56 thoughts on “Why is that UC Davis Cop Still on the Job?

      •  Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake! 

          Quote  Link

        Report

          • I’m an at-will employee, which means I can be fired at any time for any reason.  (Given what you do, I expect it’s the same for you.)  That doesn’t mean I begrudge people who have some protection from arbitrary firing, or think that there can be rules that say “except really bad guys.”

              Quote  Link

            Report

                • I’m not particularly interested in his thought process, myself. I mean, maybe he was thinking “I am protecting myself and my children from these dangerous people!”

                  That’s only trivially interesting to me.

                  I’m wondering if there is anything he could have been videotaped doing that would get you to say “you know what? If I did that, I *SHOULD* be fired.” Anything at all?

                  I mean, if spraying multiple non-violent kids (who weren’t breaking the law) in the face with pepper spray that he wasn’t authorized to carry doesn’t qualify.

                    Quote  Link

                  Report

                    • Nothing. But that’s a case of bad law, not the inherent evil of unions. Zimmerman in Florida might get off because the SYG law was written badly. Does that mean the right to concealed carry is inherently wrong?

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                    • If the contract says, “before firing, you have to go through steps a through l,” it doesn’t matter what the person did. The steps are his right via a negotiated contract. Ya’ know, those things libertarians supposedly hold sacred?

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                    • Ya’ know, those things libertarians supposedly hold sacred?

                      I missed the part where we’re never allowed to think to ourselves, “Gee, maybe this particular type of contract doesn’t work out so great. Let’s not do it in the future.”  Or where we’re never allowed to suggest as much in print.

                      Could you please direct me to a libertarian book or article that argues for this position?

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                    • I happily agree this shouldn’t be part of the next union contract (or in reality, part of the current law), but because the unions/police organizations managed to get a crappy law into place isn’t proof of the inherent wrongness of public sector unions.

                       

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                    • Well then! allow me to quote the article (and please note the bolded verb tenses):

                      Once placed on administrative leave, he was subject to an internal affairs investigation. The law requires that its findings alone can bear on personnel actions, never mind all the useful evidence collected by the independent consultants, or the analysis performed by the panel of esteemed statesmen. The internal affairs investigation into Lt. Pike’s actions were conducted by Ed McErlain, a former police officer and “senior investigator for Norman A. Traub Associates, which specializes in employment investigations;” and Deborah Maddux Allison, “a partner with the Van Dermyden Allison Law Corporation, who specializes in employment law and workplace investigations.” They were advised by Charles “Sid” Heal, another retired police officer.

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                    • Jason is quoting Balko, who is quoting Condor Frieddersdorf ‘s piece at http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/04/reports-reveal-two-new-scandals-in-the-pepper-spraying-at-uc-davis/256058/ (published on 4/19).  Frieddersdorf is not very explicit about the current state of the process (for obvious reasons, and, yes, the level of secrecy involved is awful), but he seems to me to imply that the investigation has been completed but its outcome is still uncertain.

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

        • To quote:

          Once placed on administrative leave, he was subject to an internal affairs investigation. The law requires that its findings alone can bear on personnel actions, never mind all the useful evidence collected by the independent consultants, or the analysis performed by the panel of esteemed statesmen. The internal affairs investigation into Lt. Pike’s actions were conducted by Ed McErlain, a former police officer and “senior investigator for Norman A. Traub Associates, which specializes in employment investigations;” and Deborah Maddux Allison, “a partner with the Van Dermyden Allison Law Corporation, who specializes in employment law and workplace investigations.” They were advised by Charles “Sid” Heal, another retired police officer.

          Their method and findings are secret.

          The public never gets to read them.

          This isn’t the kind of law you’d want to get all high and mighty about.  But to make it easier for you, imagine that Lt. Pike were a corporation.  Maybe that’ll help?

            Quote  Link

          Report

              • Shockingly, a crazy liberal like me thinks that just because somebody happens to be an asshole, he doesn’t lose his rights. If his union signed a contract saying these actions aren’t out in the open, fine.

                I mean, I realize that since there’s one bad example of this, we should immediately repeal the Wagner Act, let everyone be an at-will employee, and maybe defund the Department of Labor, but again, I’ll say this again, it should be harder to fire people in this nation than it currently is. Germany’s doing OK without at-will employment.

                  Quote  Link

                Report

                • a crazy liberal like me thinks that just because somebody happens to be an asshole, he doesn’t lose his rights

                  To which I fully agree.  Now will you kindly let the good citizens of California (and the assholes among them, too) have their rights — their rights to review the actions of government agents?

                    Quote  Link

                  Report

                    • If the legislators, elected by the people, who appointed those who signed a contract with the union that the guard was employee by that says otherwise? Nope. Sorry, it sucks, but you don’t get to rip up contracts because they’re inconvenient.

                      Again, do I agree with the provision? No. But, that doesn’t mean unions shouldn’t be able to negotiate with the government. Want more openness? Annoy your legislators about it.

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                    • “If the legislators, elected by the people, who appointed those who signed a contract with the union that the guard was employee by that says otherwise? Nope. Sorry, it sucks, but you don’t get to rip up contracts because they’re inconvenient.”

                      Replace the phrase “the union” in this sentence with “Blackwater,” and see if you still feel comfortable with it.  I say this as someone who has a clearly pro-union track record on this site.

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                    • I am totally comfortable with it. Again, I think when the opportunity comes up, Blackwater or it’s equivalent should be ended, just like the current law about this situation should be changed, but if there is a current contract and Blackwater isn’t breaking any rules of the contract, then they should continue to be employed per the terms of the arrangement.

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                • If his union signed a contract saying these actions aren’t out in the open, fine.

                  Yes, he has a right to his contractual protections, but that’s not actually what’s at question here, is it?  The question is whether such a contract should ever exist for public employees.

                  Yes, it’s shocking that a crazy liberal like you is ok with secret government procedures that protect public employees who abuse the citizens who pay them.

                    Quote  Link

                  Report

                  • I’m not OK with such procedures. But, they’re part of the contract.

                    However, I do find it amusing that two of the people who are so quick to complain about liberals painting a broad brush of libertarians are oh so happy to make one bad example proof that those pesky government employees don’t need unions.

                      Quote  Link

                    Report

                    • two of the people who are so quick to complain about liberals painting a broad brush of libertarians are oh so happy to make one bad example proof that those pesky government employees don’t need unions.

                      Which two?  If that’s how you’ve read me, you need to go back and try again.  (It’s particularly ironic to paint with a broad brush when you’re complaining about people painting with a broad brush who complain about others painting with a broad brush–you rather prove their original point if anything.)

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                    • Sorry James, but you and Jason are the two main guys that leaps to libertarian’s defense whenever somebody like me or somni may something a bit overboard about libertarians. There’s not wrong with it, but it’s part of what you do here.

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                  • Also, as Clawback noted, this was a law that was passed, not part of union benefits. I’m guessing it wasn’t passed because of a love of public unions, but because of the populace’s love of police officers.

                    Plus, from my little bit of Goggling, back when the law was passed in ’77, one of the orginial supporters was the ACLU, those noted supporters of the destruction of civil liberties and that the confidentiality and silence issues are part of the penal code, not a union contract or even the POBR.

                      Quote  Link

                    Report

    • It would be fantastic if more people read when I linked something:

      California, like many states, has a “Police Officer Bill of Rights,” a set of rights negotiated by the police union afforded to cops under investigation that goes well above and beyond the rights of regular citizens. In some states, if fellow officers don’t follow strict procedures while investigating another cop, the cop under investigation gets off. If you’re cynical, you might say these “Bills of Rights” are how-to guides for cops who want to help a fellow officer get away with misconduct.

      Emphasis added.  But still.

        Quote  Link

      Report

      • Except of course, the POBR is a law passed by the legislature, not part of a union negotiation. I have no doubt the union supported it, but it isn’t a part of the union contract, right after wage rates and vacation time.

          Quote  Link

        Report

          • Police officers don’t get what they want because they’re in a union. Police officers get what they want because they’re largely respected in the community. I’m sure even in states that are virulently anti-union, police officers have a lot of protections.

            As clawback stated, this was a law passed by legislators elected by the people, not unions negotiating with bureaucratic in a dusty room somewhere. So, yeah, stating it as a “set of rights negotiated with the police union” is a bit of rhetorical flourish intended to invoke ideas of unions and their legislators conspiring together.

              Quote  Link

            Report

          • Not sure where you’re going with this, so maybe you could explain under exactly what conditions people should be allowed to petition their representatives.  Because you’ve already seamlessly pivoted from the typical right-wing position that public sector employees shouldn’t be allowed to negotiate labor contracts.

              Quote  Link

            Report

            • …the typical right-wing position that public sector employees shouldn’t be allowed to negotiate labor contracts.

              As a journeyman, I can tell you that, among the trades, public employees are typically viewed with disgust or apathy.
              Today’s unions are a profit-sharing model.
              There is no profit to be shared in government.
              That’s where labor history gets you.

                Quote  Link

              Report

            • Not sure where you’re going with this, so maybe you could explain under exactly what conditions people should be allowed to petition their representatives.

              People should not be allowed to petition their representatives if the result will interfere with the right of people to peacefully assemble, because that right is protected by the Constitution.

                Quote  Link

              Report

  1. I’d be really surprised if getting rid of Police unions changed the lack of accountability for cops much. Cops would be a powerful interest group even if they didn’t have union negotiating contracts for them. They could still endorse or slam politicians through a PAC without a union. Much of the populace likes cops and fully support what they do and long as it isn’t done to them. If some mayor is booting to many cops a lot of people will get upset. Creating true accountability for the cops would involve local citizens from the communities that are policed having significant power to give cops consequences. I really doubt many city governments or large swaths of the population really want to give minority/immigrant groups much power over cops.

      Quote  Link

    Report

  2. Hell, I don’t even think the guy necessarily ought to be fired.  He sure as shit deserves whatever procedure he is guaranteed. I wonder if the people who got sprayed want him fired.  I deplored what I saw the guy doing, but at the same time, this is exactly the kind of thing he got hired to do: deal with tense situations.  He dealt with it, though by my lightshe fished up doing so.  Well, does what he did rise to the level of a removable offense?  Surely there is a standard for that and a method for assessing whether it was reached.  How else is all of that supposed to be determined but by whatever procedure is laid out?

    As to secrecy, does any company anywhere make its personnel reviews publicly reviewable?  Do we expect the procedures that go into removing a mid-level employee at the Department of Agriculture who committed a fireable offense to be publicly reviewable in real time just because they are a public employee?  I don’t.  I’m perfectly comfortable with this.

      Quote  Link

    Report

  3. This is just me, maybe…but the UC-Davis report tells me more that the chief of police and the UC-Davis Chancellor ought to be fired, more than the individual copper. And as far as I’m aware, university chancellors don’t have a union.

      Quote  Link

    Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *