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Did the West Yorkshire Police behave inappropriately in this incident?


Saying someone looks like your aunt (grandmother?) is not a crime.  Cops do a lot of ridiculous things, but this is pretty up there in terms of unneccessary state violence.

They did at least eventually release the child and seemingly apologize.


Yes. That's clearly not the intent of such legislation, even if you don't regard such laws and policies as an agregious violation.


Cops gonna cop. What can you do?


It appears the state may believe the person did not commit a crime.  It is a human's duty to respect the state, and a state's judgement of what is crime.


If you have a legal policy that incitement to criminal violence, advocacy of criminal violence, threats of criminal violence, and celebration of past criminal violence are all forbidden (with all of those things being illegal in Great Britain, Canada, France, and other nations but being fine in the United States), then I suppose this sort of abuse is inevitable. Unethical law enforcement and agents of the criminal justice system at large will power-trip and otherwise be horrible by taking things that absolutely aren't criminal speech and acting as if they somehow are. Technically. I don't see a way around this.

I'm really not sure about the general issue. I suppose I broadly think that the U.K. standard is better than the U.S., though. I'd rather live in a country where somebody can't just write a letter threatening to burn down a synagogue and otherwise we've expectations that hateful talk of criminal violence can't be a part of "speech". Even if that means certain corrupt cops harassing disabled children with ludicrous allegations against them.


I think you are thinking it would be better to punish hate-speech toward lesbians, and punish negative opinions about cops, rather than making hate-speech acceptable and contempt of cop -- maybe legal?


ACAB. Not much else to say. What else do you expect from the jocks who wanted to keep bullying people after high school ended and couldn't do anything else beyond throw balls well?

They're power tripping simpletons who want the world to be run through violence. Of course they acted inappropriately.


The practical choice is this:

A)Anybody can do anything in any way about anybody else no matter how ethnically line-crossing as long as it can technically be called "speech", i.e. your next door neighbor can steal your credit card number from your e-mails plus use AI to create realistic images of your eleven-year-old younger sister naked before posting them both on a gigantic plastic banner on his front lawn.

B)Line-crossing behavior is illegal even if it's technically labeled "speech" in a way that allows the government to squash people like ants without a real justification, i.e. you deciding to wear a "Black Lives Matter" t-shirt outdoors will get you arrested because the authorities think that BLM => Marxist-Leninist revolutionary sentiment => a belief that represents a danger to public safety that can't be freely thought.

Anarchy. Or tyranny. You must pick one. That's the sad state of modern politics. You can freeze to death from extreme cold. Or you can boil to death from extreme heat. It can't be any better than this, at least not currently.

I don't know which is worse. I really don't. Modern governments are inherently not just corrupt but bigoted, violent, stupid, deceitful, and contradictory. A normal human being living a normal life needs to be protected from being attacked by both a)the madmen in the government and b)non-governmental madmen.

A law specifically against, say, rape threats is always going to be largely applied to innocent victims who've done nothing wrong but merely are easily condemned via public opinion because that's that, even though some actual sexual predators will get in trouble. At the same time, do we allow rape threats? Do we give up?

Do we legalize rape itself? How does one deal with the gigantic number of false accusations of sexual misconduct? As weighed against the also gigantic number of true harms done to real people? Which victim group must suffer? Is that how it is? I don't know. I really don't.


I am required to respect the state.  In other matters, respect is at my discretion.  In anarchy, all respect would be at my discretion.  In totalitarianism, I would have no such discretion and would spend my time in obedience.  I do seem to prefer to have choices, where appropriate, so I suppose that's an answer to your question.  You seem to hold a sorta negative view of humanity in general so I suppose you'd favor the most disempowering political organization for humanity generally, but that might be choking, corrupt bureaucracy or ramshackle anarchy, I don't know.


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In my opinion, the US Supreme Court has generally done an excellent job in defining boundaries between protected free speech and unprotected speech.


The actual case behind the classic "Fire in a theater" one I find pretty atrocious.
But I'd agree they do decent most of the time.


Oh yeah, I mean current Supreme Court jurisprudence, not old cases that have since been overruled.


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I looked a bit more into the story (saw about 7 seconds of the video), and wanted to say that this is the kind of thing that can only happen in the United Kingdom.


Some of the news stories and posts don't say why she was interacting with police to begin with, but I found:

West Yorkshire Police had brought the girl home after a relative of the girl contacted them that she was intoxicated at a nearby shopping hub, authorities said.

'Upon returning her to the address, comments were made which resulted in the girl being arrested on suspicion of a homophobic public order offense. The nature of the comments made was fully captured on body-worn video,” police said.'


There is a lot wrong with what happened:

1. The police officers were called to help get an autistic 16 year-old safely home. The police officers were apparently successful in their mission. Having performed the service they were asked to do without incident, they should have left peacefully.

2. The officers knew the girl was intoxicated; they were on a community-service mission as well, and they shouldn't have cared even if it was technically a hate crime.

Furthermore, it would go without saying in the United States, but police officers shouldn't be allowed to arrest people for hate speech against themselves (or other officers they're working with) while working in the line of duty for multiple reasons, in no particular order:

1. While on duty, you're not going to be as calm and rational as when off-duty, so you won't be able to make an accurate assessment of more subtle issues involving a situation. In addition, since police officers' primary duty is dealing with criminals, they are going to be more attuned to seeing crime where there is none.

2. Separation of Powers: In the U.S., there is a separation of powers. Police officers enforce the law. When the law involves something fairly abstract like a hate crime, and the perceived crime is against oneself or one's fellow officers, then when the police officer makes a decision in such an instance to arrest someone, they take on the role of judge and jury when determining if a crime has been committed.

3. Mental Health Considerations: Even if a hate crime had been committed, the citizen's mental health should have been taken into consideration when performing the arrest.

4. Class of Crime Considerations: As I would consider "hate crime" to be a new class of crime, I would argue that it requires a new class of procedures to deal with. Otherwise, you will end up with situations like this.

Other Thoughts:

1. The teen shouldn't have/the family shouldn't have allowed the teen to be in a situation where she got intoxicated to the point of needing the police to come pick her up and take her home.
2. There was a lot of cussing in the few seconds of the video I watched. It was an emotional situation, and had the family been able to more calmly express themselves (I wouldn't necessarily place the expectation on them), an arrest may not have been made. Also something I find interesting is how swearing at the police doesn't result in an arrest, but a hate crime against them does. Swearing would be general, undirected animosity. This is culturally OK. But if the animosity becomes collective, such as in the form of a hate crime or collective bargaining, then it becomes inappropriate.
3. I wonder what the officers' real motives were in making the arrest. Did the teen say something in the car ride back home that made them think that they needed to teach her a lesson? Did they simply not understand autism? Did the police officers dislike the family and want to make an arrest to teach them a lesson?
4. At any rate, the teen will probably be wary of cops for a while, at least, after this. That is, if they remember anything from the encounter.

Other Info and Thoughts:


Additional Info From Video: The girl was on private property, which the law allows an exemption from hate speech for.

The cops really messed this one up.



Isn't it already illegal to threaten violence against someone or their property, if it is believed to be sincere? If someone writes a legitimate letter to the owner of a building, threatening to damage it, that would clearly be illegal.

But if someone is ranting on their YouTube channel about how they're going to damage a building (and everyone else should too), I believe that would be protected free speech because there is no intent to actually do it and no expectation that other people will do it.

It seems more like a cultural issue based around preferred style of communication.


Interesting. I think there may be a middle ground, however, if you make one. A starting point might be to base your judgement about speech based on the medium on which you heard it. So, for example, YouTube videos and general Reddit would rank low on believeability/concern, whereas a conversation with your close friend might rank higher. Speech from people you trust might rank higher mostly regardless of the medium. Random stuff you mindlessly scrolled through online would have a very low ranking of importance...

...so some kind of personal system where it's not about what you read but more about where you read it, why you read it, your state of mind while reading it, whether it was something you read or watched, and so on...

A big part of the problem in this century is digital addiction and apps designed to exploit our psychology in order to appeal to us... A lot of what would, if everyone was calm and sober, be considered "hate speech" is just the rambling of digital addicts.

So, maybe it's not anarchy/tyranny but just that we need a new way of looking at speech.


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>If you have a legal policy that incitement to criminal violence, advocacy of criminal violence, threats of criminal violence, and celebration of past criminal violence are all forbidden (with all of those things being illegal in Great Britain, Canada, France, and other nations but being fine in the United States),
Incitement to imminent illegal violence is unprotected in the US, but abstract advocacy is protected.

True threats are unprotected. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_threat


I find it rather impossible to draw an ethical line between "direct and intentional advocacy of criminal violence" and "direct and intentional threats of criminal violence" as concepts.

The guy standing in front of a synagogue that an arsonist burned down who publicly states that he's glad that the building complex got destroyed as well as that the victims died? What's the moral difference between him and the dude standing in front of a religious institution that's still standing going "I will kill these people"?

Also, why exactly would a message written on a piece of paper have far less meaning attached to it than one spoken out loud? Or vise versa? Does this really seem logical?


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First, it's not necessary for there to be an ethical line between two acts for there to be a good reason that one act is illegal but the other is 1A-protected.  The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to constrain the power of government.  If there is significantly more risk that the goverment will abuse a power to imprison people for one category of speech than another, then that might be a good reason for a difference in legal treatment between the two speech categories.

Second, saying something like "I will kill these people" is much more direct evidence of one's propensity to commit a crime than merely stating one's emotional response to an event that already happened.



I think this topic has gotten too complicated for it to continue to make sense to me. On the one hand, speech is fundamentally just soundwaves that travel through the air and evoke certain impressions in our minds. Therefore, nothing that is said can actually hurt us. So, on this basis, all speech should be legal.

Yet, your speech does have an effect - both on yourself and others. This is undeniable. Therefore, you shouldn't just go around saying anything you happen to think...

But should the government have the authority to say what is and isn't allowed? If so, to what extent? There are other societal systems in place that regulate speech that don't involve punishing someone for saying the wrong thing. So, in the tradition of freedom, the U.S. government, at least, mostly tries to stay out of making laws against such things. The exceptions are limited to the most egregious situations. I think a lot of it has to do with the culture, as well... for exxample, the U.S. only attained independence after a war, yet the founders clearly articulated their reasons for the war. So, maybe all of this depends a lot on the reasonableness of a person's actions, as well. There are also a lot of Christians in the U.S., so its laws are going to reflect the myth found in the Christian religion.


At a practical level, if I'm forced to censor myself and am unable to do a gigantic number of things due to coercive intimidation from others, then my own freedoms are being impaired.

If you let these other people with violent political preferences be 'more free', then I will become 'less free'. I want to be able to go to a local religious institution without there being police presence nearby. I want to be able to wear certain clothes without there being the increased risk of sexual assault. And so on. The fact that I cannot do all that is a clear-cut harm. The better off those with coercive ideologies are and the freer they are to try to harass and intimidate their victims, the harder life is for those victims.

I don't think it's logical at all to just view this as citizens versus the government. It's governments at different levels (including federal versus local divisions) facing off against citizens that're opposed to each other (especially on religious lines, ethnic lines, racial lines, and so on).  The core reason why we have a government system at all instead of living in anarchy is in order to oppose the 'state of nature' of 'all against all' so that it's not possible for one person to just eliminate the right to life, liberty, and property of another. Right?

I agree certainly, though, that governments are at best a necessary evil and practically tend to be just plain evil. It's a difficult situation. There's no such thing as a 'good government'. There's a fumbling around for the 'least bad government'.

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