Updates On Police Shoo…No, Wait, Now Alfred Olango Is Dead

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Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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135 Responses

  1. Avatar notme says:

    Just don’t assume shooting stance with your vapor in your hands. Too easy even for a liberal to understand.Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

      @notme It’s tough to shoot someone without a gun, but I suspect you know that.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        It’s just…..they carry guns! They know what guns look like!

        I know, I know, “heat of the moment” — but if you’re that flipping jumpy or that poorly trained, maybe….policing isn’t for you?

        On the one hand, we’re supposed to respect police because they ‘risk their lives’ for us, but on the other hand they’re so quick to pull the trigger that they keep shooting unarmed people and then saying “It looked like he had a gun”.

        Any shot you’re going to make and hit with your official freaking sidearm is close enough to see whether it’s a gun (or at least shaped like one, like a toy gun).

        Dude, you know what a gun looks like. It doesn’t look like “nothing in his hands” .It doesn’t look “like a book”.

        So we know what happens. The cops I’m supposed to respect for risking their lives don’t want to hesitate even the, oh, two seconds it would take to assess the threat, and instead decide to let God sort it out. Because they DON’T want to risk their lives.

        And hey, I can’t blame them. I don’t really want to go confront a maybe-armed guy in a nervous situation. That’s why I never considered policing as a career.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

          My reaction to the idea that we are supposed to respect police for risking their lives is that this is inconsistent with the defense that it was reasonable to shoot that unarmed guy out of cowardice. If you find the sight of melanin so terrifying that your reaction is to start shooting, then get a different job.Report

          • Avatar nevermoor says:

            This. Standards should be HIGHER than military in combat zones, not way way lower.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              At the very least, they should only be able to return fire.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                I pitched this once. I was told it would put officers in harms way.

                Maybe I should have responded that then I could, like, double down on my respect!Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                If only officers had something to protect them, like, ohhhhh I don’t know, body armor that can stop 95% of the handgun rounds out there…Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Buh buh buh buh heroes!Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                So cops shouldn’t worry about being shot with handguns bc they wear body armor? That seems an odd thing to say. What about the criminals that have those evil assault rifles?Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                @notme It never stops being fascinating that you are more concerned with the safety of people legally authorized to kill in almost every imaginable situations, but not with the safety of those who enjoy no such protection, legal or otherwise.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                You want cheese with your whine?Report

              • Avatar Pinky says:

                The whole issue boils down to this, in a way. You can look at it two ways: that the police are the only ones bound and limited by law during an encounter, or that the police are the ones who are unbound and licensed to kill. To the extent you see it one way or another, you’re going to worry about the people with less protection.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Oh no, they should worry about it. What they shouldn’t do is be so terrified of the possibility that they panic at the mere suggestion (in their heads, which is often the case when no gun is recovered) that a person might have a gun and could, quite possibly, point it in their general direction.

                Seriously, if a person panics that quickly such that the fear response takes over and they lose the ability to asses risk[1], then they are either poorly trained, or unsuited for the job. Either way, the failure here is on the police, not the public. It is on them to reform. The fact that many departments resist[2] so stridently is telling.

                [1] For instance, the boy who was killed after pulling a BB gun out of his pants. It was dark, officers had just engaged in a foot chase with a suspect they (AFAIK) had been told was possibly armed, and the gun was pulled during the arrest attempt. While I can certainly envision a scenario where the boy was trying to surrender the weapon rather than point it at officers, absent a body cam that showed that, I am going to learn toward the officer being tragically in the right.

                [2] Credit where it is due, some departments are really trying to change their approach.

                ETA – The more a department resists body cams, or treats the footage of an incident of public concern as privileged, the more I suspect they have very deep cultural issues.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                PS We both know very few criminals use rifles. Hell, damn few even bother with the FN57 or anything like it. The guns they get aren’t for killing cops, it’s for intimidation or killing other people.

                Except for the few that are just done and want to kill cops, they’ll go for the rifle.Report

              • He had something in his hand. We learned afterward it was a cell phone, but there was no way at the time to be sure it wasn’t an assault rifle.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            My reaction to the idea that we are supposed to respect police for risking their lives is that …

            Does anyone respect loggers, miners, underwater welders, for risking their lives to make a living?

            I mean, if they enforced The Law outa the goodness in their hearts, that’d be a whole different story. They’d volunteer for overtime without pay and so on…Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          So you’d never consider being a cop but you are more than happy to second guess them?Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Can only people who have murdered terrorists and disarmed wayward attackers criticize the police now?
            Because, if you want, I can get one of them on the line. He’ll tell you that the cops are just another gang of thugs. One with legal impunity to harrass and hurt people, so long as they’re of the right class.
            And don’t even get him started on Alburqueque.Report

            • Avatar nevermoor says:

              True story. Anyone with military experience will tell you that at a civilian checkpoint in hostile territory, they’d be dishonorably discharged and courtmartialed for any number of these things we are supposed to believe are unavoidable when cops do them to black US citizens.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            So you’d never consider being a cop but you are more than happy to second guess them?

            Yes, every day, as often as I can, because they are agents of the government with the legal authority to arrest and power to kill, ostensibly in defense of me. Additionally, if I ever had to defend myself with force, the police will, without question, be second guessing my every act.

            As much as it is their obligation to second guess me (because they are the police), it is my duty to second guess them, because they fecking work for me!

            Sorry, but Col. Jessup was wrong, we all get to question the manner in which our security is provided.Report

            • Avatar InMD says:

              Very well put.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              but Col. Jessup was wrong…

              Let me tell you something, you snot nosed little punk.

              The existence of FDA regulators, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, fills a need. There are regulators standing on a wall that separates you from dangerous and ineffective drugs.

              When you need that Epipen, you want me on that wall, you NEED me on that wall and you don’t want to think about how that pen got into your hands or why.

              Did I shut down that unlicensed pharmacy?

              You’re damn right I did!!Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                The specific context for this argument in that movie makes so little sense, though.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                This is the quote I was actually thinking of:

                I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way,

                So, @chip-daniels, it’s not that you shut down the unlicensed pharmacy, it’s that you did it with a SWAT team in full battle rattle, at 0200, at the owners home, where you shot his dog and one of his kids.

                Because, you know, officer safety and all that…Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I don’t know if many here remember the incident in the 1990’s where the EPA raided some California farmer’s operations for violations of the Clean Water Act or something, and the right wing went ballistic, full “Farmer’s Lives Matter” stuff.

                Rush was screaming about the law enforcement guys being “jackbooted thugs” and G. Gordon Liddy was going on about how people should shoot them in the head.

                I mean, seriously, these guys were carrying on like Tupac and Ice T at an Occupy rally.

                For the right wing, government is always to be trusted, except when the jackboot steps on an inconvenient neck.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Oh, I remember. I remember a lot of other such incidents that didn’t get nearly as much play*. In a perfect world, such screaming would represent an awakening, rather than merely partisan points scoring.

                *Because raw milk is for hippy freaks, and tomato plants do kinda look like pot, so, you know, honest mistake…

                Etc. etc. ad nauseum…Report

          • Avatar Morat20 says:

            Yep. Strangely, they appear to be the one part of government you don’t complain about.

            Despite being the ones actually killing citizens.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Or he was trying to show or give something to the officer. Shooting stance is a pretty generic term. Was it weaver, isosceles, tactical turtle? Guess we’ll have to wait for video.Report

    • Just don’t assume shooting stance with your vapor in your hands be black.

      I cleaned out the dogwhistles for you. No need to thank me; the police will murder another black man soon enough and you can just cut and paste.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David says:

        Dogwhistles – All Feels, No Reals!Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        Murder? Don’t you mean execute? If you are going for hyperbole, don’t be subtle and go all in!Report

        • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

          @notme Was Alfred Olango armed or wasn’t he?Report

          • Avatar notme says:

            No but so what? If simply being armed or unarmed was the standard that would be one thing but it isn’t. If you have an object in your hand that cops can’t identify and assume a shooting stance then you are likely to be shot.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              notme,
              Yes, and if you run from the police you are likely to be shot.
              I’m sure Sam has about a hundred other examples, ranging from “if you put your hands up” to “if you pull out a wallet” (where the person didn’t have time to ASSUME A SHOOTING STANCE with a freaking wallet).Report

            • Avatar nevermoor says:

              Wait, I thought you were a second amendment guy…

              Why would having a legal gun justify police murder?Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Why would having a legal gun justify police murder?

                Let see, maybe you don’t drop the gun when told to or maybe you point it at them for some reason. See it wasn’t even that hard to answer.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Was he told to drop the gun? Video would help clarify that.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                As far as I know nevermoor is speaking in generalities and not one specific case. Therefore I gave a general answer.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                So you are saying that, in response to being asked why possessing a legal gun was grounds to be shot, the answer is: “Because you didn’t follow orders to drop it and/or because you pointed it at police.”

                What then of people who were not given orders to drop it and did not point it at police? Because we have many such stories. What error did those individuals make?Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                I’m saying that legally possessing a firearm doesn’t excuse you from obeying the orders of a cop., i.e. to drop the weapon or don’t point it at a cop. If you want me to comment on specific stories you’ll have to give me specific stories to comment on.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                @notme

                Tamir Rice wasn’t ordered to drop his non-firearm nor did he point it at police.

                Castillo never held his gun, nor was ordered to drop it, nor pointed it.

                The gentleman in Tulsa had no weapon nor orders regarding a weapon.

                The gentleman in Walmart… no orders to drop, never pointed at police.

                What did these victims do wrong?Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Rice was told to drop the gun. I’m not sure that the other three were justified.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                You’ve seen the video, there is no way Rice could have heard that order, processed it, and dropped the gun before the police opened fire. His brain probably hadn’t even glommed onto the fact that there was a police car in front of him where one shouldn’t be (because no road), much less processed any commands. If they’d done that to you, you’d be dead too.

                You have some exceptionally naive ideas regarding the ability of untrained and unprepared people to react to things.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Saying that Rice wasnt told to drop the weapon is an entirely different proportion than saying he wasn’t given time to obey the command. He may not have been giving time to obey.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                He may not have been giving time to obey.

                Now you’re thinking like an attorney!Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Technically correct, functionally irrelevant. If the police don’t allow people the time to parse commands and comply, or worse, if the police issue contradictory commands and then get violent when people fail to comply, that’s functionally equivalent to not issuing any command and then committing violence.

                Again, this is why I think a lot of departments aren’t keen on cameras, because they know damn well this kind of crap happens and have no clue or desire to stop it, and certainly don’t want the public to become consciously aware of it.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                @notme

                Evidence? The video I’ve seen and which Sam questioned you on does not indicate as much.

                So, your argument is now that if someone holding a legal weapon does not immediately drop it upon being ordered to, it is justifiable to shoot him dead. And that if someone holding a legal weapon neither ignores orders to put down that weapon nor points it at the police and is shot dead, that might be unjustified?Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Evidence? The video I’ve seen and which Sam questioned you on does not indicate as much.

                You mean the Rice video?Report

    • Avatar LTL FTC says:

      The solution is not to teach cops how to de-escalate with vapeists, it’s to teach (black) men not to vape.Report

  2. Avatar Damon says:

    Jeebus. Continues to wait for the eventual response to all this……

    More cops getting shot. The question is when is the tipping point achieved?Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Revolution is the tipping point.
      This is a deliberately engineered race war, brought to you by the Powers that Be, who really, really hate populism.

      As if all of this didn’t happen exactly the same in the 1990’s.
      Jena this ain’t.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      I’m not sure I agree with it fully, but this is an interesting read:
      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-10/what-happens-after-cops-start-getting-shot

      It starts out *sounding* like it’s anti-protester, anti-BLM, but keep reading…because it then points out that the protesters *will win*, period. They cannot lose at this point.

      The question is *how fast* do they win, which is basically, a combination of ‘How long before people start murdering police officers?’ plus ‘How long does the government keep playing games with police officers lives instead of reforming the system?’.

      And it makes a point I’ve made a few times: We lie too much about the peaceful nature of the civil rights movement in this country. So much we’ve internalized the lie.

      The Civil Rights Act happened because of the *imminent threat of violence and total societal disorder*. Not because of fluffy bunny protesters on the side of the road holding signs.

      Likewise, the ‘stop the police shooting unarmed black and disabled and homeless and mentally ill and everyone else’ movement will continue onward, and get more and more violent *if that is the only way to make progress*. It might be *existing* groups that become more radicalized, it might be *new* groups, it might not even be groups at all….but eventually, someone is just going to start shooting the police.(1)

      Or, you know, we could try *doing something about the police* before that.

      1) The weird thing is, the right likes to pretend this has already started, and somehow that’s *justification* for not doing anything.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    If we could just make guns illegal, we could train police to think about people as if they were most likely not armed.

    The assumption would always be “oh, he doesn’t have a gun because guns are illegal”.

    Then this sort of thing could stop happening.Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      That hasn’t worked in Chicago or NYC yet.Report

      • Avatar Mo says:

        NYC is quite safe. It has a lower murder rate than Anchorage and Colorado Springs.Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          Ok, how about Baltimore, MD, another bastion of control?Report

          • Avatar rmass says:

            Wow look at them goalposts move! Its almost like they are on wheels.Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              Perhaps you could tell us if there is any proof that gun control works? He just said that NYC had a lower murder rate than other cities but didn’t attribute that to gun control. I can find lots of cities with strict gun control that have high murder rates.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                Local gun control is ineffective if other localities have loose control. It’s better than absolutely nothing.

                Gun control works in CA, WA, OR, and other West Coast cities because it’s an 8 hour drive to get to the Mountain West where gun laws are lax. Same thing with New York – there’s a bunch of states with strict-ish gun laws surrounding.

                OTOH, you can hop on the train and be in either Wisconsin or Indiana, where you can easily get a gun. Same thing with Maryland – Virginia has lax gun laws. It’s also why DC has issues.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Instead of that, maybe we could make it illegal for cops to kill unarmed black men.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        Why not unarmed people of any color? Why do you hate white people?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        It’ll be easier to ban guns than to do that.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Nah. Make it LEGAL to defend yourself with violence if necessary, especially from cops not following the law. All it takes is 5 SC judges.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          (sharp intake of breath)

          That’s one hell of a defection you’re asking of the SC.Report

          • Avatar Damon says:

            Referencing the zerohedge link…

            Maybe the insurrectionists should focus on the SC and associated families. A little “encouragement” to decide the case the “correct” way might be an idea.Report

          • Avatar Damon says:

            Did you actually read the link? The third example of the guy shooting a cop landed him 10 years. And the last paragraph talks about the guy who got off as “pretty striking”.

            Besides, if it was legal, there wouldn’t have been an arrest and it wouldn’t have gone to the grand jury.Report

            • Avatar Trizzlor says:

              The link demonstrates that the law says what you want it to say. The fact that it is differentially *applied* is a separate issue. Also, killing in self defense is typically followed by arrest and trial, that has no reflection on whether self defense is legal.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                I don’t know where you get the idea that killing in self defense is typically followed by arrest and trial. Pulled down for questioning, yes. Subject to an investigation yes. Arrest and trial? Depends upon the circumstances.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Pretty sure that if the guy you killed in self-defense is a cop, you get arrested and put on trial.

                After all, people have been woken up by an armed assault at 2:00 AM and made the mistake of firing back at the SWAT team that just invaded the wrong house.

                Now I can’t recall all the outcomes so far, although I think many weren’t put on trial because they were dead. So I guess if you’re going to defend yourself against a copy, try to die in the process to avoid the pretty inevitable trial.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                You’re still talking about how the law is applied. The law states that self defense against the police is LEGAL and the courts have supported this. The fact that people get harassed, arrested, tried, or even convicted for doing so does not mean that it is ILLEGAL. Nor would the SC re-affirming that it is LEGAL change the way it is applied. The problem you’re talking about would only be solved if the SC said that the burden of evidence lies on the state *prior to arrest*, or something equally revolutionary. If that’s the law you want you should articulate it.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                “he fact that people get harassed, arrested, tried, or even convicted for doing so does not mean that it is ILLEGAL”

                Finding it hard to be convinced that someone can be convicted of committing an action that’s legal. Please point out and example of someone doing something that’s legal and they are convicted of doing that thing in a court of law. Hell, the SC has clearly ruled that even if you are right, and the cop is wrong, you are required to obey his orders and file a protest AFTER.Report

  4. Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

    In other news, here is some police video out of Louisiana, in which police pull up to a scene, immediately start shooting, and kill a child. The shooters were charged. The racial dynamics of this particular situation are quite interesting/galling/shocking.Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      Black cops shoot a white guy and his kid. Nobody says this is racial, why not?Report

      • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

        @notme So you think this was a racial killing?Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          No, despite what liberals seem to think, not everything is racial. Every time a white cop shoot a black person we always hear the race angle from libs so I thought I could play that game as well.Report

          • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

            @notme Yeah, that weird “race angle” that is entirely imagined. Like how these two officers are being prosecuted for rolling up onto a situation and opening fire, having killed a child, just like Tamir Rice’s killers were, right?Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              You are really trying to compare a six year old in a car seat to the Rice case where the cops had a 911 call of a person with a gun. That’s so pathetically desperate.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                @notme Did Tamir Rice have a gun?Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Yes, a replica gun that was indistinguishable from the real thing. Did the kid in LA have a gun?Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                @notme So, in other words, he did not have a gun, and posed no risk, something officers spent not time bothering to figure out before killing him, just as officers here sped to a scene and opened fire. In both cases, a child died. In one of the two, officers were charged. Your sympathies only extend to one of the two. Funny how that works.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                The cops were told there was a person with a gun that was pointing it at people. Is easy to judge folks after all the facts are know which seems to be your method of argument. Funny how that works.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                @notme And rather than verifying whether what they had been told was in fact true, they executed a child instead. So, yes, I will judge after “all the facts are in” particularly if my other option is doing what you’re doing.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                So they executed Rice? Don’t you mean murdered or is that included in executed? Really all this hyperbole makes it hard to take you seriously.

                The cops told Rice to drop the weapon and he didn’t. If he had done that the cops would have looked at it and been able to tell that it was a fake. I don’t see why cops should risk their lives just to verify a gun is a fake.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                @notme You haven’t watched the video.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                What am I doing? I’m judging the cops’ action on the info they had at the time of the incident as opposed to you judging them on what you know now or think that they should have known at the time.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                @notme @sam-wilkinson : FFS, you guys have already had this conversation – https://ordinary-times.com/2016/01/04/two-perspectives-on-tamir-rice/ – can you stop spamming this thread with a re-enactment?Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                @notme You haven’t watched the video. Your description of what the police allegedly did – a description intentionally designed to make murderous police seem like sympathetic characters just trying to protect – does not match the video. Or maybe it is that you have seen the video and are not moved by the execution of an innocent child. It’s tough to tell at this point.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Ding Ding Ding! Congrats you managed to work both murderous and execution into your answer. Full marks to you sir!Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                @notme I’m not as comfortable with the murder of children as you are, apparently.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Yes, just b/c I don’t jump on your ideological bandwagon I must be ok with things. Now you are really grasping.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Sam’s trying to make the point that differential prosecution matters.

        Which it does, if it’s happening. I want numbers before I believe anything of the sort.

        OTOH, I’ve got a case in my town of a dozen cops literally executing a black guy for knifing a police dog. The black guy was carrying a knife, but didn’t look like he was actually going to use it on anyone (holding it, not running at anyone(just walking), not upset that the cops were encircling him — literally no reason for the cops to send the dog in to stop him).Report

    • Avatar InMD says:

      This goes to the point I was trying to make in the prior post. There’s a race issue here but it’s only a subpart of a bigger problem of militarized, virtually unaccountable police forces.Report

  5. Avatar Pinky says:

    The second-last paragraph is remarkably disingenuous. It’s clear from your articles that your point of emphasis hasn’t been the method of policing, but your belief that racism is behind a lot of this. I have questions about the method of policing too, but I’m not part of any group mentioned in that paragraph. There are simply your camp, the leeway camp, and the racists and authoritarians who will cheer. And that’s the biggest problem with that paragraph: there’s no mention of the racists who will riot.Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

      @pinky Who are the “racists who will riot” again?Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        The only people I’ve seen rioting are black, make of that what you will.Report

        • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

          I cannot begin to imagine why people would be angry about unarmed men getting shot by police. That seems like a thing that they should be totally cool with.Report

          • Avatar notme says:

            So now you excuse them rioting, burning and looting? How liberal of you?Report

            • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

              I can definitely see how you arrived at “excuse them rioting, burning and looting” from what I wrote.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Yes, It’s really not that hard.Report

              • Avatar Pinky says:

                The two of you are sarcasming back and forth so much it’s hard to tell where either of you stand. Again, this goes back to my complaint about the original article: it claims to be about justice when it’s apparently about race. Clearer writing would be beneficial.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                @pinky I don’t think there is any sarcasm going on. I am plainly against police shooting unarmed people, and especially children, and I entirely understand why communities of people might be furious about such shootings routinely occurring. @notme is entirely comfortable with police shooting unarmed people, including children, and apparently thinks that communities must simply endure this treatment in perpetuity.

                Should I know better than to argue with him/her? Yes. Because we clearly aren’t getting anywhere.Report

              • Avatar Pinky says:

                You said “I cannot begin to imagine why people would be angry about unarmed men getting shot by police. That seems like a thing that they should be totally cool with.”

                Did you mean that literally or were you being sarcastic?

                You said “I can definitely see how you arrived at ‘excuse them rioting, burning and looting’ from what I wrote.”

                Did you mean that literally or were you being sarcastic?Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                I was referring to @notme’s posts. In other words, I don’t think there is any sarcasm there. I was definitely being sarcastic but having reread what I wrote, I did not make that clear. My apologies for the confusion.Report

              • Avatar Pinky says:

                Like I already said, clearer writing would be beneficial.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Yes Pinky there is sarcasm here b/c Sam can’t respond without saying murder or execution. Hyperbole is a poor substitute for facts or an actual argument. Additionally he insists on judging cops based on information they didn’t have at the time, as in the Rice case.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                @notme Information that they not only did not have have, but information that they made no effort to get before deciding to end a life.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Sam:

                The 911 dispatcher told them they got a report of a person with a gun pointing it at people. Now you expect that the cops will second guess the 911 dispatcher? Maybe the cops shouldn’t do anything until they have independently verified each fact twice?Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                @notme Your attempted defense of a child’s murder is to argue that the police should not verify facts before starting to shoot? Does this mean you think the police in the Louisiana case should also have their behavior excused?Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Do you really think you are convincing anyone when you keep saying murder? The Rice case and the LA case are two different case each with a different set of facts. I’m sorry you refuse to recognize that but yelling murder a few more times won’t change that.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                @notme What word would you prefer? And you still have not answered the question: do you excuse the killing in Louisiana too?Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                From what little I’ve seen or heard, I’m not sure the LA killing is justified.Report

              • Now you expect that the cops will second guess the 911 dispatcher?

                Do I expect that cops will not put absolute faith in information they received third-hand and which originated from someone they have never met and don’t know anything about?

                This must be a trick question.Report

              • Avatar Pinky says:

                I would always second-guess the person who told me there’s no gun, and never second-guess the person who told me there is. That seems a corollary to the first rule of gun safety.Report

              • The purpose of the first rule of gun safety is to avoid shooting people, not to ensure it.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                So cops should naively assume that someone doesn’t have a gun or assume it isn’t loaded, even after they were told that someone has a gun? Sounds like a good way for cops to get shot.Report

  6. Avatar trizzlor says:

    I brought this up in the other thread but I’m shocked that selectively releasing information about the case is not broadly condemned. This isn’t bending the rules to put a finger on the scale, it’s straight up witness tampering. Here’s what’s going to happen:

    * Eyewitness accounts will be taken down at the scene
    * Those eyewitnesses will go home and read up on the case that they are now involved in
    * They will see the still image of Olango taking a shooting stance, or a gun allegedly found at the scene, and the story will change in their mind. Witnesses who didn’t see a gun will start to re-think whether the black glove they saw on the ground was a gun. Witnesses who saw Olango give the officers his vape will start to re-think whether his stance was more aggressive than they initially remember. Witnesses who recalled the incident as consistent with the leaked evidence will become more confident, and start to forget any doubts that they had.
    * Eyewitnesses will be called in again for second and third interviews to look for inconsistencies in their story. The pro-victim witnesses will express new doubts about what happened, they will say “I thought I saw glove, but maybe it was a gun”, they will be questioned aggressively on these doubts and their testimony will be deemed unreliable. The pro-police witnesses will be more confident in their initial version, they will unequivocally say “I am confident I saw a gun and not a glove”. Because their story fits the pro-police narrative their doubts will not be probed and they will not be presented with counter-evidence. Although it would be appropriate to show these witnesses a picture of the glove and ask “Is this the gun you saw” to identify unreliable pro-police accounts, this simple test will NEVER happen.
    * Only after all of these interrogations are carried out will the officers on the scene be interrogated. In most cases they will have had 30 days to interact with their lawyer, other officers, and the media to develop a consistent story. In most cases they will also have access to *all* evidence taken down in the case to identify aspects of their story that are grossly inconsistent with the eyewitness accounts. In the rare instances they don’t have direct access to this evidence, they can easily obtain it from the same officers who leaked evidence to the media.
    * The DA will deem that the pro-victim testimony is generally unreliable, and that the weight of eyewitness accounts – coupled with statements by the police officers that are rigorously consistent – favor the pro-police narrative.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      Eyewitnesses are awful. Memory is really bad. It’s a godawful form of evidence, not the gold standard.

      There’s often great, reliable evidence (in the form of “video footage”) that for some reason they never want to release, and when they do often seem to only release part of it.

      In a sense, it’s a self-correcting problem — cops want to avoid body cams, but we’re all carrying around video cameras these days. And the all the shouting is because the superior witnesses (the cameras) are not showing the cops in a good light.

      Which has led to people suspecting them of lying from the get-go.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      Would you consider riots, articles like this, and comments like yours to be witness tampering?Report

      • Avatar trizzlor says:

        Riots, articles, and comments are not disclosing incomplete or false information that was not already in the public domain. Publishing a photo of a glove and saying “this is the gun we found” or publishing a still from a video and saying “this is the pose the victim was in” is disclosing incomplete or false information that was not already in the public domain.Report

  7. Avatar Sam says:

    At least we know the police are at least occasionally capable of not shooting although this certainly seems to fit the profile of when they usually do so.Report

  8. Avatar Maria says:

    As these events keep happening, or I am being made more aware of them, a few thoughts keep running through my head.

    1) About 15-20 years ago, not sure when, but long enough ago that I was able to stay up late watching crappy TV, I stumbled on an episode of Cops that followed officers in England. I was fascinated as I watched the officers speak in low tones, treat the people they encountered with respect, and not once raise their voices to what could be construed as a confrontational tone. They came across as authoritative rather than authoritarian. They seemed to really adhere to the goal of diffusing a potentially volatile situation. Did this show represent the average UK cop? Who knows, but it was very interesting to contrast it with the next episode where the behavior of the American cops was less consistent, with some of the same authoritative behavior used by some cops, while others seemed to go more authoritarian. There was definitely more yelling going on with the American officers.

    2) I know very few police officers, but the ones who are “in my circle” are not the ones who are shooting first and asking questions later. They are of the school of thought that the less you draw your weapon, the more effective you are as an officer. I am totally okay with assuming that most officers are like this, but there needs to be some traction within the law enforcement community to dig deep and start addressing things internally. Just as it is in the best interest of teachers and the teachers’ union to help identify bad teachers, and either help them get better, or ask them to leave/dismiss them, so it is for police officers. Pressure from outside may help push them, but any reform that has buy-in from the majority of the law enforcement community is going the be more effectively implemented and will be more meaningful for the community at large. Some departments have done this, but it needs to be more universal.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    An article.

    Headline:

    Why Police Perform Poorly Under Scrutiny

    Report