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Author Topic:   Police Shootings
Percy
Member
Posts: 17667
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 1 of 155 (830479)
03-31-2018 9:45 AM


Recent events have pushed me over the top and changed my mind:

  • The recent shooting death of Stephon Clark at the hands of Sacromento police.

  • The recent decision that there will be no prosecutions in the shooting death two years ago of Alton Sterling at the hands of Baton Rouge police. One police officer has been fired, and they're being sued of course.

  • And I'll throw in the shooting death of 12-year old Tamir Rice back in 2014 by Cleveland police in a park. Cleveland settled for $6 million, here's the video:

If police think their lives are threatened they have the right to shoot you to death. It almost never happens that authorities rule the police were wrong and reckless in believing their lives were threatened. Day or night, but especially at night if you're carrying anything that glints (like a cellphone - white cellphones might be safer than black - AbE: OMG, Stephon Clark's cellphone was white - so much for the misidentification as a gun being due to the glint off a shiny black surface) then police will think their lives are threatened, shoot you to death, and suffer no penalty. Often the municipalities are sued and settle for large sums, but this is no remedy for death. Not shooting people to death is the remedy.

One thing seems clear: If you're carrying a cellphone and are ordered by a police officer, "Put the gun down," you likely would not do anything. You would be confused. If you raised your hand to show you had no gun you would be shot. Police need to improve how they determine when they're threatened.

I think many times the police are placed in untenable situations having to make rapid fire decisions based on incomplete information, but just the same, it is wrong that there are people in our midst whose mission is to serve and protect but who have the right to shoot us with impunity. Maybe knowing that they'll be held personally accountable will force both top-down and bottom-up change to the way police are trained. Taking their guns away would also go a long way toward preventing deaths and confrontations.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : AbE.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by xongsmith, posted 03-31-2018 1:35 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply
 Message 3 by NoNukes, posted 03-31-2018 3:08 PM Percy has responded
 Message 63 by Hyroglyphx, posted 06-21-2018 2:22 AM Percy has responded

    
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 1854
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009


Message 2 of 155 (830498)
03-31-2018 1:35 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
03-31-2018 9:45 AM


If only they could just set their phasers on Stun. Or have Goldfinger's women pilots spray over the scene with the sleeping gas....

Maybe just use those sleeping weapons they use to bring down an escaped gorilla or lion into custody...


- xongsmith, 5.7d

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Percy, posted 03-31-2018 9:45 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

    
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 155 (830502)
03-31-2018 3:08 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
03-31-2018 9:45 AM


I think many times the police are placed in untenable situations having to make rapid fire decisions based on incomplete information

The situations are sometimes even less defensible than that. Police often put themselves in untenable situations through bad decision making, get "fearful" and then shoot their way out of those situations. The Tamir Rice shooting certainly fits that description, and we've certainly seen many others that fit my description. Usually, police officers who do shoot people in those situations don't lose their jobs.

One thing seems clear: If you're carrying a cellphone and are ordered by a police officer, "Put the gun down," you likely would not do anything.

Are you kidding me? If I hear that, I'm going face down it the dirt and I'm making snow angels. "Please put your knee in my back officer"

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Percy, posted 03-31-2018 9:45 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Percy, posted 03-31-2018 4:29 PM NoNukes has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17667
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 4 of 155 (830503)
03-31-2018 4:29 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by NoNukes
03-31-2018 3:08 PM


NoNukes writes:

One thing seems clear: If you're carrying a cellphone and are ordered by a police officer, "Put the gun down," you likely would not do anything.

Are you kidding me? If I hear that, I'm going face down it the dirt and I'm making snow angels. "Please put your knee in my back officer"

Yeah, maybe that's best. I'd definitely be confused. I would not recall this discussion and think, "Oh, he thinks my cellphone is a gun, I'll put it down." I would think, "Someone's got a gun? Who? Where? Do I need to take cover?
What, he's talking to me? What gun? Etc..."

Life is so precious that many states and countries refuse to take it away even from criminals who have committed the most heinous acts. In those states here in the US that do have capital punishment it takes years for the legal process to run through the appeals that attempt to guarantee a mistake is not made. Yet police who are only human and who make mistakes can take life away in an instant and almost never face true accountability.

But it's not 100% dismal. This Newsweek article says there were "an average of 390 justifiable homicides by police each year" from 2000 to 2014, while this CNN article says, "Between 2005 and April 2017, 80 officers had been arrested on murder or manslaughter charges for on-duty shootings." Only 35% were convicted, which would be 28, with the remaining being pending or not convicted.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by NoNukes, posted 03-31-2018 3:08 PM NoNukes has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Modulous, posted 03-31-2018 10:27 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

    
Modulous
Member (Idle past 4 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 5 of 155 (830507)
03-31-2018 10:27 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Percy
03-31-2018 4:29 PM


Regarding the Sacramento shooting - with the cell phone...

quote:
Yeah, maybe that's best. I'd definitely be confused. I would not recall this discussion and think, "Oh, he thinks my cellphone is a gun, I'll put it down." I would think, "Someone's got a gun? Who? Where? Do I need to take cover?
What, he's talking to me? What gun? Etc..."

Presumably you wouldn't be committing a home invasion at 4 in the morning and subsequently being chased by the police.

I've watched the footage of that and it's a difficult one. On the one hand there were only two officers on the scene, but on the other hand one has to wonder if there aren't better ways of handling a suspected gun wielder than hiding behind a wall and peeking out and shooting the person who might have a gun.

The helicopter may have been used to keep tabs on him, although that isn't foolproof and it would be a problem if he broke into another house in order to escape/find a more defensible spot. Although it makes police lives more difficult, I think a little time trying to communicate with the suspect would have increased the probability of everyone living. "Hey dude, we think you have a gun and we don't want to shoot you. Put down whatever you have, put your hands up and let us know when that's done. Please tell us now that you understand or we will have to shoot you in the next few seconds" or something.

American police are always yelling - the idea is supposed to coerce cooperation, but sometimes it just escalates things. In any event, there really should be a cool off period in these cases I think - take the time to assess the situation before acting.

Ultimately, I feel the problem is that the police have a reasonable concern about the probability a criminal will have guns. They say that if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. But then, fewer of them will have guns and police will have less to worry about.

Here is someone with a different opinion than me, a former police officer I believe, who runs through the situation from a cop's perspective. It's interesting (it's a recording of a livestream in case you are initially confused about some of his comments).

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Percy, posted 03-31-2018 4:29 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by NoNukes, posted 04-01-2018 9:28 AM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 155 (830516)
04-01-2018 9:28 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Modulous
03-31-2018 10:27 PM


Percy writes:

Yeah, maybe that's best. I'd definitely be confused. I would not recall this discussion and think,

Modulous writes:

Presumably you wouldn't be committing a home invasion at 4 in the morning and subsequently being chased by the police.

Presumably, your skin color is not dark allowing for a higher degree of contrast between your hand and anything someone might consider a weapon.

Presumably, if you are of a darker persuasion, you don't have to remember your this conversation, because your pa warned you about this stuff often during your youth.

I've watched the footage of that and it's a difficult one. On the one hand there were only two officers on the scene, but on the other hand one has to wonder if there aren't better ways of handling a suspected gun wielder than hiding behind a wall and peeking out and shooting the person who might have a gun.

Yes. I wonder about that too.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Modulous, posted 03-31-2018 10:27 PM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17667
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 7 of 155 (830580)
04-03-2018 12:56 PM


Supreme Court Makes it Easier for Police to Shoot with Impunity
Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled against a plaintiff who charged a policer officer with using excessive force for shooting her four times, arguing that the police officer in question had the qualified immunity from excessive force lawsuits that is normally granted police officers under the right circumstances. The ruling (ANDREW KISELA v. AMY HUGHES) describes those circumstances:

quote:
In Graham v. Connor, 490 U. S. 386, 396 (1989), the Court held that the question whether an officer has used excessive force “requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each particular case, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.”

But officers were only called to the scene to check on someone's welfare, not because of suspicion of a crime. As the police officers arrived Any Hughes emerged from the house holding a knife by her side, then walked down the driveway to stand about six feet away from her roommate. Writing in dissent for both herself and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote:

quote:
Officer Andrew Kisela shot Amy Hughes while she was speaking with her roommate, Sharon Chadwick, outside of their home. The record, properly construed at this stage, shows that at the time of the shooting: Hughes stood stationary about six feet away from Chadwick, appeared “composed and content,” Appellant’s Excerpts of Record 109 (Record), and held a kitchen knife down at her side with the blade facing away from Chadwick. Hughes was nowhere near the officers, had committed no illegal act, was suspected of no crime, and did not raise the knife in the direction of Chadwick or anyone else. Faced with these facts, the two other responding officers held their fire, and one testified that he “wanted to continue trying verbal command[s] and see if that would work.” Id., at 120. But not Kisela. He thought it necessary to use deadly force, and so, without giving a warning that he would open fire, he shot Hughes four times, leaving her seriously injured.

If this account of Kisela’s conduct sounds unreasonable, that is because it was. And yet, the Court today insulates that conduct from liability under the doctrine of qualified immunity, holding that Kisela violated no “clearly established” law. See ante, at 5–6. I disagree. Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Hughes, as the Court must at summary judgment, a jury could find that Kisela violated Hughes’ clearly established Fourth Amendment rights by needlessly resorting to lethal force. In holding otherwise, the Court misapprehends the facts and misapplies the law, effectively treating qualified immunity as anabsolute shield. I therefore respectfully dissent.


What does this mean? Do not be suffering from a mental condition or be mentally ill or drunk or drugged or confused or slow when confronted with a police officer, because they can shoot you without consequence.

--Percy


    
ringo
Member
Posts: 15167
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 8 of 155 (830585)
04-03-2018 1:16 PM


To lighten the mood a bit:

I was walking home from the bus stop one night at about 12:30 AM. A few blocks from my house I saw two police cars. I live two blocks from the "worst neighbourhood in Canada", affectionately known as "the Hood", but it's very unusual to see a police car on my side of the tracks. Then, a few minutes later another police car stopped beside me. The cop asked me where I was going; I told him. He said that there were reports of somebody running around with an axe and he asked if I had seen anything; I hadn't. He asked if I had a cellphone; I did. He told me to feel free to call if I saw anything; I didn't.


An honest discussion is more of a peer review than a pep rally. My toughest critics here are the people who agree with me. -- ringo

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Coragyps, posted 04-03-2018 7:28 PM ringo has acknowledged this reply

  
Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5345
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 9 of 155 (830611)
04-03-2018 7:28 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by ringo
04-03-2018 1:16 PM


“I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK,
I sleep all night and I work all day!”

Typical Canadian carrying-on; an ax is expected!!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by ringo, posted 04-03-2018 1:16 PM ringo has acknowledged this reply

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 17667
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 10 of 155 (830688)
04-05-2018 7:06 AM


Oh, Gee, It's Happened Again, What a Surprise
I ended my last post with the sentence, "Do not be suffering from a mental condition or be mentally ill or drunk or drugged or confused or slow when confronted with a police officer, because they can shoot you without consequence." Prophetic or what? Well, no, because it was inevitable, but yesterday saw another needless fatal police shooting of a mentally ill person: NYPD cops shoot, kill bipolar black man waving metal pipe

The cops thought it was a gun, so they fired 10 shots and killed Saheed Vassell, a 34-year old Jamaica-born welder and father.

To their credit, the number of police shootings in New York City has declined year over year for a couple decades. There were 147 police shootings in 1996, 59 in 2005, 37 in 2016, and around 25 in 2017 (source). This is good news, but the police can't take much credit because shootings in general are down in New York City, not just police shootings.

I just read the Vital Signs column of the November issue of Discover magazine last night. It was about a man brought into a psychiatric hospital because he'd been found running naked down the center of the street in the middle of the night. Testing and investigating revealed no drugs, no schizophrenia, no bipolar. More testing revealed a misbehaving parathyroid gland. Removal (I think we have four, so removal of one is okay) returned the patient to normal.

What if instead of running naked down the middle of the street this man had begun threateningly waving around some object that at night police couldn't identify. If they felt threatened they'd shoot him. That's their solution. They can't take up safe positions and observe - they have to shoot.

Add to this that guns have become more lethal. The bullets are more deadly, and the guns can be fired faster. That's why shootings more and more often involve a fusillade of bullets, 10 in this case, 20 for Stephon Clark in Sacramento. Visit a bullets website and you'll see they tout stopping power and describe their ability to penetrate deeply while causing maximum damage. That's why shootings have such a high kill rate. If it seems to anyone that guns have become more and more lethal over the years, that's because it's true.

--Percy


Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by NoNukes, posted 04-05-2018 2:30 PM Percy has responded

    
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 155 (830703)
04-05-2018 2:30 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Percy
04-05-2018 7:06 AM


Re: Oh, Gee, It's Happened Again, What a Surprise
Percy writes:

This is good news, but the police can't take much credit because shootings in general are down in New York City, not just police shootings.

Please explain your logic here. While police may not be responsible for who others shoot, the police certainly have some input into who they (the police) shoot.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Percy, posted 04-05-2018 7:06 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Percy, posted 04-07-2018 5:55 PM NoNukes has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17667
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 12 of 155 (830819)
04-07-2018 5:55 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by NoNukes
04-05-2018 2:30 PM


Re: Oh, Gee, It's Happened Again, What a Surprise
NoNukes writes:

Percy writes:

This is good news, but the police can't take much credit because shootings in general are down in New York City, not just police shootings.


Please explain your logic here. While police may not be responsible for who others shoot, the police certainly have some input into who they (the police) shoot.

The New York City Police represent a tiny subpopulation of New York City. As such they are subject to the same social/environmental forces as the city as a whole. Probably the factors for the crime drop are multifaceted, but certainly a major factor for the decline in police shootings must be that the general decline in shootings and of crime in general means that the police must less often find themselves facing situations where lethal force must be considered.

I think the way reactions to police misshootings have recently become more strident is due to three factors that contribute to diminished tolerance for police misadventures in general:

  • Increased prevalence of images and videos means the police have been caught in misrepresentations and outright lies more and more often.
  • It has become increasingly apparent just how disproportionately and unfairly police attention is focused on minorities.
  • Decreased crime makes police misadventures stand out from the background more and become more attention-grabbing.

As crime rates declined across the country over the past three decades police departments tended to take credit, especially in the early years of this trend, but that wasn't it. It wasn't increased incarceration, either. We don't really know why crime declined, though there are plenty of theories. A couple decent articles are The Many Causes of America’s Decline in Crime and What Caused the Great Crime Decline in the U.S.?, both from The Atlantic, but there's lots of articles out there, just do a Google search.

My own theory about the dominant factor for the crime drop has always been demographics: The post WWII baby boom generation moved completely out of the crime-committing age range during the 1990's.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by NoNukes, posted 04-05-2018 2:30 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by NoNukes, posted 04-25-2018 10:23 AM Percy has responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 17667
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 13 of 155 (831790)
04-24-2018 5:19 PM


A Thought on the Toronto Van Rampage
About Alek Minassian's Toronto van rampage that yesterday killed 10 and injured 15 the New York Times reports:

quote:
The driver then stopped the van on a sidewalk and engaged in a tense standoff with the police, claiming to be armed and daring officers to shoot him in the head, before surrendering.

I think that had this happened in a United States city that Mr. Minassian would have been shot 20 times.

--Percy


Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Percy, posted 04-24-2018 6:19 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 17667
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 14 of 155 (831793)
04-24-2018 6:19 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Percy
04-24-2018 5:19 PM


Re: A Thought on the Toronto Van Rampage
Percy writes:

I think that had this happened in a United States city that Mr. Minassian would have been shot 20 times.

Turns out I wasn't the first to have this thought. From today's Washington Post: How do you capture a mass-killer suspect without firing a shot? Ask Toronto police.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Percy, posted 04-24-2018 5:19 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by Tangle, posted 04-25-2018 3:59 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply
 Message 17 by Stile, posted 04-25-2018 2:04 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

    
Tangle
Member
Posts: 6108
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.0


(1)
Message 15 of 155 (831850)
04-25-2018 3:59 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Percy
04-24-2018 6:19 PM


Re: A Thought on the Toronto Van Rampage
It's a cultural difference isn't it? Something to do with cowboy films and Dirty Harry.

Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Percy, posted 04-24-2018 6:19 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
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