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Jaybird

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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195 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m not incensed beyond reason by the shooting itself.

    I’m not incensed beyond reason by the planting of the taser.

    The fact that the partner of the shooter doesn’t seem to care that his partner just shot a guy in cold blood and then planted a taser has me wondering how bad it’d be, really, if we just abolished all police departments tomorrow.

    Tonight.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    At least South Carolina presses charges against the police officers at the right time rather than waiting for political pressure to build and going through the motions of pressing charges. That puts the state way ahead of nearly every other state in the union.

    Our police officers are out of control. Most Americans do not care.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      They will care, when this migrates from society’s marginal people to the vast middle america. When the folks who support stuff like this see the victims as like themselves.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Damon
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        says:

        @damon

        The issue is that the police are probably smart enough not to do that.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Damon
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        says:

        I’m not so sure about that, @saul-degraw, and habits are hard to break. If you’re habituated to acting a certain way to marginal folks, it’s more likely you’ll act similarly to non marginal folks.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Damon
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        says:

        You have I’m sure seen the effort lots of people are willing to go to, to explain to themselves how this victim was not in fact like themselves.

        Any tiny action they can discern that differs from how (they guess without any experience to back them up) they would have acted in the situation, becomes the entire reason why the victim brought it on themselves, and this kind of thing would never ever happen to me or mine.Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      Our police officers are out of control. Most Americans do not care.

      That’s it in a nutshell.
      What’s worse, it could be three times as bad as it is, and most people still could not be bothered to care.
      Consider: Anyone who complains about airline security is a crank; those who see DUI laws as a Fourth Amendment issue rather than a public safety issue are viewed as even worse.

      Meanwhile. 3% of our population is incarcerated; one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time.

      Premise:
      Take an ordinary American, and Ordinary German, and an ordinary Spaniard.
      Put all three in a room together for ten years.
      Come back ten years later, and you’ll consistently find that the American has broken three times as many laws while in that room as the other two.

      Seems something of a stretch to me.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will H.
        Ignored
        says:

        @will-h

        “Consider: Anyone who complains about airline security is a crank; those who see DUI laws as a Fourth Amendment issue rather than a public safety issue are viewed as even worse.”

        I got dismissed from Jury Duty for saying as much. I didn’t say it was a 4th Amendment issue but I did say that I thought the public safety thing was a shame and DUI checkpoints were more about revenue generating.

        “Meanwhile. 3% of our population is incarcerated; one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time.”

        I agree and having 458 people shot by police so far is also a humanitarian crisis but I think the U.S. suffers what I call “the large population problem”. We are a nation of 300 plus million people. California alone has nearly 40 million people. England has 53 million people.

        Maybe a lot of people just look at the 458 killed and see this as a rounding number in a nation of 300 million people. Maybe they see it in terms of proportion?

        When Lee Kwan Yew died, there were a lot of articles about how he turned Singapore into a first world nation but did so by being not quite a democracy and not quite an autocracy. The issue is that a lot of people seem to go for the Singaporean version of freedom and liberty over the chaotic version that many American liberals and libertarians prefer. One article on the Atlantic featured a Singaporean who talked about freedom is real about being safe in public and not needing to worry about being on dark streets late at night or you can be a woman in subway without being harassed. Very few people seem to go for the alleged Ben Frankling quote of those who give up liberty for temporal safety, deserve neither.*

        *I only heard this in the film version of 1776 (the musical). I am not sure if Franklin ever said anything approximate but I see people use the quote in debates.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Will H.
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        says:

        I’ve read recently that American police officers killed more people in 2014 than British police officers killed since 1900. This is how bad American policing is.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Will H.
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        says:

        458 is an estimate (since there are no reporting requirements to the FBI with regard to police use of force), and one that they think is too small by a factor of 2.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Will H.
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        says:

        The numbers I read were that American police had killed more people in March 2015 alone (111) than UK police killed since 1900 (52).

        But the source for the latter number was a Wikipedia page listing kilings by police in the UK – not an exhaustive list, just a list.

        British security forces (Royal Ulster Constabulary and British army, but deployed in a policing capacity) killed an estimated 363 people in Northern Ireland since 1969 alone. So, clearly the latter number is only obtainable if you deliberately elide most of what would reasonably be called “police killings”Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will H.
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        says:

        Damn our police kill a lot of people: http://killedbypolice.net/

        Canada’s not doing so hot either.Report

      • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Will H.
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        says:

        Yes, because there are so many people behind bars for just liking the hooch. Those poor innocent cherubs!

        And also, harsh punishments for DUI are totally analogous to police murder.Report

  3. Avatar Will Truman
    Ignored
    says:

    “America, where a cop shoots a guy in the back and plants a weapon on him on video and we’re like ‘Is he gonna get convicted…?'” -Danny BowesReport

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to Will Truman
      Ignored
      says:

      It seems like that would be reasonable grounds to examine prior arrests for possible exoneration.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman
      Ignored
      says:

      “If you can shoot a 12 year old kid for playing with a toy gun and not go to jail, you may be a police officer.

      If you choke-hold a person to death for selling loosies on the street and don’t go to jail, you might be a police officer.

      If you can shoot someone dead for doing exactly what you say and not go to jail, you might be a police officer.”Report

  4. Avatar krogerfoot
    Ignored
    says:

    Now, that officer had no way of knowing whether the man who was (slowly) fleeing him was armed with a bazooka or a screwdriver. It might look like a cut-and-dried case of unnecessary lethal force to citizens/potential perpetrators and our lying eyes, but that’s because we have not had police training.Report

  5. Avatar Murali
    Ignored
    says:

    It seems that North Carolina has the death penalty. This one’s execution will be well deserved.Report

    • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Murali
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m not sure I get this comment.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to krogerfoot
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        says:

        North Carolina = South Carolina

        This one = the copReport

      • Avatar Murali in reply to krogerfoot
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        says:

        the officer (Slager) who shot Scott and then tried to plant evidence against him deserves the death penalty. There is clear evidence that Slager did in fact murder Scott. Clearly this is one instance where the death penalty would not be misapplied (even if other misapplications may count against having the death penalty as a punishment more generally).Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to krogerfoot
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        says:

        @will-truman

        oh shit. I completely misread that. I somehow read north Charleston and thought north Carolina.Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to krogerfoot
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        says:

        In the U.S., saying that a [Southern state] has the death penalty is like saying that a particular basketball team has a lot of tall people on it.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to krogerfoot
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        says:

        @murali Oddly enough, in cases like this where guilt is so clearly established, the killers are more likely to avoid the death penalty than in cases where guilt and innocence are less clear.

        Chances are pretty good that he will enter a plea deal to avoid the death penalty, whereas someone with more of a hope of getting off entirely might go all-or-nothing.

        (There are some cases, like Tim McVeigh, where guilt is clearly established and no plea was accepted. I don’t think this is one of those cases. In the back of a prosecutor’s mind is “What if I get a racist on the jury who won’t convict under any circumstances?”)Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to krogerfoot
        Ignored
        says:

        A lot of the weight for lack of accountability of the police has to do with serious misconduct in the prosecutors’ office.
        Maximum penalties for cover charges brought to hide police misconduct are typical, rather than the exception.
        The AG’s office is supposed to advocate for municipalities and their employees, but too often the local prosecutor positions himself as representing the municipality in matters beyond prosecution, extending into complicity in criminal conduct.
        That the prosecutor in this case saw fit to bring charges is significant, and praise-worthy.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to krogerfoot
        Ignored
        says:

        “too often the local prosecutor positions himself as representing the municipality in matters beyond prosecution, extending into complicity in criminal conduct.”

        My county elected a new State’s Attorney (what we call the local prosecutor in these parts). One of the candidates used as a talking point that his opponent did not categorically support the police under all circumstances. I am please to report that this opponent won the election, but saddened that any viable candidate thought this might be a winning argument.Report

  6. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    And the New York Times calls the victim “black” right in the headline, Racists!Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
      Ignored
      says:

      The good news is that the NYT devoted a couple of paragraphs devoted to the criminal background of the murdered man.Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, at least a known shirker of child support has been taken off the streets.

        I hope some enterprising journalist looks into the background of the dead man’s children, too. Maybe they don’t deserve to have a father, anyway.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Right after a paragraph on the accomplishments of the murderer.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Just like that evil black man on Staten Island who committed the sin of selling untaxed cigarettes.

        Much like Tony Soprano, if you don’t give Uncle Sam* his cut, you deserve to die.

        *The taxes wouldn’t have gone to Washington, but the point still holds.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        He was pulled over for a non-functioning brake light.

        State law says that it is illegal to have both brake lights non-functioning, but, so long as one is still functional, it’s still legal.

        Presumably, the police officer didn’t know about the child support before pulling him over, shooting him, or planting the taser on him.Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        The trouble with a lot of these people is, they’ll often deliberately die just to cause trouble for the well-intentioned officer who shot or choked or set dogs on them.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Garner wasn’t even selling cigarettes that day. He was just standing there, a capital offense in the state of New York.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        I found that part informative. He did run away from the cop, and knowing that it wasn’t because he was dangerous is valuable.Report

      • Avatar gingergene in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I agree with Mike; the info on why he was running lets me know how dangerous he wasn’t. And I disagree that the police officer knew this (I can never tell when you are being serious or sarcastic). Most officers run your plates before they pull you over, so if the car was registered in his name, the officer would have known his criminal history, or lack thereof.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s actually kinda worse all around if Slager* can be considered to have been habitually following procedure from start to finish.

        *also, kinda of unfortunate nameReport

      • Avatar A Compromised Immune System in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        devoted to the criminal background

        Yes because in America @jaybird we did away with debtor’s prisons so therefore cops get to just gun down people in the streets if they have outstanding debt.Report

  7. Avatar Road Scholar
    Ignored
    says:

    In the wake of WWII, when the Allies were actively putting Germany back together, a team of Army psychologists were tasked with developing a method for weeding out Nazi sympathizers from the newly reconstituted German government. Working with convicted war criminals and such they developed a psychological test they dubbed pF for pre-Fascist.

    It worked well enough but at some point it was pointed out to them that what they were really measuring was just garden variety conservatism.

    I would like to suggest that both current officers and new recruits be similarly screened but I’m not sure you could find enough liberals and libertarians interested in the job to field an effective force.

    Seriously. At one point I was looking for work and I was urged to apply at the local state prison for a position as a corrections officer (guard). They stuck a bunch of us in a room to take an aptitude test that amounted to a kind of video game where we were shown video clips of various scenarios and then select a course of action multiple choice style. I never heard back from them and given my military experience and such I’m convinced it’s because my answers weren’t hard-assed enough to suit them.

    Seriously folks, our law enforcement and corrections culture has to fundamentally change and that’s gonna be a rough slog.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Road Scholar
      Ignored
      says:

      I think one of the problems is that cops have to deal with the unpleasant elements in our society. As a result, they get desensitized, and view these people as sub human. In some ways, I think that’s a natural human reaction, but there needs to be ways to counter that. And let’s pull back on the militarization too.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Damon
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        says:

        You know who else has to deal with the unpleasant elements in our society? Everyone else. But for the most part, everyone else doesn’t get to shoot people for not respecting our authoritah.

        Also, the police themselves are often one of those unpleasant elements.Report

      • Avatar gingergene in reply to Damon
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        says:

        Yeah, I don’t have to deal with unpleasant people nearly as much as cops do, and that’s true of most people. I think Damon’s right- when you see the same stuff day after day and most of the people you deal with are at their worst, you’re going to have to develop some coping mechanisms. We need to acknowledge that, give cops the support they need to cope in appropriate ways, and weed out the ones who can’t or won’t do the job well.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Damon
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        says:

        What’s the best thing to give someone who is habitually afraid and has dehumanized the people with whom he or she works?

        A gun.Report

      • Avatar gingergene in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        Although, I agree with you that the police have become their own worst enemy. They’re in a cycle where their reactions result in worsening the situation they’re reacting to, which heightens their reactions, which worsens the situation…Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        give cops the support they need to cope in appropriate ways
        I’ve wondered about that often myself.
        It seems reasonable that a number of cops, due to the process involved in ordinary job duties, would suffer from PTSD and other related disorders at a higher rate than the general public. Numerous studies have shown that police households suffer domestic violence at significantly increased levels.
        Adequate mental health services need to be made available to police officers in a manner in which they might use them more often, without fear of reprisal.
        Additionally, mandatory periodic screening is necessary at any rate to direct those unwilling to receive treatment to do so involuntarily.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        Yeah, I don’t have to deal with unpleasant people nearly as much as cops do, and that’s true of most people.

        Congratulations, perhaps that just means that you were lucky enough to be born in a place where you were sheltered from the unpleasant. Here’s the thing, though. Take the meanest, roughest, most violent place that any cop has to work and that place is also full of civilians who have to negotiate the same terrain. And those civilians don’t have a gun and a badge and don’t get to go home to someplace else at the end of their shift.

        The overwhelming majority of cops are not murders and manage to go their entire careers without so much as firing a single round. The idea that we don’t support cops is bogus. The problem is that much of that support comes after they’ve already fucked up.Report

      • Avatar gingergene in reply to Damon
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        says:

        For sure, there are many people who have it worse than me. And some who have it better. So it goes. I still maintain the cops we’re worried about (or at least the ones making the news these days) see worse working conditions than most other Americans.

        And even the “civilians who have to negotiate the same terrain” don’t have to negotiate it in the same way. (Although some of them actually do negotiate it in through violence, which is one of the reasons the cops are there in the first place.) But “civilians”* also don’t have the force of the state that cops do (as I said, the police aren’t doing themselves or society any favors in how they’re dealing with these situations). So it’s kinda apples and oranges.

        I honestly don’t see why it’s controversial to say that being a police officer in certain areas is a uniquely stressful kind of job, and that because they are allowed to use force they should be closely monitored for stress, offered (or mandated) appropriate treatment and removed if they can’t learn to manage the stress appropriately.

        *I am using your terms of police/civilian- personally, I think that’s a horrible construct that is part of the problem- “civilian” is the opposite of “soldier” and cops are not soldiers.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Damon
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        says:

        I think one of the problems is that cops have to deal with the unpleasant elements in our society

        Other cops?Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber in reply to Damon
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        says:

        @mike-schilling

        To be fair, if I had to deal with cops all day, I would be ornery too.Report

      • Avatar DRS in reply to Damon
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        says:

        Okay, Damon so how come cops in other countries manage to keep their killer instincts in check? After all, they’re dealing with the worst elements in their societies too.Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to Road Scholar
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      says:

      I was in a criminal justice class taught by a police detective last spring.
      One day, the instructor asked, “How many people in here are conservatives?” I raised my hand, without looking around.
      He said, “That’s odd. Usually there are at least one or two people that aren’t.”

      Anecdotal, but a valid data point nonetheless.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Road Scholar
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      says:

      pF test? Do you have any links about that?Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Chris
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        says:

        @chris , sorry I took so long to respond to your question. The short answer is, sorta. I found this about the F-scale, which is either what I’m talking about or possibly either a predecessor or descendant of it.

        The history I related is what I remember from Avi Tuschman’s book, Our Political Nature, which is more or less mostly about results using the rwa (right wing authoritarian) scale which is basically a new and improved version of the F-scale and, I’m led to believe, still in current use.

        BTW, I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank you for the links you posted about a month or so ago in, IIRC, a Linky Friday* comment about this sort of research. I think the Feldman-Johnson paper was especially good and seems like a promising direction to take although I question their choice to retain the liberal/conservative descriptions as well as their choice of only two vs three or more dimensions.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        says:

        I thought you might have been referring to the F-scale, but I couldn’t find any information on an earlier or later version called the pF test or scale.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Road Scholar
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      says:

      I infinitely prefer the parlor version of that game.

      No pretense to scientific rigor.

      http://harpers.org/archive/1941/08/who-goes-nazi/Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    On the way to work this morning, NPR was discussing this as a race issue.

    While I can understand how there are racial components to this issue (e.g., the NYT spending as much time on doxing the guy as on explaining that the police explanation of what happened doesn’t totally line up with what the video seems to show), I can’t help but wonder if that’s the best frame to argue this.

    It seems to me that focusing on the status of the victim, rather than on the status of the attacker, is a mistake.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Mistake? For whom, and for what purpose?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
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        says:

        If this turns into an argument about race, there are a number of people who will chose sides based on little more than the races of the individuals in question. A number large enough to be distressing.

        If it is instead an argument about the police, I suppose that there will be a number of people who choose sides based on whether they are a policeman or not, but that number seems small enough to not be distressing.

        And, to be perfectly honest, more likely to only occur on the police side of the scales.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
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        says:

        To say it plainer: if this becomes a racial issue, it seems to me that it becomes less likely to result in something vaguely just.

        If it is not a racial issue but a police issue, it seems to me that we’re much more likely to change things.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        says:

        I agree with you that the rhetoric of race will cause some people to choose the wrong side, but it is not the people who are using the rhetoric of race who made it a race issue. Cops did that, not only in their shooting but in their policing more generally. Recall the Ferguson report. So we can talk about it as a police issue, because it is, and white people are dying unnecessarily at the hands of killer cops, but when do we get to talk about the race issue? Because it’s there, and our ignoring it isn’t going to make it go away. And who benefits from our ignoring it? Do cops get safer for black people if we treat it strictly as a policing issue that has nothing to do with race?

        Before August 9, how many white people cared about this? How many care about it more now? Is it more or is it less? How racial has the rhetoric been since that date? What effect has that had, and on whom?Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Chris
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        says:

        Exactly.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Chris
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        says:

        Uhmmmm . . .
        That “Exactly” was @jaybird
        It’s a police issue, not racial.
        Shooting is a legitimate treatment option for the mentally ill. (Think Albuquerque)
        Shooting is means to stop delinquency before it happens. (Think Cleveland)

        Shooting is a great way of policing all sorts of peoples; not just dark-skinned minorities.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        says:

        “It’s not a race issue.” -Only white people.

        It do not mean to imply that cops are not dangerous for white people, as they clearly are. I mean to imply that they are more dangerous for non-white people, and that combined with other ways in which police discriminate against black people, that danger produces a disproportionate effect on black people physically, psychologically, economically, educationally, and so on. It is a race issue, and while one of you might be able to convince me that we’ll get more accomplished for black people if we ignore that it is a race issue so racist white people will pay more attention, you haven’t even tried to convince me yet.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
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        says:

        The Ferguson report, from what I’ve seen, has turned into “Man, the guy with Mike Brown lied, Mike Brown didn’t have his hands up, those people burned their city to the ground and cut property values in half for a guy who attacked a cop.”

        Even now, the NYT is already talking *MORE* about the criminal background of this particular murder victim than the fact that the cops lied.

        If I were the cops, I’d *LOVE* to make this about race. That’d be the most important thing to me, were I strategizing on their behalf. “It’ll be exactly like Mike Brown and Eric Garner.”

        I’m not arguing on their behalf. From here, the best thing is to avoid turning the discussion to an issue that the cops would want it to be about. Make it be about policing. Make it be about planting weapons. Make it be about the thin blue line that has cops cover for other cops and act as accessories and accessories after the fact.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        says:

        The Ferguson report, from what I’ve seen, has turned into “Man, the guy with Mike Brown lied, Mike Brown didn’t have his hands up, those people burned their city to the ground and cut property values in half for a guy who attacked a cop.”

        Even now, the NYT is already talking *MORE* about the criminal background of this particular murder victim than the fact that the cops lied.

        I don’t get the first part. The Ferguson report detailed some of the many ways in which racial bias was influencing the behavior of the Ferguson Police Department, court system, and city government. What does it have to do with hands up?

        The second part, well, the NYT is doing so because it is a racial issue, and they’re part of that issue, as are most media outlets. I mean, if you wanted to provide a good piece of evidence that this is a racial issue, and that as a racial issue it goes beyond police, you’ve done so. How the hell does denying that its racial help us, then? Well, I mean I get how it helps us, you and I, but how does it help them? And do you think they believe it helps them? Because I’m pretty sure they don’t.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
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        says:

        The Ferguson report detailed some of the many ways in which racial bias was influencing the behavior of the Ferguson Police Department, court system, and city government. What does it have to do with hands up?

        Instead of talking about the cops, the conversation has shifted to talking about how the prosecution witnesses were lying.

        Yes, I know that the Ferguson report got, for example, even the people at Red Eye and Redstate to write “Holy crap, this is *BAD*” essays.

        That’s good, I guess. Haven’t seen any of those out in the wild for a while, though. I have, however, seen reports on “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”.

        How the hell does denying that its racial help us, then?

        I’m not asking us to deny anything.

        I’m asking to talk about this issue as if the police were an unaccountable criminal gang of liars who cover for each other.

        Well, I mean I get how it helps us, you and I, but how does it help them?

        It seems to me that it’s more likely to result in things changing. It strikes me that it helping them follows from that.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        says:

        I’m asking to talk about this issue as if the police were an unaccountable criminal gang of liars who cover for each other.

        I agree. I think we can do both.

        It seems to me that it’s more likely to result in things changing. It strikes me that it helping them follows from that.

        And this is where you and I are having trouble. I do not doubt that there are things that will be more easily changed if we don’t talk about race. In particular, I think cops will end up shooting fewer white people than they currently are. However, if we don’t talk about race, and the ways in which race influences cops’ behavior, they’re probably going to shoot as many, or pretty close to as many, non-white people.

        To give you an example of what I mean, when everyone who didn’t already care about this stuff, by which I mean most and mostly white people, started paying attention to Ferguson several days after Michael Brown was murdered, the issue quickly became “police militarization.” Here’s the thing: a cop with a hand gun and a copped-up SUV killed Michael Brown, not a guy in full riot gear with an assault rifle riding on an armored personnel carrier. But a lot of people wanted to talk about militarization, and some of the immediate steps taken by the federal government concerned militarization. And black people will benefit from that. But Michael Brown’d probably still be dead if we’d made those changes 5 years ago. And people who look like him will be dead 5 years from now, even though we’re making those changes.

        When you take race out of a problem that’s largely about race, you end up solving problems that aren’t the racial problems. So the racial problems persist, because we’ve told ourselves we can change more if we don’t talk about them.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Chris
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        says:

        The argument of disproportional impact is something akin to no true Scotsman, where it evolves to where it’s all about the extent of a thing rather than its presence.
        If J. & myself are 80% convinced, and you and two others are 60% convinced, why should we wait until everyone hits 80 before we arrive at a consensus? Why not wait until everyone hits 100% unalterable certainty?

        From my work with the Innocence Project, I can tell you there are three main types of people exonerated (and part of that has to do with the screening criteria):
        Black men falsely accused of rape (that old favorite of the Jim Crow / lynching era;
        White female domestics / caregivers;
        Males with English as a second language.

        Not saying that there isn’t a lot of racism issues in ordinary policing. There are.
        Not saying that blacks, or people in black neighborhoods generally, are more likely to be met with deadly force by the local authorities. They are.

        Where the problem is bigger and where the problem exists are two different things.
        The problem exists in enough places that taking the time to wonder where it’s bigger amounts to an indulgence of shocking proportions.
        “Shocking” I say, because the bodies pile higher as the jails get fuller.

        It’s a policing issue.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Oh I agree that it is a policing issue, but it is also a race issue.

        See, the way you and Jaybird view it is as a police-culture issue. The way man black people view it is as a culture issue, of which police are a part. If they are right, and they are, then you won’t be able to solve the police-culture issue without solving the culture issue. At least, you won’t be able to solve it for some people, who just so happen to be the people who are affected by the culture issue not just the police-culture issue.Report

      • Avatar gingergene in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @chris I think the militarization got brought up because of the city’s response to the protests, but I agree that it was distraction from the main topic, and one that was probably welcome by some who would rather avoid the race issue.

        And you’re right; it’s as if instead of passing the Civil Rights Act we focused on improving bus service and water fountain access.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        “How I see it” and “How I see how it ought to be argued to best result in change” are two different topics.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Generally speaking, culture doesn’t kill people.
        Cops, on the other hand, do.

        Seems like two different problems.

        Draining a marsh to build a house seems feasible, while draining the ocean to prevent further flooding somehow doesn’t.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        But how you want to talk about it to best bring about change doesn’t just affect whether stuff gets changed, but what gets changed. I think we all agree here that cops should be better trained, they should be made more aware of mental illness, they should be recruited from communities, live in communities, understand communities, reflect communities, and it should be much more difficult for them to use force without suffering consequences. That is a conversation we can have without talking about race.

        The killing of Walter Scott? We can talk about that without talking about race, but and perhaps it will facilitate the changes I described above. And a lot fewer white people will probably get killed. And a non-trivial (because we’re talking about lives, here) drop in the rate of cops killing black people will also occur. But cops will still kill a lot of black people, perhaps at even more disproportionate rates, because all those other changes we have implemented are carried out in a culture of racism, so “more difficult to be violent without suffering consequences” will mean two different things, perhaps two very different things, for white and black victims.Report

      • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Mandatory non-lethal ammo for traffic officers?
        Communities can form panels to dismiss predatory officers or even in rare occasions shut down a entire department.Report

      • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Mandatory 2 week stand down to non-lethal ammo for incidents of deadly shootings. (including death of pets)Report

      • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        That last one was for department wide stand down.Report

      • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        And another, no K9 units for anything other than search and rescue.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Chris, the start, and for a long time, practically the end of white people that cared about the issue of police accountability – that weren’t bleeding heart liberal hippies – was Radley Balko. But that slice of thought well pre-dates Ferguson.

        The police shooting of John Greer has got a lot of play in the local media, not the least of reasons because the police stonewalled on releasing the video and other documentation about it for over a year – which of course led to more media interest that a quick document dump on a Friday afternoon soon after the incident.

        It’s hardly made waves in the national consciousness though, because, very likely, imo Greer is white. (and the police officer has an Hispanic surname, but that’s not definitive towards ethnicity, and in any case we’ve seen that being Hispanic isn’t a defense against having your shooting make the big time media circus).

        That the Scott murder is causing dissent at all among the e.g. Hot Air crowd is only because of the video. “A bad cop in South Carolina” is their headline. Gardner had largely the same affect of splitting the internet right. But the day before the Slager arrest made national headlines, Hot Air ran a story about yet a different police shooting Illinois with the express purpose of pre-empting the blacklivesmatter narrative. (which now have conveniently, oh so conveniently, fallen from the front page).

        Eric Holder is right, people are cowards about talking about race. Despite the video evidence of Rodney King, the racial framing of *that* event led to a backlash that saw the general public give police in general a pass for almost the next 20 years. That it occurred near the peak of the US crime wave didn’t help either – heck, the only reason why cop skepticism is starting to get mainstream traction is because crime is finally getting back to historical baseline rates.

        So that’s why, though it’s not satisfying to gloss over the racial issue, it’s for now a too intractable problem and attacking some of the symptoms, like excessive police use of force may be more of net benefit than trying to cure the disease.

        Plus, it’s America’s peculiar nexus of race and class that confounds the variables and the causes of why things are worse for African Americans in the United States than average population. Just saying ‘police need to be nicer to black people’ is a somewhat prima facie silly directive to pass along to, for example, the African-American police chief of Philadelphia.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Kol, Police conduct, especially towards minorities, has been a thing for liberals, even a lot of the white ones for decades. Balko, who is very good, did not discover the issue nor was he the only white person talking about it.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @kolohe Just saying ‘police need to be nicer to black people’ is a somewhat prima facie silly directive to pass along to, for example, the African-American police chief of Philadelphia.

        As @jaybird pointed out up top, it’s almost as disturbing as the rest of the thing that the cop’s partner (or initial backup/next on scene) appears to not question the planting of evidence. That cop (appears to be) black, yet he, at least in the heat of the moment, does not appear to intervene against this planting of evidence (of course, he may have feared he’d be shot next if he did). There was that other into-the-car shooting we talked about here not too long ago (I don’t have time to search for it now – it was the one where the cop started freaking out saying that the passenger was going for a gun in the glovebox and the victim had previously spent time in jail for shooting at a Highway Patrolman?) where, IIRC, the officer who did the (primary) shooting was black (his white partner on the driver’s side fired a reflexive shot, once the chaos started).

        Cops cover for cops, no matter their color.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Greg, I was using white people in the same way as Chris was, and I said that police misconduct had long been the province of ACLU types. It’s right-libertarians that were slow to the uptake (but have been on board for several years now) and ostenbily freedom loving anti government tyranny conservatives that have been totally absent from the debate – unless there is indisputable video proof, and then only maybe.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @kolohe I agree with everything you say here, and I agree that talk of race is divisive. However, a bunch of white people telling black people, “Look, we know race is a issue here, but for us to care, we can’t talk about it” is, well, awfully convenient is all I can say.

        Right now the most organized and active anti-police violence groups are mostly black groups, including We Charge Genocide, which is doing great work in Chicago, and the mostly young people behind #blacklivesmatter in St Louis and nationally. And they’re gaining traction in large part because the racial component of police violence has been unmistakably visible for the last 8 months.

        I’m not saying that we won’t need more white people caring if we want significant change on the political front, but right now, race is one of the reasons these cases have remained in our collective consciousness for this long.

        But most importantly, addressing systemic racism in police departments and the courts is the only way we’re going to really solve this problem. Because the problem is not separable from it. If we train them in how to better spot real threats and therefore when to use force, they will apply that differently with white and black people. If we reduce their interactions with the public, we will reduce them more for white people than for black people. If we stop policing minor drug offenses, vice, and debt (in the form of municipal fines), petty arrests, detentions, and searches will decrease more for white people than for black people.

        So we can say to black people, “Listen, we’re going to make this better for us, and you will benefit as well, but less, so that cops are still going to kill and terrorize you at a pretty significant rate, just not as much as before,” and we’ll get some Red State and Hot Air people on board, but we’re going to lose the black people who’ve been fighting the fight all this time, and ten years from now we’re going to be talking about how cops keep killing unarmed black people, how fines, stops, and arrests disparities are still really large (perhaps even larger, since white people have been appeased so there’s no reason to appease black people), and how this has a significant impact on the social and economic conditions in black communities, but we can’t do anything about it because race is divisive.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Discussions like this always sorta baffle me. I mean, I’m this white dude sitting in my for-the-most-part-crimeless neighborhood, etc and so on. I mean, I’m watching a hockey game, for cryin out loud (the ultimate white guy sport!). Yet, I’m being implored to negatively judge certain tactics employed by folks who live really close to this shit because they’re making it about race instead of cops. Well, for the folks who are most active in the current political dust up regarding cops killing unarmed black men, ie., black people, the issue appears to be exclusively about race. Cops shooting, harassing, ticketing, profiling, fining, black folk.

        Who the eff am I to say that they’re doin it rong?

        For my part, tho, I really do think the issue is about race primarily, and cops secondarily. I mean, I get Jaybird’s worry that people were gonna run with the race angle to the most recent killing he linked to and forget that the cop placed evidence on the dead guy, but that isn’t a worry for me. It’s not even that interesting except as part of a legal case against this guy. The biggest problem isn’t that the shooter planted evidence on the victim, and it’s not that the other cop turned a blind eye to it. It’s that the cop shot an unarmed person, who, unfortunately (at least for all the folks who want this to be about something else) happened to be black!Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m being implored to negatively judge certain tactics employed by folks who live really close to this shit because they’re making it about race instead of cops.

        This is not my argument.

        Who the eff am I to say that they’re doin it rong?

        I suspect that if we focus on the same things as the last few times, we won’t get a different result this time than last time or the time before that or the time before that. It’s a structural problem, sure.

        I think we should attack the structure differently.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I think we should attack the structure differently.

        Let’s infiltrate it from the inside! You go first. I’ll follow your lead!Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, as far as I can tell, the debate this time will, like last time, center on race.

        It will be argued on the terms that, apparently, you think it ought to be argued on.

        I hope we will see something approaching justice.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Man, it must be tough being smarter than everyone else, having to watch them fail over and over because they just … what is it? … don’t know what you know, eh? Must be a heavy burden to bear.

        Once upon a time, one of those “super smart” people we were talking about the other day walked into the medical office my wife managed (he was the husband of one of the owners) to fix one of the phones. He snooped around a bit and then confronted my wife with “You know, you really oughta clean up your filing system. It’s a mess.” Now, my wife being an intelligent person was fully aware that the filing system was a mess. She also spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out a better way to organize all the paperwork. So she looked at him and said “You’re right. Why don’t you come in tomorrow and start working on it?” He left feeling like the asshole he actually was (tho for reasons only tangentially related to his self-perception as a “super smart guy”).Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m mad about this situation too, Stillwater.

        I want it to change.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Cool. Let’s look at the commonalities in countries with both the citizens and police where the police don’t end up shooting a lot of citizens.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Let’s look at the commonalities in countries with both the citizens and police where the police don’t end up shooting a lot of citizens.

        My own inclination is to wonder why our police are different than their police without wondering what our citizenry is doing to make the police act like that. Is your suspicion really that there is a feedback loop in the parts of the country where the police shoot more citizens?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I bet there is such a feedback loop, because “There’s a good chance this cop is going to kill me no matter what I do” likely yields different behavior than “My life is not in danger with this cop.” For example, the potential loss of freedom will make some people run, but fear for one’s life will make a whole hell of a lot of people run.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I guess I’m limited to wondering why “someone running away” is likely to result in a shooting, planting a weapon, lying about CPR, and unquestioning repeating of the official police story until incontrovertible evidence otherwise surfaces.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        As long as you’re prepared for a complex answer that likely touches on race, class, cop culture, cop training, gun culture, violence in American culture, where cops live, where cops are from, and more.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Given that homogenous societies have fewer police shootings, it seems to me that we ought to have a police presence that reflects the neighborhood, down to a block by block level. So if there is an issue in this part of town, we need to send Black Police Officers. If there’s an issue in that part of town, we need to send Hispanic Police Officers.

        And I’m fine with that until I start to write the next sentence.

        Maybe I should just call for gun control and avoid the accusations that are likely to follow from unpleasant discussions that touch on race, class, cop culture, cop training, gun culture, violence in American culture, where cops live, where cops are from, etc.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        As we’ve seen in several recent cases, racism toward black people is not limited to white cops. However, I don’t think the real issue is that you need black cops policing black people, but that you need people from, or at least who live in, an area policing the area. If you stick people from Minnesota into a heavily segregated area of St. Louis, they’re not going to have any real understanding of the culture or the difficulties faced by the people there, and they’re not going to view themselves as fellow citizens, nor are they going to be viewed as such. The long-term solution is dealing with extreme racial and economic segregation. The short term solution is to have cops live where they police, regardless of their race.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        This is kind of a tangent, and only applies to runners, but what is the overall perception of the general physical fitness level of most US cops?

        As near as I can surmise, the “thought” process (really, base immediate emotional reaction) on the cops’ part in some of these situations seems to be “shit, that guy disrespected me/caused me to lose face, and he’s going to get away with it!”, and that’s when they reach for the revolver.

        If they had confidence that they could easily catch the guy on foot, might they attempt to do that, instead of reaching for likely the only thing they have that can stop him right now? What happened to Rodney King wasn’t right, not by a damn sight, but I’d rather this guy have caught a tackle and some punches, rather than several slugs in the back.

        Is it totally unrealistic to think that requiring US police officers to be more physically fit might paradoxically result in less deadly force being used by them (well, at least shootings)?

        Am I just buying into the Chief Wiggum lazy donutaholic stereotype? “Shoot ’em, boys, it’s easier than running ’em down” (at least in that split-second trigger-pulling moment of fear/rage)?Report

      • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @ Chris
        ” they should be recruited from communities, live in communities, understand communities, reflect communities, and it should be much more difficult”

        The officer that does highly value the community will not suffer the LE position long due to the fact that they will be hauling to the “meat grinder” people they know and have valued/loved for decades. That and an inability to resolve predatory bad actors who have the wealth and influence to rig the system(s) in their favor.

        It’s like the system is currently structured/designed to screen out any possibility of retaining the better agents. Not by accident IMO.

        I don’t see how jousting between liberals or conservatives / democrats and republicans resolving these issues, so they will likely get worse before they get better.

        (part in jest: asymmetrical sheepdog deficiency)Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I guess I’m limited to wondering why “someone running away” is likely to result in a shooting, planting a weapon, lying about CPR, and unquestioning repeating of the official police story until incontrovertible evidence otherwise surfaces.

        Because running away from a cop is a sure sign of lethal amounts of guilt, almost as bad as taking out a small business loan.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        The officer that does highly value the community will not suffer the LE position long due to the fact that they will be hauling to the “meat grinder” people they know and have valued/loved for decades.

        Not in my part of town. My part of town has police that deals with people they know and have valued/loved for decades.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        My part of town only has police when they get called in to arrest a shoplifter or write-up a car accident.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      This is America. Almost all issues are race, or more correctly racism, issues.

      People tend to default to the view that supports their previously existing views on race. Black folks and folks sympathetic to the cause tend to default to “see, our lives don’t matter.” Racists and reactionaries tend to default to “the black guy had it coming.”

      It does not look like we are seeing this so much in this case, likely because there is video evidence that preempts people from having to default to their prejudices. Although, there is a fair number of people expressing anger at the mayor and the police chief even as they seem to be doing everything exactly as they ought to be doing. Haven’t seen how people on the right are going to try to spin this to suit their preferred narrative, but I’m sure that I’ll see examples of it soon enough.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        Haven’t seen how people on the right are going to try to spin this to suit their preferred narrative, but I’m sure that I’ll see examples of it soon enough.

        So far the best efforts I’ve seen center on arguments like “I’m waiting for the trial.” (There may or may not be some admission that, yeah, this does look bad.)

        (With, of course, the rejoinder of “The freakin’ cop should have waited for the trial!!!”)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        And there’s this which may make Chris’s point in such a way that I can’t really argue against it.Report

    • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      The last time I dealt with police on a call in my neighborhood, they were curt but professional with my ofay middle-aged upper-middle-class self, and distinctly less so with the young maybe-part-hispanic, lower-class, female who was at the center of the call. Who had actually done nothing wrong except get abandoned in the wrong part of town when being too drunk/drugged.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Another thought that occurred to me as I was driving:

    “Man, I hope the name of the guy who took the video never becomes publicized.”

    In addition to the whole “I’m sure the NYT would explain to us that he got busted for this or that or the other a few years back” thing, there’s the whole “suspicion that the cops would start looking for him” thing.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      The person who took the video is a hero and brave. But their name will come out, they are a witness so they would be called in any trial.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      As I watched the vid, I thought that is one brave dude. If I saw someone shoot someone else in the back, then plant something on them, I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to stand there videoing them. I might look too much like a loose end.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        I agree, and there’s no mistaking how cold-blooded the killer the video-taper is witnessing. He pauses before taking the last shot, when Scott is 40 feet away and already clearly wounded. I wouldn’t want to stick around after seeing that, because someone that cold-blooded might have no problem causing one more “stray” bullet to fly in my direction.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        I look like a loose end on the best of days.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        That all depends on if he looked like he was filming, or if he was just watching events unfold.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        Eh, obvious camera or no obvious camera, a witness is a loose end.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        Oh come one. You guys are acting like you have reason to believe the police will take matters into their own hands here. That something bad might happen to the kid who made the videotape and that “evidence” would be planted on him to account for his untimely death. It’s absurd!Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        @glyph

        I think cops have gotten pretty used to the fact that their version of the events is always taken as The Truth(TM), so there is little to fear from a single eye witness who is not obviously recording him (and that assumes he even noticed the witness – I’ve said this before, but shooting under stress usually causes tunnel vision).Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      @jaybird rawstory has an interview with him.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        Hoo boy. Keep an eye out. I worry that he’ll end up in jail.

        Or worse.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        How does his being present to testify (or not) affect the evidentiary value iof the video?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        I am paranoid to the point where I would not bet against the proposition that he end up punished as a message to the next guy who might video a gross betrayal of the public trust.

        It wouldn’t be this trial that they’d be trying to influence by doing so. They’d be trying to prevent entirely the next.Report

      • Avatar Pyre in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        Kabuki (by David Mack) took it a different way. As long as the Noh were allowed to operate in secret, they could get away with what they had been doing which, among other things, involved wrapping up loose ends. Once Ukiko reveals everything they are doing, the public eye turns to the Noh to a point that, even if they were able to take action against her, they could never get away with it.

        By releasing the video, he made himself a target. By going public, the cost of wrapping up him up as a loose end has dramatically escalated as opposed to trying to stay anonymous in a surveillance state where the police have access to all the right tools to discreetly identify him.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        I’d be more likely to believe that if the guy who videotaped the Eric Garner homicide wasn’t in prison (and going on a hunger strike).Report

  10. Avatar Christopher Carr
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s been a long time since I’ve truly been shocked by something. This is quite possibly the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen on the Internet.Report

  11. Avatar A Compromised Immune System
    Ignored
    says:

    Watch the video. There is a second cop on the scene watching him plant the taser. How has that cop not been arrested as an accessory?Report

    • I wondered that, but for all we know even though the second cop doesn’t appear to stop the first in the moment, he may have reported the situation to his superiors or IA immediately, and/or have already-agreed to serve as a witness against the shooter since. If he helps get the shooter put away, that’s maybe all we can expect.Report

    • Maybe the other officer simply didn’t know what was going on? Didn’t want to presume that a brother officer was doing something wrong? After the fact, of course, appalled, shocked, deeply concerned and upset. But in the moment, was walking up to a seemingly resolved scene in which only incomplete information is available.

      …I know. I don’t really buy it either. The easy, sauntering walk immediately after having heard eight shots fired suggests a great lack of urgency. But, in a criminal case, only one juror need buy into that idea and there goes the conviction for accessory and/or conspiracy.Report

  12. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    @chris down here s’il vous plait

    However, a bunch of white people telling black people, “Look, we know race is a issue here, but for us to care, we can’t talk about it” is, well, awfully convenient is all I can say.

    We conveniently didn’t talk about the problems with the Communists to defeat the Nazis. We conveniently didn’t talk about the problems with the Chinese communists to get a leg up on the Russian ones. We conveniently don’t talk about Iran’s theocratic authoritarianism to get a nuclear deal. We conveniently don’t talk about Cuba’s human rights violations when seeking to normalize relations there. We conveniently don’t talk about all the stuff that’s wrong with Saudi Arabia because of oil. Etc Etc.

    Last, more on point, we conveniently won’t talk about Bill Clinton’s record on crime and punishiment because Hillary Clinton is a new convenant tabula rasa when it suits us.

    “we’re going to lose the black people who’ve been fighting the fight all this time”

    I doubt it. Where are they going to go? They didn’t seem to abandon Rahm Emmanuel this week.

    Activists of all stripes don’t stop fighting because someone temporarily allies with them for some smaller subset of total victory. If anything, the fight become more joined, the battle more intense, the war more embiggened.

    as a marketing tool #blacklivesmatter has been effective enough, but it’s frankly reaching its limit. (and still has been alienating in some quarters, remember the #alllivesmatter fracas?) It’s also very
    much subject to the trolly but truthy response of orly?

    The simple fact is trying to purge police departments of endemic racism is a sisyphean task, and unable to be accomplished in any near term time frame by any political process – as it’s exactly coupled with the larger endemic racism of American society. (a characterization
    which, while I think is true, begs the question of the magnitude of that endemic racism, and rightly so).

    Heck, but maybe we can write another memo to Doug Feith to take care of it after he’s done with Syria, Libya, Pakistan and Korea.

    The only way forward at this point is harm reduction, by, for instance, eliminating many drugs as controlled substances, be wary of increased traffic enforcement – (usually spurred on by progressive urbanists) (#waroncars), and taking the progressive line on tax policy – i.e. stop relying on regressive budget gimmicks like fines and assets seizures to close budget gaps.

    I also dispute that any or all of these would help white people more than black people – if we are to take as a given that interactions with police are higher for the latter community. If the police have
    fewer tools in the toolbox, even if they don’t have fewer tools *on* their force, it can’t do anything but help the community with more interactions with those tools. (and having fewer tools on the force
    is part and parcel of police accountablity reform from any angle) (like the tools that would punch a pregnant woman even if she gives off a white trash vibe and probably isn’t a very good mother)Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Kolohe
      Ignored
      says:

      I doubt it. Where are they going to go?

      First, let me be clear, I don’t doubt that they’re going to continue to fight, and fight well. They’re just not going to fight with us, because our battle will not be theirs. We think it is, but that’s because we have the luxury of doing so.

      The simple fact is trying to purge police departments of endemic racism is a sisyphean task, and unable to be accomplished in any near term time frame by any political process

      This is always the excuse for not dealing with racism by white people who are concerned about racism, but want to solve some other problem relevant to them that racism might make more difficult to solve.

      I also dispute that any or all of these would help white people more than black people – if we are to take as a given that interactions with police are higher for the latter community.

      Police interact with black people at a higher rate, but they also interact with them differently. If you reform police procedure, they’ll still interact with them differently. Whatever reforms we make to the number of interactions, they’re still going to pull black people over at significantly higher rates, and they’re still going to search them at significantly higher rates, and they’re still going to arrest them at significantly higher rates, and they’re still going to get violent with them at significantly higher rates, and they’re still going to shoot them at significantly higher rates. Because of racism. Because they have ingrained stereotypes, and perhaps more importantly, fears of black people. And you have, as the fact that we’re even having this conversation shows, a substantial portion of the population that won’t care, that will see it as “them” instead of “us,” and turn away. Hell, they’ll turn away even more than they do now, because we’ve reformed the police, so what’s left will be the racism.

      If you give a cop a gun, or a stick, or train him to use a choke hold, or to put his knee on a man’s neck, or use his car as a weapon, and you combine that with racism, black people are going to die, police are going to lie, and police are going to get away with it.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Why can’t the two issues be tackled simultaneously? I can’t find a link to the story, but I know the Seattle PD is getting trained on understanding personal bias in policing and how to overcome it. From what I hear, the rank & file are not happy about it, but it is happening. In the meantime, reforming the tools police use happens at a different, legislative & judicial, level.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        “but want to solve some other problem relevant to them”

        The other simple fact that for the vast majority of the white middle-class and up, the problems of police misconduct are wholly irrelevant to them, no more of a concern in their (our) daily lives than federal policy on the Indian mango trade. The issues of racism and police misconduct, individually and at their intersectionality, are entirely abstract to most white people making in excess of 50K a year.

        Again, telling police ‘don’t use choke holds – on anyone’ and making that work will result in fewer black men dying in choke holds. How is that a bad thing, even if we’re ignoring all the rest of the herd of elephants traipsing through the peanut butter?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Oscar, that’s my argument. They can!

        Kolohe, the NYPD had already been told don’t use chokeholds, on anyone. How did that work out for Eric Garner? Do you think he was the first? Do you think they’re more likely to use them on black people, white people, or equally likely?Report

      • Avatar Notme in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @oscar-gordon

        NPR had a segment on that training last night. They spoke with a black cop that was sceptical of its value. The only one that seemed really enthusiastic about it was the trainer probably bc of all the money she is making.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @notme

        Yep, that is where I heard it! Well, some of it, Bug was also talking to me, and it can take effort to parse a conversation with a pre-schooler when they are trying out new words & concepts.

        If you can find a link to it, can you post it?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Again, telling police ‘don’t use choke holds – on anyone’ and making that work will result in fewer black men dying in choke holds. How is that a bad thing, even

        It’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. It’s just that the “simple fact that for the vast majority of the white middle-class and up, the problems of police misconduct are wholly irrelevant to them” makes it a ridiculously academic point. Since people care even less about that than cops killing black people. By your own lights, Kolohe.Report

      • Avatar Notme in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @chris

        Is anyone alleging that Garner was choked for being black? I thought it happened bc he resisted arrest?Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I think it’s really important to distinguish between these two arguments:

        1) talking about race in discussions of this issue is divisive and therefore counterproductive, and therefore simply shouldn’t be done nor should anyone expect anyone to be willing to do so, and

        2) actually expecting to reduce racism within police departments enough to substantially deal with the problem of police violence (with its hugely disproportionate incidence against racial minorities) is not realistic in the short, medium, and possibly long terms, and therefore really can’t be seen as the correct primary route through which to exact to bring about more acceptable conditions. Not that you don’t seek to reduce racism in police departments, but at least in the short term, an overhaul of police training (which will include addressing issues like implicit racial bias, but which more directly treat the issue of police conduct than simply aiming at “eliminating racism in police departments” can) has to be the primary approach.

        1) is nothing but an excuse for people looking to avoid having to talk about the question of race in all of this at all, and should be dismissed. 2) is an assessment of the prospects for actually achieving a certain kind of change over a particular timeframe, in a situation where that kind of change is being considered as one of various means for achieving another outcome. 1) shouldn’t be given real consideration; 2) is a constructive contribution to a discussion about how to get at least a start at getting arms around the situation.

        I’m not convinced that 2) is right, but I don’t see it as an excuse for being willing to “purge” police departments of racism. It seems like a legitimate assessment of the actual prospects for success of that specific approach to the problem as a primary approach. It may not ultimately be right, but it doesnt seem like excuse-making to me for one;s reaction to be, “Well, I don’t know how in the hell I am supposed to pure racism from my department, but I sure as hell know some ways I can change training that should adjust how officers behave.” It would be a shame to fail to elicit those latter changes that con be implemented short-term by insisting on an all-in, exclusive focus on the former aim.

        If it it’s better that other approaches be made the primary ones at least initially, I don’t see through what other kinds of discussions that conclusion could be reached – or discarded – than by discussing that reaction as though it is legitimately formed, even if wrongly reached, rather than dismissing it as an excuse. And if it is better that other approaches be made the primary ones initially, then we indeed should figure that out.

        And it seems to me that there is some reason to think that an eliminate-racism-only approach can’t ever really be sufficient here, since the problem of police violence goes beyond simply racism; ie. you could bring the disparate incidence problem somewhat into line and still have problem with how police officers are conducting themselves. At some level, this necessarily goes to how police are trained. But, again, I’m not saying 2) is right. Maybe the purge-racism approach as the primary approach is right. But I don’t think that differences on that should be seen as excuse-making. It’s pretty legitimate line of discussion among people all of who would be looking only for the most effective means of improving the situation.

        But none of that justifies a view that even talking about race in all of this is divisive and therefore counterproductive, and therefore we shouldn’t have an expectation that all participants in the discussion should be willing to at least talk about racism as regards this problem. That’s not a legitimate view at all.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        …So if the question is “Which of these should be the title of the broad strategy we are going to use o try to get a handle on this problem: 1) “Eliminate Racism in Police Departments,” or 2) “Overhaul Police Training So That They Do This Less?””, then I don’t think it should be seen as excuse making to think the answer should be 2).

        But that doesn’t mean that there won;t be components of 2) that deal with racism, implicit bias, etc. So if the question is, “Should such components of 2) exist once we adopt 2)?” then of course the answer is that they should. I would think. They already do, don’t they? I mean, not within an overhaul that hasn’t happened, but within police training as it exists. That’s part of police training, is it not? At least in many places. It probably needs to be universalized, enhanced, and improved. That would be what would happen within a training overhaul – that and much more.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Michael, yeah, they are different, and if (2) is the argument, then there’s no reason why we shouldn’t work on both simultaneously, unless we’re just defeatists. If (1) is the argument, see everything I’ve said in this thread so far.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m pretty defeatist on eliminating racism at the level at which it drives most police violence that we react to, as I’ve written. Quite defeatist, in fact. (I.e. I think that the Michael Brown incident also driven by police racism, but of a kind quite different from what we see on this week’s tape. Or, if not the Micahel Brown killing, then umpteen more borderline ones that have happened where implicit bias plays into the officer’s threat assessment.)

        I’m quite pessimistic about doing much about implicit bias where the survival instinct is engaged. That’s why I do tend to think the most productive approach is training directed specifically at police procedure, fully informed by the realities of implicit bias and racism, not specifically setting out to purge racism per se. The problem is really the damage that police officers have the ability and license to do; to me the reform that offers itself is reform to how we teach them to handle that ability and license. That involves making them aware of how their biases work to distort their understanding of situations, but to me aiming directly at eliminating their racism just isn’t going to pay the efficacy dividends we need here.

        I also don;t want my cops to be racists, and I certainly think that trying to work against racism in the force is appropriate. I just think it’s a more general social good, a more long-term project, and just not a direct enough solution to the problem we’re currently dealing with.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @notme

        Thank you!Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m going to cosign everything that Michael Drew said, and also add:

        When the NYPD turned their backs on DeBlasio, was that evidence of racism? Or evidence of a institutional culture that for over twenty years has been all ‘bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?’ and so doesn’t have respect for authority other than its own, and doesn’t respect for any color other than blue?

        The first thing one notices in the Eric Gardner is that the two officers are dressed liked they’re in the summer urban tactical fugazi corps. Not people that are dressed to blend in with Northside, much less be approachable if some citizen has a problem that would prompt asking for police assistance.Report

      • Avatar A Compromised Immune System in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        “When the NYPD turned their backs on DeBlasio, was that evidence of racism? Or evidence of a institutional culture that for over twenty years has been all ‘bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?’ and so doesn’t have respect for authority other than its own, and doesn’t respect for any color other than blue?”

        The one is part of the other.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I am not denying that cop culture is a huge part of the problem. Nor am I denying that we can make progress on cop culture without addressing racism. I’m saying that we can’t make progress on important parts of the issue, including cop culture, without addressing racism.

        I don’t think racial sensitivity courses or whatever are going to do a whole lot a good. You combat racism through exposure and social pressure and weeding out the racists. The first part requires, as I’ve been saying over and over again, cops who live where they police. The second and third parts require changes to cop culture, and the third part also requires changes to police and other local, county, state, and federal institutions.

        Personally, because racism is such a big part of it, I’d take the reforms much, much further than I would if it were just cop cultures. Zero-tolerance for racism, all reports of cop violence treated as citizen violence, and investigated as such, and if you are found guilty of unnecessary violence in an internal review (that is, violence that is not required to carry out one’s duty), you’re fired and arrested for whatever the relevant crime would be.

        Also, and this is only indirectly related to the racism part, but can we please make it so “resisting arrest” is only a crime if you were being legitimately arrested for another crime? That is, you can’t be arrested for “resisting arrest” if you weren’t, prior to “resisting arrest,” being arrested.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        can we please make it so “resisting arrest” is only a crime if you were being legitimately arrested for another crime? That is, you can’t be arrested for “resisting arrest” if you weren’t, prior to “resisting arrest,” being arrested.

        This drives me crazy. Is there any better indication of an incipient police state, than the fact that this temporal sleight-of-hand makes it so we are all potentially permanently in a status of “resisting arrest” at all times?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Is there any better indication of an incipient police state

        Well, that’s a pretty good indicator. I’ve got another one: reasonable suspicion replacing probable cause as a justification for detention and searches?Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        weeding out the racists

        This is going to have to involve some kind of action against police unions, if it’s going to happen in any kind of timely manner. I know police leadership has ways of making life unbearable for cops they don’t want, so they leave on their own, but it’s difficult and time consuming to make it happen. I also know that leadership that wants to get rid of the obvious bad apples usually has to fight the union tooth & nail to do so, and more often than not loses & is forced to take the officer back.

        Honestly, if you carry a gun and wield force for a government, you should pretty much serve at the pleasure of the civilian leadership. At the very least, officers should serve in a manner similar to military; i.e. under a short term contract that can is renewed at the departments discretion*.

        *You enlist for 2, 4, or 6 year terms, and if the military finds your service acceptable, you are permitted to re-enlist. However, if you are a PITA, you are not permitted to do so. If you are a Royal PITA, but not criminal, you can be let go under other than honorable conditions.Report

  13. Avatar DRS
    Ignored
    says:

    Looky, looky, Officer Slager is a repeat offender: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/04/09/officer-charged-in-sc-shooting-faced-2013-complaint.html

    “The South Carolina police officer charged with murder after video surfaced of him shooting a fleeing unarmed black man in the back was allowed to stay on the force despite an earlier complaint that he used excessive force against another unarmed man.”

    You know, it’s a pretty good description of what happened with details about the interaction between Slager and Givens. Once again, as in so many of the incidents Radley Balko cites, the officer refuses to answer perfectly legitimate questions and apparently views the mere asking of the questions as some kind of hostile intent. And once again a situation spirals out of control.

    What to know where to start changing things? Find out how cops are being trained today and what’s changed since earlier decades and why did it change. Cops who are trained to de-escalate a situation don’t make mistakes like this.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to DRS
      Ignored
      says:

      Find out how cops are being trained today and what’s changed since earlier decades and why did it change

      The cynic in me would say that what’s changed is that a gradually increasing percentage of the population doesn’t think it’s part of the police’s job to murder “undesirables,” but the police haven’t quite caught up.

      I mean, what’s the first mental picture you get thinking of US police interacting with black people? Me personally, it’s a handful of famous press photos from Birmingham Alabama in the 60s.Report

  14. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    A walk down memory lane when Holder’s Justice department applauded the City of North Charleston police department.

    Btw, can we agree that the Beer Summit was among the worst ideas of this Administration? Empty symbolism that, by doing absolutely nothing about the underlying problems, made systemic reforms harder to achieve? Because, hey, beer solves everything, so no more problems. (Until no beer.)Report

  15. Avatar Zac
    Ignored
    says:

    Honestly, if it were up to me, I’d keep it simple: give every cop the IAT for racial bias on a monthly basis. They fail, they’re fired. New hires have to do the same. They fail, they can’t be hired.Report

  16. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    Speaking of trigger warnings, training, and such; in Tulsa, a dude who pays to play cop mistook his gun for his taser and killed a man.

    There are people who pay PDs for the chance to be pretend cops and PD’s that are happy to accept their money, arm them, and send them out on the streets with minimal training.

    Oy.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to zic
      Ignored
      says:

      Not that I think reserve deputies should be armed & getting involved with arrests and all, , but this seems like more than minimal training:

      Following 320 hours of training with CLEET (the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training) as well as have completed 480 hours of the TCSO Field Training Officer Program, an “advanced” reserve can “perform normal field duties by themselves and without the direct supervision of a certified deputy” according to the training program

      That’s 100 “days” of training (8 hours a day).Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        That’s more training that a lot of ‘professional’ cops have, actually, and was as much a reason for linking to the story as any (so thanks for noticing, @oscar-gordon )

        It’s the content of training that we the people need to know a lot more about. It’s really difficult to suss out what cops are trained for and how that aligns with what we want cops to do.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic
      Ignored
      says:

      When I first heard this story, my immediate response was something to the effect of “there needs to be a trial for this guy and whether he’s guilty or not, innocent or not, this deputy needs to get fired for incompetence and never hold a job where he is given a gun ever again.”

      Getting the whole story, I’m now thinking that about the guy who hired him.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to zic
      Ignored
      says:

      Not to be ageist, but is it usual for a 73-year-old to act as an armed policeman? A bit of Googling suggests that mandatory retirement ages from 55-65 are common.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling
        Ignored
        says:

        Yeah, I am having a hard time figuring out why a 73 year old reserve deputy was even outside the station house. The most he should have been doing is answering phones or helping with paperwork. If he was in the field, he should have been operating in his described role of note-taker. There should be no reason for him to have a gun or a taser while in uniform, nor should he have been involved in an arrest that was going sideways.

        I’ll be curious if this will cause the reserve deputy program to change, or if they’ll hang this guy out to dry and dis-own him.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon
          Ignored
          says:

          Those reserve programs are so integral to the way many law enforcement offices operate now that I doubt they’ll make substantial changes, except maybe some age restrictions. That dude’s going to take the brunt of it, and ya know, he just shot and killed an unarmed man lying on his stomach, restrained by other officers, so he deserves it.

          The lack of professionalism, and quite frankly base, inhuman cruelty displayed by the full-time officers in that video is perhaps even more disturbing.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
            Ignored
            says:

            It’s getting so I can’t watch these videos anymore. The callousness & sick glee officers show in these videos…Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to Oscar Gordon
              Ignored
              says:

              Speaking of callousness:

              http://boingboing.net/2015/04/13/cop-who-shot-man-in-back-laugh.html

              I realize people who are under stress often react strangely, but…

              (I will say that a comment on that BB post brought up the unconsidered-by-me possibility that the planting of the taser was less intentionally-nefarious than it appears – since officers are supposed to keep control of their weapons, he may have thought he needed to retrieve it rather than leave it lying far away unattended. Small comfort even if true, since he still shot an unarmed fleeing guy in the back…)Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                I kind of get the uncomfortable laugh there, but are there any other shooting suspects, under any conditions, who are not interviewed for a couple days as a matter of routine? It pretty much screams, “Go home, get your story straight, make sure you dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s, then we’ll interview you.”Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                INTERIOR,NIGHT: A hulking guard places @chris into a wooden chair in a darkened room under a bare lightbulb and steps back into the shadows, a threat of violence felt more than seen; a single bead of sweat drips down Chris’ temple. THE INTERROGATOR enters.

                INTERROGATOR: So, hey, we’ve got, like, a few questions about what happened, that we’d like to talk to you about. I mean, when you get a chance. No pressure or anything.

                No, no, I don’t mean talk today….jeez, no rush, man. Ha ha! We’re all friends here.

                Man, it’s hot. You want an Italian ice?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Ah yes, the Officers Bill of Rights.

                I want some of those rights.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Oscar Gordon
          Ignored
          says:

          The obvious arguments in favor of arming him are:

          * He’s a cop. His authority derives from being armed.
          * As a uniformed officer, he’s a target and needs to be able to defend himself.
          * If things go bad, he can defend his partners.

          On the other hand,

          * He’s 73 years old, he’s got no cop reflexes, and it’s more likely he’ll do something horrible than useful.

          And I think the conclusion is what you just said: he should not be armed and should never be put in a situation where that would be necessary.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling
            Ignored
            says:

            Focusing on the reflexes – he’s also a volunteer cop, doing this in his free time, so he’s not used to operating under the stress of a chase, etc. Add in the age of 73, when such stress puts considerably more strain on the mind & body than it does to a 35 year old, and, well… yeah.Report

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