Monday, December 28, 2009

Financial Disclosure Rules Deter Gang Unit Cops?

So says this LAT report - many cops assigned to units that deal with LA's flourishing street gangs would rather switch than sign.  The reasons listed in this story is that the LAPD may use personal financial information against them in disciplinary proceedings, and that they don't trust the bureaucracy with the information.

I can see why they wouldn't trust the LAPD bureaucracy.  On the other hand, financial info is supposed to be used in disciplinary proceedings - against cops on the take. There's a real possibility here that gang cops have something financial to hide, and intend to continue to do exactly that.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

War Doesn't Fight Terror

See this reference to a Rand study showing terrorism was addressed successfully by military force only 7% of the time, and much more successfully via "political bargaining (43 per cent) and effective law enforcement (40 per cent)"  This blog has some good comments on the limits of Obama's approach to Afghanistan, though the definitive big picture challenge to the Nobel speech comes from Glenn Greenwald.  I've also noted its doomsday aspects here.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Verdict in Study Abroad Murders in Perugia

A British woman studying abroad in Perugia is found in her bathroom with her throat cut.  Suspicions swirl around a number of people who naturally appear in the acquaintanceship circle of students abroad, including a young non-student Afro-Italian on whom suspicion settled first.  But the police extracted a confession - under duress and possible physical abuse - from a University of Washington woman who was the victim's flatmate.  Yesterday this woman, Amanda Knox, was convicted of the murder.   See the best overview of the case, the verdict, the Daily Beast tabloid version. The Knox family plans to appeal.

I find the murder scenario -- in which Knox's boyfriend holds one knife while Knox cuts her roommate's throat with the other -- to be unconvincing.  The plausibility of it for some seems to come entirely from a MySpace story Knox wrote, Halloween costume shots, some stupid comments, and other standard stuff.  The scenario in which a thief is surprised in the act by the victim and kills her in a panic is somewhat more plausible, but the cops hit only on the local black guy - the classic "usual suspsect" - and to repeat throat slashing is not the most obvious way to shut somebody up long enough for you to get away.  I'm not feeling anything right about this case.