Suicide by Cop

This is an easy one. Everyone knows about Suicide By Cop. Some deranged dude rocks up and does something unpleasant in the hope he/she will be killed by the gun-toting cops who rock up.

Or is it actually easy? That’s why I ask Cecil who knows everything - or at least has a team of minions who know everything (but results of course quality controlled by Cecil)

Here’s how it looks to me

Sad person exposes self to Cops and does something objectionable. Cops have the option of drilling the perp into a soggy red colander or simply ignoring perp or doing something not very nasty. Alternatively in the rather cool Chinese approach, pinning the perp to the wall with some rather large forks and taking them away for a touch of re-education.

My question rather boils down to.

Is it suicide by cop? Or is it murder of a depressed and suicidal person by cops who have a licence to kill and are more than happy to use it?

Reported for forum change to Great Debates.

You can’t really count on SbC to work unless the “unpleasant” “objectionable” thing you do is threaten the lives of the cops, or others.

People do all sorts of unpleasant and objectionable things without getting themselves killed by the police. Most police officers never fire their guns. Let’s take an example. With 36,000 officers in NYC, they opened fire 60 times in 2006 cite With those officers encountering unpleasant and objectionable actions every single day, your chances of getting shot are pretty slim.

Moderator Action

This is more debatable than factual, so off to GD it goes.

Moving thread from General Questions to Great Debates.

There are specific rules of engagement that govern the application of deadly force by a police officer. Generally speaking, I think deadly force is only allowed when there is a reasonable belief on the part of the officer that there is a clear and present danger to the officer or to the general public, and deadly force is required to mitigate that danger.

IOW, if you’re trying to commit suicide-by-cop, just yelling insults at him or running from him isn’t enough. You’ll need to threaten (or appear to threaten) the welfare of the officer or a bystander, e.g. by running toward someone with a big knife in your hand, or pointing a gun at someone, in the presence of an officer. You may be depressed and suicidal - and the officer may even be aware of that - but the critical thing that authorizes the use of deadly force on his part is that you are endangering someone else, and he’s authorized to protect those other people (including himself).

What does it mean to “rock up”? Thanks.

Yes, inquiring minds want to know.

So let me get this straight, in China if someone pulls a gun on their police they use giant forks to stop them? Also, if they have giant forks why can’t they make little ones instead of eating with sticks?

But I digress… The usual method for suicide by cop is to pull a gun or another weapon on a police officer and threaten to kill them this forcing the outcome. Sometimes it’s an Airsoft gun, sometimes it’s not loaded, but there is no way to know that in the instant you have to decide if the threat is real. I’m not sure what good a giant fork is going to do in that situation.

I think it’s a play on the Australian game of Knifey Spoony. The criminal takes out a knife, you take out a 6 foot long fork and kick some ass.

Generally speaking, having an epileptic seizure or a schizophrenic episode is enough to get you killed by the cops.

Is this “generally” what happens when people have seizures around cops? Or, are these examples of the few encounters that go terribly wrong, out of the millions of encounters that don’t go wrong at all?

…because both those things can cause a reasonable belief of imminent danger to the officer or to others.

Cheesesteak and Human Action both beat me to it. Without going to deep into the whole thing, the basic rule is: an officer can use deadly force if he reasonably believes the suspect presents an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or another person. It could be the person is schizophrenic or the gun wasn’t real or loaded or a thousand other things. If the cop reasonably believes that his life is in danger he can shoot.

I don’t have a cite handy but it estimated that nearly 30% of all police shootings are suicide by cop attempts. 80% of these end up in death or injury to the suspect/victim/patient or whatever else you want to call them. These are dangerous people. Normally, the threat of deadly force is a deterrent. With these people its the goal.

“Rock up” means “to arrive”.

And as others have said, suicide by cop is generally expected to involve putting the cop in a situation where his rules of engagement say he can shoot you, and not merely calling him names until he gets angry and shoots you.

Rock Up, Rock Down, Rock Around.

They all sound so much cooler than any other alternatives.

Don’t you think?

Threatening could do it. The few cases that I’ve heard called SBC in local news involved more than threatening, though. Those cases involved someone walking into or up to a police department or group of cops on break, pulling out a gun, screaming, and firing. At least one cop was injured in each case and in one case one of the cops died.

Of course I’m old enough to remember a time before the phrase was coined. If folks have started responding to the coinage by using unloaded or toy guns that’s - - considerate of them, I guess.

I do not know how strict it is but there is a continuum of force among police. Presence, verbal commands, physical pressure, harder physical pressure, less than lethal methods, lethal methods.

So you have to point a gun at a cop and probably fire to get them to fire back. If you don’t, you have to wait until verbal commands, fists, batons and stun guns have all failed.

As the article about NYPD shows though, even in a department that large the NYPD only killed 13 people in 2006. I’m certain they were threatened with guns or fired at far more than that in 2006. I’m surprised at their restraint.

How is an epileptic seizure a danger to anyone?

If you don’t know it’s an epileptic seizure it can be misinterpreted as a violent and threatening act by someone under stress.

The Albuquerque Police came under heavy fire, so to speak, for this when I lived there. At that time there were several spectacular incidents of what appeared to be suicide by cop in a short space of time. The main one I remember was a guy who reportedly ran screaming at a group of them while brandishing a knife. The entire group stood there and just blasted the guy away. In that case in particular, many people thought maybe the guy could have been taken down fairly easily using nonlethal force.

Or someone who’s craving a bear claw.