Nothing To Hide (And Nowhere To Hide It) But Everything To Fear: The Police Vs. The Unarmed And Naked

from the but-all-I-had-to-defend-myself-with-was-my-gun,-body-armor,-training... dept

“Naked” is synonymous with “vulnerable.” And yet, plenty of naked people continue to be shot and killed by police officers, despite having nowhere to hide weapons and nothing standing between them and the bullets headed their way.

Of course, naked people are far more prone to find themselves in confrontations with police. In almost every case, substance use/abuse or mental illness will be the reason for the person’s nudity. Despite being handicapped by both limited mental faculties and lack of any protection, naked people are often considered inherently “threatening,” and thus, worthy recipients of any level of force that allows responding officers to feel “safe” again.

17-year-old David Joseph was shot to death by Austin police officer Geoffrey Freeman, who was responding to reports of a naked man acting erratically. Freeman said he feared for his life, even though Joseph had no clothing and no weapons.

Of course, the first response from the police union was to assume Joseph was under the influence of a “drug like PCP.” PCP is the go-to guess for officers trying to explain how they felt overwhelmed by a person smaller than them… or carrying no weapons… or wearing no clothes. It supposedly gives even unarmed, naked people superhuman strength and increased resistance to less-lethal force. How many people officers feel are using PCP is miles away from how many people are actually using PCP.

Here’s a rather boring graph showing the “rise” in PCP use over the years. (Click here to see the statistics behind the chart.)


The use of PCP is so limited, the DOJ just lumps it in with a bunch of other substances under the heading of “other or non-drug.”


And yet, the first assumption is that a naked teen an officer killed was on PCP. The autopsy did find substances in Joseph’s body, but not anything that would make him aggressive or dangerous.

[A]n autopsy released last week showed he had marijuana and Xanax in his system when he was killed.

This case echoes one from nearly two years ago in Colorado. Again, a naked, unarmed teen was fatally shot by a police officer — but that time the officer had to enter someone’s house to do it.

Alvar called Fountain police on the afternoon of Sept. 22, 2014, to report someone trying to steal a motorcycle from her garage. Two other officers were dispatched, but upon hearing the address, Officer Kay said, “That’s Patrick,” and volunteered to take the call, the mother says in the March 4 federal complaint.

When Kay arrived, Alvar says, she told him her son was upstairs, preparing to take a shower. Kay followed her upstairs, looked into the bathroom when she opened the door, and saw her son naked, preparing to get into the shower, the mother says in the complaint.

She says Kay grabbed the bathroom door handle and told Patrick to put on his underwear. Patrick and Kay pushed and pulled on the door, and when Patrick managed to close it, “Officer Kay drew his weapon and fired one shot through the closed bathroom door. After firing the shot, Officer Kay opened the bathroom door to find Patrick lying naked on the ground with his head against the left corner by the bathtub. Blood was coming out of his head,” according to the complaint.

Once again, a naked person was described as a threat. Despite the fact Patrick Alvar wasn’t carrying a weapon, Officer Kay firmly believed the motion he saw Patrick make was a move for a hidden weapon. From Kay’s report on the shooting:

“Ms. Alvar opened the door and Officer Kay saw Patrick O’Grady standing in the bathroom. Officer Kay then saw Patrick O’Grady turn and grab a gun from the bathroom counter and point it at the officer. At that time, Officer Kay drew his gun and fired one shot in the direction of Patrick O’Grady, who was struck by the bullet.”

The bathroom was searched by three officers without finding a weapon. The fourth search somehow turned up one. The gun “found” in the bathroom apparently belonged to Deputy Donald Beasley of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department is the “outside agency” that investigated the shooting. Video footage could have cleared this all up, but Officer Kay’s body camera was never activated.

Officer Robert Olsen of Georgia shot naked, unarmed Anthony Hill last year, responding to call about a man acting “deranged” and “crawling on the floor.” According to Olsen, Hill charged at him after being ordered to stop. Olsen has been indicted for multiple charges, including two counts of felony murder.

In the same month Officer Olsen killed Anthony Hill (March 2015), Kansas police shot a naked woman in her own bed. The twist: she had a gun. The other twist? She was ordered by officers to show it to them.

Gardner police got a 911 call on March 26, 2015 that Deanne Choate, 54, had been drinking alcohol, was suicidal and had a gun. When police arrived they immediately handcuffed and arrested Choate’s boyfriend and removed him from the home, then found Deanne Choate sleeping naked in her bed, her daughter says in the Feb. 25 complaint.

After waking her up, officers questioned her for eight minutes, repeatedly asking, “Where is the gun?”

“Deanne was obviously not carrying or concealing on her person any type of weapon,” her daughter says.

“During this time, officers came and went from the room. They looked under the sheets of the bed.” They stayed in the room “with the naked, 115-pound woman” and finally gave her a sweatshirt to wear, according to the complaint.

After repeatedly demanding, “Where is the gun?” and “We know you have a gun,” Deanne finally “complied with officers’ request and produced a handgun, stating, ‘Oh, here it is.'”

Then they shot her to death.

July 2014: Haywood (CA) police officers shoot a naked, unarmed man to death, apparently for refusing to come out of a “barricaded” room (furniture was pushed up against the door). Not that the “barricade” was that much of an impediment. It didn’t prevent two officers from entering the room and shooting Jeffrey McKinney.

October 2012: A University of South Alabama campus police officer shoots and kills a naked, unarmed student — one who had banged on the window of the campus police station and made “threatening” moves toward the officer. The officer described him as “muscular.” The student’s parents agree with the “muscular” part (he was a wrestler) but that he only stood 5’7″ and weighed 135 pounds.

And on and on. It certainly doesn’t make up a sizable percentage of police shootings but there have been enough of them that it’s notable. Handling a person under the influence/suffering from mental illness is naturally going to be more unpredictable than confronting your normal, everyday perp. But the escalation from “this is going to be weird” to “this is going to require bullets” seems to skip a lot of steps in far too many instances.

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Comments on “Nothing To Hide (And Nowhere To Hide It) But Everything To Fear: The Police Vs. The Unarmed And Naked”

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93 Comments
David says:

Re: Training

It’s safer for the police officers to escalate. They are trained in weapon use and of selected low intelligence. They are more likely to win a firefight than an argument.

The longer they take before shooting people, the higher the probability that they’ll get wounded first, with bullets or words.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Training

The way NRA argues is not exactly helping with that issue.

You mean how they recommend not shooting or even pointing your gun at someone or even touching your gun unless your life is actively being threatened? You mean how they train gun owners how to de-escalate before resorting to violence?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Training

No, when the NRA writes laws for state and federal lawmakers to push through and get zero push back because they throw their members money against any rival candidate that takes on any firearm regulation. And you want to sit there and claim the NRA is just a education and training resource, they derail all serious talk when it comes to firearm safety for manufacturer profit

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Training

they derail all serious talk when it comes to firearm safety for manufacturer profit

So true! Just yesterday, my NRA-approved gun discharged on its own because the manufacturer placed their profits ahead of using quality parts and left out all the safeties because those were just too expensive. /sarc

Firearms are designed to be safe for their wielder and innocents, and dangerous to the people against whom the wielder must use them. A manufacturer that intentionally designed a firearm that was needlessly dangerous to its wielder or innocents would lose sales to one who designed a quality weapon. Note the needlessly qualifier carefully. A dangerous weapon that reliably stops an attack may be more highly prized than a very safe weapon that does not reliably stop an attack, particularly if competent use by the wielder can minimize the danger to non-targets.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Training

by “stops an attack”, you mean successfully attacks?

No. In most places where the law permits private citizens to use deadly force, it is permitted for the purpose of stopping specific unlawful acts. Often, but not always, it is for stopping any of rape, murder, or kidnapping against oneself or an innocent third party. Some jurisdictions have slightly different rules, such as adding “unlawful use of deadly force” to the offense list, imposing a duty that the citizen attempt to retreat before resorting to violence, or defining specific types of locations where retreat is or is not required. Also, note that some jurisdictions consider “deadly force” to include force that would reasonably lead to serious bodily harm, even if it would not reasonably lead to imminent death.

Importantly, the lawful permission for deadly force ends when the unlawful act ceases. For example, if an attempted murderer surrenders and is reasonably not a threat, then the citizen is no longer permitted to use deadly force, even if deadly force would have been authorized if the attempted murderer had not surrendered. Therefore, a gun can stop an attack without killing the attacker, and sometimes without even wounding the attacker, if the presence of the gun and the implicit or explicit threat to use it can successfully prevent further unlawful action. The goal is to stop the attack, not to exact private retribution for attacks already concluded.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Training

The NRA is not the problem. You are the problem. The NRA is trying to support the 2nd Amendment, and you are trying to dismantle it because you are a coward American that will not support their nation.

If you want to be a coward and not have a gun and and a desire to protect the nation from all enemies foreign or domestic then fine, but do not get in the way of the others that will!

If you have the nerve to attack any of the rights protected in the Bill of Rights, then you have NO RIGHT to receive protection on any of your OTHER rights… like speech, voting, or not being made into a slave!

The founders made it very clear what the 2nd was meant for and they also said that those who give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.

dcfusor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Training

Some of us who use real traceable nicks or ID wonder how much Soros and pals are paying you to shill gun fear.
If you’re not responsible to have firearm access, fine (please!), don’t – but keep that to yourself.

Those of us who are responsible don’t like having our freedoms taken because you can’t imagine anything but the lowest common denominator. Projection much?

Dingledore the Flabberghaster says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Training

The NRA is trying to support the 2nd Amendment

Why is this automatically a good thing?

I’m not actually arguing one way or the other here, just pointing out that “we must be able to do something because someone once said we could” is only one step away from “he started it”. If there are perfectly valid arguments for gun ownership, then that’s fine – make those arguments and be happy. But waving a 225 year old amendment that was a close contemporary to the Three-Fifths Compromise entirely ignores the certainty that any constitution best serves it’s people as a living document.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Three-Fifths Compromise (was Training)

But waving a 225 year old amendment that was a close contemporary to the Three-Fifths Compromise entirely ignores the certainty that any constitution best serves it’s people as a living document.

I interpret your phrasing to mean that you consider the Three-Fifths Compromise to have been a bad idea. Do you believe it should have been that slaves were counted as whole people or do you believe it should have been that slaves were not counted as people? If slaves were counted as people, then slave-owning states would have more legislative seats, despite not having more voters (as slaves were obviously not permitted to vote). In a perverse sense, it could have encouraged even more slave ownership, since having more slaves would afford the state more seats. If slaves were not counted as people, it would give the slave-owning states fewer legislative seats.

Put simply, do you think the slave-owning states should have had more power or less?

Dingledore the Flabberghaster says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Three-Fifths Compromise (was Training)

It’s not that I believe that Three Fifths was a bad idea in itself – it was, after all, a compromise. It’s that the Constitution and its associated documents were a product of their time and included things that would be completely unacceptable in modern times.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Training

You ever look at a country where the government removes the citizens rights to own weapons? Especially in a police state.

There is a reason why Americans should universally support their 2nd amendment. Keeps them free from the worst excesses of a corrupt and criminal government.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Training

Actually people do try to do something about it. Only we’re not always that smart or that organized and it often comes off as a crazy guy popping off or worse, the agent of a foreign belligerent.

There was the guy who immolated himself in protest. Despite an explanation that seemed considered and deliberate, he was still regarded as a wacko.

The People of the United States are, despite their many troubles and conflicts, a generally peaceful sort. We’d really rather not shoot back at law-enforcement. I think we’re trying to rule out all non-violent resources (including merely suffering said excesses) before turning to violent solutions.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Supporting the Second Amendment

Questioning our bill of rights is usually the purview of scholars and Constitutional conventionists (that is, those who want to challenge the Constitution in its entirety). There are books about it, pro-, anti- or even without a clear slant.

The US right to bear arms is certainly worthy of challenge, even partially. Do we allow private parties to own nuclear weapons or bio agents? Can we enforce prohibitions regarding printed guns? Should the individual have the same access as does law enforcement and the military? Should a person be allowed to handle a loaded firearm while intoxicated? There is a lot of gray area and a lot of controversy as to what the right and proper answers are, what should be enforced and what can be enforced.

As a note, what the constitution says is not always reflected in our lawbooks. The process by which laws are challenged against the constitution requires that someone is taken to court for breaking the law, and the case be appealed to a high enough court to hear a constitutional challenge. As justices can be rather opinionated, whether or not restrictions on gun access are upheld or successfully appealed are about as varied from jurist to jurist as IP law opinions. The weaknesses of this process are plentiful, acknowledged and grumbled over, which is why the Mississippi Religious Freedom law, which allows discrimination against LGBT citizens in the alleged name of religious expression) hasn’t yet been stricken down as a violation of the 14th amendment equal protection clause.

Among the many reasons the Second Amendment continues to be valid there are three that come to (my) mind, put in brief

~ Personal Defense as a frontier nation, there are plenty of hazards about (mostly dangerous wildlife and vermin, though bandits and outlaws sometimes figure in). And the individual has a right to protect self, family, property and territory from such hazards.

~ Keeping the government nervous The origin of the US is rife with state agencies having too little respect for the common individual from governing bodies. And our constitutional framers recognized that this is a ongoing problem, that rights, liberties and benefits will be encroached upon and denied by the government as they can get away with it, and as we’re seeing today with our extensive police brutality problem.

~ Liberty. Americans are allowed to own and use what they want unless there are clear grounds to deny it to them. But we’re really bad at determining what is dangerous to the people and should be restricted. Worse yet, as Prohibition and the War on Drugs has shown, we suck even worse at figuring out how to control substances without heinous amounts of casualties. But considering how the public has freaked out over the telephone, radio, television, pornography, comic books, Elvis, Rock-&-Roll, Led Zeppelin, Dungeons & Dragons, marijuana, novels featuring adult situations, video games from Pacman to Call of Duty the internet, cell phones, sexting, and so on, both the government and the public have both demonstrated they have no qualifications to determine what is too dangerous for private ownership or not.

These are not to say that legalized guns are the best solution. Certainly our police seem eager to gun people down, armed or otherwise. But in challenging the second amendment or criminalizing weapons, we have to acknowledge these issues and preferably provide more effective alternatives to address them. The people of the US are skeptical things will get better with a disarmed public so we have to clarify the purpose that doing so serves, and how to address the problems we’ve faced before that led us to choosing to keep our public armed (ideally, armed and prepared for war.)

Tangent: I remain amused how military and assault are terms used to make weapons sound more dangerous, when civilian weapons tend to outperform the military counterparts. Military stuff is produced in mass by the lowest bidder. Civilian gear is made for a higher price point and is made to be customizable for the individual…and punch through an elephant if that’s what you’re hunting. And no civilian has need for a howitzer –or a nuke– enough to actually buy one.)

Dingledore the Flabberghaster says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Training

If you have the nerve to attack any of the rights protected in the Bill of Rights, then you have NO RIGHT to receive protection on any of your OTHER rights… like speech, voting, or not being made into a slave!

Wow. Impassioned defending of the 2nd Amendment on one hand, whilst simultaneously tearing up and targeting a stream of urine on, at least, the 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 13th, & 14th with the other.

Most impressive.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Training

The NRA is not the problem. You are the problem. The NRA is trying to support the 2nd Amendment,

The 2nd amendment is the problem. It is the biggest piece of collective stupidity ever enacted.

From my side of the atlantic all the pro-gun arguments just look barking mad.

The simplest solution to the problem is to remove the second amendment, put in really effective gun control and disarm the police.

That, and only that would save many lives in America.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Training

Guns are not the problem, neither are knives, or cars, or drugs or 2nd amendments.

Your simple solution is no solution because it doesn’t deal with the intrinsic problem.

The intrinsic problem is people. It doesn’t matter what you allow or ban. As long as people don’t control themselves and take responsibility for their own actions, nothing will work work. As long as people want to look out only for themselves and their own, there will be conflicts of all sorts.

The tools are not the problem, it always comes back to the tool user.

There are many who just don’t give a thought to anything other than their own pleasure (however that may manifest itself) and they will take what they want, when they want.

You can ban everything and they will still find a way to get what they want, banned or not.

Unfortunately, the “leaders” of society have demonstrated to everyone that getting what you want is an acceptable way of life. These “leaders” include (but not limited to) politicians, scientists, musicians, business owners, actors, criminals, police, military, pilots, sports stars.

You can add to this list as you will.

People are the problem and until we as individuals decide we want to change for the better, things are not going to change for the better.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 "People are the problem"

I get so much mileage out of this phrase:

We build a civilization with the people we have, not the people we wish we had.

And generally, it’s the same sort of people with whom everyone else is building their civilization. We’re neither especially bright nor especially dull.

We know people to be fairly altruistic regarding their top fifty facebook friends, and want to throw rocks at everyone else. When we pack them dense like in the urbs, that requires that they develop a greater sense of community (and that sense of community helps when strangers walk into rural towns).

Our politicians are being the same naked apes, and they have zero motivation to improve things. And that’s because we’ve gamed the system so that their job is not to run the nation, but to get elected again. So that’s all they do.

It’s time to start the Rebel Alliance. And it’s time to create a charter for what our new system will look like. There’s been a lot of discussion already as to what would help (e.g. alternates to FPTP).

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Training

The intrinsic problem is people. It doesn’t matter what you allow or ban. As long as people don’t control themselves and take responsibility for their own actions, nothing will work work. As long as people want to look out only for themselves and their own, there will be conflicts of all sorts.

Sorry I can only give you one Insightful vote.

I don’t like guns because I don’t like violence. That said, I’ve seen some good cases made for keeping them for self-defence. Proper gun control would legally restrict gun ownership to sane, law-abiding citizens who have passed some kind of safety course, provided, perhaps, byt the NRA. Isn’t gun safety what they are supposed to be about?

It’s been argued that doing this won’t affect the attitudes of criminals, who will simply flout the law, but we’ve also made theft and murder illegal, and criminals flout those laws. Should we make The Purge a real thing, in that case? By no means!

Well then, let’s be reasonable about this, and make it both illegal and difficult for crazy, criminal, and untrained people to own a gun.

As for rising up against the government in the event that it becomes a tyranny, everyone who’s tried it so far has been either killed or imprisoned. The Civil War was about the Southern states complaining about the Northern states passing laws they didn’t want, if memory serves. Any attempt at planning and carrying out an armed rebellion is utterly doomed to failure.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Crazy gun owners

Well then, let’s be reasonable about this, and make it both illegal and difficult for crazy, criminal, and untrained people to own a gun.

As a crazy person (id est, with diagnoses by professionals) who is yet fairly harmless, I resent having my rights infringed further because you and other members of the public are frightened by mental illness.

And no, there’s no litmus test to separate out the axe murderers from the rest of us.

As for rising up against the government in the event that it becomes a tyranny, everyone who’s tried it so far has been either killed or imprisoned.

If I recall my history correctly, we here in the states had a problem with an oppressive power on that side of the pond and were able to cast off our shackles.

Want something more recent? Afghanistan appears to be resistant to foreign oppressors as well, whether Soviet or NATO, hence the struggle to smack down those pesky criminal terrorist types has been going on longer than the whole of WWII.

I am curious, though. You guys have a history where occasionally the big guy with the sword and armor and alleged divine-right to hew the rest of you down would get uppity and decide to kill and rape for his own pleasure. Did you just lie down and tolerate it? Or did you just spit in his tea when he wasn’t looking, Nazi-occupied-Paris style?

If you ask Mexico (who love their guns as much as we love ours), they’ve had scads of oppressors, foreign and domestic, and those weapons have come in handy many times.

Dingledore the Flabberghaster says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Crazy gun owners

FYI, the War of Independence was before the 2nd Amendment. The horse had pretty much certainly already bolted.

And I’m pretty sure no US private citizens acting as a militia were sent to Afghanistan. You appear to be, correction, you are confusing the well armed militia with the state.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Training

The police would not be the ones that get disarmed, the people they currently murder with impunity are the ones that would be disarmed. The police are treated as above the laws so why would they be treated the same as everyone else in this case exactly?

A tyrannistic government disarms their populace then goes on a genocidal path wiping anyone and everyone they don’t like. Germany, Russia, probably lots more countries if i cared to look up the history of them.

But I am sure the current horribly corrupt and criminal American government won’t repeat history like they have been doing with everything else right? let’s remove the last line of defense people have against criminals and let the criminals with badges protect them instead, when they are not murdering them of course.

That One Guy (profile) says:

"We're staying here until you give us the justification needed to shoot you."

“During this time, officers came and went from the room. They looked under the sheets of the bed.” They stayed in the room “with the naked, 115-pound woman” and finally gave her a sweatshirt to wear, according to the complaint.

After repeatedly demanding, “Where is the gun?” and “We know you have a gun,” Deanne finally “complied with officers’ request and produced a handgun, stating, ‘Oh, here it is.'”

Then they shot her to death.

Honestly it’s hard to interpret that situation as anything but deliberate, pre-meditated murder.

The woman was not armed when first apprehended, not restrained in any way, indicating that they didn’t consider her a threat, and harassed until she produced the weapon being searched for, upon which she was killed.

If they thought she was a threat, she would have been restrained.

If they thought she might turn the gun on one of the officers, they wouldn’t have left her in the same room or had her involved with the search, but would have moved her to a different location and left her under watch while they conducted the search.

They were either just looking for an excuse to kill her, in which case murder charges should be brought against those involved, or so grossly incompetent that they let a ‘dangerous suspect’ not only get their hands on a weapon, but placed them in a situation that the ‘dangerous suspect’ would have been almost certain to be the first to find it, and had she had murderous intentions several deaths would have been highly likely, in which case they should be fired for gross negligence and incompetence at the least.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "We're staying here until you give us the justification needed to shoot you."

“in which case murder charges should be brought against those involved”

That is not going to happen. They have an unions that will lie for them. That has powerful lawyers to deny deny deny. To make sure they get off without any punishment.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: "We're staying here until you give us the justification needed to shoot you."

You’ll note I said ‘should’, I’m fully aware that it won’t happen that way, the story will be spun by the union and/or other officers at the scene that in every single case listed the person shot had it coming, or posed some sort of risk and the cop who pulled the trigger was not only justified in doing so, but had no other possible option that didn’t involve someone in a body bag.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Not surprising

I wouldn’t say that. I’d say that there is a portion big enough that hits the headlines and make a lot of noise but not “most”. Still, the utter lack of punishment for these abusers and and the support the unions give to cops clearly in the wrong certainly has given law enforcement in general a very bad image.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Not surprising

Still, the utter lack of punishment for these abusers and and the support the unions give to cops clearly in the wrong certainly has given law enforcement in general a very bad image.

And that right there is the problem the majority face in convincing people that the ‘bad apples’ really are the minority, and the majority are actually ‘good guys’.

If police actually cared to hold their own accountable, punish them for abuse of power/authority, then the public might be able to believe them when they point to the corrupt members of the profession and claim, ‘They do not represent us’. By instead shielding those members, protecting them from being punished or even investigated however it’s hard not to assume that the reason for that is because the majority do support such actions, even if they don’t engage in them directly, which means the worst of the lot do accurately represent the majority.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Not surprising

Again, I disagree. It’s a problem of the higher echelon. Much like Ed Snowden was crucified for exposing malpractices the regular cop may actually be harassed if the leadership is engaged in such abuses or helps shielding the abusers from the consequences. It would be akin to blaming the Americans for the shit their Government is engaged worldwide when we know there are several problems even with the electoral system.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Not surprising

Seems to be a bit of a ‘Chicken or Egg’ question, are the lower ranks taking their ‘see nothing, say nothing, hear nothing’ clues from the higher ups, or are the higher ups taking the clues from the rank and file?

Personally my guess would be more than a little of both, the bosses don’t feel like dealing with what it would take to get rid of a troublesome officer, primarily(I would guess) not wanting to have to admit that one of their ‘fine, upstanding officers’ isn’t someone who deserves the position, while the rank and file either like being able to not have to worry about being ‘professional’ all the time, or are pressured to shut their mouths when others cross the line.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Not surprising

Agreed. I know some good cops from the local law enforcement and from the federal level. It is quite ugly in the upper steps of the ladder. One federal cop got transferred to increasingly more remote and dangerous areas despite she had kids and stuff like that because she refused to participate in a bribery scheme.

It’s hard to believe when the corporation (police departments and the likes) actually seems to protect abusers but we shouldn’t be cynical. But I see your point. It’s those cases where both are technically right and wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Ah… the age old cause of death… envy.

Kain and Able right? Envy is a damn powerful sin leading to the majority of all human problems.

There is even a commandment about it… thou shalt not covet.

If you think about the ripple effect, envy causes more pain, death, and destruction than any other sin in existence!

Quiet Lurcker says:

Simple Question

Some of these stories the cops came up with in this story were so obviously questionable, why didn’t someone – another cop, the supervisors, the prosecutor (where involved), the judges (where involved), SOMEONE – suspect the cops of lying and follow up on it?

And why weren’t the cops in question using something at least approximating to common sense in these encounters? Last time I looked, non-lethal weapons were part of the standard uniform most places, yet they went for the lethal ones.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Simple Question

Although the non-lethality can be disputed you have plenty of options such as pepper spray, tasers (there are even long range ones!), rubber bullets and others. And common sense. You see a naked person while you are armored and armed you are in a clear advantage. And there are much less lethal ways of incapacitating people with a gun. Shooting the head certainly isn’t one of these.

But hey, cops are saints, aren’t them?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Simple Question

Damn straight… if a cops murders you, it’s because you deserved it!

I hate idiots like the one you are responding too.

Government corruption is the leading cause of death of any kind. Corrupt government has literally murdered more innocent than ALL WAR and one of the reasons the 2nd was created per the founders.

With the police going this far to destroy citizens we really need to evaluate how necessary the police for is while they are in this mindset.

We should consider disbanding several of the most corrupt police departments as a BIG sign of how little we are doing to endure this garbage much longer. AND create a law that people working in the public sector cannot unionize period!

Ninja (profile) says:

Gardner police got a 911 call on March 26, 2015 that Deanne Choate, 54, had been drinking alcohol, was suicidal and had a gun.

Wow, genius! Call the police and say you are naked and you get a free ride to the other side. Easy suicide. /sarcasm

I’m sure shooting a person that is deemed suicidal will help tons.

In any case, if law enforcement was actually focused on their job, which is protecting the citizens, there wouldn’t be so many cases of force abuse. But instead they are focusing on their own integrity and in a war against the citizenry.

Anomynuos Crowad says:

“if law enforcement was actually focused on their job, which is protecting the citizens”

Nah, their job is enforcing laws. There isn’t a police department around that still uses the old “protect and serve” motto. They protect the rights of property holders, and they protect some nebulous concept of “public order”, and they protect themselves.

Iggy says:

Self Serve

The law is for you and there are plenty of them. There’s a law that covers just about everything you do or contemplate doing (conspiracy]. The wealthy and well connected are also exempt.

Don’t call the police. The supreme court found that they are not obligated to help you. When you call them you risk theft (civil forfeiture), arrest if you are breaking one of America’s laws for all seasons or death.

Don’t answer their questions. They’re already helping themselves.

Anonymous Coward says:

this what happens in a society that is given to allowing police to do more and more, with more and more weapons, turning said society into a police state! add in that the officers in every case have no care about the lives of anyone other than themselves and the whole aim of the game is to become top of the leader board for who has killed the most and got away with it!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Graph

“Here’s a rather boring graph showing the “rise” in PCP use over the years.”

I could make lots of graphs boring by picking poor values for the y-axis like that. And the data is pretty much impossible; in some years the number of people who have “ever used” went up by several times more than the number of people who used in the “past year”. This leads me to believe that the margin of error is large enough as to make this useless.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Graph

And the data is pretty much impossible; in some years the number of people who have “ever used” went up by several times more than the number of people who used in the “past year”.

It’s hard to say because the data is in three year increments. If we had every year it might make more sense but from this we can’t tell what’s going on in the two years not included. Not to say that’s a great way to present data, just that it’s not impossible like it looks.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Gardner discourages its police from using de-escalation tactics with suspects, preferring a “shoot-first-ask-questions-later” policy, Michele Choate says.

Is it possible that the review process (e.g. paperwork) of police killings and firearms discharges is significantly shorter and easier than managing live suspects or even witness testimonies?

Justme says:

Aggressive Cops. .

The increasingly aggressive behavior is in no small part a result of the war on drugs, which attracts the most aggressive officers and it is those officers that are most likely to get noticed and prompted. So the people currently in high level position today more often then not worked in drug enforcement.

Also under the normal structure of law enforcement, the chief of police or sheriff is usually accountable to an elected official(mayor), which gives citizens a way to demand changes when required. But with regional drug strike forces that do not directly answer to any one local elected official, citizens have little ability to effect change.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Aggressive Cops. .


Also under the normal structure of law enforcement, the chief of police or sheriff is usually accountable to an elected official(mayor)

If I understand correctly, the chief of police is typically a city position and answers to a mayor, city council, or the like, and sheriff is a county position and is itself an elected office.

Anonymous Coward says:

A significant factor is the way that American law enforcement are trained, which is to aim for the victim’s heart/center of chest and fire numerous shots in rapid succession. Shooting to wound is not allowed, nor are warning shots.

Ironically, increased restrictions on the use of police batons (such as forbidding head strikes) that were enacted over the past few decades in the aim of public safety has had the opposite effect, encouraging American police to use clubs less and guns more.

NO Hillary for Prez says:

Accountability for Hostile LE Policies

The fact that no one can be sure 100% of the time how an officer is going to respond to the plethora of situations they respond to, but the microscope should be on policies handed down by the highest elements of the federal and state goverment to be sure the policies are not intrinsically hostile toward Americans to begin with.

Anonymous Coward says:

Current practice demonstrates the converse of Maxim 28

Maxim 28: If the price of collateral damage is high enough, you might be able to get paid to bring ammunition home with you [2011-09-07].

Despite the mercenary references, the cited comic is specifically about that policy in the context of law enforcement. Senior leadership rewards squads that complete their arrests without resorting to violence.

In the real world, current practice is that the price of collateral damage is often zero (no punishment, no reward) and sometimes negative (rewarded for causing collateral damage), so why not engage in overkill? If there is no external reward for being careful, and there might be an external penalty for caution, why be careful at all?

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