Coffee Sensitivity Training

Starbucks is getting a lot of rightly deserved flack for calling the cops on two black men, but every other franchise in America is just as likely to be the scene of the same prejudiced thing as long as white customers, employees, and managers wet their pants at the sight of a minority and call the trigger-happy cops.

You can probably tell I don’t often travel beyond the Northeast by the franchises I used. I’m sure the chain brand coffee’s bad in whatever region you live in. Just be a cheapo like me and enjoy french press of whatever beans your wife buys.

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The Customer Compliance Cops

We heard all about United Airlines roughing up a passenger who refused to “volunteer” the seat he paid for, but the goons who did it were security and Chicago Police.

The line between privatized security and police forces is becoming increasingly thin, and corporations are now putting arbitration clauses in their contracts and user agreements to get around the justice system.

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The Self-Appointed Protest Referee

The Self-Appointed Protest RefereeColin Kaepernick is protesting and drawing attention to the epidemic of unprosecuted police brutality by sitting out (kneeling out since this cartoon was drawn) the national anthem. Everyone outraged about his free speech is talking about patriotism, respecting veterans and arcane flag etiquette instead of systemic racism because it’s easier to change the subject.

The Santa Clara Police Department proved Kaepernick was correct by throwing a tantrum and explicitly stating they have the power to choose who they protect and serve. Hopefully the protest continues and the discussion expands beyond Kaepernick to the actual issue of police brutality he’s trying to highlight.

Read the comic at the New York Times.

7 Steps Toward Police Reform

7 Steps Toward Police ReformLast week, the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile gripped the nation and began another round of protests against police brutality. Then the brutal attack on Dallas police officers happened and everyone flipped out. I’m going to go out on a limb and say every murder is bad and deserves outrage. The tragedy of systemic, institutionalized, and rarely-prosecuted murders is that the sheer frequency of them makes us numb, and don’t make headlines unless a gruesome video goes viral on social media.

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Policing After Utah v. Strieff

Policing After Utah V. StrieffThe understaffed Supreme Court session came to a close this week. The results were a mixed bag, but the Utah v. Strieff decision was the most egregious. It allows for illegally obtained evidence to be used against citizens. The majority said a cop’s instincts are good enough to get around the cumbersome bits of the Fourth Amendment that require probable cause and warrants.

The decision could also nullify over twenty years of Law & Order reruns.

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Officer Hall Monitor

Officer Hall MonitorFootage of a school police officer (euphemistically called a “resource officer”) assaulting a student in a classroom went viral last week and sane people were appalled. If I learned anything from posting cartoons about police brutality, it’s that police emotions are more delicate and volatile than any hormone-addled teenager’s. Even the babies running for the Republican nomination can take a little constructive criticism before they take their debate ball and go home.

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A Tale of Two Baltimores

A Tale of Two BaltimoresFollowing the murder of Freddie Gray, Baltimore erupted into protests and the national media came running. Burning police cars and riot squads storming the streets are much better for ratings than lengthy explanations of the physical and economic violence that has been inflicted on its citizens for decades.

I’m not going to pretend to have a deep understanding of Baltimore’s problems. I was a white kid at Johns Hopkins, living relatively close to the tony neighborhoods surrounding its Homewood campus, but my years there gave me more empathy for its residents than the Baltimore City Police seem to have for them.

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Overdue Police Reforms

Overdue Police ReformsI drew this after video of Officer Slager gunning down Walter Scott in North Charleston, SC came out, but before video of Reserve Deputy (Kind of like a police cosplayer, but given an all-too-real firearm.) Robert Bates shooting Eric Harris in Tulsa County, OK was made public over the weekend.

Surveillance of the police is a start, but it’s tragic that even more graphic snuff films are needed to convince people that our criminal justice system is messed up.

Read the comic at The New York Times.