Adam Toledo Shooting: Watch It For Yourself

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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94 Responses

  1. Dark Matter
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    says:

    This is a tough one. Cops got called in because of gunfire. After the chase, Kid had a gun, he tossed it, then he got shot. Time between video showing him with the gun and him getting shot is 0.8 of a second.

    All that is from CNN.

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/15/us/adam-toledo-police-shooting-body-camera/index.htmlReport

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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      says:

      Doesn’t matter, the cop said let me see your hands. He HAS to give the kid time to stop, show his hands, and the cop needs time to process what he is seeing.

      That said, even if the kid still had a gun in his hand, he was following orders and showing his hands and not pointing a gun at anyone.

      This is just more of the “gotta go home at the end of the shift, no matter what” mentality. Police training has to find a way past that.Report

      • Em Carpenter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        Exactly – what could the kid have done right then that the officer would not have shot him? He stopped. He dropped the gun. He put up his hands.
        Of course the cops want to go home at the end of the shift, and it is hard for me to fault that instinct for self protection, but what was the point of the commands if he was not going to give the kid the opportunity to show compliance?Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        the cop said let me see your hands.

        Apparently he decided that wasn’t going to happen.

        I find it hard to believe he’ll be convicted on this one. Not even sure he’ll be fired.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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          says:

          In 0.8 seconds? He decided nothing, he had his finger on the trigger like an idiot and he pulled on reflex.

          ETA: This being Chicago, he probably won’t be in any trouble, even if rioters burn down the Mag Mile.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            says:

            The 0.8 seconds is the time between the camera showing the gun and him pulling the trigger.

            I assume the “show me your [] hands” part was earlier.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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              says:

              Again, if you give an order to “Show me your hands”, you MUST allow time for compliance and visual processing. You honestly have no idea if the officer saw the gun you can see in the video. It’s dark, there’s what appears to be a strobe going off (I don’t think that’s a frame rate artifact), and you have no idea where the officers attention actually is. but the fact he saw it at time t does not eliminate the need for him to confirm it is in the kids hands at time +t, when the kid is very obviously putting his hands up and complying with the order.

              If a cop is unable or unwilling to do that, he should not be a cop.

              And frankly, this is the kind of thing that cops should be training for in VR or real world simulations.

              Maybe if PDs & cities weren’t so eager to let cops work as much overtime as possible, they’d have more money in the budget for comprehensive training.

              Or they need to stop letting police sidearms have real bullets.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Oscar, I believe you’ve been out for a while now but did the military utilize any VR training? Or real world sims?

                I’m now reminded of the scene in the initial Men in Black movie where the candidates are presented with a bunch of cardboard monster cutouts and a little girl and Will Smith’s character is the only one who actually stops to evaluate the situation before just firing away.

                As ridiculous as that scene was, it now occurs to me that might have represented MORE training than the typical cop gets.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                They use VR these days.

                They also use simunitions, which are essentially paintballs for real guns. Very effective as a training aid, but also expensive per round.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        It seems as if there are multiple layers of training yet no training given on how to filter through them:
        If the person runs, chase them.
        If the person seems armed, command them to lay down their weapons and put hands up.
        If you feel threatened, fire.

        His mouth was doing one thing and his hand was doing another and there seemed to be no connection between the two.

        Now, maybe that is somewhat intentional and that third “training” takes absolute precedence. Or maybe the training is developed by folks with no understanding of how humans work, of how chasing someone who is running impacts one’s mental and emotional state, of how running impacts the clarity of verbal commands, of how much time it takes for ALL involved parties to process information.

        We often hear cops did it “by the book.” Maybe we need training that isn’t designed in a book but based on real world knowledge of human behavior.Report

        • Greginak in reply to Kazzy
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          says:

          A lot of cops have been trained to be hyperviolent by a guy named David Grossman who calls his concept killology. Google it. He is one of the lesser known but most pernicious figures leading to our cop problem.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Kazzy
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          says:

          His mouth was doing one thing and his hand was doing another and there seemed to be no connection between the two.

          Ditto the Daunte Wright cop.Report

  2. Pinky
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    says:

    A strobe flashlight? Anyone smarter than me care to explain that?Report

  3. Jaybird
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    says:

    Guys like this should not be cops.
    At best, he needs to be fired.
    At worst, he needs to be charged with something on the spectrum between negligent homicide and 2nd degree murder.

    Replace him with a different cop.

    And, if this happens elsewhere, replace those cops too.

    It should be easier to fire cops (it should be easier to charge them).Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Here I notice one of those weird things in political discourse: people who read your comment will be inclined to agree, wholeheartedly, but ….

      It’s the “but” that trips us up.

      “I’d agree the cop should be fired, but I can’t agree with your view about breaking up the union.”

      “I’d agree the cop should be fired, but I can’t help but think the strobe light negatively effects the officers judgment.”

      “I’d agree the cop should be fired, but the kid had a gun in his hand only seconds priori to being shot.”

      We’re always looking for way to exonerate what is, at first pass, obviously bad behavior.Report

  4. Dr X
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    says:

    I’m a longtime critic of police generally and a Chicago resident who has been especially troubled by the history of serious misconduct and abuse of citizens by CPD, having witnessed misconduct myself. I expected that when I watched the Adam Toledo video, I would once again be appalled by the behavior of the police. But that didn’t happen.

    I’ve watched the video of the shooting repeatedly. It looked to me like Adam ran to that gap in the alley fence to ditch the gun behind it, hoping the cop wouldn’t know that he had the gun. Of course, the cop knew he had it, but Adam probably believed he could escape a gun charge if he tossed it out of sight. So, when Adam ditched the gun, his back was to the cop, concealing disposal of the weapon.

    In a split second, he tossed the gun out of sight of the cop and wheeled around while raising his arms, effectively giving the cop no time to observe that Adam had dropped the gun. IMO, the speed of the sequence, from concealing that he was dropping the weapon to wheeling around while raising his arms, placed the cop in an impossible position.

    What was Adam’s alternative upon being ordered to show his hands?

    He could have stopped running, visibly dropped the gun at his side, and, back still to the cop, raised his hands over his head without spinning around. At that point, the cop could have further instructed Adam to take him into custody safely.

    I’ve studied enough perception and decision making to be convinced that no amount of training would have enabled that cop to safely perceive that Adam had dropped the gun. At that point, Adam’s own split-second decisions probably doomed him.

    There are terrible problems with policing and police culture in Chicago and elsewhere, but I don’t see this tragedy as a manifestation of those problems. IMO, it’s a manifestation of ills that plague that youngster’s local community, Little Village. A few months ago, a patient’s brother was shot in that neighborhood. Gun violence, mostly gang-related, is always a serious concern there, especially at night.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dr X
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      says:

      I get where you are coming from, but part of having the badge and the gun (and the body armor) means you need to take that extra second to confirm. Why? Because citizens are not, and never should be, trained how to act around police (beyond be polite).

      Look at this statement:

      He could have stopped running, visibly dropped the gun at his side, and, back still to the cop, raised his hands over his head without spinning around. At that point, the cop could have further instructed Adam to take him into custody safely.

      This implies that a 13 year old boy should know the exact best way to act when faced with a tuned up cop? Seriously?

      Sorry, no, the cops need to stop and assess, and they need to take the time to make a reasonable effort at it. They get the training, and the badge, and the gun, that means they accept the risk that getting it right might be fatal.

      It’s not that hard to accept that risk, infantry soldiers do it every day.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        This implies that a 13 year old boy should know the exact best way to act when faced with a tuned up cop? Seriously?

        There is a disconnect between “random innocent child can’t be expected to know what to do around the police” and “this 13 year old tuned up the cop by engaging in gun violence at 2:30 am on the streets of Chicago and then got too clever in the aftermath”.

        There is an element of “play stupid games, win stupid prizes” here.

        I’d be fine with firing him (assuming some experts in violence co-sign his actions as incompetent). I even think with his record we should be taking a hard look at whether this was avoidable (I have no clue what’s a reasonable number of use-of-force and/or complaints for a 6 year vet with his job).

        However I don’t think we have a hope of this being “criminal” so prison is off the table.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter
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          says:

          There is an element of “play stupid games, win stupid prizes” here.

          You went from criticizing Oscar for suggesting a 13 year old was just doing stupid teenage stuff while shooting a gun in the city, which is entirely justified, to criticizing Oscar for thinking a 13 year old doesn’t know how to respond to the cops to keep himself safe (when we all know that there isn’t a way to do that) which isn’t justified at all. A 13 year old is a kid. And even adults have been shot for doing precisely what the cops say.

          At some point in this the cops themselves have to enter the picture as human beings, agents of their own decision-making. You’re skipping right past that point, and exonerating murderous behavior while doing so.

          Add: honestly speaking here, the single most infuriating component of discourse around the cops and policing in general is the insistence on the part of conservatives that cops cannot do any wrong, regardless of how egregious they’re behavior. It’s sickening.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            As a someone else said, highly trained adult police officers are given permission to panic and act on impulse, while untrained children are expected to behave with cool rational composure with a gun in their face.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            Let’s ask some big picture questions:

            1) Did the cop need to be there at all?

            Unless Chicago is willing to legalize random people shooting random things at 2am, yes. This specific child was engaged in seriously illegal behaviour.

            2) Did the cop escalate things? Abuse his authority?

            No evidence of this so the answer is “no” at the moment.

            3) Did the cop have a reason to think he was armed?

            Yes.

            Oscar’s strongest argument is we want the police to wait that extra second, even if it puts their lives in danger.

            The weakest argument on this page has been ignoring that this kid is a dangerous criminal, and we as a society insist the police deal with members of his criminal class.

            If you’re going to insist on having armed confrontations with the police at 2:30am because thug life is cool; Then yes, you’re stupid; And also yes, it’s a really good idea to how to handle armed confrontations with the police at 2:30am.

            That is a different issue than “should this cop even be a cop given his record”. That is also a different issue than “do we as a society want the police to wait that extra second”.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
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              says:

              1) Did the cop need to be there at all?

              Unless Chicago is willing to legalize random people shooting random things at 2am, yes. This specific child was engaged in seriously illegal behaviour.

              Ok fine, you win, lets just gun down everyone engaging in seriously illegal behavior in every major city. Of course, to make Jaybird happy, we’d have to create an airtight definition of “seriously illegal” so I’ll start – lets make sure the cops gun down everyone who bilked the COVID relief packages more then $100K.

              Because while shooting a firearm off inside city limits does create a greater then average risk of hurting someone, so far are you or I know the grifters just mentioned did more actual damage to their communities then Adam Toledo.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                Hey, so long as we agree that the argument is that we need the Death Penalty without all of the chokepoints, I’d be down.

                Bring back the gallows in front of city hall!Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                lets just gun down everyone engaging in seriously illegal behavior in every major city.

                Straw man much?

                Because while shooting a firearm off inside city limits does create a greater then average risk of hurting someone

                This is Chicago so it’s Chicago laws. My expectation is that the 13 year old didn’t legally own a gun, so the gun was probably also illegally transported and so on. Pull on that thread and we’re deep into what? Gang activities? Thug life?

                …the grifters just mentioned did more actual damage to their communities then Adam Toledo.

                If we’re going to compare one individual to an entire class of people then Ted Bundy might have done less damage.

                Compare entire-classes and we’re at: “do grifters do more damage than Chicago’s thugs, gang members, and whoever does the carnage that is black-on-black violence”?

                The laws and law enforcement in Chicago were created to deal with a social sub-class that has scary levels of violence and economic destruction. It is expected that those laws and law enforcement will occasionally kill members of that social sub-class.

                It is difficult to picture getting away from that underlying reality.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                It is difficult to picture getting away from that underlying reality.

                No its not. People picture it all the time when it comes to things like ending the war in drugs, and reinvigorating inner city job training – you know dealing with the root causes of gang growth and violence. But sure, lets just keep spending money on cops who shoot up black kids who are complying with orders, instead of actually funding the things that, what, 4 or 5 decades of data tell us work better to address the root causes.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                when it comes to things like ending the war in drugs

                Hey, speaking of which, maybe we could do that?

                Even merely legalizing pot would take away a couple of major tools/crutches from law enforcement.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                reinvigorating inner city job training

                If memory serves, the gov has scores of job training programs which we’re pretty sure don’t work.

                actually funding the things that, what, 4 or 5 decades of data tell us work better to address the root causes.

                Links?
                Serious question, does that actually work?

                We had, and are still fighting, a war on poverty. Our poor are richer than most countries’ middle class.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                the gun was probably also illegally transported and so on. Pull on that thread and we’re deep into what? Gang activities? Thug life?

                Notice the difference in how people react to a black kid with a gun to say, Kyle Rittenhouse.

                Notice the preconceptions, the expectations, the anticipation.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                There are very violent white sub-cultures. If we found out that Kyle was a skin head or neo-naxi then we’d have expectations.

                Adam is in an area where gangs and thug life is a serious problem. The situation he painted himself into is consistent with that being the underlying issue.

                Simplifying that to skin color obscures more than it reveals.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Without Googling, do you happen to know where Kyle Rittenhouse was from, and what sort of crime rate and gang culture it has?

                I doubt it.

                You are leaping to conclusions based on nothing more than physical appearance pre-judgement of what you imagine his life to be.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Without Googling, do you happen to know where Kyle Rittenhouse was from, and what sort of crime rate and gang culture it has?

                With Kyle we don’t need to care about that because he’s got a wiki entry. However, if memory serves, Kyle was accused of white supremacy at the time (because that matched the world view of the people making the claim) and we eventually found not.

                At the time I made no judgement about Kyle because I had no information. If I’d found out his gun was stolen, I’d have adjusted my conclusions appropriately.

                You are leaping to conclusions based on nothing more than physical appearance pre-judgement of what you imagine his life to be.

                Oh by all means, please explain how the 13 year old legally has access to a gun given Chicago’s gun laws. Then explain how he’s legally using it on the streets of Chicago, and how there’s a perfectly good reason for him to be legally having it and using it at 2:30am. For that matter, if he legally has and is using a firearm on the streets of Chicago, how is it that no one has mentioned this?

                Facts are stubborn things, and him being 13, in Chicago, and firing a handgun are the facts on the table. BTW we know “firing” because the cops did that gunpowder residue test on his hands (one of the things I looked up before making any conclusions, he might have just been holding it for the 21 year old).

                So what is the explanation which best fits what we know? For that matter, what are the possibilities?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                On a side note, Adam wasn’t black.Report

            • InMD in reply to Dark Matter
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              says:

              The big picture questions are (i) did the kid, no matter how dumb his conduct, get his day in court, and (ii) was the shooting necessary for self-defense or defense of a third party? Seems to me the answers to both are no.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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                says:

                (i) did the kid, no matter how dumb his conduct, get his day in court

                His experience would have been different if he’d been law abiding for longer than a quarter of a second.

                (ii) was the shooting necessary for self-defense or defense of a third party?

                We sit at our computers with perfect knowledge, and with that perfect knowledge the answer is clearly “no”.

                Change that question to “did the shooting appear to be necessary for self-defence a half second before the trigger was pulled” and the answer gets a lot less clear.Report

              • InMD in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                If the question of civil liberties rests on the probability any given suspect/accused is convicted of or will plea to a crime then we might as well dispense with innocent until proven guilty, and probably the bill of rights altogether.

                It does not get less clear. That was 2nd degree murder. IMO anyone minimally competent in self-defense and with a firearm knows that. You don’t get to blow away someone surrendering.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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                says:

                If the question of civil liberties rests on the probability any given suspect/accused is convicted of or will plea to a crime then we might as well dispense with innocent until proven guilty, and probably the bill of rights altogether.

                Playing stupid games gun in hand with the police runs the risk of convincing them that you’re about to shoot them. After that your “civil liberties” are lower than normal.

                You don’t get to blow away someone surrendering.

                After we see the gun in his hand, he uses his body to obscure it, hides it, and then spins to surrender. All of this happened in about 0.8 seconds. That’s a big devil hiding in those details.

                This is not my field. I don’t know “what a reasonable cop” is expected to do in this situation. It’s possible we’ll see experts in violence and police procedure say he clearly should have waited… but it’s also possible we’ll find out procedure is to pull the trigger.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                See my comment to DrX down thread. I find the current “reasonable cop” to be an unacceptably low standard, given how police have extra training and resources and equipment, etc. (and often claim just how totes bada$$ they are with firearms).

                Criminals are not John Wick, cops should stop pretending they are.Report

              • InMD in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                ‘Lower than normal’? Does that actually mean something quantifiable or is it just a post hoc rationalization of the outcome? You don’t have to be a bleeding heart to understand killing the suspect is a frustration of our system.

                The police procedure stuff is an appeal to authority, not a real answer. The procedure needs to be to get it right, not justify whatever the hell the outcome happens to be. We’re poorly served when public servants operate any other way.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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                says:

                ‘Lower than normal’? Does that actually mean something quantifiable…

                It means “civil liberties” don’t protect you if you’re shooting at the police, nor do we insist that the police be fired upon before they shoot.

                The real question is “how reasonable was it for that cop to think this kid was about to open fire”? The kid using his body to obscure the gun and the rapid movements make a lot more sense for “Ramboing it out” rather than “peacefully surrendering”.

                If we ignore current perfect knowledge and look at what was known at the time; This seems a marginal call, but not an obviously outrageous one.

                This police procedure stuff is an appeal to authority, not a real answer. The procedure needs to be to get it right,…

                What does “get it right” mean in the context of someone who is both surrendering and also obscuring the gun and making rapid movements?

                If we want to always give suspect every chance to survive, we need to tell the cops to shoulder more risk. Here the perfect procedure would be something like “cops can’t fire to save themselves until they’re fired upon”. We haven’t done that, what we’ve done instead is insist that the cops not have much risk.

                However “risk” and “who has it” is the key here. Normally when the cops are in this situation they’re not dealing with a stupid 13 year old who is being too clever.Report

              • InMD in reply to Dark Matter
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                No one here was actually shooting at the police and it’s a false equivalence.
                Starting from that hypothetical is what gets us to the rule you’re standing up for, to the extent it’s really a rule and not just a rationalization. It’s the same approach that justifies shooting people with cell phones in their hands or laying down a beating over ‘furtive movements’ and phantom resistance. Instead of setting standards you end up justifying a complete lack of them.

                Getting it right means making arrests and letting the courts sort out the appropriate sanction. If the police don’t want risk then public service isn’t for them, though again, any objective analysis does not place law enforcement as a particularly risky profession. This motte and bailey thing where we take the most extreme situation (i.e. suspect has a death wish and is actually shooting at police) and apply it to everything else is absurd. The result of its application has nothing to do with reasonableness. It’s the police have no agency and can’t be responsible for anything.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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                says:

                it’s a false equivalence.

                Equivalence? It’s the situation the cop thought he was in. The suspect was armed and his movements were consistent with bringing a gun to bear. Does the cop wait for the bullet of perfect knowledge or can he shoot at that point?

                It’s the same approach that justifies shooting people with cell phones in their hands…

                That would be Stephon Clark, and yes it is. Clark was high, summoned the cops by breaking random car windows, was chased around by the police, and then tried sneaking up on them in the dark while pointing a cell phone at them like it was a gun.

                That was another situation where perfect knowledge was very different than what was believed at the time.

                This motte and bailey thing where we take the most extreme situation (i.e. suspect has a death wish and is actually shooting at police) and apply it to everything else is absurd.

                The people involved in both of those situations thought they were dealing with an extreme situation. It doesn’t have to be “death wish” either but whatever.

                This brings us back to, do you want the police to wait to be fired upon before they fire?

                Because if the answer is “no”, then they’re going to be occasionally firing with imperfect information.Report

              • InMD in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Dark, the problem is that what they think they’re dealing with turns out to be wrong often enough that they should not be operating in consequence-free environment. The fact that they know, and have fought to attain, the ability to do their jobs in a consequence free environment is the core problem.

                Instead of talking about excuses and what they did or didn’t reasonably fear we should be talking about standards. And once law enforcement shows it can actually live up to some then maybe we can revisit when they should get the benefit of the doubt.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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                says:

                The fact that they know, and have fought to attain, the ability to do their jobs in a consequence free environment is the core problem.

                Agreed.

                what they think they’re dealing with turns out to be wrong often enough that they should not be operating in consequence-free environment.

                I assume a lot of this is simply lies. They know what to say to avoid problems, they say it. That’s why we are insisting on bodycams.

                Instead of talking about excuses and what they did or didn’t reasonably fear we should be talking about standards.

                OK, let’s talk about standards.

                1) Looking at this cop’s record, it’s possible he should have been kicked off the force a while ago.
                Looking into why that has not happened and how to enable it would be very useful and imho would take us into “no unions” and “citizen review boards” and the like. Alternatively maybe every cop in Chicago has that many use of force records and complaints against them and it’s normal.

                2) Standards can not include assumption of perfect knowledge nor can they insist all suspects are brought in alive.

                3) Adam getting killed was a never event, but never events happen far more often to pharmacists and surgeons.

                4) If to make the case that this shooting was bad, you need to point to problems in general, then you’re not able to make your case. If we’re talking about what should happen to this specific cop because of this specific shooting, then there is the possibility that the answer is “nothing” because even in a better system this is going to happen.Report

      • Dr X in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        “This implies that a 13-year-old boy should know the exact best way to act when faced with a tuned up cop? Seriously?

        Oscar, I didn’t intend that implication, though I can see why you think I did. When I described the alternate way that Adam could have complied with the cop’s order, I was responding to suggestions that it was literally impossible to comply with the cop’s order without doing so in the manner that Adam did–by concealing that he was ditching the gun and while wheeling around and simultaneously raising his hands.

        In the Caron Nazario case, the cop ordered the lieutenant to keep his hands outside the window and exit the car. Nazario literally could not do both, so compliance was physically impossible. Why does this distinction matter to me? If a cop shoots someone after instructing them to do the impossible, I believe that far more liability accrues to the cop.

        I understand that Adam was 13-years-old, and I wouldn’t expect a 13-year-old to show the best judgment, but I doubt the cop knew that he was dealing with a minor, never mind a 13-year-old. Additionally, minors with guns can shoot at police officers, which I’d also consider evidence of their poor judgment. Poor judgment doesn’t change the risk to a police officer. If anything, it elevates the risk. But again, I don’t think the cop knew that he was dealing with a minor. I would judge the cop’s actions based on what he could see and what he knew at the time of the shooting, so in that sense, Adam’s age is irrelevant to judging the cop’s level of culpability. Adam’s age is only relevant if you demand 20/20 hindsight before the fact.

        These considerations lead me to see this as a terrible tragedy rather than an example of policing I regard as misconduct or criminally wrong.
        I’m not sure we even disagree on the facts in this case. Perhaps we have a difference in values regarding the level of risk that police officers must assume, as well as a difference of opinion regarding the vague notion of reasonableness that the courts have suggested to determine whether the use of force has been excessive. We can agree that cops should be and are expected to assume a greater level of risk than you or I are expected to assume. I also suspect that we agree there is some level of danger that allows for the use of deadly force. Where we apparently disagree is the subjective point of risk in a given situation that justifies the use of deadly force versus restraint.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Dr X
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          says:

          Where we apparently disagree is the subjective point of risk in a given situation that justifies the use of deadly force versus restraint.

          Too many police officers – in too many places including Chicago – are trained to start with deadly force and never bother to try something else, especially if their “contact” is a black man.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dr X
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          says:

          @DrX

          Let me just say that I have found the use of the phrase “I was in fear for my life” (or some variation thereof) by the police to be the blue line version of the boy who cried wolf. Thus, when a police officer uses deadly force, I am highly skeptical, simply because culturally, the police have used that excuse beyond reason.

          I will agree that this case is marginal. The kid was being stupid (although I bet he figured he was being clever trying to ditch the gun so the cop wouldn’t see where it went), and the rapid movements… yes, I can understand why a person would pull the trigger.

          But the video tells me that the cop had his finger on the trigger instead of indexed (firearm safety violation*), so at the very least, he should lose his badge permanently and have to find a new career.

          I expect police to take that extra second, both because they have training, and because uniformed officers have (TTBOMK) body armor. Criminals are not John Wick, the chance of them being able to spin around and pull off a fatal shot while shooting from the hip is close to nil, even at close range (bullets are very small). In most cases, you actually have time to wait for the threat to truly manifest. Soldiers manage to operate under such ROEs, so cops should be able to as well.

          *Honestly, I see police in videos demonstrating horrible firearm safety so often that it’s clear to me that culturally, they don’t take it seriously, and don’t focus on it in training. I wonder how many people have been shot by the police because they were careless with their firearms.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dr X
      Ignored
      says:

      Let me add one more thing. I’m a big proponent of the idea that police do not, and should not, have special rights that put them above citizens[1], therefore, if you can imagine a similar scenario, but instead of a cop, the shooter was another citizen, do you truly think the CPD would review that footage and not recommend prosecution? Do you truly think the Chicago city attorney would not seek an indictment?

      If you can look at all that, and truly answer yes to both, then I’ll accept that.

      [1] Because cops are citizens, they aren’t in the military, we should not tolerate them calling other citizens ‘civilians’.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        Normal civilians aren’t expected to chase down armed criminals.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
          Ignored
          says:

          That fact merely impacts the frequency of which badged civilians might be required to employ deadly force in self defense, it says nothing with regards to whether or not the application of force in any given instance was appropriate.

          And, as I have argued, the fact that a badged civilians have training, legal authority, and equipment normal civilians might not means that edge cases should probably fall against the officer. Great power, great responsibility and all that. You accept the badge, you accept that you are held to a higher standard.

          This is one of the problems we have with the police, we grant them power, but refuse to hold them to the higher standard, and constantly make excuses for them when they fail, because protecting their career is more important.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
            Ignored
            says:

            I am very good with firing him. He made a marginal to bad call and someone died. For that matter I’m unsure if he should be a cop at all just because of his record (again, no clue if that record is bad or average).

            Legally I don’t see any chance to hold him criminally liable, and I’d like to not hold him civilly liable. That last quarter second is a problem but the previous 3 hours (and very much the previous 2 seconds) are on that kid and his family.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
          Ignored
          says:

          Normal civilians aren’t expected to chase down armed criminals.

          You’ve never lived in the deep south or rural areas with minimal police presence have you? Every single person I have encountered in Mississippi who either open or concealed carries does so because they believe (generally erroneously) that they MUST be armed because the state (i.e. the police) won’t arrive in time to protect them or their family or their property. Its a ludicrous theory – on par with injecting bleach – but its a position held by a good many of my neighbors.Report

      • Dr X in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m not sure what to do with this. My understanding of the law in Chicago/Illinois is that a private citizen has a duty to retreat if possible. A police officer is typically expected to pursue a suspect into dangerous situations that can and do lead to making these difficult, split-second judgments about the use of force.

        If I try to imagine a comparable situation from a citizen’s perspective, it might be represented by a home invasion. Chicago ain’t Florida. You can’t just shoot someone who has entered your home. I don’t know precisely the point at which shooting an intruder is legally justified, but I’m pretty sure that if the intruder has a gun, and deliberately conceals the fact that he dropped it, and immediately whirls around to face you in your own home, no judge or jury in Chicago would convict you of murder for shooting that intruder. I don’t believe any prosecutor would even bring charges against a resident in that situation.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dr X
          Ignored
          says:

          As long as a private citizen is not held to a greater standard, I can accept that. I may personally prefer that police are held to a higher standard (again, training, authority, etc.), But I can not accept that they enjoy a lower threshold for justified use of deadly force.

          Now, given this is Chicago, I think you are very generous with regard to whether or not the DA would seek an indictment, but I don’t live there, so I defer to you.Report

    • Slade the Leveller in reply to Dr X
      Ignored
      says:

      I, too, am a resident of Chicago, and I’m at a loss as to how anyone could view that video and not see it as anything but an extra-judicial killing. Sure, Little Village is a crime plagued community, one where violence is often met with violence, but sending in cops with itchy trigger fingers doesn’t do anyone any good.

      Lightfoot has lost control, if indeed she ever had any, of that department. Right now CPD answers to no one but itself.Report

      • Dr X in reply to Slade the Leveller
        Ignored
        says:

        Highly critical generalizations about American policing and CPD–generalizations with which I agree– must be addressed but they are not determinative of particular situations. If anything, they’re prejudicial or, in my line of work, we’d say they dispose us toward confirmation bias.

        As far how it is that I can see this shooting as I see it, you’d need to read all my comments. On its face, that is how I see it. Of course, you can disagree with me on the facts or interpretation of the facts.

        Regarding Lori Lightfoot, I have no opinion on her generally. Generally, I think being mayor of Chicago is an almost impossible job whether the mayor is competent or incompetent or somewhere in between. As to the particulars in Lightfoot’s case, I don’t know enough to argue one way or the other.Report

      • Dr X in reply to Slade the Leveller
        Ignored
        says:

        Apart from all this, are you in favor of Lightfoot resigning? She’d be replaced by Tom Tunney until alderman elect someone else to replace her. I liked Ann Sathers, but that’s not a ringing political endorsement. And who on the city council would be a better mayor in your estimation?Report

        • Slade the Leveller in reply to Dr X
          Ignored
          says:

          I think Lightfoot ought to serve out her term. Who knows, the 2nd half might be a turnaround. Lord knows, between the pandemic and the riots of last summer, it hasn’t been easy for her.

          I’d love to see Waguespack take another shot at the mayoralty. He has 13 years on the Council, and he doesn’t seem to be in thrall to anyone.Report

  5. Dark Matter
    Ignored
    says:

    OK, some weirdness here. Stillwater replied to my “stupid games” comment with a quote and his post is gone.

    My reply to his reply is also gone.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter
      Ignored
      says:

      Can confirm that weirdness is going on.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        I freed it. If I had to guess, it’d be the part that said “the single most infuriating component of discourse around the cops and policing in general is the insistence on the part of conservatives that cops cannot do any wrong, regardless of how egregious they’re behavior. It’s sickening.”

        Given my arguments on the board, I’ve encountered multiple non-conservatives argue that things should be different, but fight tooth and nail against any specific policy change. Get rid of X? “It’s not a magic bullet to get rid of X.” We need to curtail Y? “The problems have nothing to do with Y.” Maybe we should Z? “Z wouldn’t help.”

        And then, suddenly, we’re in a place where getting rid of the police entirely is the only thing on the table.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          There’s a big difference between “yes, I agree X is wrong but disagree that Y will fix it” and “I disagree that X is wrong.”

          Also, who locked it? 🙂Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            Eh, “I disagree that Y will fix it!” “What will fix it?” “More money.”

            It seems strange to be arguing about “morality” at that point.

            Anyway, I am 100% familiar with the argument that Police Departments ought to have Never Events in the same way that Hospitals do (that is to say, there are mistakes that are *SO* egregious that they should *NEVER* happen).

            And there are a lot of events that are bad (even mistakes!) that do not qualify as “Never Events” despite the fact that they are bad (even mistakes!).

            The point behind Qualified Immunity is the whole issue of how cops need to have room to make mistakes. I agree with that, I guess. My problem with Qualified Immunity ain’t the idea behind it, it’s that it gets applied when cops steal stuff from the people they’re investigating.

            And so the ideas that this is bad but we, seriously, can’t change it is indistinguishable in practice from “I disagree that X is wrong”.

            I mean, the alternative is the CHAZ/CHOP.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              The problem with QI is not QI, it’s with how the courts interpreted it to mean that it only applied if the exact case had been previously adjudicated as not falling under QI, rather than simply looking at reasonable case law, or taking the opposite approach and only applying it when the facts fit a previous case that was found to fall under QI.Report

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