“Less Lethal”

Reader R sent in a link to the #itsabeanbag project , which is promoting arming police with a converted shotgun that fires “less lethal” beanbag rounds.

Here’s an article that explains it pretty well, and also points out the main issue with this conversion program, which is that the shotgun is still a shotgun and can be accidentally loaded with lethal rounds. (In order to prevent this, the gun is converted to have an orange stock and pump handle with the words “Less Lethal” applied to the stock.)

I don’t know if this would have made a difference in Ferguson. I also don’t know if the officers there already had tasers, which are another “less lethal” weapon. My guess is that a panicked officer is going to reach for his gun first rather than trying to haul out a shotgun, especially when he’s sitting in a car.  I’ll let y’all hash that out in the comments.






68 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    There were cops on the line that had these shotguns.

    eta But they are for crowd control not patrolling.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Poopyman says:

    “Less lethal” has the same ring to it that “somewhat pregnant” does.

  4. 4
    bbleh says:

    Alas, I fear the problem in this and similar cases is with the programming, not the hardware.

    In other words, I think in many such cases, acculturation and conditioning lead police to consider the population — especially those parts of the population who don’t look like the police and/or are over-represented among arrests and convictions — to be inherently suspicious, dishonest, violent or criminal, which in turn makes lethal means a first resort rather than a last one. In this situation, the presence of nonlethal weaponry is no more significant than the presence of, say, negotiation or diplomacy. This is a “bad part of town” populated with bad people (who else would live here?), so shoot first and ask questions later.

  5. 5
    ARoomWithAMoose says:

    The problem with “less lethal” is it sorta guarantees an application of force will be used in situations where “command presence”, de-escalation, or simply some good ole boy aw shucks’ing would be far more appropriate.

    Think routine pepper spraying at traffic violation stops (or just routsting a homeless guy) or tazering someone who is no threat to themselves or otheres.

  6. 6
    Lee Rudolph says:

    @raven: Michael Brown was a crowd of one.

    As William Ryan observed decades ago, in Blaming the Victim, people who call for “law and order” (and people, i.e., police, that they call on to maintain “law and order”) are much, MUCH more interested in “order” than in law.

  7. 7
    danielx says:

    Interesting, but….I’ve got a problem with this whole “less lethal” label. Far as I’m concerned, there’s no such thing as “less lethal”, there’s just lethal. Granted that if you have the option you’d be better off getting hit with a beanbag or wooden slug as opposed to buckshot or (god forbid) a deer slug, if you get hit in the right (wrong) spot or at close range, or both, both beanbags and wooden slugs will kill you. Somewhat less messily than with “lethal” rounds, perhaps, but still dead. Then there’s the whole bit about a “less lethal” shotgun, the fallacy of which is obvious – ain’t no such animal, since it can still be loaded with standard shotgun rounds.

    You can almost hear the whole “mistakes were made” mea culpa routine.

  8. 8
    lol says:

    There’s a story from last year about a 95-year-old man at a nursing home who didn’t want to go to the hospital for a checkup. So naturally the staff called police who naturally stormed the room after he naturally threatened them with a giant knife which naturally turned out to be his cane because naturally the cops lie about everything and they naturally shot him point blank with a “Less Lethal” beanbag round and naturally he died shortly thereafter from internal bleeding. Just the natural way of thing, what are you gonna do?

    Edit: Was looking for a decent link about the story and found a Free Republic link. You’ll be shocked that Freepers had a completely different reaction to killing by police when the cop is black and the victim is white.

  9. 9
    greennotGreen says:

    I still don’t get why the cop didn’t just drive away. Drive down the block, call for back up if he felt threatened. At least attempt to take the perp into custody instead of executing him in the street.

    But I don’t think taking Michael Brown into custody was ever Wilson’s intention.

  10. 10
    Belafon says:

    As for the argument that “less lethal” still has the word lethal in it, the rubber bullets didn’t actually kill anyone.

    What needs to happen with these guns is that the normal police officers who are authorized to carry a shotgun should be supplied with one of these types of shotguns. Shotguns with regular rounds should only be issued to response teams.

  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    In addition to the obvious problem of racism and profiling, there’s also the fact that American cops are going to feel that they have to carry lethal weapons because the population is armed to the teeth. There’s no excuse for shooting an unarmed teenager six times, of course, but it’s not crazy for cops in the US to assume they’ll be dealing with an armed public; they often are. We won’t be able to disarm the cops until we disarm the people. Which will be never.

  12. 12
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @greennotGreen: Machismo. The cop mentality: “If I drive away/call for backup, the ghetto thug wins.” It all comes down to the p3ni$ in the end.

  13. 13
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @lol: That’s a sad story. I don’t understand why the police had to be called at all. So what if he didn’t want to go to the hospital? Wouldn’t he suffer the health consequences from his choice? I would hesitate to call the police for anything unless absolutely necessary.

  14. 14
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @Betty Cracker: How much of dealing with a population that’s armed to the teeth is real, and how much is media shitstorm? No question that the proliferation of weapons is out of control in this country, but on a daily basis, how many cops are confronted with armed suspects who have weapons drawn and who are ready and willing to attack the cop? Of those weapons that were drawn, how many were firearms? Of those firearms that were drawn, how many were mil-grade weapons that justify cops carrying the same? How many armed conflicts were provoked by the cops? How many unarmed citizens have been killed by armed cops?

    Before we start with the “poor cops who face an armed camp” meme, it might be nice to see whether that meme is true, or just more bullshit.

  15. 15
    MattF says:

    The problem with these local police forces is, generally, none of the above. The problem is the higher-ups and their ingrained views about the right way to police a community. The people in charge are the ones responsible for hiring, training, and the concept that effective crowd control requires the use of tanks and machine guns.

  16. 16
    Shalimar says:

    My guess is that a panicked officer is going to reach for his gun first

    36 non-warning shots fired by every policeman in Germany combined in 2011, more than that fired in hundreds of individual incidents in the US. Maybe part of our problem is that our officers panic so easily.

  17. 17
    Amir Khalid says:

    I wonder, by how much is that “less-lethal” shotgun less lethal than a regular shotgun? As far as I know the shock inflicted by a Taser is less likely to kill a random person in good health, but can still kill a person with a bum ticker (like, say, me).

  18. 18
    Richard Bottoms says:

    The idea is if some ordinance is going to get shot, better a beanbag than lead.

  19. 19
    aimai says:

    @greennotGreen: Right. The stop was all about simply exerting authority over both the two young men. Since that was its entire rationale as soon as the police officer’s authority was not, as he saw it, instantly respected and instantly obeyed, the entire thing spun in the direction it was always going to go–a physical attack on Brown (the closest object of the policeman’s rage) and then an escalation to an execution. If this had actually been in relationship to any real world offense–even the suposed ex post facto theft of the cigars–a sensible police officer would have radioed for backup and tried to actually arrest Brown.

  20. 20
    Matt McIrvin says:

    The St. Louis County police used all manner of these “less lethal” rounds (beanbags, rubber bullets, wooden cylinders, tear-gas rounds) on the Ferguson protestors. If you just have all the cops carry them, the big problem with them is that the police are going to feel freer to shoot people with them all the time, and they’ll occasionally kill people regardless of how less-lethal they are.

    I was just reading a discussion of the Michael Brown shooting on Facebook, and one person who claimed to be a police officer said something like “if I see a big dude like that bum-rushing me” (I know, I know, interesting assumptions there) “I’m going to make sure my FIRST shot stops him, instead of needing six, regardless of the color of his skin.” And he seemed to think that was a reasonable statement to make, that if someone is coming at you in a threatening manner, armed or not, it makes sense to immediately shoot the guy. If you’re carrying beanbag rounds that’s likely to be even more the case, and sometimes that will still kill the person coming at you.

    But the attitude seems so obviously to be a recipe for mass killing that it made me wonder exactly how we got to this point, that police think this doesn’t sound absurd and terrifying. I mean, obviously, not acting that way is more dangerous for the police, to first order. But behaving that way makes the police a danger to everybody else. The cop is appointing himself judge, jury and executioner based on a snap judgment made in a fraction of a second. Among other things, lots of Americans who might not be racist at all after prolonged reflection can become racist as hell on that time scale. But even aside from racism, it turns any police officer into a disaster waiting to happen.

  21. 21
    JGabriel says:

    mistermix @ top:

    My guess is that a panicked officer is going to reach for his gun first rather than trying to haul out a shotgun, especially when he’s sitting in a car.

    Exactly. I suspect that “less lethal” weapons merely make the use of inappropriate force more likely, while having no effect on the use of lethal force – by which I mean, the cops will still resort to lethal force in the same situations and at the same rate, but will resort to the bean bag gun more frequently rather than try to peacefully defuse a less-threatening situation.

  22. 22
    aimai says:

    @Amir Khalid: Right–and the taser and the beanbag shotgun are both going to be used (the taser definitely used) to compel obedience from many kinds of people who would not ordinarily be threatened with lethal force: elderly people, children, mentally ill people: precisely because its touted as somehow non lethal. The police and the federal government should investigate how these “non lethal” lesser modes of coercion actually replace negotiation, speech, and diplomacy. They should be understood for what they truly are: an escalation towards violent and abrupt solutions to what are most likely problems that should be handled entirely non violently (talk, waiting it out, negotiation, compromise).

  23. 23
    Drunken hausfrau says:

    @lol: FYI, that cop was charged and is standing trial. Chicago suburb. Cop is black, victim was white WWII vet. RWNJ pundit in Tribune ranted about the case for months. If the races were reversed? Crickets.

  24. 24
    TooManyJens says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I mean, obviously, not acting that way is more dangerous for the police, to first order. But behaving that way makes the police a danger to everybody else.

    This, also, I’ve got to believe that if the citizenry actually consider the police a legitimate force that’s there to serve the community rather than occupiers who will put anyone who crosses them down by any means necessary, that probably creates a safer environment for police long-term.

  25. 25
    Dave says:

    @greennotGreen: I don’t think WIlson thought at all. The details are murky but he seemed to be reacting from a mix of fear, rage, racism, and embarrassment (and rage at that). No thought. And because he didn’t have the self control to check those and because he was pretty obviously used to dealing with citizens (at least young black men) as less than him he ended up taking a life he didn’t value. He probably doesn’t admit it even to himself but I hope that Brown comes for him at night. I have nightmares sometimes about people that died fighting us. Mostly teenagers used as cannon fodder. They were “righteous” (meaningless term) kills of young men to which I’m pretty sure that it was a game who thought themselves invincible. I even remember the heady feeling that was initially caused by their death’s but they come to me in the night sometimes. And those were far more “justified” than Wilson’s act of murder could ever be.

  26. 26
    RaflW says:

    @MattF: I agree.

    Much of what is happening is related to inadequate training, including, I suspect, very little recurring training to at least try and overcome the machismo, testosterone culture that no doubt permeates American police force locker & morning briefing rooms.

    All that starts with the tone set by the mayor, chief (or sheriff), and captains on down. I understand that police officers need to project authority, but the line between authority and arrogant, aggressive asshole is far too often crossed.

    Decades ago I was drunk and lost in a seedy section of London at about 12:30 a.m., and getting quite nervous. Out of the fog (weather, not my brain…) emerged two female police officers. In short skirts and with no guns. They politely directed me towards my brother’s flat and sent me on my way.

    I cannot imagine such happening in the US. Did I believe that they could have arrested me for my drunkenness? Yes. Did they get all stiff, bossy and hard-assed? No. Because if you run your police department well, and people have non-lethal consequences for misbehaving, the position of police officer conveys authority, and the cop’s job is to live up to that but also, as cliche as it sounds, to protect and serve. Not be a dick and shoot.

  27. 27
    Dave says:

    Also on topic while I don’t inherently have an issue with less lethal methods there really needs to be a cultural change that any use of force is either a failure or at least a less ideal outcome (given that there actually are situations where force is unavoidable I won’t say failure; there are people beyond reason) but the immediate and almost casual use of pepper spray, tasers, physical violence, let alone intentionally lethal force needs to be strongly shackled.

  28. 28
    Botsplainer says:

    We should remake “The Andy Griffith Show”, with Johnny Knoxville as Anj and Pee Wee Herman as Barney.

    Barney can carry an unloaded Glock with a single bullet in his pocket, and there can be laughs galore when Barney suits up in tac gear on loan from the DoD to bust the local meth lab.

    Vince Vaughn can play Floyd the tattoo artist/body piercer.

  29. 29
    Drunken hausfrau says:

    I don’t know how to do links… If you google CBS Chicago Suburban Cop Charged Death of WWII Vet, you’ll find it. Interesting tidbit: although a bunch of police officers raided the victim’s room, charging at him… Only the black cop was charged with reckless conduct for firing the beanbag gun… But not the officers in charge or people who made decisions leading to the tragedy. Hmmmmm.

  30. 30
    Cacti says:

    I’ll join the others who say that “less lethal” rounds don’t seem to be any sort of curb to police brutality, and if anything, they seem to be a lot less reticent about using them on all comers.

    “Less lethal” rubber bullets are known to cause concussions and have put out people’s eyes. They were also used freely on reporters and peaceful protesters in Ferguson.

    Ditto for “less lethal” gas.

    The problem starts with a police force that is trained to see the citizenry as their enemy, especially non-white citizens.

  31. 31
    RaflW says:

    @aimai: I think this is the nub:

    compel obedience from many kinds of people

    As I just said above, at some point policing shifted from projecting authority to this, to compelling obedience, and when that is the standard, and shooting is the immediate response to any perceived variation from 100% obedience, we have the lethal and trigger-obsessed cops we all now live with.

  32. 32
    Dave says:

    @Amir Khalid: I agree and that is the danger of treating less lethal as something to be casually used. I don’t think it’s an inappropriate term like some state. Yes if I am hit with a less lethal device device I can die but the odds are much more in my favor. It’s almost like wearing a seat belt; there are cases where people die regardless there are probably cases where people have died that would not have but on the whole they are significantly safer and that’s worthwhile. The problem is more the causal and excessive way these methods are employed, at least in the US, they are treated as a joke or not a big deal and that’s unacceptable.

  33. 33
    Richard Bottoms says:

    It’s just a name, any projectile from a slingshot to a paper airplane can injure given just the right circumstance.

    The weapon can be loaded with hard projectiles to soft beanbag rounds. The real goal is to get the cops to think in a situation where they are going to shoot, what can be used that is less likely to kill.

    Are you really going to suggest hollow point rounds are better than a beanbag which you will almost certainly survive over bullets which will almost certainly kill you?

    It’s both and, not either or. Give cops less lethal options as well as making resolving encounters as peacefully as possible the approach that gets the highest reward from the brass not who being the best gunslinger.

  34. 34
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    The problem with “less lethal” is that it’s still more lethal than not shooting anything. So you get “lazy cop syndrome” where cops’ first response is to the “less-lethal” option, and if that doesn’t work, then there’s nowhere to go but the guns. And if there’s a culture of escalation — that cops are there to Get Stuff Done once they arrive, and things get sorted out with the latest toys off the military surplus shelf — then that’s what you end up with.

    The problem, then, is the working assumption that every police encounter is a battle to the death, especially when Those People are concerned. Now, in the US it’s perhaps because there are more crazies with weaponry, but there are plenty of situations where the best resolution is that nobody gets shot, nobody gets arrested and everybody goes home safely.

    (For instance, nobody got arrested after the Recliner Battle on that flight. Perhaps it’s because they were both white middle-aged business traveller types — we don’t know for sure, but that’s my guess.)

  35. 35
    Cacti says:

    @Richard Bottoms:

    The real goal is to get the cops to think in a situation where they are going to shoot, what can be used that is less likely to kill.

    I’d say the real goal should be to get the cops to regard the use of force as a last resort, rather than the default response for everything.

  36. 36
    RaflW says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    (For instance, nobody got arrested after the Recliner Battle on that flight. Perhaps it’s because they were both white middle-aged business traveller types — we don’t know for sure, but that’s my guess.)

    Perhaps all aboard are lucky there wasn’t an off duty cop on board.

  37. 37
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    used bad word, deleted

  38. 38
    max says:

    which is that the shotgun is still a shotgun and can be accidentally loaded with lethal rounds.

    Or intentionally loaded with lethal rounds.

    To make that work they need to build in the mods and make sure the cylinders are designed to accept only the less lethal rounds, which means a new beanbag round design. At which point they can down ground the amount of gun powder used and reduce exit velocity.

    But those wouldn’t get sold.

    @pseudonymous in nc: (For instance, nobody got arrested after the Recliner Battle on that flight. Perhaps it’s because they were both white middle-aged business traveller types — we don’t know for sure, but that’s my guess.)

    No cops!

    max
    [‘…for the nice white people.’]

  39. 39
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    goddamn FYWP

  40. 40
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    “Less Lethal” is a fucking joke, folks. Rubber bullets can kill. So can pepperballs. So can “beanbags”. So can Tasers. Teargas too. You get the idea.

    They can easily be lethal even when used according to manufacturer directions (they make a point of telling buyers this repeatedly) and when the cops start grabbing for dick substitutes because they’re scared of a crowd of unarmed people, nothing gets used according to manufacturer’s directions.

  41. 41
    Shakezula says:

    How about instead of the default assumption that police must have some sort of projectile-firing weapon to do their jobs, we look at ways to discourage cops from drawing their weapons unless they’re absolutely certain they need to kill someone?

    I know a number of people in different law enforcement jobs and the ones who retired without ever drawing a weapon are proud of it.

  42. 42

    I’ve seen beanbag rounds deployed (mama bear just can’t be allowed to teach her cub to forage within Yellowstone campgrounds).

    They work well on an animal who must be trained that Slough Creek hurts, and the presence of humans had nothing to do with it. They might work on a crowd of humans who are pulsing forward AS a crowd, or the spurt of cocktail-throwers coming out of the front of a crowd…if that condition were to ever exist.

    On OWS sitters, or a single person who could take your gun…no effect or contraindicated.

    Citizens aren’t animals.

  43. 43
    RaflW says:

    @PhoenixRising:

    Citizens aren’t animals.

    That would be the title of module one of the (re)training I think a goodly portion of our American police forces need to attend.

  44. 44
    Cacti says:

    The problem with police in this country was neatly summarized in the title of the WaPo oped:

    “I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me.”

    This article was written by a 17-year LAPD veteran.

    “Respect mah authoritay or I’ll hurt you” is the mindset trained into US cops.

  45. 45
    planetjanet says:

    I would much rather see headlines like these: “Met Chief apologizes for officer’s unlawful use of CS spray on protesters”.

    A direct, sincere apology. Granted, it was three years and after a long investigation.

  46. 46
    Punchy says:

    Maybe they could also have guns that shoot blanks, so that 99.8% of the population would stop and surrender upon hearing these “shots”, but not actually get shot by actual bullets that actually kill them.

  47. 47
    RaflW says:

    Via the LA Times, this MN public radio tidbit:

    Well, this is, according to Beverly Hills police, “unfortunate.”

    That’s the best the cops could do yesterday to explain why they handcuffed Charles Belk, a film producer who allegedly matched the description of a bank robber — large, and bald, and black.

    “The Beverly Hills Police Department deeply regrets the inconvenience to Mr. Belk and has reached out to him to express those regrets and further explain the circumstances,” the statement from police said. It also said his detention was “proper.”

    Uh huh. If the search had been for a large, bald, white guy, would they have arrested the hundreds of men who fit that description in the area? Proper my ass.

  48. 48
    Dave says:

    @Cacti: I saw that and yeah he really believes it and doesn’t see the huge problem with it. Major cultural issues there.

  49. 49
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer: Well, we know there are about 300,000,000 million guns in the US. In Florida alone, 1.4 million people have concealed weapons permits, and you don’t even need one of those to keep a gun in your glove box.

    I’m not trying to perpetuate a “poor cops face an armed camp” meme — like I said, there’s no excuse for shooting an unarmed teenager, and racism and profiling within police ranks are serious fucking problems.

    But in a country where it’s perfectly legal for any old yahoo to stroll into a gun show and walk out with an AR-15, the cops will argue that they need firepower, and not entirely without justification. Realistically, this ain’t gonna change.

  50. 50
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I think this gets more to the point:

    http://prospect.org/article/ex.....inadequate

    PW: Do you think that a controversy like this one will make police forces around the country more likely to reexamine how they do their training?

    MH: No.

    PW: It won’t make any difference at all?

    MH: No, and I’ll tell you why. Ninety percent of the police budget goes to salaries in any department. So, whatever is left is allocated to equipment and some other stuff, and nothing is left for training. The majority of police departments around the country don’t have in-service training. So if you don’t have the money, you’re not going to re-examine.

    PW: Well that’s a little depressing.

    MH: It is depressing. I’ve been writing about this for twenty years, it’s very depressing to me. [Most] police departments in the United States are not NYPD or LAPD. Police departments in the United States are exactly what we’re seeing—the Ferguson police department, fifty cops. This is the average size of a police department in the United States. So you can understand that a department of that size is not going to get any resources. This is very sad, and this is why I’ve been talking about the need to centralize law enforcement in the United States, to professionalize their response to the public, not just about use of force, but about everything.

    Giving police different equipment might help some, but it’s not going to address the central problem, which is that they’re inadequately trained and the resources don’t seem to be there to do it.

  51. 51
    Mandalay says:

    Here is a story from last week about a suicidal teenager who was killed by cops. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but apparently they initially fired three bags at him before switching to real bullets.

    This is what the aunt of the dead man said:

    “Why did it take them shooting him 16 times at least for them to bring him down and go and take care of what they needed to take care of?” Jennings’ aunt, Brandy Smith said.

    But this is what the police chief said:

    Ottawa Police Chief Dennis Butler said officers did what they were trained to do.

    “They reacted based upon the training that they’ve been given from the academy,” Butler said. “We were thankful that no officer was injured from protecting themselves from risk of great bodily harm.”

    That’s a great quote. Apart from completely ignoring the person they had killed, he managed to insert a load of the usual buzz words we hear every time the cops kill someone: officer, training, protection… The only one he missed was “safety”. Usually when the cops kill a member of the public it is all about “the safety of the public”.

  52. 52
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    [Most] police departments in the United States are not NYPD or LAPD. Police departments in the United States are exactly what we’re seeing—the Ferguson police department, fifty cops. This is the average size of a police department in the United States. So you can understand that a department of that size is not going to get any resources. This is very sad, and this is why I’ve been talking about the need to centralize law enforcement in the United States, to professionalize their response to the public, not just about use of force, but about everything.

    @Matt McIrvin: Time to federalize the police. For a lot of reasons, but this is an important one.

  53. 53
    JaneE says:

    Less lethal does not mean can’t cause death – see tasers. Also I have zero confidence that an officer would choose to use a less lethal weapon if it were available, especially if the person they are after is black. Make that less than zero confidence, I think deadly force would be their first choice.

  54. 54
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yeah, but the bottom line is that it’s mostly young African-American men that get shot by cops, and White America thinks it’s O.K.

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @RaflW:

    [A]t some point policing shifted from projecting authority to this, to compelling obedience, and when that is the standard, and shooting is the immediate response to any perceived variation from 100% obedience, we have the lethal and trigger-obsessed cops we all now live with.

    Exactly. And as I’ve been pointing out, this kind of training and attitude leads to exactly what you’d think it would: the deaths of people who are incapable of obeying, such as mentally ill people, people in diabetic shock, people who have been in accidents, etc.

    ETA: Locally here in Los Angeles, that woman who was beaten on-camera by a CHP officer? Mentally ill and incapable of obeying his orders.

  56. 56
    Nerd says:

    Less than lethal shotgun incident in Portland Oregon

  57. 57
    wenchacha says:

    My son’s best friend, who was killed by a shotgun blast to his back as he was running away from his killer, was first shot by a beanbag round. It was at close range, and embedded itself in his forearm. May have been through and through. I saw the autopsy pics, but I guess I have been able to forget some of it.

    The piece of shit who murdered him, a gun enthusiast, got away with it, and kept his guns.

    Also, any “less lethal” or “non-lethal” weapons are likely to be used other than in the way they were intended to be used. Think long-range pepper spray delivered directly to the face at close range. Or the excessive Tasering of anyone who can’t comply while they are being tasered.

  58. 58
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @greennotGreen:

    But I don’t think taking Michael Brown into custody was ever Wilson’s intention.

    The ni*CLANG* was dissing him, and there’s only one possible acceptable outcome for that situation. The dissing ni*CLANG* needs to pay with his life for his insolence.

  59. 59
    Calouste says:

    @RaflW:

    Look, if the Met goes around arresting everyone who is drunk on the streets of London, they would have to convert the Olympic Stadium into a holding pen, and even that probably wouldn’t be enough.

    Not that the Met doesn’t have its own issues with police brutality and institutional racism, but they are not militarized like the US police, officers don’t carry guns on duty as a rule, and the top brass balks at the idea of even using water cannon during riots.

  60. 60
    Schlemizel says:

    Sorry, if I had to be on the street knowing the arsenal some of these clowns I have to deal with are carrying I am not going to want to lug a giant shotgun with rubber bullets. Not to provide an excuse for the sort of trigger-happy BS we have seen more and more of recently but seriously folks, nutjobs running around with Bushmasters & AKs and home made ARs scare the shit out of me & I don’t have to confront them.

    The cops need to figure out how to train a whole lot better than they do now and we as a society have to take responsibility for the conditions we have allowed to grow. neither is going to be easy

  61. 61
  62. 62
    Betty Cracker says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: Well, too many white Americans think it’s okay. I don’t, hence my reference to the very serious problems of institutional racism and profiling. However, if the topic is how to make police encounters less lethal, I don’t think we can discount how large an obstacle our societal gun fetish is to that objective.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Nerd:

    I think that’s the wrong link — it’s from 2011.

  64. 64
    🚸 Martin says:

    A while back Maddow did a wonderful segment on non-lethal weapons and determined that they were a complete failure. Rather than use the non-lethal weapon in a situation when officers would have resorted to a lethal weapon, they only used them in situations when no weapon would previously have been used, like pepper spraying a bunch of peaceful college students.

    Bottom line, give a US police officer a weapon and they will only use it to escalate situations, not de-escalate. I won’t generalize for other nations, but it’s pretty damn clear in the US that our officers are trained to seek out situations to use the toys we give them.

  65. 65
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @🚸 Martin:

    Rather than use the non-lethal weapon in a situation when officers would have resorted to a lethal weapon, they only used them in situations when no weapon would previously have been used, like pepper spraying a bunch of peaceful college students.

    Yep, that’s the ‘lazy cop syndrome’ study that actually made it on to 60 Minutes around the same time.

    And I’m with those who think that autonomous municipal police departments with fewer than 100 officers are mostly not fit for purpose and lack both accountability and adequate training.

  66. 66
    Mayken says:

    @bbleh: This. Ain’t the hardware, it’s the software.

  67. 67
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    I would sure as hell prefer to be hit in the chest with a beanbag or rubber bullet than a regular .38 .40 or .45 shell.

  68. 68
    Ruckus says:

    @Shalimar:
    Not to bring down the party, but Germany has about 1/4 of the population of the US and not nearly the proliferation of guns that we do. The numbers still are way screwy in the US but we do need to realize that there are differences. Some of those are our cops are at war with our citizens, from racism, from the war on drugs, from the “that’s the way it’s always been done” attitude, to the affects of calvinism that this country suffers from.
    So not saying the number of rounds fired is right, proper or anything of the sort but there are some reasons for the difference. But the biggest one is that cops and the people that tell them what to do want it this way. They want all the poor and minority folks to fuck off and die. By whatever means.

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