Again with the Police

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199 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    The ubiquity of video cameras has upsides that hadn’t occurred to me a decade ago.

    I used to not like the idea of everybody being capable of recording everybody all the time… but, as time goes on, I realize that I would infinitely prefer everybody being able to do this to only certain people being able to do it.

    Forget making cop cameras mandatory. We need to get a video-capture capable smartphone into the hands of every single American citizen and encourage that they carry it at all times.Report

    • Notme in reply to Jaybird says:


      I wonder if those obama phones can do video?Report

    • Damon in reply to Jaybird says:

      Video needs to be auto uploaded to a cloud site that’s out of country so it’s preserved. Too many attempts to delete video on phones / confiscate the video to make not uploading it mandatory.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

      I used to not like the idea of everybody being capable of recording everybody all the time… but, as time goes on, I realize that I would infinitely prefer everybody being able to do this to only certain people being able to do it.

      That’s what David Brin constantly says.

      We can’t stop video. What we can do is let *everyone* use it.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:


        • DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Yeah, and Brin seems to be under the strange idea that we should be able to watch people watching video. I.e., he seems to imagine some big convoluted thing of watching watchers.

          In reality, just watching *behavior* is probably enough, along with recording everything for yourself.

          I’m actually expecting, within twenty years, we will end up with some way to record video evidence we can’t be forced to turn over to the police, and everyone will do that 24/7. Whether that’s because of some new laws, or if we just keep everything encrypted in another country, I’m not sure, but it will happen.

          Likewise, we will come up with some way of verifying video, so people can’t fake alibis. If we can force the cloud where we store all this to put an accurate timestamp on it (Which means it couldn’t have been created *after* that point), and we can rewind and fast forward until we end up in some random stranger’s camera visual field and they confirm we were actually there. (So we couldn’t have rendered fake video in advance, at least until we get some sort of magical real-time ‘switch to pre-rendered video and back’ ability.), we can verify that the video is real.

          And now everyone but the guilty party has an alibi. No, that *doesn’t* prove their guilt, but it sure as hell makes it obvious where the police should focus their efforts.

          Combine that with facial recognizance (Not only often showing us the criminal, but even if they weren’t caught doing the crime, everyone nearby would turn in video and show who exactly was nearby at the time.) and we’re about to, if you will excuse the overused phrase, experience a paradigm shift in how the legal process works.

          An *actual* paradigm shift, not a stupid business buzzword.

          Absolutely no one seems to realize this. Forget putting cameras on *cops*…well, no, do that, because cops are apparently often psychotic idiots. But if you want to stop crime, buy every person a clip-on camera with 24/7 streaming video that goes to an account only they can legally access, and do the same to their houses and cars, and non-victimless crime, literally, ceases to exist in all but the most absurdly pre-planned situations.

          We could actually do this right now, if anyone cared to. But, no, we’re inches away from ending almost all crime, and we’ll probably dick around for a few decades before we do it.Report

  2. greginak says:

    It’s certainly appalling. What seemed weird is was mostly one cop that was freaking and most of the others seemed pretty chill. About 5 minutes in when the nutbag cop pulled his gun the other cops sorts got in his way. Still without the video nothing would have happened to him so good for the kid with the phone.Report

    • Saul DeGraw in reply to greginak says:

      Maybe they were doing good cop, bad cop and hoping the bad cop would get the kids to leave?Report

      • greginak in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Well the nutbag ran into the scene, with either a barrel role or he tripped and roled. Either way he looked like a dufus. Loose cannon cop and embarrassed cop doesn’t seem like a workable game.Report

  3. Kazzy says:

    “I seriously wonder what the cops are thinking. Do their minds just go on auto-pilot to using force first? Are there no departments that see the countless stories about police violence in the media and think “maybe we need to do something about this?””

    These are really salient questions. I think there is a natural lag time between “Holy shit, this is a problem!” and “Here is what we are going to do about it” and probably an even larger lag time before “Phew… good thing we got that more or less taken care of.”

    The cops — collectively — have probably not even reached step 1. Though hopefully they are getting there.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

      Well, if one of the roles of cops and criminal justice in the US in general is to preserve white privilege and punish black folk (because … punition!) then cops are caught between performing their social role and performing their legally mandated role. I think what’s happening with all the OUTRAGE is that the cops are being exposed as performing their social role in disregard of the other one. I mean, cop racism doesn’t exist in a vacuum, does it?

      Or does it?Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater says:

        Another part of the outrage might be that a substantial number of White Americans no longer find the social role of cops, preserving white privilege, acceptable anymore. Not all of them but enough to make a difference.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Yes! Exactly that, Lee. I hate to say it, but the reason this is an issue is because enough white folks are now paying attention. I mean, it’s not like black people haven’t been aware of all this s*** for a really long time.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:


            There is actually a strain of anti-racism that says the way to end racism is to convince white folks that doing so is advantageous to them. And while I understand this might be preferable from a strategic stand point — incentives! — the reality is that A) racism in America is really, REALLY, REALLY!!! good for most (if not all) white people and B) we should end racism because it is evil, full stop.

            It shouldn’t be a surprise that these issues are becoming bigger deals because White America has finally begun paying attention. I think the question is if/how do we leverage that yet-another-example-of-racism to actually do good work. If in 20 years, cop abuse of people of color is dramatically reduced, will we look back and say, “I wish it didn’t have to be that way but thank god the white folks started paying attention after Ferguson,” or will we say, “This victory is hollow”? I genuinely don’t know the ‘right’ way to think about it.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

              I genuinely don’t know the ‘right’ way to think about it.

              Why not just settle into the recognition that things are currently all fucked up? That’s more than most people are doing…Report

            • DavidTC in reply to Kazzy says:

              There is actually a strain of anti-racism that says the way to end racism is to convince white folks that doing so is advantageous to them.

              Considering that this is how *all* progress against racism(1) has been made in this country, I’m a little baffled as to what *other* strains of anti-racism there are.

              Laws aren’t magically changed by the powerless. Laws are changed because the people with power want the change. Protests about racism have always, always, been to convince white people to get rid of racism, and the convincing has always been of the form ‘Racism is now bad for *you*’.

              We basically got the various civil rights acts because white people became convinced the black riots and work stoppages would not stop otherwise, and they lost their taste for using force. The attitude change came *later*.

              Maybe you’re using a specific definition of ‘convincing’ or ‘advantageous’ there, I don’t know.

              Of course, at this point, we have a government that barely represents the common person *at all*, and it might be time to start wondering if *that* elephant in the room is why we can’t seem to do anything about abusive cops.

              1) And all ‘progress’ towards racism, for that matter.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC says:

                “Considering that this is how *all* progress against racism(1) has been made in this country, I’m a little baffled as to what *other* strains of anti-racism there are.”

                Make it so that if you’re a racist you can’t have a job, can’t live anywhere, can’t engage in business activity, and probably will go to jail.

                People will very quickly learn not to be racist.

                where we can see. And, of course, when it turns out that making racism a felony crime doesn’t solve all the problems of black people everywhere, we’ll have to institute a special government department devoted to rooting out and destroy the secret, hidden racism that obviously still exists.Report

            • Doctor Jay in reply to Kazzy says:

              You say:

              racism in America is really, REALLY, REALLY!!! good for most (if not all) white people

              Whereas James Baldwin said:

              White people will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this — which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never — the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.

              I endorse Baldwin’s program.

              Also, you said this:

              we should end racism because it is evil, full stop.

              Here you are using the word “racism” in a very different sense than Baldwin, or indeed most black people do.

              I would love to end racism. I would love to end poverty. I would love to end war. I would love to end cancer.

              I feel the shame attached to the word “racism” that white people typically have is part of the problem. It prevents examination in detail of one’s own attitudes and where they came from. I submit that it’s much easier to change things you know about than it is to change things you don’t know about.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater says:

            Its the same as the Civil Rights movement. The Civil Rights movement in the mid-20th century succeeded when previous ones failed because enough whites thought it was time for legal equality. If higher numbers of whites decided to oppose the Civil Rights movement than it would be less successful. Its simply how politics works. Any minority needs to have the majority believe it is important to protect their rights. The radical smash white, male, heterosexual or whatever paradigm does not work.Report

            • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

              Enough whites thought it was time to GET RICH off Civil Equality, you mean.
              Always look to who makes out like a bandit, before you start assigning altriustic motives to Everyone In Sight.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Kazzy says:

      Most people really don’t pay that much attention to the news or politics even if it directly affects them or is really important. There might be a substantial number of cops that aren’t really aware of the negative press that they are getting. The criticism does tend to be Internet or liberal and libertarian media based rather than popular media based.Report

  4. Kazzy says:

    Having watched the video, a number of things stand out…

    1. One cop is scene talking to a group of teenagers saying something to the effect of, “Don’t go running yelling, ‘The cops are here,’ when we pull up.” He seemed to be offering this as well-intentioned advice. The problem is… when shit like this happens, why the F wouldn’t you run from the cops if you were a young Black person?
    2. A number of adults — police and non-police alike — seem to recognize the ridiculousness of the situation and attempt to intervene, only ultimately seem powerless to do anything. A gentlemen in jean shorts is calmly pacing near the officer and intervenes with the young woman when the gun comes out. Another guy in khaki shorts is later seen telling the kids the asshole cop addresses at the end to just stay calm. Even the two cops jumped into action when the gun came out, though immediately followed asshole cops orders to “Get those kids”, giving chase and returning with one of them bleeding from the mouth. Still, a number of people — adults! COPS!!! — seemed to think what was happening was problematic yet for one reason or another seemed to feel powerless to actually stop it.
    3. It is not clear if the kid filming was one of the “mob” or someone who “belonged” at the pool. My hunch is the cop would have responded differently to him if it was the former. So when he addressed one of the kids ordered to sit by name and offered to help him find something he lost, it makes clear that maybe these kids weren’t invitees to the party/members of the community the pool served, but they also don’t appear to be total strangers or their to cause problems. They seemed like classmates who maybe didn’t belong but who were otherwise getting along with the other kids who did.
    4. After pulling his gun, the filmmaker or someone near him says, “He pulled a gun on her,” at which point asshole cop points at him and says, “No I didn’t!” It seems at that moment he realized he was being filmed and his demeanor did change. Which I guess was a good thing? But if he is only going to act not freakishly insane when a camera is on him… well, that is why we need universal body cams, right?
    5. The asshole cop’s comments at the end indicate that most kids were “guilty” of disobeying his orders. I get that we imbue cops with certain power and privileges to maintain order and one of these is the ability to give orders that ought to be followed under penalty of law. But, seriously, if you aren’t breaking any laws and there isn’t imminent danger, cops shouldn’t have this right. They shouldn’t be able to just roll up on someone, bark an order at them, and then arrest them if they fail to comply.

    All in all… holy shit, what a ridiculous show!!!Report

  5. Notme says:


    Have you ever asked a cop what their thought process is? Or do you prefer to post snarky rhetorical questions on line? Maybe you should attend one of those classes many police departments have that teaches folks about bring a cop.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Notme says:


      Do the cops take classes on what it’s like to get your head smashed into the ground?Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Notme says:

      @notme, I believe we covered this in previous threads but:

      Police seem not to want to take any risk at all even when they really don’t need to use force.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:


        In the past decade, have more cops been killed in the line of duty or have more civilians been killed by cops? If the latter number is higher, can we all go watch the videos and then proceed accordingly when a cop approaches?Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

          IIRC, in the past decade more cops have been killed by wrecking their cars than have been killed by criminals.

          I’m guessing lumberjacks and other professions more dangerous than policing are probably a bit sick of hearing cops go on and on about how a couple of dead kids are just the price society has to pay for our heroic cops to be safe at work.Report

          • Damon in reply to Morat20 says:

            Yep, statistics back up that. Being a cop is not a very dangerous job vs a lot of others…Report

            • morat20 in reply to Damon says:

              Don’t get me wrong. I’d LOVE to be defending cops. But they’re really making it hard. And to be honest, given they have a state-mandated ability to use force (including lethal force) they really should be held to a higher standard.

              We send 19 year old’s into war zones with tighter ROE than many police departments show.

              And you know, I don’t really blame individual cops so much — it seems cultural. Whether it’s (as noted above) cops fulfilling their unspoken social mandate (keep minorities down) and running into the problem of society having changed or whether it’s a toxic strain in police training or whether it’s the prevalence of ‘war’ metaphors — American policing is overdue for a an overhaul.

              They could do worse than taking a hard look at Peelian principles, and seeing how they could apply to modern, American policing.

              Starting with To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

              Police are not above citizens. Nor occupying soldiers. They are citizens, same as everyone they interact with.Report

              • Damon in reply to morat20 says:

                Actually, I’d put them below citizens. They are our servants, our employees. When they take off the badge, they become citizens again.Report

              • morat20 in reply to Damon says:

                I’d settle for just reminding them they’re just people, doing a job.

                Reading Peel, you get a real understanding that the man saw how policing can go bad — and it’s pretty on the nose for how American policing seems to be going bad.

                Like noting that they can’t do their job without the WILLING respect and cooperation of the public. That cooperating with the public reduces the need for force because the public cooperates back.

                I mean, case in point is this video — no matter whether these kids should have been there or not, that officer’s gun never needed to be in his hands. Why was it? He resorted to force (and pulling a gain IS force!) without reason.

                You can think the kids were utterly in the wrong and still see that as a total failure of policing, right there.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to morat20 says:


              • Kim in reply to morat20 says:

                When the job involves running drug deals, I want to remind them of something else, if you please.Report

              • Patrick in reply to morat20 says:

                Don’t get me wrong. I’d LOVE to be defending cops. But they’re really making it hard. And to be honest, given they have a state-mandated ability to use force (including lethal force) they really should be held to a higher standard.

                All of this.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Damon says:

              Not even in the top 10 most dangerous jobs.Report

              • greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Being a cop isn’t statistically a very dangerous job. However people don’t look at things in a statistical manner. Lots of people fear flying even though it is safe. But they are fine with driving fast while putting on makeup/shaving, eating and texting. All of those things will be far more dangerous then flying, but they will still fear flying.

                Being a cop isn’t as dangerous as lots of other jobs. But those other jobs don’t’ involve getting shot at or violence cops deal with.

                It is easy and correct to point out the actual dangerousness of being a cop. But the perception by cops and many people is far different and just pointing out the stats isn’t going to change that.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to greginak says:

                Right and we have a huge amount of media (usually fictional but not always) that makes it seem like we are still living with the height of urban decay and crime even though crime has been decreasing for a long, long time.

                You can jump up and down with facts but people are going to respond to what happens on cop shows more.Report

              • Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Coincidentally, a good friend of mine’s brother was a cop killed in the line of duty.Report

    • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      So far, we’ve seem a video of a fight between what appears to be two teens, with an adult intervening, and the American right feels vindicated that the black people were trespassing hoodlums. Ugh.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:

        I don’t think anyone should feel vindicated at this stage. Call me naive but I guess I’d like to have all the facts before I pass judgement. Unfortunately, most of the people commenting in this thread seem to feel they have enough information to do so.Report

        • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          If you’ve seen the video, you should have all the facts you need to know that the police were out of control. But the black people did appear to be walking in the street, and you’ve established how much this bothers you.Report

          • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:

            ‘Out of control’ implies that they weren’t follow procedure. I assume you are an expert on police tactics, so you tell me: At what point did they stop following procedure?Report

            • zic in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              I think this is too simplistic, @mike-dwyer

              A lot of people might feel police may be out of control even when they’re following procedure — that the procedures themselves are faulty, and lead to out-of-control cops. And that’s a big part of why these videos matter; when we keep seeing ‘out-of-control’ cops who are found to have followed procedure and done nothing wrong, it will finally put pressure on examining the procedures themselves.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to zic says:

                I don’t think it’s too simplistic in the sense that, people in this very thread are calling the cop an asshole and I’m sure would like to see him fired or worse. That sounds to me like they blame him and (probably) assume he is doing something he isn’t supposed to. If he is doing his job in the way he was trained, that should be a different conversation about procedure. So it’s helpful to differentiate between a cop violating procedure and a cop that isn’t, for the sake of having a conversation about the correct thing.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                The evidence suggests that a lot of the procedures are designed to give the police maximum leeway in escalating a situation and being allowed to use violence quickly and often very severe violence for small acts. This was not a robbery or a hostage situation. No one indicated that the teenagers were being violent. Why does this demand the use of force? Why not just write some summons and ask the kids to defend themselves if they were trespassing. That way they just show up in court, show that they had passes, and if they were trespassing, they can do some community service.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Saul Degraw says:


                You had three cops and what looked like 20 or more individuals. In lieu of that, the tactics they followed seem to follow basic procedures:


              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Balko has made this point before. Blaming individual officers for following training/culture/procedure is going to have little value. We need to examine and alter the training/culture/procedures themselves.

                We need to say, “this is what we expect of our police”, and then force them to comply or quit. For too long, we’ve allowed the police to write their own rulebook, with predictable results.Report

              • Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                What’s more, as I’m sure Balko would agree, there’s a difference between “following procedure” and initiating the procedure. If cops are trained to toss someone to ground and sit on them, that’s one thing. If they’re taught to do it when that person is being non-violent and not resisting arrest, that’s another. I have no doubt he followed procedure, but either the procedure should not have been followed in that case, or the rules for when to follow that procedure are incredibly fucked up.

                Also, if the procedure says point a gun at anyone running by, then the procedure needs to be thrown out the window.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:

                “…if the procedure says point a gun at anyone running by…”

                Chris, you’ve said this several times now. Please watch the video again. There were two boys that are walking straight towards the cop. They weren’t ‘running by’. Either you are being deliberately misleading or just not bothering to pay attention.Report

              • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Mike, I just watched it again, and we’re both wrong. They weren’t running at him, they were standing and yelling. He stood up, walked towards them, and they backed away. Then he pulled his gun, pointed it at them, and chased them away, after which the two other cops ran after them.

                So thanks for making me watch that awfulness again to see that he was even more reckless than I had thought. Is that procedure? If so, time to do away with the procedure.Report

              • Chris in reply to Chris says:

                Also, if I saw a cop brutalizing a teenager like that, I’d be yelling at him as well.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:

                I have no doubt you would.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:

                Maybe running wasn’t the correct word. How about we go with ‘approaching’. They weren’t stationary.Report

              • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                They were actually backing away when he pulled the gun. So no, they weren’t stationary.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Can anyone find the police procedures for the department in question, or any police department? A quick search of the community website got me nothing.

                I ask because I often hear police tell us (the public) that proper procedures were followed, but I never see an analysis of the known facts put up against the relevant policies for public review.Report

              • zic in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                welcome to the club of people poking around to find out what procedures, training standards, etc. are and coming up empty handed. I’ve been doing this for some time.

                this information is, apparently, classified and secret and not for the likes of you and I, @oscar-gordonReport

              • Saul Degraw in reply to zic says:

                I’ve only seen this stuff when lawyers are doing Section 1983 lawsuits and even then it can require a motion to compel.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to zic says:

                It is somewhat difficult to have a public conversation regarding the appropriateness of police training & procedures if those procedures are not open to the public.

                You’ll understand, @mike-dwyer, if I find the assurances of the police & DA that all proper procedures were followed, or that training & procedures will be reviewed & updated in response to some event.Report

            • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              If singling out all of the non-white people, slamming to the ground children who are doing nothing but not moving when told, and pointing guns at teens running by, is procedure, then perhaps we need a new set of procedures.

              (Also, if I remember correctly, you have cops in the family. I don’t. I do, however, have two friends who are retired cops with almost 60 years on the force combined. I suspect the information I get regularly is pretty good.)

              @notme wow, you admitting any cop was out of control is just this side of a miracle.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:

                I’m not arguing that the procedures are good or bad. What I am suggesting is two things:

                1) We don’t have all the facts
                2) We don’t know if the cop is violating procedure or not

                What I see, in the seconds before the cop pulls his gun, is several young men quickly approaching the cop from behind. They aren’t ‘running by’. Based on my understanding of procedure, this would be seen as an aggressive move. Does it justify pulling a gun? I don’t know what his department’s rules are. That’s why I think we need more detail than what is provided in the video and everyone is using to do armchair analysis. This is a man’s life and livelihood. I want to know if he was actually ‘out of control’ before we start crucifying him.Report

              • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                It was those kids’ lives and livelihood, too. And he was clearly out of control before he was pulling a gun. Pulling a gun made unarguably obvious.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:


                Again, define ‘out of control’. Not following procedures, or following procedures you don’t like? Because there is an actual difference in the way the public should respond.Report

              • Patrick in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Not following procedures, or following procedures you don’t like? Because there is an actual difference in the way the public should respond.

                This is an interesting point, @mike-dwyer.

                I think this actually gets right at the real bone of contention between the law-and-order types and the police-overreach types.

                Because a goodly number of the police-overreach types don’t see a distinction here. That is, “the cops are out of control” and “the procedures are screwed” both point in the same direction because they feel powerless to enact change, either way.

                Whereas the law-and-order types see a fork in the road, and the obvious fork to take is “try and fix the procedures”.

                I suspect that the police-overreach types are underselling their own ability to enact change, and the law-and-order types are overselling their perceived ability to enact change, and that’s why both sides get so angry on this topic.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick says:

                Well there should be processes in place to deal with both. If a cop violates procedure, I don’t have much sympathy for them. If they follow procedure, but the public doesn’t like it, they need to fight for change of procedure.

                What bothers me is that I think we have reached a point where in some circles/communities/groups it has become almost expected that they will always challenge the police during these types of interactions. You can see it in the video. Teenagers are running their mouths at the cops. I realize I sound like I’m telling kids to stay off my lawn here but my social circle would never, never have done that when I was that age. What has changed that makes people think this is acceptable behavior or behavior that should basically be ignored?Report

              • Emile in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I found this interesting:

                Teenagers are running their mouths at the cops. I realize I sound like I’m telling kids to stay off my lawn here but my social circle would never, never have done that when I was that age. What has changed that makes people think this is acceptable behavior or behavior that should basically be ignored?

                What I saw when I watched that video is an authority figure *really* pissed off that his authority was being questioned. Which I think gets at the heart of the matter; the distinction between authority and power. When cops loose authority, all they have left is power.

                Did your social circle never “mouth off” at cops because it was illegal, or because you felt that cops had legitimate authority? Were you in situations where you might have been tempted to? Do you think it should be illegal?

                Nothing says “out of control cops” to me like seeing cops use force because they feel disrespected.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Emile says:


                I was a nerdy suburban kid so I never had much interaction with the cops. The one time I had interaction with the cops was as a teenager on a summer program at Ithaca College. One fellow kid (white, suburban) stole a counselor’s wallet and there was a room by room search and a pat down.

                Mike seems to be not paying attention to the fact that when white teenagers do something illegal like shoplifting or party crashing, they tend to get a stern talking to and a warning. Maybe the cops will hold them in detention until their parents came and picked them up.

                Hell a friend of mine from law school tried to shoplift a sweater worth thousands of dollars when he was a 19 year old college student and the cop on the scene wrote an amount that was an equivalent of less than grand larceny. My friend is admitted to the bar now because he disclosed this youthful indiscretion on his moral character application.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                “Mike seems to be not paying attention to the fact that when white teenagers do something illegal like shoplifting or party crashing, they tend to get a stern talking to and a warning. Maybe the cops will hold them in detention until their parents came and picked them up.”

                And how much of that is because the white kids tend to be more inclined to obey the cops, be respectful, etc? There is some discretion there. If someone is caught committing a crime, i’m not sure why the cop needs to get an ear-beating.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Emile says:

                Did your social circle never “mouth off” at cops because it was illegal, or because you felt that cops had legitimate authority?

                I think it was simply a matter of respect, so I guess you could call that authority. I mean, we never really mouthed off at anyone. It just wasn’t acceptable.

                Were you in situations where you might have been tempted to?

                Sure. I wasn’t an angel.

                Do you think it should be illegal?

                I think that in certain contexts, yes. A potential mob situation? I think that might enough to be cuffed until things de-escalate at the very least.Report

              • Patrick in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                What has changed that makes people think this is acceptable behavior or behavior that should basically be ignored?

                The police have lost the respect of the communities they serve.

                I think that’s inarguable. Whether or not they should have, or whose fault it is, that’s a different conversation.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Patrick says:

                I think the reason the cops seem out of control to many people is that there does not seem to be good damage control going on or pre-emptive damage control.

                The cops and police department must know that people have cameras on their phones and use them to record almost everything. They must know that there have been a lot of stories in the past few years and months about cops performing poorly and this getting released on the Internet. Hell this is not even new to the cellphone era. Prosecutors in Mariocpa County, Arizona (Sheriff Joe land) needed to drop cases against sex workers because close captioned video showed the deputies having a good time before busting the sex workers.

                Is there some department out there that is thinking “You know, I don’t want this department to end up on the Internet as overreacting. Maybe we should come up with some procedures to make sure that our officers behave in a reasonable manner and don’t get hot headed.”

                Yet…..the answer is seemingly no.Report

              • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Mike, I already answered the question with respect to procedure above.

                Out of control is, by definition, not controlling one’s actions and emotions (consciously, rationally, what have you). He slammed one girl to the ground and sat on her, then pointed a gun at two boys, all unarmed and in swim suits. See also his verbal justifications for his actions. Those are all examples of not controlling one’s behavior and emotions. It has almost nothing to do with procedure, as consistent with procedure and in control are two different things.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:

                You assuming he let his emotions get the better of him is subjective. He could have very well known exactly what he was doing and felt it was all justified. If he then followed written procedure, he’s protected by the law. And that’s the rub. Police are asked to define whether or not they felt threatened and we are supposed to decide if they really were. Not actually being there in the moment makes it an exercise in mind reading. I’m not really comfortable doing that (though I am aware that some people are).Report

              • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                You’re right, it’s possible he’s a sociopath.

                It is not subjective to say that he slammed a non-violent, non-resisting woman to the ground and sat on her back. It’s not subjective to say that two guys running by had a gun pointed at them. It’s not subjective to say that they were all a bunch of teenagers in swimsuits that he was brutalizing.

                If you think he was behaving appropriately, procedure or no, then we simply disagree about what is and what is not appropriate. That would not surprise me at all, as I’m sure you know.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:

                If he felt his actions were justified AND he was following procedure based on the justification, then it’s a different conversation. Maybe you see no distinction between the two but I do.Report

              • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Oh no, I’m sure he felt it was justified. Cops always do. That’s not the point.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Actually we do have enough facts.

                1. Someone called the cops ” “a disturbance involving multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave.”

                2. The Police show up and one starts screaming: “Don’t make me fucking run around here with thirty pounds of goddamn gear in the sun because you want to screw around out here.”

                3. The stuff on the video ensues.

                The reports seem mixed on whether the teenagers had valid guests passes but the evidence seems to point to yes. Therefore this is a dispute that some residents of McKinnely, Texas did not feel like those guess passes should have been given and were willing to call the cops to get the teens kicked out.

                You are being rather frustrating right now. How much do you need to know? When will you be able to make a decision?Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Saul Degraw says:


                I know you’re a lawyer, so you have to understand there is a gap between 1 & 2…right? We don’t know what happened before the video was started that might have already escalated the situation. You can concede that, can’t you?

                There have been reports that the kids were fighting and smoking weed. There is another video, which I linked to, which shows one of the young girls fighting with an older woman at some point in the timeline. We know kids were running away from the scene. We know kids were mouthing off to the cops. So you’ve already got a bunch of potential misdemeanors there. Given that, at what point does the line get crossed for you? When the cop starts screaming at the kids? When they start chasing them? When the girl gets pushed to the ground? When the gun gets drawn?

                Since you’ve already passed judgement, I’m just trying to figure out what you believe the cops are guilty of.Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


              The procedures are wrong. If these are proper procedures they need to be changed.

              1. Police should not have a response to use violence first.

              2. This should be especially true when dealing with children, teenagers, and the mentally ill. There should not be an assumption that everyone is armed and dangerous. Is the motto of the police “to serve and protect”? Who are they serving? Who are they protecting? Are the police here to protect affluent suburbs from black teenagers who might or might not be crashing a pool party? The teenagers said they had passes. If they did, can the cops still kick them out because it makes the parents uncomfortable to have black teenagers around?

              3. You once said you supported gun rights because it protects people from government tyranny. Aren’t the police a government agency? Or does protecting people from government tyranny not apply to certain classes of people?

              4. Also Breitbart? Do you remember when we talked about biased sources? Breitbart is ground zero for “Blame the Liberals for everything” and hyperbolically so. If Breitbart was a libertarian, he was quite the hypocritical one.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Saul Degraw says:


                I’m fairly sure, when doing threat assessment, you don’t do a quick calculation that includes age and mental capacity. Multiple teenage boys could very quickly harm a cop. A mental person with a gun could also quickly do the same. So I kind of reject that notion.

                If the procedures that those cops follow are flawed, someone needs to fix them through some type of reasonable channel. What it doesn’t mean is that citizens have carte blanche to confront cops on the street. I see a lot of that happening in this video.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


              Wait… are we saying “out of control” is equivalent to “bucking procedure”? That… that really flabbergasts me. I want to respond to that but I want to give you a chance to clarify because I have a hunch you didn’t really mean that.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

                I’m asking the people using ‘out-of-control’ to define it. There’s a big difference between not following procedure and following a procedure that the public doesn’t like.Report

              • Alan Scott in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                How about “Interacting with members of the public in ways that put them at danger or escalate the hostile nature of the situation, regardless of whether or not that particular interaction is in compliance with official procedures and policies”?

                Why should we need to be more specific than that? You’re right that understanding more about the nature of the situation is probably necessary for solving the problem demonstrated by this incident.

                But that doesn’t mean that we can’t say this incident demonstrates the existence of a problem–it clearly does. Additional information might make the nature of the problem clearer, but that in no way means the folks saying “man, this is fished up” are rushing to judgement without the necessary facts.Report

              • Chris in reply to Alan Scott says:

                Well said.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                What if the procedure is being applied to the wrong situation? I see ‘out of control’ as a failure to properly engage one’s executive functioning skills. So, yes, maybe he is following procedure to T, but he’s following the procedure for riot control when he should be following the procedure for teenager engagement because he got emotionally overwhelmed and failed to properly evaluated the situation.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

                It very well could be incorrectly applied. In that case, the cop should face some kind of disciplinary action. But no one here is qualified to make that assessment based on the facts we have today, although you seem to have already made up your mind.Report

              • switters in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Very few decisions/judgments are made with complete information. Yeah that sucks but its also a fact. No judgments about instances like these can ever be made with complete information. I’ comfortable enough with what i saw to say that guy shouldn’t be a police officer. If you’re a chief, and you know two things about a guy, one being that he’s got five years experience at policing, and two, that video, are you going to hire him?

                What additional, verifiable information would you like to see before you are willing to say whether you think this officer acted correctly or not?Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to switters says:

                I would want to see what happened between the cops showing up and the video starting.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Well that doesn’t exist. How convenient….Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I’m sure you’re familiar with ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. Look, I get some silly goose like Chris jumping to conclusions on thin evidence. You’re a lawyer though. If your client was accused of something based on this video, wouldn’t you point out that this is incomplete?Report

              • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I suggest leaving me out of it little man.Report

              • Burt Likko in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Further to my more subtle comment below, I’m now going to more directly ask both of you to please take a breather.


              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                What actions by the children he ordered to the ground — by command or my physical force — would legitimize his actions?

                I don’t even want to make this about race. I want to make this about interacting with young people. My specialty is on children much younger than those featured here, but I have worked with kids about that age and, more importantly, I’ve learned a great deal about what young people do and do not respond to. This cop seems to have no frickin’ clue how to interact with young people in a way. Force ought to be an absolute last resort.

                Furthermore, whose interests was this cop serving? As we understand it, these kids were gatecrashers at a party. They seemed to be dispersing. Isn’t allowing them to do so without incident kind of a win-win? Do you think the folks throwing the party wanted a gun involved in their festivities? Do you think they wanted cops chasing kids all around the neighborhood and blood being spat up on the lawn?

                So, yea, I’m pretty comfortable saying that this cop A) does not know how to effectively interact with young people and B) completely lost sight of his role in the situation… even based on incomplete information.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

                According to reports there were at least two crimes potentially committed by the kids: drug possesion and assault. One of the fights is on video. Seems like that at least merits questioning.

                Look, I’ve spent a very long 10 minutes in the back of a cop car after being caught goofing around on a golf course late at night. They separated me and a friend to make sure our stories matched. No guns were drawn, no one had to chase us, I didnt mouth off, etc. And so we got let off with a warning. I find that cops are usually reasonable when people treat them with respect.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I have not seen anything about drug possession.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                One white girl and one black girl fought. So why were ALL the black kids stopped and NONE of the white kids stopped?

                As I said above, you see a cop in the video engaging the kids quite reasonably, dispensing advice and talking calmly and in a friendly manner. I’m not hating on all cops… I’m hating on ONE cop who went ape shit and pulled a gun because some teenagers yelled when he tackled their friend.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:


                Have you ever been in a fight? If so, how about a 2 on 1 situation?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                I have, more than once, & I still know that pulling my gun on less than 3-1 odds when I have clearly defined assailants is likely gonna get me indicted.Report

              • Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Clearly defined assailants who are backing away from me.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                If a cop can’t handle two smallish, unarmed teenagers without his weapon, he shouldn’t be a cop.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

                So that’s a no….?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I got “jumped” by 6 or 7 friends in high school… Most of ’em athletes. Does that count?

                Also, what about my question re: the combatants in the initial fight?

                What are you really arguing here? That this is what we want from our police?Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

                I’m arguing that when a cop is trying to subdue someone, in the middle of a large group of agitated civilians, then moving towards him is a really stupid move.

                As I said somewhere above, I have seen almost the exact same scenario in person (this was three white guys in a restaurant that were being arrested by two cops). A fourth guy was running his mouth and approached them at one point and one of the cops pulled out his baton and pointed it at the kid and said, “Don’t even think about it.”

                So…what if the cop had pulled a baton instead. Would you have been more okay with that?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Baton, mace, taser… yes, absolutely. Totally fine. People under stress don’t carelessly put their fingers on their batons and beat people.

                People under stress with a firearm in their hand regularly pull the trigger without meaning to.

                What he did was just piss poor firearms discipline & we should not tolerate it in anyone, police or otherwise.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                I agree that the firearm shouldn’t have been pulled. What I am also saying though is that the kids were stupid to approach him the way they did. Should he be smarter than them? Sure, but in a situation like that, with tensions elevated, things can go wrong quickly. Parents should also be teaching their kids some smarter ways to interact with the police IMO.Report

              • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Police departments should be teaching their cops not to be cowards.Report

              • Chris in reply to Chris says:

                Rather, when cops reveal themselves to be terrified of teens in bathing suits, so terrified in fact as to threaten to shoot them, those cops should be immediately removed from the force.

                We’re going to be left with very few cops, however.Report

              • morat20 in reply to Chris says:

                Police are like bears. They’re wild, untamed, and violent. You need to avoid making eye-contact with cops — this can enrage them, provoke them to violence.

                When faced with an angry cop, keep your eyes downcast. Kneel or lie prone, and hope the cop goes away.

                If at all possible, avoid being black.

                Honestly, that’s what “need to learn how to act around cops” sounds like to me. Advice on how to deal with a feral, dangerous animal that you’ve stumbled across.

                So no, I don’t — and kids don’t and citizens don’t — need lessons on how to interact with cops. Cops need lessons on how to interact with citizens. They are the ones with the badge, the gun, and the state-backed authority. Dealing with citizens is their job, day in and day out, and their continuing failure to do so without becoming violent and incoherent is not the fault of the citizenry.

                And this — a cop pulling his gun out to demand, to enforce, ‘respect’? If he needs to pull a gun to ‘get’ respect, he and his police department don’t deserve it and it should be considered a massive failure on their part.

                You get the respect you deserve, not the respect you demand with a gun.Report

              • Chris in reply to morat20 says:

                Right now he’s getting the respect he deserves, in spades.Report

              • Kim in reply to morat20 says:

                NAACP kinda seems to disagree with you. And I can see their point, particularly during traffic stops (nobody teaches this in drivers’ ed? that’s just dumb)Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                You keep making a “It takes two to tango” argument. But no. That’s wrong. Especially when we’re talking about non-adults.

                I teach four-year-olds. I’ve been hit, bit, kicked, yelled at, spat on, and had things thrown at me. At no point would it have been appropriate for me to respond in turn. I have at times had to use physical force, but always in a way aimed at diffusing and controlling the situation. Because the inherent power imbalance between children and adults coupled with the unique responsibilities I hold as trained authority figure in that situation demanded a better response. If I lost my cool and whacked a kid, you can be damn sure I’d never teach again. But we don’t hold cops to that same standards. Which encourages them to continue to act this way.

                I don’t need the fear of losing my career to avoid hitting kids. I’m just not wired for violence. But I’m sure there is some segment of teachers who do need that incentive. Who do need to know they can’t lose it or they’re out of a job.

                Cops lack this incentive. They know they can literally get away with murder. We need to change that. Now.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                By the way, thinking about it, I’m pretty sure throwing an unarmed, non-violent minor who is not obeying an order and not being verbally respectful to the ground is not procedure, but as we’ve seen in federal reports on Ferguson and Cleveland, sometimes procedure is explicitly punitive. That is, cops punish people for disrespect.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Mike Dwyer: Parents should also be teaching their kids some smarter ways to interact with the police IMO.

                How about first we demand the adults with badges & the legal monopoly on the use of force first learn to interact with teenagers without having to resort to violence. Police should be getting training on de-escalation, and perhaps they are, but as we are seeing, that doesn’t seem to be taking for some officers.

                Listen, ultimately, to me, this all boils down to only one cop pulled a gun & threatened violence. The other cops on the scene kept their shit together. They did not see a threat to their fellow officer. This tells me Cpl. Casebolt is not cut out for police work. He does not have the temperament & needs to be let go.Report

              • zic in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                I don’t want to double down when you’re getting it from all sides here, but the notion that black children aren’t taught to respectfully submit to law enforcement is the problem here.

                You should read some stuff on ‘the talk.’ That’s not about sex; it’s about being a black child/teenager and having to negotiate the hostility of policing that places a child’s life in danger. You didn’t have to have ‘the talk’ with your kids; they have some liberty to be rude to cops and not get shot that those kids at the pool party do not have.

                You are really working from a presumption of your privilege here.


              • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                Very well said. I’ve been trying to make that point but kept fumbling. The difference between the cops’ reactions is very informative.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                He was, if I’m not mistaken, the supervising officer on the scene. Even when they ran after people, it was on his instruction.

                One of the initial interactions is telling: one of the other cops is talking to four black teens when the kid filming walks up and hands him the flashlight that the barrel roller lost in his Paul Blart moment. He is talking to them calmly, basically saying “Just don’t run,” with no indication that they are in any trouble, when Blart comes up, yells that he told them to get to the ground, and then physically forces one of the kids to the ground.

                That should be the moment when everyone knew Blart was out of control, when he was assaulting kids who were just standing their calmly listening to another officer.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Chris says:


                Not only was the cop telling them not to run, he was giving them information they could use going forward. He wasn’t just saying, “Don’t run.” He was saying, “It doesn’t look good to go running while shouting, ‘The cops are here,’ when we arrive.” He was helping them. And they were listening! And then the out-of-control guy got in the way.

                @mike-dwyer That cop was doing exactly what you are saying needs to be done: telling black youths how to interact with the cops. And then the cop you seem to be staunchly defending undermined his ability to do so. And, yet, he is the one whom you seem to be defending. I really don’t get it.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                That begs the question that the person needed subduing. I submit that nothing we have seen indicates as much.

                We’ve again reached a point where we expect non-police — teenagers! — to exhibit better behavior than the cops. Teenagers! Who do not have fully formed brains!!! The teenagers were supposed to overwhelm their emotional response to a terrifying situation — a situation they have zero training for — and immediately submit to the orders of someone who is terrorizing them. Meanwhile, what do we expect of the cop? Forward rolls and gun waving?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


                And I want to make clear that I am not making this about race. I’m making this about a specific cop who handled a situation REALLY REALLY POORLY. A bunch of teenagers were milling around. No one was posing imminent threat to anyone. The cop escalated the situation. Even if something awful happened beforehand. We come in to see a bunch of kids standing around or running while being chased.

                I asked you above… Whose interests was this cop serving? Who did he make safer? Who did he protect? Who did he serve?Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

                I’m about 99% sure the ‘forward roll’ was because he tripped. And that leads me to a point of summation. I’ve seen in this thread several people with different interpretations of the events that seem to reflect biases. Chris initially said the kids were just running by when the gun was drawn. You are saying the cop did some sort of tactical roll. I see kids that walked towards the cop semi-aggressively. I see a cop that tripped. Chris sees oppressed minorities. You see children with not-fully-formed brains that were terrified, I see kids old enough to know better than to run from the police, approach them the way they did and mouth off. So none of us seem to really be looking at this objectively.

                As Patrick points out. There is a ton of mistrust on both sides these days and it will only continue to get worse. More cops will be filmed doing questionable or completely wrong things. More people will try to provoke altercations because it has become culturally acceptable. As someone who is just tired of the whole thing, I am feeling more and more like we should just pull the cops out of communities where they aren’t wanted and let the civilians do what they will.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                My forward roll comment was a bit glib. I’ll take it back. I don’t think it really matters in the grand scheme.

                You are right that we have our biases. But here is the thing… most of those biases are informed by truths. Teenagers do not have fully formed brains; science tells us this. These particular teenagers were less than fully obedient; the video demonstrates this. Both things can be true. What I think we need is a police force that can look at a group of teenagers who — for whatever reason — are behaving less than ideally and engage and diffuse the situation without slamming heads or pulling their weapons unless or until that becomes absolutely necessary. And I think the video demonstrates that such cops exist… as I give kudos to that one cop for his initial engagement with the group of kids wherein he explained why their behavior was problematic, saying, “It doesn’t look good when you run away screaming, ‘The cops are here.'” (paraphrased)

                Question: Do you disagree with the bolded section above?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                Also, civilians acting in a provocative manner is not morally equivalent to police abuse of power. One group is given a monopoly on force. One is not. They are not on equal standing. I’m not sure what you are “tired” of exactly. People reaching a breaking point after generations of abuse and marginalization?Report

              • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                He very clearly tripped (and the kids also joke about him tripping, making that even clearer). The barrel roll was, physically, pretty impressive. If only his physical ability were not matched by his cowardliness.

                Also, he very clearly pulled a gun on two kids in swimsuits who were at that time very clearly backing away from him (and very clearly terrified).Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Thing is Mike, I can’t find myself in the midst of a ‘mob’ of teenagers, or adults, and decide it’s time to pull my gun unless I can reasonably demonstrate that I am about to get into it with them. Just moving in my general direction IS NOT sufficient to justify brandishing a firearm.

                If the mob was getting unruly and represented a real threat to the officers, why did only one officer have his gun drawn?Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                The tree you’re pissing up, ’tis not the right one.Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I think we already knew you’re white.Report

          • Notme in reply to Chris says:


            You really think all the pice were out of comtrol or just one of them. I hate to think a fine liberal would judge an entire group by the actions of one.Report

            • Joe Sal in reply to Notme says:

              I think it is enough to say the one being out of control is sufficient.
              If the pro-coercion folks want to keep these institutions, they need to get a handle on what it looks like to respect civilians. Spouting short profane orders, long-duration physical holds, and pointing guns at folks doesn’t come off as de-escalation.Report

  6. DavidTC says:

    Is it just me, or does ‘multiple juveniles at the location, who did not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave’ sound inherently suspicious, along with the fact that the girl responded ‘they did nothing wrong’.

    A *community* pool? Refusing to leave by *whose* authority?

    Even if that was some sort of restricted pool like a subdivision pool, how are the police able to magically determine who are the people who aren’t supposed to be there, while at the same time letting a dozen other people just stroll off.

    Oh, right, those people they’re letting stroll off are *white*. And, oddly, some black women, although those women come running back when their friend is thrown the ground. (So, um, if they’re friends with her, then logically doesn’t she have an invite to the party?)

    And, presuming that fenced-in area is the pool, I have to point out that, uh, none of those detained people actually appear to be in that area. In fact, they appear to be walking around on the sideway.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to DavidTC says:

      We know enough that I’m willing to bet a pint on how it will turn out. It will be a private pool, owned by the HOA or its equivalent, and the rules will limit a homeowner to roughly eight guests*. The rules will require that minor guests be supervised. The kids outside the fence will turn out to be people who showed up for a party but were turned away because they didn’t live in the development and the guest limit had been reached. Someone overreacted and called the police, exaggerating the size/mood of a crowd on private property. The police arrived and ordered the crowd to disperse. When things didn’t happen quickly enough, one of the officers grossly overreacted.

      My daughter lives in a large development of small homes that’s on unincorporated county land. Every year someone who hasn’t read the bylaws gets in trouble when their teenager tries to have a pool party, dozens of minors show up, but most are not admitted. Usually enough of the kids act as “the voice of reason” that things resolve quietly. Occasionally the sheriff is called to disperse the crowd.

      *Without making special arrangements. Most likely, the pool facility can be rented for a larger gathering with enough advance notice, but minors will still have to supervised with an 8:1 or smaller ratio of grown-ups to kids.Report

      • Chris in reply to Michael Cain says:

        This is almost certainly the way it went down, given what we know. After that, it became more and more exaggerated in the mouths of the residents. I suspect that the kids were being kids, and from every indication, the residents were being complete assholes.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Michael Cain says:

        The police arrived and ordered the crowd to disperse. When things didn’t happen quickly enough, one of the officers grossly overreacted.

        And by ‘disperse’, we apparently mean ‘Everyone kept standing around outside the fence so the police ordered the *black* boys to get on the ground while everyone else sorta wandered off, and then later a black girl sorta standing around in the street gets tackled’.

        Seriously, I suspect you’re right about the *premise* of what is going on, but for the life of me I can’t figure out an explanation why everyone on the ground is black while white kids just sorta mill around, not dispersing *either*.

        Well, any explanation besides racism, I guess.

        Also, let’s be clear. The HOA may have rules about how many guest can be in the pool, but the actual *sidewalks* of a subdivision are a public property, or a privately-own public walkway.

        It is *vaguely* possible there’s a rule you have to be a guest of someone there to be in the subdivision at all, but that’s pretty unlikely, and somewhat moot, as they *were* guests. And I’ve never heard of any HOA rule that says ‘You can only have X guests in the *entire subdivision*’.

        So they did, in fact, ‘have permission’ to be at their ‘location’…they tried to go elsewhere, and were told no, but as far as we know, they didn’t attempt to force their way in or anything.Report

        • Chris in reply to DavidTC says:

          According to the young woman interviewed in the article I linked below, most of the kids lived there anyway.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to Chris says:

            Yeah. And my question still stands: How the hell could the police telepathically determine who was and wasn’t a resident?Report

            • Chris in reply to DavidTC says:

              Cop sense.Report

            • morat20 in reply to DavidTC says:

              Some of them didn’t look like the others. They…stood out, you can say. Something about them just seemed different, you know?

              I can’t quite put my finger on the difference, but I’m not a trained cop with the hyper-focus of adrenaline, ready to leap into combat with the unparalleled dangers swimming teens pose.

              My god, the mere thought of all that water flying everywhere, chlorine in the eyes, the slippery, slippery tile….my god, the sheer skill it must have taken to tell friend from foe.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

          Reading some other things on this, you might not even be right about the premise.

          It appears the people who called the police were random neighbors who were taunting the kids. Like I said, ‘Refused to leave’ is a suspicious term. Teenagers do not have to obey random adults, no matter what the adults expect. (Or perhaps I should be saying that black people do not have obey random white people?)

          Did anyone with an actual *authority* tell the kids to leave? Who *actually* call the police? I’ve seen a reference or two to a security guard, but oddly nothing specific.

          And googling, a lot of articles on this seem to want to call some of the kids ‘gate crashers’, and imply that had something to do with the arrests. Which is, of course, nonsense. Only the *host* of a party can care about ‘gate crashers’ and call the cops on them. Third parties can’t do that.

          If I gate crash a party, the host sees me and ignores me, and then later the police nonsensically bust in because some third party called them and start arresting random people, it doesn’t matter that I ‘gate crashed’ and didn’t have a formal invite. Such a thing is not actually illegal, just rude. If I walk up to somewhere and some random guy opens the door and lets me in, I’m not trespassing until the owner asks me to leave and I don’t.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to DavidTC says:

            I would agree with you (modulo things like music at 100 dB) if this were a private pool in someone’s back yard. What I’m willing to bet on in my original comment is that the situation is a private club with extensive bylaws, which in my limited experience will include significant constraints on the behavior of members and their guests. In fact, some aspects of the bylaws will have been written in such a way as to forbid exactly the situation that happened: a large group of “unsupervised” teenagers. I’m betting that much more of the area is owned by the HOA than you think — the kids aren’t standing on “public” areas. The people who build developments like Craig Ranch are rich, they’re experienced, and they hire expensive legal talent to make sure their butts are covered.

            None of that excuses the officer’s behavior. But I’m still willing to bet that the set of facts from which the legal bickering starts (I’m betting private club, members within their rights to call the police, police gave a legal order for the crowd to disperse) will be such that the officer had a great deal of discretion to act stupidly. There’ll be at least wrist-slapping. If the chief of police is brave, the officer will be fired as an example to the rest of the force that there are areas where they are absolutely expected to act like high-end private security: be the voice of reason, take any and all verbal abuse and smile, etc. And next month there will be a letter from the HOA (or whatever its equivalent is) reminding all the homeowners about the rules for accessing the pool, and subtly pointing out that teenagers are very much second-class citizens with respect to the pool.Report

  7. Saul Degraw says:

    Here is a good reader on police, racism, and American Swimming Pools:

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:

      If there’s more information coming out, why are people already making up their minds?Report

      • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Again, the video is clear. What is not clear is what led to the police being there in the first place.

        Since you’ve basically been told that, I assumed it didn’t need to be said again.Report

        • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:

          What is also not clear is what happened before the video started. All of the details have been slowly coming out through eye witnesses. But y’know, I’m sure it’s 100% accurate.Report

          • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            You’re right, I should have said, “As usual, there appears to be more to the story.”

            Anyway, I’m done arguing with you. As in the past, you’ll defend pretty much any cop behavior, and as in the past, you’ll assume the black people are in the wrong. I knew this going in, and I know it coming out. Time wasted, then.Report

            • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:

              Ah, not wasted. You got to confirm that I am racist and re-affirm your white knight street cred. Mission accomplished.Report

              • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I would have been quite happy for you to have shown even a sliver of a doubt that the cops behaved appropriately. As it is, you’ve simply defended them on procedural grounds, which, as anyone who’s followed the issue of cop abuse knows is the last refuge of the pro-cop scoundrel.

                I wonder, every time someone points out that you’re being racist for, say, blaming racism on black people walking in the street, do you accuse them of white knightism? Does that help you to avoid seeing yourself as you are? Because if so, then my mission definitely hasn’t been accomplished.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:

                I haven’t shown doubt or certainty in this thread. I asked a lot of questions and pointed out some things I saw. I made it pretty clear I think there are more facts to learn and I’m not willing to pass judgement…yet. You seem to have no problem jumping to quick conclusions. I do.Report

        • Burt Likko in reply to Chris says:

          Are you guys done yet? You’re not even talking about McKinney anymore.Report

  8. bookdragon says:

    This struck me as a good analysis of the situation by a former police officer:

    If anything he bent over backward to give Casebolt the benefit of a doubt. To me, it’s clear just from the responses of the other police in the video that the guy was out of control. The other officers responded the way they should have, including intervening when they say Casebolt draw his gun.

    Now I say this as someone with friends and family who are police, so am inclined to give them the benefit of a doubt, but if an officer had done that to MY 14 year old daughter there would be a complaint to the police chief. In fact, since Casebolt is a union official, I might threaten a lawsuit just so the chief can justify doing something about the Casebolt’s behavior.Report

    • Chris in reply to bookdragon says:

      That’s a good read.

      Although the short video does not provide a complete picture of the scene, it appears likely that force in this case could have been avoided. Consider how Corporal Casebolt took issue with the way a group of girls standing on the sidewalk some distance away were “running their mouths,” so he yelled at them: “Leave!” and “Get your ass gone!” As one bikini-clad girl, 15-year-old Dajerria Becton, did exactly that, Corporal Casebolt stopped her—possibly after some verbal exchange not captured by the camera—and wrestled her to the ground. When quickly approached by two young men who appear unhappy with his treatment of Becton, he unholstered his firearm almost two seconds after those two young men began backing away from him.


      What a silly goose he must be, to see it the way I saw it and come to the conclusion I did.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to bookdragon says:

      Agreed, it aligns with how I read the situation. Casebolt lost his cool, or never had it because he is, as the article describes, a Warrior cop, instead of a Guardian (I like that distinction, btw).

      We want our patrol cops to be Guardians. We can recognize that there is occasionally a need for the Warrior mindset, but that is what SWAT teams are for (& part of why I think SWAT teams should be much more regional instead of every podunk department having one; then they could be professional, full time jobs with dedicated training budget, instead of part time gigs for volunteers with spotty training & budget).Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Interesting idea with the SWAT teams. I wonder how big or small the regions will be. I can see why NYC and other large cities but would you have one for the entirety of Montana? Two? Three?Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          It would obviously vary state by state. Major metros would have their own, obviously, and could cover some nearby areas as well. But the rest of a state could go county by county (i.e. the Sheriff’s office hosts the team), or counties could group together and fund one. Or the State Patrol could run it.

          A full time regional team would be more expensive than a podunk part time team, as it would have higher staffing & equipment requirements, but would (if not allowed to bloat) be cheaper overall, even with each team having a fast response helicopter.

          They major feature would be that such a team would ideally be used less for routine warrant service & more for what it is intended (engaging violent situations in progress).Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            I like your idea. The sad problem is that sensible solutions and reforms always seem to be the most likely to fall to appeals to emotion. There will be a stories about the time when the SWAT teams were booked and could not respond to a situation, etc.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              It’s a movie threat appeal, like the burglars who intentionally set off all the high profile bank vault alarms in the city so they have time to rob the rinky dink vault that has the MacGuffin that they want.

              Could it happen? Sure, SWAT could be busy when a second crisis unfolds, but that is a risk of every emergency response, which is why response districts cooperate. Ever heard of a 2 or 3 alarm fire? That means 2 or 3 fire stations have resources committed to fighting that fire, which means they are unavailable should another fire erupt. Luckily there are other, uncommitted FDs nearby who can respond, although it will take them longer.

              So if the Sheboygan County SWAT is busy with a bank robbery gone pear shaped, and a hostage situation erupts near the Fond du Lac County line, FDL SWAT can respond.Report

  9. Will H. says:

    Looks to me like Mike D. is the only guy with a clue in the whole thread.

    First of all, a police “procedure” is a document from three to twenty pages. The one for high-speed chases is pretty long. Here’s news: That girl could have been a by-stander and the officer would have been fully compliant with procedure.
    Secondly, use of force is entirely discretionary. “Reasonable force” has an entirely different meaning when applied to the police. The jurisprudence gives great deference to the officer.
    Third, the police do *NOT* work for individual citizens, but “the people.” “The people” are whatever governmental entity the officer in question is employed by; the city, the county, the state. If you want to know who it is that the police “Protect and serve,” go look at City Hall.
    Fourth, charges of racism are absolutely clueless. “X number of viral videos show racial minorities, therefore Racism.” Not the real world, but a survey of viral videos.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Will H. says:

      Will, all true and mostly not relevant to the larger discussion. First, procedures are not transparent to the public, so the public being served has no way to evaluate or discuss the wisdom or appropriateness of said procedures for the community. Therefore an officer following procedure is a legal cover, not a moral justification for the use of force.

      Second, no one is arguing that police should not have a different standard of reasonableness for the use of force as compared to a civilian, but right now that standard is so far removed from the civilian standard as to be not relevant. Police have something approaching carte blanche to use force, and to escalate that force to deadly force with little incentive to not do it.

      Third, so what? Sure city hall signs their paychecks, but that does not mean they do not serve the taxpayers as a whole. Your position here smacks of police being the security force for government officials, rather than the Peelian ideal.Report

      • Will H. in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        If it isn’t relevant, then it’s because the wrong discussion is taking place.

        1. Moral justification?
        Just . . . Wow.

        2. Police have something approaching carte blanche to use force, and to escalate that force to deadly force with little incentive to not do it.

        3. Peel? Really? In the US?
        “Broken window” ring a bell?

        Please permit these qualms:

        Qualm 1:
        . . . smacks of police being the security force for government officials
        Not officials. The operation is independent of any given official.

        Qualm 2:
        Your position here . . .
        Not *MY* position.
        That comes from actually attending criminal justice classes.
        You can usually tell the criminal justice majors in the cross-listed classes by looking for the most slack-jawed mouth-breathers in the room. Definitely not debate team material.

        Now pardon me while I pat myself on the back . . .
        Studies show that criminal justice majors are the lowest scoring major on average for the LSAT.
        And I just scored a 172 on a practice test walking in cold– no study, no preparation, just a baseline.
        With that out of the way . . .

        *MY* position is to remove the available common law immunities from the common law, and define them more narrowly by statute.
        That’s step one.
        Step two is to provide for mandatory prosecutions by statute, making failure to prosecute a criminal offense.
        Too many prosecutors think they actually represent the local police rather than the state.
        Give them the opportunity to by terminating their employment at the prosecutor’s office, I say.

        I really wasn’t stating a position.
        Just calling the lay of the land.Report

    • Chris in reply to Will H. says:

      So far we have Mike and Will telling us we’re clueless, and people who’ve actually been cops agreeing with us. Apparently “clueless” means something different to those two than it does in general use. Perhaps something closer to “exactly right?”Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Now it appears that his own chief is “clueless,” as he says the dude was “out of control.” The dude has resigned.Report

        • Will H. in reply to Chris says:

          What exactly is “Out of control”?
          I’m sure he knew what he was doing at the time he did it, and that he did it several times prior.

          The chief announced that it was under the bus time for Officer Friendly.
          Bowing to pressure, and nothing more.

          Officer Friendly got ghost.
          Big deal. He *HAD* to.
          If he waited around to be terminated, he would have to report that on every application he ever filled out for any other police department.
          By taking a walk, he gets to stay mum.
          Maybe wait for aluminum bats to be standard issue. Bear traps or something.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Will H. says:

            Out of control is force excessive for the situation. If your dealing with teenagers or really anybody who may or may not be at a pool without permission than you don’t need to flash a gun or bang a head to the ground.Report

            • Will H. in reply to LeeEsq says:

              20/20 hindsight, and irrelevant to the present inquiry.
              This simply imposes the benefit of a passive onlooker from a comfortable view on the heat of the moment acts of an officer in the thick of an unknowable situation facing unknown dangers.

              That’s what the caselaw tells me.Report

          • Chris in reply to Will H. says:

            I figured that would the response. So far, you and the one person who agrees with you have have disagreed with actual cops and the words of the dude’s own chief, but the only reason people who know a hell of a lot more than the two of you combined seem to be agreeing with those with whom you disagree and assume know less than you is social and/or political pressure.

            Either your initial assumptions and your interpretation of the situation are wrong, or it’s a liberal conspiracy. The latter is much easier on the ego.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

              Well, look at it this way Chris. If Will is right that the chief was just knuckling under to political pressure, he’s actually supporting the argument, in an a pretty extreme version, about a Cops Gone Wild culture. I mean, according to Will, even the chief didn’t think his cops did anything wrong …Report

              • Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

                True. Of course, if the chief had come out and said he did nothing wrong, that would have been unqualified proof that we were wrong. Call me cynical, but I am inclined to believe his interpretation is nothing but ego-saving.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Chris says:

                . . . inclined to believe his interpretation is nothing but ego-saving.
                Missed me! Try again!

                I say that as a man whose best friend was shot to death by the police as I stood some thirty yards away, the whole thing captured by a news helicopter flying overhead, the lead story on the local news in the 24th largest metro area two days running, story carried for some two weeks, the prosecutor relying on a ward of the state whose children were removed from her home five times over for being an unfit parent, determining that the shooting of a man looking for an apartment was “suicide by police,” when practically the same type of incident happened two weeks earlier in another county and the guy was taken back to rehab rather than shot dead, yet the judge still threw out the news video, as it only showed one perspective, namely everything in its entirety from an overhead view that would thrill John Madden, and granted summary judgment not even allowing the modelling of the shooting site being brought into evidence, as it contradicted the officer’s testimony, one of which was a trigger-happy redneck glad to be lynching a n!gger, while the other six, the ones he was supposedly protecting, fired eight shots at a dead body to cover up the wrong-doing of the first.

                I believe I know how this all plays out.

                Further, as a paralegal well-versed in section 1983 litigation, I can tell you that most of those civil rights cases can be resolved with a big rubber stamp that reads, “Can’t Touch That!” and a well-stocked red ink pad from the bench.

                That’s a big part of why I’m working my ass off over the summer to come up with a redline to deliver to a state legislator’s office, a guy I met at a fundraiser for the Innocence Project, a former federal prosecutor, who promised to consider any proposals.
                I also have some leverage in the governor’s office, which I intend to apply to the best of my ability.
                And I have a couple of Rules changes I would like to see, which I am pitching to the local bar association which formerly supplied me with a scholarship, unabashedly soliciting their support for submission to the committee. I’ve already met one state supreme court justice (twice now) who I believe will support at least one of the proposed amendments, and I’m working the circuit to get some others to leverage him as well.

                Which is to say, I believe the needed change has to come from the state level rather than the federal.
                And I’m working on that. That was really the reason I sat down to this keyboard.

                I thought you understood I am truly non-partisan, sort of like the ferryman on The Outlaw Josey Wales.
                I’ve always been position-based rather than party-based, even when working on political campaigns.
                That’s how I roll.Report

              • Kim in reply to Will H. says:

                Good luck and fair sailing, sounds like you’ve got everything rolling. From all that I’ve heard about Missouri, it couldn’t come quick enough.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kim says:

                This is Illinois.
                We just got audio taping the police declared lawful, and new requirements for eyewitness identification for certain crimes.
                Expanding that list of crimes is already on the agenda.

                The Rules amendments I’m after are being sold as expanding market share for attorneys, so those are likely an eventuality.
                Narrowing common law immunities by statute elicits indemnification (i.e., the insurance lobby).
                The tightrope to walk is how to get the police unions on board with prospective measures which would impose harsh penalties against them.
                The answer? Get creative.
                Fortunately, I’ve always been fairly creative.
                The fact is there are several different factions to work, and I don’t know all of the players yet. Some of them will come out of the woodwork further down the line.Report