Observations On The Acquittal Of Police Officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford For The Fatal Shooting Of Daniel Shaver

  • What a terrifying video. I am literally shaking.

I wasn’t at the trial, but I will break my usual rule by saying that this jury, which acquitted the officer of murder charges,  does not deserve the benefit of the doubt, because there is no doubt. I cannot see any path by which the actions of the officer in shooting Shaver can be called reasonable, or anything but murder.

  • Brailsford said he thought Shaver might have been reaching for a weapon. If he wasn’t lying, and I’ll assume he wasn’t, then he was paranoid, and so devoid of normal senses of perception that the police force was negligent all owing him to carry a gun, or to be on the force at all.

Still shaking…

  • How could it have not been clear that Shaver was terrified? Or that he was not desperately trying to follow the officer’s instructions?

Are officers in Mesa trained to talk like that? I assume that they are trained NOT to talk like that, which can only be expected to escalate panic and anxiety and cause the situation to go out of control.

  • Michael Piccarreta, Brailsford’s attorney, convinced jurors that his client acted as reasonably, as a police officer, considering the totality of circumstances. That means that Brailsford acted like any reasonable officer would have when he  fire his AR-15 at a terrified young man crawling toward him as  he had directed. The officer had been called because someone had been reported as pointing a rifle outside of hotel window. Obviously, Shaver had no rifle on him.

Piccarreta did one hell of a good job.

Still shaking…

  • Juries are reluctant to punish police officers who face death every day and who are dedicated to protecting us. They do not want to hold them to a strict standard by which a mistake or over-reaction in a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation results in a criminal conviction. That is understandable, fair, wise, and for the most part, right. There has to be a limit though. If this case wasn’t it, then I don’t know what would be.

This is the case Michael Brown’s shooting was falsely represented as being. This was “Hands Up! Don’t shoot!”

“But if Shaver were black I suspect there would be activists talking loudly to the press and demonstrators forcing us to look very closely at policing policies in Mesa and the rest of the Valley, and causing politicians and law enforcement professionals to evaluate the systems they have in place for selecting officers and training them.”

Hmmm...seems like something’s missing from that assessment. What could it be? OH! I’ve got it!

If Shaver were black, the NAACP, Black Lives Matter, NFL players and colleges students, Charles M. Blow, Eugene Robinson, and many more pundits, plus Don Lemon and Joy Reid, would be telling us that Shaver was killed because he was black, and because police officers are racists. They would also be telling us that juries are racist, and won’t convict officers who kill unarmed blacks.

Scott had more of a chance than Shaver did.

And I’m still shaking…

60 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Law & Law Enforcement, Race

60 responses to “Observations On The Acquittal Of Police Officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford For The Fatal Shooting Of Daniel Shaver

  1. Arthur in Maine

    I saw this video this morning. It is sickening.

    One of the problems with online videos of police-involved shootings is that they’re typically tightly edited and present only the moment or two leading up to the actual violence. They all look terrible, but when they’re selectively edited and truncated, they often leave out key details of the interaction between the cop and the victim.

    I didn’t watch the one you posted, Jack – the one I watched showed interactions between the cop and the victim for several minutes before the shots were fired. You may be showing the same video I saw; I have no desire to watch it again. I absolutely agree with your conclusions that the victim was doing everything he could to comply with the cop’s orders.

    Decades ago, I worked emergency medical services in Boston (and in some of the suburbs). I got to know a lot of cops (and firefighters). Most of these guys – they were almost entirely guys back then – were good people. They were highly protective of one another, as is to be expected, and they saw virtually limitless horrors each day. I will never forget my first call into a rough area and stepping up and knocking on the door of an apartment. My partner grabbed me by the collar and yanked me away from the door.

    “What the fuck are you doing?” he screamed. “NEVER stand in front of a door and knock. Do it like this. Some asshole could be on the other side with a gun and shoot through the door.”

    He stood next to the door frame, reached laterally and pounded on the door with his fist. And he entered only after a family member stepped out into the hallway.

    And we were EMS. Cops are generally there for other reasons, and are that much more vulnerable. So yeah, I get it – the fear and the sense of self-preservation.

    THIS cop, on the other hand, was clearly on a power trip – like a tiny handful of cops I knew when I was working the streets. And while he was almost certainly trained to respond to movements that a perp COULD use to produce a gun, judgment is still mandatory. This cop clearly had – or used – none.

    I don’t know if you saw it, but in the stories I read on this shooting on Think Progress and New Times (progressive-oriented news sources, but their reporting on this seems pretty solid) the cop was fired three months later due to “performance issues,” including having “you’re fucked” engraved on his rifle case.

    The widow is suing for a lot, and I have a hard time believing she won’t prevail. This is a guy who is clearly temperamentally unfit to serve in law enforcement, and the fact that the city let him remain in the position for nearly three years speaks to woeful supervision.

    • Michael R.

      I have to wonder what kind of training these officers received. How is this any way to get a suspect into custody? There has to be a better way than a lethal game of Twister. Given the circumstances, I don’t know if I could have followed the instructions this officer was giving. Shaver had a BAC of 0.29, there is no way he could do this. All the people who thought these tactics were a good idea need to be fired as well.

  2. charlesgreen

    Jack,

    The fact that the victim here was white doesn’t constitute any disproof at all of claims that many police shootings of black people are racially motivated, so get over that.

    But listen, I agree with you completely about this case; and you also put your finger right on a key underlying issue – fear in the eye of the policeman.

    You correctly note that fear is subjective, and is the key defense in most of these cases. I’m not sure it can ever be otherwise.

    However: if that’s the case, then let me suggest we’ve got a massive case of fear-based culture in many police departments. I’ve felt it first-hand myself, and I’m white and well-dressed and all that.

    The profession, in this country, disproportionately hires people who love being in positions of power over others – and then doesn’t do a good enough job of disabusing them of that instinct.

    Good cops (and cops in the UK for example) don’t operate first and instinctively from fear, even though they’re obviously in a dangerous profession. They are hired, and trained, to know how to defuse dangerous situations rather than escalate quickly to DefCon 6. They are in charge of their own emotions, and know when it is smart to be fearful and when not, and even when it is, to explore other options before resorting to violence.

    I’m not aware of any objective data about this (though I’m sure it exists), but the legal defense of “I feared for my life” should not be allowed to dictate the kind of hiring and training that ends up putting out guys like Brailsford on the street.

    Or so it seems to me.

    • It doesn’t disprove that, and I didn’t say it disproves that. I did say that the exact same episode would be used as proof that such shootings ARE racially motivated, and it wouldn’t be such proof. There IS no such proof. Just assumptions and politically motivated suppositions, as there would here be if the victim were black.

    • I don’t think a comparison against english police violence is anything more than apples and orchids. The police there I don’t think have reach this level of fear and hatred that we have here, and had been missing for much of our history. It would be hard to remain balanced with so many threats to te themselves and their bothers. That fear was mostly absent fifteen years ago, and it keeps ramping up with more rhetoric. Too much militancy thrown just make the other side pull in ranks (either direction) and nothing can be changed. Can’s we just lock some of the leaders into a room and they can’t come out until they publicly agree on something relevant?

    • Isaac

      Supposedly good “Cops in the UK” appear to have the opposite problem, seeing as how they don’t mind ignoring and covering up the mass rape and enslavement of children, just so long as they can’t be accused of any racism.

      Replace “this profession” and “this country” with “government agencies” and “any country” and you’re zeroing in on the problem.

      • Isaac

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotherham_child_sexual_exploitation_scandal

        There’s your chosen example of a country with “good” cops.

        • charlesgreen

          Bull crap, Isaac.

          That is a single example, from years ago, and not even about cop-killing at all.

          By contrast, here is some real data, across countries, covering multiple examples, specifically of killings by cops. You might want to read it and contemplate.

          https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/09/the-counted-police-killings-us-vs-other-countries

          • Isaac

            “Examples” are presented because they are representative of the whole. This example was of widespread, institutionalized, entrenched corruption infecting hundreds if not thousands of officers, and directly responsible for the rape and torture of hundreds if not thousands of children. There’s nothing in that same arena anywhere in the entire United States. If a person can keep his head in the sand looking at THAT, I shudder to think.

            Did you even read my very short and succinct little post? I said that UK police had the OPPOSITE problem. Of course they don’t shoot people down like in the U.S. But it’s laughable to consider them “better.”

            Police corruption in the UK is a well-known problem nationwide. They hunt down and persecute whistleblowers, not criminals. Crime syndicates were found to be able to infiltrate Scotland Yard at will: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/exclusive-scotland-yard-s-rotten-core-police-failed-to-address-endemic-corruption-9050224.html

            But that’s not all! As a bonus you get a totalitarian surveillance state with cameras covering every square foot of London and zero expectation of privacy anywhere outside your house! It’s all of the complete incompetence and ineffectiveness of the TSA, with the bullying and invasiveness of…well, the TSA.

            • charlesgreen

              May I remind you the title of this blogpost is “Observations On The Acquittal Of Police Officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford For The Fatal Shooting Of Daniel Shaver”

              You persist in arguing about “totalitarian police states,” the TSA, and corruption. That’s generalizing way past the instant case.

              I was suggesting that a pervasive reason for police shootings is a culture that encourages macho paranoia among too many police, and not enough of a culture that emphasizes de-escalating responses to confrontations. That too is a generalization, but it’s far closer to the topic at hand.

  3. Mark

    Offered *not* in defense of the officer but as a practical observation. I view these kinds of incidents as an unintended consequence of our Second Amendment rights. We send cops and first responders out every day into an armed populace and a robust black market subtly supported by our gun freedoms. It is impossible to tell the good guys with a gun from the bad guys with a gun, so we force our police to assume that everyone is a bad guy. We put them in the position of having to treat every traffic stop, every drunk, every belligerent teenager – any situation that doesn’t involve a kitten up a tree – as potentially dangerous and life threatening.

    It is not much of a wonder to me that these things happen and that a small gesture or a toy pistol sends the bullets flying. In the moment, considering the armed state of our nation, both legal and illegal, the choice has to be to save themselves. I don’t see much of a choice. We all have to entertain the specter of what would happen if he/she does not assume the worse and do so with a quick, nervous trigger finger.

    This guy? An asshole – you can hear it in the overly precise, cop movie language. I would probably have been the one to hang the jury.

    • Isaac

      I’m trying to connect the dots along with you, but I just don’t see it. This perpetrator was holding a pellet gun in his hotel room. Some goof called the police. The man and his friends came out wearing t-shirts, begging and groveling for their lives, clearly without any guns or weapons whatsoever on their persons. There’s just no way to spin this.

      If anything, an incident like this highlights the danger of the paranoia and misinformation going around about the supposed “gun-crazy” America. Outside of parts of Chicago and other neighborhoods of a specific nature, there’s little reason to fear citizens with guns. This jackbooted, duly-licensed clown with a badge, on the other hand…

      • Mark

        I’m not spinning anything, Isaac, and the dots are quite simple. America sends her first responders into a legally armed populace with a substantial black market of guns. On a dark road, how is a policeman to know that the guy with the broken tail light is a good guy or a bad guy? If I were that cop, knowing there are enough guns in the wild to make sure every man, woman, and child has one, I’d be nervous and fearful. I would have to assume the worse just to make sure I get home to my family. The distrust of those they are supposed to serve – even law abiding citizens like you and me – is baked in.

        We ask them to take on that stress by the very nature of their jobs and the nature of our culture. My point is that the Second Amendment as it is currently read *also* sends twitchy cops out to do their jobs. It’s an unintended consequence of gun culture and our “rights.” No defense. As Jack has mentioned to me before on this issue, “freedom isn’t free” and these situations are part of the payment.

        • valkygrrl

          I’d be nervous and fearful. I would have to assume the worse just to make sure I get home to my family.

          Might I respectfully suggest you not become a cop then.

          I don’t want people who are afraid and ready to reach for a weapon and kill placed in high stress situations. Hell I don’t want those people to have guns at all, much less authority.

          I want a calm head and a confident manner that doesn’t need to bark orders and intimidate as one sort of way to establish authority. If police we must have then I want them to be Sheriff Andy. I want their first impulse to be defuse not kill.

          • Mark

            At my age, I’d make a poor cop anyway. My point is not to impugn the courage or levelheadedness of any policeman. I am a supporter. This is not about the kind of people who choose to be police, it is about the environment we send them out into which, to my mind, sets them up for mistakes in a tense situation. This is an “and” situation, not either/or.

            I think I was pretty clear that this is not a defense of the asshole in the video (I can’t seem to refer to him any other way). He’s clearly a special case. As stated, it’s a general observation – my own opinion – of how the Second Amendment also works in our culture.

        • Luke G

          If your loved one died in surgery because the surgeon tends to get light headed at the sight of blood, would you say “hey, I get queasy myself, I can’t blame him,” or would you say that he was completely unqualified for the job and it was only a matter of time before he killed someone?

          Hazard is part of the job. If someone can’t do the job without being so “twitchy” that they open fire at the drop of a hat, they lack the qualifications and it’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed.

          • charlesgreen

            Agree with this comment.

          • Mark

            Luke – see my reply to valkygrrl. My comment was not intended to judge qualifications (or lack of them) for the job.

            • Luke G

              Jobs have requirements. The environment makes policing a difficult job, true- but that means it’s MORE important to have the best people doing it, not to just say that since it’s hard, you can’t blame them for errors. If I start hemorrhaging I want a surgeon who is calmer and handles it better than the average Joe. I want the same from people we arm and give permission to shoot people. It IS about the people who choose to be police, they’re choosing to go into a job that requires more spine than average.

              • Mark

                I get it, Luke, but we’re talking about two different things here and your flipping back to qualifications is pretty much my point. I am not disagreeing with anything you’ve said.

                The vast majority of police in this country are qualified for their jobs. They are competent, cool under fire, and able to do so better than the average Joe. I am attempting to look at these happenings – especially something like this where a small gesture causes a death – as an unintended consequence of American gun culture, where a policeman simply cannot take the risk that the sobbing SOB on his knees in front of him isn’t dangerous.

                This perspective doesn’t seem to be something folks want to look at (qualifications is easier, I suppose) or, perhaps – and not for the first time – I am simply off in my own world with this one.

                • Luke G

                  What I think you’re discounting is that yes, the vast majority of police are qualified, competent, and cool- and that serves to illustrate that American gun culture does NOT force these events. Thousands of police face harrowing situations and react calmly and appropriately even with that scary second amendment out there.

                  Because we as a country like police as a group, though, we let the good actions of the majority (aided by their own shameful adherence to the “thin blue line”) to cover for those whose inability to do the job ends up with someone dead. Then we refuse to hold them accountable because of attitudes like you express here- that the world out there is too scary, that their job is too risky, for them to do it without killing a few innocent people now and then.

                • Luke G

                  Pardon the double reply, but a better way to express myself came to me. I think you’re accidentally conflating two concepts:
                  – Police as a whole are professional, reasonable, and do a difficult job well
                  – Sometimes, a police officer shoots someone in circumstances that appear (to varying degrees) not to justify that shooting.

                  When viewing those two statements through the lens of “we ask police to do a dangerous, risky job,” you’re coming to the conclusion that the circumstances of the job mean that the ones doing the bad shoots are members of the professional, reasonable majority and the environment is to blame- but that’s extending the average to cover the entire data set. I believe the good behavior of the majority shows that the bad shoots are NOT a natural consequence of the environment, but rather the result of someone unfit for the job operating in that environment.

      • charlesgreen

        Isaac, just to be clear, I agree with what you’ve said in this particular comment.

  4. valentine0486

    Is the shooter the same person who was speaking? If so, I would have likely found him guilty of second degree murder. If not, then the terror was created by the owner of the voice, and the shooter only shot after the suspect reached behind his back-precisely what he had been warned not to do.

    To say the same thing differently, put the video on mute, and decide without the words whether you would shoot at the point the victim places his hand behind his back. It’s a much closer call that way.

    Also, upon doing some further research it appears the voice does not belong to Brailsford, but rather Sgt. Charles Langley.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/12/08/graphic-video-shows-daniel-shaver-sobbing-and-begging-officer-for-his-life-before-2016-shooting/?utm_term=.1531edce9568

    I tend to think that Sgt. Langley, perhaps, should have been the one facing the second degree murder charge. His words and actions created an environment that exponentially increased the victim’s chances of making mistake, and in addition, the same words and actions exponentially increased the chances that one of his officers would overreact to such a mistake.

    Having considered the same, I think the jury’s decision is defensible, although I’m not convinced that their decision was correct.

    • Yes. The shooter was speaking. Note that he said, at one point, “You’re fucked.” The jury was not allowed to hear that.

      • valentine0486

        That’s emphatically *not* what is reported in the Washington Post article I linked to in my original comment. They say the voice belongs to a Sergeant Langley.

        In addition, I did not hear “you’re fucked” on the video. My understanding was the same was engraved into the automatic firearm utilized in the shooting, and that was what the jury was not allowed to see.

        • Yup, you are right; I was mistaken. If I were the DA, I would have tried the other officer too. He might as well have been trying to get the poor guy shot.

        • Luke G

          They weren’t allowed to because of the argument that the cop’s choice to engrave that had no bearing on his choices, attitude, or reactions.

          Any guesses on how it would play of a guy accused of killing a cop argued that his “fuck the police” tattoo had nothing to do with the decisions he made later?

  5. Mike

    Where have you been. Cops have been trained to act like Nazi SS in some European ghetto for 20 years now and often get their kicking down doors experience in the regime’s mideast wars going after foreign civilians. For a start at walking this back- no cop should be allowed a weapon heavier than a .38cal revolver. In addition the Law should be explicit that a cop must be judged in exactly the manner of a civilian self defense case. If I cannot terrorize and murder my tipsy neighbor in an apartment complex hallway neither can officer Goering.

    • Mike, that’s a STUNNINGLY ignorant view of the realities of law enforcement. No weapon heavier than a ,38 revolver when the bad guys are carrying semi-automatic handguns and rifles? I presume you also think that cops can shoot a gun out of a perp’s hand. They cannot. Here’s the reality: when cops are under threat, they need to neutralize that threat – either for their own safety or the safety of civilians. There’s no problem with cops carrying weapons at least the equal of the bad guys they face – and using them – provided that 1) they’re trained properly and 2) qualfied to do so. This video makes clear that this cop failed on both counts.

      • Another Mike

        I agree with repstrat as to *that* Mike’s comment. The problem with this scenario was that Sgt barking orders… orders telling the decedent to do things the India-rubber-man at a sideshow could not do. Replace the rifle with that .38 and poor Mr. Shaver would still be dead, only with slightly different sized holes in him. Sadly. When confronted by a police officer with gun drawn never, never put you hands in your pocket or waistband unless expressly told to do so by that officer.

        For a different opinion based on the same facts, read today’s offering by Patterico.

        • Luke G

          I get the argument that he shouldn’t have reached back- but at what point do the police have culpability for ordering an impaired man to make difficult motions that he is likely to fail, and then shooting him for failing? Particularly since he’d already surrendered?

          Granted he was told “If you fall, fall on your face” but I challenge anyone to fall and not move to catch themselves, even without being drunk and terrified. That stuck out as “cover your ass” language, the cops knew he’d likely fall, and wanted to be able to say “hey, we told him not to catch himself, he disobeyed.”

    • In addition the Law should be explicit that a cop must be judged in exactly the manner of a civilian self defense case.

      Clearly that can’t be the standard. Police need to be proactive, and are duty bound to place themselves in harm’s way. Your standard would get more citizens killed, not fewer. See: Baltimore.

      • Luke G

        It seems like right now everyone thinks cops should either be summarily found guilty for everything, or be given so much benefit of the doubt they can act with complete disregard for the law and be given a dispensation because they’re “brave.”

        How do more people not see it as a profession like any other, with a need for some added leeway but also a need for stringent standards to avoid abuse?

        • Because non-professionals can’t comprehend professional standards and ethics. They can only see them through their own experiences, which are usually inadequate for the task. My father always reflected on this when there was discussion of war crimes, and criticism of soldiers in combat situations.

          • Errol

            “Because non-professionals can’t comprehend professional standards and ethics.”
            It’s a pity that Brailsford and Sgt. Langley have no comprehension of professional standards and ethics either. It shows a total lack of proper training and if this is the level of training in the Mesa Police Department then things there and possibly many other police departments need to change drastically.

  6. luckyesteeyoreman

    Second try…

    I guess we’ll never know why Shaver interrupted his “crawl” by lifting his right hand off the floor and reaching back behind himself. That movement by Shaver is entirely inexplicable to me. Had I been in Brailsford’s place in that moment, it would have been a shoot-or-die moment of decision for me, too.

    In any case, Brailsford failed to give clear directions to Shaver while Shaver had both arms extended over his head. I would have been confused, too, if while my arms were extended over my head, I was next directed to “crawl” – especially moments after having seen another person walk on her knees with her hands over her head.

    I believe that what we witnessed in that video is voluntary manslaughter, at the very least. The video alone is insufficient to establish Shaver’s killing as justifiable homicide. I wish I knew more about Shaver’s background, and more about what (if anything) Brailsford had been informed about Shaver before working in that scene.

    I expect Brailsford to be liable for hefty civil damages.

    • Luke G

      It looked to me like he stumbled over his shorts because they were sliding down and made an instinctive move to catch himself/ hitch them up. Although that single instant creates the appearance of justification, one has to consider that the police ordered him from a helpless prone position to moving toward them with his hands closer to his body- it’s a travesty that they can increase the variables of a situation and then claim those variables as a shield.

      • luckyesteeyoreman

        I agree that the on-scene law enforcement people mishandled the scene terribly overall, and specifically mishandled Shaver most egregiously. The only reason (or explanation) that I can accept for making Shaver crawl would be because of uncertainty about other suspects hiding behind the angled wall of the hallway that was close behind Shaver (where the one door suddenly comes into view after Shaver is shot). It seemed that Shaver was sufficiently compliant with commands – until he was given too many commands. If Shaver had complied when being told to lie face down and clasp his hands behind his forehead, then it seems that would have been sufficient for both the shooter and the other official to move forward, secure Shaver’s hands and neutralize Shaver altogether without killing him, and then next deal with whatever was feared might be behind the door. There probably is not enough money in the budget of the entire state where this shooting happened, for adequate compensation of the damages due.

  7. Sue Dunim

    Single isolated incidents.

    http://www.michaelzwilliamson.com/blog/index.php?itemid=437

    Some police have commented that they are trained to shout obviously contradictory instructions in order to keep the suspect confused and unable to plan counteraction.

  8. Luke G

    Gee, it’s almost like the vaunted “establishing command presence” excuse, that police claim means they HAVE to approach every situation like they’re landing at Normandy, is actually a bullshit justification for wanting to scream threats and insults like they see the fancy TV cops do. I mean, I don’t think command presence can get much more established than the suspect spread eagled on his face, sobbing in surrender…

    As far as giving contradicting commands to create confusion, that seems like another painfully thin excuse used by the heroes in blue to justify themselves. If enough police give different commands, ONE of them will have a reason to shoot whoever he wants, right? Especially if those commands are to a wobbly drunk ordering him to do physical acts that I found tricky while sober, and promising to shoot him if he fails.

    His union defended him, which is (I grudgingly suppose) their job. His colleagues defended him, which is unconscionable. I’d say that “good cops” everywhere should hang their heads in shame at the association, but then again their coworkers might panic at the sudden head move and open fire.

    • Isaac

      The second-most disturbing part of the video is the complete lack of any human emotion or reaction on the part of the cops after shooting. They might as well have been playing a video game.

      • Yes, glad you mentioned this. I found this not only chilling, but frightening.

        • luckyesteeyoreman

          Well, Jack, you and Isaac can be disturbed, chilled, and frightened all you want, but it is still terribly unfair to the shooter to presume callousness, as if “playing a video game.” No single one of us can be sure of how we are going to act in a situation like that, no matter how professionally we are trained or experientially conditioned (“drilled”). It is just as plausible that the shooter was as shocked by what he just did as any of us observing were.

  9. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Allllllllll right. These guys make Officer Salvatore Rivieri, who was fired for slamming a 14yo around in Baltimore and way overreacting to being called “dude” look like David Niven by comparison. The tactics used there appear unnecessary, at least from a layman’s standpoint, and almost a set-up to fail. The whole crawling thing was not needed when you have someone on his knees with his hands behind his head, where you can approach and cuff him while the other officer holds a rifle on him. It comes off as just a way to humiliate or break a suspect. I’ve disciplined officers, and this is definitely a termination, both for the officer who opened fire and the sergeant who decided he needed to act like this was Fallujah. At the very least they both used some very poor judgment and is going to cost the city a bundle.

    That said, Mike’s ideas above are just one step down the road to the anti-police, Black Lives Matter nonsense of “disarm, disempower, disband,” which would eliminate law enforcement completely.

    • Luke G

      Set up to fail is exactly how I saw it. The commands kept getting more vague and more difficult- and what possible end game was there except getting him back in the s surrender position he started in, or forcing a failure and getting to shoot that cool gun?

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        The commands became progressively more and more abusive, less and less about taking the suspect into custody, and more and more about showing the cop was in absolute, life-or-death control over the suspect. That is appropriate to a soldier capturing an enemy, who he would shoot otherwise and in a life-or-death situation for all concerned. That is not appropriate to a law enforcement situation where the objective is to take the suspect safely into custody, for due process later. The use of force needs to be appropriate to the situation, it wasn’t here. The situation also needs to be resolved as quickly as can be done safely, which wasn’t done here. All this nonsense of making suspects crawl isn’t a tactic aimed at getting them into custody and cleared, it’s about breaking them. The time to break someone is during interrogation later, and it isn’t by acting like Andy Sipowicz or Hank Voight and beating the tobacco juice out of the suspect.

        There IS a time to use force, when you’re dealing with a fanatic who wants to die rather than give up, or a defiant thug who thinks copping an attitude is somehow beneficial. Then by all means put a bullet in the fanatic’s head or beat the defiant thug senseless. In this case, though, the suspect was a complete sobbing mess who was repeatedly being screamed at to shut up and that if he made a mistake he was a dead man. These tactics were worse than Justin Volpe’s brutal sodomizing of Abner Louima with a plunger, for which he received 30 years in prison without the possibility of parole. Even though he may have escaped a murder conviction, and even though I really dislike civil rights prosecutions after state acquittals, this is the type of situation where that type of prosecution is in fact warranted, maybe more so. It was necessary for the Feds to step in when Billy Bob lynched Willie for looking at Sarah Jane too long and the good old boy local police and prosecutors looked the other way or the jury was Goober, Gomer, and Bo. It was necessary when the jury looked the other way as the LAPD beat Rodney King to a bloody pulp in full view of the camera. It is more so that they do so when the jury is either too mesmerized or too fearful that a conviction of a local cop will mean danger for them, or just doesn’t get it, and walks a man who bullied someone into making a mistake just so he could kill him.

    • Another Mike

      OK, This:
      [Subject comes out of the room into the hallway, facing the officer.]
      Officer: Stop right there.Raise your hands over your head. Keeping your hands up, turn around slowly; keep turning; stop. [Subject again facing officer. Officer has observed the entirety of the subject’s waist band and sees no weapons there.]
      Officer: Turn around so your back is towards me. Lace your fingers together on the top of your head. Now, slowly walk backwards towards the sound of my voice; keep you hands on top of your head.
      Officer: Stop. [if officer is alone] Now drop to your knees and move both hands to the small of your back.
      The subject is now ready to be handcuffed. If there are additional officers, one of them installs the handcuffs.
      The commands were simple and loud enough to be heard without yelling.

      That is how it is really done. Note the absence of people shot. Been there hundreds of times. I can certify that this works even when the officer is scared sh*tless.

  10. Good Lord.

    This was doomed from the beginning.

    The entire tone of the interaction.

    Hey dickhole cop…he may be a suspect, but try *talking* to him. Was the victim ever even notified of why they had him at gunpoint, so maybe he could say something to work on defusing the situation?

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      But he’s “not here to be tactful or diplomatic” or “have a conversation.” The guy was all about having life or death power and absolute command. In a moment of anger, I was thinking of how I’d like to have that too, to humiliate someone I hated and reduce him to a complete blubbering mess before I killed him, which is what I was going to do all along.

  11. What’s with his wing man…not even a comment as they passed the body…no cursory check?

  12. Militarization of beat cops…this is part of the problem.

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