Two Days, Two Shootings, Two Sets Of Cops Making Recordings Disappear

from the command-control dept

There are cameras everywhere. But when cops start shooting, it’s usually bullets and never footage. The first recordings that ever make their way to the public are those shot by bystanders. Anything else captured during a shooting remains under strict control of law enforcement… even when the recordings don’t belong to law enforcement.

Minutes after two cops killed Alton Sterling outside of a convenience store, police confiscated all surveillance video of the incident without a warrant and allegedly without permission.

An attorney for the owner of the Triple S Mart, Abdullah Muflahi, told The Daily Beast a hard drive containing the complete recording of the Sterling’s death at the hands of Baton Rouge Police Department Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake was unlawfully taken by police. Muflahi showed The Daily Beast the barren cabinet where the hard drive had been.

All that’s left of the storage unit is a sole barren wire.

If this tactic sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve seen it on multiple occasions. After Laquan McDonald was shot by Chicago police officers, several cops went to a nearby restaurant and seized its surveillance recordings. It took the city of Chicago over a year to release dashcam footage of the incident — footage that was oddly missing the audio that normally would have been captured when the camera was turned on.

In California, cops raided a marijuana dispensary. Before helping themselves to edibles and playing a game of darts, officers attempted to disable the store’s surveillance cameras and seized recording devices.

In Baton Rouge, officers were wearing body cameras. Chances of seeing this footage is nil. According to reports, the cameras “came loose” during the shooting and apparently did not record “quality” footage of the incident. And, as of now, city attorneys, the police department, and the FBI (which is conducting its own investigation of the shooting) are refusing to discuss the missing surveillance equipment.

When The Daily Beast requested both the surveillance video and the supposed warrant from the Baton Rouge Police Department, a lawyer from the department first denied the request by saying they could not turn over any documents from a “criminal investigation.” When told that a warrant is a public court document and could not be withheld, the lawyer then outright refused to confirm or deny if a warrant for the surveillance video even existed.

After backtracking on the existence of the warrant, the attorney backtracked on the possession of the surveillance video, saying that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had the hard drive.

“My client has not been informed of that,” said Porter, the attorney for the store owner.

The FBI refused to confirm or deny the police department’s claim.

What has been confirmed is that it was a warrantless seizure. Both the Baton Rouge District Attorney and the clerk of courts have admitted there is no record of a warrant being issued or even an affidavit submitted.

Another controversial shooting, following one day after the Baton Rouge incident, has also resulted in missing footage — albeit only temporarily.

The driver of the car in which passenger Philandro Castile was shot by police officers posted a horrifying video of the aftermath to Facebook using its live-streaming option. Not too long after it was posted, the video vanished. Facebook blamed it on a “technical glitch” and restored the recording an hour later. The details behind the video’s disappearance now suggest this wasn’t a glitch, nor was it Facebook inappropriately flexing its content policies.

Castile, his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter were pulled over by police in the Falcon Heights suburb of Minneapolis for a broken tail light. Using her cellphone and Facebook Live, Reynolds web-streamed footage of her dying boyfriend after he was shot by a police officer as he reached for his ID in his wallet. The video was mysteriously removed from her Facebook profile as it went viral across the internet.

On Thursday, Facebook said a “technical glitch” caused the recording to be pulled from its social network. However, Reynolds claimed officers seized her phone and took over her Facebook account to delete the evidence.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the event have tonight confirmed to The Register that someone – highly suspected to be the city’s police – used her phone to remove her recording from public view shortly after the shooting.

This, too, is a common occurrence. While the Supreme Court’s Riley decision may provide an easy way to determine whether someone’s Fourth Amendment rights have been violated by a search/seizure of their cell phone, it doesn’t prevent an officer from simply taking a cell phone and deleting incriminating footage. The path for redress is clearer, but it’s powerless against those whose first reaction is to vanish away evidence of their misconduct. [Update: For what it’s worth, Facebook is standing by its “technical glitch” story and says the cops did not delete the video]. To quote law professor Butler Shaffer [h/t Faultline’s Matt Brown]:

The Constitution is that sacred document which prevents the government from doing all the terrible things it does.

Fortunately, a number of streaming options and cloud services will keep some recordings from disappearing just because a phone is illegally seized and accessed. But both of these shootings — and their responses to “uncontrolled” recordings — show law enforcement has a long way to go before it can be considered trustworthy.

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Comments on “Two Days, Two Shootings, Two Sets Of Cops Making Recordings Disappear”

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Obstruction of justice

Because the police have guns, so that when things get critical they take what they want by force.

And the Justice department favors the police.

TechDirt is lousy with incidents in which the FBI (who are supposed to be the most honor devout of the agencies) show flagrant disregard for the law, including their refusal to declare who they shot dead and when.

Law enforcement agents misbehave because they can and no-one stops them. This has been the state of affairs in the United States for decades.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

One of the two cops in the NOLA shooting had been suspended over his first shooting incident. Blatant disregard for safety and using his weapon as the method of de-escalting a situation. They then reinstated him to allow this second one… Yeah The video evidence wasn’t removed legally because they already knew he was in the wrong. Since we have two other recordings of at least part of the incident, we know what happened, but the surveillance tape was evidence of a murder and they took it to cover their own asses.

Ninja (profile) says:

What struck me when I watched Castile death was how the cop seemed to be in shock and disoriented. He fucked up, he knew he fucked up and didn’t know what to do. Sounds like the type of person that should have either been barred from being hired or at the very last received strict training. So it is understandable he just kept aiming and didn’t help Castile after reacting badly and shooting but it’s simply inadmissible that the guy is allowed to carry a gun and a badge.

The cops that arrested his girl didn’t have the shock to help ‘justify’ handcuffing her while the kid, already having been through the horror of seeing Castile dying, watched the whole parade of horrors.

So you get shot if you comply and you get shot if you don’t. Then they are in shock when people show utter contempt for law enforcement nowadays.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: So you get shot if you comply and you get shot if you don't.

Which may explain the incident today where a cop was doing a traffic stop and the individual being stopped simply opened fire. The more people are convinced that neither compliance nor resistance results in survival the more we’ll hear Josh Billings’ voice:

Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just,
But four times he who gets his blow in fust.

Manabi (profile) says:

Re: Re: So you get shot if you comply and you get shot if you don't.

The cops have been treating the public like the enemy for years and years now. That started after a cop being shot after he pulled someone over. Despite that being an isolated incident, they decided to treat it like a declaration of war and started training all cops to treat anyone they deal with as an enemy.

Eventually this was always going to backfire on them. If you treat people like the enemy, they start treating you as the enemy too. The army learned this the hard way in Iraq. They changed their tactics and it paid off with fewer deaths. The cops continue to do the stuff the army learned was a great way to get more soldiers killed.

If anyone’s actually surprised that some isolated individuals are now acting like the enemy the police considers them, they haven’t paid any attention to recent history. (Which, sadly, probably includes most cops.) There’s still time for the cops to change. If they do it won’t continue to get worse. But if they don’t, there’s probably going to be more and more shootings both by cops and of cops. I don’t think anyone wants it to come to that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I had the same thought when I watched the video.

My best guess is this officer has poor gun training and has poor trigger discipline and accidentally pulled the trigger. Not knowing he accidentally pulled the trigger that made that big bang his ears heard he then intentionally started shooting. Few moments later he realized his mistake.

I’m just a gun loving civilian and my finger is never on the trigger unless I am planning to shoot something at the very second. This is gun safety 101

For those who want to learn more this is just some random site I found that talks about trigger discipline complete with pictures:

Maybe this cop learned his skills from Feinstein.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: My gun culture is not other people's gun culture.

The gun owners I know take an immense amount of pride in their safety and maintenance skills as well as accuracy and fire discipline (trigger discipline). Every bullet is deliberate and hits its mark. Every gun is clean and shiny, and kept in a consistent state (usually fully loaded with the safety on.)

It’s distressing that this exceptional elsewhere in the US. A gun, like any other dangerous tool is not just a right, but a responsibility.

I’d think police would be — I want police officers to be — just as fanatical about their firearms discipline.

The GSG 9 anti-terror organization has discharged their weapons five times over 1500+ sorties. This is the sort of respect for guns to which we should aspire.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: My gun culture is not other people's gun culture.

Every gun is clean and shiny, and kept in a consistent state (usually fully loaded with the safety on.)

Keeping a gun loaded, when not in the hands of the person who loaded it, is a dangerous practice. A safety is not safe when an inquisitive toddler or child is twisting and pushing things. Keeping a gun loaded is why children manage to shoot each other, their parents or other adults; and it also enable an intruder to use it against its owner.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 My gun culture is not other people's gun culture.

I believe the philosophy is that if you keep your guns loaded, you stay in the habit of treating the guns as if they’re loaded. Always.

That means if there are children in the house, locking away the guns is part of childproofing your home (which it should be. One keeps the toddlers out of the armory the way one keeps them out of the workshop or — until they can swim — the pool area). Your inquisitive child handling a gun is already a safety failure state.

When it comes to all other things dangerous to kids, such as household cleansers or matches, we tuck them away, and then we mind our kids whenever they’re anywhere that poses risk. Why would we do differently with a handgun than we would with a rotary saw or a wireless drill?

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 My gun culture is not other people's gun culture.

Because gun nuttery demands that you treat the gun like a lucky charm rather than a dangerous tool. And the more people like me point and laugh, the worse the stupidity gets.

A more prosaic, matter-of-fact approach to discussing gun culture will be impossible until attitudes towards guns change.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: My gun culture is not other people's gun culture.

That. And let’s be real here: the cop would have PLENTY of time to shoot if the guy decided to pull the gun since he was, you know, sitting in the car with seat belts on. The cop, much like a whole lot of others, did not grasp the responsibility that pulling the trigger means.

Joe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 My gun culture is not other people's gun culture.

The cop may have SEEN the gun–and the driver could have shot him right through the door unless he wanted to take the 0.2 seconds to raise the bore above the door frame before blowing the cop away. The gun could have been a .22 or a .45–who knows? It may not have been the same one used in the holdup.
I’m really only interested in the truth and can imagine the scenario playing out in several ways corroborating either party. We weren’t there after all. Many times the initial story turns out to be a wholly different animal from the well reasoned and considered analysis to follow.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 My gun culture is not other people's gun culture.

If a police officer is justified shooting anyone for a gun that might exist, then they would be justified simply killing anyone in a closed vehicle. The protocol after pulling a vehicle over would be to have all the occupants come out and lie on the ground while the law enforcement officers covered them from behind the cruiser doors.

No, the police rely on most human beings having the decency to not shoot them. Which, considering how few officers are shot on duty, is not a high-risk gamble.

In this case Castile announced he had a gun and permit for it, and this is the behavior of a person who is eager to comply with the law and protocol.

At that point, officer Yanez should have had Castile not move, but describe where the gun is. If Yanez wanted to be nice (which he didn’t) he could actually ask Castile to slowly remove the gun and hand it to him. But in this case, having Castile step out of the car so as to let Yanez remove the gun, himself would have been appropriate.

Instead, Yanez asked Castile for his license, and then shot Castile for moving. Essentially he chose to trust Castile not to shoot him, and then failed to trust him.

It was Yanez’ cognitive dissonance that killed Castile.

Vic B (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The problem is this though… Like you, it seemed clear to me the cop was totally overwhelmed, almost sounding like he was crying while shouting orders. However, this cop is not a rookie, having been on the force 5 years. So he’s had plenty of target shooting practice and whatever other training is given to cops to fulfill their function. But cops in America are stuck between a rock and a hard place, in a country where just about anyone can own a weapon which, in some instances, are more powerful than those carried by the police. Cops are also confronted with lots of dangerous situations (which is what they are paid to do) where they can lose their lives. Frequent dangerous situations + free flow of weapons + a shoot to kill training = A higher probability of police blunder. Add media feeding frenzy onto this and now you have a highly dangerous cocktail of potential violence. When know from statistics than cops kill upwards of 200 people a year in America, which means a tv channel could be devoted entirely to police shootings! To only spin white cops shooting black men is shameful, because the specifics of the event end up a side note to the juicier story of “white cop kills another black man”. In this particular instance there is little doubt that this cop will end up with a long prison sentence and the city will pay millions in compensation. But there are plenty of other situations where cops are being exonerated when facts are presented in court, out of the media circus.
Reality is, all cops in America must be retrained to address difficult situations without drawing weapons, weapons in America should be made extremely difficult to own and citizens in America must learn to abide by police authority when confronted.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Five years is at least journeyman.

In guilded trades, an apprenticeship is about four years, and journeyman qualifies for practicing the trade (a master qualifies for teaching the trade). When it comes to professional careers, yeah, things take longer because there’s more to learn and retain.

I think police officers should be professionals, considering they have a lot of protocol and law to understand. But we don’t want to train them that long, or pay them that much. (Though they can make as much as engineers, so go figure.)

They’re barely regarded as a trade, with training varying from volunteers who are trained during weekends while on duty to academy graduates who get two to four years training and then intern in the corrections system.

But if Yanez has five years of active duty, he should well know how to handle a traffic stop without getting shooty.

Jeronimo Yanez freaked out, and I’d suspect a PTSD relapse (which should have made him unfit for duty long ago.) As I can’t find anything on him, I don’t know what his history entails, such as a military background.

Vic B: There is little doubt that this cop will end up with a long prison sentence

There’s a fuckton of doubt, Vic B. Try Googling how many police officers are in prison for anything. We have about fifteen in history, and they murdered people (first degree) while they were off duty.

Convicting cops just isn’t done in the US.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

citizens in America must learn to abide by police authority when confronted

If the police is acting within their legal framework. And let’s face it, the guy WARNED THE GODDAMN COP ABOUT THE GUN and was still shot. How much more compliant he could be?

weapons in America should be made extremely difficult

It’s not necessarily access to weapons that causes all the problems in America. In Brazil, carrying weapons is forbidden by law and it’s extremely hard to even own them. And yet we have Syrian levels of death tolls every year. Remember Syria is in the middle of a civil war.

The thing in common we have with the US is that our police also kills a whole freaking lot of black people more than white. Don’t dare be a young, poor black man minding your business!

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I’m pretty sure the guy was shot because he attempted to warn the officer about the presence of the gun.

From the recordings I’ve heard and the descriptions I’ve encountered, the officer told the driver to get his ID, and the driver reached for his pocket and said (close paraphrase) “I have a gun”.

The driver almost certainly meant it as in “I’m giving you advance notice, so that you won’t freak out if/when you notice the gun, and so that I can also show you my permit for it”. He was reaching for his pocket to get out his ID, to show both the requested license and the firearms permit.

What the officer almost certainly heard it as, however, was a threat: “youre telling me to show you my ID? Well, I have a gun, so tough.”. Add in the fact that the driver was reaching for his pocket, and it seems likely that the officer jumped to the conclusion that the driver was going to pull out the gun and try to use it – and, therefore, fired his own gun, in a spirit of self-defense.

This is a sad scenario, but given the potential mindsets involved, IMO a sadly plausible one.

John85851 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

This is a great comment and it’s further evidence for my theory that too many people think they’re living in an action movie and they need to whip out their gun at any minute.
Even if the guy had a gun and even if he was going to pull it out, did the police officer really think there was a going to be a shoot-out in a car? With both people barely 3 feet apart and when the guy still had his seatbelt on?

This is the same thinking of people who say “I own a gun so of course I can shoot back at a shooter in a dark nightclub, full of smoke and loud noises and panicking people even though I rarely go to the shooting range and I’ve never shot at a real person in my life.”

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

…and citizens in America must learn to abide by police authority when confronted.

I was with you right up to that point.

After decades and decades of systematic abuse of authority by law enforcement personnel, your advice of “just bend over and take it with a smile” is piss-poor advice, in my opinion.

The resentment towards LEOs stems from the over militarization of police forces, the ingrained law enforcement culture of being “above the law” and the practice of using tickets, arrests and property seizures as funding sources.

The resentment of the public by LEOs stems from the fact that everybody carries a video recorder in their pocket and they are less likely to be able to abuse their authority without consequences these days.

None of those are the fault of the public, but yet you still advise that we “must learn to abide by police authority when confronted”. That is not a solution, it’s blaming the victims.

Groaker (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Sorry, but the number of people killed by cops is 5x the amount that you claim. Not 200 but somewhere short of 1000 to 1400.

The racial divide is fostered by the powers that be because it ignores that more whites, though a lower percentage, are killed by cops. But that propaganda works out well for those who would keep us divided by race, and hence less a threat to their using human targets for shooting and beating practice.

Exoneration in court means nothing when a cop is on trial. Jurors just see what the prosecution tells them to see most of the time. Even where video has totally demonstrated that the cop was in the wrong, the cops have been acquitted. Too many people just do not want to believe that the cop in their neighborhood is a killer.

Quiet Lurcker says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Lately, the cops have earned the stereotype as violent thugs.

Gas grenades tossed into toddlers’ cribs while the toddlers in question were sleeping in the cribs; guns being drawn on people who are acting lawfully and peaceably; people being shot in the back as they run away from cops; motorists being all but raped on the side of the road in the search for non-existent drugs; motorists being ‘arrested’ and taken out of the county they were in to undergo medical procedures to find (again non-existent drugs) against their will; motorists being shot by cops while following instructions given them by those same cops; cops forcibly removing, hiding, and or destroying recordings of their actions (which by the way, involved the consumption of marijuana WHILE ON DUTY. These are the kinds of things that earned the cops a reputation as thugs.

Take the media out of it. The reports wouldn’t exist, if the cops weren’t doing those things.

In all but two of those instances, the cops in question were exonerated. We need far better accountability and training at all levels of the system – the cops, their supervisors and trainers, the prosecutors, the courts – everyone.

We need a return to honesty and integrity in the profession, again at all levels.

Until that happens, a weapon or camera in the hands of (well-trained and self-disciplined) citizen who is willing to stand up to the cops is the only thing that will level the playing field.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“I had the same thought when I watched the video.

My best guess is this officer has poor gun training and has poor trigger discipline and accidentally pulled the trigger. Not knowing he accidentally pulled the trigger that made that big bang his ears heard he then intentionally started shooting. Few moments later he realized his mistake.”

I came up to a similar conclusion after watching the video when it came out as well.

What would have meant a lot to me is if the police fessed up to their mistake and apologized. It won’t bring back the dead but at least it would bring closure to the situation and be a step in the right direction towards admitting that we have a problem which would be somewhat hopeful. Acknowledging a problem is the first step towards fixing it.

Instead I wake up today to this nonsense about police trying to cover things up by deleting footage on Facebook and confiscating footage without a warrant and obstructing evidence shortly after they messed up. Now I’m furious. Had he and the police acknowledged their mistake and apologized I would have been a lot more sympathetic when it came to disciplinary action. Everyone makes mistakes (not that that’s any consolation or that that makes it right) and, to some extent, I can understand that.

Instead now I have very little sympathy for any of the police involved and I lost a lot of respect and sympathy for our legal system and all of the anger they are receiving. Obstructing evidence is not acceptable, that evidence should be publicly release, all of it, within 24 hours of being shot and it should have never even made its way into police custody (and I don’t even trust the FBI with it either, they are a bunch of coverup crooks too that would do anything to protect themselves and police and the legal system from such embarrassment and all of their attempts to confiscate footage and hide it is just that and has nothing to do with national security).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The poor discipline starts with pointing the gun at a suspect, rather than in the air, while there is no visible threat. The fraction of a second needed to bring the gun on target allows the brain to catch up with trained reflexes. Also, American policing is not helped by the very aggressive approach they take to try and dominate people, and is more likely to cause people to take stupid actions..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Policing started going downhill when they gave them cars and radios, and they started to rely on each other rather than the people that they policed for assistance when they needed it. The loss of contact with the people they are policing is a major driver for a surveillance state, as when nobody is telling you anything, you look to other means of gathering intelligence.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 "How do you a black man..."

How do you, as a black man, explain to a cop that you have a gun, without making it sound threatening?

The same way I might as a white man.

The protocol for navigating suspects carrying weapons — a protocol that Jeronimo Yanez did not follow — has been discussed on-line. At length by now.

I’ve had it used on me to relieve me of my multitools during a lengthy detainment. (They were returned to me at the end of the stop.)

I noticed you evaded the question, Lawrence D’Oliveiro.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The cops that arrested his girl didn’t have the shock to help ‘justify’ handcuffing her…

That seems to be standard procedure. After I was assaulted by a vagrant, literally got my ass kicked, and had a bleeding wound on my knee that needed fairly urgent treatment because I am somewhat immune-system impaired, a very nice, polite lady cop very nicely and politely locked me in her squad car for about half an hour.

Padpaw (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If you saw the targets police are using to train with you might not be so surprised why police are so trigger happy. Every person be they adult or child might have a gun so best to shoot them first.

gunsurfer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Maybe he accidentally pulled the trigger? For example Remington 870 Police uses heavier sear spring to prevent such accidents: “Finally, there is the police sear spring that gives the shooter a heavy trigger pull of around five to eight pounds. This makes the trigger of the shotgun harder to pull, but that is the point because it is much safer and reliable to handle.” from

rha (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Most shotguns have pretty heavy trigger in my experience, at least latter ones. Heck, even break action shotgun do( I’m using one of the Savage ones, and it really does have a heavy trigger). Most likely he was just in shock or overstressed, hence he didn’t even “notice” how heavy the pull was…

Anonymous Coward says:

further evidence that police SWAT teams should be abolished

In Dallas, police finally had the opportunity, for perhaps the first time ever, to use a SWAT team for the purpose that SWAT was actually designed for. But instead, they assassinated the suspect with a DRONE STRIKE! (Fortunately, no innocent bystanders were in the area when the police’s explosive detonated)

Was this because all the police SWAT teams in the area were occupied (i.e., serving piddling warrants and other routine tasks that don’t require a small army?). Or were they too scared to face an opponent nearly as well armed and trained as they were, even if greatly outnumbered?

Is there some rule that says police must always use grossly EXCESSIVE FORCE for every single thing they do?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: further evidence that police SWAT teams should be abolished

Is there some rule that says police must always use grossly EXCESSIVE FORCE for every single thing they do?

Rules for Radicals: isolate, intimidate, and destroy. Excessive force is mandatory for that policy to work.

I do not like this truth, but our cops are no longer here to protect and serve but more to intimidate and oppress – and kill anyone who doesn’t instantly submit like a limp noodle.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: further evidence that police SWAT teams should be abolished

“…our cops are no longer here to protect and serve but more to intimidate and oppress…”

I dunno, at least a dozen of ’em in Dallas served as ducks in a shooting gallery. That “intimidate and oppress” wyrm may have turned a full 180.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: further evidence that police SWAT teams should be abolished

Holy Wadfucks, Batman. Yeah, the police used a bomb-disposal bot to deliver a payload to attack a suspect.

We have entered the era of robotic assaults against civilians in the United States.

This flies in the face of a lot of regulations regarding police conduct and policy, but it’s not like we penalize our law enforcement agents for anything else.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: further evidence that police SWAT teams should be abolished

Police will learn to love drones, whether they fly or roll, because they will keep cops safe … from judges and juries.

What if the Dallas police’s bomb “disposal” bot had ended up killing an innocent bystander? Who would be responsible? The answer is no one. In war, bombs kill far more civilians than bullets, but because the kill zone is so wide, the carnage can always be brushed off as “collateral damage” and there is never any liability. But individual soldiers (like cops) who kill innocent people with bullets can indeed face punishment. This is why, in war, it’s much safer liability-wise to drop a 10-ton bomb on a building and kill everyone inside, than it is to have rifle-toting soldiers storm the building and shoot only the armed combatants while sparing the children. When police start routinely using bombs instead of bullets against suspects, the same sort of “collateral damage” rules of (non)liability will apply.

Groaker (profile) says:

As always, the powers that be will decide to deal with this situation with more thoughtless power. Which in turn will ramp up the retaliation, and the worm will swallow its own tail.

I have never understood the analogy that it is “only a few rotten apples,” because we all know that it takes only one rotten apple to spoil the barrel.

The only answer to this problem is to hold police responsible for what they do. Without a sense of justice these episodes will become horribly commonplace.

Anonymous Coward says:

i feel so sorry for those who have died, regardless of whether they were police or citizens and regardless of color and creed. however, there are those who should be taking the blame for what has happened, not just in the last couple of days but in the last decades, and those are the presidents of the USA and all those in Congress! between them and collectively they have allowed the USA to be turned into a Police State, where the police and other security forces twist and change the laws to suit the circumstances and more than anything, allowed racialism to come back as a main force in determining the action taken by the police and security forces in any given situation! every one of those situations that have black people involved are used as an excuse for police to start shooting, usually with the intention of killing the other person(s) involved, even when the other person(s) are unarmed, have declared got a firearm which they are licensed to carry or people who are closer to being 100 years old than to being born! and not a single thing has been done to change things! every member of Congress just sits back, thumbs up their ass, brains in neutral, letting it all wash over them because they are not directly involved! isn’t it about time they became involved? isn’t it about time they owned up to what is going on and did something to stop it? the first thing is to make police accountable, not put on ‘paid administrative leave’ when the shoot someone! it’s like giving them a friggin’ bonus for taking the life of someone, especially when that person is innocent of any crime!
the deaths of the police are uncalled for and tragic, but so are the deaths of people who they have shot in the back, shot while trying to carry out a lawful command or being stomped on when 87years old! would any of those officers put up with their parents or brothers being treated like this? of course not! yet they think that they should be able to kill whoever and as many as they like and not only get away with it, but be paid for doing it, then sent out at a later date so they can do it all over again!!

Anonymous Coward says:

This should put to rest any claims by police and their departments that the reason they don’t want body cameras is because it’s too expensive and time consuming to manage all that footage or that the reason they don’t want to release it is because they want to protect the privacy of anyone involved.

The real reason they are against it is simple. They want to cover up their misdeeds and get away with their lies.

ECA (profile) says:


What has changed since the 60’s??
WE already went thru this long ago.

Is it that NOTHING has changed? its all been hidden and Shipped under the rug for ALL these years??
Is it the OVER estimation of Considering Police as 100% accurate witnesses?

Is this Programmed Paranoia of our Police forces?? All they see and hear about is Being KILLED in the line of Duty??and the first thing that do, is SHOOT and fill out the questionnaire AFTER??

To many TIMES is this happening. To many Cops doing the SAME things in the SAME locations..
WHO pays for it??
State, City, YOU!!!!
People SUE the Police, and the CITY…the CITY has to PAY..CONTRACTS to the police make them se rationem non.. Not personally accountable. As it was JOB RELATED..

lucidrenegade (profile) says:


What has changed since the 60’s??

One major thing – almost every ordinary citizen has a video camera in their pocket. I don’t doubt that these same issues with the police have been around for half a century, but now everyone can see it. Cops can’t hide it anymore, no matter how hard they try.
What happened in Dallas is a tragedy, but I understand why it happened. No matter how the FOP and union assholes try to spin it, cops have brought this on themselves.

Sargas says:


…law enforcement has a long way to go before it can be considered trustworthy.

Trustworthy? According to many if not most courts, cops are beyond “trustworthy”. They’re absolute demigods that can’t be doubted for a moment.

The legal system and the government behind it are in need of a complete overhaul.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I suspect we're going to see more retalitory violence against the police.

I think the question that comes is At what point do we seek to overthrow the establishment rather than try to reform it? The police are, through their leaders and labor union officers, vocally insisting they don’t have enough power, and that every person shot by a police officer is criminal and a threat by the nature of their being shot.

We are at a no peace without justice threshold, where people are responding violently regardless of its effectiveness. The next step is for them to organize into a resistance / partisan / terrorist front.

Jefferson and Madison clearly spoke of revolution against the established government as a necessary threat to keep them in line and in service of the people. These days we argue that we are insufficiently armed to fight the system, and while that may be (some resistance groups get rather creative) it’s a failure of our system that would leave the people in a state where effective revolution is dubious, and our officials confident they can scorn the people without serious threat of reprisal.

Anonymous Coward says:

The class war has begun, and if you believe this is only a racial issue you are mistaken. Just waiting for the Guard and Reserve to start sending out notice. There is too much sorrow, anger and hatred out there. I imagine bringing down the internet will be near the top of the list. As a people those of us who should be setting the example have lost their way. Thankfully my time here is short. Shillary Drumph 2016.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

We have a perverse system.

We demand that cops use all the force allowed (and then some) to protect us from the bad guys… then are shocked when thats how they treat all people.

We give them military grade weapons, vehicles, armor, etc… yet no training how to deescalate situations.

We pin military award pins on some of them, even giving rewards to those who shot a 107 yr old man in his bed for protecting society.

We accept them tracking attacks on police with great detail, yet not supplying any information on use of force against citizens.

We accept them lying to ‘suspects’ but somehow have faith they would never cover their own asses with a lie.

Evidence vanishes, or mystically appears and some people can’t accept that perhaps it was done purposely.

Not everyone has the same interactions with cops, and stupidly think they treat everyone the same.

They feel they don’t need to answer our questions about ‘missing’ recordings and where that evidence vanished to.

There needs to be a change, and the Unions will fight it with every fiber of their being. Cops need to be held accountable to standards & the law. They need to face the same things regular people would face for the same actions.

Black men are not demons able to twitch and murder a cop, yet we have seen how prevalent that mindset is. That if you encounter a black male, they are an armed and dangerous suspect of something truly heinous who will get you if you don’t get them first.

Rekrul says:

I also find it ironic that when bystanders are recording video of a police encounter, the moment that shots are fired, or something really abusive starts to happen, the person holding the camera apparently has an epileptic seizure or an earthquake happens, because suddenly the camera is pointing everywhere but at the incident that they were supposedly trying to document.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Bystanders make poor war correspondents...

In the Alton Sterling shooting, a woman was recording the incident from her car. When the first shot was fired, she screamed and started waving the camera all around. She was still sitting in the car, it’s not like she was running for cover. If she wanted to duck down she could still have left the camera pointed out the window.

And this problem goes beyond police incidents. There are videos of plane crashes, where the camera is perfectly steady until the plane actually touches the ground and then the camera is pointing everywhere but the crash. Or a video of a bike stunt gone wrong. You’ll have like 2-3 minutes of perfectly filmed video showing all the preparations for the stunt, but the moment it looks like the stunt isn’t going to go as planned, the camera is suddenly pointing at the ground, the sky, other people, etc, and doesn’t turn back everything is over. Actually the same thing often happens when the stunt does go as planned.

It’s like there’s a force in the universe that forces half the people filming events to NOT film the most important part.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Adrenaline

Not only do they have difficulty shooting to kill on the ground, but even drone pilots find the responsibility of taking human lives unsettling. Among the casualties of our drone-strike programs are the pilots who lose a piece of themselves from shooting blips.

It’s a strong argument regarding the debate of whether or not we can differentiate between video games and reality. Soldiers can, even when reality has the common attributes of a video game.

It’s also a problem with those states that have been suffering from supply problems getting the toxic cocktail for lethal injections. Some officials have suggested firing squad, though it’s really difficult hiring gunmen willing to participate in an execution.

Anonymous Coward says:

In the case of the police logging into that woman’s Facebook account and deleting the video, I can’t wait until they are charged for violating criminal anti-hacking laws.

If sharing passwords can violate it, them imagine how much trouble you are in if you decide to access someone’s account without their permission.

Anonymous Coward says:

First of all if the cops want to retain evidence they should ask for copies of the footage without confiscating it

Secondly as soon as someone potentially died on the scene at the hands of police it becomes a conflict of interest for the police to confiscate footage or for them to continue on an investigation where the police themselves are possible criminals. They shouldn’t even be allowed on the scene. Police should not be allowed to investigate their own potential misconduct or to be allowed to remain on the scene where they can attempt to destroy and alter evidence. An independent third party should investigate the scene and if they want footage they should only ask for copies of the footage and not be allowed to confiscate the footage.

Thirdly the police had little reason to confiscate the footage in the first place. The alleged reason for confiscating the footage is that it’s supposedly evidence to a crime. What crime? Their own crime? See above, that’s a conflict of interest, they shouldn’t be allowed to investigate their own crimes. You mean the alleged crime of the victim? What crime did he commit, selling CDs? He supposedly may have resisted arrest? Not a strong reason to confiscate footage and his alleged crime is far outweighed by the importance of making sure his death wasn’t the result of police misconduct. Plus the victim is dead so you can’t use that evidence to prosecute him. So why do the police need to confiscate it?

For the above reasons the confiscation should be illegal. Even if the police requested a warrant, for the above reasons, the warrant should be denied to the police.

The entire procedure and set of laws regarding when evidence can be confiscated and by whom and how needs to change.

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