Cops Are Being Trained By Consultants Who Have Publicly Outed Themselves As Bigots And Far Right Extremists
from the sort-of-C.V.-cops-tend-to-respect dept
In news that is altogether so unsurprising it needs a “resigned sob” emoji attached, a Reuters investigation has found that far-right extremists are training cops because of course they are.
Given law enforcement’s beginnings as an entity tasked with ensuring plantation owners maintained their access to free labor, it’s little wonder that cop shops have welcomed racists and fans of authoritarianism into their ranks. This continues even as times (and laws) have changed. America has made halting, often unconvincing moves towards equality. Meanwhile, law enforcement has continued to court people who believe might — and far more often, white — makes right. A majority of law enforcement officers are white males. And that’s why they welcome training from white males who believe white males are still the best people this country has to offer.
On social media, Richard Whitehead is a warrior for the American right. He has praised extremist groups. He has called for public executions of government officials he sees as disloyal to former President Donald Trump. In a post in 2020, he urged law enforcement officers to disobey COVID-19 public-health orders from “tyrannical governors,” adding: “We are on the brink of civil war.”
Rather than regarded warily as some sort of unpredictable animal, Whitehead has been not only welcomed, but also paid handsomely to deliver extremist-soaked “training” to a nation of government employees.
The Idaho-based law enforcement consultant has taught at least 560 police officers and other public safety workers in 85 sessions in 12 states over the past four years, according to a Reuters analysis of public records from the departments that hired him.
Whitehead’s willingness to swim in the mud with fellow bigots has occasionally hurt him. But it hasn’t hurt him often enough or deeply enough. As the Reuters investigation notes, Whitehead was temporarily banned from advertising his training wares by the Washington state training commission, which expressed concerns with training materials Whitehead offered that referred to a turban-wearing officer as a “towel head” and (for who knows what fucking reason) “contained cartoons of women in bikinis.”
Whitehead — being white, ignorant, and an asshole — learned nothing from this experience.
Since then, he said, he has expanded the section of his course that caused that controversy, adding more “pot-stirring” material, including a slide that ridicules transgender people: “Suspect is a gender-fluid assigned-male-at-birth wearing non-gender-specific clothing born Caucasian but identifies as a mountain panda.” Whitehead said such barbs are intended to push back against pressures on law enforcement to espouse left-wing views on gender or race.
That’s a shitty thing to do to people. These are not “left-wing views.” This is simply treating other human beings as human beings. This is nothing more than asking officers to attempt to understand cultures unfamiliar to them or gender identities that may not seem apparent. Respecting these does not reflect poorly on an officer. But they’re trained by asshats like Whitehead to believe it does: that treating anyone who isn’t a cop like a human being is a form of weakness. The “warrior mentality” is a way of life for cops, something drilled into their skulls by those training them and amplified by the federal government’s willingness to give them free access to military surplus gear. Us vs. them, with “us” being cops and everyone else, no matter their race, color, or sexual identity, being the enemy.
Also unsurprising: Whitehead isn’t alone in his far right views and his willingness to let his bigotry color (sorry) his training.
He’s one of five police trainers identified by Reuters whose political commentary on social media has echoed extremist opinions or who have public ties to far-right figures.
One trainer attended Trump’s January 6, 2021, rally at the U.S. Capitol that devolved into a riot, injuring more than 100 police officers. Two of the trainers have falsely asserted that prominent Democrats including President Joe Biden are pedophiles, a core tenet of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Four have endorsed or posted records of their past interactions with far-right extremist figures, including prominent “constitutional sheriff” leader David Clarke Jr. and Proud Boys leader Joe Biggs, who is being prosecuted for his involvement in the Capitol riots.
Cops who claim to respect the rule of law should be steering far clear of extremists like these. Instead, they and their views are embraced. This is evidenced by the astounding number of cops (current and former) and law enforcement officials who participated in the raid of the Capitol on January 6, 2020 in an attempt to overturn a lawful election.
These are fringe figures. There is no debate. Whitehead and the others singled out by this investigation hold views that are not all that far removed from fringe-fondling sovereign citizens. As Whitehead has clearly (but moronically) stated, he believes elected sheriffs should be free to ignore any law they personally feel is unconstitutional. This obviously includes things like vaccine mandates and “sanctuary city” laws. But Whitehead’s belief in the “constitutional sheriff” goes beyond these confines. In his belief, not even the US president can order elected local sheriffs to do anything.
Whitehead is not alone in his extremism or his ability to bend the ears of cops who are likely receptive to his hot takes on race, and also to his belief that police officers should have to answer to no one.
Kansas-based trainer Darrel Schenck teaches firearms classes through his own company as well as through the law enforcement division of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the leading U.S. gun-rights lobby. Schenck has voiced the belief that Democrats are pedophiles, called reports of violence during the U.S. Capitol riots “fake news,” and declared the 2020 election illegitimate, commenting: “election fraud is the real pandemic.”
Police instructor Adam Davis characterized Biden as a “puppet and a pedophile” on Facebook. In other posts, he slammed people who protest racial bias in policing as “pawns” in the “scheme to destroy this nation.”
Davis has worked as a contractor for Street Cop Training, one of the biggest private providers of law enforcement instruction. He spoke at an industry trade conference hosted by the company in October, and he gives lectures to police agencies nationwide. Street Cop Training did not respond to requests for comment.
A lot of entities refused to comment. But these trainers did. And they universally claimed their extremist-aligned social media posts were nothing more than raising innocent questions about government narratives or just poor attempts at humor. They also claimed they were able to separate their personal beliefs and politics from the training they provide to officers.
But law enforcement loves these views. And most officers have no problem with people who associate with Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, bigots, and conspiracy theorists. Those paying for their training overlook concerning background info, like trainers espousing batshit election conspiracy theories or suggesting a lawful election is the government being overthrown.
If this is what cops want, let them shout it from the rooftops. Don’t let them hide behind noncommittal statements about “concerns” or “investigations” that never seem to conclude. Let the would-be authoritarians embrace their worst aspects. But make it public. Don’t let them pretend this isn’t what they want.
If cops want to be coddled by white extremists and bigots who encourage their “us vs. them” beliefs, they can own it. And, in doing so, they will make it clear to the general public who they serve: themselves. Those who haven’t been paying attention can decide whether their Gadsden flag encompasses the jackboots they otherwise worship. And those who have been paying attention can stop trying to meet cops halfway and let them know they’re not deserving of our respect or our tax dollars.
Filed Under: bigots, extremists, police, training
Comments on “Cops Are Being Trained By Consultants Who Have Publicly Outed Themselves As Bigots And Far Right Extremists”
Deranged bigots as police trainers? What could go wrong?
When ‘numerous departments do no investigation into the people they are paying to train their officers‘ is the less horrifying explanation something has gone horribly, horribly wrong, because the alternative would seem to be that departments see records like that and decide that those are exactly the sort of people they want to put on the payroll as trainers.
“…the alternative would seem to be that departments see records like that and decide that those are exactly the sort of people they want to put on the payroll as trainers.”
Given Whitehead’s record? I tried applying Hanlon’s razor to the departments bucking for his employment and it spontaneously vanished in a puff of smoke.
What is the world coming to, when we can’t support a cephaloplegic, allodoxaphobic gorillas that identify as police officers?
I think we found davec, guys!
Yeah, the AC above you.
Nah, can’t be. davec doesn’t have the brain for that sort of vocabulary…
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The #1 recruitment area for cops is the prison yard… the aryan brothers/skinhead turf.
They’ve even got an incredibly solid sales pitch to that lot as well:
‘Want to change nothing at all about what got you in here but all but ensure you’ll never end up here again? Join law enforcement, where the laws are for other people.’
Sadly, this is barely an exaggeration.
Qualified Immunity is actually used in recruitment ads as a perk of the job.
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Police Recruiting Ad Lists “Qualified Immunity” as “Unique [Job] Benefit” (reason.com)
While described as inappropriate by Chief Allen Aldenberg of the Manchester PD it shows just how desperate recruitment has become. That occurred before officer Potter was sent away to prison. Since then, despite added perks, signing bonuses, and lowered standards, recruitment has become even more difficult.
Just a few examples.
Why police forces are struggling to recruit and keep officers – CNN
Police agencies face staffing crisis amid uptick in violent crime (newsnationnow.com)
(10) The Spotlight: Police recruiting wars as Seattle faces looming public safety crisis – YouTube
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Recruiting has become more difficult because policing in America can a really dangerous job for low pay (not much more than minimum wage, I believe), so the only people interested are thugs who like to unnecessarily shoot and restrain unarmed and co-operating suspects. That’s why qualified immunity was advertised as a perk of the job. Thanks to Potter’s arrest, it’s now known that qualified immunity doesn’t apply in every case, putting off the thugs and thus reducing the pool of candidates. It’s really simple when you put your mind to it.
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Obviously you have a really simple mind.
Below is a list of the top-10 highest-paying states for police officers:
These are hourly union jobs with lots of opportunity for overtime pay so you could nearly double your base salary. In fact some cities like Chicago are demanding officers work extra shifts due to short staffing. Cities are offering signing bonuses, moving allowances and other perks to get people to sign up and fill the void. They’ve lowered the standards both physical and background checks to recruit more bodies and it’s still not enough. Cops are leaving faster than they can be replaced. In some cities like Denver repairmen are refusing to service high crime areas.
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Oh no no no, cops make extremely good money. That coward fucker school resource officer that pissed his pants and hid instead of at least trying to enter the building to find the shooter or help the victims during the Florida school shooting on Valentine’s day waltzed away making over $4000 bucks a month in retirement. Don’t believe that bullshit. And it’s not as dangerous as they claim, they killed more of themselves off refusing masks and vaccines. They do put themselves in danger unnecessarily, but usually shoot their way out of it.
Corrections officers do tend to make shitty money for a far more dangerous job (which is in part because of the understaffing), but it’s still well above minimum wage, and more than $15 in most places.
In news that is altogether so unsurprising it needs a “resigned sob” emoji attached…
Found one! 😪
That’s also a lie about cops leaving their gravy train, I pointed out before, I think Propublica has the real statistics and show nothing of the sort.
Plus, there aren’t really background checks, at least none of use since there is no tracking of past employment as a cop that actually reports things that should be a concern. When they do, they are ignored.
Davec thinks he has a point when all he’s talking about are some of the fluctuations and adjustments of trying to return to normal after covid. The cops always get paid, get paid well, get paid before anyone else, get raises before anyone else. Overtime pays insane money, and often increases their pension pay if they are nearing retirement. Don’t believe that garbage.
Cops recruit shitty people because they don’t want anyone spoiling their fun.
stares in pained immortal
Gee you mean like that time the FBI magically discovered that a majority of their training materials were heavily biased against Muslim people & that might explain why they spent all of their time and attention there while the White Supremacists were busily writing out their teaching materials for police officers?
Y’all are supposed to LEARN from the lessons and stop repeating those mistakes.
We’ll hear more cries of we don’t know why the public is turning against us, as they keep ignoring those racist apples in their barrel demanding the thin blue line cover up them hunting the darkies to keep ‘Merika safe.
Many cops are racist bastards and/or trained by racist bastards.
Pretending there is nothing the system can do to stop this makes you idiots.
If your contract says you have to let a 3rd party decide if the racist asshole who murdered an unarmed black man can stay on the force, you’re a fucking idiot for signing it.
When the sheriffs office is the largest gang in town, perhaps something has gone wrong. When they are throwing BBQ’s celebrating murdering someone, its horribly fucking wrong.
No I do not expect that every cop is going to get someones pronouns right, I’d like them to but all of us are still learning.
What I do expect is that allowing racist tropes to be taught & telling cops that other human beings are sub-human is going to keep harming society.
Why do were care how much “power” their lobbying wing has?
They are protecting racists, gang members, & some who are way worse than any criminal on the street, perhaps it is time to demand the lobby actually fix their membership instead of demanding no one else has a right to do it.
I listened to a ‘concerned mom’ on the news talking about the massive book banning thats happening…
She was upset by the true story Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story.
I know its a true story but showing all of those hateful faces and people yelling.
I don’t think that is something we need to teach children.
Because teaching empathy & that humans are sometimes their own worst enemies is a horrible idea. o_O
Just because they used to be sent out to round up escaped slaves & beat those helping them, is no reason that today we can look at what they are doing and how we are training them that not all men are created equal and in fact unless they are white and conservative they are child molesters you should beat.
This isn’t special rights for some segments, this is the demand that every human has rights & they will be respected.
One of the most disturbing things I had seen on Reddit up to that point was this post, which pretty much tracks with the above article:
I read the article and I doubt its sincerity for a couple of reasons.
There is more to the story than they are letting on.
Now that this is public knowledge, it will be interesting to see this information used in “use of force” lawsuits against police officers and police forces or criminal charges against officers.
Sadly as most people who will sit on juries will be old white folk terrified of a darkening neighborhood they’ll still get off.
Re: The Echo Chamber
There are all types of bigots, and this echo chamber is just another example. Have any of you been on a ride-along or even talked to a police officer about their job? Being an Anonymous Coward can be time consuming. Instead of demonizing, why not spend a little bit of that time to get to know a human being who is a police officer?
Police officers | Data USA
Police departments are nearly as racially diverse as the general population with both Black and White officers being slightly over represented. The one group that shows the most disparity is Asian. My daughter in law is half Asian, but identified as mixed race.
Over the last 18 months there has been an exodus of police officers (mostly white) so white officers might now be less than the percentage of whites in the US.
Cops see both the victim and the perpetrators’ of crime so there is an “us vs. them” mentality, but not the one you’ve imagined.
Training isn’t uniform throughout the country because of cost and need. After passing background checks, interviews and lie detector tests this is the training they get at my son’s department.
• Officer Safety
• De-escalation training
• Police Officer Ethics
• Cultural Diversity/Discrimination
• Procedural Justice/Implicit Bias Training
• Laws Pertaining to Search and Seizure
• Criminal Investigations
• Emergency Vehicle Driving
• Vehicle Car Stops
• Report Writing
• Crime Scene Management
• Principled Policing in the Community
• Firearms Training
• Accident Investigation
• Building Searches
• Less-Than-Lethal Force Options
• Defensive Tactics
• Arrest and Control Techniques
• Radio Communication Codes
• Recognition of Illegal Substances and Narcotics
• Recognition of Under the Influence
• Evidence Collection
• Juvenile Laws
And then you start Field Training
And even if they make it through all that; somewhere, somehow, sometime in the next 25 to 30 years of their career they might make a mistake that costs them or someone else their life.
That ‘lie detector’? It doesn’t work the way you think it does.
I answered that in a previous post, but my answer is yes. I have close friends in the police and we discussed their job multiple times. I know that training involves several good lessons, and they haven’t received “warrior training” to make them into paranoid murder machines, but we know such training exists. And should be purged out of the system. In particular, one of them explained to me that his training involved using physical force (including guns) as a last resort, not as SOP, and he’s still alive today after 15+ years of service (which sounds like a miracle if we go by your view of the world). This should be the norm.
I don’t understand the “but” here. Unless the other half is also Asian.
Not sure about “most of them”, but many cops have proven that “us vs them” is “cops vs everyone else”. Not “innocents vs criminals” as you seem to imply.
There have been numerous reports of innocents being violently arrested (or worse), or non-violent criminals being treated like raging serial killers. Being killed over an allegedly fake $20 bill is definitely overkill (in the most literal sense of the word) and has luckily been judged as such. Being killed for legally owning a gun is even worse. Being killed for failing a game of “Simon says” is way too stupid, but no less tragic. (Note that, of those three examples, none the victim was convicted of a crime at the time. And two had no criminal history at all. Also, one of these victims was white, which didn’t save him. As a joke, one can argue that cops have no bias: they hate everyone equally.) And the list goes on.
These are not accidents, but results of bad training emphasizing the cop’s power, authority and survival over any concern of safety for and communication with the public.
Accident and mistakes are understandable.
The training as described in the article doesn’t lead to “mistakes”. It leads to the intentional and constant use of violence against people regardless of their guilt. And death is inevitable when abuse of violence is the norm.
Most of us here understand that. Too many cops are trained to antagonize the public at large. Most of us here don’t hate all cops, we hate the antagonistic training many of them receive.
The training you describe sounds good on paper, but
1. how much time and accent is put on the positive aspects such as de-escalation and bias training? Also, is there any guarantee the cops actually pay attention to these?
2. is that followed by a “warrior training” that basically negates everything good that could be learned in the training you described?
Re: Open mindedness in an echo chamber—shocked!
With over 700,000 police officers and roughly 10 million arrests every year, that is the norm. My son and daughter in law have survived nearly 50 years of service between the two of them, but the job has been dangerous at times. My daughter in law was attacked while serving a warrant by a man with a knife. She maced him, but he didn’t stop so she shot him. Fortunately, he lived and she was unharmed. My granddaughter was 3 at the time.
My daughter in law could have identified as Asian, White or Mixed Race. She chose Mixed Race.
Check with your friend as I do with my kids.
Potter is in prison.
The article intentionally didn’t describe the training, it described the trainer. Most people can’t get involved in an online political discussion without eventually making an extremist remark at some point so I won’t judge one way or another if he is indeed an extremist.
This is what Richard Whitehead teaches.
Forensic Statement Analysis ~ Deception Detection » Law Enforcement Learning
The article intentionally didn’t describe the training, it described the trainer.
And described the training hecprovides by extension. Are you accidentally obtuse, or is it a fashion statement?
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This is a 10 hour online course for $99.00 about “Forensic Statement Analysis” and I’m willing to bet that he doesn’t say “towel head”, or “mountain panda” anywhere in it.
This is what Richard Whitehead teaches. Don’t worry, you don’t even have to put your bong down, there is a video.
Forensic Statement Analysis ~ Deception Detection » Law Enforcement Learning
It is not the norm when constant abuse of force goes unpunished. We’re headed in the right direction now that video cameras are in the hands of nearly everybody, showing clear evidence that it is an ongoing issue.
But the denial from every level of authority allowed that behavior to thrive until then, and resistance to change is still very high.
Until it is made clear that use of force is a last resort by systematically punishing abuse, you cannot say that it is out of the norm.
Also, more fundamentally, how does boasting about the number of officers and arrests show in any way that force is not used in excess? How many were peaceful arrests when not met with resistance? How many of these arrests are legitimate? How many actually led to convictions?
It’s even going to be difficult to quote any credible numbers to answer my questions here given how cops easily write “resisting arrest” even when not met with resistance. They are on camera yelling “stop resisting” at a corpse, so I will take any statistics with a truckload of salt.
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I totally agree about cameras. When my son first got his bodycam he was delighted.
With over 10 million arrests some are going to go sideways. The arrest of Rayshard Brooks by Officer Rolfe was a picture perfect example of how to make an arrest until it wasn’t. Brooks is dead and Rolfe is facing the death penalty. Officer Potter was training another officer on how to make a simple traffic stop. She was an exemplary officer with 26 years of experience. In less than 3 seconds she had killed a man and is now in prison. One of the reasons there is a shortage of officers is because they are now taking so much time to deescalate. Killing someone is the second to the last thing any officer wants to happen.
Everyone arrested by the police is assumed innocent. It is up to the DA to press charges and the judge or jury to determine guilt.
I think someone got their PHD on this one.
Why do they resist? Exploring dynamics of police-citizen violence during arrest encounters (csusb.edu)
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I see nothing in that study that explains why corpses “resist arrest”. Or how. Because stupid me always thought that dead people committing violence was only in the realm of zombie movies. Which are fiction in case you’re confused. 😀
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Show me the article or video that you are referring to.
How long after a pulse was no longer detected did that scumbag continue to kneel on George Floyd’s neck? How many times do we see cops blowing a bunch a holes into a suspect and handcuff them while they bleed out? There are so many cases of brutality that I can think of where the violence continued long after resistance and consciousness stopped that I’m getting choked up thinking about it. How about Ronald Green? Or what about Daniel Shaver groveling for his life while a trying to comply with conflicting orders before getting pumped full of lead?
Assuming your most benevolent intentions and that you have an honest view from the other side, your family is the exception, not the rule. I’d expect nothing less than vigorous defense of your loved ones, but you have to remember that they are not representative of what a troubling amount of the rest of us experience. They don’t have to own blame for other bad actors, but they do shoulder responsibility for not fighting for higher expectations and real accountability, and advocating any and everywhere for whatever police need to do better, to be better- whether it’s more training, more mental healthcare for themselves, better organization of emergency services. Even if they aren’t successful in bringing the needed changes, they need to be doing what they can, especially where they might hold real influence.