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Presumed guilty

NYPD Sgt. Ed Mullins:

The way law enforcement agencies approach online activity that appears sinister is this: “If you’re not a terrorist, if you’re not a threat, prove it,” he says.

Well, you haven’t proven you’re not a pedophile, Mr. Mullins. All this stalking of teens on facebook is a bit curious. So, prove it, or we’ll presume you are one. Right?

16 Responses to “Presumed guilty”

  1. Jeff from DC Says:

    You lost me at new york.

  2. AndyN Says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is. It’s not like he works in a jurisdiction where he has the discretion to arrest someone for driving to the range with their original equipment pistol magazines in their range bag or anything. Oh, wait…

  3. AndyN Says:

    “This is the price you pay to live in free society right now. It’s just the way it is,” Mullins adds.

    What a peculiar notion of what constitutes a free society.

  4. Nylarthotep Says:

    Nice to see the attitude of the watchers. Is anybody actually watching them?

  5. wastme Says:

    Guilty until proven innocent, nice. I’m with you Andy, he has a strange definition of what a free society is.

    Goes right along with saying, we are strong defender of the Second Amendment, while they are introducing 25 new bills to neuter the 2ndA.

    We live a free society where we are constantly being monitored and they can send a drone to kill us whenever they want. It looks like they have a new definition of free too.

  6. Weer'd Beard Says:

    And there’s that whole “proving a negative” thing.

  7. anon Says:

    It’s worth remembering: The presumption of innocence applies to a court of law. In a cops mind, you’re guilty, or he wouldn’t be talkin to ya.

  8. chris Says:

    Jeff nails it nicely in the first post.

    I watch almost exclusively true crime on TV (Investigation Discovery shows, like Dateline and 48 hours), and it is interesting to see interogation room footage in which a suspect (invariably the spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend) is accused of murder by a cop or detective yelling his or her guilt at the top of his lungs.

    Only to find later in the show that someone else did it.

    This is why some “confessions” are found to be innaccurate as a result of law enforcement coercion.

    And they wonder why someone would want a lawyer before talking with the police.

    Ask Gary Condit how it feels to be wrongfully accused by law enforcement and have your life ruined.

    Or the Duke lacrosse trio.

    Things like this are one of the reasons I don’t even have an inactive FB account or one that I maintain solely for the purpose of using it to post on blogs that require a FB-originated comment mechanism.

  9. Marq Says:

    Quite often I find police have a different idea of what probable cause is. To many it means “you probably did something illegal we didn’t catch you for, so cause of that you are under arrest now.” And anon above is correct. I’ve never met a cop, in court or in private, who did not absolutely believe every person arrested was guilty despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

  10. Sigivald Says:

    Well, you haven’t proven you’re not a pedophile, Mr. Mullins. All this stalking of teens on facebook is a bit curious. So, prove it, or we’ll presume you are one. Right?

    He can prove that definitionally; pedophiles are attracted to pre-pubescents. Teens aren’t pre-pubescent.

    (More materially, to a great extent Anon #7 is right – cops see suspicious things and they think you’re likely Up To No Good.

    Remember the context of that quote in the article: He’s talking about investigating threats that turned out to be “to see if we could get away with it” pranks, and the like.

    They’re being asked to “prove they’re not a threat” in a context of “having done things that look just like a threat“, where “threat” means “really a threat, as in talking about blowin’ shit up”, not “because they looked at a website or something”.

    Things that look like “real stuff” should be treated like “real stuff” (which is to say “investigated as if they were real stuff”) until you can ferret out that it was Just Some Harmless Idiot With Incredibly Bad Judgment – and the easiest way for the Idiot to make that clear is to demonstrate it himself.

    It’s awfully hard to tell idiocy apart from malice when the idiot isn’t helping you.

    In other contexts (those the other commenters inferred) the Sergeant’s words could be an indictment of his judgment as a law enforcement officer … but in the context actually presented, I’m not really seeing the problem.)

  11. Ron W Says:

    “The makers of the Constitution conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone–the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.” — Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (Olmstead v. U.S.) 1928

  12. A Critic Says:

    ““This is the price you pay to live in free society right now. It’s just the way it is,” Mullins adds.”

    That’s the best line.

    If you have to pay a price then it ain’t friggin free now is it Mr. Mullins?

  13. TS Says:

    ““This is the price you pay to live in free society right now. It’s just the way it is,” Mullins adds.”

    So, the price you pay to be free, is to forfeit some of those freedoms??? No sir, the price of freedom is that there may be terrorists among us, but until they’ve done something wrong they enjoy the same freedoms you do.

  14. Lyle Says:

    “All this stalking of teens on facebook is a bit curious. So, prove it, or we’ll presume you are one.”

    With that reasoning, he should be required to prove he isn’t a scum sucking tyrant.

    The bottom line is; we have authoritarians and anti-authoritarians living in the same society. Each is attempting to foster its separate, incompatible doctrine. Neither can afford to tolerate the other.

  15. Lyle Says:

    “This is the price you pay to live in free society right now. It’s just the way it is,” Mullins adds.

    In his mind he’s being perfectly reasonable, so long as you understand that his idea of “free society” consists of the same sort of freedom that a farmer expects to have with regard to his livestock.

    He needs to castrate the sheep, de-horn the cows, arrange everything the way he sees fit, and then he can have a nice, peaceful farm. You try to get in the way of that and you’ll need to be culled from the herd.

  16. Paul Says:

    Many people get into law enforcement for the badge and uniform. Borderline bullies they are called. So is he a borderline bully? Can he prove he is not?