should not have punched a handcuffed man, Officer Ettienne wrote. "If he wanted to tune him up some, he should have delayed cuffing him."

He added: "If you were going to hit a cuffed suspect, at least get your money's worth 'cause now he's going to get disciplined for" a relatively light punch.


Joking on the Internet? This guy is insane, and should not be allowed in law enforcement. I sure as hell wouldn't want someone like that on the street "protecting and serving" me. The officer was accused of using excessive force, and the victim pointed to comments the officer had made online about how to get away with police brutality. Seems completely fair to me.

Re:What the hell? (1)

tiananmen tank man (979067) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162077)

Yes this does work and the police use it all the time. Picture this situation: You are arrested and placed in a jail cell. An undercover agent is placed in a cell next to yours or in the same cell. You guys get to talking and you are scared and maybe want to exagerate your bad guy side. BAM, now they have you on tape with a confession.

Re:What the hell? (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162167)

Nice precedent, asshole

Not to nit-pick, but trial judges don't make precedent. You need at least one stage of appeal before there is any court that the decision is binding on. Right now, the decision is only binding on this particular proceeding.

Re:What the hell? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162191)

While you are probably right, that does not stop people from reporting that they saw user xyz saying they wanted to kill so and so, or that they are talking about taking guns to school or killing themselves etc. Generally, when you say something disconcerting in public (and the Internet is very public) people will take notice.

Especially after some of the school shootings, people are watchful of such things. Such events turn online bs into real world concerns pretty fast.

The thing to do would be to practice your 'joking' with a bit more skill so it never quite sounds like you yourself are capable of it.

Example: Mood= Concerned, someone at work is watching training day for pointers at work.

Who? guess

He should have gone a step further (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161415)

and sued the cop for sexual harassment for all of those pokes.

On the plus side, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161437)

this story represents a rare instance of someone using privacy-violating technologies to screw over "The Man", rather than "The Man" using them to screw over everyone else (as happens all too often). Although it sounds like this guy may well be guilty.

Re:On the plus side, (3, Insightful)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161497)

Too bad it was used to defend a career criminal.

Re:On the plus side, (1)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161559)

"Re:On the plus side, (Score:2)
by Kinky Bass Junk (880011) Alter Relationship on Wednesday March 11, @11:00PM (#27161497)
Too bad it was used to defend a career criminal.
--
Anonymous Coward
"

Internet Anonymity. You're doing it wrong.

Re:On the plus side, (5, Interesting)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161571)

too bad the cop sounds like a career douchebag.

Then Mr. Lesher tracked down comments Officer Ettienne had made on the Internet about video clips of arrests. An officer should not have punched a handcuffed man, Officer Ettienne wrote. "If he wanted to tune him up some, he should have delayed cuffing him."

He added: "If you were going to hit a cuffed suspect, at least get your money's worth 'cause now he's going to get disciplined for" a relatively light punch.

As he often says on "The Simpsons" (2, Informative)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161459)

<NelsonMuntz>"HA-ha! Stupid Cop is Stupid!"</NelsonMuntz>

Raises the bar for law enforcement. (2, Insightful)

TheFlyingBuddha (1373717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161509)

People are always keen to say "such and such" is just talk but the fact is the language we use about ourselves has a profound impact on our behavior. If a cop enjoys all that bad-ass posturing in art, and then builds that persona for their self, there is little doubt in my mind that at some point, no matter how much they might deny it, that kind of stuff will appear in their actual behavior on the job. I am NOT saying in this case it follows that the officers actually planted a weapon. But I don't really see a problem with someone being given pause over this kind of posturing. They do an important job and maintaining certain professional standards in their behavior keeps us safer all-around.

Re:Raises the bar for law enforcement. (1)

TheFlyingBuddha (1373717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161583)

Important follow up, it is also still a shame that this posturing was evidenced by snooping into what are, essentially, private areas of his life. My point is more about language and self-image than whether or not putting a man's private comments on display is a valid legal defense. If such talk occurs among officers in the locker room or anywhere else, it is equally disquieting for the reasons I mentioned above, and perhaps a more suitable target for the same defense. If you posture among coworkers, your image is already affecting how you do your job.

Re:Raises the bar for law enforcement. (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161709)

Except it's not a private area in any sense. It's a public website with a ToS that strips you of any rights you had to the content you submit.

Re:Raises the bar for law enforcement. (2, Interesting)

TheFlyingBuddha (1373717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161807)

Obviously it is not a private area. Strictly speaking, his information is on display and is fair game. I believe however that ideally speaking there would be some degree of respect for what is essentially a personalized space. Of course we hardly live in an ideal world.

Re:Raises the bar for law enforcement. (4, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161785)

People are always keen to say "such and such" is just talk but the fact is the language we use about ourselves has a profound impact on our behavior.

That's about the same logic as the wingnuts who claim that video games lead to real-life violence.

It's just make-believe. People with proper psychological functioning can easily compartmentalize fantasy from reality.

Re:Raises the bar for law enforcement. (2, Insightful)

TheFlyingBuddha (1373717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161869)

Hardly. While you could make the connection eventually, my point is not that *watching and enjoying a film* caused his behavior. When he *chooses* to take an image from media and emulate it with his language about himself, he has begun to internalize that image. It is still a *choice.* If I play and enjoy Grand Theft Auto games, I do not become a criminal. If I then create an image of myself which emulates the characters in these games and begin to use it in other spaces, then I've created a problematic situation. You're right, tons of people manage to compartmentalize these images. Using language to describe yourself as an emulator however, is the first sign that you aren't doing that at all.

Re:Raises the bar for law enforcement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27162115)

Actually he is right. When playing grand theft auto, you in effect "become" that criminal and everything you choose to do in the game reflects your nature. You control all of the characters actions. Using language to describe yourself as that character isnt really necessary (although most of us tend to use first person when talking about what we do while playing a game).

I think that it is no different to compartmentalize speech as it is actions in a game or scence in a movie.

AC because ive used mod points here.

Re:Raises the bar for law enforcement. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162037)

Maybe so, but nobody with proper psychological functioning becomes a cop.

Re:Raises the bar for law enforcement. (1)

Hans Lehmann (571625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162149)

People with proper psychological functioning can easily compartmentalize fantasy from reality.

Do you really think that anyone with proper psychological functioning would want to become a cop?

Personal Responsibility (1)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161515)

This is just another example of people throwing personal responsibility by the wayside and blaming someone else for their own mistakes.

It's sickening.

Re:Personal Responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161843)

Is it just me or is criminal law in the US doing a better job of protecting criminals rather than protecting the victims? I mean seriously what. the. fuck. were going to let go an repeat offender caught red handed driving a stolen motorcycle go because the cops profile was set to devious and he made a joke about watching Training Day.

Re:Personal Responsibility (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161981)

Yes, hard to say which one though. The jury obviously thought it was the cop 'throwing personal responsibility by the wayside'; the nytimes seems to think it was the other guy. I really doubt the nytimes has a better take on this than the jury; but 'meathead beats and frames ex-con' won't sell many papers....

Set up (1)

theredshoes (1308621) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161519)

Yeah, probably not a good idea to talk about your job on the internet or setting up suspects. Maybe the cop did set him up. I would think his profile on a public website would not be brought to light unless he was specifically talking about setting up the suspect, I don't see why anyone would pay attention. Obviously there was more to his profile and he was directly talking about the incident or eluding to the incident. Everyone knows the internet is full of complete crap nowadays. I long for the old days sometimes when the internet was new and shiny and most people were genuinely interested in technology. :(

Re:Set up (1)

theredshoes (1308621) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161549)

I mean "alluding" not "eluding" but they both kind of apply to this story. LOL

Seems like valid information to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161523)

If he made those comments in the "locker room" instead of the internet, would you still say they that it shouldn't me mentioned in court? What about in a public park?

At what point are we supposed to stop assuming something is bravado and take it seriously?

I get it (4, Insightful)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161651)

So when the system uses this kind of bs to keep you from a job it's fine and dandy. But as soon as you turn it around on the system, all of a sudden people are outraged?

FACE it.... (1, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161689)

...that was one guy he never should have had BOOKed.

Re:FACE it.... (3, Funny)

kyjl (965702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162067)

*sunglasses*

YEEEAAAAAAHHHHHH

'Locker Persona' is Real Persona (4, Interesting)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161695)

The persona you show in the locker room or internet is your real self, or at least a closer version of it than what you show on the streets when anyone else but the guy you're screwing with is watching. I've seen fine upstanding cops like this lie their asses off in court enough to believe that if he jokes that 'Training Day' is great training that he more than halfway actually believes it.

The suspect, Waters, is obviously not a great guy, but I'm not convinced I can trust anything a guy like Ettienne says either.

Re:'Locker Persona' is Real Persona (3, Interesting)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161851)

Oh, the cop was definitely an idiot for posting something like that, his job *requires* more discretion than that. WHile the reasonable doubt makes sense (which even the cop admits to), to think you can base your opinion of his policing ability and trustability on what's pretty obviously a facetious facebook comment...

Hell, I work in a research group in bio-chem modeling, and not to long ago I had a status that read "Everything I know about DNA I learned from Gattaca" - I do hope that any future employers arent facebook-reading idiots...

No messing around (2, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161697)

This is the kind of news that keeps me on track. When I release an SBD [wikipedia.org] , I maintain a poker face [wikipedia.org] .

Re:No messing around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161819)

You know, however erudite you appear to be, a fart joke is still just a fart [wikipedia.org] joke.

Damn skippy! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161779)

Tough titty. If you're a public official, you have to live up to a higher standard than everyone else - it's part of the deal. Even the appearance of unfairness or impropriety is unacceptable, insofar as it relates to your position.

To this end, I have compiled a list of analogous examples of facebook status lines, as depicted by their various professions:

- Catholic Priest: "Off to work for me...Long day ahead of corn-holing a bunch of kids."

- Astronaut: "Launch time is tomorrow morning. This time tomorrow, I should be safely in orbit, pulling my pud and spewing my wad into someone's EVA glove."

- Programmer for Microsoft: "Damn I got coder's block. Time to find something useful inside the linux kernel."

- Local baker: "I just fooled around for two hours with my raunchy girlfriend and haven't washed my hands. Gonna go bake some bread."

- Medical examiner: "I'm just so bloody horny lately and dammit the online dating just isn't working out for me."

- County Judge: "Feeling a bit woozy right now after sampling everything out of the medicine cabinet."

- Airline pilot: "Life sucks and I want to die."

- Cthulhu: "Sometimes i just want a hug."

Re:Damn skippy! (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162195)

There's a substantial difference though. Some of these are a) funny and b) not going to substantially harm people. The astronaut example is gross but possibly funny. No one is having their life ruined by it. Although seriously... gross. Also, I don't see anything wrong with the medical examiner statement. If he then ended it with "but I've got all these girls here who can't say no" then it would be more of a problem. (Also, can someone please mod the parent up? I can't decide if it should be funny or insightful but it definitely deserves one of them)

One of My Experiences with the Police (5, Interesting)

desinc (788828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161815)

I was waiting patiently outside of a coffee shop with my puppy while my girlfriend was inside getting a couple White Mochas.

As I sat on the bench, two cops came and sat down right next to me. They were in the middle of a conversation, which I couldn't help but overhear.

Cop 1: "Why'd we arrest that guy again?"

Cop 2: "Man I don't even know!"

Cop 1: "Eh, whatever. He had it coming to him. They'll sort it out at the station."

Re:One of My Experiences with the Police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161971)

So...

Was it the puppy or the girlfriend inside getting the mochas that is the secret to your success?

Chimp Story (1)

theredshoes (1308621) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161829)

Maybe they should put him in the cell next to the chimp. Like I said, complete internet crap. Maybe people should be forced to get a license to use the internet, sometimes I think that, I know it is wrong, but I do think that sometimes. LOL

Re:Chimp Story (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162119)

Would this internet license instruct on the proper use of acronyms and the impression they give to the reader?

Did he get his gun back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161973)

And did he get a slap on the wrist? No sweets for a week? I mean all he did was carry a concealed firearm, which is only against the law.

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