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April 25th, 2008, 21:20
There's a lot of outrage in New York today over an acquittal in case involving a police shooting where the officers involved fired fifty shots at a man they say was attacking them with his car.

Fifty is too much, and I think it's a travesty that none of the police officers involved will be punished. I'm all for supporting police and giving them the benefit of the doubt, but this is just too hard to swallow.

One evening around this past Christmas, my wife and I were returning from the harbor near our home where we had just viewed a boat parade when we noticed an ambulance and three or four police cars at a local gas station. We wondered what had happened.

About a week later I bumped into a police officer at a local coffee shop and asked him about it. He said it was just someone who thought he could get tough with the police, and then he looked me in the eye and continued, "They were wrong."

I took that to be an odd and ominous kind of warning, one that I didn't need or like. Apparently, the officer didn't like me asking about it.

This shooting reminds me of what I imagine may have happened at that gas station near my home. I don't know what happened to that guy in the ambulance, but this poor guy was killed on his wedding day, and that stinks.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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April 26th, 2008, 00:21
Hey it's America!! We see more than 50 shots being fired at cars all the time on TV and in the movies, so why should RL be any different!! Am I being totally cynical? Of course, but it's the sort of behaviour (and result ) we've come to consider as 'normal'. I agree with you that 50 shots is 'overkill', but that seems to be SOP!!

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April 26th, 2008, 06:54
One thing that struck me when I was in Montana was the general attitude towards the police. They were, basically, avoided and distrusted. The folks I was hanging out with may not have been the solidest pillars of society, but neither were they delinquents or criminals — they were all working jobs, making a living, that sort of thing. If something went wrong and there was the problem, the reflex would be to try to do everything possible *not* to have to call the cops, the assumption being that they'd probably just lock up everybody to be on the safe side, plus do a search of the premises that may or may not turn up a bag of weed and then *really* lock up everyone.

I have no idea whether the cops actually deserve that kind of distrust, but it certainly was there, and it's very different from what I'm used to.
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April 26th, 2008, 07:17
police should never be allowed lethal force; we need better technology which would nulify the inevitable 'mistakes' that will always occur, some more horendous than others. not to mention the penal system seriously needs to reform its racists/class roots.
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April 26th, 2008, 12:36
Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
…..About a week later I bumped into a police officer at a local coffee shop and asked him about it. He said it was just someone who thought he could get tough with the police, and then he looked me in the eye and continued, "They were wrong."
While saying that, did he looked at you like Clint Eastwood would?
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April 26th, 2008, 16:21
I know that you have to have different approach when the person you stop might pull a gun on you but it always struck me how different police USUALLY behave in Europe and in the US. I also admit that my observations of US police behaviour is not based on the first hand experience but I am under the impression that they are much more aggresive and confontational than in EU.
In short the difference seems to be that here police force is more of a service and in US they act more as enforcers.
Am I widely off base?

P.S I also wonder how many psychos join police force (and army for that matter) solely for the possibility of being able to kill somebody and get away with it?
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April 26th, 2008, 19:19
I think Corwin's comment probably hit the nail on the head as far as how well anyone outside the US is really able to evaluate police in the US. But the thing is, we're not much better off ourselves. Police are like some sort of fraternity where you're either in or you're out, and nearly all of us are out.

It's too easy for this sort of thing to happen, and it's way too easy for the facts surrounding this sort of thing to be concealed.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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April 26th, 2008, 20:32
Well, clearly the police suffered from a mob mentality on this one. After the first shot, everyone went crazy.

The police are really in a no-win situation. They get slammed for not dealing with crime and they get slammed for "over-exuberance" (I'm not referrring this particular case, since this clearly is a bit beyond "over-exuberance). I think that they also suffer a bit from looking in the eye of evil, as it were. After you spend a few years seeing nothing but scumbags, you're bound to see everyone as a scumbag. Since we're all guilty of something, whether it be mass murder or serial jaywalking, it makes it easier for the police to justify that attitude.

The situation that troubles me, which hits the news pretty regularly, is when some dirtbag spends 3 hours running from an arrest (sometimes including using violence/guns to escape) and then complains about excessive force because he was tackled and roughly cuffed. If I chase after some clown for 3 hours, you can bet I'm going to bodyslam him when I finally catch him. I don't know how that could surprise anybody, and I don't understand how easily it gets lost that the bozo ran from authorities in the first place.

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April 26th, 2008, 20:42
Of course it doesn't help when you have Al Sharpton trying to fan the flames as much as possible.
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April 26th, 2008, 22:28
Of course it doesn't help when none of the alleged perps was armed and one of those cops needed to reload his gun….twice….
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April 27th, 2008, 02:29
Recent events regarding this hit the bbc news here.
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April 27th, 2008, 04:58
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
Of course it doesn't help when none of the alleged perps was armed and one of those cops needed to reload his gun….twice….

Not sure if you read the full story, but the perp\victim was behind the wheel of a car and allegedly sped right towards the officers in an apparent attempt to run them down. I'm not saying the amount of gunfire was 100% justified, but in that situation the perp certainly cannot be considered unarmed.
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April 27th, 2008, 07:14
Am I in the minority here by thinking that cops get a bad rap? They have one of the hardest jobs on the face of the planet, next to being a soldier. Where you go into work everyday and there is a chance you will be killed. Many of us go to work and the only thing we have to deal with is our boss and meeting deadlines, but cops go into work and have to always be on guard when pulling someone over or responding to 911 calls, if they're not on guard they could be killed or get their partner killed. They deal with the worst humanity has to offer on a daily basis.

I think that there is a fine line between abusive authority and protecting the peace, but when your life is threatened logic goes out the window and self preservation kicks in. I mean if someone was trying to run me down with a car and I had a gun, I wouldn't hesitate to try to kill that person with as many bullets as I could to keep myself alive. So 50 bullets doesn't sound like such a big number when someone is trying to kill you, whether it's with a car, gun or other weapon.

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April 27th, 2008, 09:14
Funny, the bbc report says he hit an unmarked car on the shin. I don't remember the law allowing me to blow somebody away because they hit my car. It's not justifiable to allow police to kill people because they have a 'tough' job - when a warning shot would have probably done the job.
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April 27th, 2008, 14:01
Now, woges, wouldn't it have been easier for those guys to just stop? Let's not lose sight of that. Do you think there would have been any gunfire whatsoever if they had complied with police commands?

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April 27th, 2008, 14:41
To echo the above commets Police are damned if they do and damned if they don't. On one hand a victim of crime will be up in arms if the police don't respond in 3 milliseconds to their allegation of assault by arresting the offender and remanding them to jail (no matter the evidence) but the same person will deride the police for over the top response when they themselves are accused of a crime.

Don't get me started on speeding. It kills more people than drink driving (and for that matter Crime) yet the police are critised for stopping speeding motorists (often with the phrase "shouldn't you be catching real criminals?) Do you know the best way to avoid speedtraps and the like? It a secret all police are taught when they join up. DON'T SPEED. Same with drugs. Don't have drugs and you won't be caught with them.

I will admit some police officers go over the top but I honestly believe that is rare. Problem is Police are seen as the enemy by many in the public and the press and therefore suffer constant tirades based on not reacting enough/overreacting or not using their powers/abusing their powers.

What people forget Police Officers are people too, they are just doing a demanding job that is dangerous (both in the US and outside). The good work they do is taken for granted and any mistakes are blown out of proportion. This post is talking about officers deploying firearms against a man driving a car at them. OMG they used 50 bullets. Do you know how many they should have used? As many as is takes to stop the nutter trying to kill them. And until anybody has been in the situation where their life was threatened like that I cannot see how they can judge a person who has.

/Rant off

……. and relax. Apologies for that but I feel strongly about this.

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April 27th, 2008, 15:24
Without commenting on the current case (about which I know little) I donít think the 'they're only human' argument flies. The police are professionals and should act and be treated as such, all the more so because they may be required to use lethal force in the line of duty. I doubt, for example, youíd excuse a surgeon leaving a surgical instrument inside you after an operation (which happens). It may be a cultural thing but I donít think and of the police offers I know would make an excuse like that or appreciate someone making it for them. Then again I canít recall a scandal involving the police gunning down someone here Ė the ones involving fatalities usually relate to someone getting trigger happy with a taser on someone with a medical condition or poor decisions in high speed chases.

And just to be clear I have no problem with the appropriate use of force to continue Dteís example if they had to tackle the suspect to arrest him thatís expected, but if they put him in hospital because they got frustrated then thereís something wrong with their superiors.
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April 27th, 2008, 21:34
Originally Posted by V7 View Post
Without commenting on the current case (about which I know little) I don’t think the 'they're only human' argument flies. The police are professionals and should act and be treated as such, all the more so because they may be required to use lethal force in the line of duty. I doubt, for example, you’d excuse a surgeon leaving a surgical instrument inside you after an operation (which happens). It may be a cultural thing but I don’t think and of the police offers I know would make an excuse like that or appreciate someone making it for them. Then again I can’t recall a scandal involving the police gunning down someone here – the ones involving fatalities usually relate to someone getting trigger happy with a taser on someone with a medical condition or poor decisions in high speed chases.

And just to be clear I have no problem with the appropriate use of force to continue Dte’s example if they had to tackle the suspect to arrest him that’s expected, but if they put him in hospital because they got frustrated then there’s something wrong with their superiors.
I didn't use the phrase "They're only human" on purpose. What I said was police officers are people. This often seems to be forgotten. Very few seek to actively get involved in fights or injure people as that is not their job. Their job is to protect others and that is what they do. What I did say that is until somebody has been in a position where thay have had to protect themselves or others from the threat of seriuos harm then I don't think they can understand what goes through a persons mind and therefore what reasonable force is. Should an officer wait for an armed man to take the first shot (a shot that may kill them or their colleagues)?

You are absolutely right in that if excessive force is used or force is used through frustration then yes that officer needs to be held accountable. However what classes as excessive force is often judged by what the offender states happened or what the press report. Certainly in the UK every time force is used police officers must fill out a form justifying it (or at least note down their justification).

I'm not trying to excuse bad coppers and yes, to coin a phrase, "with great power come great responsability" but if we are to judge descision made by polocie officers then don't simply read what is in the papers or in the news but consider what the officers were facing and thinking at the time.

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April 27th, 2008, 23:35
Well said, Kendrik. We get in a big hurry to find a victim and the media circus makes it extremely easy to ignore the events leading up to the incident. If a cop has his hand on his gun, you can bet your bottom dollar I'm going to be doing exactly what he tells me. I just don't have a great deal of sympathy for folks that choose not to exercise common sense such as that.

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April 28th, 2008, 00:16
While I basically agree with Kendrik and Dte, what about the person who is not quite in their 'right mind' through drugs or alcohol? Yes, I know they can kill a cop just as easily as anyone else, but they are. at least temporarily, unable to respond rationally to a police directive. Is that reason to kill them? Don't we need a way to incapacitate them as our first priority? Your professional thoughts Kendrik!!

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