Comment Of The Day: “Another Unarmed Black Man Is Shot And Killed By Police In Atlanta, And Facts Don’t Matter”

In these police-involved shootings where the victims are African-Americans, facts really don’t matter to the activists, protesters, race-hustlers, and all too often, the news media. Tragically, all has unfolded as the Ethics Alarms post foresaw when I wrote it last night, but then an idiot could have see this coming from the moment the police were called.  I’ve said that I am 75% serious when I suggest that the policy should be that the police will refuse to interact with any African American lawbreaker or suspect, because  it is a no-win situation. If black communities want to be protected from non-white criminals, then let them agree on reasonable terms or handle it themselves.

The more I read, hear and watch, the more that percentage ticks up.

Here is the Comment of the Day, by James Hodgson (who actually knows something, though facts don’t matter during the George Floyd Freakout), on the post, Another Unarmed Black Man Is Shot And Killed By Police In Atlanta, And Facts Don’t Matter”:

I was previously a TASER instructor and have experienced the effects of the weapon many times in training scenarios. (My experience ended with the X-26 Model which my agency was using at the time of my retirement in 2014.) Powered by compressed nitrogen in the weapon’s cartridge, the TASER fires two small barbed darts (they look like straightened fish hooks) intended to puncture the skin and remain attached to the target individual. The darts are connected to the TASER by thin copper wires and carry an electric current which disrupts muscle control, causing “neuromuscular incapacitation”.

The TASER is marketed as “less-lethal” since the possibility of serious injury or even death exists any time the weapon is deployed, especially if it is deployed incorrectly or by untrained persons. Officers are trained to scrupulously avoid any TASER shots above the shoulders due to the possibility of serious eye injury from the darts and/or delivery of the electrical current to the head/brain.

If someone had violently taken my TASER from me and was trying to use it against me, I would likely have shot them. My presumption would be that the subject intended to incapacitate me, take my firearm and use it to kill me. I never shot or shot at and would never shoot or shoot at a subject who was merely fleeing an arrest for a non-violent crime.

If it turns out to be the case in the Atlanta shooting that the subject fired or was attempting or preparing to fire the TASER at the officer, I suspect the shooting will be ruled as justified. I withhold judgement pending the investigation. Officers are required to use an amount of force that is reasonably necessary, not the “minimum necessary” as is often said. How would I know in advance what that minimum force is? If I try too low a level of force and it doesn’t work, I might not have time or opportunity to select a bit higher level of force and give that a whirl. Based on training and experience, officers choose and employ reasonable force options.

For anyone who thinks EMS should have been called to Wendy’s instead of police, I can assure you that EMS would almost certainly have called the police themselves and not dealt with the subject until the police told them it was safe to do so. I have been called to “clear” countless EMS calls (render the scene safe) while the medics waited down the street. Not being critical here; that is a normal division of duties.

As far as allowing or even asking the intoxicated subject to just drive the car across the lot, I would caution that the officer would be assuming liability for whatever harm was committed by the subject if he drove away and injured anyone in any manner. Not happening.

14 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Another Unarmed Black Man Is Shot And Killed By Police In Atlanta, And Facts Don’t Matter”

  1. In my city we had a local troublemaker who was attempting to break into cars in a parking lot. The cops had previous encounters with him and when he started acting erratically and resisting arrest, the cops tased him repeatedly and he died of a heart attack.

  2. This is greatly appreciated. It is informative. I read all options offered up by readers here and thought they sounded reasonable but this information helps us all to understand that which is embedded in the thinking of a police officer through training. Unless it is proven that the training itself is purposely designed to injure and kill black men and women then we cannot assume that all incidents are indicators of systemic racism.

    In every process something initiates the intermediate actions that lead to an end result. This man initiated the sequence of events that led to his demise. Falling asleep in the car or even drunken driving is not to be a death sentence but resisting the officers and or taking or attempting to take their weapons will undoubtedly change the series of events that will end in tragedy. The victim changed what could have been a rather benign series of events. This is not to say the shooting was justified but I will say that in that particular series of events the probability of him being shot rose dramatically not by the officers preceding actions but by his own.

    All the demagoguery about police targeting blacks for death creates the mindset in some that every interaction with police will lead to a death sentence. I don’t fault someone in actual fear for fleeing but their is no reason to flee if you are just sleeping it off in a car. Maybe the key to reducing these shootings lies in police training but a good deal more has to be done by the black community to tamp down the idea that police are out to get them. Everyone shares in that responsibility.

    • BTW I the know difference between there their, and they’re. I don’t know why my phone turns them all into their.

      • I’ve noticed a recent ‘improvement’ in my phone autocorrect that substitutes new words for the ones I used. It often is making the change with a delay so the change isn’t necessarily noticable since it’s up the screen from where I’m looking. It is not a good trait.

        • I always turn off autocorrect – I rather have an error than an AI substituted word. I’ve always disliked autocorrect.

          A priest, a rabbit, and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender asks the rabbit, “What’ll ya have?”
          The rabbit says, “I dunno. I’m only here because of Autocorrect.”

  3. I would also add that the idea that the Wendy’s employees should have gone to the car and dealt with the situation themselves rather than calling the police is preposterous. I’ll bet Wendy’s policy and training (led by their risk management department) is for employees (the manager on site) to call the police to handle most every situation in the parking lot and drive through (and the dining room, for that matter) rather than attempting to deal with it themselves.

    I really like the idea of police departments standing down when confronted with situations involving people of color. Who needs to go to the trouble of defunding the police when you can simply get what you want by them simply agreeing to do it? Brilliant.

    • I agree about the employees not going out. You don’t know why they are like that. Keep in mind most employees at Wendy’s are probably in their teens or early 20’s. Especially after Covid when the older people quit their jobs in droves due to risk of working with the public.
      There was a similar incident where I live, the guy was passed out, blocking the overpass, my 16 year happened to be there first. She called 911, why? She didn’t know what was in that car and she wasn’t trained to deal with it. He ended up being arrested.

      We know he was drunk now… they had no idea. He could’ve been ill and shouldn’t be moved…He could’ve had something much stronger in his system that causes aggressiveness. He could be a violent drunk. You just don’t know. Rule number 1 of all responders is to keep yourself safe, after all, you can’t help if you become a victim yourself. That means citizens who are not trained for situations do the right thing by calling 911. I think people don’t realize how strong you can be on drugs.

  4. Wendy’s did a lot of virtue signaling about Floyd and the protests before this happened. I would like someone to ask the Wendy’s CEO if they want anyone prosecuted for burning down their store. If the CEO answers ‘NO’, I would like them to be asked if it is OK for anyone who is suffering or wants their message to be heard to burn down a Wendy’s. If the CEO answers ‘No’ to that, the follow up question will be, “Will you ask for prosecution if they do it anyway and if so, why not for the Atlanta Wendy’s?”.

    I am just tired of the virtue signaling corporations.

  5. Excellent COTD, James, and very helpful for us in trying to place ourselves in the officers’ positions and deciding what we would do. Michael West had me wavering yesterday, and, now, I’m even more sympathetic to the officers on the scene.

  6. Jack,
    Thanks for the COTD! Even though I’m just an old retired deputy sheriff, I still care about the job and those doing the job. Police officers make life and death decisions under pressure, in milliseconds, that will be calmly debated in other venues (in courtrooms, on TV, in social media, etc.) for weeks, months, and years. They deserve our respect and support.

    • They deserve our respect and support.

      They will not be getting any from me. Police are a necessary, and to say otherwise is daft. I refuse to accept the position that part of the problem is the majority of the police. We don’t have 1% that are the bad apples, you and I both know it is over 10%.

      You and I are on the same page on this event. This shooting looks justified. The officers are certainly not getting the due process they deserve.

      But at the same time I’ve seen law enforcement officers call this shooting “justice served.”. Yes, those exact words. The shooting appears justified. But it is not justice. Assault and DUII are not capital crimes. The officers were reasonable in fear, but the actions of the suspect do not reach attempted murder even. Such statements belie an evil heart.

  7. “I refuse to accept the position that part of the problem is the majority of the police. We don’t have 1% that are the bad apples, you and I both know it is over 10%”

    I’m not sure exactly what that first sentence means, and supposed percentages of “bad apples” are meaningless when spread over nearly 700,000 officers in over 20,000 state and local police agencies. In some agencies, it might well be 10% (or more) that are involved in some sort of misconduct. I know of a few small agencies that have been entirely disbanded over misconduct. But misconduct covers a multitude of sins, everything from use of excessive force to drug offenses, domestic violence, drug abuse, falsification of official records, evidence tampering, theft, extortion, bribery, and on and on.
    Of my more than forty years in law enforcement, thirty-seven years were spent in two mid-sized sheriff’s offices that had sterling records in regard to selection, hiring, training and managing the performance of their officers. Perfect? No, of course not. But I assure you the number of officers engaging in misconduct of any kind was far less than 10% and certainly near the 1% figure. Both those agencies used an “early warning system” process to review all use of force incidents and spot officers with problems. Those officers either corrected their conduct or were terminated. Termination was almost always followed by state de-certification, which would make the person essentially unemployable in law enforcement. (A one-year probationary period allowed us to dismiss at will during probation.) That “blue wall of silence” crap that movie and TV writers love may have fit the 1960s NYPD or somewhere like that, but today it is as big a fiction as RoboCop. I never experienced it in regard to serious misconduct, especially excessive force incidents. More internal investigations regarding misconduct were initiated by complaints from other officers than from the public.
    Shootings like the one in Atlanta are especially tragic because in the clear light of hindsight we can usually go back and spot points at which the incident might have been sent in another, less violent direction. That’s why the standard is that cops use force that is objectively reasonable, that is, based on what the officer knew, saw and thought at the time, not what we subjectively pick out of all the available information weeks, days or months later. We are dealing with human beings, human perceptions, and human judgement here, and perfection is simply not attainable.
    As a use of force instructor, I used to differentiate between shootings that were justified, and those that were necessary. To wit, there were many incidents I was personally involved in where a suspect had fulfilled all the legal requirements to get himself or herself shot, but I chose to give the individual the slightest additional benefit of a doubt without putting myself or others in further jeopardy, gave them one more command to drop a weapon, for example, and their compliance saved their life. I have no doubt that had I shot any one of those individuals it would have been adjudged a righteous shooting, but personally I sure am glad that there’s one less burden I carry around for the rest of my life! The FBI did research on this and found that more than 80% of officers with ten years or more on the job reported having numerous similar experiences where they could legally have used deadly force but chose not to. Justified, but not necessary.
    You may consider the police to be a necessary evil, and give them no respect and support. but they will be there to serve you just the same when you call -unless they are defunded, that is. Be safe!

    • That “blue wall of silence” crap that movie and TV writers love may have fit the 1960s NYPD or somewhere like that, but today it is as big a fiction as RoboCop.

      I have no doubt it was true whereyou served, but it most certainly exists in agencies like the Chicago PD.

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