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Kazzy

One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

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117 Responses

  1. Avatar InMD says:

    I’m not one who defends the officers in most of the lawful but hard to justify shoots we’ve talked about. My response isn’t really what was requested but I’ll give it anyway.

    I think the officer here behaved the way we should expect all police officers to. However I don’t think its as rare as your post implies. There are millions of interactions a day between black citizens and law enforcement that don’t result in bad, crazy, or controversial conduct. While it’s a good thing these issues are being more widely discussed I think one of the mistakes being made is to focus on racially disparate policing as born of an uncleansable original sin rather than a policy/accountability problem.Report

  2. Avatar Will H. says:

    0.217 is blood-alcohol poisoning territory.
    I question those results.Report

    • Avatar InMD says:

      I don’t necessarily. There’s a whole conversation to be had on the reliability of breathalyzers, especially when the algorithms they use are trade secrets but there are plenty of instances of people testing higher and still being out and about.

      There was this friend of mine in college…Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      .217 is not super high. Lot’s of people stopped for DUI’s will hit that and many will be higher. I’ve had clients who were arrested with BAC’s . 3 or even a bit higher. Yes that is high and they must have some significant tolerance, but it happens.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      Floyd was passed out in his car and is an NFL player.Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    There was a story (via Balko) about an officer who was handling a potential suicide by cop, when his backup arrived & shot the citizen. IIRC the officer who was not killing people was disciplined.Report

  4. Avatar Gabriel Conroy says:

    A few thoughts, though like most who’ve commented so far, I’m not one who usually tries to justify police behavior:

    1. While I wouldn’t say it’s always appropriate, I think positive reinforcement is a good thing, even if it’s just for someone doing their job.

    2. The cam may have affected how this went down along some margin. By that I mean that if this cop were otherwise inclined to be abusive, the cam might have proven to have a self-disciplining function. That’s not to say, however, that the cop would have been unprofessional without the cam.

    3. It’s not clear to me that the cop should be promoted to a position of more authority or a position to train others. It’s not clear to me that he shouldn’t, either. I imagine that whether such a promotion is good or bad rests on several factors, and not necessarily on whether they’re good at their current job description.

    4. As InMD says, this type of professionalism may very well be the norm or at least more usual than we think.

    5. I agree with Doctor Jay that we should use these examples to articulate what we want to say (assuming I’m interpreting Dr. Jay correctly). Where I see it (potentially) differently is that overrepresenting such situations, where cops act appropriately, can, depending on how it’s done, become something like a propaganda tool to argue that cops “never” do bad things, or that they do so so rarely, and in “understandable” circumstances, that we shouldn’t criticize. (I’m not saying that Dr. Jay argues otherwise, just offering a caveat to what he said.)Report

    • Avatar InMD says:

      Just to clarify, it’s not necessarily that I think a high level of professionalism is the norm, it’s more that I don’t think the character of individual officers is the overriding factor at play in most of the shootings at issue. Even if all of our police officers were angels I think we’d still see a disturbing number of incidents because of where we’ve set the incentives.Report

  5. Avatar Cleve Watson says:

    I think this article misses the point. It’s representative of most traffic stops. Yes, this was an arrest that did not go off the rails into violence. The individual was very confused but did not offer resistance, and the arrest proceeded smoothly. The officer is to be commended.

    But many shootings (not all, granted) of “unarmed” citizens are preceded by aggression, refusal to obey orders, and violent resistance or confrontation by the citizen before shots are fired (i.e. “unarmed” Michael Brown).

    This is an apples and oranges comparison, unless you are making the assumption that many or most shootings of “unarmed” citizens are the result of abusive or unprofessional behavior by the police. That is clearly are not the case.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      I comparing specifically to instances where victims behaved similarly to Floyd. We have video examples of many. Should I list them?Report

  6. Avatar notme says:

    The cop performed a competent traffic stop with back up on site and a generally compliant offender. I’m not sure what other lessons can be drawn by this example or how you could extrapolate to other stops.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      “…generally compliant…”

      Wow! This is true Orwellian speak. Those VERY SAME BEHAVIORS have been cited as evidence of non-compliance rising to the level of threat.

      If this cop shot Floyd, would you criticize him for shooting a “generally compliant offender”?Report

  7. Avatar Dark Matter says:

    Number of Drunk Driving arrests per year, 1.5 million (google). That’s 4109 per day.

    Number of people killed by the police so far this year: 940 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings-2016/ )

    Number of arrests for drugs in 2015: 1,488,707
    http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Crime#sthash.723ECB3F.dpbs

    Number of arrests (for anything) in 2012: 12,197,000
    http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2014/aug/29/edward-flynn/fatal-police-shootings-occur-tiny-percentage-arres/

    Number of murders in the US in 2015: 15,399 (google quoting the NYT quoting the FBI).Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      Point being?Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter says:

        The point is within a rounding error, 100% of arrests don’t result in anyone dying. More than 99.99% are fine, what happened here is not only what should happen but what typically does.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          This misses the point. Badly. I’m not interested in what happens in situations that are dramatically different — for one reason or another — than this one. I’m asking about situations which are profoundly similar to this one, of which we have video evidence of several.

          Sometimes, when a Black man behaves erratically, is not immediately responsive to police orders, and does not keep his hands in plain view during the entirety of his interaction with the police, he is shot. Many folks argue the shooting is justified based on the described behavior (with subsequent investigations tending to agree).

          Other times, when a Black man behaves in an identical matter (such as this one!), he is not shot and everyone walks away alive and safe.

          So, we have very, very, very similar situations with very, very, very different responses. I’m wondering how *both* responses can be justified. And if they aren’t both justified, which one is unjustifiable?

          ETA: Imagine a police training situation wherein suspects are given two choices of how to respond to a man who is instructed to keep his hands on the wheel and then removes them: shoot or don’t shot. The correct answer can’t possible be, “Yes.” Can it?Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter says:

            So, we have very, very, very similar situations with very, very, very different responses. I’m wondering how *both* responses can be justified.

            You buy a lottery ticket, normally what happens is nothing, but sometimes you get a very, very, very different outcome. *Both* outcomes are “justified”, that only the common one is expected doesn’t change that the uncommon one is possible.

            Life is full of situations like that. Drunk driving normally doesn’t kill anyone. Every act of sex doesn’t result in pregnancy (nor AIDS even with the right conditions).

            Even at the extremes, Mike Brown attacked a cop. He could have ended up beaten, pistol whipped, or tasered instead of dead, any of those outcomes would be “justified”. It’s also possible that if he hadn’t been put down he would have just beaten up the cop and not killed him.

            However Mike “purchased” lots and lots of lottery tickets, to the point where the expected outcome was extreme.

            And while we’re on this analogy, the real question we should be asking is whether being black affects the outcome of the lottery, or whether it’s purely the number of tickets you buy.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              That feels… nonsensical.

              This isn’t a lottery. Cops exercise a choice. They are in control. Of themselves, at least. And if they aren’t… well, they shouldn’t be cops.

              One cop chooses to pull the trigger. One doesn’t. Who’s right? The answer *can’t* be both. Not if we are applying the same standards to both situations.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Honestly, it feels like you’re going to great length to dodge the question.

                If this cop had pulled the trigger, would you have argued his actions were justified based on what we see in the video?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                That feels… nonsensical. This isn’t a lottery.

                There’s no chance in human interactions? Really? A pick up line either works 100% of the time or it never works?

                One cop chooses to pull the trigger. One doesn’t. Who’s right? The answer *can’t* be both. Not if we are applying the same standards to both situations.

                I used to train in the local dojo. It’s master has a large number of belts in multiple forms. He can hurt you with one finger, and know when he does it how long it should last. Put him up against even a high Mike Brown and I’m sure Brown gets hurt but survives.

                So… because I know a guy who could trivially control Mike, does that mean the Ferguson cop was wrong to pull the trigger?

                The cops are all different from each other and the situations are different too. Amount of light, backup, experience, fatigue, history, and yes, whether or not the other guy has done the wrong things in the wrong order. High isn’t the same as “violently high”, hands out of sight for a moment is very different from out of sight for three and you think he’s pulling a gun.

                Cops don’t control who they run into, so they have to make judgements on their own risk. When you put your hands out of their line of sight you’re imposing risk on them, if you’re in an area where twice in the last week that type of action ended up with a gun in hand, then their view of the amount of risk you’re putting on them will increase (that’s a ‘history’ example).

                No one is able to put all of these factors together and try to come up with one permanent formula which is going to describe when they get to pull the trigger and when they don’t. Trying to pretend otherwise seems nonsensical, as does trying to pretend that video showed all the information they had at hand.

                So *yes*, the answer is *both*, even with the same standards in the same situation. The real world isn’t a chess game, it’s not even poker.Report

              • Avatar rmass says:

                “Destiny,chance,fate,fortune, these are all just ways of claiming you success without claiming your failures.”

                Gerrard of the Weatherlight.

                Magic card had you cold like, 20 years ago man.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Again, if such considerations are weak tea for a civilian to use to justify violence in defense of self or others, you are going to have to work a lot harder to sell me on it for police. Being people who interact with potentially violent people on a regular basis only gets you part of the way there.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Being people who interact with potentially violent people on a regular basis only gets you part of the way there.

                Given we’re looking at less than 0.01% (a lot less since many of those deaths are presumably forced), “part of the way there” may be enough.

                My assumption is police work is a lot harder and more subject to chance than me driving a car around. So what are my daily chances of getting into a car accident? Something less than 0.01%?

                I’m can manage the radio, winter roads, the occasional idiot, life-before-coffee, unexpected construction, and so forth. I can even handle all of those things at the same time… but now we’re getting into risk, and even though I “control myself” and even though I don’t want to wreck my car, we call it “risk” because there’s an element of chance.

                There are things we can do to reduce risk, there are things we should do, the odds are already so low that it’s not going to make a big difference.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Except we aren’t terribly interested in actually preventing such events, but in getting a greater measure of accountability.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Except we aren’t terribly interested in actually preventing such events but in getting a greater measure of accountability.

                We’ll have to agree to disagree then. I think “Accountability” is a problem, but it’s a bit player in the grand scheme of things and I doubt fixing it will change much.

                The narrative is “stop shooting us” with Mike Brown as the poster child. But I don’t see how an increase in “accountability” makes Brown’s family happy; They’re never going to believe their innocent child caused his own death.

                IMHO it’s “such events” which are the problem, and fixing them has much to do with what happened before the encounter with the police and little to do with what happens afterwards.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                @dark-matter

                So, two things…

                First, it seems you are arguing that whether an individual survives an encounter with a police officer is predicated upon the individual officer. And while that reality is somewhat undeniable, codifying that is problematic for all sorts of reasons. We should have a uniform standard of behavior for all police and if, for whatever reason, a given officer is unable to meet that standard… he’s either repositioned, retrained, or off the force.

                Second, and this relates somewhat to whatever @joe-sal ‘s point is below… if we are talking about such a minuscule percentage of interactions, why do all police carry their weapon on them at all times? Why not leave it secured in the vehicle absent real reason to remove it?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                if we are talking about such a minuscule percentage of interactions, why do all police carry their weapon on them at all times? Why not leave it secured in the vehicle absent real reason to remove it?

                For the same reason you need to put your seat belt on before you know you’re going to need it. The chances of needing it are minuscule, but the situation may not politely wait for you.

                We should have a uniform standard of behavior for all police and if, for whatever reason, a given officer is unable to meet that standard… he’s either repositioned, retrained, or off the force.

                This will drive the wrong behavior from your point of view. Floyd lived because in the judgement of the cop(s) confronting him, their life wasn’t in danger. That’s a good standard, changing that to some “uniform standard” probably wouldn’t be.

                Assume we set some detailed standards to micromanage what the police are supposed to do. The first time some cop gets killed following them, those standards will be changed to “prevent” that, and now Floyd, because he crossed some lines, not only *could* get shot but *should* get shot.

                Note adjusted for situation, minorities are underrepresented in the ‘got-killed’ stats, not over represented. A true uniform standard results in more minorities getting shot or fewer whites or both, which makes the current stats even more lopsided. The root problem is the words “adjusted for situation”. Police and police shootings are symptoms of society’s larger issues, they’re not the cause.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                @dark-matter

                The odds of being hurt or killed in a car accident are MUCH higher than the odds of a cop being injured or killed int he line of duty. So that analogy falls apart right there.

                But think of the logic…

                “Having cops keep their guns in the car means there might occasionally be a situation where a cop unexpectedly needs his gun and needs to retreat to secure it. Having cops keep their guns on their person means guns will be present in all police interactions and there might occasionally be a situation where someone is shot who shouldn’t be.”
                Why should the non-cops bear that risk?

                We’re constantly told that cops put their lives on their line and deserve our utmost respect for doing so. And yet… whenever there is a proposal that increases their risk, we’re told it is beyond the pale. How do you put cops lives on the line!

                Um, isn’t that part of the job? So, yea, pay them more. Train them better. Give them skills to identify the situations that might justify bringing their gun versus those which don’t. I’m not saying disarm them. I’m saying teach them discretion and make them make a conscious choice to bring their gun into a situation rather than having it be the default. Put a mechanism on the gun box in the car so we know how often cops are pulling it and can use that data to determine what is a reasonable rate of pull (controlling for different patrols and the like) and figure out who is too far above or below that and train up anyone too far outside an acceptable range.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                The odds of being hurt or killed in a car accident are MUCH higher than the odds of a cop being injured or killed int he line of duty. So that analogy falls apart right there.

                Math is fun. It has the habit of cutting through rhetoric and giving actual answers.

                Odds of being killed in a car accident: Very roughly 32k deaths out of 320 million people. Call it one person out of 10k.

                Odds of a cop dying in the line of duty: 135 in the line of duty deaths out of 1.13 million cops (about half are shooting deaths). Call it one cop out of 8k.

                So the odds of a cop being killed in the line of duty are roughly the same as auto accidents (my back of the envelope says somewhat higher). However this misstates the situation somewhat because the risk is unlikely to fall evenly. A cop in a peaceful suburb presumably has a lower risk than in a non-peaceful inner city.

                “Having cops keep their guns in the car means there might occasionally be a situation where a cop unexpectedly needs his gun and needs to retreat to secure it.

                “retreat” translates into “he might die in the process of retreating, or people he’s trying to protect might die because he’s not able to do anything, or the criminals might get away”.

                Why should the non-cops bear that risk? …whenever there is a proposal that increases their risk, we’re told it is beyond the pale

                Speaking as a non-cop, it sounds like you’re increasing my risk. If I call a cop to my house, he’s not coming here to shoot me. If it’s harder for him to do his job, then that’s probably a bad thing for me.

                My risk from crime is low but my risk of getting killed by the police is much lower.

                I’m saying teach them discretion and make them make a conscious choice to bring their gun into a situation rather than having it be the default.

                Police shooting deaths are absurdly rare, rare enough that you’d have to be a cop for a thousand years just to average one; That’s what it means when more than a million cops kill less than a thousand people over the course of a year. So the deep default is already no one gets shot.

                Becoming a nation with armed criminals and unarmed police implies there’s going to be a lot more situations where the bad guy simply walks away. This sounds a lot like it’s strongly encouraging criminals to be armed.

                Assuming a “bad shoot” rate of 10% of all police shootings, that’s less than 100 per year (a lot of these can’t be addressed by your solution, because they come down to ‘deliberately killed him but shouldn’t have’). We have violent segments of society that impose a lot of risk on their local parts of society. The murder rate is 15k to 16k per year. Lowering the first problem in exchange for making the 2nd worst seems like a bad idea.

                In other words, you’re suggesting that things will be better if unarmed cops are confronting armed criminals. Obviously this is going to make some things better and other worse, but the problem you’re trying to fix is very small and the problem you’re going to make worse is much much larger.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                You’re missing my point (badly) and talking out of both sides of your mouth. Not sure if either/both is intentional but not interested in tumbling further down this rabbit hole with you.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Kazzy: The odds of being hurt or killed in a car accident are MUCH higher than the odds of a cop being injured or killed int he line of duty. So that analogy falls apart right there.

                Dark Matter: Math is fun. It has the habit of cutting through rhetoric and giving actual answers. Odds of being killed in a car accident: Very roughly 32k deaths out of 320 million people. Call it one person out of 10k. Odds of a cop dying in the line of duty: 135 in the line of duty […]

                Kazzy: You’re missing my point (badly) and talking out of both sides of your mouth. Not sure if either/both is intentional but not interested in tumbling further down this rabbit hole with you.

                Yes, I am missing your point badly, and I don’t understand the “both sides of my mouth” comment.

                As far as I can tell I’m using math correctly, and I don’t have any idea where I lost you.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Dark,

                How you do math is different than how you use it. Ie., you’re doing math correctly, but you’re using it incorrectly.

                Eg, along the same lines, I could say: “85% of all people die from natural causes, but the intentional introduction of chemical X into processed foods only resulted in 2% of deaths! So whatRyouBitchingabout!”Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                How you do math is different than how you use it. Ie., you’re doing math correctly, but you’re using it incorrectly.

                That’s a reasonable claim. So… what’s wrong with what I’m doing?

                The claim was that driving is MUCH more risky than being a cop (so seat belts ahead of time is fine but guns ahead of time is not). So we’re comparing risk of death from driving to risk of death from being a cop (I skipped “injuries” because that’s a lot more hand wavy and harder to get stats).

                To calculate risk, my solution is to get the number of people who do something and divide that by the number who die from doing it. If there’s a more acceptable way to calculate risk, by all means put it on the table.

                And this is a side note. If we don’t want to compare risks from driving to risk from being a cop that’s fine, although imho there are enough similarities that it’s useful.

                The ugly numbers are the ones that say total number of people killed by the police is very small, so the total number of bad shoots must be smaller still… and both of those are then heavily outweighed by crime.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                The claim was that driving is MUCH more risky than being a cop

                So is being an astronaut. But we don’t allow those folks to go around shooting people with (almost absolute) impunity.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                and both of those are then heavily outweighed by crime.

                Have you ever read Pratchett’s Discworld series? If you have, you know that when Vetinari took over as Patrician of Ahnk-Morpork he legalized crime in the form of a guild. “If you’re going to have crime, it might as well be organized crime.”

                Crime, like the poor, will always be with us. The idea that it can be eradicated is naive and (frankly) stupid.

                The idea that criminals must be punished, tho – with an emphasis on punishment – is what drives American culture. Punition is our highest ideal.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Crime, like the poor, will always be with us. The idea that it can be eradicated is naive and (frankly) stupid.

                Agreed.

                The idea that criminals must be punished, tho – with an emphasis on punishment – is what drives American culture. Punition is a highest ideal.

                Punishment is for prisons and judges.

                The job of the police is to make sure we (the voters) don’t need to deal with crime.

                So any “reform” you want had better be just as good at keeping crime away from me (the voter).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                The job of the police is to make sure we (the voters) don’t need to deal with crime.

                Well, this is an interesting turn. You’ve switched from the Principled to the Political. Which as a view near and dear to my heart, actually.

                White people generally; wealthy people without exception, want the cops to not only minimize crime, but minimize the perception of the possibility of crime. And that gets us right into a structural account of why cops kill black folk.

                I’ll let you tease out the missing details.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                White people generally; wealthy people without exception, want the cops to not only minimize crime, but minimize the perception of the possibility of crime.

                Sure.

                And that gets us right into a structural account of why cops kill black folk.

                You’re assuming what you should be trying to prove. The implication of your statement is police shootings are actually a white thing. That if those white people would stop being so racist then the shootings would drop dramatically. At its root, this is an emotional argument, with some of these videos being it’s most powerful support. “Emotional” isn’t the same as “right” or “wrong” so let’s tease out the missing details.

                The best data we have shows the following: Adjusted for situation, blacks are underrepresented in police killings. That implies that it’s actually whites who have issues with being shot without justification. “Adjusted for situation” often means “attacking the police”.
                http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/23614-study-by-black-harvard-economist-refutes-black-lives-matter-s-claim

                The original study is below, here’s a quote, “Given the stream of video “evidence”, which many take to be indicative of structural racism in police departments across America… the results displayed in Table 5 are startling. Blacks are 23.8 percent less likely to be shot by police, relative to whites. Hispanics are 8.5 percent less likely to be shot but the coefficient is statistically insignificant” (page 23).
                http://scholar.harvard.edu/fryer/publications/empirical-analysis-racial-differences-police-use-force

                What it comes down to is the police (even racist police) already view shooting someone as a life changing event which should be avoided if at all possible.

                IMHO police reform is a good idea. I don’t see the need for government unions whose purpose is to prevent accountability/reform and lobby for more government/higher taxes. Using the police as revenue raisers is a bad idea. But most police reforms won’t reduce the number of dead bodies because the problems we have are different than what the emotional argument assumes.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Becoming a nation with armed criminals and unarmed police implies there’s going to be a lot more situations where the bad guy simply walks away.

                Well, by definition. I’m actually pretty open to beat cops/traffic cops/regular cops/cops in general not being armed. Most of their days are spent writing traffic tickets to subsidize their department’s revenue. Why do they need a weapon to give someone a bill?

                On the other side, we could have SWAT cops who ARE armed, and get called in when the shit really hits the fan. I mean, I can’t recall a single high profile case where a beat cop used his weapon to prevent something bad from happening. I’m sure some examples are out there, but generally a beat cop shoots someone who ALREADY killed someone, or stole some property, or didn’t show the proper respect.

                Killing a person who’d already done something bad doesn’t really count as crime prevention. Or even justice, as we conventionally think of it. It just ensures, as you say, that the bad guys don’t walk away.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                On the other side, we could have SWAT cops who ARE armed, and get called in when the shit really hits the fan.

                Here we run into regional differences. A peaceful city can be worse off with a SWAT team.

                A SWAT team needs something to do and if there’s nothing then they’ll look for things. They’ll end up delivering warrants at gunpoint to people that could have been trivially served by a process server, and maybe shooting people or dogs in the process.

                Some of the most outrageous bad shoots over the years have been carried out by bored SWAT teams.

                Killing a person who’d already done something bad doesn’t really count as crime prevention.

                I disagree. If you’ve done something bad then your odds of doing it again are MUCH higher. Killing someone is only hard if you’ve never done it, the same goes for lots of things.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                A SWAT team needs something to do and if there’s nothing then they’ll look for things.

                We already have em. And they already look for things to do, like shoot dogs in raids at the wrong address.

                If you’ve done something bad then your odds of doing it again are MUCH higher.

                The death penalty for parking violations!Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                kazzy, if there was a cop that would work unarmed to maximize the probability of your no shoot outcome, what percentage of your income would you be willing to pay to make that happen?

                a.) 2%
                b.)10%
                c.)30%Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                @joe-sal

                I see neither the point nor the relevance of this query.

                Also, why is it “my” no shoot outcome?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                “One cop chooses to pull the trigger. One doesn’t. Who’s right? The answer *can’t* be both. Not if we are applying the same standards to both situations.”

                You are asking who is ‘right’ here. When you make the statement ‘it can’t be both’, you are reducing the option of who is ‘right’ to the non-shooter.

                I can understand if you don’t want to own that position, or it wasn’t really the framing you were going for, but it appears that way.

                To eliminate the posibility of a cop shooting wrongly, the cop can be disarmed, making every interaction ‘right’ by default.

                No problems here up until you try hiring a cop to enforce the laws unarmed in a job market that cops are traditionally armed.

                That leads to all the problems that we find in ‘accountability’ and all these ‘varying reality parameters/functions’ that Oscar and Dark are kind of talking past each other on.

                I align in someways with Dark, that in reality, conditions do vary, and even person to person action will vary due to small variations in reading the parameters.

                Subjectively looking at it, If a cop were going into a job where the parameters would vary greatly, but the accoutability would be high, and the odds of being killed increased because of both the above, that becomes an expensive job.

                Expensive as compared to the same job where the variations are high, but the acountability is lower and there exist some degree of self protection.

                So the conditions we want with high acountability, and low probability of wrong shooting becomes a pivot on money/compensation, unless we start talking some form of voluntary service.

                The a.,b.,c., was just to see how committed you would be to the preference.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                See our previous discussion comparing police & doctors. The main objection is that the standards of police behavior are highly subjective & biased in favor of the officer. More objective, unbiased standards should be possible.

                Personally I’m all for paying police more,as long as the training requirements are increased as well, and not toward tactical training, but toward psychology and conflict resolution & deescalation.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                I was kind of with ya for awhile, more training and stuff. I’m not sure that lands at no ‘wrong’ shootings, that tends to be the repeated desired outcome.

                Also:
                “The main objection is that the standards of police behavior are highly subjective & biased in favor of the officer. More objective, unbiased standards should be possible.”

                This sounds good from an outsider perspective but when your one of those boots on the ground it may not play so well.

                I don’t think the liberal faction will be happy until it gets to zero wrong shootings. I’m ok with that, if they aren’t asking me to pay for the preference.

                Risk could probably be resolved if cops were to wear some type of suit, much like a bomb suit that reduced the risks of death from shooting or stabbing to near zero. They could go into the environment unarmed without much concern about reading variables just to stay alive. Instead of being highly focused on survival, the training could then be focused on conflict resolution and deescalation.

                What we see in ratcheting up the standards and accountability, requires yet more money and produces special guilds(and still, people die), which I tend to think enforcement is already too far down that path.

                I think it’s time to make the position less ‘special’, and more safe no matter the variables or humans involved.

                All that said, I had an anarchist twinge when I watched this video, thinking to myself that society wouldn’t have screeched to a stop if they would have just let this guy sleep it off in the intersection. Maybe put some of those orange construction cones down till morning. At some point society is the problem.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Zero shootings is an ideal, not a realistic target. There will always be shootings or other uses of police force as a result of a contact going biblically pear shaped. My goal is for such events being, as clearly as possibly, the result of a citizen being determined to make it all go sideways, and not because the officer over-reacted to innocent acts, or because the officer was escalating things.

                But you are right, the problem is less police and more society, because as much as we may find issue with police use of force, the reality is that society wants it. We want the police to met out some non-judicial punishment to other people, where other people is whoever a given person has issue with. See Morat’s many comments on police being expected to keep undesirables in line.

                Couple that with the expectation that officers make arrests so as to justify their budgets, and departments & officers have an incentive to escalate things to justify the arrests.

                Which is great for the police, until shit goes sideways. Or worse, people just start taking out their frustrations on cops more directly, because they think why the hell not, chances are good the cop is going to find an excuse to beat or shoot me anyway, might as well get a few good licks in anyway, before I’m taken out.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                @joe-sal

                My thumb was not on the scale when I asked that question. Oscar spoke above about a case wherein a cop was disciplined for not firing. We can argue the merits of that case but I would say there are situations in which we want cops to use their guns and in which their failure to do so should be considered problematic (though we also have that interesting ruling that said the cops bear no duty to protect the public so maybe that flies out the window…).

                I don’t expect or demand 0 bad shoots. Sure, it’d be wonderful if we got there. But it isn’t a realistic expectation.

                All that said… without knowing much about how police officers are compensated, I’d be fully on board with high compensation in return for higher quality and higher accountability. I can’t put a number on it for you because I have no idea what the numbers are. I’d want to start by looking at where police funding currently goes, since it seems to me that many places spend their money on fancy (and unnecessary) toys instead of training or wages. If a better allocation of existing funds was still insufficient to secure a higher quality police force, sure, up my taxes.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                This conversation reminds me of Michelle Rhee’s attempts to reform public education in DC. Now, there was a shit ton of issues with her approach, but one aspect stood out to me (a private school teacher): giving teachers the opportunity to opt out of union-negotiated contracts for alternative contracts with higher wages but higher levels of accountability. Without knowing all the specifics of the plan, I was really intrigued by the idea. I’d be curious how applying similar thinking to cops would look.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                Well, if the thumb isn’t on the scale, and we are accepting some quantum of bad shoots, what level is acceptable?, because again I would be with Dark, saying the levels are pretty low for the interactions that occur with the variables. So at this point all that is left is negotiating where the equilibrium point is.

                I am not at all convinced that the law enforcement community will not be demonized until the bad shoots approach near zero.

                I could see a situation were there were 5 bad shoots a year and this conversation is still going on.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                A complicating factor is the cop response to bad shoots. According to our system, there are almost zero bad shoots a year. We’re told these were good shoots.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                So the problem is less about what quantum of bad shoots are acceptable, and more about who is policing the police?

                My usefulness in the discussion drops off pretty sharply from here, I don’t often debate the noble lie, other than to say it is what it is, and too often part of the system, if not the system itself.

                Its been an interesting discussion though, and I appreciate your thoughts on it.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                I’d say it’s both/and. How do we discuss the acceptable number of bad shoots if we can’t agree on what a bad shoot is?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Easy. Everyone agrees that the ideal number of bad shoots should be zero.

                And everyone agrees cops who engage in bad shoots should be prosecuted and convicted of murder charges.

                Ooops. That last bit might be contentious!Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                I dont see how we can agree on what constitutes a bad shoot given the subjective nature of what is bad.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Some people think that wearing a badge incurs a greater responsibility regarding the use of lethal force than civilians have. I mean, those folks chose that job and all the responsibilities it entails, right? (It’s not like they were DRAFTED into it….)Report

              • Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

                Why not go on the assumption that all of them are bad?

                It’s not a police officer’s job to be judge, jury, and executioner on the street, rather, it’s to uphold the peace in the community. Justified shootings would be able to withstand scrutiny by an uninterested (read not a cop) party, and the officer would be able to continue on the job.

                A system in which a Michael Slager is able to claim that he feared for his life prior to shooting a fleeing suspect in the back is clearly broken. It’s time to restore a little sanity to police/citizen interactions in this country.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                This is somewhat why I am not a believer in the noble lie. I would make an assumption that if either the cop or the citizen didn’t display aggression then there shouldn’t be a shooting. But that lends the situation to individual subjectivity on what aggression looks like and what variables readings are involved.

                The ‘system’ has nothing to calibrate the real time perception of human thought. Therefore the quality of the system is built out of the quality of the individuals involved.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                How about zero percent more: they wouldn’t be able to use force (or more substantively, the THREAT of force), so threat levels for them go down, making their job easier.

                Add: on the other hand, since current cops wouldn’t be able to use threat of force to intimidate folks they might actually want MORE money to do the job. It’d be so boring….Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                How about zero percent more: they wouldn’t be able to use force (or more substantively, the THREAT of force), so threat levels for them go down, making their job easier.

                :Blink: Easier? Care to expand on that?

                Especially as to how that works with our armed criminal element?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Sure. Unarmed cops deal with armed criminals as unarmed cops. When the shit hits the fan, they bring in the armed guys.

                The guys who currently shoot dogs.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                When the shit hits the fan, you bring in the armed guys.

                I’m nervous about a policy which seems to empower criminals at the expense of the police.

                Especially when the numbers suggest crime is a much larger problem than the police shooting people.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                To paraphrase:
                Be nice until it’s time to not be nice.
                😉Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                The optics of threat doesnt really reduce until armor is applied.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Not even then. Armor piercing bullets. Escalation isn’t a solution unless everyone is willing to end up dead over some stolen cigarillos.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Escalation isn’t a solution unless everyone is willing to end up dead over some stolen cigarillos.

                Everyone? One person can escalate, one person can prevent deescalation, and if that someone is willing to die or kill over some stolen cigarillos, then society is faced with the problem of what to do with him.

                And the police are going to be implementing for whatever society wants to do about people like that.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                The average caliber most used to shoot cops is typically, 9mm, 40 or 45. Those rounds even in tungsten armor piercing don’t have the velocity or energy to make it through serious armor.

                Less than 30% are shot with long guns, and of those long guns only about 5% have the velocity to make it through in armor piercing.

                Only a handful of people are capable of modifying a armor piercing long gun to minimum lengths of 36″. 36″ long guns are difficult to conceal in urban environments.

                Heavy armor reduces the threat near enough to zero, survival becomes a minor issue in day to day operations.

                If you dont have it, your back to the primary concerns of survival. Much of which is causing the bad shoots.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                speaking of armorReport

  8. The point isn’t that this cop is exceptional or his professionalism is unusual. The point is that if he’d shot Floyd, he wouldn’t have been disciplined in any way.

    Here’s a start. When a situation escalates into a shooting, have the officers involved write a description of why it went that way and things they could have done to prevent it. Circulate these in the department, so other cops can learn from them. (Cue the cries of “It’s not a cop’s fault if he has to shoot some asshole.”)Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter says:

      When a situation escalates into a shooting, have the officers involved write a description of why it went that way and things they could have done to prevent it. Circulate these in the department, so other cops can learn from them.

      Not a bad idea… but the implication is we move to “no fault” as a way to deal with shootings.

      If you want absolute truth and people to learn, then you can’t punish them for telling it.Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      The point is that if he’d shot Floyd, he wouldn’t have been disciplined in any way.

      Any proof of this or is it unsupported BS?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        “Proof.”

        There’s that word again. Problem is, if “proof” is your standard then nothing can be “proven” since it’s logically impossible for me to “prove” (for example) that I (Stillwater) am actually writing these very words.Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          Pathetic cop out, but I expect nothing less.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            You, being a lahhyer, ought to know the difference between evidence and proof. Proof is something that only happens in mathematics. In the empirical world, we deal with evidence.

            Add: And to be honest, the post-modernists have infected math to the point where even a proof can be viewed as question-begging.Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              It’s okay, I understand that you are covering for Mike’s BS the best you can.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Not at all. I think Mike can do a fine job on his own.

                My argument is that evidence matters, not only in determining the legal meaning of “proof” (a terms which you like to throw around casually as if you didn’t understand what it actually means) as well as what constitutes the basis of a considered judgment.

                Btw, Mike S is probably the LAST person here I’d try to cover for, since not only is he a hell of a lot smarter than me, his views are often nuanced in a way that initially escapes me.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Not at all. I think Mike can do a fine job on his own.

                The way you jump in to cover for him so quickly we wouldn’t know thatReport

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                we wouldn’t know that

                “we”?

                I think everyone here knew that. You, on the other hand, mighta been confused.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                I wasn’t confused that you were covering for Mike. I really doubt anyone else was either. Funny that we still haven’t heard from Mike.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                OK. If so, then let’s stop talking about this since you’ve established that not only that I was covering for Mike but lying about not doing so.

                Good to know. For me too!

                We’ve made progress here.

                Add: Funny that we still haven’t heard from Mike.

                Why would that matter? No matter what he says, it’s still gonna be the case I was covering for him, right?

                QED!Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                I confess, my notion of the life well-lived does not include an instant response to each petty inanity..Report

              • Avatar Ken S says:

                That’s why you’ll never be president.Report

              • Avatar Dave Regio says:

                @stillwater

                I don’t think the problem is confusion.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Then by all means tell us what the problem is.Report

              • Avatar rmass says:

                If only mirrors would show your reflection, we would.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                You really need stillwater’s help for a personal insult rescue.Report

              • Avatar rmass says:

                Nah, I seem to have cut thee to the quick, knave. Your petty japes and hollow statements have revealed a creature unable to process even the most limited of rebukes, who is wrong but shall never know it, because you dont even read your own links. My fair companion, how would we ever survive without you?Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

              Yup. “Proof” nowadays is understood to mean “this conclusion follows from these premises”, not “this conclusion is true”.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        It’s the same kind of proof my insurance company uses to justify the premiums they charge me.Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          I would welcome some proof, evidence or support of his statement. Maybe you can help Mike out since Stillwater wasn’t able to.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Simple, officers are statistically less likely to be indicted (thanks to a justice system that is biased to protect officers), and if they are, they are less likely to be found guilty thanks to a segment of the population that is unwilling to convict an officer for anything less than clear cases of misbehavior.Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              Except Mike didn’t say “less likely.” Did you actually read what he said? Clearly not, so I’ll post it again for you.

              “The point is that if he’d shot Floyd, he wouldn’t have been disciplined in any way.”

              Maybe you can show us the proof that he wouldn’t have been disciplined in any way.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Define ‘disciplined’.

                Actually, don’t bother, because the problem isn’t what Mike said, it’s that you are insisting on treating a rhetorical device as a statement of fact.

                No one honestly believes Floyd would never possibly be disciplined, only that the likelihood of any discipline being in line with what a civilian would face to be so remote as to be approaching zero.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                You should ask him, given that those are his words, not mine. The real question is about the “wouldn’t have” portion. That is a fairly definitive statement without any proof.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                No one honestly believes Floyd would never possibly be disciplined, only that the likelihood of any discipline being in line with what a civilian would face to be so remote as to be approaching zero.

                Funny, thats what Mike said but somehow you don’t think he meant what he said. I’ve never heard of somone writing one thing but folks assuming they really meant something entirely else.Report

  9. Avatar reducam_vetris says:

    In what world does a situation where the suspect has a .2+ bac equate other situations where they do not?Report

  10. Avatar Stillwater says:

    If you believe that those officers were right to feel threatened, than does that make this officer wrong to feel unthreatened?

    By one logic, yes: the logic employed by those officers who felt “threatened” when confronting a black dude and shot him.

    I get that we should celebrate good behavior and all, but celebrating cops not killing someone simply because they’re black constitutes a pretty devastating indictment of our current practices.Report

  11. Avatar Kazzy says:

    To clarify…

    Floyd performed the following actions, all of which have been used to justify police shootings:
    – failure to comply with orders
    – not responding to officer commands
    – taking his hands out of sight
    – erratic behavior

    So, perhaps a better question… if this cop shot Floyd, would it have been justified? Why or why not?Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter says:

      Kazzy:
      Floyd performed the following actions, all of which have been used to justify police shootings:

      Think of what Floyd did as drunk driving. What chance does the typical drunk drive have of killing someone? 1%? Probably a lot less? You can get so drunk that it’s impossible for you to drive without killing yourself so the odds increase (even all the way to 100%), but that’s mostly a different problem.

      What Floyd did with those cops was risky, but odds were still heavily stacked in his favor that it’d be fine.

      However I think you’re trying to represent his behavior as potentially-risk-free-if-we-educate-the-cops (if he can do it then everyone should be able to always do it), and that seems as nonsensical as claiming that if one drunk drive doesn’t cause a problem then society should be fine with it.Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy says:

      So, perhaps a better question… if this cop shot Floyd, would it have been justified? Why or why not?

      It’s hard, maybe impossible, for me to give an informed answer. But my answer is no, it would not have been justified because Floyd did not do anything that I view as threatening. Even the time when Floyd took his hands out of sight (or at least out of the camera’s sight…I don’t know about the cop’s), it was brief and obvious (to me, and in retrospect) that Floyd wasn’t reaching for something.

      On the other hand, I’m not a cop and I’m never in that type of situation. I suppose each stop is potentially dangerous. I imagine cops don’t know what the person they’re stopping is capable of because they don’t know the person or his/her condition. They don’t know if that person is armed or out of their proper mind, or whatever. What seems like an easy call for me after the fact may in fact be a very hard call at the moment. Or perhaps a routine call. I’m in the cheap seats. My own life wasn’t in danger and I knew the outcome of the stop before watching the video.

      On the third hand, please don’t take anything I say to be a justification for the (in)famous police shootings of late or even for most of the technically “justified” shootings. The cop did what I would hope any cop would do when presented with such a situation, and I wish all cops would do the same in similar situations.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy says:

        I’ll add that we never know the whole story. The camera doesn’t tell all. Even something that looks benign or not dangerous at all can be explainable by things we don’t see or know. Even something that looks “obviously” dangerous might be actually not so, or not as much so.

        If we’re talking justification, that’s a different issue. Something can be unjustified even if it is explainable or understandable. My main difference from some critics of the more egregious shootings we’ve heard about in the last couple years is that I don’t think we’ll ever know the whole story. That doesn’t mean can’t or shouldn’t criticize those shootings. It doesn’t mean the officers shouldn’t be investigated, fired, or prosecuted. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reconsider how policing is done. But it does mean that it’s easy for someone like me (and I’m not alone) to assume we have the whole story.Report

  12. Avatar rmass says:

    I think that this was the best possible behavior from the cops and floyd. But officer friendly still has a faint wiff of “accept my authority” to all his talk with floyd. Slightly assholish behavior still comes with the blues and twos.Report