Just In Case


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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96 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    I’m not particularly prejudiced against LARPers. I think it’s great that they have a hobby. Heck, even if they want to play full contact kinda LARPing, that’s their own business.

    I am kinda freaked out that they are training to play full contact LARPing against people who haven’t consented to play.Report

  2. zic says:

    Thanks, JB.

    I’ve been thinking about training for a few days, now; Mad Rocket Scientist is my witness that it’s something I’ve been bringing up here for a while, too, he and I have discussed it.

    I’ve been looking for any sorts of national standards; they are mostly state, so any conversation is fraught with jurisdiction problems; please be aware of that. I have not found a comprehensive comparison of differences that’s useful, if any one knows of resources, I’d be delighted. Any good resources on training would be welcome.

    I asked for this post because I’ve been hearing a lot of stuff that amounts to officers are taught to shoot to kill. And they miss a lot. So we should not be surprised at multiple-round unloadings of so person already down but not dead. I asked Burt Liko about this on the ugh thread; is this the standard we want? His answer was unsatisfactory to me, though I’d grant it represents the current legal thinking, and cannot call it wrong.

    Watching the video above, I think it’s time to talk about how we train police officers vs. how we want to train them. I don’t want them doing that stuff, above, in my town. But that’s what they’re doing in some places, isn’t it?

    FYI, I drove into Boston the afternoon after the Boston Marathon attack; stayed in a hotel in Kendall Square over the T; saw the armed presence out; it was not frightening like the images above and from Ferguson frighten; there are multiple facets to this. I want police there to protect us when we really do need it. A lot of my friends are first responders, and work with train derailments, fires, forest fires, floods, wilderness search and rescue. They use equipment acquired the same way the tanks and guns above were acquired.Report

    • zic in reply to zic says:

      I’ve been thinking about how what we see in the video above happened — Home Land Security at work, no? Because I look at that, and see, through my formation in the 1960s and 70s the job of the National Guard, which sometimes handled things well and sometimes screwed up royally. But we sent the National Guard off to Iraq and Afghanistan, and began training our local PDs to fill in for them.

      First off, there’s a single chain-of-command to the Governor and then the President with the National Guard that’s missing from local departments; and this seems bothersome; perhaps I’m missing something.Report

    • Mark Thompson in reply to zic says:

      Along these lines, this was another part of that Mark Steyn link I posted last night- that Germany’s entire police force fires as many shots in an average month as Officer Wilson fired into Michael Brown in a few seconds, and most of those German shots are warning shots, a concept that apparently does not exist in American law enforcement despite their being far more like to actually fire their weapons.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to zic says:

      A lot of my friends are first responders, and work with… forest fires, floods, wilderness search and rescue.

      Local law enforcement in the county where I live gets called out for all of those. One of the county-by-county lists of the type of gear obtained through the federal program shows my county getting a disproportionate amount of night-vision gear, which could easily save someone’s life during search-and-rescue operations. I can also see the benefit of having a closed, even armored, tracked vehicle like this one for last-minute evacuations in the vicinity of a wildfire.

      My nightmare of a terrorist operation in Colorado would be a dozen pairs of people, on a late June day when the weather forecast is right, driving down a bunch of the Forest Service roads and tossing a lit road flare into the woods every quarter-mile or so. It might not kill a lot of people directly, but the impact on just water supplies from burning a million or two acres would cost the state and local governments billions for mitigation.Report

      • Doh! I somehow forgot that my county does have an M113 APC, on loan from the Army since 2005. A Denver DJ got all excited about the “tank” earlier this year. The county has deployed it occasionally as transport in barricaded-active-shooter situations, sometimes carrying negotiators and/or paramedics.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to zic says:

      Aye, witnessed.

      (Sorry Zic, just not enough time to participate in that discussion right now, but you are doing an admirable job!)Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to zic says:

      Re: Shoot to kill

      IIRC, that is not exactly true. Police (& military) are trained to shoot ‘center of mass’. This offers the clearest target in a high stress situation so officers suffering from stress induced tunnel vision can still (ideally) make the shot.

      In reality, most departments, despite all the toys they have, don’t have the budget in money or time to make sure the officers get sufficient time at the range to practice. Shooting is very much a perishable skill, and if you don’t put a couple of hundred rounds down range 3-4 times a year at a minimum (once or twice a month should be the norm for police), those skills get rusty.

      Yesterday I went with a friend to the range & I needed the first 200 rounds just to get myself back into the grouping I want (6″ circle at 10 yds). After that, I was able to consistently maintain that grouping even when shooting fast, but I spent another 500 rounds making sure I could do it. Today I did a similar drill with a shotgun & a rifle (& I was teaching a young woman I know how to properly use her shotgun).

      So over two days I’ve shot off almost 1000 rounds of ammunition. Call it $150-$200 worth.

      Now price that for every officer in a department, 1-2 times a month, plus the time to let them do it.

      No, many departments have no real firearms training, and thus it is on the officer to stay practiced. Now give that officer mandatory overtime, & a family, then if there is not time during the workday to practice, practice will not happen except right before s/he needs to qualify.Report

      • Police (& military) are trained to shoot ‘center of mass’. This offers the clearest target in a high stress situation so officers suffering from stress induced tunnel vision can still (ideally) make the shot.

        And when are they to stop shooting? What are they taught about that? I cannot find guidelines of what they’re taught, horribly frustrating. Good job for journalists, to go out and research that; it’s highly local.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        I’ll tell you what I was taught. You stop shooting when whoever you were shooting at is no longer a threat. No longer a threat can mean:

        -They are running away (& not shooting at you as they retreat)
        -They’ve stopped advancing or have somehow assumed a non-threatening posture/demeanor.

        Now, & this is the important bit, you have to ask WHY I was taught that.

        Reason? Plain & simple, legally, once they person I am shooting at stops being a threat (using the reasonable man standard), my legal (& moral) justification for employing deadly force evaporates.

        If they are running away, I have no justifiable reason to employ deadly force. If they drop their weapons & surrender, or if they fall down due to trauma, I have no justification to continue employing deadly force.

        Guess who gets to play Monday-morning Quarterback on whether or not my use of force was justified? If I don’t want the police to have to make a tough call, I had best make sure the circumstances are such that there is no tough call to make.

        Of course, police are not held to the same standard, so for them, even if they are officially trained in a manner similar to me; a culture that stresses officer safety above all, and one that works hard to make sure the correct call is always made, will foster behaviors that cause officers to shooting fleeing suspects, and view any threat as life threatening, and cause the officer to empty their clip & reload to shoot some more.Report

      • @mad-rocket-scientist

        Your standard — is it a civilian standard as a gun owner, or your military standard? — seems much more acceptable then the standard on display in deaths like Michael’s; and as I said, in reading about it, the social slang is “shoot to kill.”Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        Civilian standard. I know some people have recently expressed that police should meet a higher standard, but right now I’d be happy if they had to just meet the civilian standard.

        The military ROE exist to meet different goals, and don’t translate well to day to day civilian interactions. There is at least one infantry officer (EB?) who would be better able to compare & contrast infantry ROE, but the little I did learn was you shoot until the enemy stops shooting back, then you stop shooting. On the battlefield, ammo is used at a blistering pace*, and it is a scarce resource since you don’t always know when you will be reinforced or resupplied. So you conserve as best you can.

        *This is why infantry units generally have a limited number of full-auto weapons. Most have rifles that are semi-auto or 3-round burst. Usually only one or two people in a fire-team will have a SAW (Squad automatic weapon).Report

  3. Radley Balko says:

    I’m all for training. But I question whether a town that small needs a SWAT team. And I’m troubled by a police department that would post a video on its website that depicts the Punisher and the song “Die Motherfucker Die” as its SWAT team’s inspiration.Report

    • We all should be troubled by the last.

      But on the issue of small towns… as long as bigger towns and outright cities have SWAT teams, and if we are going to concede that some of them should, how do you successfully make the argument to smaller communities that, no, you not only don’t need one, but you shouldn’t get one. It’s either not in your interest, or it’s just unjustified enough that we’re actually going to impose some kind of judgement of illegitimacy on your decision to get one. There are various reasons they want to, not all reflecting real need. These are good jobs, after all, for (mostly) dudes who have been brought up to love guns and gun culture, and the military and military culture. Federal terrorism dollars flow to these means, regardless of arguments about necessity. Claim the need, and the means flow. On top of that, I bet many of these communities do cobble together colorable arguments about why they’re not nuts to want a small SWAt team. (Distance from larger communities, etc.)

      So how do you address all that when addressing them? Yes, we can say that we should cut off the federal dollars enabling this. But how do you directly address the cultural-political reality of these local governments developing the desire to have these capabilities, I’m guessing often with support from their communities? How do you, in fact, address them?Report

      • …And maybe the answer is just that cutting off the federal subsidization of thes decisions will be enough to make them fiscally unsupportable for small communities, making the need to address the underlying desire unnecessary. I’d accept that.Report

      • That’s why I tend to think that such units should be drafted at the state level. If it’s a big enough situation that you have to get the riot gear, it should be a bit enough situation to bring in the state troopers. This might be easier to accomplish in some states than others, but it strikes me as a more reasonable norm.Report

      • Yeah, but that’s a forlorn reform path I think, Will. Big cities won’t accede to having to appeal to the state to be able to deploy these capabilities. It’s just not going to happen. Medium cities will follow suit. Which leads back to just same issue with absurdly small places thinking they need them that we’re discussing.Report

      • …I guess it would in theory be easy enough to write in cut-off sizes for federal dollars for these capabilities, and allocate funding for them for small communities to the states, with stipulation that the funding not go back to small communities in dollars, but instead n state capabilities made available on an on-request basis. In theory. But the practical political reality doesn’t make such a thing very easy I don’t think.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Actually, not all officers are fans of guns or responsible gun culture. I’ve met quite a few who see a gun as part of their kit, but if they weren’t a cop, would not own one.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Michael Drew says:

        I think you can justify on a historical basis.

        If you want a SWAT team of your own, you have to show that you’ve handled enough situations that call for a SWAT team. Hence, big cities get one, and maybe some medium cities, but everyone else depends on the nearest Sheriff or State Trooper Unit.Report

      • zic in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Hence, big cities get one, and maybe some medium cities, but everyone else depends on the nearest Sheriff or State Trooper Unit.

        Coming from a small, rural state (and one governed by a canny fool,) I think the nearest unit might also be under the jurisdiction of the National Guard.Report

      • @mad-rocket-scientist

        Returning late here, but, no, certainly not all cops or even SWAT team members have those personal interests. I didn’t say they did. What I said is that having units like this, and thus probably (a few) more police positions and ones where interest and experience in “special weapons and tactics” can be put to use, is something that provides for a few more well-paying jobs in communities where guys with those interests and people with backgrounds in the military who are likely to have them live in relatively great numbers compared to bigger cities.

        On the justification thing, as I suggested, I don’t think the community-size cutoff thing is as forlorn as the idea of running all SWAT operations through state government. But I think it’s pretty politically improbable nonetheless. (It may nevertheless be our best bet.) And a formula like the one you suggest isn’t likely to be seen by small communities as much of an improvement on just saying outright that small communities can’t have the funds for this that larger ones can if in fact that was essentially the effect (and especially if it really was just a fig leaf to cover its being the intended effect) of the formula. It also might incentivize all manner of shenanigans in crime data reporting, although that’s probably already going on under existing criteria, to be fair.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Michael Drew says:


        Ah, I see your point re: gun enthusiasts. No argument.

        As for community sizes & resources for budgets, there are lots of things larger cities have that smaller ones don’t. When I was growing up, Cascade had one cop car (whom we called pickles, because the police car was green), a volunteer fire department, and no medical services to speak of aside from a few small private practices. Plymouth, just up the road, had a larger PD, a full time FD, & an actual hospital, but in the 30 years I lived near there, it never had a crime that would even remotely approach needing a SWAT team (& does not, to this day, have a SWAT team that I can see).

        Sheboygan county, OTOH, has a SWAT team that they will deploy to anywhere in the county upon request.

        @radley-balko regularly features small towns that have acquired SWAT/Tac Teams & the military goodies, and then talks about the lack of violent crime in said town. It’s pretty obvious from reading these profiles that these towns could not possibly hope to support a Tac Team without federal support. Drying up that cash flow would go a long way to reducing the number of teams out there.Report

    • zic in reply to Radley Balko says:

      Thank you for responding, @radley-balko I’m honored.

      I agree, which is why I question where the jurisdiction for this type of action should reside; as I said upthread, I think it got tossed down to local PDs when we called up the Guard to serve in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      But I think the question isn’t so Training: good or bad? as it is Training: what kind of law enforcement do we want. Does shoot to kill mean empty your clip if you keep missing a vital part? Always throw in a flash grenade when you kick down a door?

      Do we train when not to use these techniques?Report

    • zic in reply to Radley Balko says:

      And I agree — the video is offensive. 100% the wrong attitude and impression and motivation.

      But I’m also trying to push against my own bias: I would assume that there’s some sort of regional plan, and this is the unit assigned with this asset; that’s how things work in my state. I am concerned when a local police chief can call this out at his own discretion; concerned when this is the attitude and motivation his force is bringing to their efforts.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Radley Balko says:

      The death metal and the Punisher logo were the most disturbing to me.

      There is a lot of projecting going on in that video. Freud would have a field day with this video.

      Something, something Scots-Irish Warrior Culture something.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Radley Balko says:

      Dude, I’m all for training too… it just seems to me that these cops are far more likely to need training for situations where the church sign was switched around to spell something offensive (again) or that there was a fight at the local watering hole (again) than to train to extract a wounded comrade as if they were in Afghanistan.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        Or training on how to make the drunk guy park his car, load him up in the cruiser, and drive him home cuz a dui would seriously fuck up that dudes life.

        With a stern warning and all that.

        Actually, I’ve lived in places where the cops did that sort of thing. They drove you home rather than cite you. Course, those were small towns where everyone knew each other. It’s when cops view the citizenry as “others” that this type of stuff gets really pronounced.

        And that reminds me of an article a read a while ago, something to the effect that cop departments won’t hire (or are encouraged to not hire) people from the area where they’ll be working. So they have the proper “dispassion” when cuffing jaywalkers, I guess.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        And that last comment makes me miss Jason K even more. He was big on saying that government is not us and all that. Well, whether we think he was right or wrong, it’s increasingly clear that gummint – at least copdom – doesn’t think they’re us. They’re something distinct. Deathmetalpredatoryenforcers or something.Report

      • zic in reply to Jaybird says:

        it just seems to me that these cops are far more likely to need training for situations where the church sign was switched around to spell something offensive (again) or that there was a fight at the local watering hole (again) than to train to extract a wounded comrade as if they were in Afghanistan.

        That’s sorta the point, @jaybird — are we training them to help extract the kitten from the tree and breaking up the local bar fight or to tear-gas whole neighborhoods and shock-and-awe protestors?Report

      • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

        To be sort of picky, cops only think some of us are Others. Cops, as they have developed, are advanced manifestations of aspects of american culture. The belief in violence as a righteous tool, strong authority, and the love of the tools of violence. A lot of what we see in cops is almost a direct projection of the crime movies of the 70’s and 80’s, when i bet a lot of the street cops were growing up onto the attitudes of cops. But cops are sure they are the righteous guardians, the wolves, guarding the sheep. And plenty of people are willing to tell them they are right. Cops see themselves as Us with only some as Others.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:


        That’s a damn good point. Thanks for that. Now I’m completely depressed.Report

      • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

        Still- Clearly my work here is done.Report

      • Jim Heffman in reply to Jaybird says:

        Well, we can either have a police force that knows its community and exercises judgement and brings a human level of understanding and compassion to police work…

        …or we can have a police force that follows the rules at all times and is therefore 99/44-100% guaranteed to not be racist.

        The question, I guess, is how much might-be-racist are we willing to accept. Because if we aren’t willing to accept any, then we end up with Robot Police.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        The question, I guess, is how much might-be-racist are we willing to accept. Because if we aren’t willing to accept any, then we end up with Robot Police.

        This makes no sense, Jim. THe robot police in question are primarily being criticized for being racists, not for having too much compassion.

        Man, I don’t unnerstand how you look at the world, and lawd knows I unnerstand lots of views I disagree with.Report

      • zic in reply to Jaybird says:

        @stillwater I found the attempt at using numbers and statistics to discredit using data to guide policy amusing.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        Those numbers are a reference to Ivory Soap’s purity. Ivory, which is white. 99.44% pure white. That’s ironic. And is actually a pretty clever joke, except it works in the opposite direction Jim was going in. His comments are so layered in meta that I can never figure out which level is the fulcrum.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:


        I would modify Jason K’s statement slightly. The government is not all of us all of the time.

        There have still been sections of the media that have been defending the cops with all their passion. Hannity is one example. So is Morning Joe:


      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jaybird says:

        I think part of the problem with getting people to care can also be laid at the feet of out popular entertainment. Cop Dramas that have an episode with an officer involved shooting will, the vast majority of the time, run with a plot that it was a good shoot, morally justified by most standards, but legally in question until they find the gun (or some such) proving that it was good all along. And in the cases where it wasn’t justified, the cop was obviously a bad guy.

        Add to that @radley-balko & his drum banging regarding the willingness of local & national news media to dance to the police PR flacks tune.

        People internalize that crap.Report

      • zic in reply to Jaybird says:

        Did you see James Fallow’s Andy Griffith post? That’s the flip side of the coin; lot of people out there hold that image of policing, and it would be something to strive for, too.Report

      • James K in reply to Jaybird says:


        I agree, I’m honestly having trouble seeing a situation in which a police force would need to execute the manoeuvre depicted in the video barring a full-blown State of Emergency, at which point there would be the National Guard available to do it.

        What seems to have been lost in US police philosophy is that the job of the police is to keep the peace – that means police training should focus on de-escalating potentially violent situations, not injecting violence into non-violent ones.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jaybird says:


        Give that man a cigar*!

        *Organic, gluten free cigars are available.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Radley Balko says:

      Radley B, I’ve been talking you up to anyone who’s pissed off about cop abuse. And that’s a lot of folks over the last few days. If your page view levels spike, it’s due to the Stillwater Bump. Just lettin you know.Report

    • Kevin in reply to Radley Balko says:

      The Punisher logo and music were the most troubling part to me, as well, but if you click through to the YouTube page, it sounds like the poster put that in, not the police department.Report

    • Chris in reply to Radley Balko says:

      Once saw a man in a SWAT (why don’t we call then paramilitary?) t-shirt with a target on a man’s head. Speaks to the mentality.Report

    • notme in reply to Radley Balko says:

      You seem to be arguing that large police departments face challenges that justify the existence of SWAT Team and that small departments don’t face those same challenges and therefore don’t need a SWAT Team. I’m curious what those challenges are that only exist in large cities? Every problem that large cities have can happen in small towns.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to notme says:

        The likelihood and frequency of a problem of scope that would warrant an extreme response increases with the size of the population.

        If a problem is infrequent enough, in the rare case you need it you can call in outside help.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to notme says:

        Small towns can also face incidents that result in severe, life threatening trauma that requires immediate medical intervention to save a life. Under your reasoning, every small town should have a level 1 trauma center. The more rational solution is to find a way to field stabilize trauma patients & a rapid mode of transportation to the nearest trauma center, which we’ve done, with advanced first responder training, & flight for life.Report

      • Chris in reply to notme says:

        An exercise in trying not to understand.Report

  4. zic says:

    So I’ve been looking for curriculum. It’s mostly at the state level; but there’s an federal training center in GA, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (part of Homeland Security) that runs a training center and sells/develops curriculum, the crowd-control class a one-day, eight-hour affair. Firearms, they stress customized curriculum.Report

  5. zic says:

    This is pretty powerful stuff:

  6. Road Scholar says:

    Is it just me, or does that video give off neo-nazi, white supremacist vibes? I ask because that (god-awful excuse for) music and the death head screams “skinhead” to me.Report

    • Murali in reply to Road Scholar says:

      I’ve heard that death metal is usually blasted by tankies as they go into war in order to pump them up. I think this plays off a similar vibe – militarisation, armoured vehicle etcReport

    • Glyph in reply to Road Scholar says:

      Whatever nu-metal’s faults (and they are legion – I’ve just spent a few minutes on the band’s Wikipedia page, a font of unintentional hilarity), white supremacy generally isn’t a big part of it, as it takes hip-hop beats as a foundational ingredient.


      “Unlike many of the popular bands from the 1990s, Dope derived their sound from influences taken from hard rock bands and fused that with the sound of industrial rock acts which had made waves earlier in the decade, such as Ministry, as well as industrial music act Skinny Puppy.”

      Yes, “unlike” (rolls eyes).

      “the album was “Everything Sucks”, which failed to chart. ”


    • dhex in reply to Road Scholar says:

      i’d say it’s more like a real 90s throwback ministry circa psalm 69 thing.

      i’m at a loss trying to think of some “yay police” music of the “brutal” variety and coming up short. it tends to be more “i had sex with your mother while smashing the state, hail satan” variety of antinomianism.Report

  7. LeeEsq says:

    I have no idea how to roll back the militarization of the police. Limited government isn’t necessarily the answer because police and military work is still part of the government’s bailiwick under most minimal government definitions. A small government isn’t necessarily any nicer than a big government.

    Its like any other security measure, once it gets started than its nearly impossible to reverse trend. We might find this appalling but there are probably tens of millions of Americans who love this or don’t care because they are good people who obey the law. Politicians are mainly going to be to cowardly to vote against it in case something goes wrong. The police want their toys and business people are making good money off of this.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Less militarized and abusive police are an element of limited government.

      And we can limit government further by legalizing drugs and ending the war on drugs. Swat teams are now mostly used to serve warrants in drug cases.* They get away with it because it’s primarily used against minorities. End drug warrants, and somewhere north of 90% of swat use goes away, and I think is hard to pick up elsewhere.Report

      • Glyph in reply to James Hanley says:

        “I think is hard to pick up elsewhere.”

        I dunno, there’s lots of people downloading movies via BitTorrent and academic papers from JSTOR.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:


        Totally agree about ending the war on drugs (to be replaced inexorably by some other War On permitting the legal “pacification” of the domestic population, no doubt), but I’d also like to think that laws like the ones MRS linked to – in Indiana and Wisconsin I think? – will have an impact as well. If we can legislatively restrict some of the otherwise unrestricted power and impunity cops now feel they possess, things could get better.


        I’m with ya about the difficulties inherent in rolling back or slowing down these processes, but one way to ensure that things don’t change is to be apathetic or worse, fatalistic, about the possibilities. To me, that amounts to a tacit acceptance of the status quo, but the acceptance you offer is based on a really weird logic: that other people won’t budge on the issue. How do we know that? Personally speaking, I think there is a very noticeable shift in awareness of these issues, and a shift that continues to grow. Legalization of pot is well underway; prison rates, costs, privatization is increasingly an irritant people can no longer ignore; some states are passing legislation chipping away at cops unfettered power to act with impunity; etc.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        Glyph–White middle class people. The Feds may get them, but the swat teams will stay under wraps.

        Stillwater–I’m not arguing against those laws. A multi-pronged approach works for me, especially one that makes it legal to shoot a cop who hasn’t waited politely for a response to their knock at your door.

        *To complete my footnote from my prior comment, I’m agog at the thought that anyone thinks middle of the night no knock home invasions are a reasonable way to serve warrants. It’s like the David Koresh fiasco on a daily basis. Koresh was known to go into town frequently, but instead of surreptitiously tracking him as he came out of the compound and quietly arresting him, they surrounded the place, ensuring he wouldn’t want to come out, and many deaths later that’s the model we follow on drug warrants, ensuring many more deaths to come. If we had ISO standards for serving warrants efficiently and safely, I’m pretty goddam sure swat teams barging into people’s houses, throwing flashbangs, shooting dogs as a standard practice, and scaring people into shooting back who mostly would probably go quietly if they actually knew it was the police, would not meet those standards.Report

      • mark boggs in reply to James Hanley says:

        Yeah, I’d be interested to see how a Stand Your Ground law intersects with an aggressive police department barreling through a front door to do whatever it is they’re there to do.Report

      • James Pearce in reply to James Hanley says:

        @james-hanley “especially one that makes it legal to shoot a cop who hasn’t waited politely for a response to their knock at your door.”

        I understand the sentiment, especially since I once had my truck towed out of my driveway for not answering a cop’s knock on my door, but every time someone muses about shooting a cop, a cop muses about getting a free tank from the feds.

        Just saying.Report

      • Citizen in reply to James Hanley says:

        Let them eat tanks.Report

  8. notme says:

    This incident seems to be the perfect vehicle for liberals to conflate the supposed militarization of police with the death of Brown. The two have nothing to do with each other. Brown wasn’t killed by “militarized” police just a regular cop. Riot police were rightly called when people started to right not before the guy was killed after his alleged robbery.Report

    • Patrick in reply to notme says:

      You either have not been paying much attention to the story or you’ve neatly elided out of your personal narrative the fact that it’s not only the “the liberals” who are talking about the militarization of the police with regards to this incident.

      And yes, it’s an appropriate case for this discussion, because the question of the Ferguson police isn’t just “were they justified in the shooting of Michael Brown” (which I’ll agree is still an open question, although the officer’s side of the story has publicly changed three times now)… but also “is their response to the public outcry appropriate?”

      Lots of people arrested, shot with rubber bullets, tazed, had their cameras taken away or impounded, for what appears to be pretty spurious legal justification.Report

      • Chris in reply to Patrick says:

        I think at this point we can be fairly certain that to the extent he or she is paying attention to anything it all, it is in order to come up with ways to troll.Report

  9. zic says:

    Friedersdorf has an excellent piece up police misconduct, and the culture within police forces that cultivates it. Excellent work, I hope it becomes a part of the national dialogue on how we want law enforcement to police here in the US.


  10. Patrick says:

    I’m not particularly disturbed by the choice of comic characters or music. That’s window dressing. How relevant it is to what the trainees are actually thinking about what they do is… a very weak proxy measurement.

    I mean, if you go to a rally in Ferguson right now and somebody starts playing “Cop Killer” on a boom box that guy might get arrested immediately and I’d think that was out of line.

    It’s awfully close to the “violent video games cause violent behavior” line of thinking.


    As yet another in a long line of “otherization” bits of evidence, it is still part of the pile.Report

  11. zic says:

    An interesting tidbit from The Daily Beast; we’re told the officer here had a clean record, but if you read down through that story, you get to this bit:

    Schottel got another unpleasant surprise when he sought the use-of-force history of the officers involved. He learned that before a new chief took over in 2010 the department had a surprising protocol for non-fatal use-of-force reports.

    “The officer himself could complete it and give it to the supervisor for his approval,” the prior chief, Thomas Moonier, testified in a deposition. “I would read it. It would be placed in my out basket, and my secretary would probably take it and put it with the case file.”

    No copy was made for the officer’s personnel file.

    “Everything involved in an incident would generally be with the police report,” Moonier said. “I don’t know what they maintain in personnel files.”

    “Who was in charge of personnel files, of maintaining them?” Schottel asked.

    “I have no idea,” Moonier said. “I believe City Hall, but I don’t know.”

    So having a ‘clean record’ might not mean the officer actually has a clean record, it just means that any reports were not filed in his or her personnel file, at least until sometime in 2010.Report