Unethical Quote Of The Month: Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers

“While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country, We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity, and accountability for Black lives in our country.”

—Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D…naturally) in a statement following an officer involved shooting in Kenosha last night, before any investigation has occurred, knowing that the rioters were already gearing up to cause violence and destruction.

And, of course, violence and destruction is what he got.

Police have not commented on what led to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  He was taken to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee after being shot multiple times, in the back, as he appeared to be entering his car and perhaps reaching for something. (I’m no expert, but doesn’t the fact that more than one cop reflexively started shooting suggest that there was  a reason other than “Oh!Here’s an uarmed black man: let’s shoot him”?)

At this point, the important facts are not known, just irrelevant facts injected into the story to make the police look like villains. Blake was apparently shot in front of his kids. Irrelevant.  It is said that he was trying to break up a fight between two women—he’s a peacemaker!—which is what precipitated the police call. Irrelevant. What is relevant is why the police fired, and what action Blake was engaged in or appeared to be engaged in immediately before the shooting. That is not clear in the video.

Police turned the scene over to the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol., and the Wisconsin Department of Justice will investigate the shooting.Never mind: all that matters to the mobs is that police shot a black man. Such a mob, which knew no more about the shooting than what the obligatory cell phone video showed, took  to the streets ” in what some are calling riots” wrote one local news source. “Rocks and bricks have been thrown, and at least one Molotov cocktail being thrown has been reported, as is property damage. One police vehicle was reportedly “stomped” and then later towed away,” continued the report.

Yes, I see why some “might call” that rioting.

Evers’ statement is as irresponsible and despicable as a public official can utter. He was pandering to anti-police extremists and justifying violence before he had any evidence about the shooting at all. Who says Blake was “mercilessly killed”? Is he really saying that no one is ever justly shot or injured at the hands of police?

Admittedly, his party and its constituency has lost all contact with the concepts of  justice and due process, which is why, in these incidents, facts increasingly don’t matter. Here is Wisconsin assembly candidate Lee Snodgrass, similarly shooting off his metaphorical mouth without knowing what he’s talking about:

Police officers saying how they are all being lumped in as bad cops… take a look at the Kenosha shooting & you can see why. Too many bad cops killing black men. It has become the exception when they are NOT killed. You want the public attitude to change? Clean your own house.

The George Floyd Freakout has created a Bizarro World standard in which any police shooting is presumed to be racism and brutality. Any injury of death resulting to an African-American, whether due to  self-defense (Mike Brown, Rayshard Brooks), tragic error ( Breona Taylor),   color-blind viciousness (George Floyd), negligence (Eric Garner), or actions that genuinely appera to be  racist brutality (Walter Scott), will be considered justification for riots. This means that law enforcement when a black American is involved is essentially impossible. For the police it is strict liability and no-tolerance, and officials like Evers are encouraging that  environment.

If virtue-signaling, Black Lives Matter-groveling  fools like Evers are not condemned and ejected from office, cities won’t have to defund the police. No one in his or her right mind will be willing to accept a job where a demographic that commits a disproportionate number of crimes cannot be confronted by an officer without  an unacceptable risk of riots in the community and personal ruin for the officer, because of a presumption of racism.

73 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of The Month: Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers

  1. He’s just perpetuating a well-worn Democrat tradition. This was the first example that came to mind:

    “I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home, and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”

    • This is even more irresponsible than Trump!

      After George Floyd was killed, Trump tweeted that he would have DoJ investigate the matter, even though it would have been within the President’s character to tweetily blame Floyd’s death on 50+ years of Democratic rule.


    “We don’t have all the details yet”
    “shot in the back multiple times”
    “mercilessly killed”.

    Wait just a damn minute, I thought he said “we don’t have all the details yet” but yet he’s also stating as fact that he was shot in the back and he was mercilessly killed.

    I’ve seen the video and here are my notes about it:
    1. The man can been seen in the video reaching into the front of his pants as if he’s reaching for something as he walks around the front of the vehicle.

    2. The man is seen bending over after he opened the door of the car. I can’t tell why.

    3. There is something on the ground that looks like if “might” be a pistol in the video (you can see it in the photo above too), this was not there wen the man walked around the car but was there after the shooting.

    Governor Evers making the statement he did shows that he’s an irresponsible virtue signaling moron.

    • By the way, I can’t tell what that black spot on the road is in the video, from the perspective of the video it’s profile “could be” shaped similarly to a black pistol but then again it could be a pot hole.

      • That “object” was on the ground before he came around to the driver’s door. I’m not defending this man but he could just be reaching in for his keys. I watched the video. Bottom line, you should stop and cooperate rather than keep fleeing and reaching in your pockets in that situation. It’s just another bad situation all around.

        • Edward wrote, “That “object” was on the ground before he came around to the driver’s door.”

          Yes there was something briefly visible in part of the video as he was coming around the car but it seemed to became much larger after the shooting began. Like I said, I can’t tell exactly what that black shape is. I’ll wait for the facts on that.

          Edward wrote, “I’m not defending this man but he could just be reaching in for his keys.”

          That seems a bit unlikely when it appeared that he was reaching towards the middle of his body not a pocket.

          Edward wrote, “Bottom line, you should stop and cooperate rather than keep fleeing and reaching in your pockets in that situation. It’s just another bad situation all around.”

          Here’s where we are in complete agreement. Clearly the man was not complying with what officers were telling him to do and that elevated their response.

          • Edward wrote, “he could just be reaching in for his keys.”

            Also, he could be reaching around the front of his pants to pull the damn things up. Far too many ignorant people have the top of their pants down around their knees showing off their boxers. It’s a damn stupid style, they’re constantly tugging at their damn pants to keep them from falling to the ground.

            I’m going to be so bold to say that something caused the police to fire seven times at this person and it wasn’t likely because he simply wasn’t following directions, one of those officers was likely in fear of his life.

            We just don’t have all the facts yet but I’m not going to condemn all police or the victim of the shooting until I have the facts.

    • You’re not mentioning one more key weapon – the van he was getting into. Getting into a vehicle when the cops don’t want you to is going to be perceived as a hostile action.

      • I have two questions:

        1. Why, oh why, did he ignore the officers’ orders to stop?

        2. How is it that Benjamin Crump, intrepid civil rights icon that he is, had access to civilian video of the incident before anyone else and released it to the media?


      • Matthew B wrote, “You’re not mentioning one more key weapon – the van he was getting into. Getting into a vehicle when the cops don’t want you to is going to be perceived as a hostile action.”


        Just getting into a vehicle is NOT considered a hostile action just like legally carrying a concealed weapon is NOT considered a hostile action. Using a vehicle in a hostile manner is considered a hostile action.

        • Please note my choice in words – “perceived”. I’m merely relating what is almost certainly in the officer’s mind.

          • Matthew B wrote, “Please note my choice in words – “perceived”.”

            And my response to your “perceived” is exactly the same, HOGWASH!!!

            Matthew B wrote, “I’m merely relating what is almost certainly in the officer’s mind.”

            So now you’re a mind reader in regards to this specific situation?

    • Could one reason (that the Governor said he was shot in the back) be that he was indeed clearly shot in the back multiple times? Maybe he shouldn’t have said it was ‘merciless’ and investigations might just reveal some ‘mercy’, (eg he wasn’t strangled as well) but it is very hard to see how that could be.

      • Andrew Wakeling wrote, “Could one reason (that the Governor said he was shot in the back) be that he was indeed clearly shot in the back multiple times?”

        Nope. You’re making assumptions that currently are not supported by facts. There is nothing that is completely clear about the part of the video where the shooting takes place because the victim of the shooting was hidden behind the vehicle door, you cannot see what the officer(s) saw or know where the shooting victim was hit.

        The Governor clearly stated “we don’t have all the details yet” and based on that the Governor should not have said either “shot in the back multiple times” or “mercilessly killed”. What the Governor should have done is to publicly try and defuse the situation by promoting calm, instead what the Governor did was irresponsible and in the minds of irrational rioters it enables their violence.

        • I guess on of those things that journalists, anti-gun activists and the public generally, as well as too many elected officials, either never will comprehend or refuse to acknowledge is that police officers are trained to keep firing until a threatening individual is down, meaning “not moving.” And rightly so. My father the WWII veteran always expounded on the foolishness of TV show and movies that showed someone bringing down an enemy with a single shot, and then assuming the target was dead. “You would not believe the damage that a soldier who is fatally shot can do before he actually dies,” my father said, “or how hard it is to kill someone.” The false narrative is that a lot of shots means that the police are being cruel, or are trigger happy. No, the idea is to stop the threat 100%, and until the targat is down and immobile, the threat isn’t stopped.

          My favorite idiot on this topic is Jesse Jackson, who has said that he doesn’t understand why cops aren’t trained to “wing” those who may be reaching for a gun. The number of shots shouldn’t be an issue at all.

          • We are in general agreement on these points.

            Jack wrote, “The false narrative is that a lot of shots means that the police are being cruel, or are trigger happy. No, the idea is to stop the threat 100%, and until the target is down and immobile, the threat isn’t stopped.”

            You shoot until the physical threat is no longer a threat, period. Target being down and immobile is one way a physical threat is stopped but there are lots of ways that a physical threat could be no longer a threat; drop weapon, retreat, put their hands up, stop advancing, etc.

            In all honesty after listening to the video I’m not entirely sure that all seven shots came from the same firearm. There was an initial volley of 3 shots followed by another volley of 4 shots. There were three people involved, two police officers and the man trying to get in the SUV. I can’t tell from the video where all the shots came from. What if the first volley of shots actually came from the guy trying to get in the vehicle? At this point in time, we just don’t know the facts. We can speculate all we want but until the facts come out it’s all speculation based on a really poor quality video.

            Side Note About Pistol Stopping Power: There is a reason that some police officers still prefer to personally carrying a .45 instead of their duty 9mm and that’s because a .45 stops a threat a LOT faster than a 9mm. Personally I prefer a .40 S&W because it has nearly the speed of a 9mm and nearly the knockdown energy of a .45. I still love the .357 mag and the .44 mag revolvers but my favorite pistol round is the 10mm because it’s a very powerful all around round (if you can handle it) with the added feature that some pistols have high capacity mags is a plus. The 10mm will reach out and really “touch” a violent threat at a distance greater than all the other popular pistol rounds, I can also use it for whitetail deer hunting. There are varying opinions on pistol rounds, now you know mine.

            Jack wrote, “My favorite idiot on this topic is Jesse Jackson, who has said that he doesn’t understand why cops aren’t trained to “wing” those who may be reaching for a gun.”

            Jesse Jackson is an imbecile. He should remember that old saying that “It’s better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.”

            Jack wrote, “The number of shots shouldn’t be an issue at all.”

            That only becomes a real issue if there are more shots fired after the physical threat has been eliminated.

            P.S. After see some extended video I “think” the black spot I mentioned earlier might be a pothole.

        • “Josh Kaul (the Wisconsin Attorney General) told reporters on Wednesday that Rusten Sheskey shot Mr Blake seven times in the back as he opened the door of his car.
          Officers found a knife in Mr Blake’s car, he added, but no other weapons.”(BBC report)

          That’s enough detail for the moment.

  3. Minneapolis normally has about 900 officers. Supposedly, according to the local police union president, they are down to just under 700. Already no one in that city wants to do a job that is despised and which could be eliminated any day now. Police officers know they signed on for the danger. They put up with a certain amount of abuse because it goes with the territory. They do it because it’s a job to some, a calling to others, and they also do it because it’s supposed to guarantee continued employment, steady raises, decent benefits, and a decent retirement plan. In a lot of states it’s 25 years and out, with full benefits, meaning you could be a still relatively young 47 with a pension and lifetime medical benefits. Now a lot of those benefits are at risk, together with increased risk of injury or death. I would not want to be an officer with 17 years in and a clean record right now. Any day I could be out on the streets, 39 without an immediate prospect of reemployment, maybe partially vested, maybe not, and not because of anything I did or didn’t do.

    I’m surprised there are any officers left in Portland. It’s been almost 90 nights of non-stop rioting and destruction, like fighting an invading army, except you have to play by the rules, while for them there are no rules, and your own commander hates you.

    • Before the latest misadventures started the Portland police were already in trouble. Riot in Portland has been a tradition going on a decade now. Right wing groups have been coming to protest and ANTIFA has counter-protested for several years. ANTIFA initiates violence, and the Portland police respond appropriately. City hall calls it picking sides.

      Now the flip side is I honestly think the officers of the Portland police are getting what they deserve. When I was a kid, the Portland police were straight up corrupt. As in widespread corruption, not a few bad apples. They’re better now, but along the way, no Portland police officer has ever been successfully fired and certainly never convicted. The police union remains very powerful at the state and county level. Until this spring, the county DA has been someone hand picked by the union. It’s always been someone who considers cops to be hands off. Portland has fired officers, but the arbitrator judge always, always finds a reason that the officer should get back pay and be reinstated.

      Portland is relying heavily on mutual aid. Which puzzles me. A couple of years ago, they had deputies from the next county west helping on a SWAT call. The deputies jumped a fence into the yard for a house behind the target house. The resident showed up on his back porch with a flashlight and handgun. The swat officer shot the resident and out him in the hospital. The resident files suit and wins big. The Portland police say “not our guys” and leave the country to pick up the tab. In the aftermath, all nearby agencies stated that they will no longer help Portland because Portland doesn’t have their back. I guess they have worked out their differences.

  4. I suppose as long as people are invested in the idea that white cops kill black people for exclusively or mostly racist reasons, there is no hope for police. At this point, I think the only hope for some of these cities is an all-black police force, or one in which no white officer is ever allowed to answer a call without being accompanied by a black officer.

    If some of you find the scenario I described above eerily similar to totalitarian regimes that require political officers to be present with every command, with the authority to override the military officer’s decisions, you are perceptive. At this point, there can be no case of a white person shooting a black person, cop or civilian, where there is not a violent reaction by Leftist organizations purporting to be “fighting” for black civil rights, and accusations of racial motivation.

    This way lies the destruction of our country, it seems to me. There are by no means enough black men and women interested and qualified in the police force to meet the requirement I outlined above. That can only mean that there will be endless violence, or that black people must be allowed to commit crimes on others unimpeded by police response. Chicago, Portland, and probably others have decided the best way to go is to simply not prosecute black people who commit property crimes, rioting, and even violence where nobody is actually killed. BLM is engaging in outright extortion here in Louisville, and nobody in local government is saying boo, even as the cries of the extorted local businesses grow louder by the day (when they dare to speak at all). Nice business you have there…

    I expect to see more and more cities run by Leftist politicians following Chicago and Portland. As we have seen, it doesn’t work, but the Left is out of ideas. They are simply trying to cling to power by giving in to the mob — that is, until their personal property and lives are threatened. Then suddenly they discover the rule of law, at least in their own neighborhood.

    I don’t think there is any response short of complete capitulation or police state tactics that will stop the violence now. I also think it is likely to get worse, not better, the closer we get to the election. If Trump wins, I expect a paroxysm of rage and violence unlike any seen in my lifetime, to what ultimate end I can only guess. Martial law and worse may become the only way to protect people from the violent mobs.

    Somebody convince me I’m wrong about all this. Please, I beg you.

      • More than being right, I actually think that’s part of the plan;

        Demcorats are to an extent leveraging the riots and promising a return to peace if their candidate gets elected. There’s just two problems with that:

        1) The exceptionally shitty optics and general shittiness of blackmailing the peacefulness of America on the threat of violent rioting.

        2) I don’t think the Democrats can deliver. The places currently on fire are for the most part places that have had Democrats in government from the local dogcatcher to the Governor for the last 50 years…. We’re supposed to believe that all it takes is for the president to swap and all the crazies crawl back under their rocks? No, if Biden was elected, the next time a black person got shot in Portland, it would still invariably end with burnt buildings. If anything, with the assumption of support from high office, I’d assume it might even get worse.

        That is, of course, until Kamala locks them all up, along with their families, friends, and pets.

        • The outcome seems clear to me. We’re on the path to a dozen cities becoming Baltimore and Detroit.

          I’m betting it’s 5 years for Portland. The businesses haven’t filed yet, but how can they not? Once the gravy train of well off Californians moving here ends, the downward spiral will start.

        • Au contraire, HT. If Biden wins, Keith Ellison will be appointed Attorney General. AOC will be Treasury Secretary. Hillary will be Secretary of State, John Kerry will be chief assistant. Willie Brown will be Housing Secretary. Rashida Tlaib will be Homeland Security Secretary. The Defense Department will be defunded. Brennan, Comey and Clapper will be back at their old posts.

        • The Democrats “can’t deliver” because they won’t try. The Democrats accumulate power largely on the basis of racial strife. For them to get power and then try to heal things is like not dancing with the girl you brought to the dance. See 2008.

          • I don’t think so… Among the radicalized left, that’s enough, but their pitch to more bread and butter Americans is a message of incoming stability. If they run a shitshow for an entire political cycles after telling America that they were the answer to a Republican shitshow, it would be a disaster for them.

            But I don’t know what their plan is. Even if they shut every police precinct down and replaced every officer with a guidance counselor, eventually, in a population of 350 million, a white guidance counselor is eventually going to shoot a black person, and the accepted response to that fact pattern is going to be rioting. There is nothing the Democrats could do that would ever stop every white person from ever killing any black person, there are shitty people out there, and even good people sometimes find themselves in shitty situations.

    • “I don’t think there is any response short of complete capitulation or police state tactics that will stop the violence now.”

      Even Constitutional Republics that lean towards permitting a rowdy citizenry to live in a less governable manner doesn’t mean that when the time comes to violently suppress an insurrection that the violent suppression can be fairly described as “police state tactics”.

      No where in any logical framework organizing a *very* free society like ours is there a requirement that *very free* also includes wanton anarchy.

      Even free societies must maintain order when neerdowells like our leftist brethren opportunistically capitalize on an opportunity to bring down the free society.

      • Micheal said:

        Even Constitutional Republics that lean towards permitting a rowdy citizenry to live in a less governable manner doesn’t mean that when the time comes to violently suppress an insurrection that the violent suppression can be fairly described as “police state tactics”.

        Well, perhaps you’re right. That description is intended to be more cosmetic than actual. An area under martial law does look like a police state, even if it is expressly authorized when necessary.

    • If some of you find the scenario I described above eerily similar to totalitarian regimes that require political officers to be present with every command, with the authority to override the military officer’s decisions, you are perceptive.

      I’ve remarked before, regarding the proliferation of “Diversity Officers” in academia and elsewhere, that we shouldn’t bother making up new titles for them when the Russians have already come up with a perfectly serviceable word: zampolit.

    • I think you are correct. Where I disagree, though, is that I thought social workers were supposed to be handling police issues. That would solve the problem, no? Can you imagine the arrest conversation?

      Officer: Freeze. Hands up. Now, don’t do anything silly. I have called for an immediate arrest response team to assist in this most unfortunate incident.

      Arrestee: Oh. Sure. Hands up. I acknowledge your order and will not resist. I will wait patiently for the arrest response team. ETA?

      Officer: Well, dispatch says they should be here soon. They are a bit overwhelmed at the moment. The team was assisting at another incident when a plant fell over the stems snapped, causing damage to the plant. They are trying to comfort the homeowner at the moment who thinks that they should be able to compensate her for the value of the flowers lost.

      Arrestee: Oh. Might I suggest we exchange information and agree to meet at a more convenient time? I am free most of this afternoon, especially after 1:30 pm.

      Officer: Well, that sounds reasonable. What time works for you? Say 3:00 pm at the Starbucks at the corner? Cappuccino on me.

      Arrestee: Sure. Not a cappuccino fan – I prefer a caffé mocha.

      Officer: Great. See you at 3:00 then.

      Arrestee: Perfect. Take care.


      • Can you imagine this police encounter conversation-

        Officer: Sir, I need you wait here for a moment.

        Individual: Sure Officer, what can I do to help.

        Officer: I need to ask a few questions.

        Individual: Ok.

        *questions and answers*

        Officer: Ok, let me radio back to the station, we may need to take you in for further questioning.

        Individual: I wish you wouldn’t, but if we need to sure.

        Officer: Hey, listen, you’ve been pretty cooperative, my partner and I are going to take this report back to the station and we’ll be in contact with you if we need follow up.

        Individual: Great!

    • I don’t think there is any response short of complete capitulation or police state tactics that will stop the violence now.

      If there was ever an example in history when complete capitulation to a violent mob actually succeeded in stopping violence, it does not now occur to me.

    • You know, in the days of the British Empire, there were certain states that were directly run, that had a Governor-General or some equivalent, like India, Australia, etc. There were others that were independent in name, but whose courts always contained a de facto power behind the throne called a British Resident, who made sure they didn’t act against the Empire’s interests. In the days of the Nazis, conquered governments, thought they might appear independent in name, were really run by the Gauleiter, or Nazi Party leader, in essence a viceregal fuhrer (Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Gauleiter of the Netherlands, who no one talks about anymore, was a particularly villainous example). In the days of the Soviet superstate, every subject government, institution, agency, and military unit had its zampolit, or political officer, responsible for maintaining the ideological purity and loyalty of all public officials within the USSR’s orbit.

      If a native sultan or chieftain started to feel his oats and flirt with some other great power, the Resident telegraphed London, and suddenly the horizon might be broken by a squadron of warships flying the Union Jack and escorting transports full of redcoats, or a column of redcoats might come over the pass if this nation was landbound. Usually the message was quickly understood. If anyone under the red banner got to feeling independent, the zampolit wired Moscow, and Hungary and the Czech Republic could tell you what happens then. Annoy the Nazis, and at best you’d quickly find yourself on a train to somewhere we don’t need to talk about, at worst you’d meet the fate of Lidice.

      I wonder if the time is approaching when every institution will be provided with a Mshauri (Swahili for “advisor”), who will provide “guidance” on all matters concerning race and social justice. One will advise the Board of Education what to put in the curriculum and what holidays to observe. Another will advise the police chief what areas to patrol and what areas to leave alone. Still another will advise the CEO regarding hiring, promotion, bonuses, and so on. Every governmental office will be provided with one. If anyone steps out of line, the Mshauri will sent a blast text, and the next thing you know there will be riots targeting whoever.

      The only way to stop this is for the current authorities to do their jobs and break this idea that riots and destruction are the way to get what you want. The more people who act like the spineless authorities in Portland and similar places, the less likely it is we will ever break this cycle.

    • They hate Black cops, too.
      Police forces in cities are already disproportionally Black. They don’t care. They view Black cops as sellouts and traitors. An entirely Black police force would just result in mass conspiracies about the White man trying to kill off minorities by pitting them against one another (and they’d still hate Black cops.)
      Race is only an internal justification, what they resent is authority in general; which is why so many White, spoiled college kids with daddy issues are front and center at these riots.

  5. Here is another time when I long for Chris, or Ampersand, or most recently joeystig, to strut their stuff and argue that Evers’ statement was, as they used to say, “Right on!” Meanwhile, the un-deranged progressives–I know they are lurking–are notably silent. Why? Do they lose their Good Person cards if the admit, “Yeah, that kind of rhetoric is outrageous and dangerous”? In this case, silence really IS violence.

    • Jack said:

      In this case, silence really IS violence.

      Is it, though? Not standing up to Evers may do violence to reason, and look bad, but I can’t agree that others have a duty to do so under the rubric that not doing so is equivalent to violence. That smacks too much of the false choice offered by BLM.

      If one is true, the other plausibly should be as well.

    • “Do they lose their Good Person cards if the admit, “Yeah, that kind of rhetoric is outrageous and dangerous”?”

      Of course they do. Every time someone on the left displays an independent thought from the progressive dogma, there is a contingent of people, and that contingent isn’t small, and it isn’t ineffective, that tries to ruin the blasphemer’s life. The fallout from the failure of those purity tests is the basic essence of cancel culture.

      It takes a certain amount of bravery to walk into that wood chipper eyes wide open, because while the right is generally welcoming of leftist dissidents in search of friends, that involves making friends out of people you might have been calling Hitler just a little while ago, and you will absolutely lose friends and family over it.

  6. In conventional US police training, to reach into an area where one’s hands can’t be seen, especially in defiance of police commands, it often interpreted as an immediate threat to an officer’s life. The idea is that they could be reaching for a gun. This was the dynamic at play in the shooting of Terrence Crutcher by officer Betty Shelby in 2016 in Tulsa. That officer was acquitted, even though Crutcher didn’t have a gun. A similar thing happened when Daniel Shaver, crawling on the ground and pleading for his life, was shot when he reached down to pull up his pants. Officer Phillip Brailsford was acquitted in that shooting.

    It’s a doctrine that sounds facially reasonable to police, but I have serious misgivings about it. For one thing, in theory the legal standard for police defending their own lives is the same as for civilians – reasonable perception of an immediate threat of death or grievous bodily harm. But in practice, the things that are allowed to stand as indicia of a reasonably perceived threat are very different between the two. No civilian is going to be allowed to cite disobedience of their commands as an indication someone means them harm. People put their hands where we can’t see them all the time. A civilian pretty much needs to witness either direct violence, or an unambiguous indicator of impending violence, such as Holmes’ proverbial uplifted knife.

    Some of this difference must surely be due to Graham v. Connor, which states that juries must judge uses of force from the perspective of a reasonable police officer, not just a reasonable person. At first blush this is no different from the usual objective reasonableness standard, which demands that we take into account, for instance, whether the defendant was a 240lb male MMA fighter or a 95lb grandmother. But in practice it’s very different, as the defense will parade out expert witnesses to explain to the jury what is or is not reasonable for a police officer, and imply that the jury is obligated to defer to these experts, however their testimony might conflict with their own sense of reasonableness as laymen. The implication is that only cops can judge cops, leaving cops exactly as accountable as they, as a profession, wish to be.

    But here’s the thing: as the example of Daniel Shaver illustrates, the problems with police training and culture, or with deference to that culture by policy or custom, is not a question of race. But since race is the cause célèbre of the hour, we will not be seeing a sober discussion about it in any mainstream venue. It will remain unaddressed, and we can rest assured there will be more Daniel Shavers, more Terrence Crutchers.

    • DaveL said:

      No civilian is going to be allowed to cite disobedience of their commands as an indication someone means them harm.

      Boy, this is a really great point, and just leads me to a comment about policing generally.

      When I grew up, being a policeman meant you took risks. You went toward danger, and often placed yourself in immediate danger to protect the civilian population and the rule of law. You didn’t enter into the agreement to serve as a officer with the understanding that you would be able to make more tenuous assumptions about when to use deadly force than the average civilian.

      If it would be a bad shoot by a civilian in a Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground state, it is probably a bad shoot by police officers. There have to be exceptions — a criminal running away from a violent crime, or about to commit a crime. There are probably others, but your point, to me, strikes a chord. No, putting your hands in a dangerous place is not authority to open fire, at least not without multiple warnings.

      Police reform needs to start with the understanding that a police officer is agreeing to risk his life to save others, and taking a life is done only under conditions the average person would find reasonable, not just according to some procedure or practice.

      Anything less sets an example that is not desirable — police lives are somehow more valuable than ordinary citizens, and police may kill for reasons designed to place a higher value on their own lives than those of potential criminals, or adherence to procedure is valued above human life. Even criminals have a right not to be killed for violating a police procedure or command absent an immediate and obvious deadly threat.

      • I’ve maintained this very point for a long time. Too much if police training is about being amped up and ready for a violent encounter at any second. It’s based on bad statistics at its heart.
        Being a police officer is not in the top ten riskiest jobs. Further, being shot doesn’t rank in the top ways officers are hurt or killed. Being in a car crash or getting hit on a roadside is number one.
        We’ve created this feedback loop where officers are trained to escalate to lethal force rapidly, and then use that same rapid escalation to create the framework to never convict because it is what a reasonable officer would do.

        On a related item, you touch on a key point for me: a cops life is not more important than any other. Why are there laws specific to harming an officer? To me this are like the hate crime laws. We create classes of victimier victims that are more important than other victims. Cops certainly don’t both need the ability to kill where others would never be permitted and extra punishment for hurting them.

      • OK but here is a hard truth to face, and please excuse the way I frame this: Here in the case of Jacob Blake they are dealing with insane blacks of low comprehension. Not only the man himself but all the people yelling insults and working as hard as possible to create a bad outcome. That is what was going on there.

        The man himself, for whatever reason, acted like a lunatic. He deliberately sacrificed his life. He did not serve any case that I can recognize. He had children apparently. He left his children to fend for themselves. He showed no concern for his own life nor his children. This man is sick. He is therefore an *insane negro*.

        Based on what I saw there I do not blame the officer for firing. The man was acting insanely and insane people can do anything. More or less: end of story (as I see things).

        I feel no sympathy for him. But I would feel no sympathy for anyone, of any raxce, who acted so insanely stupidly.

        The other case of Daniel Shaver seemed to me different. He was doing everything in his power to surrender and submit. He was wimpering, crying and begging. He was reacting to extraordinary pressure and confusion. The officer who shot him got off, that is true, and there is some justice in that, but in truth he should not have gotten off so easy. It was much more like a ‘murder’: in any case an unnecessary killing.

        The last two paragraphs I think I disagree with. They have a right to over-value their lives within their profession. It is a necessary ethic.

    • Hypothetical: What if someone printed and distributed a “counter-poster” – an invite that said something like: “HUNTING SEASON BEGINS!” Bring your biggest guns. and LOTS of ammo. This season’s quarry: Rioters. Looters. Arsonists. Vandals. Bounties paid. (Hell, the only bounty you’ll need is the satisfaction that you killed or maimed some rioter.)”

        • Yes, I would say it certainly is, at least according to this legal description of “incitement:”

          “An inciter is one who counsels, commands or advises the commission of a crime. It will be observed that this definition is much the same as that of an accessory before the fact. What, then, is the difference between the two? It is that in incitement the crime has not (or has not necessarily) been committed, whereas a party cannot be an accessory in crime unless the crime has been committed. An accessory before the fact is party to consummated mischief; an inciter is guilty only of an inchoate crime.” Glanville Williams, Criminal Law 612 (2d ed. 1961).

  7. A little levity: Young black kids evidently broke into and vandalized a public library branch in Kenosha. They wanted to break into a public library? To steal books they could borrow for free? They don’t have enough books to read? Finally, some understandable context for these mostly peaceful protests! The protesters not only need food and clothing, they need intellectual sustenance!

  8. Everything hinges on whether the officers had reason to believe that Jacob Blake was going for a gun.

    Blake had already been arrested in the past for pointing a gun at random people in a bar while drunk. When the cops pulled him over to arrest him, he threw the gun in the back seat and then refused to comply and attacked police officers instead, and a dog was used to subdue him.

    According to Andy Ngo, he’s also been charged with a sex crime and multiple instances of domestic abuse.

    Was there a warrant for his arrest when the cops approached him? Was it reasonable to suspect that he would fight back or arm himself? At his previous arrest he had been wearing a gun holster; was it likely that he had a concealed weapon?

    If he grabs a gun, there would probably be a wild shootout next, with women and children all around. Kinda seems like the most obvious reason cops would be desperate to stop him. I mean that would be my best guess. But I would need LOTS more information before assuming anything, or, you know, burning down the library.

  9. It is my intent to comment on prior remarks that have been made concerning police use of force, including the “objective reasonableness” standard, police use of force training, the dangers of police work, the issue of whether a police officer’s life is “worth more” than the life of any other individual, and the speculation that police officers’ use of deadly force is treated less seriously than similar non-police uses of force.

    During my career (1974 – 2014) I saw the use of force by police curtailed substantially. First, out of the civil rights era and the Vietnam War protest era, much-needed internal changes in police management and training produced officers better trained and more adept at handling themselves and others with greater skill to avoid the necessity of using force. In 1985, Garner v. Tennessee eliminated the “fleeing felon: rule and restricted the use of deadly force to cases where “”the officer has probable cause to believe that the subject “poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.” Although state law prior to Garner had permitted the use of deadly force to stop a fleeing felon if all other reasonable means of apprehension had failed, in practice very, very few fleeing felons were ever shot, either because agency policy forbade it, or because (in the absence of such policy) officers employed more personal poise and restraint in the execution of their duties.

    The standard of objective reasonableness has been problematic since Graham v. Conner first applied this standard to police use of force. (The same standard had previously been applied in other areas of the law, like determining whether an attorney’s assistance of counsel was ineffective.) As courts and juries in excessive force cases began applying the standard, it quickly became evident that in determining whether a particular use of force was objectively reasonable, courts and juries across the country were arriving at widely varying results. So, rather than having a clarifying standard for when use of force was righteous, much ambiguity remained. (The Court itself had noted in Graham that the concept of objective reasonableness “is not capable of precise definition or mechanical application.”)

    For the police trainer, this posed a new challenge. Agency administrators, reacting to Graham, began pressing us to provide training to ensure that officers’ use of force would be judged reasonable. Our collective response (mine, along with the training personnel with whom I worked and whom I supervised) was that the real use of force standard had already been set with Garner. The new task for trainers was to better teach not only the thought processes by which an officer determined that a subject “poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury,” but also how to fully and articulately communicate the situational facts and circumstances that precipitated the officer’s decisions and actions. This begins with a thorough understanding of the law concerning assaultive offenses, self defense and use of force. Next requirement is a review of agency policy and procedure regarding use of force. (Agency policy may be and frequently is more restrictive than state law. One example is the case of “warning shots” which are not typically against the law but are almost per se reckless endangerment.) Additionally, accurate, articulate report writing is necessary to fully and thoroughly document use of force incidents. Officers typically react to the aggressive behavior of other people and are not the initiators of force scenarios. Thus they are also taught about the disadvantages of reaction time and learn how to tactically move away from a force hazard while reacting effectively to counter it. Officers are also taught a variety of skills of which the average person is not even aware. For example, I taught a course called “Characteristics of Armed Individuals,” which trains officers how to detect subjects armed with concealed weapons by observing telltale mannerisms and habits that “telegraph” the presence of a weapon and/or signal that a person is about to produce a concealed weapon. (This instruction was developed by the U.S. Secret Service for training their agents)

    All this training (and more) is designed to guide officers in making good use of force decisions and reduce the tactical disadvantage officers face in reacting to a subject’s aggression. Establishing what is objectively reasonable calls for agencies to provide as much training and guidance as possible for officers making force decisions and to establish a healthy organizational culture that promotes accountability for following laws and well thought-out procedures. Building trust in the community establishes a good reputation for proper policing and a climate that presupposes good will on the part of officers, absent evidence to the contrary. All these things together can help establish that an officer was fulfilling the standard of objective reasonableness.

    It has been pointed out that policing is not statistically the most dangerous occupation when it comes to the full range of line of duty deaths. Of course, this is true, but one aspect that is often overlooked in that assessment is that a significant number of line of duty deaths involve an officer actually being murdered while on duty. This is a hazard not commonly experienced by most other “dangerous” occupations and certainly one that weighs upon an officer’s mind to a greater extent than the possibility of falling from a height, being struck by lightning or run over by a streetcar.

    Concerning the nature of line of duty deaths, I was an instructor for another course called “Below 100,” a national training initiative intended to reduce U.S. line of duty deaths to below 100 per year, which has not occurred since 1944. The primary concepts taught in Below !00 are “Wear your (seat) Belt, Wear your (ballistic) Vest, Watch your speed, WIN – What’s Important Now, and Complacency Kills.” These concepts, in recognizing the significance of traffic related deaths, encourage officers (and their supervisors) to reduce high speed driving to the necessary minimum and utilize safety protocols and equipment that reduce injury and death. “WIN” and “Complacency Kills” address exercising good decision making skills and maintaining situational awareness during all work activities.

    Is a police officer’s life worth more than any other citizen’s life? In the abstract, of course not. The difference is in the role that each person holds in society. In the keeping of public order police are first on the scene. A police officer on duty, following the law and the rules of his or her agency in the public interest, is representing not himself or herself, but the legitimate police authority of the state. In employing that authority, the officer must be held to a high standard of accountability, but the state has an interest in emphasizing the importance of the officer’s role in serving and preserving our laws and justice system and by extension, our way of life. Any assault on an officer is attacking more than an individual, it is an attack on our orderly way of life. Going so far as to kill a police officer is viewed as a most heinous attack on our system of laws. In our current times, we also see some attacks on police conducted as acts of domestic terrorism. These are the reasons why we have specific laws against assaulting / killing police officers. (Other countries not having such laws per se, often list the killing of an officer as an enhancement factor to a charge of murder, ensuring a harsher sentence,) Killing a police officer is usually prosecuted with great vigor, to make it clear that our society considers violence against police as an intolerable act.

    I would also point out that, counter to any allegation that police “get away with murder” or are somehow given carte blanche by courts and juries in the use of force, in my experience often legitimate “civilian” uses of deadly force receive much less intense scrutiny than those of police, absent clear evidence of criminal intent. It seem to me that police are -and should be- held to a higher standard.

    Policing in America is a highly localized activity. There are over 700,000 officers serving in 18,000 agencies in the US. Almost 90% of agencies have less than a few dozen officers. Agencies of ten or fewer are common. Most communities (cities, counties) have the quality of law enforcement that they insist upon and are willing to pay for.
    All of the above is based on my own experience in the organizations I worked for, your mileage may vary.

    • For example, I taught a course called “Characteristics of Armed Individuals,” which trains officers how to detect subjects armed with concealed weapons by observing telltale mannerisms and habits that “telegraph” the presence of a weapon and/or signal that a person is about to produce a concealed weapon. (This instruction was developed by the U.S. Secret Service for training their agents)

      That doesn’t exactly validate that the techniques are appropriately calibrated to avoid false positives, which are not of much concern to the President’s protective detail but have huge implications for the rights of civilians during routine interactions with law enforcement. I’m familiar with some of these supposed ‘tells’ such as swinging only one arm – a mannerism I myself acquired many years ago from marching at the Shoulder Arms in the Canadian army reserves and never quite got rid of though I never carry a concealed weapon.

      Law Enforcement has a lot of such lists of magic cues. The TSA had one for spotting potential terrorists. It included things like avoiding eye contact, making too much eye contact, being nervous, being alone, yawning, complaining about the screening process, whistling, clearing your throat, rubbing your hands, a bobbing Adam’s apple, being late for a flight, head-turning, checking the time, shuffling feet, a pale face, a flushed face, gripping your bags too hard, sweating, having body odor, “exaggerated, repetetive grooming gestures, and “minimal body movements”, among others. When it comes to developing “reasonable suspictin” for investigative “Terry Stops”, we have “presence in a high-crime area”, “avoiding eye contact”, “staring at law enforcement”, “wearing clothes commonly used in commission of a crime”, “fit description”, and my personal favorite, “furtive movement”.

      These lists are so broad-ranging, the elements so often vague, subjective and unfalsifiable, that they really serve no purpose other than to give gut instincts a thin veneer of scientific professionalism in a courtroom.

      You yourself admit the goal of this training is to “reduce the tactical disadvantage officers face in reacting to a subject’s aggression”. Civilians aren’t allowed to use force against one another in order to “reduce the tactical disadvantage” that would come from waiting until someone else actually presented an unlawful threat. They aren’t allowed to do so precisely because that invites violent escalation in situations where, otherwise, no actual threat would have materialized.

      • My phrase “reduce the tactical disadvantage officers face in reacting to a subject’s aggression” was not in ANY WAY referring to preemptive action. Preemptive strikes are part of warfare, not of policing. Forgive me if I was being inarticulate. I was referring to the very knowledge and skills (among others) that I listed in the preceding paragraph, teaching officers to be better prepared to react to a suspects actions. Want a few more examples? If a subject in a traffic stop pulls a gun, it is helpful to understand the mechanics of shooting from inside a vehicle so the officer can move in a manner and direction that makes him or her less of a target. If a suspect pulls a knife, it is useful to understand the necessity and skill of putting distance between the attacker and officer, even as he or she prepares to employ deadly force against the attacker (it would be so embarrassing to fatally wound a knife attacker but still be seriously stabbed before he dies). Officers also need to know the psychological effects of being shot, learning that just because they are wounded does not mean that they are out of the fight, and the mental process of pulling through the shock and surprise to continue their defense. Again, these concepts, taught in the classroom and ingrained through extensive stress-induced training scenarios, are part of a process to help officers learn to adapt quickly to unfolding dynamic situations that may work out according to plan or may go south in an instant.

    • James, I want to take this opportunity to publicly say Thank You for your contributions to this site.

      One of the things that makes this site so compelling is that there are numerous bona-fide experts in various fields among the commentariat that take the time to write posts which enlighten and educate the rest of us, and you are definitely one of them.

      Much like I’ve said about Jack in the past, you’re someone from whom I’ve learned A LOT, and for that you have the kind of respect that I grant to very few people.

      Please keep it up.


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