Controversial encounters between law-enforcement and civilians - the omnibus thread #2

The guy had already climbed on top of the water tower to do his swan dive. I seriously doubt the guy filming him 477 feet away was “the source of the guy’s agitation.”

Even given the cop really trying to defuse the guy and keep him from jumping by removing the guy filming it, he could have handled it a LOT better than “I don’t f**** care about your f***** rights!” Right way and wrong way, kids…

Sure - detaining/arresting the guy filming is not necessarily a firing offense. And, frankly, if a front-line person had done what was filmed, I’d probably be OK with a talking to about how to deal with the public in tense situations, and maybe a note in his/her file.

But the chief should have behaved much better, particularly since the guy had apparently moved back to a point that made other LEOs happy. If he has that little self-control, then he needs a new job.

He did?

That’s a discussion for a whole different thread, but most of the time, that would probably be for the best, IME.

If they’ve reached out for help, that’s a different matter. But contemplating your mortality is not always something that a cop screaming at you will usefully assist.

Right; which is why he shouldn’t be a cop, let alone the chief of police.

If someone is on a ledge in Times Square and says that the people down below are agitating him, should the police try to empty it out? At some point it becomes impractical or unwarranted. While saving the person’s life is extremely important, it’s not carte blanche to override the community’s rights.

Probably not, but one asshole with a cellphone is pretty easy to remove from the scene, and I don’t think “But mah rights!” overrides the life and safety of another human being.

Thread thoroughly derailed.

Give it a day, a cop will shoot a kindergartner for failing to comply with his order to drop the blunt tipped scissors and we’ll be back on course.

How about this one from last year. It hits all the notes: kids, dogs, qualified immunity…

Now detained, Barnett was “visibly unarmed and readily compliant” with the officers. While Barnett was subdued, Coffee County Deputy Sheriff Michael Vickers saw the Corbitt’s dog, a pit bull named Bruce, approach.

No one “appeared to be threatened by [Bruce’s] presence,” the complaint alleged. Yet in roughly 10 seconds, Vickers fired at the dog—twice. Both shots missed Bruce. But his second shot struck Corbitt’s son, piercing the back of his right knee.

When Vickers fired, the boy was lying, face down on the ground, reportedly just 18 inches away from the deputy. And the other children were also very close by, only a few feet removed from Vickers. None of those kids presented “any threat or danger to provoke…Vickers to fire two shots,” as the complaint drily observed.

As the Supreme Court once put it, qualified immunity “provides ample protection to all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.”

Bolding mine. Cop shot a kid lying by his feet while aiming for a non-aggressive dog. Fuck all the other cops that stood there and watched it happen and did nothing.

Not at all, though. If you look through this thread and its predecessor, there are abundant incidents that demonstrate the folly of dispatching regular uniforms to deal with any fucking old situation. Violence frequently transpires because that is the basic syntax of modern policing. This was a situation where two or three officers might have been appropriate to maintain an orderly peripheral scene, but anyone talking to the prospective jumper should not have been one of them.

We have often come to view the police as hostile parties in these encounters. Much of the time, injury and mayhem happens because the police are there, and in many cases, it is hard to argue that them not being there, or standing quietly off to the side eating donuts might well have resulted in a better outcome.

So it is far from a “thorough derail” to fundamentally question the appropriateness of police presence (i.e., the possible absence of an encounter with high potential for controversy) in a large fraction of these incidents.


This one happened in 2018 but the video is just now being released. This WaPo article has the entire 2 hour and 5 minute video embedded; a short video piece is linked in this post below the WaPo link.

Here’s a short video piece (3:40) that shows some of the recently released surveillance footage. THIS IS SOMEWHAT DISTURBING FOOTAGE.

Remember these ladies?

Yep. It’s a shame that the amount of the settlement isn’t revealed. Also, the government agency explicitly denied liability.

If my constitutional rights were ever violated like this by law enforcement, one of my main aims would be to expose the wrongdoing, and I like to think that I would refuse a settlement if it came with any sort of non-disclosure agreement. I’d also say to them that if they were not willing to admit wrongdoing, then there’s no settlement and we’re going to court.

I absolutely understand why the women took the money and settled the case, and I’m not criticizing them, but for me in a similar situation, the whole point of the case would be to expose the wrongdoing, and if it’s a non-disclosed settlement with no admission of liability, then that would be almost as bad as a loss.

In other news, sometimes cops fire their guns for the right reasons. The video in this story is pretty intense, and the officer did a great job of keeping it together after she was shot.

# Police Commission rules fatal shooting of man holding bicycle part was justified

Wait for this shocker…wait for it…

Langsdale did not have his body camera activated when he first arrived at the scene, according to police. Once he activated it, it captured Valencia already on the ground and Langsdale standing behind the open door of his police car, gun drawn.

OMG!!! :astonished: I did not see that coming!

Yeah. Until it’s a fireable offense, or maybe even a criminal offense, to have your bodycam off during an encounter, this is going to keep happening. The problem is that the cameras are not running all the time, and cops can then claim that they forgot to turn them on in the heat of the moment.

They need a system like car dashcams, where they are recording all the time, and where you can then press a button after an incident to ensure that the material recorded during that incident is retained on the memory card. Then, when an officer calls in an incident, the dispatcher or superior officer or whoever can say, “Please make sure to save this incident in your camera so that we can review it later.” Then, if you fail to do that, you are summarily fired.

Good luck getting police unions to agree to that, though.

Former cop kills ex wife

He was protecting and serving until May of this year.

Lengthy wapo article on police ordering dog attacks on people:

The image of police dogs started to shift several months ago in Salt Lake City. Video showed Jeffery Ryans, a 36-year-old Black man who was about to leave for his job as a train engineer, putting his hands in the air and kneeling on the ground in his backyard as he told officers he was surrendering. A German shepherd was unleashed on him anyway, chomping down on his left leg, causing injuries that required multiple surgeries in an attempt to repair nerve, muscle and tendon damage.
The Salt Lake City officer — known as a K-9 handler — has been charged with felony aggravated assault. More than 100 videos from an additional 18 police dog attacks have been referred by the police department to the local district attorney for possible prosecution.

Key videos from those encounters, reviewed by The Post, show officers repeatedly siccing dogs on individuals after they had surrendered or were under the physical control of officers. Crucial details about those incidents, such as the race of those attacked, have not been made public — aside from the Ryans case — and were not always discernible from the videos.

Outside of the Salt Lake City incidents, The Post reviewed 18 other cases captured on video and documented in police reports and legal records across the country. In a majority of the cases, officers were cleared of any wrongdoing and the departments have announced no changes to their K-9 programs. In a few cases, the people who were bitten have received financial settlements through civil lawsuits. Only two of the people who were bitten were armed.

This is why I think that focusing on those who are killed by police, while important, often doesn’t really do justice to the real problems.

You don’t have to kill someone to ruin their life. You can degrade, dehumanize, torture and traumatize someone and it’s not nearly as likely to make the news.