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57 Comments:
HarryHirsch said 11 days ago:

Turns blue? It sounds too much like the Scott test (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobalt(II)_thiocyanate), which any chemist will tell you reacts positive with any amine. Of course bird shit tests positive, as will your garden-variety antihistaminic and many other household medications.

It's just nothing but a fishing expedition for probable cause so that police can exercise their contempt for black youth.

siphor said 11 days ago:

Hah crazy, it is a scott test. this is the exact packet that he's using. You can see it on the youtube video someone posted below. They also say it turns pink and that's the positive test. But the directions on that site say it has to be blue.. and some nonsense about a bunch of vestibules that the guy just all shakes together it seems? Unclear.

https://www.copsplus.com/sirchie-narkii-test-07-scott-reagen...

Here's the directions on the website:

Confirm suspicions of cocaine presence using the NARKII Test 07-Scott Reagent from Sirchie®. The improved presumptive test utilizes a three-vestibule system to identify powdered cocaine, as well as cocaine bases, crack and freebase. To administer the test, place a small sample of the suspected substance in each of the three ampoules. The first vestibule will melt, creating a blue solution if the sample is pure powdered cocaine. A cocaine base will form hard blue specs that float in a pink solution. Both forms of the substance will dissolve into a pink liquid in the second container. The third ampule will have a burst of blue, that later separates into a pink over blue solution when mixed with either powdered or cocaine bases.

This is hilariously sad. These cops have 0 training, or are out for blood. I'm thinking Hanlon's Razor.

EDIT: Here's the video timestamp where you can see the packet: https://youtu.be/c7j-Ijo2TYw?t=545

Side note HD bodycams are pretty good, surprised you can see and read this packet that clearly.

MertsA said 11 days ago:

What's especially sad is that there have been cases in Florida that were tied back to officers thinking that a negative test meant that it contained cocaine.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/magazine/how-a-2-roadside...

>When we examined the department’s records, they showed that officers, faced with somewhat ambiguous directions on the pouches, had simply misunderstood which colors indicated a positive result.

tehwebguy said 11 days ago:

I don’t believe Hanlon's Razor applies to police

x0x0 said 11 days ago:

It's definitely just cops harassing black folks.

Nobody would actually think you decorate the front of your car with coke.

Like... of all the ways in the world to do cocaine, smearing it on your hood? At something like $50/half gram, that's a couple hundred dollars of coke on the front of a car doing 70 mph. That didn't blow off.

wallace_f said 11 days ago:

Cops harass Blacks, but cops also harass too many people, period.

There is too much of a police state, period.

This paper(1) is by a Black economist at Harvard. On page 5, Blacks are 25% less likely to be shot, though they are more likely to experience non-lethal force. The paper concludes there are a minority of officers who discriminate.

I was quite surprised by that.

I also was curious about that because it didn't match my preconceived notions, so did a rough check of some of the crime stats myself(2). It seems about 25% of fatal shootings are of Blacks, which is about proportionately double the rate. But if you look at something like arrest rate for violent crime as a metric for encounters with police, they're a little bit over 25%, which would be consistent with the former paper's conclusion.

I have no doubt that in the past there was terrible discrimination, and that presently a minority of officers do it, which is still unacceptable. But whenever I see people talking about this topic presently, I never see facts or statistics brought into it and it comes off as hand-wavey virtue signalling.

I also worry that there is a growing problem of a police state -- it is not only a problem of discrimination.

1- http://www.nber.org/papers/w22399

2- https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-.

voldacar said 11 days ago:

This is really interesting data, thanks for posting.

CobrastanJorji said 11 days ago:

I just realized that, although the only thing I knew about this story was the headline, I already assumed the driver was black.

chrisrogers said 11 days ago:

> He said it took several miles before Werts agreed to pull over. Werts said he was only looking for a lighted spot and called 911 to let them know that's why he wasn't pulling over immediately.

That's a very smart move, to position yourself in a safe place and notify dispatch of your intent in the moment. This is nearly the picture-perfect example of protecting yourself from police, and yet Werts was still jailed on shoddy cause.

Policing in America still needs a reckoning, now. Crime is middle-high in cities, and small municipal and state police are trying so hard to justify their cost increases with COMPSTAT figures. And if you're trying to rock the boat the least, go for young black men. It's a miscarriage on a terrible scale.

MertsA said 11 days ago:

>That's a very smart move, to position yourself in a safe place and notify dispatch of your intent in the moment.

I completely disagree. It's not up to the driver to choose when and where they comply with law enforcement. Most officers aren't going to find driving for several miles after being pulled over to be reasonable. If he had just pulled over immediately this probably would have just been an expensive ticket and he would have stayed out of jail. I'm not saying that the police response is reasonable, but even going as fast as he was, while that can be justification to arrest someone that's still up to officer discretion and being respectful and clearly not impaired would probably keep you from being arrested.

rootw0rm said 11 days ago:

Actually, what the driver did is specifically recommended in many jurisdictions...partly due to the problem of people impersonating police officers.

Also, blind obedience is gross. It's our duty to think.

zaroth said 11 days ago:

> Werts: "I pulled over last night to clean my car and it didn't come off with that little thing you use to clean it with."

> Deputy: "That's a lot of bird poop man."

Clearly it was too voluminous to be bird shit. Must be cocaine! I just, wow.

taneq said 11 days ago:

Because I, too, put my extremely expensive product, which is a fine powder, on the outside of my moving vehicle.

Dansvidania said 11 days ago:

It really did not look like cocaine. They might know what bird poop looks like, but definitely not cocaine...

that aside, lets assume for a second that it was in fact cocaine

are you now responsible for whatever people do outside/on top/in the vicinity of your car while parked?

ericpearl said 11 days ago:

Only if you’re black in America.

Dansvidania said 11 days ago:

I satisfy none of the conditions you list, but I am still tentative regarding visiting/moving to the US.

Cops there seem to have way too much power, and a worrying amount of them make use of it with enough regularity that there is never shortage of news regarding it.

Things are crap in Europe too, but it hardly ever gets that bad here.

lopmotr said 11 days ago:

The size of the country means extreme events should be more common and more extreme than in a European country even if it's no worse. Europe as a whole has its own problems, just of a different nature - like ongoing terrorism and sexual assaults. They also don't have such a big underclass of poor and hopeless people in geographically concentrated areas like America has.

Dansvidania said 11 days ago:

as I said, things are crap here too, in many diversified and creative ways.

I am from Italy and we have crippling corruption and criminality problems, even though we have a fifth of the population in 0.03 times the land area. I am familiar with the problems that scare tourists away :)

I would only like to point out that you quote terrorism and sexual assault as things comparable to your own police force abusing power over your citizens. I think there are a few important differences.

jjeaff said 11 days ago:

Police abuse is a travesty and must be stopped.

That being said, unless you live in a high crime area, you are unlikely to have much if any interaction with the police at all.

And when you do, it will likely be friendly.

Basing your decision on a fear of police abuse is like people who don't swim in the ocean because they are afraid of shark attacks.

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rolltiide said 11 days ago:

No European country has to shoulder the burden of a few problem areas across the whole continent. Germany isn't judged by destitute residents of Portugal or wannabe EU residents of Montenegro. Whereas the US does get judged by any happening in its 50 plus semi-autonomous states.

People are scarred of coming to the US because of a few square blocks of Chicago and random improbable terror.

rolltiide said 11 days ago:

I’ve had to explain to social justice interested college kids in other countries that they would be exempt from the woes they think define America these days.

Its the same for most people visiting China. Whatever human rights abuses you perceive don't define China and you are probably exempt from that and any socioeconomic problem there.

jelling said 11 days ago:

It's like police racism, stupidity and corruption had a footrace and it's too close to call.

phjesusthatguy3 said 11 days ago:

drop the "like"

portroyal said 11 days ago:

A similie is allowed to use "like".

hanniabu said 11 days ago:

That was his point, was saying that it's not a simile and that this is actually the case.

MrEldritch said 11 days ago:

Really? So three abstract concepts actually had a footrace?

Or is it merely analogous to the concept of a footrace, as might be indicated by a word such as 'like'?

lopmotr said 11 days ago:

Why are people assuming racism? There isn't actually any evidence for that in this case, is there? He was pulled over for speeding just like anyone else would be, and was slow to stop which would have made the cops extra suspicious no matter his race. He was also a man which means a higher chance of being a criminal - could it actually be sexism you're mistaking for racism?

stefco_ said 11 days ago:

> Why are people assuming racism?

Because a huge number of black people in America describe a frequency and quality of interactions with police that are vastly different from white people's described experiences, claims which are backed up by horrifying anecdotes (like this story, or the seemingly weekly story of some other small town police department that was "shocked" to find it had officers in the local KKK chapter) and larger scale statistics on law enforcement.

That is a strong prior. Coupled with the utter stupidity of testing bird shit on the outside of a car to see if it's cocaine, it seems entirely fair to conclude this was motivated by some amount of racism.

rolltiide said 11 days ago:

> Why are people assuming racism? There isn't actually any evidence for that in this case, is there?

As you may have noticed, the trouble with the word racism is that nobody feels they are racist. Nobody feels like they are consciously participating in the behaviors described in books/movies from a prior time as being part of intolerable indiscretions. All while the threshold for getting statistics for an individual event is impossible, yet the demands for sensitivity and societal change are numerous, imperceptible, seemingly random and difficult to understand if they are valid until broader consensus is reached.

Martin Luther King didn't have a statistics or spreadsheets or studies either, but we still accept the shared experiences he brought to the national spotlight as "racism". The things experienced then in Alabama were normalized "what? you think I hate black people? I've never consciously put a single negative thought in my head" behaviors as well. Behaviors that were often economically rationalized, as much as a yellow taxi driver in NYC today not wanting to drive to Brooklyn and assuming black customers in Manhattan want that and decides not to stop. There is a shared worse experience amongst people with similar phenotypes that runs parallel to the user experience people expect and commend.

Here, the disparity of the interactions people experience and expect with police merely continue to confirm what people already believed.

It is accurate that there may be more consistent socioeconomic drivers to this experience, than merely race-based ones, or socioeconomic drivers which correlated to race-based experiences.

But when people highlight "racism", they want a consistent experience in line with their trust in the fabric of society. They want to not experience total derailment and marginalization of their life in a random pitfall that their whole family has experienced in one way or another. Its not "assuming racism", it is just recognizing that this is the colloquialism for understanding how institutions will marginalize people. Does it accurately reflect the experience that many white people are also subjected to when they can't/don't procure good legal representation? Probably not. Fixing accountability problems with the state will help them too.

ikeyany said 11 days ago:

God forbid we might get associated with SJWs and actually admit that black people are treated fundamentally worse and more suspicious by authorities in the United States. And it's being encouraged from the top.

lopmotr said 11 days ago:

There isn't an easy balance. Blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately represented as crime victims because they live around other blacks or Hispanics. How can the police protect them without the focusing on the most likely perpetrators? If they were to treat everyone equally, it would make things worse for the victims. The beneficiaries of that change would be richer white people who would get more policing in their already safer neighborhoods, as well as black criminals who could evade justice more easily.

antonvs said 11 days ago:

Your argument is undermined by a flawed assumption:

> How can the police protect them

The goal of the kind of policing described here is not to protect the population they're harassing members of. It is to harass them to help maintain a racist status quo.

> There isn't an easy balance

This kind of enlightened centrism serves a similar purpose. Don't defend bad practices if you don't support them.

lopmotr said 11 days ago:

Cocaine causes serious problems for black people. You're surely not proposing ignoring it?

> It is to harass them to help maintain a racist status quo.

Have you got some evidence for that? The idea of systemic racism is not that. It's an emergent phenomenon that isn't driven by anyone's desire to harass people or be racist.

pixelbash said 10 days ago:

If the police were to treat everyone equally you would see a lot more police hanging around at offices and work parties.

stefco_ said 11 days ago:

That explanation only makes sense if the police are already targeting black or hispanic neighborhoods at higher rates, which they do—but it's often blatantly for reasons other than the residents' wellbeing.

The Department of Justice's official report [0] on the Ferguson police department after their killing of Michael Brown concluded unambiguously (see page 9) that the Ferguson PD aggressively fined poor black neighborhoods to make up budget shortfalls, and they coordinated with the city council on this. This is no lefty, prison-abolitionist organization; it's the US DOJ concluding unambiguously that this police department overpoliced its citizens to extract money from them. The racial and economic bias makes sense in this context: black communities know they are overpoliced and have been talking about it for ages, but nobody listens to them, so the Ferguson police knew they could get away with the exact same extortion tactics used by the mob to rob the poor and downtrodden.

There are many other conflicts of interest and lacks of oversight that incentivize police departments to literally rob their citizens; civil asset forfeiture [1] allows police to confiscate, hold, and liquidate assets that they believe are related to crimes, often without trial or other due process; this mechanism is also frequently abused.

Police departments also often have quotas (though they outwardly deny it) on how many arrests/stops they need to make or tickets they need to issue; again, this incentivizes cops to go to neighborhoods that are marginalized and abuse their inhabitants (as happens in NYC, where stop-and-frisk quotas mostly impact black and hispanic citizens [2], as revealed by actual NYPD officers and corroborated by the huge number of non-rich, non-white men who are predominantly targetted by this policy).

And all of this forms a feedback cycle: cops abuse the marginalized, building criminal records for the disenfranchised citizens in specific neighborhoods; those neighborhoods become "high crime" because our metrics of crime are based on police activity, which is deliberately higher in those places; and the police then justify continuing their interference in those communities by claiming that they are "high crime" and therefore in need of extra policing.

[0] https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releas...

[1] https://www.aclu.org/issues/criminal-law-reform/reforming-po...

[2] https://www.npr.org/2013/03/21/174941454/at-stop-and-frisk-t...

taneq said 11 days ago:

Looks like they can arrest the crows now that they've got probable caws.

notduncansmith said 11 days ago:

While I appreciate a good pun as much as the next person, I don’t think “crow” is the most appropriate bird to use for that joke: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow_laws

dba7dba said 11 days ago:

Full bodycam video of the interaction is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7j-Ijo2TYw&t=1295s

Courtesy of 'PoliceActivity' channel. I am not related to teh channel in any way, just a subscriber.

gingabriska said 11 days ago:

On tangent, I wonder if birds can be used to deliver drugs successfully.

briandear said 11 days ago:

Carrier pigeons, but not at any weight worth the trouble.

jld said 11 days ago:

Is it an African or European pigeon?

opwieurposiu said 10 days ago:

Better to use a European pigeon, less likely to get pulled over.

yellowapple said 11 days ago:

Depends on the drug. Maybe not cocaine, but LSD is typically potent enough to be profitably haulable by avian logistics systems.

praptak said 11 days ago:

It's synthetic, so there's little reason to transport it cross border or long distance.

hanniabu said 11 days ago:

What's the difference between synthetic and manufactured?

gingabriska said 11 days ago:

I think the difference is between the one which you can grow Vs the one which you can synthesize.

If you can grow a drug then you need to move it if you can synthesize it locally then there is no need to transport it.

Synthesizing a drug has much smaller footprint so easier to hide the operation Vs growing some drug.

praptak said 11 days ago:

I'd say that manufactured covers all processes, so extracted from a plant is manufactured but not synthetic.

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msie said 11 days ago:

All police departments should shut down for a day for racial bias training.

fiblye said 11 days ago:

More than just that. That need to learn to actually respect people as people and learn a little humility. There’s too much “I’ve got a gun and that means I’m right and you do what I say no matter what” style thinking among police in America. Teach cops to back down if they have the slightest degree of uncertainty, and honestly, fire and permanently bar major offenders from legal professions for life.

danek said 11 days ago:

I think they’ll need a lot more than a day

said 11 days ago:
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ec109685 said 11 days ago:

As an aside, what a horrible website to read an article. Weird things were highlighted and it suddenly switched to a full screen ad.

420codebro said 11 days ago:

Just to note, he was doing 78 in a 55, supposedly.

auslander said 11 days ago:

Police is after birds now?