Cops Getting it Right


One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

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119 Responses

  1. gregiank says:

    Not to seem like i’m defending union thugs or anything but cops suffer from the “if it bleeds, it leads” syndrome. We don’t’ hear much about things going well because, well, that doesn’t create big issue or problem. We hear about the Clusterfish or loud incident. I’ve seen cops handle some difficult incidents really well with no blood or swat team. Of course those don’t get in the paper. That said, holy heck the cops can be just terrible so many times and to certain groups.Report

  2. Burt Likko says:

    Check it out! Cops, protecting and serving.

    The first cop to let his professional cool down and show some exuberance was the black cop. Clapped like a sports star after a big play. Not that I blame him! And his white brother cops were clearly just as happy as he was to make the collar — there were fist bumps all around.

    Great job, officers. The people of North Carolina should be proud of you.Report

  3. Notme says:

    It makes me wonder why the liberal media doesnt show more stories of cops doing it right? Maybe those stories don’t sell or fit their narritive prehaps?Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to Notme says:

      Funny, I’d say that police treating a White kid who commits mass murder better than a Black kid who steals cigars fits the narrative quite well.

      Not shooting someone is a pretty low bar for “getting it right”. I appreciate the facts that the officers involved acted with professionalism, but that should be a basic demand, not something worthy of special praise.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Alan Scott says:

        @alan-scott gets the gold ring.

        I’m glad they handled it well. But if they can handle THIS monster well, why do 14-year-olds in bathing suits present such a problem?Report

      • Notme in reply to Alan Scott says:

        You conveniently ignore that the facts of the cases are different. If Roof fought with the cops or resisted arrest i would hope that that the cops would defend themselves appropriately.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Notme says:


          Fine. Compare to Tamir Rice.Report

          • Notme in reply to Kazzy says:

            If Roof had waived a real gun or a realistic looking toy that was indistinguishable from a real gun at the police, id expect the same outcome.Report

            • Chris in reply to Notme says:

              Oh dear God.

              [Love thy neighbor. Love thy neighbor. Love thy neighbor. Love thy neighbor.]

              *Sigh* Notme, I hope some day you are able to let go of the ressentiment that drives every word you type on this blog. Right now it’s causing you to justify in your head the murder of an unarmed 12 year old child, who was shot and then ignored by his shooter for several minutes until other LEO’s arrived and administered aid, who had nothing in his hands at the time he was shot (even the cops admit that the “toy indistinguishable from a real gun” was in his wasteband) by falsely remembering that he waved a toy “indistinguishable from a real gun” at the police. Until then, I will simply have to pity you, and ignore every word you say.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

                Plus Roof had a gun and was known to be violent.Report

              • Burt Likko in reply to Kazzy says:

                IIRC the cops approached Roof with drawn weapons, which seems prudent even in retrospect.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Burt Likko says:

                Agreed, @burt-likko . I think the cops handled this exceedingly well. As much as I would have liked to see Roff roughed up, I’m glad they didn’t. I just wish others receiver similar prudence.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                I can’t even. I mean, I might shake my head at anyone who tries to justify the McKinney cops behavior, and I might get reasonably angry at someone who suggests that Eric Garner or Mike Brown were criminals to justify their murders, but justifying the murder of an unarmed 12 year old boy? That’s the point when I stop treating you like a member of the civilized world.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

                Come on, @chris … it’s not like he was a saint.Report

              • notme in reply to Chris says:

                *Sigh* Chris, Do you ever look at the facts? What I find so amazing about some folks is that they expect the police to enter a siuation with imperfect information that may involve life and death and then think the cops are murders b/c they don’t make the “right” decesion according to some liberal that has never been a cop and has the benefit of hindsight with all the attendent facts. If the cops tell you to “raise your hands,” then you shouldn’t reach for the realistic loooking toy gun in your waistband. Were the cops supposed to use their mind reading talents to know that there was no dnager?

                As for assuming that my posts derive from “resentment” you really should trade in your pop psychology degree for a real one. I’m curious, do you think that the extraneous parentheticals make you seem more sincere or genuine?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to notme says:


                “If the cops tell you to “raise your hands,” then you shouldn’t reach for the realistic loooking toy gun in your waistband. Were the cops supposed to use their mind reading talents to know that there was no dnager?”

                Citation. You are talking a lot about facts and yet offer no evidence that your assertions are, in fact, factual.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


                We can also look at the gentleman in South Carolina (whose name is escaping me) who was shot in the back as he fled from the police. Regardless of what might have transpired before that, we have video evidence (FACTS!) that he was running from the cop in question. Running. And was at a distance when the cop fired. Had the cops approached him like they did Roof — and I’ll remind you that this gentleman was initially stopped for having a tail light out — he’d be very much alive. Yes, he did run from the initial stop and, yes, it appears he was engaged in some sort of tussle with the cop. But he ran. With his back turned to the cop. And at that point presented zero threat… far less threat than Roof who had a gun in his presence and proved himself willing and able to kill.

                Roof appears to have been engaged masterfully by the police. And good on them! Cops around the country should take heed. We’d have far few bodies in the streets if they did. That is an objective good, no? Or would you argue otherwise?Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                Walter Scott.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Chris says:

                According to Mark Twain, reading too much Walter Scott caused a lot of problems for the South.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                “Raise your hands! [Bang.]” is not a request actually made, even if that is what they said. The door opened and the shots were fired in under 2 seconds.

                Anyway, you’re talking to a person who is justifying the murder of a 12 year old. I suspect your time is better spent on people who are not so wrapped up in their own hate that they defend child murderers.Report

              • notme in reply to Chris says:

                Dr. Chris:

                First you say resentment now hate. What prompted you to change your diagnosis?Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to notme says:

                The facts are that the police murdered an innocent boy for no good reason. Those are the facts regardless of what the ultimate decision of the judiciary is.Report

              • notme in reply to LeeEsq says:


                I thought you were an attorney and should know that murder is a legal term though some lay people throw it around to seem intelligent. Why are you an attroney if you don’t think we need a judicary to make decisions?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to notme says:


                Yes, I do expect cops to make better decisions. They put on the badge & uniform willingly, every day. They have access to the training that should help them make better decisions under stress.

                If soldiers who are busy getting shot at can find the presence of mind to not slaughter civilians who happen to be in the combat zone (something that happens regularly in the middle east, thanks to tight ROEs), then I expect police to do the same, and if they are not sufficiently trained to do that, then they should not be armed & on the street & responding to calls of a person with a gun.

                And “reaching for the waistband” may be legally sufficient for the courts, but it is morally deficient, as evidenced by the fact that if made that claim after shooting someone, I’d be convicted (& rightly so).Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Chris says:

                There isn’t anything in the Bible that suggests that some tough love is inconsistent with love thy neighbor.Report

              • Chris in reply to LeeEsq says:

                No, and I’m an atheist anyway, but what I wanted to say was beyond all charity, Christian or no.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Notme says:

          If Roof fought with the cops or resisted arrest i would hope that that the cops would defend themselves appropriately.

          Like when Michael Slager “defended” himself from a fleeing Walter Scott by shooting him in the back 7 times? Or when Sean Groubert “defended” himself by shooting Levar Jones four times for doing what the cop asked when he reached for his drivers license?

          Innerstingly – and to Alan’s point – in each of those cases the cop was white and the victim was black. Another innersting thing: both those cops worked in South Carolina.Report

          • Doctor Jay in reply to Stillwater says:

            Another innersting thing: Michael Slager is off the force and facing charges for murder. In South Carolina. Have similar actions been taken in Missouri? In New York? In Baltimore?

            Condemning an entire state seems too broad of a brush to me. We should be paying a bit more attention to them. As far as I can tell, right now they are leading the rest of the country. Bear in mind, I don’t really like their politics, as it plays out on the national stage, one bit.

            This is the point @dennis-sanders was making in this space but 5 days ago.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Doctor Jay says:

              Excellent point, @doctor-jay . I’m weary of extrapolating municipal level data to the state (good or bad), but credit where credit due.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Doctor Jay says:

              Hmmm. You accuse me of generalizing about an entire state (which I surely didn’t) and then generalize to an entire state by saying “South Carolina is leading the nation”? Based on a single incident?

              Personally, I don’t want to go down this road right now, in this context. I didn’t agree with Dennis’ post because I thought he basically lumped all criticisms of the flag into one big category (ie., he generalized) to make a point about how inappropriate and counterproductive it is to generalize.

              I mean, is it entirely useless – in the context of Alan Scott’s comment – to point out that a white mass murderer from South Carolina is apprehended peacefully with accompanying highfives from cops while black men are shot multiple times by South Carolina cops for trying to flee the scene or do what they’re told?

              Maybe. Maybe doing so begs all the questions, ya know?Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Doctor Jay says:

              Doctor Jay,

              THinking about that some more, I want to apologize for what, on review, looks like a lot of yelling. Sorry about that.

              Let me clear up a couple things. First, when I said I didn’t want to go down that road, what I was specifically referring to is the meta-road, where we start arguing about “sides” and judgements each side has about the other sides judgments of the other side and all that nonsense. I get that folks reflexively reject Big Negative Stereotypes – whether for emotional or intellectual reasons – so my dispute with you isn’t about that. My initial comment was intended to make a narrow point in support of Alan Scott’s comment and (obviously) in response to something notme had said. No generalizations intended. More of a site-specific comparison.

              The other thing is a confession: I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with punition (state sanctioned or otherwise) and racism-denialism, and the two things converge in discussions about how cops treat black folks. Two irritants combined into one!

              I’ll try to be more patient/less reactive in the future.Report

              • Doctor Jay in reply to Stillwater says:

                This sequence of events has us all irritated, that’s for sure. In some sense, that irritation is a good thing. Yes, “maybe South Carolina is leading” is basically counter-rhetoric.

                My sense of the OT commentariat is that they are smart and influential. And so I want to push them in a particular direction, to think more, and to push further, and to engage in stereotypes less. I think that’s the fruitful direction for progress.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Notme says:

      Also the liberal media is guilty of making driving seem much more dangerous than it really is! Why, just look at all the stories of people injured or killed in car crashes. You don’t see a lot of stories about people driving to the grocery store and back uneventfully, do you?

      Obviously this is because the liberal media are in bed with Big Bicycle, and nothing to do with the distinction between “news” and “something so boring you don’t even mention it to your spouse when you get home.”Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to Notme says:

      Because cops doing it right generally isn’t sensational. It doesn’t get eyeballs on the screen. It’s like watching a news report on a crazy car accident and asking why we don’t see more video of people driving safely to work without incident.Report

    • Will H. in reply to Notme says:

      I think the propagandist tv dramas do a good job of that.

      I saw a Chicago cop at a gyro shop giving a homeless guy his fries so that the guy would have something to eat.
      Doesn’t change what other Chicago cops are doing the other 23 1/2 hours out of the day.Report

  4. Doctor Jay says:

    Several thoughts.

    1. Roof was caught because a private citizen spotted him and phoned him in. I can’t imagine that happening where I live. There are too many cars on the road to spot one. It’s much easier to escape attention in urban areas than in small towns. Especially since the entire South probably felt its honor was at stake, and so everyone was looking for Dylann Roof, wanting to catch him.

    2. I tire of the rhetoric of “why should we praise people for doing their job”. I think it’s important to develop a vision of what we want, and to hold that vision up publicly and visibly. It’s not really about rewarding those particular officers, it’s about communicating what a good arrest looks like.

    3. Part of what made this a good arrest is that Roof is well versed in “how to behave while being arrested”. He comes, best I can tell, from a highly authoritarian family, so that should be no surprise. There is no hint of defiance in his body language. You can see the officers start to reholster before he is in handcuffs, before he is even out of the car. Because they are picking up lots of non-verbal cues that he is going to comply.

    This is harder than you think. As a person who trains people to use their bodies in very specific ways, I have first-hand knowledge of how hard it can be for people to physically comply with instructions. It sounds easy, but it isn’t. Roof had the advantage in that he doesn’t have the baggage of 100 plus years of harassment from police over “Walking While Black”. That’s a real thing, and it breeds resentment. That resentment may leak out in a police stop, and may well read to officers as defiance. And defiance is a big, big problem. And if young black men get a track record for defiance of police during a stop, officers will become hypervigilant for it. It’s a horrible, self-reinforcing cycle. I blame slavery, frankly.

    Meanwhile, many young white men, such as I was, are well versed in giving no sign of resistance. But not all of them. I’ve watched some video of a police officer take down (just a martial arts move, no gun) a drunk college student who gave only the tiniest, though a quite definite, sign of defiance. In this case, the officer was black and the student was white.

    4. I think it’s entirely appropriate for the citizenry to say what they like and what they don’t like. See point 2. And I don’t know that I’m all that fond of blanket judgements of entire forces, or cities, or states, or conclusions about what was in people’s minds when a bad incident happens. As we know, there’s a crap ton of this “mind reading” after the fact. I think a lot of the hyperbolic rhetoric is done by habit, or to signal one’s devotion, or because it is believed that it is more likely to produce results. This latter is the same logic as “hit him harder until he obeys”. I think it doesn’t really work all that well, if at all.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Doctor Jay says:


      This is an excellent comment, particularly point #3. I’d be curious to hear more about your line of work. Maybe even a guest post outlining this sort of stuff from your professional perspective?

      Thanks for this and other thoughtful comments on this post.Report

      • Doctor Jay in reply to Kazzy says:

        It isn’t professional. I teach martial arts as an avocation. Our primary goal for the training is personal growth, though there is a strong secondary goal of self-defense.

        The surprising result is that when engaging with the training, people have a lot of emotional stuff that comes up, and which often needs to be dealt with before they can progress. Which makes it into a sort of therapeutic milieu. I treasure this.

        Professionally, I am a programmer/systems engineer. Which has given me lots of experience with how difficult it can be to verbally express precisely what you want.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Doctor Jay says:


          It’s interesting… I work with young kids and as such do a ton of “interpreting”… both of language and other, non-verbal forms of communicating. I often have to serve as the go between two kids but sometimes even advocate on behalf of children whose actions were misconstrued by an adult.

          “She hit him!”
          “Well, yes, her arm struck his body but she did not ‘hit’ him. If you were watching closely, you can clearly see she was engaging in some overly demonstrative arm movements and unfortunately did so too close to his body. Yes, he was hurt and, yes, she must account for it. But she did not ‘hit’ him.”

          Now that I have a toddler at home, my wife remarks at the apparent sixth sense I have for rarely getting whacked by him or nailed by one of his projectiles. Without thinking, I can often sense how a twist of the torso or a shudder in the shoulder is going to send a limb flying my way and can divert or evade. Experience is powerful, but I assume training is possible, too.

          Do you think it is possible to train police to distinguish between, “This guy is ornery and perhaps non-cooperative but is otherwise going to remain a non-threat if I remain neutral,” from, “This guy is clearly gearing up for a fight that I must prepare myself for”? I think of Eric Garner, who resisted insofar as he did not willingly comply with the cops’ demands, but at no point did he assume any sort of threatening posture (in fact, he seemed to be in ‘defiant retreat’, if such a thing is possible). Yet he was treated as if he was throwing blows.

          We’d never get to 100% accuracy in terms of identifying the distinction, but we could probably do a whole hell of a lot better. Yes, it might mean a small handful of cops find themselves harmed — or maybe even dead — but if it means that even an equal number of citizens find themselves walking away from the interaction unharmed, I’d call that a huge improvement.Report

    • ktward in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Roof had the advantage in that he doesn’t have the baggage of 100 plus years of harassment from police over “Walking While Black”. That’s a real thing, and it breeds resentment. That resentment may leak out in a police stop, and may well read to officers as defiance. And defiance is a big, big problem.

      So … what you’re saying, then, is that blacks literally have no possible way to being perceived as compliant to a police officer’s orders because of their “leaking” resentment. Do I have that right?Report

      • Doctor Jay in reply to ktward says:

        You turned my relative statement (“there is an extra burden”) into an absolute one (“black people have no possible way”). It appears that you did this in order to expose my statement to ridicule. Is that the case?Report

        • ktward in reply to Doctor Jay says:

          Yep. That’s exactly my point.

          Why is it that black people — including young teenage girls! — carry this “extra burden” you speak of? If there exists an extra burden, it belongs on the backs of the people carrying authority.Report

          • Chris in reply to ktward says:

            Yeah, I think you’ve misread Doctor Jay pretty egregiously. You are, I believe, saying exactly what he is.Report

            • ktward in reply to Chris says:

              I’ll re-read.Report

              • ktward in reply to ktward says:

                I still have serious argument with @doctor-jay’s [3.]

                He’s eloquent and thoughtful. No question.
                Bottom line, I’m still reading his comment as blame-shifting.

                What I’m hearing: “young black men can’t help but fuck up with the police thanks to, y’know, shitty racist history leaking from them, but young white men like me, we’ve learned how to avoid the worst parts of this awful system.”

                Young, clueless white males still think they have all the answers. Imagine that.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to ktward says:


                I’ll agree that @doctor-jay didn’t perfectly articulate the point as my initial response was similar to your own, but re-reading it and putting it in context (and you have even greater context given his clarifying remarks), I think it fair to assume he doesn’t mean what you’re taking him to mean.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


                Perhaps a good way to ascertain where @doctor-jay thinks culpability lies is to ask him how he’d address the issue. If his answer starts with, “Well, black folks should…” then I think you’re on to something. If it starts with, “Well, the cops should…” then I think it fair to say you’ve misunderstood him (actually, I’m presuming DJ is a he… my apologies if you are otherwise).Report

              • Stillwater in reply to ktward says:


                He’s not blaming black people. If anything, it sounds like the dynamic has reversed here: that you’re accusing him of not blaming black people for taking personal responsibility over their behavior.

                Man, these are stormy seas, yeah?Report

              • Doctor Jay in reply to Stillwater says:

                In point of fact, that’s precisely what my reaction to the initial comment was. It seemed to me like a critique from the right, a sort of reductio ad absurdum, which was soon to be followed by a triumphant “liberals do it too”.Report

              • Doctor Jay in reply to ktward says:

                I’m happy to discuss this. I’m not happy to engage with that which is designed to be unengageable. Which is how I took your first comment.

                I do not hold that racism in America is a problem that Those People have. It’s a problem that We have. Often we have this problem without any ill intention or overt bigotry. For instance, my own family history: There was not a shred of overt racist language or talk in my family. My father, who voted for Barry Goldwater, nonetheless took out the Brazil nuts, and told us, “we used to call these nigger toes, but we don’t do that any more.” He would watch the Lawrence Welk show, and mock them because the only black person on the show tapdanced, and smiled without a break.

                Nobody in my large extended family gave any house room to racism or white supremacy.

                Nevertheless, I failed the Harvard test of Implicit Associations, when it came to race. I find this a bit horrifying, but it poses a problem. How did this happen? I didn’t want this to happen. I’ve spent my life voting for and contributing to the cause of civil rights, and here I am, demonstrating differential meanings to light and dark skin and African features. WTF?

                (By now, I hope it’s clear that I’m not remotely a young white man. I once was, though. I beg you to stop assuming you know who I am.)

                So I apply systems thinking, and in doing so, I draw from what I know about psychology and sociology. There’s a whole host of things that train me, subconsciously, to this. General media are definitely culpable, though they probably are no more conscious than I am. There are a few actors out there who are malicious, who do follow a white supremacist program. It can be pretty hard to pin them down, though, since they are quite aware that what they are doing does not enjoy general social approval.

                But the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and de-facto segregation has left us with groups that have disparate reservoirs of cultural and social capital. I’ve been learning a bit about Bourdieu this week, and I think it applies to this situation. Item 3 attempted to describe how.

                In general, I think black families and communities engage with this a lot. I think they understand the issue and work very hard to mitigate it. I think that while my own family also worked on “how to engage with police” this is far from universal among white people, and I’ve had white men tell me that it was unreasonable for police to expect them to be 100% compliant.

                This sounds like privilege to me. A privilege that I did not have growing up, and I am white. How much worse would it be if I were black?

                Nevertheless, they don’t have the same resources. They may not know the right cultural signals. They may be overly anxious during a police stop. I saw video of one heartbreaking shoot where the young black man, instructed to hand over his license, dived into the cab of his truck for it but got shot because his very quick movement startled the officer. This isn’t his fault, it was a bad shoot. It’s understandable that he’s nervous. However, my own training is that no matter how nervous you are, don’t move quickly. There was probably training around this, in the form of games or stories.

                And yet, I know a number of black men who are very successful at this, who can project the correct signal to an officer during a police stop, regardless of how they might feel about that stop. I’m reasonably good at it. I’ve had occasion to use it once, when I thought a stop was out of line. I think these black men I know do much better and use it much more.

                But my writing here is about understanding the system that’s in play. I want to know why people behave the way they do. An answer of “racism” to me is no answer at all. How did this propagate. How did someone with no intention or interest in racism, end up acting in a way that demonstrates racial bias? How the hell did that happen?

                I think that you can’t fix a problem until you understand how it happened, how it works. That’s the meaning of my point (3).Report

          • Doctor Jay in reply to ktward says:

            You think I’m blaming black men for this, it would seem, and shifting the burden to them, while absolving the police of any responsibility. That is not the case. Read my statements again. You seem intelligent. I’m sure you can figure this out.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Doctor Jay says:


              If I may, I think your last two sentences there were needlessly antagonistic. I agree that @ktward has misread you here (as have others) and in the interests of your stated desire to help us further intelligent dialogue here, I respectfully ask that you reconsider making such statements. See @chris below for a better way to make the same point.

              Note: This should not be construed as a indication you have violated either the spirit or the letter of our commenting policy. You have not. Rather, I just see a group of highly intelligent and passionate folks engaged in a highly charged topic and think comments like that can derail us.Report

              • ktward in reply to Kazzy says:

                Oh ffs.

                @kazzy. I fully support @doctor-jay in whatever s/he wants to say, however s/he wants to say it. Surely s/he’s a big boy/big girl and s/he can handle any criticisms on an adult blog.

                Please, let not the pc police ever overrun OT. That really would break my heart.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to ktward says:


                PC police? WTF? I’d rather not see a good debate devolve into questioning one another’s intelligence. Excuse me.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                “Sir, are your Activex Controls out of date?”

                “Um, I don’t really use them that much…”

                *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM*Report

              • LWA in reply to Kazzy says:

                I hate it when everyone rushes to judgment about the PC Police.
                They are just hardworking guardians of justice, and most of you have no idea how hard their job is.

                They never know when a microagression will suddenly flare up into a full fledged Epithet, or come around an intersectionality of Patriarchy and Classism, and be faced with some old white punk with high waisted drawers who whips out a privileged mindset.

                Lets see who you call next time your gender or orientation is invaded.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to LWA says:

                Wow, @lwa … I don’t want to pile on but bravo. I might need to save this for future use.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to LWA says:


                Now do one about memorials to fallen Social Justice Warriors.Report

              • LWA in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                We live in a world of racism and homophobia, and that world needs to be fought with Social Justice Warriors. Whose gonna do it, you, Notme?

                You weep for the Confederate flag and its death, while tragic, probably created justice, and my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, creates justice.

                You don’t want the truth because deep down at places you don’t talk about at blogs like RedState, you want Social Justice Warriors out there on that wall…

                Did we rig the game journalism reviews? Did we rig the Hugo Awards?

                You’re Goddamn right we did!Report

    • gingergene in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      I think this comment is excellent.

      One additional thing that I would point out is that in cases where the police know in advance that the arrest will be high-profile, there is an added incentive to do things by the book. Most of the encounters we are comparing to Roof’s arrest are run-of-the-mill situations where a video happened to capture terrible behavior from cops.

      There is a real possibility that difference in the police behaviors we’re discussing are less about race and more about the difference in how police act when they know they’re being watched (by “important” people).Report

      • Chris in reply to gingergene says:

        I’ve seen a few dozen mundane arrests over the years, almost all of Black and Hispanic men, and in most (but not all) cases the cops were very polite about it, and those being arrested were very compliant. In fact, most of the time when I saw cops having to deal with people expressing their displeasure at an arrest, it was family, not the person being arrested.

        Of course, I’ve also watched them stop or pull people over for walking or driving while Black or Hispanic (and some of those were ultimately arrested), so polite as they were, they were still being assholes.Report

        • gingergene in reply to Chris says:

          Of course, I don’t mean to imply that all arrests are terrible unless the cops know they’re being watched. But all arrests where the cops know they’re being watched (in a high-profile way) are as good as the police can make them be. In that, they’re no different than any of us- we all stand straighter, wear our best clothes, and measure our words when we know we’re being evaluated.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to gingergene says:


        It stood out to me that we had dashcam video of this arrest and not for any of the others.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Doctor Jay: I tire of the rhetoric of “why should we praise people for doing their job”. I think it’s important to develop a vision of what we want, and to hold that vision up publicly and visibly. It’s not really about rewarding those particular officers, it’s about communicating what a good arrest looks like.

      Good point.Report

      • notme in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        So neither of you would ever praise people for doing their job? I hope I never have to work for either of you. I’ve found a positive word to someone about their job can help them keep their morale high and encourge them.Report

        • gingergene in reply to notme says:

          You got it backwards; you’re all saying the same thing: it’s a good idea to let people know when you’re happy with how they’re doing their job.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to notme says:

          Sure, I praise people all the time. Especially when they go the extra mile or otherwise above & beyond, but also for just being a good employee. But then, I was their manager, it was MY job to make sure they did their job well & to deliver praise when deserved. It was not the job of the people we served to do that. Their expectation was, quite justifiably, that my employees would do their jobs as expected and the people we served were not obligated to acknowledge that in any significant manner beyond basic manners & decency. When they did, that was a bonus.

          When an officer pulls me over & gives me a verbal warning, I don’t say, “Thank you kind sir for not beating me into a coma this day, I really appreciate it.”, but it sounds like you think we should?Report

      • Did you really need to praise Dr. J just because he made an excellent point? That’s really what we expect of commenters.Report

  5. ktward says:


    You’re so missing the point.

    Roof, a white racist dude who rather obviously committed an horrific multiple homicide–a hate crime if there ever was one–was apprehended by responsible police officers. Yea! Like you say, let’s applaud those officers.

    According to @doctor-jay, the reason why Roof was responsibly captured vs. shot/beat/choked to death is because he wasn’t leaking a century of black resentment.

    Kazzy, if your aim is to illustrate a high-profile relevant example of cops “doing it right”, you’ll need to find an example where a black dude highly suspected of a capitol crime is not only apprehended alive, but isn’t physically abused [even to the point of death] by the cops who apprehended him.Report

    • notme in reply to ktward says:

      Don’t forget the 100 years of baggage that Roof didn’t have to carry. It’s hard for a 21 year to carry that much baggage and not seem like they are defiant.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to ktward says:


      I think alot went into the difference between Roof’s arrest and other high profile incidents of police abuse. And much of that is directly or indirectly related to race. I agree with you that the burden lies on those in authority, especially if we recognize that this resentment is part of the legacy of slavery… Something African/African-Americans were subjected to and therefore not responsible for. I don’t read DJ as blaming Black folks; I see him as acknowledging the current reality, attempting to trace its causes, and putting responsibility where it belongs; on the police and other elements of “the system”.Report

      • ktward in reply to Kazzy says:

        Your jockeying defense of @doctor-jay rings a bit hollow for me.

        Meanwhile, back to your OP.
        Can you cite any somewhat recent high-profile arrest of a black person that went down similarly to Roof’s? And if you can, why haven’t you, like you have Roof’s?

        I don’t expect an answer. Rhetorical thought.

        I don’t read DJ as blaming Black folks; I see him as acknowledging the current reality, attempting to trace its causes, and putting responsibility where it belongs; on the police and other elements of “the system”.

        Near as I can tell, @doctor-jay was laying the onus on blacks and the fact that they’re all apparently “leaking” 100 years of oppression and that just makes cops and white folks do stuff they surely wouldn’t do if it weren’t for all that yucky stuff leaking from blacks.

        Which explains the cop who pinned the teenage girl at the pool. It wasn’t his fault! Her oppression leakage was the problem.Report

        • Chris in reply to ktward says:

          Yeah, you are not in a charitable mood today.

          It’s worse than that: you are so badly misreading Doctor Jay, even after he’s clarified himself (unnecessarily, because the mistake was all yours), and doing so aggressively. His point seems pretty clear to me, and apparently to others as well. Perhaps you could take a step back and try to read what he’s saying instead of doing all of your reading between the lines.Report

        • switters in reply to ktward says:

          from @doctor-jay “It’s a horrible, self-reinforcing cycle. I blame slavery, frankly.”

          Yep – he’s blaming the blacksReport

          • Chris in reply to switters says:

            Because if anyone was responsible for slavery, it was black folk.

            Honestly, what Doctor Jay is saying is exactly what the experts say: decades, perhaps more, of hostility, harassment, high levels of imprisonment, and just general oppression at the hands of the police has led black communities and individuals to be at best distrustful, more often resentful, and sometimes openly hostile towards the police, which just reinforces the police notion that they have to be hostile, harassing, and oppressive in black communities and with black individuals. It’s a vicious cycle that is in now way the fault of the people being oppressed at a level that should embarrass and enrage every single one of us.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to ktward says:


          Perhaps my tongue wasn’t firmly in cheek enough when I wrote this post, but it was largely intended as damning via faint praise. Yes, the cops did well here. I though the obvious disparity between how they handled a murderous monster (who “happened” to be white) and how they handled non-murderous, mild-manner folks (who all “happened” to be black” was rather obvious but perhaps I should have been more explicit.Report

  6. Mike Dwyer says:


    ‘Barrel rolls’ ?

    Even most (all?) of your fellow cop-bashers on this site admitted the cop in Texas tripped. To keep implying otherwise seems to betray you can’t be rationale about The Cops.

    Thousands of officers retire every year having never behaved unprofessionally and having made their communities just a little safer because they served. When you keep taking the most extreme cases and acting as though they are the norm…it honestly looks like you are either taking the Fox News approach to blogging or simply hold too much prejudice to be an honest voice on the subject.

    You used to write with a lot more neutrality. I wish the old Kazzy would return.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Sigh… the post was intentionally snarky, @mike-dwyer . Are only you allowed to be snarky?

      I see no reason to be neutral on a topic that demands something other than neutrality. The ongoing abuse* of our citizenry by police is wrong and I refuse to remain neutral on it.

      * Another unarmed black men was shot to death in Baltimore County the other day.Report

      • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

        Or the cop who shot the 4-year old a week or two ago. Procedure.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:


        Just out of curiosity, I did a search for examples of misbehavior in your profession. It’s actually kind of shocking how frequently teachers in the U.S.molest their students (examples below). Should I take this to be the norm, or the exception? And should I ignore this ‘ongoing abuse’ of our children or should I put up a post every time another teacher gets caught doing this stuff? Or better yet, a sarcastic post pointing to good teacher behavior as something all teachers should aspire to?

        • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Here’s the thing, @mike-dwyer , I want every teacher who harms a child out of the classroom and in jail. As do the vast, vast, VAST majority of others in my field. Ya know… Exactly the opposite of how cops handle tbe “bad apples” in their ranks.

          Fuck, dude, this is so below you. Or, maybe, it isn’t.Report

          • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:


            I’m not talking about how we address the bad behavior when it happens. I’m talking about implying that bad behavior is the norm within the profession, which you frequently do. When you say ‘ongoing abuse of our citizenry’ you suggest that cops in general are out of control. If I’m using the same logic here, it would seem your profession has a similar problem…right?Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


              But the response instructive. Slager wasn’t alone… How many other cops stood by while he planted evidence? How does our judicial system respond to abuse by cops? The criminal justice system — with tge cops as the enforcement arm — is fucked up… Far more than teachers. Cops lined up to support these assholes. We were told what happened to Freddie Gray was “procedure”. So, yea, the problems are pervasive. What evidence donyou have that they aren’t?Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:


                You are pointing to a system-wide problem. I am talking about you and your recent blogging habits. You work in a field which has, according to the media reports, more instances of abuse of the powerless than most other professions. I’m asking why you, Kazzy, keep pointing to a different profession and implying that police in general are abusing their power? Every post you write on this subject makes generalizations about a profession that, on the whole, is filled with honorable men and women who never abuse their power. I just don’t understand why you feel comfortable doing that when people aren’t making the same logical leaps with teachers.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                You want to make this about me and my blogging habits? Fucking christ, @mike-dwyer , could you look for pettier distractions from the real issue?

                The police are a far bigger threat than abusive teachers. That’s why I’ve written about it. Disagree? Great… You have login privileges the same as I do. Don’t presume you know shit about me besides what I write here and don’t try to distract from a police system rife with institutionalized racism of the sort you are all too cozy with.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:


                I only know what I read here. I see you being far too comfortable making generalizations about a profession that employs hundreds of thousands of officers that will never commit an abuse in their career. Look, I know I have biases on this subject. I’ve admitted to them repeatedly and everyone here knows I grew up in a cop family. If you aren’t capable of admitting to your own biases, then you aren’t writing in good faith. I’m just asking that you try a little more nuance.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                @mike-dwyer How many dead bodies in the street before we can stop with nuance?Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:


                I don’t know. How may molested kids do we have to have before we start to think of teaching as the profession of choice for sex abusers? Maybe it’s an institutional problem. Poor screening? Teaching programs ignoring suspicious students?

                It sounds really gross trying on that kind of rhetoric.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                @mike-dwyer The moment teachers en masse rally around the abusers, you can generalize. Deal?Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                Well then…Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:


                I have zero interest in doing so. Some teachers are molesters, most aren’t. I see no reason to generalize or suggest they are the product of a corrupt system that puts criminals in classrooms. But just for the record, in reading up about teacher abuse I found at least 20 websites (and several books) dedicated to protecting teachers from false claims of abuse. Not to mention teachers’ unions going to bat for them (one union in Michigan asked for a $10K severance for a convicted molestor). Of course it isnt to the scale of police abuse so… apples and oranges, right?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                How much research have you done into cop abuse? And we’ve seen that public outcries are leading to change in policing. So I am participating in that. Again, don’t presume to know what I do or don’t do with regards to advocacy work for children.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

                I can only presume based on what I see hear. You clearly feel comfortable saying that police corruption is common, but are either not comfortable or unwilling to talk about the frequency of sex abuse among teachers or the groups dedicated to protecting them.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                Because the topic of THIS post is cops. Do you wanna talk about teacher abuse? If so, write a post. If I see fit to comment, I’ll respond.

                Also, when did you stop beating your wife?Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              What happens when I teacher is caught abusing their authority? Simple, their whole world comes crashing down under the weight of the million pound shit hammer that society & law descends upon them. If the accusations are sustained, if charges are filed, even if an acquittal is achieved, that person will likely never work with children again.

              When an officer abuses their authority, so far we’re lucky if they get more than a letter of reprimand.

              This is why you call attention to it.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon , @zic, @gregiank

                I will be the first to admit that many people, myself included, are inclined to excuse police behavior because the citizens being mistreated did in fact commit a crime. So I get that there is an institutional problem that needs to be addressed that doesn’t exist among teachers. However, none of that changes the fact that an entire profession is being trashed by folks like Kazzy based on the behavior of a relative few. If he wants to complain about a single incident, or the response to it, fine. But these kinds of posts imply the entire profession is corrupt and filled with out of control cops. I have a bunch of friends and family members that have served with honor and were never accused of any wrong-doing. With Kazzy’s posts and comments, there’s no nuance, no willingness to acknowledge this is the behavior of a small minority. That’s what I have a problem with.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Because it’s not a few. Every cop who looks the other way, every cop who covers up, every higher up who refuses to discipline, everyone involved in the crafting of policy that leads to this behavior… All of them are complicit. It’s not a few. Vikram pointed that out a while back. Not every cop is bad but most are complicit with the system and that makes them far from honorable. And they’re not the fucking military, @mike-dwyer , they didn’t serve with honor. They were cops.Report

              • zic in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I appreciate that response, Mike, but it still misses the point (so far as I see it, anyway): your friends and relatives are enforcing the system as they’ve been trained, and that system is racist and abusive. That they haven’t been charged with doing something wrong does not equal that they haven’t done things that a reasonable adult would find unacceptable, because of the problems within the system of policing.

                You want to turn it back to single actions by officers; proof that lack of violation of standards that exist does not equate to proof that the standards are what we’d like or not abusive.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to zic says:


                So if I am understanding your comment correctly, every cop that serves is essentially endorsing a corrupt system simply by putting on the uniform? If that is the standard then I hope a lot less people will make the decision to do so, because they really have no hope of ever being seen in a positive light by the people that feel that way.Report

              • zic in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                No Mike, that’s not what I said.

                It’s not a judgment of individual cops at all, and it’s pretty silly for you to keep making it so. Most what you’d call ‘good cops’ do their jobs to the (we hope) best of their ability; but the procedures and details of how we train them to do their jobs and the ways that those procedures are carried out are not up to snuff and merit public consideration because the result is abusive and racist.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to zic says:


                “…but the procedures and details of how we train them to do their jobs and the ways that those procedures are carried out are not up to snuff and merit public consideration because the result is abusive and racist.”

                So we train them to abuse the public? Again, why anyone would choose to put on the uniform when the public feels that way is hard for me to understand. It’s no wonder so many of my friends are now taking early retirement.Report

              • zic in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Have you read the Ferguson report?

                Are there no cops out there advocating for change? I’ve certainly read a lot of op-eds by law enforcement officers criticizing how we police.

                Personally, I wonder the same thing about a lot of jobs. Take working in a coal mine, for instance. Or an oil rig. My son refused to make guns during the wars, for fear his work might blow up in some soldiers shoulder and face.

                You’re still evading the problem here, which is that the result of police work is racist and abusive. Those abuses are well documented. (READ the Ferguson report, dammit. It might help you sound less evangelical.)

                I think most of us here want a world in which good cops thrive and are appreciated for the risks they shoulder on our behalf. But for too many people, police are only part of the problems of violence and crime plaguing their lives; the police are not the people you turn to when you’ve been on the receiving end of violence and crime because any encounter might end up with economic-shock court fees (at a minimum) to death.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Between immunity, the various “police bills of rights” that create special rights to officers accused, & a police culture that actively discourages reporting bad behavior (& if you think the blue wall of silence & the implicit threat that cops cross that are in danger of being ostracized, then you are being willfully blind), police have created a dishonorable system & culture. While many cops will never abuse anyone, deserving of it or not, the likelihood of a career being completed in which abuse was witnessed & never reported is pretty high. Hell, I bet most new cops do see such abuse, do report it up the chain, & probably get schooled in the reality.

                This is another stark difference between police & military, because if my command ever found out I knew about illegal or unethical behavior & I failed to report it, my ass would be in a sling.Report

              • I will be the first to admit that many people, myself included, are inclined to excuse police behavior because the citizens being mistreated did in fact commit a crime.

                That’s not always true; in fact, in some of the highest-profile cases, no crime was committed at all.Report

              • @mike-schilling

                You are right, and thanks for correcting me. I think I originally said sometimes and accidentally left it out. Nuance is important.Report

            • zic in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


              How would you prefer we discuss the racial bias in policing? The institutionalized racism the Ferguson report revealed? The fact that some ‘bad behavior’ might be endemic because it’s based on training and policing polices that are not in line with our notions of what police should be doing?

              Because I think, when @kazzy talks about ‘ongoing abuse of our citizenry,’ he’s talking about not just some bad cops, but some bad policing policy that creates ongoing abuse of citizens. Surely that’s not a bad discussion; so what terms might signal that discussion, instead of signaling ‘cops = bad’ to you?Report

            • gregiank in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              Just to jump in between you guys for a sec. Teachers are mandatory reporters so is everybody in the admin at a school. Any possible abuse they hear about they have to report. As kazzy is noting, that isn’t anywhere near the norm in the police. To many cops aren’t reporting crimes they see among themselves. That is a big difference. If every cop who saw a crime committed by cops that would radically change the cop culture. Among teachers i’ve never heard of a whole bunch of other teachers and all the admin helping to hide abuse.Report