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Crime POTWR 2019 Vol 1: Shots Fired! Examining Police Shootings In America

Discussion in 'The War Room' started by Cubo de Sangre, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre President of the War Room

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    Greetings War Room Sherbros,

    READ THIS ENTIRE OP BEFORE POSTING!!!

    This thread will be a round-table discussion on high-profile police shootings and how to better the interactions between law enforcement and the public. The panel is comprised of board members who have experience as some type of officer or have worked in the legal field.

    Law enforcement:
    Legal field:

    ***IMPORTANT***

    These are in addition to normal War Room Rules.
    • No insulting the other posters
    • Certain words should be avoided to describe someone's position/ideas (stupid, dumb, retarded)
    • Don't refer to groups using demeaning terms such as libtards, conservatards, etc.
    • Stay on topic
    • Humor is fine, but if your post is a joke that doesn't add to the topic then don't post it
    • Posts that don't comply will be removed and the poster will be issued a reply ban
    • All questions over deleted posts and reply bans please direct privately to @Cubo de Sangre
    • If you get one of these it's a warning to heed the rules. You won't get a second one.
    <Deported1>


    This is an ongoing series of sticky-threads that will take on various topics in varying ways. If you're interested in leading a discussion on something please take a look at this thread and then send me a PM with your ideas.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
    xcvbn, Rebelfett, Bald1 and 11 others like this.
  2. nhbbear

    nhbbear Duty Belt

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    Hello, my name is Kevin, and I have been a police officer for sixteen years in a city of 30,000. In the immediate area of the city, there is approximately 150,000 people. My department has over 30,000 calls per year, and we average 3 murders and 20+ shootings per year.

    I have been a supervisor for the last 8 years, with the last two as a lieutenant in charge of a shift of 16 officers. In addition to running my shift, I am also a district commander in charge of an area of 15,000 citizens. Before I became a supervisor, I was the defensive tactics instructor for the department for ten years. I was also a taser instructor for ten years.

    I am considered a use of force expert, and have testified and given depositions for court proceedings regarding the use of force by officers. Some of those cases involved the death of the suspect after the use of force by officers. I believe I can be fair and objective regarding the use of force by police officers and recognize the seriousness of this polarizing topic. I hope we can have a candid discussion on the topic of police shootings, and I appreciate your participation in this discussion.

    I want to that Cubo for hosting this discussion and thank the other panel members for their input.

    I have detailed three high profile police shootings, and it was difficult and required a lot of thought to wade through the many high profile incidents of police shootings. There are many more that I could have chosen, but I tried to choose incidents that are complex and can inspire discussion and debate.

    I hope you all enjoy and appreciate this discussion of the topic of police shootings, and the reasons behind an officer’s decision to use lethal force.

    I also have included a post that discusses possible ways to reduce police shootings, but also examines possible reasons for the number of police shootings. Gun violence is a serious topic that has no easy solutions, and I don’t have all the answers to this topic, and I am not sure anyone else does as well.

    Again, i thank you for your involvement and input on this discussion.

    -Kevin, aka nhbbear
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  3. nhbbear

    nhbbear Duty Belt

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    It’s in the news; it’s all over social media; it’s in the streets and ingrained into the culture. For some, it is a fact of life, taught and learned at an early age; yet for others, they simply don’t believe it exists-akin to Bigfoot or some lake monster. I am talking about police violence, in particular, police shootings, or officer involved shootings(OIS).


    We will be discussing this issue in depth, from several different viewpoints in a new format, a War Room Roundtable discussion. Most of you know me as nhbbear, but I occasionally go by Kevin. I am a 16 year veteran of a police force, where I currently serve as a lieutenant. I am in charge of a shift/platoon of 16 officers and I oversee a district of 15,000 people, which contains some of the most historically violent areas my city has to offer. I am also a use of force expert, having been a defensive tactics instructor for over ten years, as well as a taser instructor. I have been called upon to testify about a police officer’s use of force in courtroom settings as a use of force expert. You may have read some of my threads in the OT, “A Bear’s eye view: stories from the street” which I wrote at the prodding of some of the old OT members several(6) years ago. Anyway, I am very familiar with aspects of OIS, officer involved shootings, and I will be facilitating this discussion.


    Myself, along with Cubo de Sangre, have collected some of the best and brightest minds sherdog has to offer(oh, ok-we started a thread and the last ones to say “not it” were forced, at gunpoint, into being on a panel for this discussion, in a new format being presented in the war room courteous of our President, no, not that small handed orange president-out very own, Cubo.


    So this is how this is going to work: we have a topic(other round table discussions are in the works, some along similar veins, and others in a different direction with all new panels), which is presented by a poster(in this case, me) and the topic will then be discussed by the panel for a set period of time. Then the discussion(via a sticky thread) will be opened up to the public so you can insult us on a job well done, er ..whatever.


    War Room rules still apply, so keep it civil and try to add to the discussion rather than (gif of billy Maddison -we are all dumber gif). We have tried our best to vet our panel members so that they can intelligently add to the discussion, or at least have a slightly different perspective that we might not have thought of. We have police officers that range from very experienced(Graverobber) to a rookie police officer(Wolf), hell, we even have a forest ranger type of lawman who spends his days protecting us from those that would steal our pick-a-nick baskets, eh Boo Boo(never mind, some of you fucks are just too young for that one). We have lawyers of the Johnny cockring variety, some that just fell in love with the law and wanted to see justice prevail against all odds(pause, for small tear rolling down my cheek), and some, well, I have no idea what the fuck they do, but they’re here, damn’t, and they will add to the discussion.


    So, without much further ado, let’s begin, shall we? (And yes, some of this issue will overlap with our eventual gun control laws panel, our mental health panel, and our sexual fetish panels).



    October 20, 2014, a 17 year old black male was shot 16 times in the back while walking down the middle of the street in Chicago. Laquan McDonald was high on pcp and armed with a small pocket knife. He was causing a disturbance and acting erratically. He had slashed the tires of several vehicles, including a police vehicle.


    McDonald was walking away from officers when Officer Jason Van Dyke shot McDonald in the back. No officer attempted to provide medical assistance to McDonald as he died in the street. Chicago police released the results of an internal investigation that determined that Van Dyke had acted appropriately when he shot McDonald in the back.


    Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired police chief Gary McCarthy, widely regarded as the top cop in America prior to this event.


    Chicago erupted in protest, and what resonated the loudest was the silence of the Chicago officials who refused to release any dash camera footage for thirteen months before finally relenting and then released the video showing the murder of McDonald.


    Prosecutor Anita Alvarez stalled on the investigation for over 400 days before charging officer Van Dyke with the murder of the seventeen year old. In June of 2017, three officers were indicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice for their tampering of the investigation. In October of 2018, four years after the shooting, Van Dyke was found guilty of sixteen counts of aggravated assault and found guilty of second degree murder.


    Prosecutor Alvarez lost her bid for re-election and Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced he will not run for re-election in the upcoming election. Emanuel was expected to run for President after his tenure in Chicago, which now seems very unlikely.


    As for the investigation, Van Dyke claimed that McDonald lunges at him with the knife. After the video clearly showed that was false, he changed his defense, claiming that he feared that McDonald would charge at him with the knife, or throw it. He also cited a 2012 report that there were knives capable of firing a bullet. Van Dyke had only been on scene for 30 seconds before firing, despite 8 officers being in close proximity that did not fire, nor feel the need to fire their weapons. Officers on scene had called for a taser, or other less lethal options due to the fact that McDonald had not made any active attempts to harm officers with the knife.


    Now, here is where I will condemn the response of American police officers to subjects armed with knives. Often cited, the “twenty one foot rule” has been used to justify officers using lethal force against knife wielding subjects. The rule states that a subject armed with a knife can close a distance of twenty one feet on an officer in seconds. Studies have shown that once an officer perceives a threat, it will take an average of 1.5 seconds to react to the threat.


    Where this rule originated from was a seminar in which the question was posed “what is the minimum safe distance when dealing with a subject armed with a knife?” One of the instructors replied “I don’t know, 21 feet” which launched a series of demonstrations in which a subject could close that distance very quickly. Soon, that “rule” was falsely interpreted to mean that an officer is justified in using lethal force on a subject armed with a knife if they are within that distance.


    Further studies refined the 21 foot rule to state that an officer that has their firearm out of the holster, should maintain a distance of at least 21 feet when facing a subject armed with a knife or blunt instrument, or seek cover or a barrier between the officer and that subject.


    The 21 foot rule, and American police response to knife wielding subjects has been further shown to be excessive when looking at how other countries’ police forces deal with the same threat. The police in the UK have perfected their response by using less lethal force, shields, and batons. The UK police only killed five subjects in a ten year period. Granted, the police in the UK do not face the same threat as American police when it comes to firearms, but the rate that American police use lethal force on knife wielding subjects is much greater than the police in the UK.


    Concerning the McDonald incident, the actions of officer Van Dyke were clearly excessive, in that he shot McDonald in the back, as he was walking away from Van Dyke and other officers. At the time of the shooting, McDonald posed no immediate threat to the officers, or the general public. The argument that he could have run away from officers and possibly attacked some random citizen fall into what I call the “what if “ defense. The “what if” defense is invalid because it deals in uncertainty and not in known facts.


    For example, regarding police pursuits(maybe a future subject?) an officer that attempts to stop a vehicle for running a stop sign can only use the facts they have at hand-that a subject failed to stop at a stop sign. They can not use, for example, an argument such as “what if they have a body in the trunk,” which is why many pursuits are now called off because of the extreme risk pursuits cause to the general public, the officers, and yes, the suspect.


    So in the McDonald case, an argument that McDonald “could charge; could run; could throw the knife” are invalid. You can only deal with what threat or action the subject is doing at that moment, not what they could do in the future. If he was armed with a firearm, it is a different situation because a firearm has the range and the lethality that a small knife does not.


    In my opinion, officers in the McDonald case should have contained the subject, waited for less lethal options, such as a taser or bean bag rounds, and followed at a distance until they had other options than lethal force. Also, when dealing with a subject with a knife, an officer can not close the distance and then claim that they were in fear, or at risk of serious harm or death.


    The McDonald case is an example of a bad shoot by police, and horrible mismanagement of both the investigation, and the handling of the media and freedom of information(FOIA) requests, in not releasing the video for 13 months, which reeks of a cover-up, which it was.



    The next shooting we will look at, is what myself, the department, and a jury of the officer’s peers deemed a good shooting.


    On August 13, 2016, officers Dominique Heaggan-Brown(DHB-come on, that is a damn long name), and
     
  4. nhbbear

    nhbbear Duty Belt

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    The next shooting we will look at, is what myself, the department, and a jury of the officer’s peers deemed a good shooting.


    On August 13, 2016, officers Dominique Heaggan-Brown(DHB-come on, that is a damn long name), and his partner were on patrol in Milwaukee, Minnesota, when they observed a vehicle they believed to be suspicious. The officers initiated a traffic stop, during which two subjects fled from the vehicle. DHB and his partner pursued a subject later identified as 23 year old Sylville Smith, after noticing that Smith was carrying a handgun. According to testimony, DHB’s partner yelled “he’s got a gun” as they were pursuing him. Smith ran around the side of a house, where he slipped on the grass. DHB then fired one round, striking Smith in the upper arm. Smith then threw the gun over a fence, but It was too late, as 1.69 seconds after the initial shot was fired, DHB fired a second shot, striking Smith in the chest, killing him.


    The firearm that Smith was carrying was a glock 22, with an extended magazine with 23 rounds. The firearm was reported stolen several months earlier in a burglary.


    Smith had a lengthy criminal record that included robbery, possession of a concealed weapon, theft, and I guess we could add felon in possession of a firearm, fleeing, and possession of stolen property due to his actions before he was shot. Smith had been charged with a shooting in February of 2015 and witness intimidation after trying to force the witness to recant a statement made to police. The witness did recant and the charges were dropped. All in all, a good kid.


    The fallout of the shooting was three days of rioting, burning, looting, and shots fired at police and firefighters who were attempting to put out the fires. 6 million dollars in damage occurred during these three days.


    Smith’s family claimed that Smith had learning disabilities and carried a handgun because he had been shot and robbed in the past. However, Smith’s family and the community also claimed that the firearm was planted by police.


    The family also contended that DHB should not have been on the force due to prior claims of misconduct prior to the shooting. However, in my opinion, Smith should not have been on the street due to his long criminal past, so that’s a wash and we shall just focus on the shooting.


    Milwaukee police chief Flynn urged the release of the body cam video, however, the state department of justice refused, citing that it would taint a jury pool should charges be filed. Charges were filed against DHB, who was found innocent of all counts. Smith’s family had to be removed from the courtroom due to a disturbance during the trial.


    So, we have a subject, fleeing police while carrying a stolen firearm, who is shot two times by a police officer. The time between the first shot and second was only 1.69 seconds, which is clearly not enough time to process the actions of the firearm being tossed over the fence. As the defense experts testified, the decision to fire that second shot was made before the weapon was thrown.


    DHB was fired for an unrelated incident where he was accused of sexually assaulting a male two days after the shooting.
     
  5. nhbbear

    nhbbear Duty Belt

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    Next, we will examine a police shooting that is a bit more ambiguous. Obviously, I have my opinion, which I will save for the end.


    On March, 18,2018, Sacramento police officers were called to a neighborhood in regard to a subject breaking out car windows and the sliding glass door to a residence. The first unit to arrive was a police helicopter with a thermal scope. The helicopter pilots relayed to the ground units that they observed a subject wielding what they described as a “tool bar” and breaking out the window of a residence.


    As ground units arrived, the subject, later identified as 22 year old Stephon Clark, fled from officers. The officers engaged in a brief foot pursuit, following the subject as he jumped over a wooden fence. Clark then entered the backyard of his grandmother’s residence, where he was cornered in the yard. As officers approached, Clark advanced towards them holding something in his hand. One of the officers believed it was a gun, and shouted “gun, gun, gun!” Three seconds after the officers yells “gun” one officer gave him commands to show his hands before firing. The officers, using the corner of the residence, gave Clark commands to to drop the weapon. Clark was then shot 8 times, with officers firing a total of 20 rounds. Clark was struck once in the leg from the front, three times in the side, and four times in the back. The entire incident was captured on a camera from the helicopter, as well as body cameras. Officers administered first aid after several minutes, citing the fear that he had a gun being the reason it was several minutes before aid was given.


    The video footage was released three days after the shooting. The community was outraged, with the grandmother calling the officers “murderers.” Family members claimed that Clark was a loving father of two children. Clark has multiple convictions for multiple robberies, domestic violence, prostitution related offense, and other offenses. He was on probation for a 2014 robbery at the time of his death.


    The officers involved had 8 and 6 years experience.


    After the shooting, there were multiple protests, including protesters shutting down highways and preventing entrance to a Sacramento Kings game. Clark’s family hired Benjamin Crump, notorious lawyer for the mike brown family and other persons that died from a result of police shootings. The family stated that Clark was not given ample time to surrender. The grandmother also claimed that she heard no commands from police, but that was disproven with the body cameras worn by police.


    The mayor initially supported officers, then backtracked. Al sharpton made comments and spokeswoman for Trump stated he was supportive of law enforcement and that it was a local matter. There was criticism that one of the officers told another to mute his mic minutes after the shooting. No charges yet in the shooting, officers are back to work.


    My personal thoughts on this incident is that it was a justified shooting. Dark environment, subject in dark clothes, who had just broken out the window of a residence and several vehicles. Attempted burglary, subject fled from police and refused all orders by police. Subject had a cell phone, which officers believed was a gun. Family claimed he did not have enough time to surrender, but had plenty of time while fleeing police to surrender at any time, including as officers gave commands. My opinion of the location of Clark’s injuries indicate he was shot in the front, causing him to turn away from the remaining shots, which struck him in the side as he was turning, then the struck in the back. This all occurred in seconds.


    As for the protests, my usual response is to look at the number of shootings that are not protested. Sacramento has an average of 40 homicides per year, none protested, save for police shootings. None of the murders drew protests, none resulted in shutting down the highway, or professional sports games-an attempt to disrupt financial proceedings in the city.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  6. nhbbear

    nhbbear Duty Belt

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    I detailed three police shooting incidents, though I could go in detail about multiple shootings, some justified, some not. The ones that were not justified resulted from either a lack of training, lack of options(no less lethal force options), or quickly escalating situations where the officer(s) had to make a split second decision in which mistakes were made. American police kill an average of 1,000 people per year. 60% of these subjects were armed with firearms. Others were armed with knives or blunt instruments. Still, others were unarmed, and that is where the problem lies.


    The issue with police shootings in the United States is unique, because there are almost 400 million firearms in circulation owned by citizens.


    A brief look at gun violence in the US



    Police officers respond to thousands of murders, and many times that number in shootings that do not result in deaths. As a society, we focus on only the murders, especially mass shootings, while ignoring the number of shootings, or shots fired incidents.


    In 2015 alone, there were almost 14,000 incidents where children were injured by firearms. Obviously, this includes accidental shootings, but many children are victims of shootings in criminal situations. 17,000 mass shooting incidents have occurred since 2012. Over 13,000 people were killed by gun violence in 2015. Almost 25,000 people were injured by gun violence in 2015, not including accidental shootings or attempted suicides. And as stated, there has been an increased number of mass shootings and an obsession by the media to discuss the mass shootings in schools, the Las Vegas incident from last year, the night club in Miami, Sandy Hook Elementary, and the Virginia tech shooting-just to name a few. The problem I see with the focus on mass shootings is that the media ignore the fact that there are many more people killed each weekend than many of these mass shootings.


    So why do I bring up all these statistics? It’s simple, America is a violent place. With so many guns in circulation, and so many incidents of violence and murder, the possibility of facing an armed subject by police in the US is a serious issue. We could look at cities like Chicago, where over 500 people were murdered just a few years ago. Baltimore has seen a large increase in gun violence, as well as many other cities. We ask our police officers to respond to all of these incidents, then use restraint in dealing with suspects that may, or may not be armed with a firearm.


    It is extremely difficult for police to know when a subject that flees from a traffic stop, a high speed pursuit, a response to one of these shootings, whether the suspect they are chasing is holding a cell phone or a gun, or when they are reaching near their waist are they reaching for a gun?


    The answer to reducing police shootings is not clear, nor is it an easy answer. It is very difficult for society to understand the effects of adrenaline or fear of death that police officers experience when chasing a suspect. It is also uncomfortable for police to accept the incidents where an officer makes an error in judgment that results in the unjustified death of the suspect. We become very defensive and often resort to blaming the victim for running from, or fighting with police. We often bring up the criminal background of the suspect as justification for the shooting. We also get frustrated and angry at the protesters and media for the criticism of these incidents. I find myself being very frustrated and angry at these protests because they are almost exclusively race related, while the protesters ignore the high numbers of murder and violence committed by African Americans against other African Americans. There is no avoiding race issues when discussing police shootings because these are the incidents that attract the most media attention and result in protests. There are rarely protests when a white person is shot by police. It is counter productive to ignore the issue of race as it relates to police shootings even though more whites are shot by police than African Americans.


    So, to get back to the discussion of how to reduce the number of police shootings. One aspect jumps out to me in regard to the way American police respond to the mentally ill or knife wielding subjects. Looking at the way police in the UK respond to subjects with knives, and adopting some of their tactics would reduce some of the shootings. First off, UK police do not have the problem of the number of guns in circulation, but they still have to deal with the mentally ill and subjects with knives, which are particularly popular there(maybe because they lack the access to firearms). Since 2000, UK police have shot and killed 45 people. That is a very low number. In a ten year stretch, there were only five people shot and killed. The number of police shootings in the UK has increase since 2016, which accounts for a third of that total number.


    So how do UK police deal with these subjects? Few UK police even carry firearms. These officers have to resort or less lethal force, such as tasers and batons. They also carry ballistic shields that they use very effectively to protect the officers and disarm the suspect. Police must maintain distance, which is the most important tool available to officers when dealing with knives. Also utilizing cover and barricades, such as a vehicle. Utilizing distance and less lethal weapons can neutralize suspects with knives. Unfortunately, not all police have access to these tools. It’s absurd that some departments, such as the NYPD and Chicago police departments, only arm few officers with tasers or bean bag rounds. Usually, only supervisors carry tasers, which does not help the average officer that does not have less lethal tools at their disposal. Obviously, it is not feasible to arm all 36,000 NYPD officers with tasers, but there needs to be more officers armed with less lethal force to be able to neutralize suspects not armed with firearms. You can’t limit the options of officers if you want to lower the number of police shootings.


    In addition to giving police officers less lethal options(I carry a taser, baton, and pepper spray), an increase in training when dealing with the mentally ill has been proven to reduce the need to resort to force. CIT training, crisis intervention training/teams teaches officers to recognize subjects in crisis and how to de-escalate these subjects. Increasing de-escalation training is crucial to reducing the use of force by police officers. Teaching officers to remove their egos from the equation and isolate their emotions can also reduce the use of force. It is difficult to remain calm when a subject is aggressive or insulting you. But police officers have to be able to take these insults without losing their temper, which increases the use of force, and the level of force used. I watched an officer have to restrain himself after an arrest spit in his face. Also, another officer recognized the possibility that this officer could lose his temper and restrained this suspect. The officer that was spit on used incredible restraint that most people would not be capable of if a person spit in their face.
     
  7. nhbbear

    nhbbear Duty Belt

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    Summation continued:


    When I referred to removing egos from the equation, that also refers to the need officers feel to catch that subject that runs from them. It really sucks to let a suspect escape when they flee on foot, or in a vehicle. I have been in quite a few instances where subjects that flee in vehicles, and there is a lot of anger when a suspect flees in a vehicle because they often put officers and the public at great risk. Incident like this involve a lot of emotions, which are difficult to let go. These emotions, when combined with adrenaline, fear, and anger can lead to the officers using more force than necessary, such as an incident in Cleveland where six officers were indicted for a chase that resulted in the death of two suspects after 13 officers fired 137 rounds into the vehicle. 60 police officers were involved in this chase, which was a high profile case, and an example of police officers losing control due to, emotions and fear after this chase began after the vehicle backfired, which an officer mistook as a gunshot. Now, the suspects could have just pulled over when the officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but they did not, resulting in this chase. I would not expect police officers to not chase suspects they believed to have fired shots, or persons suspected of violent crimes, but officers should not engage in pursuits for traffic violations or minor crimes. Like I said, it sucks to let a suspect escape, but it is much worse to have a chase end in a crash that harms or kills innocent citizens when the fleeing vehicle crashes into them. Most departments now have policies greatly restricting vehicle pursuits, and almost all departments have banned firing at moving vehicles unless the vehicle is used as a weapon or is about to hit an officer.


    Rewarding officers for showing restraint and respecting the sanctity of life by presenting officers with preservation of life awards is one way of observing good judgment and courage on the part of the officer. Also, training that teaches officers to recognize when it is simply better to use time as a tool to reduce the need to use lethal force. Police officers feel a need to end a confrontation quickly and decisively-there is a feeling of “I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING, I have to end this, so something now!” I have experienced this so many times, and it is difficult to separate these feelings from discretion, especially when adrenaline is pumping. It is often better to try and wait a suspect out, to not force a resolution to a confrontation, which often results in the use of force when using time could result in a suspect surrendering without the use of force.


    In my sixteen years as a police officer, 8 of which as a supervisor, I was a defensive tactics instructor for ten years, as well as a taser instructor for 10 years, I have trained over 100 officers in the use of force, and i have tried to instill patience and restraint in these officers. I also stress respect when dealing with people, which i have found to be instrumental in reducing the need to use force. I have a very low record of force, and when i have used force, there is little question that it was necessary, and i used the least amount of force to end the confrontation without significant injury to the suspect. I have used hand to hand techniques on suspects that were wielding knives, and even one guy with a machete. I have been cut by a subject with a knife, and had to tell my pregnant wife that I had to undergo aids and hep c testing for six weeks because the knife i was cut by was also used to cut the suspect and was covered in his blood. The suspect only suffered a broken wrist and some cuts and scrapes to his face. I did not use the best judgement when grabbing the suspects knife hand, but I felt it was necessary to prevent the subject from killing himself. I tell this story because there are many incidents in which police officers have used lethal force in subjects that were only a threat to themselves. That makes little sense to me when officers use lethal force on a suicidal subject that presented no threat to anyone but themselves. This is another example of when CIT training can de-escalate a situation without using force.


    I know this was a monster of a post, but it is a complicated subject that requires a lot of discussion on many different aspects when considering the use of force by police officers, Especially the use of lethal force. I hope you can recognize and respect the complicated considerations that go into an officer’s use of force. I know this topic will inevitably include the “he just wanted to go home to his family” but put yourself in these situations, and look at it from the officer’s perspective.


    Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I appreciate and respect your opinions on this important topic, and I hope you respect my opinions as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  8. Protectandserve

    Protectandserve Black Belt

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    For the sake of background knowledge for us here's my bio (edited to keep some internet anonymity due to agency policies on social media)

    I've been a patrol officer for a decade now. I work with our K9 units as an agitator, have attended numerous extra courses during my career such as Tactical Combat Casualty Care, 3 day UASI Active Shooter Response, Terrorism Liaison Officer, several UoF courses, explosive recognition, Drug Abuse Recognition, and various others. All told I probably have several hundred hours of additional course based training on various subjects. My agency does quarterly training with use of force, simmunitions, law updates, pursuit driving, etc.

    I've been in a few knock down drag out fights, one of which sent both me and the suspect to the hospital. I've used my Taser several times some successes and some failures. Used my ASP(expandable baton) and thrown down with people. I've also deployed the 40mm against a subject armed with various knives. No OIS's, just been late to the scene for some outside agency shootings.

    Been in several pursuits as well.

    I was in the Army National Guard for several years as a 35D, All Source Intel Officer, and deployed to Afghanistan in support of OEF. During my deployment I ran a SCIF, trained Afghan Police in several subjects. My deployment was not doing combat patrols or anything like that. I mostly sat in an office, trained some Afghan cops and provided overwatch/Guardian Angel for our contractors while they did their thing with the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army. Got rocketed a few times but was never under any enemy fire. Got out as a Captain.

    Personally, I have an MMA and BJJ background but have not been training regularly lately due to various personal issues. I have a Blue Belt in BJJ, a few pankration fights under my belt and about 7 years total training in MMA/BJJ.
     
  9. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre President of the War Room

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    To be clear, these are court precedents?
     
  10. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre President of the War Room

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    To me it's not clear 1.69 seconds is too little time to process visual stimuli and adjust. How long does it take in baseball for the average pitch to reach home plate?
     
  11. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre President of the War Room

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    If the facts are as you stated, I'm not seeing the controversy here.


    That sounds hard to believe.


    This is certainly central to the issue. I've no interest in limiting my right to self-defense in order to make things marginally safer for cops and law-breakers who wind up getting shot.
     
  12. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre President of the War Room

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    I thought tasers were pretty much standard issue at this point. Are they that expensive?

    And yeah, police can't utilize options they don't have.


    Amen to this. If tasers are cost-prohibitive then I wonder about this type of training being in most departments' budgets.
     
  13. Protectandserve

    Protectandserve Black Belt

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    You would be amazed and absolutely dismayed at how little money is allocated for advanced and ongoing training.

    Many agencies shoot once a year for quals and it is simply punching paper. Many don't have Tasers or bean bags or 40mm launchers.

    I work in Southern California, we have guys who lateralled to us and were amazed how much training budget we have. And that is southern California agency to agency laterals.
     
  14. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre President of the War Room

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    Training and patience are once again applauded. At this point though I need to ask about temperament of people who choose to become police officers. From an insider's perspective, what percentage of cops are the abusive hotheads that many of us stereotype law enforcement as?


    I've never understood this either. What's the usual rationale that clears the cop of homicide in that sort of instance?
     
  15. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre President of the War Room

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    What makes up the bulk of police training?

    What exactly is a lateral?
     
  16. Protectandserve

    Protectandserve Black Belt

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    A lateral is an agency to agency transfer. For example you start your career with Los Angeles PD and transfer to say Anaheim PD. You come as an officer with experience from your old agency, are already certified with POST (Police Officer Standard Training) Certification and basically just need to learn how to be a cop in that city. You start same as any rookie, you do a few months of Field Training, then are on your own for about a total of a year to 18 months probationary period. Then on your own completely. Probationary period just means you can be let go or fired at any time for any reason.

    Police training in CA is an academy and is about 4 months long. It focuses on law, application of case law, search and seizure, etc. You do some work on patrol tactics, car stops, pursuit driving, etc. You do physical fitness everyday, defensive tactics almost every day and large chunks of classroom time. Range time at the academy is like a week or two. We shot pistol and shotgun at my academy. My academy also gave basic traffic investigation (you can cite at crashes) and Radar/LIDAR.

    FTO is where you learn the ropes. A training officer basically shows you how to do it, walks you through it, runs you through it and then lets you do it on your own in each of the respective phases of training.

    There are minimum training hours you need to complete a year at your department. If you just did the minimum you really don't learn anything new.
     
  17. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre President of the War Room

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    How often are people dismissed because of inability to complete any of the various forms of training?
     
  18. nhbbear

    nhbbear Duty Belt

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    Ok, so this is where it gets tricky. First, I will answer as a defensive tactics instructor. It is tactically unsound to close the distance and force a confrontation. You put yourself at risk, and are basically putting yourself in a situation where the subject either gives up, or you shoot and kill them.

    As for court precedents, again, tricky. It’s always a case by case basis because every incident is unique. Juries can go either way, but to nail down a precedent that is always, well, almost always, followed is that any use of force by a police officer is a fourth amendment seizure. I know it sounds funny to call a police shooting, or even an arrest, a fourth amendment issue, but that is how the scotus has determined all cases involving the removal of the freedom of a citizen by a police officer, either by arrest, force, or death-the issue involves the fourth amendment-which is the right to be free of unreasonable searches or seizures. It also details search warrants, but the important aspect here is the “unreasonable seizure.”

    Now, how do we(the courts) determine if the seizure is unreasonable? Let’s look at the Laquan McDonald incident as it relates to the 4th amendment. There are two cases that were ruled on by the Supreme Court, and are the most important case law when looking at the use of force by a police officer, especially lethal force.

    I apologize that this will be brief, and a bit unpolished, but it should cover the issue at hand.

    So the first case is Graham v Connor was decided in 1989. It involved Graham, who was a diabetic and needing sugar, going into a convenient store to buy oranage juice. He decided the line was too long and quickly ran out and got into a vehicle as a passenger. Connor was a police officer on patrol, who witnessed Graham’s exit of the store. He believed that graham could have possibly just robbed the store, or at least stole something. He stopped the car and had another officer go back and check. While waiting , Graham began to act strange, and ran around the car. Thinking he was on drugs, and still not knowing if a robbery had occurred, Connor attempts to handcuff Graham due to his behavior. Basically, a struggle ensued, and Graham was fucked up(broken foot and dislocated shoulder).

    What came from this case was the reasonableness test/guidelines/the Graham factors. The court found that “reasonableness of a seizure requires a careful balancing of the nature and quality of the intrusion on the individual's Fourth Amendment interests against the countervailing governmental interests at stake.”

    Now what the hell does all that mean? Well, to oversimplify things, the most important aspect is that the court will look at the actions of the police officer and weigh them against whether a “reasonable” officer would act the same way if they were in that situation, without the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. That means that the court can not judge the officer by what is learned after the incident is over. You can’t say “the officer was not justified in shooting this subject because he was holding a bb-gun.” You can only use what information the officer had available to them during the event, not what info came out after.

    Also, the officers level of force has to equivalent to the threats posed by the suspect and to the suspected crime. Basically, the more serious the crime, the more leeway officers have in regards to use of force. Withstanding a completely cooperative suspect(we will say the suspect ran and then struggled with officers) an officer can use more force to subdue a suspected murderer than they could use against a shoplifter. Also, an officer can justifiably use more force against a large and dangerous suspect over a 100 lb female or teenager. Also, is the suspect actively fighting, resisting, or fleeing from officers?

    So, those are the Graham principles.

    Next is Tennessee vs Garner. This is sometimes called “the fleeing felon rule.” Now, the original “fleeing felon law” stated that an officer could shoot a suspect(even in the back) if they were suspected of a felony. Now, after the Garner incident, that was greatly modified.

    The Garner incident is as follows(real brief, here) that a 15 year old boy(Garner) broke into a house. Police officers arrived and Garner fled our the back door. Officers ordered him to stop, but he began to climb a fence to get away. Citing the “fleeing felon rule” one of the officers shot Garner in the head, killing him.

    The court found that the use of deadly force was the most serious fourth amendment seizure. Now, in order for that seizure to be valid, the officer must be able to demonstrate that the person the force is used against must be suspected of a serious, violent crime. They must be considered an immediate threat to the public should they be allowed to escape. The officer must be able to show that the use of deadly force is in the interest of the state, and that interest must outweigh the subject’s fourth amendment rights.

    So to make this really simple, the officer must prove that the suspect is involved in a violent felony, and their escape would put the public at risk.

    So, anytime we have a police shooting, the court will look at the Graham factors and Tennessee vs Garner.

    The court will look at what the subject is suspected of, did they pose and immediate threat, would a reasonable police officer-given only the information available to the officers on scene, make the same decision to use lethal force.

    So looking at the Laquan McDonald case, he was suspected of causing a disturbance, vandalism(slashing tires with a small knife), neither of which is a violent felony. Now, could a subject high on pcp(he was jacked on pcp) armed with a small knife be a potential threat? Hell yes! But, an immediate threat-not the “what if game” as in “what if this guy runs and breaks into a house and guts an entire family!!??” Nope! You have to prove that this suspect is violent and pose and IMMEDIATE THREAT. Officer Van Dyke shot Laquan in the back 16 times and he did not pose an immediate threat, nor was he suspected of any real violence-had he stabbed someone, it would be a different situation, but he did not. So this case fails the TN vs Garner test. And a reasonable officer would not shoot the kid in the back 16 times-there were eight officers closer to Laquan than Van Dyke who chose not to use deadly force. So it fails the reasonableness test. And the force used(deadly) is way too much to stop a high kid that was yelling and caused some property damage. He was ignoring commands and while he was not fleeing, he was walking away-but again, no violent crime committed! So he failed the Graham principles.

    Ok, now apply these factors to all police shootings and you will have a better understanding.
     
  19. Protectandserve

    Protectandserve Black Belt

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    We have been as high as a 60 to 75% attrition rate for new trainees. Some hiring groups are better and maybe 1 in 5 dont make it.

    They fail for a variety of reasons. Poor report writing, poor officer safety, inability to talk with the public and interact.

    Laterals maybe 10% who leave to go somewhere else, usually cause they don't like how the department operates.
     
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  20. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre President of the War Room

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    In terms of rules cops need to apply when someone is resisting, don't they shift radically if "resisting" is pulling out of the officer's grasp vs. taking a swing?


    Wow. That's far more than I would have guessed. Kinda gives me hope. :)
     
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