Six Officers Charged In Police Pursuit That Ended With 137 Shots Being Fired At Suspects In A Little Over 20 Seconds

from the 90-of-which-failed-to-find-their-targets dept

Late last year, we discussed an investigation of several Cleveland police officers after a high-speed pursuit involving over 60 squad cars and 100 officers culminated in officers unloading 137 bullets in the direction of the stopped vehicle -- 47 of which found homes in the two suspects, who were both killed. One officer -- Michael Brelo -- fired 49 rounds in a little over 20 seconds.

In all, the investigation by the state found that 64 officers violated orders, but none of these officers received anything longer than a 10-day suspension. Two supervisors were demoted and one was fired.

This whole debacle was set off by a couple of perception errors. Some officers thought they heard a gunshot and others thought an officer had been injured. This was all the "evidence" the officers needed to justify mounting a by-any-means-necessary takedown of the two suspects. 137 bullets later, the officers searched the vehicle, recovering exactly zero weapons, bullets or casings.

Nearly eight months later, a grand jury has returned charges against six of the officers. Five of the officers -- all supervisors -- are facing misdemeanor charges of dereliction of duty. Officer Brelo, the cop who single handedly delivered over a third of the 137 bullets, will be facing something more severe.

The Cuyahoga County Grand Jury today voted to indict Cleveland Police Patrol Officer Michael Brelo on two counts of Manslaughter for the killing of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams on November 29, 2012.

Under Ohio Revised Code Section 2903.03, Manslaughter is a felony of the first degree, carrying a mandatory prison sentence of from three to 11 years.
The prosecutor's statement further details Brelo's actions.
After more than 100 shots were fired at Mr. Russell's car, it was trapped by police cruisers in a narrow lane and came to a full stop.

All officers at the scene saw fit to cease fire.

Then Officer Brelo started shooting again and fired at least 15 shots, including fatal shots, downward through the windshield into the victims at close range as he stood on the hood of Mr. Russell's car.
You can see Brelo's "heroics" in the State Attorney General's computerized "reenactment," based on evidence gathered. Starting about the 1:00 mark, you can see Brelo move closer to the suspects' vehicle (and across a squad car, apparently), before finally standing directly on the hood and firing down through the suspects' windshield.


The state prosecutor notes that the Supreme Court recently upheld the right of police officers to use deadly (read [in most cases]: "excessive") force to end pursuits that possibly endanger officers or citizens. (More on that here.) But he points out that this situation was not one of those.

The law does not allow for a stop-and-shoot...

Let's be clear what happened here:

The driver was fully stopped. Escape was no longer even a remote possibility. The flight was over. The public was no longer in danger because the car was surrounded by police cars and 23 police officers in a schoolyard safely removed from pedestrians and traffic.

The primary danger facing the police at this time was from themselves, if they continued to shoot at each other in the circular firing squad they had inadvertently formed.

After the ceasefire, Officer Brelo unleashed an unlawful, second barrage of shots.

The ultimate legal issue is whether the police officer was justified when he stood on the hood of Mr. Russell's car and emptied his clip into the occupants after the chance of flight was completely eliminated and they no longer presented a threat to the public's safety.

He was not.
The statement also calls out the dereliction of duty by police supervisors, who allowed a petty criminal to dictate the actions of a large percentage of Cleveland's police force that night, rather than seizing control of the situation themselves. The officers themselves aren't blameless, even those who didn't contribute to the hail of gunfire. Based on little more than a sound heard by a couple of officers (which may have been a backfire), dozens of cops bought into a narrative that armed and dangerous suspects were on the loose and may have (no one seemed to have been interested in confirming this) injured an officer.

The prosecutor notes the grand jury no-billed murder charges against Officer Brelo. Murder charges would be excessive, but manslaughter completely undersells Brelo's actions. After all, the vehicle was barricaded and every officer had ceased fire before he jumped up on the hood and ensured the two suspects were completely dead by unloading his weapon at point-blank range through the windshield.

Also noted by the prosecutor is the difficulty investigators had reconstructing the events, thanks to the Cleveland Police Department's lack of dashcams. Why these are still missing from its vehicles after decades of near-universal use by police departments nationwide is a true mystery, especially considering this fact:
The cost of investigating this shooting by the Attorney General, the Cleveland Police Department and the Grand Jury will exceed the cost of purchasing dash cams.
There's no conceivable reason for any law enforcement agency to be lacking this equipment. The only reasons verge on inconceivable, most of which can be traced back to a reluctance to be held accountable.


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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    John, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:17am

    What Violence!

    One thing that I fear in my area now is that at any moment, there could be heard the blast of of a bomb by Boko Haram.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:18am

    And then we'll have the story about how the arbitration board reviewed all of this, reversed him being fired while incarcerated and will reinstate him to the force with backpay.

    Perhaps this is the outcome we need to learn to expect.
    Recently a police chief in Indiana made it clear as day, "the United States of America has become a war zone".

    http://boingboing.net/2014/06/09/small-town-sheriff-buys-tank.html

    If this is the mindset of the police, what chance do we have? Feeling like you are at war with those you are supposed to protect and serve and the bad guys aren't wearing black hats so everyone might be a bad guy.
    If you don't get them first, they will get you.

    It is nice to see charges filed, but this is the exception not the rule these days.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:32am

    The only reasons verge on INCONCEIVABLE, most of which can be traced back to a reluctance to be held accountable.

    You keep using that word. I think it means what you think it means

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:33am

    Re:

    Gee, I wonder if that 'war zone' has anything to do with cops deploying military surplus gear against civilians? /s

    Cowards like that really, really do not deserve to wear a badge/get out of charges free card, as they are a large factor in why people increasingly don't trust the police, because when someone see you, and treats you as, the enemy, and has the ability to make your life all sorts of bad and/or short, with effectively no limits on what they can do, you'd be a fool to trust them or want them around.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    The prosecutor notes the grand jury no-billed murder charges against Officer Brelo. Murder charges would be excessive, but manslaughter completely undersells Brelo's actions.

    No actually, they wouldn't, not in the slightest. The 'officer' didn't 'accidentally' kill the victims, he deliberately got on their trapped car, and emptied a clip into them. I don't know about you, but that sounds like murder to me.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:09am

    Re:

    I agree. That was simply malicious killing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:11am

    What a pity

    "The primary danger facing the police at this time was from themselves, if they continued to shoot at each other in the circular firing squad they had inadvertently formed."

    If only they had all opened up with automatic weapons simultaneously.

     

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    Haywood (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:14am

    Are you sure this wasn't the Blues Brothers

    Police Dispatcher: Use of unnecessary violence in the apprehension of the Blues Brothers HAS been approved.

     

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    scotts13 (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:15am

    What did these people DO?

    Conspicuously missing from the article is any mention of what triggered this massive over-response. Did they just rob a bank, shoot up a schoolyard - or just have an expired registration? Must have been awful, as they had more cops and cars on them than could possibly work without getting in each other's way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:16am

    Re:

    Ehh, it's Possible to justify manslaughter rather than murder on the basis that one of the other shots Might have killed them first (but his would have if they didn't and he had no way to know at the time), or some other technicality...

    Not that I'm a lawyer.

    That said, i have a hard time seeing how any of these morons would manage to avoid whatever the actually viable combination of charges that add up to the equivilant of 'attempted manslaughter' would be, save where there's actually evidence that the individual in question somehow managed Not to do anything wrong while participating in the event (or, more accurately, that they did everything right based on information available, despite being caught up on it.)

    Note that that's charges, mind you. A conviction requires proof of guilt and an assumption of innocence until proven otherwise. The standards for charging someone should really amount to 'we're not wasting resources harrassing obviously innocent people'... well, ok, a bit higher than that, but I'm not knowledgeable enough on the subject to be more specific.

     

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    Michael, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:18am

    These police officers have a 34% hit ratio when they fire their weapons?

    Can we fire all of them and hire people that can actually hit their target? A competent group of officers should have been able to kill the suspects far quicker.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:21am

    It is distressing to the upper class liberals who believe that the police are to protect them to discover what any resident of any ghetto could tell them that the police are there to help them but are there to execute them.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:22am

    Re:

    Agreed. Sounds like he just executed them for his own personal pleasure.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:23am

    Re: What did these people DO?

    from the linked article:-
    The chase began when an officer thought he heard gunfire coming from the Russell's car. Another witness on the scene thought it may have just been the vehicle backfiring.

    The chase was further fueled by rumors that a police officer had been injured.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:26am

    Re: What a pity

    So many potential Darwin Awards...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:29am

    Response to: That One Guy on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    49 rounds in 20 seconds is crazy. He reloaded twice and still emptied multiple clips (not knowing his specific gun model, 2+ reloads would be typical for a police sidearm). He's just firing wildly with complete disregard to ...everything.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:33am

    Re:

    These police officers have a 34% hit ratio when they fire their weapons?

    That is actually quite respectable, for people when the adrenalin is flowing and who do not practice every day. To shoot accurately under stress needs continuous training, including lots of live fire exercises. Think 40 to 50 rounds a day per person to gain and keep the ability to take a snap shot and hit.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:37am

    Response to: Michael on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:18am

    Depending on range and considering it was through a car, 34% isn't terrible.

    Situations are different but Consider that Vietnam was on the order of 40000 rounds per kill. Ww2 was around 20,000.

    Even a trained sniper is about 75% ( shots/kill)

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:39am

    Re: Response to: Michael on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:18am

    Should be (kills/shot)

     

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    Androgynous Cowherd, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:41am

    Murder

    Murder charges would be excessive


    Wrong. The suspects were subdued and no longer posing a threat. Then the "officer" (I use the term loosely) at issue apparently took it upon himself to execute them in cold blood. That's murder in the first.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:45am

    Re: Murder

    Correct, but I'd make one small change: 'no longer posing a threat' assumes they were a threat in the first place, which doesn't seem to have been the case.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:53am

    Re:

    It would be interesting to analyze the forensics from this incident and graph the shots/hits against distance-from-target.

    I'm not a gun-owner. But I do have some grudging respect for people who practice rigorous, intelligent self-discipline when using them. And from those people, I've learned (1) never point a gun at something you don't intend to shoot and (2) always clearly identify your target before aiming your gun and discharging your weapon. Aren't both of those topics covered in the first hour of the first day of police weapons training?

    If not, why not? If so, then why are ANY of these officers being allowed to carry a gun, when they're so clearly ignorant of the basic principles of its use?

     

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    Mr. Oizo, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:57am

    Re: Re:

    Depends, if 49 rounds are shot at already dead victims that 34% hit rate isn't respectable at all.

     

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    Afraid of cops, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 6:04am

    47 rounds

    I have not read into the case but the cop who shot 47 rounds I am guessing here but it sounds like he went through the round in the chamber, 2 clips and most likely loaded a 3rd clip. A good bit of cops carry this gun.

    http://www.glock.com/english/glock19_tech.htm

    Even with 19 round clips thats 38 rounds plus the one in the chamber for 39. Cops do not use big huge clips for obvious reasons. So in 20 seconds he emptied a clip, loaded another, emptied it, loaded another and used some of those. It is unlikely they have more than 19 round clips, they might even have 17 round.

    As far as I am concerned what they did was at least Voluntary manslaughter along with several other crimes and at least some of them deserve the punishment for that. However, it is VERY common for cops to get away with these things. All they typically have to do is say they saw what looked like a weapon or they felt their life was in danger or something of that nature.

    Cops fear the people and people fear the cops.... It is a bad cycle going on here and the cops are the ones who are always armed with lethal force.

    Any time I am pulled over I am slightly afraid for my life. I always try to pull over in a parking lot type place if possible, i put my hands on the steering wheel and explain any time I am going to reach for something, etc...

     

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    JohnnyRotten (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 6:14am

    All six not guilty. And they'll win their soon-to-be-filed civil suits against state.

    This is Ameriku after all.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 6:24am

    Re: 47 rounds

    Technical question.

    "Even with 19 round clips thats 38 rounds plus the one in the chamber for 39. Cops do not use big huge clips for obvious reasons. So in 20 seconds he emptied a clip, loaded another, emptied it, loaded another and used some of those. It is unlikely they have more than 19 round clips, they might even have 17 round."

    How hard is that to do? That is, how much practice does someone need to fire all those shots and change out the clips like that? Is this something that anybody could do, or is this only-in-a-movie-with-SFX stuff that no real human being could actually pull off?

     

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  27.  
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    Michael, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 6:45am

    Re: Response to: Michael on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:18am

    These aren't 18/19 year olds with a few weeks of training spraying automatic weapons into a jungle full of soldiers.

    This was a group of police officers in a civilian-filled area firing their weapons AND NOT HITTING WHAT THEY WERE AIMING AT. I think it is a bit disconcerting that 90 bullets went somewhere they were not intended.

    BTW - a car does not stop a bullet. You can fire a round into the door of an average car and it will go through the door, through the door on the other side, through a window, and into whatever is on the other side. 90 misses in a neighborhood is a really big problem.

     

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  28.  
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    Michael, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: 47 rounds

    It is not hard to fire that many rounds in 20 seconds and switch out magazines as needed.

    It is EXTREMELY difficult to be accurate while doing so.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Do not confuse a respectable number of rounds on the target aimed at with it being reasonable to fire the number of rounds that were fired in this incident. The latter was an insane amount of fire.

     

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    scotts13 (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: What did these people DO?

    I'd guessed there was some other reason, and the reported sound of gunfire escalated the situation. So they simply thought they heard a sound from a passing car, chased it down and murdered the people inside. Nice.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 7:10am

    Timcushinghatescopsdotcom

     

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    Chris-Mouse (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re:

    I would add (3) always check downrange area where missed shots will go.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 7:46am

    Re:

    So... you enjoy being pumped full of lead for no good reason?

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: What did these people DO?

    According to the AP:

    The chase began when an officer thought he heard a gunshot from a car speeding by the police and courts complex, jumped into his patrol car and radioed for help. Police don't know why Russell didn't stop.


    So, yeah. It began with the non-gunshot. They mistook a sound for gunfire and chased the car until they shot and killed both the passenger and the driver.

    Now, hearing what might have been a shot is a justification for attempting to pull over the vehicle, and once the driver started going 110 MPH in a residential area, he's committing several crimes and is a threat to safety and the police are justified in stopping the driver from continuing to do that.

    But I'm going to bring up another point here. Why shoot the passenger? Are they going to claim that if one person in a car might have fired a gun, they're justified in executing everyone inside, even if they can't see a gun at the time? For all they know, the driver fired the shot and the passenger is a hostage. So did they intentionally shoot and kill someone who was certainly NOT driving because he may or may not have fired one shot 20 minutes ago, or did they just have bad aim?

     

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    Greevar (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re:

    What matters is intent, and it's clear that his intent was to kill people that had no means of escape. That's murder. They didn't even let them surrender.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Right. It was my error to omit that, and the person who explained these rules to me would be mortified to know that I left it out. As they put it, think about what will happen WHEN you miss -- not if.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re:

    Your logic is that because I point out the obvious, that I "enjoy being pumped full of lead"? Congratulations on being a complete moron.

     

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  38.  
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    Michael, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Intent is not all that matters.

    In this particular case, the situation escalated in a way that could be argued caused the officer to be either fearful for his life or unable to make a rational situation.

    This does not appear to be a case of premeditated murder or murder to further another crime.

    While it is horrible and their actions cannot be justified, a charge of manslaughter (given the details we don't know) could be reasonable.

    I am really glad to see he didn't just get a two week suspension.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "could be argued caused the officer to be either fearful for his life or unable to make a rational situation."

    It's still murder. This argument simply speaks to using the insanity defense.

     

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  40.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, his logic is that because you object to people writing about police abuses, you must be supportive of police abuses.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And that's moronic. He's a moron, you're a moron.

    Tim Cushing pushes his hate-cops agenda here because his life is a failure. He says stupid things like bad cop behavior is "prevalent" because he searches the web for bad cop stories. And thusly he, and you, and any other simpleton are going to be mocked. Deal with it.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 9:12am

    Re: What did these people DO?

    Driving While Black seems to be a crime across most of urban America.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Response to: Michael on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:18am

    Comparing it to just police hit rates it is very similar. One of the top hits on Google for a ny times article from 2007

    "In all shootings including those against people, animals and in suicides and other situations New York City officers achieved a 34 percent accuracy rate (182 out of 540), and a 43 percent accuracy rate when the target ranged from zero to six feet away. Nearly half the shots they fired last year were within that distance."

    Now the total volume of fire expended was excessive but the hit rate is in line with expectations.

    And a car most definitely will stop a bullet. Especially a 9 mm which does not have much penetrating power. It depends on the angle and what the bullet passes through, but it definitely can. A car can even stop a .50 cal AP round, depending on what it hits (just a door-no, the engine block-yes)

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That police abuses are prevalent is patently obvious. There's no need to use a search engine to find them. You can deny reality all you want, but it still only shows that you don't mind that there are a lot of abusive police. If you count the cops who ignore the abuses inflicted by their fellow cops (and I do), then it's even most of them.

    Since the police are generally unwilling to solve the problem, it falls to us to force the issue. A big part of doing that is publicly pointing out and decrying the abuses. How is this a bad thing?

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This does not appear to be a case of premeditated murder


    It's not aggravated murder, but it could be "normal" murder...

    Here's the relevant part of Ohio aggravated murder statute.

    No person shall purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the death of another...


    I think it's clear that the officer isn't guilty of that - he didn't show up for work that day planning to kill anyone. Here's the relevant part of Ohio murder statute.

    No person shall purposely cause the death of another...


    Fairly simple. Here's voluntary manslaughter:

    No person, while under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage, either of which is brought on by serious provocation occasioned by the victim that is reasonably sufficient to incite the person into using deadly force, shall knowingly cause the death of another...


    So was the officer in a "sudden passion" due to "serious provocation" to "incite" the officer into killing him? I think you could argue that manslaughter applies. Of course, I think in most cases a DA would go for the murder charge and offer manslaughter as a plea deal.

     

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    AricTheRed (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 9:30am

    Re: Response to: That One Guy on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    Most likley a 9mm Glock standard magazine capacity is 17. The sidearm would be carried with a loaded chamber and a full magazine so he likley had on his person, as all of the other "Law Enforecemnet Oficers" did a total of three loaded magazines +1 cartridge for a total of 51 opportunities to put folks in line.

    Furthermore I suspect he would have dropped is second, partly expended magazine and reloaded when the shooting stopped, and inserted his third, and possibly final, fully loaded 17 round mag. Which would give him eight rounds per victim while standing on the hood, or if he were more honorable (like other recent multiple murderers in the news when surrounded by cops after they have realized what they have done) seven rounds per victim plus two to finish himself of (just incase one was not enough) to save the rest of the country, and the whole of humanity, from his ass-hattery.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're about as sharp as a bowling ball, aren't you?

    No, it's not prevalent. There are well over a million police officers in the US. You could look at most other similar sized professions and find bad actors. Why isn't Tim Cushing posting about the abuses in the medical, auto dealer, construction, accounting, etc professions?
    Because he's a loser that hates cops. Now do yourself a favor and go buy a book on critical thinking before you end up a failure like him.

     

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  48.  
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    Baron von Robber, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 9:38am

    Re:

    ihaveanobsessionwithtimdotcom.

    What kind of fairy obsesses with Tim Cushing articles on bad cops?

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Since you continue to ignore the actual points that everyone is making, I think you should take a good, hard look at yourself before judging other people's intelligence.

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 9:57am

    Re: Response to: That One Guy on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    49 rounds in 20 seconds is crazy.

    Well within the required time limit for qualifications of a police officer. The standard is 3 shots in 2 seconds. Someone who spends the required range time and is firearms qualified can do this easily (if they can find a range that will allow them to do this, since most public ranges don't look kindly at "rapid firing.")

    He reloaded twice and still emptied multiple clips (not knowing his specific gun model, 2+ reloads would be typical for a police sidearm).

    Out-of-battery exercises are also required for qualifications.

    He's just firing wildly with complete disregard to ...everything.

    Probably not. Unnecessary, yes. Cold blooded murder, yes. Complete disregard to everything, absolutely. Wildly, probably not.

     

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    AJ, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:05am

    Yikes

    If that's the response to a car backfiring.... I wonder what they'd do if someone pulled a knife...mushroom cloud?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re: 47 rounds

    As Michael said, it's not that difficult. Competitive shooters (I used to be one) can easily have split times, i.e., time between successive shots on the same target, of 0.25 seconds for targets out to several yards. Yes, that's 4 rounds in a second *and* getting good hits on target. This is with a standard handgun. It can be even faster with a competition gun. To see this in action by people who practice a lot, search YouTube for USPSA or IDPA. Indexing to a new target and firing takes longer, depending on angular displacement. For the range in this incident, it might well be under 1 second. Reloads take longer and the amount of practice really matters here. 2 to 3 seconds from shot to reload to next shot would be possible.

    Also as Michael said, it is very difficult to do this accurately. It takes a lot of practice - several hundred rounds per month. There are very, very few police officers who practice this much. When I was competing, we often had police officers come to matches. Many of them didn't come back. My observation was that the ones who didn't generally did pretty poorly in their first outing and didn't take it well. Now this isn't a blanket statement - we had a few officers who were regulars and were very, very good.

    Military folks refer to the type of unloading in this story as "spray and pray." Our competition mantra was "you can't miss fast enough to win."

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Response to: That One Guy on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    Furthermore I suspect he would have dropped is second, partly expended magazine and reloaded when the shooting stopped, and inserted his third, and possibly final, fully loaded 17 round mag.

    Quite possible.

    In the "olden days" the firearms instructors would push their students to "count your rounds" and would give disciplinary actions to anyone who dropped live rounds or kept firing after their gun was dry (a real problem when you had five or six shot revolver, hence Clint Eastwood's famous line.)

    With semi-automatic weapons, the slide goes back when the magazine is dry, so it was easier, if you're paying attention, to know that you need to reload, but it still happens. Throw in adrenalin and fog of war, and you could very easily reload on a partial magazine.

     

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    iris, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:35am

    Re:

    It's the 24 hour news cycle and their fetish with death and destruction that causes that mentality, combined with the fact that those alerts now come 24/7 from their phones.

    It's like that old Bill Hicks joke about turning on the news and hearing about "death famine war destruction" only to look outside and hear crickets with nothing else happening.

    Used to be you had to wait for the morning paper to get the daily murders buried in page 3, now they're always on and always right in your face on your smart phone.

    The mentality is derived from the perception of nonstop chaos (that used to be masked by limited access) which in turn feeds the war. It's a vicious feedback loop of chaos and the expectation of chaos.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Response to: That One Guy on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    not only easily, in some cases a 'tactical reload' is a very good option when there is a lull in the firefight (or before leaving cover, jumping on a car hood, and executing some suspects).

     

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    longtimelurker, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And how many of those medical, auto dealers, construction workers, accountants, etc, are given the power of life and death over the rest of their fellow citizens and the ability to kill people for not following their orders?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:47am

    Cushing, do you spend hours and hours searching online for stories like this? Indeed it's a very bad thing. But if you spent 1% of the time reporting the same story with different police divisions on trying to make a difference by getting on councils or writing people in charge, some of this will stop. You're soap box needs new material.

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 47 rounds

    As Michael said, it's not that difficult. Competitive shooters (I used to be one) can easily have split times, i.e., time between successive shots on the same target, of 0.25 seconds for targets out to several yards. Yes, that's 4 rounds in a second *and* getting good hits on target.

    The police qualifications I am familiar with are 3 shots in 2 seconds. Well below the 4 shots a second for normal competition shooters. 2 seconds doesn't sound like a very long time until you qualify...then it seems like ages. I suspect competition shooters have the same problem at a much greater scale for a second.

    Also as Michael said, it is very difficult to do this accurately.

    Depends on how close you are to the target. Most out-of-battery exercises are about 3 yds from the target (which actually isn't a very bad distance.) At that range, pointing the gun at the target is all the aiming you really need and you can get very close to the center of the milk-bottle without much effort. For competition shooters, 3 yds is the bare minimum and most of them like 5-10 yds. At that range, front-site-picture and accuracy are far more important.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 47 rounds

    Thanks for the technical clarifications and explanations -- I appreciate those.

    By the way, about an hour ago I went outside and stood on the hood of my car and assumed the position that I suppose someone trying to shoot the occupants would use. My first order guesstimate of the range from my hand to someone sitting in the front seat is three feet. (Roughly speaking: arm extended out at about 45 degree downward angle. I'm about six feet tall.)

    Maybe this is my lack of understanding, education and experience showing but I don't see how I could miss a human-torso-plus-head size target at that range. Am I overlooking some obvious difficulty with this?

     

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    Baron von Robber, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hmm.

    Medical: About 2 or 3 stories per year of a medical type killing somebody on purpose.

    Auto dealer: I don't recall any Auto dealers killing anybody.
    You have a cite?

    Construction: I hear of dozens being killed. Can't recall any of construction workers killing somebody on purpose.

    Accounting: I can imagine accountants going on rampages under the flag of the Crimson Permanent Assurance. But none in reality.

    Law Enforcers: Killing innocent people? LOTS!

    You didn't think this out, did you? Or perhaps I should leave at "You didn't think..."

     

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    Baron von Robber, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 11:01am

    Re:

    I'm glad Tim is spotlighting the cock roaches of our law enforcement because law enforcement isn't taking care it*.

    *IE, Taking care of the bad cops, not eliminating journalists.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 47 rounds

    Not all the shots were fired from that close. Also, as an army manual put it, it must be remembered that the gunner can be put off by the enemy firing back, or in this case, friendly fire whistling past.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 47 rounds

    I hear you, but (a) weren't 15 shots fired while he was standing on the hood of the car? (b) maybe I missed this, but I don't see anything indicating return fire from inside the vehicle. (Okay, so maybe there was "friendly fire whistling past", but in that case, my move would be to get the hell off the hood, where I present a large stationary target even in profile, and get down on the ground behind something, anything, that I think has at least a vague chance of stopping bullets.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 47 rounds

    There are a lot of factors. Trigger control is a big one. To shoot fast and be accurate, you have to be practiced in smoothly depressing the trigger until the hammer/striker releases, holding the trigger through the firing cycle, and resetting the trigger while recovering sight picture for the next shot. If the shooter jerks the trigger, it will throw the alignment off and the shot will generally go low and to one side - possibly a lot. If the gun has a heavy trigger pull, an inexperienced (or adrenaline fueled) shooter will be more inclined to jerk the trigger. Note that many police departments and the military prefer heavy trigger pulls in the belief that it is safer.

    "Sight picture" and where the shooter's eyes focus are important. If the shooter isn't focused on their gun's sights, sight alignment will likely be off when the shot fires and the shot can go anywhere.

    Smoothly recovering sight alignment from the previous shot's recoil takes both strength and dexterity. Shooters with poorer arm and upper body strength will do more poorly and performance will degrade rapidly over multiple shots.

    The role of the windshield glass can't be discounted. A windshield won't stop a major caliber handgun bullet, but it can most certainly deflect the bullet, depending on the angle of impact. When shooting through such heavy glass, the shooter will have to consider the angle and adjust the point of aim to get the desired hit.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re:

    "(1) never point a gun at something you don't intend to shoot"

    check

    "and (2) always clearly identify your target before aiming your gun and discharging your weapon"

    and check.

    Seems like he did those things. Still doesn't make it OK.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, since more than one person was killed that would make it mass murder under the law. Also, under the law, any other cops at the scene joining in firing unwarranted shots would also be guilty, even if they weren't "lucky" enough for their shots to have been the fatal ones. So, we've now reached the point where cops can publicly get away with what would legally qualify as mass murder. USA!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "So, we've now reached the point where cops can publicly get away with what would legally qualify as mass murder. USA!"

    Well, that's better than letting the criminals win. USA indeed!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 12:30pm

    Re:

    Oh, yes Tim, please stop reporting on stories like this!

     

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    nasch (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Response to: That One Guy on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    49 rounds in 20 seconds is crazy. He reloaded twice and still emptied multiple clips (not knowing his specific gun model, 2+ reloads would be typical for a police sidearm).

    Do we know it was a sidearm, or might it have been a rifle?

     

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    nasch (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What did these people DO?

    But I'm going to bring up another point here. Why shoot the passenger?

    You're talking about someone standing on the hood of the car and firing far more rounds than necessary into the vehicle. Unfortunately there's probably no good answer to "why didn't he just murder the driver and leave the passenger alone?"

     

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    nasch (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Response to: Michael on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:18am

    a 43 percent accuracy rate when the target ranged from zero to six feet away.

    Holy crap. Trained police should be able to consistently hit a target from six feet, unless a large percentage of those targets are moving, maybe.

    And a car most definitely will stop a bullet. Especially a 9 mm which does not have much penetrating power. It depends on the angle and what the bullet passes through, but it definitely can. A car can even stop a .50 cal AP round, depending on what it hits (just a door-no, the engine block-yes)

    A car door will generally not stop a 9mm round, let alone anything with more energy. And the engine block is about the only part of a car that can stop a .50 caliber round (transmission or differential maybe?). My understanding is police are trained to try to keep the engine of a vehicle between themselves and a shooter.

    http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/buickot3.htm

     

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    nasch (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 47 rounds

    I hear you, but (a) weren't 15 shots fired while he was standing on the hood of the car? (b) maybe I missed this, but I don't see anything indicating return fire from inside the vehicle. (Okay, so maybe there was "friendly fire whistling past",

    By the time he got onto the hood, he was the only one firing.

     

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    Michael, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 47 rounds

    This "officer" was in a residential area. All of the excuses are great excuses for firing slower, not excuses for missing a lot.

    I completely understand that the job of a police officer is difficult and dangerous, but even when someone is shooting at them, they are not supposed to spray the neighborhood with bullets to protect themselves - they are supposed to be protecting EVERYONE ELSE first.

    This yahoo was far more dangerous to the public than the perpetrators - who in this case were apparently not dangerous at all, but would have been even if they happened to have a handgun and had fired it at the officers.

     

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    Michael, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 47 rounds

    Don't forget, a minimum of two reloads.

    While they can be done smoothly, they require repositioning of the hands at least - getting back on target quickly after a re-load takes lots of practice too.

     

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    DB (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 1:18pm

    A little off-topic. The 40,000 rounds per kill in Vietnam was an oft-quoted figure. It was variously used to show how the M16 was a bad weapon, soldier training standards had dropped, that soldiers weren't "really trying", or that "spray and pray" was common.

    It's now understood that it reflects a different kind of warfare. Just as it took decades to recognize that rank-and-file had become absurd against heavy rifles, it took years to recognize that suppressive fire was an excellent tactic.

    In Vietnam we had excellent logistical support and complete control of the air. Bullets were cheap and easily resupplied. It wasn't always clear that what you were shooting at should be dead, or was just a decoy for the real danger. So the best tactic was loosely aimed fire at a density that made it a risky for the enemy to move or return fire.

    If you actually want to kill something in a specific area, that's what artillery was for: keep them from moving using suppressive light rounds, while you call in AP artillery rounds.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 1:28pm

    Re:

    While no longer a threat no less. That is pretty much the definition for self defence. Only case I've heard of getting out of it involved a legally blind man being unable to tell he already knocked the guy out and he was just propped against a lamppost. That is no manslaughter it is flat out murder. Throw the book at the them.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 1:42pm

    Re:

    So I have to wonder, why exactly do you and others object to stories like this being posted so much(assuming you're not a corrupt cop yourself that is, in that case the reason for objecting would be pretty clear)?

    A big step, I'd argue the first step, to fixing a problem is admitting and/or knowing that the problem exists, something that these articles help do, so where exactly are the objections coming from?

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 47 rounds

    While they can be done smoothly, they require repositioning of the hands at least - getting back on target quickly after a re-load takes lots of practice too.

    They shouldn't. Reloading should be as fluid and with one hand as possible, with no looking. The gun remains on target the whole time. If you are repositioning your hands, you are doing it wrong. The only time you should remove your trigger hand from the gun is when you put it back in your holster. The trick is practicing this over and over until it becomes easy.

     

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    JMT (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Re:

    Bad cops..

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 6:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So you are supportive when people get pumped full of lead for no good reason.

    It's not much of a stretch to see that if you're this indiscriminate in people getting riddled with bullets, you probably don't mind it yourself. If you're so adamant that the majority of policemen aren't this abusive, cite your sources.

    Would you rather condone this behavior and allow for more policemen to be trigger-happy, and shoot everyone up until there's no one left to complain?

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why isn't Tim Cushing posting about the abuses of rapists? Because he hates men/women? That's your groundbreaking critical thinking? Gads, you're dumb as a brick.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 7:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What did these people DO?

    Ah, but it goes to what he should be charged with. Manslaughter in Ohio requires passion or rage "brought on by serious provocation occasioned by the victim." You can argue that the driver "provoked" him by driving 110 is a residential area, although that already seems like stretching things. But you can't argue that the passenger did anything to provoke an attack. Hence, it should at the very least be one charge of manslaughter and one charge of murder.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 7:48pm

    Re: Re: Response to: That One Guy on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    Even semiautomatic rifles do not typically have more than about 20 rounds per mag. You can usually buy bigger ones if you really try, but they're uncommon.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Michael on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:18am

    "My understanding is police are trained to try to keep the engine of a vehicle between themselves and a shooter."

    They are. That is why police cars are always parked at odd angles with the front end to the left during traffic stops.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 8:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Which ones are the criminals?

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 9:14pm

    Re:

    So are there divisions trying to report on bad cops and making sure they're sufficiently punished? Are there articles written about this? Are these divisions having any effect?

    Are you going to find proof that this is happening?

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2014 @ 1:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, that's better than letting the criminals survive.

    FTFY?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2014 @ 4:26am

    why are any of them shooting?! the car is stopped. this is some seriously real crazy stuff.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2014 @ 4:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Response to: That One Guy on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    I remember reading years ago, that when Chicago PD switched from revolvers (6 rounds) to semi-autos (15 rounds or more) that the average shots fired per incident went from 2 to 12.

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 12th, 2014 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: That One Guy on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    when Chicago PD switched from revolvers (6 rounds) to semi-autos (15 rounds or more) that the average shots fired per incident went from 2 to 12.

    I remember reading something like that too. However, 12 seems a little excessive for a single officer in a single incident. I'd have to see the data to figure out whether it was really comparing apples-to-apples. Four officers firing three rounds each would be quite different than one officer firing 12 rounds.

     

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    Baron von Robber, Jun 12th, 2014 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Red Herring detected. Point aborted.

     

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    Baron von Robber, Jun 12th, 2014 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Alert recalled, need more coffee.

     

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    nasch (profile), Jun 12th, 2014 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: That One Guy on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    Four officers firing three rounds each would be quite different than one officer firing 12 rounds.

    Well, the person being shot probably won't notice much difference.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 12th, 2014 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: That One Guy on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    True, but it could indicate that the reason for excessive use of firearms isn't the shift to semi-autos, but a shift to having many officers shooting simultaneously.

    To the victim, it makes no difference. But it could make a big difference in terms of what is needed to fix the problem.

     

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    nasch (profile), Jun 12th, 2014 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: That One Guy on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am


    To the victim, it makes no difference. But it could make a big difference in terms of what is needed to fix the problem.


    What's needed is MOAR GUNS, amirite?

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 12th, 2014 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: That One Guy on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    True, but it could indicate that the reason for excessive use of firearms isn't the shift to semi-autos, but a shift to having many officers shooting simultaneously.

    Exactly. Certainly, the police shouldn't be shooting just because everyone else is shooting. They should be shooting to end a threat. If the threat has been eliminated, there is no need to stand on the hood of the car emptying two and a half clips into the car (or stand over the body committing a coup-de-grace.)

    Four police officers, seeing a person pointing a gun at them, respond by firing three shots each is far more justifiable than one police officer firing 12 shots.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2014 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I contend that any officer that does not speak against a fellow officer who has broken the law is, themselves, a 'bad cop.' Thus, the silent cops are as bad as the bad actors, and thus, bad cops are prevalent. You can argue against it all you like, but until police show integrity, civility and actual moral standards, then I, too, fall under your 'hates cops' screed.

    Let's face facts, you just don't want anyone pointing out the wrong-doings of police. That is just as bad as openly supporting them.

     

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    David, Aug 12th, 2014 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: What did these people DO?

    Probably like Driving While Female in Saudi Arabia.

     

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    David, Aug 12th, 2014 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Michael on Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:18am

    Holy crap. Trained police should be able to consistently hit a target from six feet, unless a large percentage of those targets are moving, maybe.

    I blame it on the target ranges. Target practice simply focuses too little on shooting someone in the back from a distance of one yard. I mean, you probably can't even straighten your arm at that distance.

     

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    Rummeltje, Aug 12th, 2014 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As soon as you can point out when & where accountants shot 100+ bullets into 2 unarmed civilians, I'm sure Tim wil write a story about it....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  101.  
    identicon
    Micki, May 1st, 2015 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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