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There are now 13 comments... what are your thoughts?
  1. austin says

    i love his expression in every panel…

    • Absolutely. He looks so shocked.
      But you have to keep in mind that at those times there was nothing like CSI, no cool flashing lights, no pictures from different angles of the crime scene, no miraculous liquids to reveal whatever you’re looking for. The only way to get your criminal is to catch them in the act or get confession or witnesses. And we all know how unreliable witnesses are.

      • Even today forensic evidence isn’t as effective in real life as it is on television. So the police do still face cases where their only choices are either extract a confession through interrogation or let the guilty go free, and they never pick option 2.

        • Except that in the absence of hard evidence or eyewitnesses, they’re basically just grabbing someone at random and beating the tar out of them until they confess, not getting the guilty to confess.

  2. beezee says

    The increasingly widening jaw was a nice touch. As were the eyebrows

  3. Librarian says

    Wouldn’t a law-savvy victim of police brutality, clamming up and resisting the force to confess, have been able to take these thugs in uniform, to tort for Assault and Battery? Or even claimed duress for their statement of confession?

    Or did durress come later and/or were police licensed to use force and protected by law in it’s (otherwise unlawful) use?

    • I’m not a civil rights lawyer, but my understanding is that there wasn’t a civil rights cause of action at the time. I would imagine that a tort lawsuit might have been technically possible, but the reality is that it just didn’t happen.

      The duress inherent in interrogation is what the law was going to have to start dealing with. But don’t confuse the defense of duress — a defense against liability for the commission of a crime — with what was going on here. The cops weren’t forcing you to commit a crime, but to admit it.

      Keep reading to see how the law dealt with it.

      • Well, I didn’t care about Civil rights (read: privileges offered by a government), I was wondering about common right as framed in the Declaration, and forbidden (by express omission of power) under State and National Constitutions.

        If the State/National Constution never granted government, agents of government, or officers under the law, the power and authority to physically abuse their sovereign people, then any such action would by necessity be criminal and liable for tort, assuming the people understood the law they were sovereign over and acted accordingly, would it not?

        (I understand this would more likely fall under constitutional law rather than legislated criminality, but I was curious. Thanks for the response)

        • I’m using “civil rights” in the sense of “suing the government for mistreating you,” which is what you’re talking about. As a cause of action, it didn’t exist at the time.

          Suspects probably did have legitimate tort claims under common-law causes of action like battery and false imprisonment and the like. But I’m not aware of anyone actually suing a police officer (or department) back then. It may have happened, but if so it was exceedingly rare.

          The rest of what you’re talking about seems to rest on some core presumptions about constitutional law that aren’t really correct. But this isn’t the place to get into all that. Perhaps all will be made clear once we get into con law later on.

          • So the likelyhood was that a personal tort could have existed for such abusive treatment, but the reality was the people never exercised their right to it. Thanks, that’s all I was asking.

            As for my constitutional presumptions, while I’m not law trained, I have done a fair amount of unorthodox research on the subject, and my presumptions stem from a different starting position, or ground basis, than others start from.

            Contract and Trust Law under the common right.

            But whatever I might be lacking, I hope to discover when you cover constitutional law.

            • Another possibility is that any attempt to file ould have been ignored. Y’know, like those cows who tried to file about being slaughtered for food without due proces.

  4. Andrew M. Farrell says

    This scene from Brown v. Mississippi bears a striking similarity to an early scene in 12 years a slave.

    “The other two defendants, Ed Brown and Henry Shields, were also arrested and taken to the same jail. On Sunday night, April 1, 1934, the same deputy, accompanied by a number of white men, one of whom was also an officer, and by the jailer, came to the jail, and the two last named defendants were made to strip, and they were laid over chairs and their backs were cut to pieces with a leather strap with buckles on it, and they were likewise made by the said deputy definitely to understand that the whipping would be continued unless and until they confessed, and not only confessed, but confessed in every matter of detail as demanded by those present, and in this manner the defendants confessed the crime, and as the whippings progressed and were repeated, they changed or adjusted their confession in all particulars of detail so as to conform to the demands of their torturers. When the confessions had been obtained in the exact form and contents as desired by the mob, they left with the parting admonition and warning that, if the defendants changed their story at any time in any respect from that last stated, the perpetrators of the outrage would administer the same or equally effective treatment.”

  5. WJS says

    The contrast between the medieval “how we do things” and this “how we do things” is just awful, and made that much worse by the fact this guy looks like a modern cop.

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