I’m an Outlaw, Quick on the Draw

More disturbing news from Ferguson:

The FBI has questioned a man who says he recorded audio of gunfire at the time Brown was shot by Ferguson police on August 9, the man’s attorney told CNN.

In the recording, a quick series of shots can be heard, followed by a pause and then another quick succession of shots.

Forensic audio expert Paul Ginsberg analyzed the recording and said he detected at least 10 gunshots — a cluster of six, followed by four.
The funeral of Michael Brown The funeral of Michael Brown

“I was very concerned about that pause … because it’s not just the number of gunshots, it’s how they’re fired,” the man’s attorney, Lopa Blumenthal, told CNN’s Don Lemon. “And that has a huge relevance on how this case might finally end up.”

The man, who asked that his identity not be revealed, lives near the site of the shooting and was close enough to have heard the gunshots, his attorney said.

Ten shots. Take it away, of all people, Mark Steyn:

In Ferguson, both parties agree that the first shot was fired from inside the car. The rest were fired by the officer when he’d got out of the car, with Chief Jackson conceding there could have been ten bullets fired. For purposes of comparison:

    In 2011 the German police fired 85 bullets. That’s all of them. The entire police force. The whole country. Eighty-five bullets in one year. That’s seven bullets per month. One bullet for every million German citizens.

So the Ferguson PD used as many bullets on Michael Brown as the Polizei used on ten million Germans. But, by American standards, that’s relatively restrained. The same year as those German figures – 2011 – the Miami PD blew through the Polizei’s annual bullet allowance on just one traffic incident:

    Police killed Raymond Herisse, 22, of Boynton Beach in a barrage of gunfire after they said he refused an order to pull over while speeding down a crowded Collins Avenue in his Hyundai…

    Twelve officers – from Miami Beach and Hialeah – unleashed more than 100 rounds at Herisse, police said. The hail of bullets also struck and wounded three bystanders.

By comparison, those 85 German bullets per annum were aimed somewhat more precisely:

    85 Patronen verfeuerten Polizeibeamte in Deutschland im Jahr 2011 bundesweit auf der Jagd nach Verbrechern, 49 davon waren Warnschüsse. 36-mal gaben die Polizisten gezielte Schüsse ab. Dabei wurden 15 Personen verletzt und sechs getötet, wie aus einer Statistik der Deutschen Hochschule der Polizei im westfälischen Münster hervorgeht.

That’s to say, of those 85 bullets, 49 were warning shots. America no longer does “the warning shot”. But whatever happened to “the shot”? With the 36 non-warning bullets fired by German police that year, they killed six people and wounded fifteen. That’s a bullet-and-three-quarters per target. Whether shooting to kill or to disable, they’re trying to do it with a single shot. American policing takes a third of Germany’s annual bullet allowance just to off a dog:

    In July, three officers fired 26 shots at a pit bull that had bitten a chunk out of an officer’s leg in a Bronx apartment building. And there have been other episodes: in 1995, in the Bronx, officers fired 125 bullets during a bodega robbery, with one officer firing 45 rounds.

Just what happened on Saturday is still being investigated. Police experts, however, suggested in interviews yesterday that contagious shooting played a role in a fatal police shooting in Queens Saturday morning. According to the police account, five officers fired 50 shots at a bridegroom who, leaving his bachelor party at a strip club, twice drove his car into a minivan carrying plainclothes police officers investigating the club.

    The bridegroom, Sean Bell, who was to be married hours later, was killed, and two of his friends were wounded, one critically.

Three months ago I asked this question:

    Are American civilians so different from Europeans or Aussies or Kiwis or Canadians that they have to be policed as if they’re cornered rebels in an ongoing civil war?

A startling number of American readers wrote to say, with remarkable insouciance, that the US could not afford the luxury of First World policing. Large tracts of America had too many illegal immigrants, drug gangs, racial grievances, etc. Maybe. But the problem is that, increasingly, this is the only style of law enforcement America’s police culture teaches – not only for the teeming favelas, but for the leafy suburbs and the rural backwaters and the college-town keg party, too.

Which is to say that one day, unless something changes, we will all be policed like Ferguson.

Black people already are…

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103 replies
  1. 1
    blindtrust says:

    The philosophy of policing in much of America seems to be: instantaneous and total obedience to all instructions on pain of death. There is nothing in between.

  2. 2
    Chris says:

    So the Ferguson PD used as many bullets on Michael Brown as the Polizei used on ten million Germans. But, by American standards, that’s relatively restrained.

    You know, ever since this started, I’ve been thinking that this is why the British don’t arm their cops with guns except for a few restricted units. Not that cops without firearms can’t still find ways to be assholes, but it’s a lot less likely to be terminal.

  3. 3
    Cervantes says:

    @blindtrust:
    @Chris:

    It’s sickening.

  4. 4
    Ol'Froth says:

    Just as an aside, there’s a very good reason for not firing a warning shot. That bullet has to come down eventually, and who knows where?

    That said, some officers are far to quick on the trigger.

  5. 5
    Gin & Tonic says:

    According to an article in this week’s Economist, for the latest avialble year they have data for, there were 409 deaths from police shootings in the USA. By contrast there were 8 in Germany, 0 in Great Britain and 0 in Japan.

  6. 6
    Diana says:

    this might be more support for the argument that our crime comes from all the lead poisoning we’ve injected into our atmosphere, for the guys making the training decisions for our police forces are in the prime cohort for leaded gas inhalation. I’m not sure re German gasoline, but I know the country has been on a clean “Energiewende” for a while…..

    Pollution kills, it seems. Literally.

  7. 7
    KXB says:

    US cops can make the point that US criminals are far better armed than criminals in Japan, the UK, or Germany. Of course, none of those nations have a gun manufacturing lobby that prevents any law that restricts any type of weapon from being bought by civilians.

  8. 8
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    With the 36 non-warning bullets fired by German police that year, they killed six people and wounded fifteen.

    The German police are far more accurate shooters than American police.

  9. 9
    Citizen_X says:

    A startling number of American readers wrote to say, with remarkable insouciance, that the US could not afford the luxury of First World policing. Large tracts of America had too many illegal immigrants, drug gangs, racial grievances, etc.

    WTF? Like those countries don’t have drug trafficking, race conflicts, or lots of poor immigrants, huh?

  10. 10
    RaflW says:

    I was with Steyn until the end. When it’s suddenly a murderous, steamy jungle of immigrants and drug dealers everywhere outside the perimeter of his leafy, college educated gated suburb. Suddenly my reaction is fuck you, Mark, even though your initial analysis is great.

    There does seem to be something terribly wrong with our police. They are not interested in disabling anyone who is a suspect. They want them dead, deader, deadest. Every time. No chance to stay alive and offer alternative testimony.

    Like: “I was drunk after my bachelor party and absolutely cop to DWI, but the officer capped my knee which seemed a tad excessive.” Nope, Sean Bell is unable to testify, except silently, and only to the extreme violent tendencies of the police after being capped 50 times.

    We have a very sick police culture.

  11. 11
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    But remember, all those shots were necessary. Michael Brown was armed with his massive hulking thug body. LInda Chavez told me so.

  12. 12
    Chris says:

    @KXB:

    Of course, none of those nations have a gun manufacturing lobby that prevents any law that restricts any type of weapon from being bought by civilians.

    Arms dealers are to America what drug dealers are to Mexico.

    You know those Hollywood movies where an American or British cop or secret agent turns up in this corrupt third world nation where the drug dealer/terrorist/wev owns the place and the law is whatever he says it is? I wish someone would do a remake of one of them that put the shoe on the other foot. Make the protagonist a Mexican or Central American cop. Who comes to America to capture the dealer who’s been flooding his country with guns, but finds that the American law can’t arrest him because it’s written with him in mind, and American cops are hostile and xenophobic and/or on the arms dealer’s payroll. Heck, have him pick up the obligatory Good Native who somehow suffered from the bad guy’s activities along the way.

    Wouldn’t sell in America, but hey, foreign countries make Shitty Action Movies too.

  13. 13
    Amir Khalid says:

    @KXB:
    What would the kill numbers look like, I wonder, if you counted only the situations with an exchange of gunfire between police and suspects?

  14. 14
    Roger Moore says:

    @…now I try to be amused:

    The German police are far more accurate shooters than American police.

    I’m guessing that the lower rate of fire is the cause, as much as the effect, of the better accuracy. The American police are engaged in the semi-automatic version of spray and pray, rather than the more traditional approach of taking single, carefully aimed shots.

  15. 15
    Belafon says:

    Could someone show me the crime wave that illegal immigrants are actually causing that would require guns?

  16. 16

    @Belafon: The conservative answer would be that the mere presence on American soil of people who did not follow proper immigration procedures constitutes an ongoing, enormous, crime wave.

  17. 17
    Roger Moore says:

    @Belafon:

    Could someone show me the crime wave that illegal immigrants are actually causing that would require guns?

    They can’t because it doesn’t exist.

  18. 18
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    “Spray & Pray”.

    The sure mark of someone who doesn’t know how to shoot a gun accurately or effectively.

    Commonly seen in exploitative movies about black gang members in the 1990s, this dangerous practice now seems to be standard operating procedure for police departments nationwide.

  19. 19
    drkrick says:

    @Belafon: They’re here illegaly. Do you need another crime, too? [/wingunt]

  20. 20
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Belafon: Wow, Steyn’s readers are totes racist! Who knew?

    The argument is bullshit. I live in an area where the population is about one-third immigrant and the local cops fit the Andy Taylor mode, which works just fine.

  21. 21
    SP says:

    When the legions of cops from around the northeast were hunting down the marathon bomber, who was hiding inside a boat, the cops several times ended up in firefights with themselves- the bomber never actually shot at them while he was hiding. They shot off dozens of rounds in pretty dense residential areas (think 40 foot lots with triple deckers.) I’m surprised no one was hurt during that.

  22. 22
    Belafon says:

    @drkrick: (I know you’re being sarcastic) That’s why I added the “that would require guns?” I know some undocumented people, and their work really hard at keeping their heads down and staying out of trouble.

  23. 23
    Amir Khalid says:

    @SP:
    I’d ask if any officers were punished for this incompetent, undisciplined, and dangerous behaviour; but I fear I already know the answer.

  24. 24
    beth says:

    @SP: I remember seeing a photo someone posted of a bullet hole in the wall of their apartment from the first shootout in Watertown. It looked like the apartment was on the second or third floor. I remember thinking at the time how bad a shot do you have to be to aim at a person in the street and have your bullet travel that far up?

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    “Now, would you like to learn how to shoot?”
    “I can already.”
    “Oh, I saw. It was very American. Throw enough bullets at the target and hope they hit.”

  26. 26
    GregB says:

    We’re all Bonnie and Clyde now.

  27. 27
    Ben Cisco says:

    Which is to say that one day, unless something changes, we will all be policed like Ferguson.

    At which point the issue might gain some traction because, you know, it wont be justice (or just us).

  28. 28
    Tone In DC says:

    Someone on this site mentioned this sentiment before:

    Too many people in this country consider films like “Red Dawn” and “Mississippi Burning” not to be movies, but how to videos.

  29. 29
    Elie says:

    @Citizen_X:

    ..and presumably those persons have to be shot like dogs in the street?

  30. 30
    Belafon says:

    @Chris: One of my favorite parts of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

  31. 31
    Elie says:

    @Ben Cisco:

    Actually, AlJazeera had a show on yesterday that gave the history of a couple of examples of militarized police murders during search for marijuana. The guy murdered in his bed was an 80 year old white guy. The SWAT team came in and filled him with 6 bullets while his wife was begging that they were not resisting.

    I think that the militarization of the cops and the mindsets that go with that are dangerous and must be stopped. It will effect everyone — not just the usual targets of black and brown people.

  32. 32
    kindness says:

    That the mind set of American Police departments needs to change isn’t even debateable….unless you are talking to a cop. The troglodytes love them some thug love by authorities. Unless those authorities are telling them they need to do something different. Then it’s break out the Gladsden flag and on to civil war.

    If Republicans/neocons had to live under the rules minorities & the poor have to live under, we would have had a civil war by now. Sadly there is only one end for all of it. Violent and self fulfilling prophecy.

    Myself….I prefer Estimated Prophet.

  33. 33
    WereBear says:

    A startling number of American readers wrote to say, with remarkable insouciance, that the US could not afford the luxury of First World policing. Large tracts of America had too many illegal immigrants, drug gangs, racial grievances, etc.

    Just what the heck is the appeal of pretending they live in what amounts to a war zone nation? The only reason we have these areas is because assholes like them oppress and deny and beat their chests.

    This is the slippery slope of living in denial. When the brain muscles get tired of all that pretending, they have to create the condition they pretend are the reason for their rationalizations.

    They can’t get anyone to watch the movies they make about their worldview, so we sure don’t want to live in it.

  34. 34
    Shakezula says:

    @Ben Cisco: Or your average igNoRAnt meathead will just huff and puff more about his guns and how he’s ready to fight Big Government/Brother/UN/Black Helicopters.

    Because when white Republicans use guns it makes them bullet proof.

    Depressing anecdote: Not far from where I live the mayor of a tiny city had his house raided by SWAT, his two labs were shot and he and his mother-in-law were handcuffed for a couple of hours during a drug bust gone very wrong. An internal investigation found no wrong doing on the part of the deputies who took part in the raid. The county did agree to review its procedures for sending in SWAT, but I suspect it amounted to “No white mayor shall have his house raided by SWAT teams.”

    In short, this got a lot more traction than if it had been an African-American citizen (and I think the shooting of the dogs disturbed a lot of people), but we the people are really good at not giving a shit when anyone gets boot-heeled by the police.

  35. 35
    Mnemosyne says:

    @RaflW:

    I think you slightly misread Steyn’s last paragraph — to me, it reads as though he’s skeptical of what his readers are claiming (which is where that “maybe” comes from) but doesn’t want to get sidetracked from his main point, which is that the way we do policing is killing people unnecessarily.

    And I can’t believe you made me defend Mark fucking Steyn! :-)

  36. 36
    Chris says:

    @Shakezula:

    Said this yesterday: I think a lot of white people view this the same way they view “welfare reform” and the like – oh, it’s only for These People. You know, the moochers. No one’s ever going to come for MY Social Security: they know how hard I work. I’m safe. It’s only the bad ones who have anything to worry about.

    Except, as it turns out, no. Right wing assholes with power really don’t have any qualms about fucking over white people along with everyone else.

    “First they came for the communists,” also, too.

  37. 37
    burnspbesq says:

    @Diana:

    this might be more support for the argument that our crime comes from all the lead poisoning we’ve injected into our atmosphere, for the guys making the training decisions for our police forces are in the prime cohort for leaded gas inhalation. I’m not sure re German gasoline, but I know the country has been on a clean “Energiewende” for a while…..

    Seriously? Your “theory” doesn’t account for the recency of the increase in gun use by cops. If environmental exposure to lead contributes meaningfully to the trigger-happiness of the cops, why weren’t they as trigger-happy in the 1930s, 1950s, and 1970s as they are now?

    Anecdote is not the same thing as data, but my whiter-than-white grandfather walked a beat in rough, predominantly African-American neighborhoods in Albany from 1931 to 1966 without ever discharging a firearm in the line of duty, and I suspect he wasn’t an outlier.

    Talk about reaching …

  38. 38
    sparrow says:

    @Elie: How the hell are those cops not in jail for murder?? If you march into someone’s house and shoot them while they are sleeping, not even the Ferguson police would have the balls to say it was somehow the police that was the victim… jesus.

  39. 39
    Gus says:

    hat’s a bullet-and-three-quarters per target. Whether shooting to kill or to disable, they’re trying to do it with a single shot.

    German efficiency at its best.

  40. 40
    Mandalay says:

    In Ferguson, both parties agree that the first shot was fired from inside the car. The rest were fired by the officer when he’d got out of the car, with Chief Jackson conceding there could have been ten bullets fired.

    The cops know exactly how many bullets were fired. I still cannot understand why it remains a mystery, and why the police aren’t being roasted every day for refusing to disclose that information.

    The first question every reporter should ask every cop in every interview in Ferguson is “Are you still refusing to disclose how many bullets were fired?”.

  41. 41
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    And I can’t believe you made me defend Mark fucking Steyn! :-)

    For a generally despicable piece of work, Steyn has an annoying tendency to pop up on the right side of issues from time to time. See, e.g., his persecution by provincial human rights authorities in Ontario and BC over offensive anti-Muslim crap he wrote for Macleans in the 2000s. Having him as the poster child for free speech was vomit-inducing.

  42. 42
    Chris says:

    @sparrow:

    Continuing my spree of movie references:

    “Oh, yeah, I know. It’s a free country, and I haven’t the right. But I got a badge! What’ve you got?”

  43. 43
    Jay C says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    And I can’t believe you made me defend Mark fucking Steyn!

    Yeah, I was boggled by reading this, as well. It doesn’t, of course, make up for many many years of nasty right-wing hackery; but reading this (sensible) piece in isolation, Muck Stain would be the last author I’d think of….

  44. 44
    Matt says:

    Clearly, it’s time for the police officers of America to denounce the culture of violence among their members. ;)

  45. 45
    Mike in NC says:

    @Helmut Monotreme: Plus, they’re stealing good oxygen reserved for Real Americans!

  46. 46
    Larv says:

    @Shakezula:

    Is that the Calvo case in Berwyn Heights? It was outrageous, as was the PG Co cops’ justifications for it.

  47. 47
    Mandalay says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Steyn has an annoying tendency to pop up on the right side of issues…Having him as the poster child for free speech was vomit-inducing.

    You have perfectly captured the mentality of many here. The stomach churns, the irritation grows, and the head spins when you find Steyn or Greenwald or Paul or Snowden to be correct on an issue. Or when you find Sanders or Warren or Obama or Stewart to be wrong on an issue. Because your precious, tidy view of the world gets fucked up. You simply must have your list of good guys, and your list of bad guys.

    The world ain’t that simple chum.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    A startling number of American readers wrote to say, with remarkable insouciance, that the US could not afford the luxury of First World policing. Large tracts of America had too many illegal immigrants, drug gangs, racial grievances, etc.

    I have a modest proposal here. These readers need to be found, and a single shot administered to their heads. Then we bill their families for the time and effort required to put down these rabid menaces to society.

    I think this is fair.

  49. 49
    celticdragonchick says:

    @sparrow:
    You really need to google “Robin Pratt killed in swat raid” and see what happened to her. It involves Robin on her knees pleading with the terrifying masked gunmen for her daughter and niece to be spared.

    BTW, the cop who murdered her didn’t go to jail. In fact, I found him on Linkedin pimping his Homeland security creds.

  50. 50
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mandalay: Yes, the world is filled with broken clocks that tell us the correct time twice a day.

  51. 51
    Roast Beast says:

    @Gin & Tonic: And that 409 number is almost certainly way, way low, as those are just the ones the BJS have recorded as justified shooting deaths. Eric Garner would never show up in that 409, and neither would Michael Brown if Wilson is eventually convicted of something. One of the interesting side effects of this might be better compilation of police violence stats.

  52. 52
    Elie says:

    @sparrow:

    The police report stated that the victim was standing up at the door and had a firearm ready to shoot. As the show demonstrated, that was totally a lie because all the blood was on the bed and right around the bed. There was no blood in the location that the cops said that they confronted him. Also, per the wife’s lawyers, the angle of the shots were not consistent with him standing up, but with his laying in the bed. Pieces of evidence like the man’s revolver, have been missing…

    I only know what was reported on the show, but it seems pretty flagrant and unfortunately to what we are seeing, way way too common.

  53. 53
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Larv:

    The PG police are utterly infamous for their unarmed black(and white) guy bodycount. I have heard and read stuff about that department for years.

  54. 54
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mandalay:

    The world ain’t that simple chum

    Coming from you, that’s hilarious (it’s also evidence of a complete lack of self-awareness, but that’s another story for another time).

    Who says irony is dead?

  55. 55
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mandalay:

    The cops know exactly how many bullets were fired.

    You know, in any reasonable police department, they’d know this because the officer in question was issued x rounds, and returned his weapon with x-n rounds, where n is the number of rounds he fired.

    But I doubt that in Ferguson they treat rounds with such precision, even though in the military, somehow when you go to the range it is known precisely how many rounds have been used for qualification.

  56. 56
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Elie: You can also bet that not one officer wll be punished or sanctioned in any way.

    I have said for some time that although we like to pretend we are rugged individualists, we are actually police state authoritarians at heart.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mandalay:

    Yes, I can’t imagine why people would be surprised that Mark “Multiculturalists Are The Real Racists” Steyn would not be in full-throated support of police violence against minorities. A true mystery, that.

  58. 58
    Elie says:

    @Mandalay:

    It may come out that they actually don’t know how many shots were fired. Is there an accounting for bullets from officer’s guns? We assume it was fully loaded but don’t know if the gun (now in evidence — do we know for sure?) was probably close to or empty. How well they did the ballistics investigation is not clear.

    Personally, I know its a small thing and off topic,but I would like to see all street cops in regular uniforms immediately. Kevlar vests may be ok in some situations, but no other armorware and no more fucking combat boots. Regular shoes.

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: He was armed with his invulnerable, bullet deflecting back at the shooter black skin, which was responsible for the extinction of the Southern slaveholder class by 1860.

  60. 60
    Elie says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    You are right. No charges were filed on any of the police, in this report. The wife had lawyers though — good ones — and are seeking to get justice for her and her deceased 80 year old husband.

  61. 61
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Elie: The guy was Eugene Mallory. Apparently the LAPD released his body to out of state relatives who had him cremated instead of to his own wife.

    WTF???

    Also, the police are still claiming he was pointing a gun at them.

  62. 62
    Elie says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    I am beginning to wonder how many cops are undiagnosed psychopaths. Are people given psychological tests when they enter and graduate from police academies and then periodically thereafter? If not, they should be. Some of this stuff — the bullying, the gratuitous assaults — sound more sick than anything else. Sick like wired differently than normal.

  63. 63
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Kind of like how Tryavon Martin was “armed” with the ground he was walking on. Who knew that the sidewalk constituted a weapon?

  64. 64
    Elie says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    You are right — that was it. Sick.

  65. 65
    Elie says:

    It seems that the police are in general, afraid of the communities that they police. Is training sufficient to address this? What are they being taught in police academies and what testing and evaluation of fitness is done during training and thereafter?

    Bad cops are a serious threat to democratic governance. How their behavior and performance is measured should be under regular and intense scrutiny.

  66. 66
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Elie: My dad was a correctional officer in California at a minimum security facility and he said two of the officers he worked with were outright sadists. Inmates who ran afoul of these guys tended to get trips to the hospital…but nothing ever happened to the two wackos who kept hurting people. The institutional protections for officers make it nearly impossible to get rid of cops or guards who get off on abusing power through physical force.

    Also, local pd often delivered inmates to the facility, and the cops often “found” reasons to beat the holy shit out of the inmates on the trip to the prison. This amused the cops, who got to leave the irrate, indignant and often injured new inmates to be processed by the correctional officers. The correctional officers were not so amused by getting stuck with this…but nothing was ever done about it. The local pd will absolutely back any use of force claims by their own guys against inmates.

  67. 67
    Roast Beast says:

    Wait, did my comment go to moderation because I used the abbreviation for the Bureau of Justice Statistics? Heh.

  68. 68
    samiam says:

    When are you going to move on to something else Cole like how Rand Paul has some good ideas and how awesome the latest Griftwald post was?

    Also, wtf is with these seemingly random people that show up at your house and just stay there for months at a time? Are you running some sort of half way house or something?

  69. 69
    gene108 says:

    @Belafon:

    Could someone show me the crime wave that illegal immigrants are actually causing that would require guns?

    Illegal immigrants, by their very presence in this country without proper immigration status, create a crime waive everywhere they go.

    Their existence here, flaunting our laws, is the crime waive.

  70. 70
    FridayNext says:

    GSD knows I am prepared to believe the worst about the police in the USA generally, and the incopentents in Ferguson specifically. But I am also prepared to believe the worst about CNN. It’s a tough choice, but I think I will wait a little while for confirmation from another news source before I get outraged by a “scoop” from CNN. I can be just as outraged tomorrow if this does indeed turn out to be true.

  71. 71
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Count me as another one getting tired of your murder fantasies. You want a nearby target when you start purifying the country of those who are debasing it? Look in the mirror.

  72. 72
    Amir Khalid says:

    @samiam:
    Nice new nym, derf.

  73. 73
    Trollhattan says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    New nym, same Tourette’s.

  74. 74
    beth says:

    @FridayNext: Yes, every time Don Lemon said “this isn’t confirmed yet” I was screaming at the tv “don’t you people remember the missing Malaysian airliner????” How many unconfirmed wrong stories did they put out about that? I’m sorry but running this tape without any confirmation is as bad as the guy who put out the fake X-rays of the supposedly broken eyesocket. I guess this is what passes for news these days.

  75. 75
    hoodie says:

    I am beginning to wonder how many cops are undiagnosed psychopaths.

    Or suffer from various other psychological problems. For example, police forces probably disproportionality attract and retain those subject to delusion disorders, with Dan Page being a prime example. Insular like the Catholic Church and given too much of the benefit of the doubt because of their mission, police forces have probably provided cover to sadism and other psychopathologies in much the same way as the Church provided cover for pedophiles.

  76. 76
    Someguy says:

    Grown up countries simply federalize the police. It fixes a lot of problems, when Barney Fife has to answer to somebody on the WH staff or DOJ about a fuckup.

  77. 77
    Roger Moore says:

    @Someguy:
    Centralizing control can institutionalize problems as easily as eliminate them. You only have to get a few racists in at the top to spread the problems throughout the country. If there’s a reasonable institutional solution, it’s to eliminate the obvious conflict of interest of the police investigating their own departments and turning over their cases to the same prosecutors who they normally work with.

  78. 78
    rikyrah says:

    After all,
    they invented
    Shot in the BACK WHILE RESISTING ARREST
    for us..
    Nobody’s been able to explain that to me – EVER
    but, they got away from it.
    so, why not Suicide by GUNSHOT While Handcuffed BEHIND YOUR BACK

    ……………………………………………….

    Handcuffed Black Youth Shot Himself to Death, Says Coroner
    BY HANNAH RAPPLEYE

    A coroner’s report obtained exclusively by NBC News directly contradicts the police version of how a 22-year-old black man died in the back seat of a Louisiana police cruiser earlier this year — but
    still says the man, whose hands were cuffed behind his back, shot himself.

    In a press release issued March 3, the day he died, the Louisiana State Police said Victor White III apparently shot himself in an Iberia Parish police car. According to the police statement, White had his hands cuffed behind his back when he shot himself in the back.

    But according to the full final report of the Iberia Parish coroner, which was released nearly six months later and obtained exclusively by NBC News, White was shot in the front, not the back. The bullet entered his right chest and exited under his left armpit. White was left-handed, according to family members. According to the report, the forensic pathologist found gunshot residue in the wound, but not the sort of stippling that a close-range shot can sometimes produce. He also found abrasions on White’s face.

    And yet, despite the contradictions – and even though White’s hands were never tested for gunpowder residue – the Iberia Parish coroner still supported the central contention of the initial police statement issued back in March. Dr. Carl Ditch ruled that White shot himself, and declared his death a suicide.

    In a press release issued Monday, Dr. Ditch said that based on the findings of the pathologist and investigators, it was possible for White “due to his body habitus” to manipulate the gun to shoot
    himself in the chest.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/in.....er-n185016

  79. 79
    Paul in KY says:

    @Ol’Froth: You can fire a ‘warning shot’ into the ground.

  80. 80
    beth says:

    @rikyrah: Ah, but how angelic was he? That’s really the question that needs to be answered.

    Honestly, I don’t know how this country isn’t just one big riot. Here’s another one: http://www.nbc12.com/story/259.....ign=buffer

    Watch the big tough cop put a chokehold on an older, out of shape woman.

  81. 81
    PIGL says:

    @burnspbesq: He was not fucking persecuted. The authorities applied administrative law to review and ultimately dismiss complaints filed under Human Rights legislation.

  82. 82
    Dave says:

    @Matt: It’s so ingrained in the culture. And the training that changing it will take immense time and effort. It’s also a result of valuing immediate (I say immediate because in the longer run I’m pretty sure that it has the opposite effect but it seems to be an artifact of the way that we measure impacts and yadda yadda yadda that only immediate point events have validity) safety of the officer above anyone else. Combined with a very feudal worldview that takes extreme offense at any perceived disrespect. Regardless lost track point is I was a security guard at a trauma hospital but we worked with police. And essentially the justification was because there was a single incident where a 94 year old man killed an officer in the last 50 years that it is therefore reasonable to be at all times prepared to escalate to lethal force immediately the attitude being “they” are all untrustworthy. I regret that I bit my tongue at the absurdity and fear of this statement. There are significant other problems with attitude (such as instant obedience, an officer can do no wrong, viewing civilians as sheep, viewing other citizens and not themselves as civilians in the first place, racism etc but that one struck me as particularly obviously absurd).

  83. 83
    Elie says:

    @Someguy:

    You have it exactly opposite of where the accountability should lie in my opinion. The cops need to be part of and answer to their communities. The problem here is exactly that they do not answer to their communities but to their own hierarchy.

  84. 84
    Bill says:

    I’ve been having some interesting FB discussions with cops I know. (Turns out I know more cops than I realized.) They are universally convinced Wilson is justified in killing Brown, and without fail they start their defense with something like: “Until you know what it’s like to have your life in danger every day, you can’t judge his actions.”

    Setting aside the ridiculous concept that only people who have had an experience can judge the actions related to that experience, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: cops are really afraid. They fear the public as a whole. They are convinced every traffic stop has a fair chance of ending in a shoot out. They seem to think a large percentage of cops “don’t get to go home to their families” every day.

    Which begs a few questions. Where do they get these ideas? Statistics show that while their job has dangerous aspects to it, it isn’t nearly as dangerous as they seem to think it is. Is it part of their training? Is it because our media loves to focus on violent stories? Can we fix this?

    Second, is this because America is such a heavily armed country? That would actually makes some sense. But the cops I know are also mostly gun zealots who oppose gun control. I just can’t explain those two positions.

    Finally, most of these guys also like to portray themselves as badasses? Doesn’t it seriously call in to question your badassery if you need to shoot someone to subdue him? Why don’t we hear more cops saying things like; “I don’t need a gun.”

    (For the record, I realize my little sample of friends may be unscientific, but I’m seeing these themes emerging from police with such regularity that it makes me think there’s something to it.)

  85. 85
    Patrick says:

    @Bill:

    I’ve been having some interesting FB discussions with cops I know. (Turns out I know more cops than I realized.) They are universally convinced Wilson is justified in killing Brown, and without fail they start their defense with something like: “Until you know what it’s like to have your life in danger every day, you can’t judge his actions.”

    Do your cop friends have an answer as to why a whopping 10 shots were fired?

  86. 86
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    It does sound more like the cops are a bunch of Iraq war vets with the war still going on in their mind. The whole fire and keep on firing sounds like military tactics and not policing. It would be interesting to see if what the trend in this is over time.

    I can see the “no warning shots” rule, that bullet has to end up somewhere and it could easily be in someone.

  87. 87
    Visceral says:

    @Someguy: RE: federalizing police forces, South Africa had a national police force, complete with “cabinet level” Minister of Police. While they still do, it’s clearly no defense against a rotten culture. It also frequently led to officers getting “deployed” to faraway parts of the country, which would not help the goal of strengthening ties between the community and the cops.

  88. 88
    Bill says:

    @Patrick: Yup: “We are trained to take out the threat.”

  89. 89
    Patrick says:

    @Bill:

    Trained? Sounds like they are not trained at all…

  90. 90
    Dave says:

    @Bill: It’s probably a mix of training and confirmation bias they hear about every single case that ever happens repeatedly. I’ve been in far more firefights, ambushes etc than the well any officers that weren’t overseas and I don’t have their attitude so I’m not very forgiving of it at all.

  91. 91
    Elie says:

    @Patrick:

    This to me is full evidence of defensive protecting of their hierarchy. If this is your community, you can at least voice how they must feel or their reaction to such a one sided outcome. But no, there is only one side to this from their perspective. This of course reinforces these same decisions and subsequent actions since they seem to have no way to check and question their own behavior and decision making. For that reason, they absolutely must be demilitarized and put back into beat officer clothing. Maybe they should also be psychologically and socially tested once a decade to see what we are dealing with.

  92. 92
    Elie says:

    @Bill:

    The “threat” are also citizens that they have sworn to protect! What are they taught in police academy? That the citizens are the enemy? That is how they behave and drives their decision making. This is completely unacceptable.

  93. 93
    Visceral says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: The “keep shooting until the body hits the ground” method is motivated by lack of faith in LEOs’ marksmanship in the field … as opposed to in the shooting range. They’re trained not to count on having made a perfect kill shot, especially against a moving target, especially when the LEO himself is moving, and especially when adrenaline is making you twitchy. When there’s more than one officer on the scene, they’re trained to never assume that any of the other officers made the kill, so they all empty their clips.

  94. 94
    wasabi gasp says:

    The pause is very short. Seems too short if in that pause a situation escalation was to be provoked by an unarmed man standing at a distance.

  95. 95
    samiam says:

    @Amir Khalid: Do you think for one second that changing my handles is a choice I am making myself…..lol. Also do you somehow believe I don’t know my patented words/phrases identify me? I wear them like a badge of honour. It makes me proud every time one of you l0sers with nothing better to do thinks you are accomplishing something by pointing it out.

  96. 96
    samiam says:

    @Amir Khalid: I’m being totally serious now. What kind of a person goes through the comments on BJ looking for people? Seriously. wtf do you think you are accomplishing? What kind of battle do you see going on in that head of yours? I just cannot imagine (and I am being totally honest here) how big a l0ser a person has to be to spend their time doing that.

    It’s facinating to me the sorts of things people are willing to waste precious time on.

  97. 97
    Hal says:

    @Bill:

    They are convinced every traffic stop has a fair chance of ending in a shoot out. They seem to think a large percentage of cops “don’t get to go home to their families” every day.

    Which is fundamentally false. Being a police officer carries a certain amount of inherent protection in that people know the lengths cops will go to if one of their own was killed on the job. People who have shot cops have been known to wind up dead in custody. I think most real criminals would avoid killing a cop at all costs.

    Also:

    Here are occupations more dangerous than being a police officer. Number of deaths per 100,000 employed:

    Logging workers: 127.8
    Fishermen: 117.0
    Aircraft pilots: 53.4
    Roofers: 40.5
    Garbage collectors: 36.8
    Electrical power line installation/repair: 29.8
    Truck drivers: 22.8
    Oil and gas extraction: 21.9
    Farmers and ranchers: 21.3
    Construction workers: 17.4

    http://thefreethoughtproject.c.....try-tanks/

  98. 98
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Americans really don’t like being told that in spite of the right to keep and bear arms, they’re mostly terrible gun owners.

    @Visceral:

    It also frequently led to officers getting “deployed” to faraway parts of the country, which would not help the goal of strengthening ties between the community and the cops.

    That’s the gendarmerie model, where the aim is to prevent policing that’s shaped by local loyalties and prejudices, and the devil there is in the implementation. It’s pretty clear that small-town police departments are often shitty good-ol-boy operations, and hiring policies can accentuate that even if the cops aren’t from the area, so I’m more inclined towards larger forces with tiered authority like the RCMP.

  99. 99
    Rafer Janders says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    Per Wikipedia:

    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) (French: Gendarmerie royale du Canada (GRC), literally ‘Royal Gendarmerie of Canada’; colloquially known as the Mounties, and internally as ‘the Force’) is both a federal and a national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal, provincial, and municipal policing body. The RCMP provides policing services to all of Canada at a federal level, and also on a contract basis to the three territories, eight of Canada’s provinces (the RCMP does not provide provincial or municipal policing in either Ontario or Quebec), more than 190 municipalities, 184 aboriginal communities, and three international airports.[7]

  100. 100
    FlyingToaster says:

    @SP: True.

    Last fall there were still bullet holes in houses on Laurel. The backyard boat on Franklin was trashed by the cops shooting at it — and the kid was inside, bleeding out and had abandoned the gun in his car on the other side of School Street.

    At least the terrorporn tourists didn’t come back this summer.

    @beth: Well, there’s a reason that Watertown added a shooting range in the basement of the new police station :) The Cambridge cop who nearly died in that shootout was hit by friendly fire; around 200 rounds were fired during that incident, and I believe 5 of them were determined to come from Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s pistol.

    The biggest problem in Watertown was that it’s small and densely populated. It was flooded with cops from Cambridge, Belmont, Boston, Newton and Boston (the neighboring municipalities), all of them hunting for the cop-killers (the MIT cop who was shot dead before the carjacking). Nobody knew where the heck they themselves were, let alone where the other cops were, and nobody was in charge, until about dawn when the Staties set up the command post in the Target (Watertown Mall) parking lot.

    One of the reports now circulating here is about training police officers to work with the neighboring towns, like our fire departments do. So that you don’t just drive over the town line and pull out your gun without knowing who the incident commander is and where they want you.

  101. 101
    Elie says:

    @Hal:

    Well we don’t want real facts getting in the way of what we BELIEVE now, would we?

    Again, its sad but policing may be attracting the wrong people and doing little to mitigate that with appropriate training and assessment. The first words a new police officer should hear is YOU WORK FOR THE PUBLIIC – THE CITIZENS IN YOUR PRECINCT. NEVER FORGET THAT!

  102. 102
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    @samiam:

    Holy shit, you are the most kettle-looking pot I have ever seen. Cole wouldn’t take you to the prom – we get it! Please get over it.

  103. 103
    Marc says:

    It seems to me that an officer involved in a shooting should be subject to an immediate drug test. In my city, it’s common knowledge that a good portion of the officers on street duty are heavy anabolic steroid users, it’s surprising (or perhaps not) that this hasn’t been looked at more carefully.

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