Suffering succotash! I actually agree with Sylvester

That’s Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, and agreement with him is not something I really expected. Sylvester, after all, has a long history of blaming guns, gun owners, and “lax gun laws” for Philadelphia’s violent crime problem. An example of that would be his (wildly inaccurate) lament about Pennsylvania’s “lax gun laws”:

“We have the most lax handgun law in the entire nation.”

Another example would be his explanation for the double murder perpetrated as part of a recent armored car robbery in Philly:

Johnson blamed the loss of life on the availability of handguns in Philadelphia and around the country.

As I said, Sylvester is no friend to the Second Amendment, which makes him no friend to the Bill of Rights, which makes him no friend of liberty, which finally makes him no friend of mine. On what, then, do I agree with him?

His stance against the proposal by an even greater enemy of freedom, Michael Nutter (is that a great name, or what?), who wants to trample the Fourth Amendment, along with the Second.

The city’s top law-enforcement officer says Michael Nutter’s proposed “stop-and-frisk” policy would be a “disaster.”

Departing Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson said the presumptive mayor’s promise to invoke the more aggressive law enforcement strategy would undermine the community rapport that Johnson feels he has developed in six years on the job. He said the next commissioner “is going to have a problem” with discontent – or worse, civil unrest – if that goodwill is undermined.

“What Nutter is saying – this stop-and-frisk is going to be a disaster,” Johnson said in an interview with The Inquirer. “What he’s saying, too, is that he wants a police commissioner to be harder. Well, harder on what? . . . Do you think locking people up is making a difference?

Nutter’s advocacy of a “stop and frisk” policy has been discussed before. Of course, some might not refer to such proposals as advocating Fourth Amendment violations–maybe we should think of it as persons, houses, papers, and effects supervision,” lest we be accused of being “Fourth Amendment literalists,” right Rob?

Nutter, by the way, does seem to agree with Johnson about guns being the cause of Philly’s violence.

I should qualify my agreement with Sylvester’s objection to the Nutter Plan–he doesn’t seem to be talking about it as a Fourth Amendment issue, but as one about the police department’s community rapport. I would think there is a legitimate cause for concern there, but to me, the greater issue is the utter unconstitutionality of a “stop and frisk” campaign. I should also point out that Nutter is apparently not alone (see the part about Lawrence G. Sherman, near the end of the post) in supporting suspension of the Fourth Amendment in Philadelphia (also see WoG)

Maybe Philadelphia should stop treating the Constitution as the problem, and do something about its revolving door “justice” system.

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8 Responses to “Suffering succotash! I actually agree with Sylvester”

  1. dwlawson Says:

    I’d say I’m sick of these people wiping their asses with the Constitution but I don’t want to be labeled a ‘Homegrown Terrorist.’

  2. 45superman Says:

    . . . I don’t want to be labeled a ‘Homegrown Terrorist.’

    I’ve reached the point where I can’t seem to care much what the fools call me. Hell, we import too much anyway–if they’re going to call me a terrorist, better a “homegrown” one than an imported one, I guess.

  3. TJH Says:

    Nutter is obviously a member of the Crime Lobby.

    I think the point that Johnson should have made is that regardless of some nutter’s take on the Fourth Amendment, it is still in effect, and has a counterpart in the state constitution (Article I Section 8).

    So, unless there’s a crooked judge on which Johnson can depend, his department’s time in court is going to be spent explaining how evidence was obtained without warrants. I don’t think “intuition” is going to cut it. My guess is that every piece of evidence obtained in this manner will be thrown out in costly and pointless trials.

    Only an idiot who wanted crime to grow unchecked would want criminals back out on the streets in short order and the courts to be tied up with aborted cases.

  4. Gringo_Malo Says:

    Pardon me, but you seem to operating under the misconception that you have Fourth Amendment rights. The Supreme Court has ruled that the safety of police trumps your right to be secure in your person; a police officer may search you for weapons during any encounter. The Court has also ruled that police may search your vehicle whenever they believe they have probable cause, which means, in effect, any time they bloody well please.

    Of course, even the intervention of a judge does you precious little good. Many warrants issued by judges are simply a rubber-stamp of the cop’s affadavit. The Supreme Court has ruled that judges may issue warrants on the basis of anonymous letters. More often than not, search warrants are served by SWAT teams; the polite knock on the door is a thing of the past.

    I’m an NRA Life Membar and all in favor of private gun ownership, but if the Second Amendment guarantees the Fourth, I ain’t seen it yet.

  5. Gringo_Malo Says:

    That should have been NRA Life Member. Please pardon the typo.

  6. straightarrow Says:

    I think Gringo,I shall just call you one of Wayne’s betrayed.

  7. 45superman Says:

    . . . if the Second Amendment guarantees the Fourth, I ain’t seen it yet.

    The guarantee hasn’t been redeemed–yet–but that doesn’t mean it won’t be.

  8. TJH Says:

    I can’t help it if someone has a bad laywer. Your rights are still your rights. You don’t have to consent, and you can question the officer — or even resist if he doesn’t already have veins popping out of his head, froth around his mouth and his hand on the butt of his gun.

    I realize that a lot of people still think that the authoritarian 20th Century was the way it was supposed to be, but isn’t the point of this blog and others to speak the truth and rally the people? Now is not the time to give up, progress is being made. We’re not going back to the days when the FBI spied on Blue Oyster Cult because they had laser lights as part of their show.

    But before someone can spot a bad lawyer, they have to know their rights so they know when they’re getting screwed. (Remember that popular bad lawyers go on to become bad judges.)

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