Saturday, July 09, 2016

Dallas police shooting: 'This could change everything,' or not

The murders of five police officers in Dallas and the shooting of seven more, plus two civilians, at a Black Lives Matter protest has received massive media attention, with details still emerging, so I'll limit myself to a few initial observations, in no particular order.

* * *
To begin with the obvious, Grits grieves for the officers, their friends and family, as I do for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and theirs. It's been a disheartening, tragedy-filled week.

When Grits learned that America's latest mass shooting in Dallas targeted police officers, my first thought was "This could change everything." But with just a short time having passed to gain some perspective, now I fear it may change very little, instead helping set some unfortunate and regrettable dynamics into stone.

* * *

One of the reasons Grits waited until now to comment, and then reservedly: Many initial reports were flat-out wrong and I expect others will turn out to be false (much like the Darren Goforth murder in Houston, which stoked similar passions.) Police at first said there were multiple gunmen; there turned out to be one, just as with most mass shootings. The shooter was a military-trained, Afghan War vet armed with a semiautomatic rifle who'd apparently adopted a strain of black nationalist politics in the months before the event.

Three other people were detained who apparently had nothing to do with the episode, though initial reports made it sound like a coordinated group effort. Another protester had his photo posted as a "person of interest" on Twitter by DPD. Then when he turned himself in, police repeatedly lied to him during the interrogation trying to get him to admit to participating in the shooting. This is a legal tactic but also contributes to false confessions. Luckily, in this case the gentleman stood his ground and did not succumb. No one now believes he was involved.

All this to say, from what we now know, the shooter appears to have acted alone. He doesn't seem to have been part of the Black Lives Matter movement except as a sympathizer, and his actions have been roundly condemned by the movement's leadership. The BLM movement is no more responsible for the shooter's actions than the Dallas officers who were shot had anything to do with Alton Sterling's death.

* * *

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick came out with ridiculous comments calling the protesters "hypocrites" for fleeing the scene when the shots rang out, expecting police to protect them. Never mind that police were ORDERING people to leave the scene. What foolishness! BLM isn't saying police shouldn't exist, of course; they're demanding equal protection under the law.

Also, painting protesters as cowards hardly jibes with other reports. One thinks of this image from the chaotic scene, where protesters gathered with a mother around a baby carriage as a human shield to rush the infant to safety.


By contrast, when an angry constituent fired off a gun outside the capitol in 2010, then-Sen. Patrick pushed for metal detectors to be installed at the entrances, creating long lines during the height of session and diminishing the "little d" democratic feel and function at the capitol. So it's not like he's one to run toward the gunshots!

Grits now thinks the Dallas tragedy will mostly solidify and entrench partisans' positions on police accountability matters instead of helping bridge the divide. Patrick's loathsome response and similar outbursts elsewhere tell me the knee-jerk impulse by reactionaries to police accountability protests will be to double down.

Meanwhile there's little evidence the Dallas police shootings will deter the Black Lives Matter movement from protesting and pushing for change. Indeed, from all I've seen, Grits expects the Alton Sterling and Philando Castile shootings to escalate BLM efforts; people are still mad. Plus, there are already long-term media projects in the works which will focus even more attention on the issue, as well as more and more celebrities speaking out, which can drive daily news. Inevitably, shootings by police will continue, some will be problematic, a subset of those will be caught on video, and each of them will add to the drumbeat. Over time, expanded use of body cameras around the country plus the ubiquity of private cell phones mean more video will become available from unjustified shootings, spurring renewed calls for accountability. If that analysis is right, tensions will rise from here before they diminish.

* * * 

Some days, it feels like all of this country's culture-war feuds are conflating around the issue of mass shootings. After the Orlando shootings, Lt. Gov. Patrick had to delete a Tweet which opined that "A man reaps what he sows," claiming it was pre-scheduled and unrelated to the murder of 50 gay club-goers. (He never did explain precisely WHO he meant would reap what they sowed, if not gay people.) But the truth is, Patrick wasn't the only arch-conservative in the strange position of wanting to preserve an anti-gay persona while condemning Muslim terrorism, however callous and contradictory such a stance may seem in the wake of a grievous tragedy.

Similarly, one of the young men killed this week was a concealed carry permit holder who was shot after he told the officer he had a legal firearm and reached for his ID. But it's not the NRA holding rallies across the country in response to his death, but Black Lives Matter! Then a sniper opens up in Dallas, spurring renewed calls for background checks and purchase delays, and now gun-rights advocates find themselves defending the circumstances that empowered a black nationalist, anti-police mass murderer to obtain a sniper rifle. To say politics makes strange bedfellows is an understatement.

Mass shootings tend to merge culture war issues because any time somebody hates a group of people, one way to express it is to take an assault rifle and kill as many of them as possible. And since hatred can run in nearly any direction and motivate people from a variety of ideologies, mass shootings can be motivated by any and all of the social pathologies one can imagine. That's an odd and interesting side effect of this ignominious trend.

* * *

The use of an explosive-laden robot to kill the shooter, who was holed up in a parking garage, appears to have been the first such use of a killer robot by the government on US soil. While this violates Isaac Asimov's three laws of robotics, experts don't seem to think it violates US law or any constitutional principles.

This isn't a lot different from sending an armed drone in to kill the guy. One wonders, had they planned and trained for this or was it decided on the fly? Will this become more common in standoff situations going forward, or was it a one-off? From a normative standpoint, are there problems with police using robots designed for disarming bombs to deliver them? Grits is drawing no conclusion here, but I'm not the only one with questions.

* * *

Grits' pessimism that dynamics will soon change doesn't mean there haven't been important voices trying to lead a divided public in the right direction, including Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who offered these words of wisdom in the tragedy's aftermath:
“The question is: Can we, as citizens, speak against the actions of a relatively few officers who blemish the reputation of their high-calling and at the same time, support and defend the 99% of officers who do their job professionally, honestly and bravely?” he said. “I think we can and I think we must.”
He's right. But a major lesson from this episode is that a single fool with a penchant for action can undermine thousands of voices raised up calling for change. Messages of unity gel slowly, while messages of division seem to coalesce in an instant.

That said, Grits doesn't share the Marshall Project's pessimism that news from Dallas spells doom for criminal-justice reform writ large. In the long run, conversations which may eventually generate a new vision for policing - one that is safer for both officers and the public - are occurring largely beyond the media maelstrom. In small rooms at the state and local level, activists, police officers, and local politicians are debating specific reforms and finding a path to enact some of them. (BLM's Campaign Zero is tracking state law reforms here.) Progress is slow, we haven't seen much significant change yet, and the process is not for the attention-span challenged. But what's the alternative?

I'm not saying it's impossible to rein in needless police violence; it most certainly is possible, and we must. It just feels like we're on the front end of that debate, not anywhere close to its ultimate resolution.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fox4 in DFW also stated that people in the crowd had identified the "person of interest" as a shooter right after his picture was published. I called bullshit at the time. I hope he can sue to shit out of 'em.

Anonymous said...

A sad state of affairs. Hard to get to the table for discussion or healing when we have the Dan Patrick's at the state level and the Louie Gohmerts at national.
We need reason and unity.

Anonymous said...

You are here your usual reasonable, thoughtful self. I subscribe for a good reason: you seem to have a reasoned approach which considers everyone involved. Yours is the only "coverage" or commentary about the events of the day which is responsible and without agenda. We may have met once, but I'm not certain. We should. Thanks for your blog; it is one of the best things I read, and I rarely offer this kind of compliment. You provide a valuable public service.

Anonymous said...

Grits, well balanced insights as always. Is it worth mentioning that our commander in chief shouldn't be prejudicing police shooting cases as essentially the outcome of years of racism and thereby declaring in advance the futility of criminal justice system to deliver justice? There's a group of people who are going to be unhinged regardless of what the most powerful black person in the USA says, of course. Still, I wonder if the political rhetoric is helping create the hysteria. Guns and racism don't seem to be things we can " fix" easily. But police shootings can definitely be reduced through better training and increased transparency. For example, both of the controversial shootings that preceded the Dallas tragedy represent over-escalation without proper back-up. Effecting an arrest on a person reported as brandishing shouldn't be attempted by two lone officers. The surprise in their voice when they called out gun! Gun! ...told me all I needed to know. No criminal charges will be filed but that municipality will pay out large civil settlement. The other shooting over the broken taillight is much worse and will result in charges and I'm convinced a conviction. All of the elements of a proper use of deadly force are missing. No violence preceding the event. Traffic stop. Baby in the back seat. Wife in the passenger. No fleeing. No resisting. Lighting is good. Suspect politely announced he was a lawful concealed carry permit owner. Greeted with shots. The case should be poster child of illegal shootings. I'll end on a creative note. Maybe training officers how to interact with the public in traffic violation scenarios should be obsolete. Maybe officers should just stay in their car & use the PA system to let them know they will get a ticket in the mail for the broken tail light or speeding etc. or maybe officers need to memorize scripts for exactly what to say in any traffic stop?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Thanks 5:04, you are very kind.

@5:55, thanks for those suggestions. Interesting ideas. The problem is agencies use traffic stops as a pretext to get in the car, look around, ask to search, etc.. Traffic enforcement is often an incidental goal. E.g., DPS expressly trains its officers to "look beyond the traffic stop" to perform a cursory investigation for other criminal activity. And judging from the outcomes at (illegal) traffic checkpoints the agency had to cease, they can find SOME law, serious or petty, that a driver or passenger is breaking in about 12% of vehicles stopped. So en masse, it becomes a numbers game and a substitute for investigating crimes with victims that have already occurred. In most departments, 50-60% of all interactions with citizens happen at traffic stops. (Can't wait for driverless cars!) All this to say, I'd be willing to explore those suggestions, but I bet they're a non-starter for the cops, for whom traffic enforcement isn't really the point, or at least not entirely.

Otherwise, perhaps I missed the comments to which you're referring, but I haven't seen the President "declaring in advance the futility of criminal justice system to deliver justice." His comments that I read seemed more measured than mine. I don't think Obama is driving this, the police killing people on video that went viral is pretty clearly what sparked it all. It's the smart phones and video that's new, and that tech arose during his term. But the police shooting issues date back decades before he took office and will continue whether we have Trump or Clinton going forward.

Bill Miller said...

Has it been confirmed Philando Castile was a concealed handgun licensee? I have seen conflicting reports on it.

Anonymous 5:55 refers to the president as "our commander in chief." Perhaps Anon 5:55 is in the military, but for those of us who of not in the armed forces, the president is NOT our "commander in chief." The US Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 1, states, "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States...."

I'm a civilian, thus no president is my "commander in chief."

Let's examine the claim that the shooter's "actions have been roundly condemned by the [BLM] movement's leadership," which links to an article in USA Today. Malkia Cyril, director the Center for Media Justice and a prominent member of the movement, took to Twitter soon after the ambush to say “Police violence, not #BlackLove, creates violence." That's smacks of blaming the victims.

“If someone goes in a building and assassinates five police officers, they are a terrorist and they are not a part of the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat and chairman of the caucus. That's called the No True Scotsman fallacy.

“What we did last night was a peaceful protest,” said Dominique Alexander, who heads the Next Generation Action Network and helped organize the Dallas protest, told USA TODAY. This is hardly a condemnation of the assassination of the police officers, but perhaps Alexander said more to the reporter that just dust didn't make it into print.

At previous Black Lives Matter protests, the protesters have chanted "What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want them? "Now!" and "Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon."

The USA Today article states, "The Black Lives Matter movement, which was birthed following the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin." In other words, the mob had pre-judged Zimmerman and refused to accept the verdict of a jury that heard the evidence showing that Zimmerman acted in self-defense.

To this very day the BLM people repeat the lie of "hands up, don't shoot." Never mind that Michael Brown was charging Officer Wilson, not surrendering, when he was shot. Never mind that both the grand jury and Obama's DoJ cleared Wilson.

BLM people generally are not concerned with the facts. It is the mentality of a mob.

sunray's wench said...

Scott, a balanced and thoughtful post as ever.

The thing that stands out to me, as an outsider but with a stake in what happens in Texas, is the use of a robot bomb by the police to end the situation. This is police using force with the intent to kill a suspect - the exact thing that the BLM protests are all about. Dallas PD has made good inroads to de-escalation of conflict during arrests, so this action just smells of retribution and vengeance to me (I can understand why that would be the case, so please don't think I'm not sympathetic), and not the actions of an impartial service employed to protect and serve the WHOLE community. They are not paid to be judge and executioner. I have to wonder, had the suspect been white, would DPD have just starved him out? It's a very slippery slope, and one the US police are already half-way down with few hand-holds.

Anonymous said...

#Texit

Bill Miller said...

sunray wrench said: "Had the suspect been white, would DPD have just starved him out?"

Are you serious? The sniper had just shot 11 people and refused to surrender, and you think that "starve him out" was a serious option? And you wonder whether it would have been pursued had the suspect been white?

Ah yes, you probably think that one could murder 6 cops in cold blood, and then save oneself by whipping out the mythical "white privilege" card when cornered?

You think that the cops on the scene in pursuit of the suspect are going to have a conversation something like, "well, I was going to suggest sending in the killer robot, but now that I see that the suspect is white, let's just wait around on him."

Your remarks are just plain stupid and worthy of utter contempt. I don't even know how to have a serious dialogue with you people. Liberalism really is a mental disorder.

sunray's wench said...

I'm not the one throwing insults around, Bill.

It was a serious question from an observer. Perhaps you are too close to the issues to see it all clearly.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@ Bill Miller, the shooter made the same sort of assumptions as you, since the No True Scotsman fallacy also would apply to police officers who say the ones who commit serious misconduct don't represent "the good ones." In reality, the shooter and bad cops are responsible for their own actions. The cops killed in Dallas weren't responsible for what happened in MN and LA, and BLM wasn't responsible for a lone shooter with no apparent connection to the group beyond sympathizing from afar.

As for the "fry em like bacon stuff, I've heard that quote in one video clip from a local protest more than a year ago and it was roundly criticized elsewhere in the movement. Nobody was chanting that in Dallas and it's not what the movement is principally about, any more than pro-life activists are all about shooting doctors.

Anonymous said...

Slow down, Bill Miller.
You DON'T know how to have a serious dialog because you immediately insulted the commentor who had a question implying a differing opinion than yours.

And the avatar of the T-Rex n a suit and tie...isn't inspiring confidence towards rational behavior, either.

To sunray''s question...although I've never heard of the robot-bomb tactic, it doesn't seem any different than if DPD were exchanging gunfire with the trapped suspect. At some point, a lucky shot by an officer is going to kill the suspect. The "bomb approach" is just more controlled, with less flying projectiles, and a known body count in the end. Moreover, the police shootings in Baton Rouge (and others) were more knee-jerk reactions with no intent to kill, just negligence (but negligence that should have consequences nonetheless.)

And if would be difficult to argue that if the shooter was caucasian that "starving him out" would have been chosen as a tactic. There were black DPD officers on the scene, and Police Chief David Brown, of course, is black. He made the final call. I doubt that race had any factor for the objective.

But, to address the judge-jury-executioner argument, do police have alternative non-lethal approaches to apprehending suspects? Were tasers out of consideration?

Unknown said...

http://abcnews.go.com/US/mother-shielded-sons-dallas-shooting-police-heroes/story?id=40476454

Let's remember the positive. There's more of it than there is of the evil.

Those protesters knew the police around them were the good guys, putting their lives on the line to protect the most sacred of our American rights. They've said so. The police knew the protesters weren't a "racist, anti-police" movement. (That quote isn't from anybody here).

I'm not optimistic but I hope this can draw us together now that we've seen the horror that awaits if division gets worse.

Bill Miller said...

Gritsforbrealfast claimed that the shooter's "actions have been roundly condemned by the [BLM] movement's leadership.” ‘Black Lives Matter’ was founded by radical feminists Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opel Tometi, with Garza widely recognized as the most influential of the three. On 10/7/2014 Garze published an article thefeministwire.com titled “A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement by Alicia Garza” in which she cites as inspiration, “Assata’s powerful demand in my organizing work.” Assata is a reference to Assata Shakur, otherwise known as Joanne Deborah Chesimard, a radical feminist and Marxist revolutionary who escaped from prison in 1979 while serving a life sentence for the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster.

So her hero is a cop killer turned fugitive, oh how wonderful. The racial hatred emanating from people within the #blacklivesmatter towards whites and white police officers is visceral and obvious to anyone within earshot, or who reads their tweets.

“@ Bill Miller, the shooter made the same sort of assumptions as you…”

I have no idea what you are talking about. What assumptions?

Murdering cops, claims Grits, “is not what the [BLM] movement is principally about, any more than pro-life activists are all about shooting doctors.”

OK, Grits, hold on a moment. Imagine that the chair of the National Right to Life Committee published an essay in which he cites as inspiration Michael F. Griffin, the man convicted of murdering abortionist David Gunn. Would we ever hear the end of it? "Yeah, but that's not really what we're all about..." I ain't buyin' it.

@Anon 3:30 How would you know that the recent shootings “in Baton Rouge (and others) were more knee-jerk reactions with no intent to kill, just negligence”? Those shooting just happened and we don’t even know the full story.

“And if would be difficult to argue that if the shooter was caucasian that "starving him out" would have been chosen as a tactic.” THANK YOU. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the suggestion actually fucking absurd, and worthy of nothing but scorn.

“But, to address the judge-jury-executioner argument, do police have alternative non-lethal approaches to apprehending suspects? Were tasers out of consideration?”

Oh please. The suspect had an SKS and you think that tasers were an option? Tell me that you’re joking…

“And the avatar of the T-Rex n a suit and tie...isn't inspiring confidence towards rational behavior, either.”

Vicious blood-thirsty killers who wear business attire, the uniform of the ruling socio-economic elite…gee whiz, do you suppose I could be making some kind of commentary?

Anonymous said...

In less than 8yrs. obama has destroyed race relations and divided our nation. In every city that is controlled by Democrats it is in shambles and record unemployment. Buckwheat and his minions are directly responsible for blm terrorist and the lives of the five Dallas officers. black panthers, black gorilla family and nation of islam are Terrorist.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bill, re: assumptions, I'm talking about your BS "No True Scotsman" argument. Otherwise, at this point you're ranting and your points are non-responsive. You can't wish away police brutality by blaming the messengers. The incidents in MN and LA this week actually occurred, even if you'd prefer to ignore them and complain about Assata Shakur, of all people. After a certain point, it's difficult to take you seriously.

@5:44, demonstrating overt racism probably won't convince anybody. Go away. Don't comment here. You are not welcome.

Anonymous said...

Bill Miller - I appreciate your comments. I tend to agree with you.


5:55AM - police shooting could be reduced through better officer training, but they could be "greatly" reduced by "compliance" from those that interacted w/ police. Two way street...

Gadfly said...

Yeah, Bill Miller, I respectfully say shut up until you address the No True Scotsman on bad cops.

Bill Miller said...

"In less than 8yrs. obama has destroyed race relations and divided our nation"

He certainly has poisoned race relations. Check out Ilana Mercer's recent column on this. "America’s Sick of Barrack Hussein Obama’s Racial Dog-Whistles" on UNZ.com.

@Grits "The No True Scotsman fallacy also would apply to police officers who say the ones who commit serious misconduct don't represent 'the good ones.'"

No, that's not at all the same. At this point it's clear to me that Grits simply does not understand the No True Scotsman fallacy.

The day after the shooting, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, stated categorically that the shooter isn't be part of the Black Lives Matter movement. His argument, such as it is, is that no real member of BLM would do such a thing. Now remember, this was less than 24 hours after the shooting, and most of us still didn't have a clue as to who Micah Johnson was, or that he was a black nationalist affiliated with the New Black Panther Party. Ignorance didn't stop Butterfield stating, in essence, that the shooter couldn't be member of BLM because no member of BLM would do such a thing.

I've sometimes seen this from apologists for Islamic terrorism. Those ISIS guys aren't really Muslims, goes the argument, because no real Muslim deliberately targets Muslims.

I made an observation about Butterfield; there were no "assumptions" on my part.

"You can't wish away police brutality..."

Where (outside of your imagination) did I ever deny the existence of police brutality?

"The incidents in MN and LA this week actually occurred,"

Neither you nor I know precisely what happened. They have not even released autopsy reports, and Grits has already jumped to conclusions? It's a little early to denounce them as bad shootings; we simply don't have enough information yet.

@Gadfly: "I respectfully say shut up until you address the No True Scotsman on bad cops."

Again, it is abundantly obvious that neither of you understand the fallacy, and I'm not interested in explaining it again. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

Anonymous said...

Outside of blogs like this one and a few others most people are clueless about police officers and the personality type of those who choose careers in law enforcement. I'd like to touch on a few facts so that first time visitors here can know what we already know.

FACT: More police officers are convicted of child sex crimes than ALL other professions combined, it's law enforcement's "dirty little secret". See the 40,000 documented cases from just the past 3-years alone: https://www.facebook.com/PoliceOfficersRapingKids.

FACT: More police officers are involved in domestic violence than all other professions combined. The brutality and violence doesn't stop even when they're at home: https://www.facebook.com/PoliceDomesticViolence/.

Police reform must begin with more in-depth psychological testing, and end with the outlawing of police unions.



Anonymous said...

@Bill Miller
"Oh please. The suspect had an SKS and you think that tasers were an option? Tell me that you’re joking..."


Because the presence of an SKS prohibits the non-lethal means of subduing an individual. Absolutely out of the question. Tasers are for dummiez.

If only DPD had a T-Rex mask and a bad suit...they could have peppered the gunman with non-sequiturs, ad hominems, and name calling.

Bill, you have a lot to say. You should have your own blog.
Maybe on UNZ.com.

Or TMZ.com

sunray's wench said...

Bill, you still haven't said why starving him out is so 'obsurd'.

Anon @ 3.30 - the difference as it appears here is that police (I may naively believe) are trained to shot to wound, not kill. A bomb is unlikely to do anything other than kill. Even leaving out the race angle, a police force should do everything in their power to bring a suspect before a court, not a funeral director.

Anonymous said...

Sunray's wrench-

If a police officer discharges a firearm, it is shoot-to-kill, not wound. And only if the officer's life is in immediate danger. If the suspect is only wounded, he still has the ability to kill the officer. But I agree otherwise, that a police force should, and does, everything in their power to bring a suspect to trial.

For the Dallas situation...how about non-lethal concussion grenades, tear gas, or any other crowd-control devices for a cornered suspect? The suspect might surrender if they have problems breathing, might give up valuable information about other snipers ?? They might kill themselves, or they might come out guns a-blazin', and we still end up with a dead suspect.

One could speculate (without knowing any particulars of the situation), a "surprise" robot-bomb might have been used by DPD if the suspect had threatened to detonate other so-called hidden planted bombs in the city. Time is critical in this situation. Killing the suspect removes the possibility of him doing this, but we now know that no other bombs were found. DPD couldn't have know this at the time and had to take immediate action.

Anonymous said...

From what I have seen, the BLM movement is very inclusive of a wide variety of people ranging from pacifists to hardcore haters but given the loose manner in which people can affiliate with it, exactly how can someone say a particular person is or isn't affiliated? I've seen enough people that publicly claim an affiliation with the group that tell us on social media how "now it's their turn" or the aforementioned bacon comments at protests and a whole lot more. If the self appointed BLM leaders ever done more than pay lip service to disavowing such comments, I haven't seen it, but I don't recall any serious effort to exclude extremists from the ranks of the group either, nor specific membership criteria.

In terms of the bomb, the robot was controlled by a human so the Asimov comments seem ill advised, no artificial sentience bestowed upon the device for that whimsical science fiction concept to be invoked. Legally, I think given the totality of circumstances that included a well armed, well trained killer who was reported to have explosive devices of his own justify the use of such a tactic but as with everything else, once one police department use it, others will almost certainly follow. There are pros and cons to such use that really need to be explored but be careful what you wish for.

Otherwise, police are NOT trained to "shoot to kill", nor are they trained "shoot to wound", the universal standard in the USA is to "shoot to stop the threat" that is brought up in virtually every trial, civil or criminal, of a police shooting. Shooting the gun out of a hand or shooting in the leg are Hollywood fantasies written by people that have no more understanding of guns than they typically do of advanced particle physics. I'm sure I've read on previous op-eds here how low the percentage of police actually hitting the person they shoot even if the focus is certainly on the times they succeed. In Texas, any person would have had the right to shoot the Dallas killer based on his actions and continuing threat, the man refusing to surrender making use of a bomb all too easy. But to wound someone like that who was said to have his own bombs, rather than kill him, reminds me of the saying how a wounded animal is the most dangerous kind.

Bill, to me, the big question in the Philando Castile shooting is not whether he was a Crips gang member, had a carry license, involved in an armed robbery the day before, was a bad parent for smoking drugs in the car with the daughter present, or if any of the dozens of crimes he was charged with over the years were serious. The question for me is: "After telling the officer about the gun, did he reach for anything without being instructed to do so?" The reports of the post-shooting video showing the gun in his lap aside, this guy had been stopped many times before and should have known the drill, mentioning the gun already escalated the circumstances, reaching for something without being asked to sure to add to the immediacy of the danger. Those weapon carry classes strongly emphasize the dangers of making movements that could be construed as hostile so whether he had a valid license to carry or not, that is likely to play a larger role than Castile's possible gang affiliations or involvement in any robbery in regards to whether the officer is cleared of criminal conduct or not.

Anonymous said...

Grunt can't have a serious dialogue either this is a leftist tactics to stop opposition from getting out the truth.
We will hear back soon that Johnson was a new black panther, an affiliate of black gorilla family, nation of islam and blm trooper. We will also learn that his comrades were the ones in a white Mercedes with camo gear bags and the "sqeal like a pig" boy that turned his gun in was part of it too. The leftist anti-American obama troops killed 5 Dallas police officers.
blacks are racist animals.

Anonymous said...

Grunt grits...you are just like the rest of the leftist a pile of grunt. You are handy with "overt" racist acts, you lied and you were caught on video then begged APD Chief not to go public for all to see, why? Your email string was quite informative as well! You have a problem with TRUTH.

sunray's wench said...

Anon 5.56 - thanks for the reasoned post, and taking the trouble to explain.

Anonymous said...

@5:56-

You stated, "Otherwise, police are NOT trained to "shoot to kill", nor are they trained "shoot to wound", the universal standard in the USA is to "shoot to stop the threat" that is brought up in virtually every trial, civil or criminal, of a police shooting."

Are police allowed to shoot a fleeing suspect in the back? This certainly would stop a "threat".

Or, what if an officer discharged a loud firearm into the air in order to get the undivided attention of a suspect? Threat subsided.

Similarly,could they discharge a loud firearm into the air to disperse a crowd in danger of getting shot by a hidden sniper? Less of a threat there, too.

What you stated is the strategic courtroom boilerplate testimony. Of course, no one wants to testify that they intended to kill a suspect. So they dance around the definition of "threat", the specifics of the circumstances, the training of the officer, etc ad nauseum...and at the end of the day everyone feelz better about the rational of killing a suspect.

Has an officer ever testified that he only meant to stop a "threat" by wounding a suspect?

Perhaps, if rubber bullets were used...which could reasonably stop a threat without killing. But no officer wants to be in a position where they are firing rubber bullets at a threat that is shooting back with traditional ammo.

Paper silhouettes for target practice are head and chest images FOR A REASON. These are 'kill shots'. They practice 'kill shots'. You can parse the definitions all you want to a jury, but when a police discharges a gun, the intent is to kill.

Anonymous said...

@4:45-

Would a suspect (who shot a police officer) be given the same presumption in a court room using the same argument?

"I felt the officer was a threat to my life, so I shot him. But I only meant to wound him, not kill him."

Yeah, doesn't really work.

Anonymous said...

This is Anon 5:56 AM again, Sunray, you're welcome. I'm just trying to help.

Anon 4:45 PM, shooting in the air allows the bullet to fall somewhere completely unknown and history shows us that outside of Hollywood, "warning shots in the air" just don't work. Most big city departments specifically prohibit such shots and every year we get to read about people killed by celebratory shots around the 4th of July, the 5th of May, and New Year's Eve.

As far as shooting someone in the back, Texas law most certainly allows it as permissible (at night or to save another, etc), though most departments do not by policy. Break a policy, you get fired or days off without pay but you don't generally get charged with a crime. I can't credibly state that I know if any officer in the history of time has testified that he shot to wound but nowadays, if their testimony deviates from their department's written policy, it opens up a can of worms for all involved.

The use of rubber bullets is another area where vast improvements are needed before they would be considered acceptable, the failure rate too high and their ability to stop the immediate threat not nearly as good. Again, there are many, many more policy decisions above the head of patrol officers that can be changed and implemented in training to reduce the number of deaths but in terms of bang for the buck, educating specific groups might have a far greater impact. Don't point weapons at cops, don't reach under the seat, and don't think with your ego are all tenants that would go a long way. Conversely, holding officer's an their departments accountable for the clear breaches in public trust would help too but that is slowly becoming reality as more cameras and other technology works its way into our society.

Lastly, those paper targets that are standard (a half dozen of them are very popular) do not give you credit for a head shot, they give the most "points" for hitting center mass. They are trained to stop the threat by shooting for center mass, the most points coming from the small center ring and zero for the head, arms, etc. Less than 10% of all police bullets hit a targeted suspect per studies I've read in the not too distant past, the other projectiles occasionally hitting other people or causing havoc so demanding arm shots or leg shots just doesn't make much sense given the existing numbers. Thankfully, most misses from police and suspected criminals alike miss their targets or death tolls would be far, far higher.

Anonymous said...

Change everything?

Yes, this will definitely prompt changes, but not the positive ones like you would want to see. Many large and medium sized departments are now in the process of creating a task force which will peruse social media for anyone supporting the actions of Micah Johnson. Those doing so will be placed on a list and harassed and intimidated. Dissent will not be tolerated. After all, this is a police state and freedom of speech is always the first right abolished.

Anonymous said...

The numbers are in that proves racial divide has doubled under obama and demorat control.
Grits your leftist views are a leaky vessel...

Anonymous said...

The question that needs to be asked is:
If, policeman were not allow to carry firearms would they continue in a LE career?

Anonymous said...

Of interest in today's Houston Chronicle are the results of a study by a Harvard egghead that shows Houston PD officers are less likely to shoot minority suspects than whites on a per capita basis. Conversely, they use electric shock devices more on people in general than other departments, maybe that is part of the answer.

jimbobob8 said...

I am assuming nobody has even heard of history much less studied it. For those too lazy to keep up, may I suggest you watch the movie, "Grapes of Wrath", this will get you started. Then just google the race riots of 1919 through 1921. Everybody acts like this is new just like the revolt of Muslims, against the Jews. That one is several hundred years old. The people will be brought to heal, as they have in the past. Maybe this is John Brown of the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

Had the Jews fought back against Hitler's SS would they be called murderers? Of course they would have back then, but history would recall them as heroes.

I see very little difference between then and now. Oh, you can say there's a difference but I assure you none of those who have been murdered by cops would agree..

Anonymous said...

Anon 7/12/2016 09:37:00 PM,
when you shoot people that had nothing to do with whatever problem you had, history will still judge you a murderer. Don't like the George Zimmerman's of the world? By all means disregard the lawful jury verdict and do something about it to him, not all Latino's. Some cop wrote you a ticket for 75 in a 60 zone and you know for a fact you were only doing 74, contest the ticket or rant like a lunatic on social media at the great injustice done to you, not take up arms in another state against other officers.

Anonymous said...

Grits runs like a cock roach when the light is turned on when his leftist past is brought up.

sunray's wench said...

Anon @ 10.35 - if that were the truth then he would have deleted your posts, but there you still are. If you have something you think the rest of us should know, come out and say it - but put your name to it as well if you want to be taken seriously. If you've got the balls.

D said...

Something tells me that Anon @10:35, etc., is one of those folks who wants you to know that he's got all the tactics figured out on how to stop ISIS and threats to 'Merica.... but, yet, he couldn't get his ass out to raise his right arm and enlist like I did.

Anonymous said...

One of the police killed in Dallas was later found out to be a racist, belonging to the KKK. Now days everyone has a camera cell phone. Police need to treat everyone fairly, not stomp and kick people when they already have them under control. Some black policemen and all race policemen are just as bad.When any policeman mistreats a person, he/she should be charged ad given prison time.

Anonymous said...

Grits blm hero's

http://www.infowars.com/black-lives-matter-organizer-triggered-by-white-people-demands-money-for-being-a-fat-black-bitch/

Anonymous said...

10:32
Publish the officers name that is in the prestigious organization!

Anonymous said...

Something tells me you are No Bergdahl!