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I don’t want to get into the habit of posting on cases of police corruption, police brutality, or correctional officer misconduct.

I don’t want to do this for three reasons:

1. It distracts me, and you the reader, from digesting content directly related to photography and its praxis.
2. Many other regional, national and international newsrooms will cover these stories – as a matter of course – more thoroughly than I.
And 3. Despite their shared “peace officer” status, cops and screws are cut from a different cloth. It would be wrong of me to carelessly blur the activities of one disciplinary group with another. Police and correctional officers share minimal operational relation to one another.

So, I don’t wish to obfuscate the reader/viewer. However, the video below leaves no confusion in anyone’s mind.

The spokesperson in the video relayed the official words of an authority under investigation, but one feels even he could barely stomach the truth here. Where some videos are subject to interpretation – and consequently endless courtroom debate – there can be no doubt here. The officer lost his head and unleashed upon this young girl. He’s a thug, just like a guy fist fighting on the street is a thug.

As some of you may know, I have recently transplanted to Seattle. Occasionally, one witnesses acts of rote police procedure in place of common sense, but by and large, the cops on the streets here (as in my former home of San Francisco) are a friendly bunch on bikes and skates.

I am saddened such a horrendous beating should take place in my new hometown … which is why I have made an exception to my rule here.

Unfortunately, this brutal lashing occurred in the same month that Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske was selected by Obama to be America’s next Drug Czar. Seattleites have voiced varied opinions regarding this appointment, but secretly they are all really chuffed. It is a proud moment for Seattle residents, not least, because Kerlikowske – even as a police chief – shares some majority views of the citizenry. Kerlikowske adopted a common sense approach to urban policing by making marijuana infractions the lowest priority of his force in order to redirect resources to more serious matters … matters of violence. The Stranger, Seattle’s favourite free rag offers four wildly different but well-informed opinions on Kerlikowske’s appointment.


Seattle lost an age-old institution recently. The Seattle Post Intelligencer, like the Rocky Mountain News and San Francisco Chronicle has had its day. I am not sad because I believe newspapers have unending rights or high position in urban comunities because I don’t – I am excited by new media and its different forms of creation and distribution. I am upset because it was the liberal leaning paper in this two paper town. That leaves the Seattle Times, which is very mediocre. If you are intent on getting good journalism in print pick up the San Jose Mercury Times. Crap city, great newspaper!

TYWKIWDBI is garish and off putting to anyone who judges sites on appearance alone. Fortunately for it, and us, it is also one of the best aggregators of online content. It is a one man operation to compete with Digg!

Roy Brown

Roy Brown

I picked up this story and had to relay it. While Christian Milton, former AIG executive, got 4 years for his involvement in $500million fraud, Roy Brown was sentenced to 15 years in Louisiana for stealing $100 from a bank. Brown only took $100 dollars from thousands the cashier handed him and subsequently surrendered himself the next day, ashamed of his actions stating “My mother didn’t raise me that way.”

I don’t know how tied the judges hands were by Louisiana law, but I would resign in disgust if I was a cog in such an abusive system. Fucking disgrace.

Christian Milton

Christian Milton

Searching for images didn’t come up with much (admittedly, it didn’t spend too long) but it occurred to me that the mugshot is the aesthetic of the poor and the street “trialshot” is the aesthetic of the rich. I understand they are captured at different moments in the judicial process, but the qualities and circumstances of the Mugshot vs Trialshot make interesting comparison.

MUGSHOT: Regimented, Artificial light, Institutional, Accompanied by booking information, Less likely recipient of bail, Controlled & private space, Everyday clothes.

TRIALSHOT: Unrestricted, Natural light, Public, Accompanied by caption and news article, Certain recipient of bail, Public space, Selected wardrobe.

These comparisons go some length to describe the influence money and status can have in the legal process and how the procedures accommodate those with money and resources to work with/within the system vs. those who are simply subject to its machinations. Just to drive the point home, when charges were first brought against Milton in February 2008, the probation office recommended a 14 to 17 year sentence. An absolute disgrace. A mockery.

Screenshot of fate. The rise and fall of individuals.

Screenshot of fate. The rise and fall of individuals.


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