Cop To Vet On Receiving End Of Bogus Raid: Investigating Things Beforehand Just Slows Us Down

from the the-innocent-will-just-have-to-live-with-the-reality-of-maximum-efficiency-polic dept

The “shoot first, ask for immunity later” mentality of today’s law enforcement officers is perfectly highlighted in this story about a US military veteran finding himself on the receiving end of a military-style raid… all because a “helpful” neighbor reported him for being in the “wrong” apartment. (via Amy Alkon)

Alex Horton, an Iraq war veteran, was having some work done on his apartment. During the repairs, his landlord put him up in a “model unit.” He fell asleep in an apartment otherwise known to be unoccupied. A passing neighbor apparently saw him in the apartment through the cracked door and reported this to the police. What happened next was standard operating procedure — both for the US military and US law enforcement.

I got home from the bar and fell into bed soon after Saturday night bled into Sunday morning. I didn’t wake up until three police officers barged into my apartment, barking their presence at my door. They sped down the hallway to my bedroom, their service pistols drawn and leveled at me.

It was just past 9 a.m., and I was still under the covers. The only visible target was my head.

In the shouting and commotion, I felt an instant familiarity. I’d been here before. This was a raid.

I had done this a few dozen times myself, 6,000 miles away from my Alexandria, Va., apartment. As an Army infantryman in Iraq, I’d always been on the trigger side of the weapon. Now that I was on the barrel side, I recalled basic training’s most important firearm rule: Aim only at something you intend to kill.

The militarization of police goes far beyond simply arming them with the military’s leftover vehicles and weapons. It also informs their tactics. But law enforcement only cherry-picks what it likes about the military. Horton’s article for the Washington Post points out that law enforcement officers don’t handle their weapons like military members do. Soldiers are taught that guns are deadly and should only be pointed at targets the soldier intends to kill. Police officers are taught to use their guns for intimidation, without nearly as much attention paid to drilling home the point that guns are deadly and should be respected — especially by the ones wielding them.

[Erik] Rhoads, the Fairfax County police lieutenant, was upfront about this mind-set. He explained that it was standard procedure to point guns at suspects in many cases to protect the lives of police officers. Their firearm rules were different from mine; they aimed not to kill but to intimidate. According to reporting by The Washington Post, those rules are established in police training, which often emphasizes a violent response over deescalation. Recruits spend an average of eight hours learning how to neutralize tense situations; they spend more than seven times as many hours at the weapons range.

This is what turns a report of a squatter in an apartment into a fully-armed raid. It didn’t have to be this way. This “situation” could have been defused at any point before the officers rushed into the apartment with weapons drawn. The security guard at the complex could have been asked about the person in the model apartment. The apartment’s owner and management could have provided helpful information as well. But no one — not even Shift Commander Erik Rhoads — even considered arming police officers with additional information. They had guns and the authority to use them. That was enough.

When I later visited the Fairfax County police station to gather details about what went wrong, I met the shift commander, Lt. Erik Rhoads. I asked why his officers hadn’t contacted management before they raided the apartment. Why did they classify the incident as a forced entry, when the information they had suggested something innocuous? Why not evaluate the situation before escalating it?

Rhoads defended the procedure, calling the officers’ actions “on point.” It’s not standard to conduct investigations beforehand because that delays the apprehension of suspects, he told me.

It also delays the apprehension — the violent apprehension, I might add — of non-suspects, as was the case with Horton. It instead expedites the sort of stupidity that would be comical if it weren’t so dangerous for everyone involved. The willful ignorance of situations, explained away by the “need” to swiftly apprehend criminals, leads to more death and violence. And not just for “suspects.” It makes the situation more dangerous for cops as well. It’s as if modern law enforcement agencies view the “fog of war” as a tactical advantage, even though nothing about the history of that terms suggests it has ever been viewed that way by actual combatants.

This is an astounding admission. Rhoads, a commanding officer, is willing to purposefully endanger his own officers in the pursuit of a few more busts. His officers, apparently, are more than willing to be abused in this fashion, as long as it means they can dress up in tactical gear and yell a lot while pointing guns at people. Beyond that, though, he’s willing to willfully endanger the public by purposefully avoiding any information-gathering that might make these interactions safer for both his officers and those they seek.

Rhoads’ statement explains why flashbang grenades get tossed into toddlers’ cribs. In the haste to bust someone responsible for $50 worth of drug sales, facts were withheld and investigative reconnaissance of the residence kept to a minimum. It allowed the raiding officers to operate with a minimum of concern for the occupants. All they had to know was “no-knock” and “drug dealer.” Everything else was irrelevant.

Deployed troops are put into extremely dangerous situations every day and yet they are expected to maintain relationships with the people in the areas they patrol and not assume every tense situation can only be defused by gunfire. Back in the US where the streets are infinitely safer, the opposite is true. Force and aggression are the favored tactics and an officer’s life is valued above all others. This isn’t how policing is supposed to work and it betrays the public these officers are supposed to serve.

I understood the risks of war when I enlisted as an infantryman. Police officers should understand the risks in their jobs when they enroll in the academy, as well. That means knowing that personal safety can’t always come first. That is why it’s service. That’s why it’s sacrifice.

Here in the US, it’s the public that’s expected to make these sacrifices. A “civilian” is expected to die before an officer does and collateral damage is not only to be expected, it’s wholly encouraged by those with the same mentality as Lt. Erik Rhoads.

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Comments on “Cop To Vet On Receiving End Of Bogus Raid: Investigating Things Beforehand Just Slows Us Down”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

'We went into this line of work to protect OUR lives, not YOURS'

He explained that it was standard procedure to point guns at suspects in many cases to protect the lives of police officers. Their firearm rules were different from mine; they aimed not to kill but to intimidate.

And they wonder why people don’t, and should never, trust them…

The military are taught that guns are dangerous weapons, only to be brought out when you plan on using them, and are willing to accept the consequences of doing so. The police on the other hand are apparently taught to draw guns at the first possible opportunity, and treat them not as deadly tools fully capable of killing someone with a single twitch of a finger, but simply a method of intimidation.

Also, gotta love(or is that ‘loathe’)that double standard in play.

Police point guns at someone else to ‘protect’ themselves, even when it’s not needed? Perfectly acceptable, and in fact outright desirable.

If someone pointed a gun at a cop in order to ‘protect’ themselves from a them? Attempted murder, assaulting an officer, whatever charges they can cook up, and assume they aren’t gunned down on the spot(not likely), they’re almost certain to spend several years in jail for ‘attempted murder of an officer’.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If the military acted the same way as the police not many people were left standing. This might negativly influence how people view the US and their companies.

In the US there is no need to be nice to people because they already are under US rule. That means only few will leave even is it might in some cases be better somewhere else f.e. very small to no university fees in the EU ( for the course Einstein took (ETH Zurich) you pay SFR 750 each semester).

At least that is how I see it.

David says:

Re: Re:

So basically, by training and policy, potential insurgents in Iraq get more consideration by American soldiers than American citizens in the US get from American police officers.

What did you expect? The Iraqi have a government representing their interests. There will be repercussions for endemic reckless killings.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

There is a simpler explanantion – US law enforcement has been subcontracted to the Vogons:

Oh, give it a rest! Do you really enjoy this sort of thing?

Resistance is……what d’ ya mean?

I mean does it give you a full satisfying life? Stomping around, shouting, throwing people out of spaceships?

The hours are good.

They’d have to be.

But now that you’ve come to mention it, I suppose much of the actual minutes are pretty lousy. Er, er. Except some of the shouting I quite like. Resistance is use-

Yeah, sure, yes… You’re good at that I can tell… but if it’s mostly lousy, then why do you do it? What is it? The girls? The leather? The machismo?

I-I-I- I dunno…I-I-I… I think I, just sort of, do it really. He-uggh.

There Arthur, you think you’ve got problems.

Yes, this guy’s still half throttling me!

Yeah!, but try an’ understand his problem.

Right, so, what’s the alternative?

Well, stop doing it, of course.

Hmmm…. Hmm…. Er… well… doesn’t sound that great to me.

Well, wait a minute, that’s just the start! There’s more to it than that, you see?

Er… no. I, I think that if it’s all the same to you, I better just get you both shoved into this airlock and then go and get on with some other bits of shoutin’ I’ve got to do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

More consideration? The sure knowledge that a sneeze, cough or even the blink of an eye will get them one to the chest and one to the head is more consideration? I’d say the chances of not being killed by the local police are marginally lower than the chances of not being killed by the MP’s in the stan.

The MP’s are better trained, therefore less likely to miss, less likely to commit a spray n pray shoot and will only use very directed fire.

The local police will either a) shoot themselves b) shoot one of their team c) shoot everybody indiscriminately.

And one of these days the local police will be called in to SWAT a former black ops or USAC/USMC MP and the body count will be SWAT all dead, former military operator alive and kicking.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The MP’s are better trained, therefore less likely to miss, less likely to commit a spray n pray shoot and will only use very directed fire.

I don’t think we were talking about MPs, but anyway the difference is that they are not going to randomly charge into some apartment with their guns drawn for uncertain reasons. They will have a pretty good idea who is there and why, and with what weapons. As the actual service member said, if it turned out to be some guy that wasn’t a threat, they would just wait for him to come out of the apartment and then approach him calmly to talk.

And one of these days the local police will be called in to SWAT a former black ops or USAC/USMC MP and the body count will be SWAT all dead, former military operator alive and kicking.

They’re well-trained fighters, not Neo. A single Marine in his jammies is not going to take out a whole SWAT team.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Unless you’re talking about a metropolitan SWAT team such as in San Francisco, Chicago, New York or Los Angeles, they are not well trained.

Typically, they get, above the common blue-shirt officer training, a weekend workshop on big guns and busting down doors.

Which is how we get pictures of cops with rifles with their scopes on backwards.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Well-trained fighters” was referring to US combat military personnel. AC was claiming one of them* could single-handedly take down a SWAT team without getting killed, which is quite unlikely despite the disparity in training and skills.

* I’m not sure why he lumped together SOCOM types with MPs but whatever

Johnny (profile) says:

Re: Yes, thats his point

Actually you got the summary right and missed one slight nuance. Not only is it better, but it’s subject to modifications. When the Commander in Afghanistan saw an issue, he modified policy. The Police Chiefs are failing to see the problem. As one example, TV camera man is killed when an unarmed guy robs a Wendys and over 30 shots are fired. Camera man was in wrong spot at the wrong time. A military commander would have an AAR (After Action Review) and debrief to figure out how to avoid that happening a 2nd time. The local PD have no such review, and when there is review, it’s not with the motive to reduce innocent civilian fatalities.

Anonymous Coward says:

Gun pointed at someone is a failure on multiple levels

Having guns drawn and aimed at someone who has made no threatening moves is considered a threat to life if the people holding the weapons is a cop. Funny how when the shoe is on the other foot, having a weapon out and aimed at an unknown male is just standard operating procedure. The procedure is broken and every death and police shooting from these guidelines is directly attributed to these dangerous policies and guidelines. There you go lawyers. Have fun!

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Heh – reminds me of that SCTV skit, Harry Filth.

Police Captain: You killed a dozen innocent bystanders as well as the perp.

Harry: I’d kill a HUNDRED people to get punks like that!

Captain: Well, I’ll leave it up to you, Harry. You know best.

Aside: Why is it so hard to get SCTV episodes? Why can’t Hollywood/TV Makers make it easy to get the shows you wanna watch??

DigDug says:

Karma's a bitch man!!

Wouldn’t it be hilarious if say, Mr. Rhoades, while on vacation with his family were to have a drug raid called in on his sorry-excuse-for-a-human-being’s ass while sleeping in their vacation hideaway spot.

What would the dumbass and his family feel like when on the other end of the guns, flashbangs, screaming, kicking, thumping with batons, zapped with tasers and possibly shot if he reacted with any form of resistance.

Perhaps then this galactically stupid little pissant might, just might, begin to get it through his misfiring dendrites, axons and neurons, that “brain turned off, guns blazing” isn’t the proper way to do his job.

I look forward to hearing the sob story about how his family was “frightened to death” while the mean bad men pointed guns at them.

This “corporeal bag of mostly water”, single cellular, munching on his own mucosa excuse for a human being deserves anything and everything that Karma brings his way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Karma's a bitch man!!

Little harsh don’t you think?

If we just go around attacking people because they did the same to us… where does that leave us? I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be a consequence, but I think that it should involve more training and less “attacking the officer’s family”.

He who fights monsters and all that. (TVTropes)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Karma's a bitch man!!

But that’s the beauty of it! WE’RE not attacking him, just making him get attacked by his own people.

Not hilarious. And not cool.

I hope you get caught. Whether you’re a provocateur –or just an idiot– I hope you get caught.

After you get caught, then I’ll be upset when the prosecutor commits a Brady or Giglio violation. I’ll hope the prosecutor gets caught then, too.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Karma's a bitch man!!

Little harsh don’t you think?

That depends on what you mean.

I would agree, if you mean that someone should not deliberately cause him to get wrongly raided by police while he is on vacation. Nobody should do that.

Otherwise, I have to agree with the original poster that it WOULD be ironic justice and possibly even hilarious if he were to be wrongly raided by police while on his vacation. Yes, it would be.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: The abyss also gazes into you.

What it’s going to come down to, is how many undue swat raids, how many asset forfeitures ruining lives, how many fatalities due to police escalation, how many flashbangs tossed into occupied cradles is it going to take before we justify monstrosity.

Especially if things are not going to change until we retaliate in kind?

I, for one, am open to other solutions especially if they can be done with less loss of life (on both sides), but right now I’m seeing no solution. And considering how tough on crime and pro-death-penalty the US is, we appear to be really big on revenge.

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.
The answer is blowing in the wind.

Anonymous Coward says:


Findlaw: Assault and Battery Overview

In most states, an assault/battery is committed when one person:  . . . or 2) acts in a threatening manner to put another in fear of immediate harm. . . .

Assault: Act Requirement

Even though contact is not generally necessary for an assault offense, a conviction for assault still requires a criminal “act”. The types of acts that fall into the category of assaults can vary widely, but typically an assault requires an overt or direct act that would put the reasonable person in fear for their safety. . . .

Assault: Intent Requirement

In order commit an assault an individual need only have “general intent”. What this means is that although someone can’t accidentally assault another person, it is enough to show that an offender intended the actions which make up an assault. . . .

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: More? You want more?

I want to keep telling myself that this isn’t all cops everywhere, that these are just a few bad apples

True, but only technically, and not in a way that actually matters.

The really dangerous ones probably are in the minority(in spite of, rather than thanks to, their training), but almost all, with very few exceptions, will cover for, even if only through their silence, the rotten ones, and as multiple people, myself included, have noted ‘A good cop who covers for or defends a bad cop is no longer a good cop’.

The ‘barrel’ may only have a few rotten through and through, but almost all of them are rotten to some extent, with only a very small number of truly good examples left.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I was an infantryman and served three years in Iraq with tours starting in 2003, 2005, and 2008.

In a situation like the one in the article, we would have spoke to neighbors and the land lord, then if we still couldn’t find out anything, we would have setup an observation post to see who was going in and out of the apartment. If we observed the occupant was not hostile, we would approach the person. If the person was, we would plan a raid to detain the person after gathering additional intelligence so that we controlled as much of the situation as possible.

Don’t blame veterans for the way police forces like the one in this article conduct themselves. They didn’t learn it from us.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The US Military, according to polls (and my own personal opinion) is one of the few institutions in America that We, The People, still seem to trust at high rates.

Your intelligent common-sense answer, Sir, is indicative of why that trust the Military exists!

(Well, high trust in the Rank and File…above a certain level of General well, maybe not so much… 😉

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Obviously so. IME an infantryman who doesn’t do any recon before going into a situation is a dead infantryman. Those guys are basically cannon fodder, they are the most expendable piece of equipment in the US military arsenal. And that’s why the squad and platoon leaders have to pound it into their pointy little heads to recon the situation before going in.

Sunhawk says:

Re: Re:

I’m beginning to think to many Afghanistan and Iraq veterans are drafting policing policies and training officers. Policing at home should not be modeled on what was needed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Look at the article again – they’d be better (safer for the general public, general public view of police, etc etc) if they were modeling on military protocols in Iraq and Afghanistan.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m beginning to think to many Afghanistan and Iraq veterans are drafting policing policies and training officers. Policing at home should not be modeled on what was needed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Or, in other words, “I didn’t read the article, but I’m going to mouth off based on my ignorance of what it said.”

The story is one where an infantryman veteran who did this stuff in the Iraq war is trash talking the police for their abysmal execution of what he did in the service of his country against foreigners, either peaceful citizens or armed combatants.

If you can’t be bothered to read the article, you’re exhibiting the same lazy stupidity these lazy cops exhibit. You’re wasting everyone’s time with your laziness. We all deserve better.

tom (profile) says:

Since they didn’t bother to investigate, I bet they didn’t bother to get a search warrant either. Since the victim was legally in an apartment provided by his landlord, 4th Amendment protections should apply. The failure to investigate by the police doesn’t cause the 4th amendment to vanish. If the police didn’t have a search warrant, a nice civil rights violation lawsuit should be in the works soon.

DCL says:

Re: Re:

– Assume individual is a heavily armed and dangerous felon
– Aggressively approach (yelling with guns drawn)
– Fear for safety -> fire.

or more generically:
– Assume worst case in instead of using credible information
– Preemptively escalate situation
– React to ANY resistance with deadly force.

JustShutUpAndObey says:

Willful ignorance is the American Way

“The willful ignorance of situations, explained away by the “need” to swiftly apprehend criminals, leads to more death and violence.”

Not just here, but take a look at (more than one) our Presidential candidates who keep criticizing science while adding that they aren’t scientists (and ignore those who are).
Take a look too at the previous post here on Techdirt where Time Warner, talking about ‘Happy Birthday’ responds by saying: “who really knows anything?”
Or our newest drug czar Chuck Rosenberg who just said: “Do I think it’s as dangerous as heroin? Probably not. I’m not an expert.”
If he’s not an expert, why was he considered for that job? Because willful ignorance is The American Way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Willful ignorance is the American Way

Qualified Immunity kicks in when a theoretical “average officer” would have most likely acted in the same way as a (real) LEO accused of violating someone’s rights behaved. The lower the bar is set for an “average officer,” the greater the protection. Ignorance is a very valuable asset.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Willful ignorance is the American Way

Not just here, but take a look at (more than one) our Presidential candidates who keep criticizing science while adding that they aren’t scientists (and ignore those who are).

After having dealt with many “so-called” scientists over the years (I have an engineering/computing background), I feel that most scientists could do with an extensive engineering education before even being allowed to work as a scientist.

They don’t seem to understand the difference between reality and the mathematical models they work with. They need a good dose of plain engineering education to correct this imbalance. Then we might be able to trust them enough with what they say.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Willful ignorance is the American Way

Having dealt with many engineers over the years (I have a neuroscience background), I am thoroughly unsurprised by the overrepresentation of engineers amongst perpetrators of terrorist attacks.

The profession seems to attract those with a tendency to mistake a superficial understanding for knowledge, and to decide that their simplistic models of reality are actually true (which may also partially explain their tendency towards libertarian daftness).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Willful ignorance is the American Way

Truly, a neuroscience background, the modern version of the tribal witchdoctor.

If there is an over-representation of engineers in terrorist attacks, is that why they are so successful? They are able to get results with minimal cost whereas the “scientists” spend big with little actual return (including actual understanding and knowledge).

* For what it is worth, the above is a sarcastic response and
* a somewhat failed attempt at humour.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Willful ignorance is the American Way

Tunnel vision is a common malady which knows no boundaries. All people are capable of practicing it when they allow themselves to ignore elements they can’t be bothered to consider significant.

Sweeping generalizations are always wrong. 🙂 Just because someone is a member of a group who’re all doing blah doesn’t mean they have to be anything like all the other members of the group doing blah.

Anonymous Coward says:

I was almost shot and killed in my own bed on a Sunday morning at 3AM when I caught a cop trying to break into my open window one summer. Long story short, out of town roommate butt dials out of town land lord. Land lord sees the missed call at 2AM, calls back and gets no answer. Land lord assumes worst and calls police. Police show up to property to investigate. I wake up to someone pulling the screen off my open window, jump out of bed just in time to be screamed at by the officer and have his gun put in my face. The situation de-escalates with me going to the front door and talking to him all the while shitting my pants not knowing what the hell was going on. We go to the police station and talk with the chief the next day to find out why he was breaking into my room with a pistol drawn, about 1/2 second from shooting me to which the response was, “he was just doing his job”. The “officers” have been training that anything and everything they do is excusable and it time this bullshit comes to an end. They will not get away with treating people like this.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: The doofus who called the police...

There’s still a large section of the US public who still believe that the police are to be called to investigate and resolve even minor commotions.

They’re still regarded as first responders, rather than last resort.

Perhaps we need to educate the public as to the appropriate time to call law enforcement: when it’s time to scorch the earth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Seems like Germany cira 1939 over here “
You should read a history book from time to time. At that time they had pulled him out of the house and shot on the street. If a neighbour had said anything against it they’d end up next to him and of course their family, possibly their family first. Or maybe they had even made the neighbour shoot his family or he could watch his family be tortured for a few days…well his choice…

Don’t compare lazy cops to the SS. Those guys were crazy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

For a man that scolds somebody about his lack of reading history your comment is woefully inaccurate…

Remember he mentions 1939 specifically so at the time public shootings were definitely not the norm. The Nazis were trying very hard to maintain a front of legitimacy. Of course everybody knew people were disappearing after a raid but the government was trying very hard to convince people they were just (temporarily) sent to re-education camps. Even Jews were going to “work camps”, not extermination camps.

Also most likely if anybody was doing wanton arresting or assaulting citizens in 1939 it was most likely the Gestapo, not the SS. The SS were initially body guards and later an elite combat unit and camp guards. Yes they committed atrocities against civilians but in Poland and Russia mostly, not in Germany.

So, I find the first comment to be hyperbolic but your corrections are almost fully incorrect.

Steve says:

Here in Aus, virtually no one has guns & police (while far from perfect) do not automatically go into SWAT mode.
The US gun culture is largely to blame for the domestic arms race, just as the US is responsible for most armed international conflict.
This is an example of fractal theory, where the same systems exist at a micro & macro level.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It ain’t just the guns.

If it was just the guns, they’d be shooting white folks at the same rate as black folks. But they aren’t.

White guy with an M-16: half an hour of de-escalating conversation. Black guy with a BB gun: five seconds of target practice.

It ain’t the guns.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Personally, I think it is mainly the training at fault. Followed, closely, by the blind hero-worship after 9/11 which allowed politicians to build on laws (already heavily LEO biased prior to 9/11) to increasingly place LEOs ‘by law’ higher and higher above the citizens they ‘protect’.

A Nation now ruled by a few men ‘more equal’ then you…and not by laws equal to all.

But, it is also not lost on me that a person carrying an M-16 might not be such an easy target for blatant abuse, and is thus approached more respectfully. A person who is unarmed, or carrying a BB gun, can’t fight back and can be stomped like a bug.

The 2nd Amendment is not about hunting. Never has been, never will be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Anecdotal evidence: An old high school friend of mine was a Marine, then got out of the service and became a patrol officer in my podunk home town. At that time, he was what I would call a damn Good Cop.

Fast forward a few years, and with experience he was accepted into podunk town’s SWAT team. Went back east for training, took all sorts of assault house trainings in various places, weapons and tactics trainings…all of which he described to me in gory detail like 5-year-old at Christmas.

Subsequently, in his personal life, he started becoming insanely ‘tacticool’ about EVERYTHING. Gadgets & gizmos, high powered weapons bedecked in accessories, and his attitude, OMG.

The aggressive comments he started making about ‘helping suspects to the curb’ (meant in exactly the way you think it means) and I distanced myself from him greatly. Moved away & haven’t talked to him in years since then.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

But I seriously doubt that’s the main problem. The training is one of the symptoms.

I agree. I think the problem is management has chosen the wrong metric to measure performance. They’re focusing solely on arrests and convictions, instead of enforcing the law or keeping the peace (whatever those might mean). Defusing confrontations goes against the goal of racking up arrests. Escalation comparatively plumps up the arrest numbers. They’ve lost sight of the forest with all those trees in the way. They’re doin’ it wrong.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I do honestly love how the US police have gotten so out of control that even a tech site like this cannot willfully ignore it any more and is reporting on it.

Mike, I’m sure, has his own reasons why TD should exist. For me, though, this’s systems analysis. It’s not hardware or software or baubles and trinkets, though those do find their way here too. It’s more about how things work, or don’t work, or fail miserably, or even attack their owners or users.

Visio “smart TVs”, for instance. Sure, it’s sort of amazing what we can do with TVs nowadays, but should we be doing blah with them, and what are the ramifications of doing blah with a TV? Whose TV is it really? Joe Blow who thinks he’s buying entertainment, or Visio hoping to sell their customers’ data to Madison Ave?

I love that sort of !@#$. 🙂 With TD, Mike’s carrying on the grand tradition of the Risks Digest. That never gets old for me.

Anonymous Coward says:

I hate to repeat myself

His officers, apparently, are more than willing to be abused in this fashion

As I keep saying, this proves that genocide, mass murder, internment, etc could easily happen here. When Obama got mad at the GOP and blamed them for shutting down the government, he ordered thug police to close down private businesses on the Blue Ridge Parkway. He got other thugs to kick an elderly couple out of their home on federal land. He found even more thugs in the park service to shuttle visitors to Yellowstone into the lodge every hour so they couldn’t see Old Faithful go off. He even found thugs in the IRS to target people solely based on their political party.

Just think about that for a moment. Low level cops fully willing to carry out petty orders at the behest of the president because Obama was mad at the GOP. Now imagine what could happen when the president and his party demonize anyone who doesn’t agree with him, which he does on almost a daily basis. He could easily find willing police and military to round up any group he wants, whether it is by race, religion, political party, etc. With the tension he has created in this country, we are just one big event from this happening.

Jack says:

Re: I hate to repeat myself

Yeah that’s definitely not true – I was in Asheville during the 2013 fall shutdown and the parkway was open and the only thing that was closed in the more than 100 miles I drove on it was the cultural art center/artist guild – the restaurant/hotel was still open. October is the busiest time on the parkway because of the leaves – there are literally hundreds of thousands of people there during that month – I’m pretty sure they would have noticed old ladies being beaten by thugs…

I lived in NC for a large portion of my life, still visit Asheville 4-5 times a year, got married there, and have many friends who live there – this never happened…

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I hate to repeat myself

An anti-Obama rant that isn’t factually accurate? I’m shocked.

Pretty much half the time, statistics are just bogus made up numbers, and even a broken clock can be correct twice a day.

And sometimes, I really wonder what the heck I’m talking about. Just keep checking those premises and we’ll all be okay (I think).

Digitari says:

Unlawful orders

In the military, they (used) to teach about unlawful orders.
if you felt the orders you received were not lawful the first step was to ask for them in writing.(that was usually all one had to do, the second step was to ignore the order)

Do the Police have the same options?

(this was a few years after the Mai lai massacre)

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Unlawful orders

I would not expect the average officer to know what to do with a written order, let alone figure out what may be lawful or not.

According to the UCMJ every soldier and sailor is supposed to be thoroughly educated regarding the Geneva Convention rules of warfare during their training, and in preparation for entering any theater of combat, be briefed as to the rules of engagement.

This isn’t for the soldiers’ protection but the officers’. When a war crime is committed and brought to justice the fingers can point downward as far as possible.

Allegedly, soldiers are supposed to refuse illegal orders. In reality that’s a good way to get arrested or shot so illegal orders put troopers in a bit of a dilemma. I want to believe this is a rare occurrence, but ever since the Bush administration and all the scandals of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I can’t really say.

Anonymous Coward says:

No one commented on the fact that this guy was a veteran and potentially had weapons and knows how to use them. By breaking down the door, did the cops know what they could be facing?

When will politicians and cops themselves begin to understand that they are causing problems for themselves? When will they realize their actions today may get them killed tomorrow?

2 cops offed in NYC, why? Because a cop choked out someone. When will the police realize that their actions are putting their brothers at risk?

Our police act like this and you expect people to give up their guns? Good luck with that. Sooner or later, the police will be involved in a shootout and people will die, and it will be determined that the police’s raid was a mistake. Who will pay for that?

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Eventually...

SWAT teams will be directed to empty houses furnished with proximity firebombs.

If SWAT can’t be bothered to do any research prior to executing no-knock warrants, this can almost be construed as pre-emptive self defence. They’re no better than mad dogs. They’re little better than a heavily armed gang roaming the streets breaking down doors and shooting the occupants indiscriminately. We’re not supposed to be tolerating that from anyone, much less our police forces.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Pointing guns = "Intimidation"

The Ferguson footage showed police officers pointing their guns at the general public, which I remember seeming dangerous and peculiar. I was trained like Horton that you only point a firearm at something you intend to shoot, and all these officers pointing their guns into crowds seemed like something right out of Bizarro World.

I still don’t understand it. I’d expect trigger slips to be a regular thing. I assume during the Ferguson standoff that a trigger slip was exactly what the administrators were hoping for, so they could have a justified massacre.

Maybe it’s easier on the paperwork when all the parties of an encounter have no more tales to tell.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Pointing guns = "Intimidation"

I assume during the Ferguson standoff that a trigger slip was exactly what the administrators were hoping for, so they could have a justified massacre.

We may still get that out of the Biker-burger-joint-massacre in Waco.

At least in Canada it’s still quite different. The one time I came up against SWAT, they were all very carefully aiming their street sweepers (automatic shotguns) at the ground, and these were lowly city cops, not the elite RCMP. Perhaps we could loan you some to re-train yours.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Pointing guns = "Intimidation"

Part of the problem is that they’re not being trained very much at all.

Traditional (late 20th century) SWAT teams were highly trained and brought out once or twice a year specifically for hostage-barricade situations. I remember the game SWAT 4 (2004, I think — done with consultation from LAPD SWAT) you lost points for even a justified suspect kill. (I eventually armed myself with less lethal weapons only and relied on the computer controlled teammates to determine that narrow zone of time when shooting to kill was acceptable.)

These days, US precincts like to SWAT people for the stupidest reasons, I think because regular suburban officers really want to be able to handle the cool guns and raid someone’s house and bag them a bad-guy. And hazard pay, probably.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Pointing guns = "Intimidation"

and these were lowly city cops, not the elite RCMP.

Elite RCMP? You mean these guys?

Perhaps we could loan you some to re-train yours.

No thanks.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Pointing guns = "Intimidation"

I should have said “supposedly elite RCMP.” I haven’t considered them anywhere near elite for a long time. I consider them Canada’s commercial version of the FBI. They’re very good at collecting money from municipalities who don’t want to run their own police force, but Constable Fraser from “Going South”, they’re certainly not.

GEMont (profile) says:

Amerik Injustice for Amerik Incarceration - "Amerik Co.Inc." the American Prison Industry

“It’s not standard to conduct investigations beforehand because that delays the apprehension of suspects.”

Sounds like Mr. Rhoads has already received his offer of guaranteed employment at the Prison Industry Operation of his choice, after he retires from the Police Farce, for services rendered unto that industry while wearing the Blue.

Nothing like cementing your retirement income by insuring that more Americans are arrested and incarcerated for the insured well being of your post-retirement employer.

Kozinski has it right.

American Justice is completely oxymoron.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Amerik Injustice for Amerik Incarceration - "Amerik Co.Inc." the American Prison Industry

“It’s not standard to conduct investigations beforehand because that delays the apprehension of suspects.”

That’s just so stupid, it’s ridiculous. If you must, sure roll out SWAT, but while they’re on their way you can research the situation (contact the building mgr. or bldg. security) then update SWAT with the new information. I’d call that criminal negligence and utter incompetence if they’re not doing that.

He should be fired immediately.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Amerik Injustice for Amerik Incarceration - "Amerik Co.Inc." the American Prison Industry

He should be fired immediately.

How anyone in his position, can do this sort of thing and not suffer even the consequence of losing employment, proves that things have gone past the point of no return, in my opinion.

He makes this statement as though he fully believes that this is “how things are done”, without even the slightest interest in, or awareness of, the myriad possible dire consequences for those he is suppose to serve and protect.

Because he is correct.

Because this is how these things are now done.

This is now the standard.

We have seen this standard before, in other countries.

It does not get better with time.

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