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Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chris Norby: Local officials susceptible to 'Bell syndrome' (As in City of Bell)

By CHRIS NORBY The state assemblyman represents Fullerton and other parts of North Orange. Chris has been a City Councilman in the City of Fullerton. He's also served as a Supervisor in Orange County. I know Chris because of the work he's done for decades, helping ordinary people who either lost their properties, their homes and or businesses, or were able to fight City Hall and triumphantly save their properties. He founded M.O.R.R. (Municipal Officers for Redevelopment Reform). For more information about his work on helping average Joes fight Redevelopment) click here

"Stockholm syndrome" refers to the counterintuitive behavior of hostages who come to identify with their captors, based on the study of a Swedish kidnapping. Its counterpart in local government is the common acquiescence of elected officials to professional staff. In place of their own judgment they were elected to use, city councils often simply take orders from the city manager.

Call it "Bell syndrome." Click here to read the column.
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database


Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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