Appeals Court Says No Rights Were Violated When A Cop Shot At A 'Non-Threatening' Dog But Hit A Kid Instead

from the ongoing-Fifery-of-American-policing dept

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has reached a conclusion that defies easy summation. But here's an attempt: it is not well-established that cops shouldn't shoot children they've ordered to lie prone on the ground while trying to shoot a dog that posed no threat to officers.

In reversing the lower court's denial of qualified immunity to Officer Michael Vickers, the Appeals Court has opened the door to preventing the stupidest, most-inept cops from being held responsible for their careless blunders.

In this case, Vickers and other officers were pursuing a suspect through a neighborhood. This pursuit inserted them into the backyard of Amy Corbitt, where Corbitt's 10-year-old child (known only as SDC in the opinion) and five other children (two of them under the age of three) were playing. The officers entered the yard and demanded everyone present to get down on the ground, including the children. They handcuffed the only adult in the backyard (Damion Stewart) and kept the children on the ground. The officers had the scene secured as they outnumbered the prone children who were still laying on the ground with guns pointing at them.

The surprise entrance of the family dog turned this scene from merely-horrific to possibly deadly. From the decision [PDF]:

Then, “while the children were lying on the ground obeying [Vickers’s] orders . . . without necessity or any immediate threat or cause, [Vickers] discharged his firearm at the family pet named ‘Bruce’ twice.” The first shot missed, and Bruce (a dog) temporarily retreated under Corbitt’s home. No other efforts were made to restrain or subdue the dog, and no one appeared threatened by him.

Officer Vickers, presumably still shaken by the sound of his own gunfire, decided to take another shot at the dog when it reappeared and tried to approach all the people it knew, who were lying on the ground all over the backyard. There's no indication the dog even turned in Officer Vickers' direction.

Eight or ten seconds after Vickers fired the first shot, the dog reappeared and was “approaching his owners,” when Vickers fired a second shot at the dog. This shot also missed the dog, but the bullet struck SDC in the back of his right knee. At the time of the shot, SDC was “readily viewable” and resting “approximately eighteen inches from . . . Vickers, lying on the ground, face down, pursuant to the orders of [Vickers].”

Maybe this attempt to secure the scene was necessary because other officers were still trying to detain the criminal suspect…

Barnett (the fleeing suspect) “was visibly unarmed and readily compliant” with officers.

Officer Vickers claimed he was entitled to qualified immunity for shooting at a non-threatening dog and shattering a child's knee instead. In support of this, he pointed to an unpublished decision by the Eleventh Circuit saying no one has the right to be free of "accidental applications of force." The lower court disagreed. The Eleventh Circuit apparently feels there's no case law precisely on point to prevent it from rewarding Officer Vickers for his courageous stupidity in the face of non-danger.

Its explanation of this conclusion sounds like it's going the other way the whole time… right up until its conclusory sentence.

As noted above, at the time Vickers fired at the dog, SDC just happened to be playing in his own yard when, for reasons beyond his control, his yard became the scene of an arrest operation. Although we have held that SDC was already seized at the time of the shot, SDC is best described as an innocent bystander. And although the commands of the officers that SDC and the other children lie face down on the ground were actions directed at SDC and the other children, Corbitt does not claim that those actions violated SDC’s Fourth Amendment rights; rather, she claims that the action of Vickers firing at the dog and accidentally hitting SDC violated the Fourth Amendment. We hold that Vickers’s action of intentionally firing at the dog and unintentionally shooting SDC did not violate any clearly established Fourth Amendment rights.

Or, more concisely: being careless with your deployment of force doesn't violate the Constitution.

Indeed, we are unable to identify any settled Fourth Amendment principle making it obviously clear that volitional conduct which is not intended to harm an already-seized person gives rise to a Fourth Amendment violation.

There will be no holding by the court to encourage more careful deployments of force in the future.

This is not a case that so obviously violates the Fourth Amendment that prior case law is unnecessary to hold Vickers individually liable for his conduct. To find otherwise would require us to conclude that no reasonable officer would have fired his gun at the dog under the circumstances. This we are unable to do.

What do you mean by "we," asks Judge Wilson's dissent:

The majority accurately points out that qualified immunity protects “all but the plainly incompetent.” Maj. Op. at 10 (quoting Malley v. Briggs, 475 U.S. 335, 341 (1986)). Because no competent officer would fire his weapon in the direction of a nonthreatening pet while that pet was surrounded by children, qualified immunity should not protect Officer Vickers. Therefore, I dissent.

As the dissent points out, there was nothing "reasonable" about Officer Vickers' actions, especially when it's apparent from the allegations no one BUT Vickers felt compelled to shoot at the non-threatening dog.

Consider the present facts and circumstances: officers arrived at a home and found the subject of their search. At gunpoint, the officers ordered the suspect and all persons in the area—including six children—to the ground. Everyone complied. A nonthreatening family pet was present on the scene; there is nothing to suggest that this pet acted with hostility or threatened the safety of anyone— including the officers. With all the children and the suspect still lying on the ground pursuant to the officers’ commands, Officer Vickers shot at the family pet. He missed. He waited. He shot again. He missed again, instead striking a child who had been—at all times—lying within arm’s reach of the officer.

This conduct—discharging a lethal weapon at a nonthreatening pet that was surrounded by children —is plainly unreasonable.

If the question is "reasonableness" of the actions taken, Officer Vickers fails the test every step of the way.

No reasonable officer would engage in such recklessness and no reasonable officer would think such recklessness was lawful.

Unfortunately, the majority felt the impact of denying qualified immunity would be too much for the occupation of law enforcement to bear. If officers are forced to consider the implications of their violent actions, they might… I don't know… commit fewer acts of violence. Spun into blueness, this would be misconstrued to mean second-guessing themselves in life or death situations. That's extrapolation from facts not in evidence. Nothing here was a threat. But Officer Vickers fired until he hit something anyway. That it happened to be a child rather than the family pet is horrifying, but the truth is, Vickers never should have opened fire at all. But he's free to make the same harmful mistakes again and again, as are all his blue brethren in the 11th Circuit.

Filed Under: 11th circuit, amy corbitt, dog, kids, michael vickers, police, qualified immunity, shooting


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:13pm

    Anyone who has a dog and children in the same household is just asking for trouble, as cops are required to automatically shoot at the dog if they "fear for their safety" upon seeing one. At least the young children knew well enough to immediately "assume the position" in police presence to avoid being shot at. Too bad the dog did not. Both children and dogs need to be well trained in dealing with police, as their lives can depend on it.

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:33pm

      Re:

      They're not "required" to, they just do. I think as much as they do it when unnecessary, they're just sick bastards who get off on it. They graduate from shooting pets to shooting people.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 1:14pm

        Re: Re:

        Michael Vickers probably abused animals as a kid. Probably just wanted to get off by killing a pet in the vicinity of the owners. What a sicko

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

    • identicon
      Dave P., 25 Jul 2019 @ 2:00pm

      Re:

      What a grand load of old rubbish, to put it mildly, as spoken by someone who thinks he knows it all. (You haven't got old Trumpy boy posting incognito, have you?). As we say in the UK, the old troll is talking total bollocks.

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

    • icon
      Anton Sherwood (profile), 4 Aug 2019 @ 4:08pm

      Re:

      But are cops required to fear for their safety every time they see a dog?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:27pm

    "Officer Vickers claimed he was entitled to qualified immunity for shooting at a non-threatening dog and shattering a child's knee instead. "

    What a fine and upstanding citizen, it's not everyone who will take responsibility for their actions like this guy did. Rather than blue, perhaps he should be wearing spandex due to him being a super hero and all. He should go around to all the elementary schools in his outfit and tell all the children how they too can be shot for no reason at all because he is such a shining example of what a good law enforcement officer is.
    /s

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:30pm

    This is a typical Police Tyrant behavior. They can literally murder people and pretty much get away with it. Police these days are afraid of their own shadow. They do like to shoot the family dog. Even though it's never a threat. This PIG should be thrown into jail for at least 5 years and fired and NEVER allowed to be a pig again. He destroyed a kids life. A kid that will never really be able to play a competitive sport for sure. Will have a lifetime limp at least, and for what? A kid that even followed orders and was laying on the ground and still got shot. How the F can that even happen? This Immunity crap is complete B.S. That department should be sued and the kid should win at minimum a MILLION DOLLARS!!!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:38pm

      Re:

      If I was the parent I'd likely retaliate since this asshole won't be punished in any meaningful way.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 6:29am

        Re: Re:

        The cops was trespassing on private property without a warrant, shoots an innocent child and gets off? Who is going to pay the medical bills? And of course, according to the cop, it is all their fault and he was justified - think Ill go puke.

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        • identicon
          bob, 25 Jul 2019 @ 10:36am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Extitant circumstances. Suspect fled to yard, people arw allowed to pursue without a warrant. So no problem being in the yard. However what officer Vickers did after entering the yard is complete B.S.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:34pm

    Clickbait title aside...

    If the child had died, it would have been manslaughter.

    Qualified immunity or not, it is still negligent use of lethal force.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:39pm

      Re:

      There was nothing clickbaity about that title. It was concise and accurate.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 6:20am

        Re: Re:

        Except for the difference between "No Rights Were Violated" and "did not violate any clearly established Fourth Amendment rights".

        Rights were violated. Just not the Fourth Amendment rights.

        The right to not have your child negligently shot by a police officer who is attempting to destroy your pet isn't really a Fourth Amendment issue. You could argue that the attempt to destroy the pet could count as a seizure of property, but I don't thing the point of this was about trying to kill the dog, but rather about shooting the child instead.

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

        • icon
          crade (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 6:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Where do you see that they judged that any other rights were violated? They gave the cop qualified immunity, so if they thought any rights were violated they obviously weren't very important.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 6:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            They didn't judge that, because the entire article was about judging the claim of violating Fourth Amendment rights.

            I mean, I guess you could argue they did, since Qualified Immunity protects them from violating non-constitutional rights, and there would be no need for QI if they didn't actually do that...

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

            • icon
              crade (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 8:21am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              They judged that it didn't violate their constitutional rights and you don't have any other rights in this context.

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

            • icon
              crade (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 8:29am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The fourth was mentioned everywhere because that was the only constitutional right that was in question as to whether it was violated or not. It's not like they are going to go rapid fire through every right in the constitution that doesn't apply and say "nope, first ammendment right.. not violated" ect..

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:45pm

      'Honestly, it was his own fault for lying in front of a gun...'

      If the child had died, it would have been manslaughter.

      For anyone without a badge, yes.

      With a badge though, slap on the wrist, couple of days/weeks paid leave to let the heat die down, followed by 'don't let us catch you doing that again' at worst.

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

      • icon
        Wyrm (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 8:20pm

        Re: 'Honestly, it was his own fault for lying in front of a gun.

        The "don't let us catch you again" part is totally optional. If he ever gets caught again, he still has tons of options: erasing his record, have the prosecutor pretend that past records are irrelevant, move to a different place where he had no past record...

        Justice in the US is nearly never served properly when the criminal has a badge.

        I can hope that these cases are statistically a minority, but when they are so obviously mishandled, there is no incentive for avoiding bad and dangerous behavior. They end up being large in numbers even if overall much lower than properly handled cases.

        The problem is not that mistakes are made. It's that there is no incentive to at least try and avoid making them.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:41pm

    Spun into blueness, this would be misconstrued to mean second-guessing themselves in life or death situations.

    Any cop that is afraid of a non-threatening pet dog and has such poor marksmanship as to miss the dog twice and hit a kid instead should be stripped of his weapon and sent back to academy. Of course he should really be fired and sent to jail but we know that won't happen.

    Cops should have to pass a psych eval to determine whether they have a fear of small animals and shitty judgement before being given a badge and a weapon.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:56pm

      Re:

      These kind of "accidental" police shootings are more common than you might think. In one example, Burlington Iowa police officer Jesse Hill shot and killed Autumn Steele in the same manner, by shooting at her dog and killing her instead. And as usual, no charges were filed against the killer with a badge. (even though he did say in the video "Shit, I’m fucking going to prison")

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Autumn_Steele

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      That’s OFFICER MUTHAFUCKA Michael Vickers, 24 Jul 2019 @ 7:22pm

      Re:

      Listen here CITIZEN!! That rabid little ‘effing ankle biter was a SMALL target!!

      Just like MY QUALIFIED FUCING IMMUNITY!!!!

      So SUCK IT!

      & maybe get a better lawyer than the GOVERNMENT I WIRK FOR!

      Also, do what the hell I say or the kid will get it in the other knee, plus I’ll call animal control & have my brother take the damn dog to the pound for a different kinda shot!

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

      • identicon
        Deputy Dickwad, 25 Jul 2019 @ 7:24pm

        That’s OFFICER MUTHAFUCKA Michael Vickers

        My Brother-in-law-enforcement already said it, so listen up!

        “Listen here CITIZEN!! That rabid little ‘effing ankle biter was a SMALL target!!

        Just like MY QUALIFIED FUCING IMMUNITY!!!!
        So SUCK IT!

        & maybe get a better lawyer than the GOVERNMENT I WIRK FOR!
        Also, do what the hell I say or the kid will get it in the other knee, plus I’ll call animal control & have my brother take the damn dog to the pound for a different kinda shot!”

        So suck it CITIZEN & know your place!!”

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:47pm

    Did Vickers finally kill the dog after shooting the child? If not, then it seems plainly obvious that Vickers never felt the dog was a threat. Nothing changed after shooting the child, except maybe Vickers realised he was acting stupidly.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 6:16pm

      Re:

      Perhaps he let the dog live not out of a sudden sense of reasonableness, but through simple incompetence. If he couldn't hit the dog on the first two tries, at close range, who knows how many shots he would have needed to finally score a hit, especially if the dog panicked and fled. Perhaps he let it live to spare himself the embarrassment of further demonstrating his poor aim.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:47pm

    Hey Mason,

    How are you going to spin this one in order to support the fine upstanding police who you feel can do no wrong?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 5:19pm

      Re:

      He can’t answer right now. His mouth is full.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Be worried if you are NOT Censored by Techdirt, 24 Jul 2019 @ 6:13pm

      Hey AC: YOU ever stick up for "Semites", Israelis and Zionists?

      If you ever have or do in future, here's just tiny part the load of responsibility you're taking on, not in any way accidental, one of literally thousand of incidents in just the last year, in which an Israeli sniper deliberately shot Palestinian:

      ISM: 100 bullet fragments in brain of 10-year-old Palestinian child shot in West Bank

      https://mondoweiss.net/2019/07/bullet-fragments-palestinian/

      Plenty of such are around if don't blind yourself to reality.

      Now, THIS incident is stupid and inexcusable but injury to the child was apparently un-intended.

      Why do you try to blame a 3rd-party who has absolutely no known connection, except that you're signaling your own supposed virtue and trying to score points on this tiny web-site?

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 6:16pm

        injury to the child was apparently un-intended

        As the old saying goes, “intent follows the bullet”.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 6:38pm

        Re: Hey AC: YOU ever stick up for "Semites", Israelis and Zionis

        Why do you try to blame a 3rd-party who has absolutely no known connection, except that you're signaling your own supposed virtue and trying to score points on this tiny web-site?

        Where do you see anybody trying to blame a 3rd-party?

        If you ever have or do in future, here's just tiny part the load of responsibility you're taking on, not in any way accidental, one of literally thousand of incidents in just the last year, in which an Israeli sniper deliberately shot Palestinian:

        And what the fuck all does this have anything to do with anything in this article or its comments?

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 12:31am

          Re:

          "And what the fuck all does this have anything to do with anything in this article or its comments?"

          Nothing. He's been on a lunatic rant the last couple of days, which usually happens whenever there's something that could be bad for Trump in progress (in this case the Mueller testimony).

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 6:47pm

        Re: Hey AC: YOU ever stick up for "Semites", Israelis and Zionis

        You know who sticks up for Israelis, blue? Donald Trump.

        Prepare the plumbing and make sure the water's flowing, because it's time for you to let that sink in!

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

      • icon
        Gary (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 6:55pm

        Re: Hey AC: Be Worried

        Blue - We get it. You hate the jews, and hate that TD doesn't cover the stories YOU want them to cover.

        SO - Link us to YOUR blog with the good stories. Grow a spine and show us how you do it in the Mid-West.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 7:28pm

        Re: Hey AC: YOU ever stick up for Nazis

        Fuck off anti-semite.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 12:29am

        Re:

        "Why do you try to blame a 3rd-party who has absolutely no known connection"

        Are you trying to say that the cop who shot a kid was an innocent bystander? Or, are you saying that in your anti-semetic ranting that the Israelis are OK to shoot those people so long as they claim it's an accident?

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:52pm

    'Look, everyone KNOWS badges kill brain cells...'

    Ah courts, continuing the fine tradition of assuming that no-one is as dumb as a cop, such that things that are blatantly obvious to anyone else(don't fire a gun in the direction of children) are given a pass because there hasn't been a case exactly like the current one making it clear that a specific use of force probably shouldn't be engaged in.

    I'd say it's quite the backhanded 'compliment' that court after court continue to make clear that they think cops so monumentally stupid, but given it allows them to do pretty much anything they want and courts only rarely show any inclination to punish cops for their actions I imagine cops are willing to accept it as the 'price' of their immunity to the law that binds everyone else.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Be worried if you are NOT Censored by Techdirt, 24 Jul 2019 @ 6:11pm

    Headline is clickbait because Court does NOT endorse actions.

    This is not a case that so obviously violates the Fourth Amendment that prior case law is unnecessary to hold Vickers individually liable for his conduct.

    I grant you that's a tangle. The Court states only that this doesn't require a NEW carve-out, and as always, there is over-arching law.

    It's a NARROW case driven by extreme lawyering. -- FIRST AND FOREMOST by the extreme of presumptive imunity -- which is a can of worms that Masnick will never open because leads where should: to hatred of lawyers for ever making that up in first place.

    Techdirt reveals its hatred of police AND its tacit LOVE of laywers who made up that "immunity".

    At very least, put the blame on lawyers TOO.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 6:15pm

      Don’t you love lawyers when they help enforce copyrights held by corporations?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 6:35pm

      Re: Headline is clickbait because Court does NOT endorse actions

      Techdirt reveals its hatred of police AND its tacit LOVE of laywers who made up that "immunity".

      As usual, you are so full of shit your eyes are brown and your hair smells like ass.

      Techdirt reveals its hatred of police ABUSE, are you so simple minded that you can not see that???

      Also, I would tend to think it was judges who decided to make up this "immunity". Granted, judges are also lawyers, but considering I can't hire a judge as my counsel, it's not really the same thing. But again, you must be just too simple minded to understand any of that.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 6:49pm

      Re:

      Shit, blue, I know John Smith has been losing his touch but you still breathe oxygen, you know that right?

      Inasmuch sometimes I really wish you forgot...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 7:30pm

      Re: Blueballis clickbait because NOT complete sentence

      Why do you keep running away coward.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 24 Jul 2019 @ 6:19pm

    Quit whining

    How else can we build a proper fascist state than with Qualified immunity?

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 7:26pm

    Its explanation of this conclusion sounds like it's going the other way the whole time… right up until its conclusory sentence.

    Pun intended?

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 7:29pm

    Rule of safe gun handling:

    Always be aware of your target and its surroundings

    Either:
    a) Michael Vick-ers knew his bullets would endanger the child but was okay with that possible outcome

    or

    b) He started firing haphazardly with neither care nor concern for what he damaged.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 7:51pm

    VIolating the fourth amendment

    We hold that Vickers’s action of intentionally firing at the dog and unintentionally shooting SDC did not violate any clearly established Fourth Amendment rights.

    Apparently it did not violate Vicker's job description either.

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

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 8:30pm

    Michael Vic

    Wait, for a second I thought this one was about dog-fighting.

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

  • icon
    tom (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 10:42pm

    I think an argument can be made that Officer Vickers committed fraud upon the good citizens paying his salary. Based on the evidence in this case, it seems he was impersonating a trained Police Officer.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 11:33pm

    The US Constitution doesn't have something granting the "right to life and to physical and moral integrity"? From the looks of it, it doesn't.

    You'd assume that when you kill or harm someone, you have violated their rights, usually on the Constitutional level.

    I mean, seriously, you guys in the US are very proud of your Constitution, but it resembles a 3rd World Country Constitution to me.

    What Constitution doesn't have as its basic and fundamental Constitutional rights the RIGHT OF NOT BEING HARMED?

    Btw, even if the dog was dangerous, you don't fucking simply aim a gun at where kids or bystanders are, period. You take the shit, that's why you're a policeman.

    What are you going to do if a criminal uses bystanders as shields while he shoots you? Shoot through them? My guess is that he'd be qualified to do that, as he isn't harming their Constitutional rights.

    And yes, if not harming innocents (or even non threatening criminals, like handcuffed or surrendering ones) means you die, you die. You're a policeman, choose a different career if you aren't ready to drop your life to protect the citizens you swore to.

    And of course, we haven't even talked yet about the fact that you're holding 3 year old kids at gun-point while you keep them on the ground.

    Those kids will grow to love and appreciate the police force. Now how do you explain to them that the boys in blue are the good boys?

    Wait, are they actually the good boys?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 6:33am

      Re:

      Not all rights are constitutional.

      Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

      Just because a right is not listed in the constitution, does not mean that it does not exist. An example would be the unalienable Rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence: "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

      Now, the police could argue that the child, despite being shot in the knee, is still alive, technically free, and can still pursue happiness once he's out of the hospital. He'll just have to do so while emotionally scarred and potentially physically crippled.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 10:47am

      The US Constitution

      As the United States' peerless leader is demonstrating right now, the Constitution of the United States is a hot mess, and severely needed to be penetration tested. Curiously, all this is discussed in the Federalist Papers at length, but our framers imagined human beings to be much more rational (and much simpler) than they actually are.

      What makes the US Constitution special is that it was (one of) the first of its kind. Even France had to go through a benign emperor phase in order to secure some human rights (that the US failed to do until centuries later). Statescraft is sometimes messy.

      But as Jefferson opined, we are long overdue for revolution, probably bloody, and such things, while horrible at the human level, are necessary in order to make future constitutions less of a hot mess.

      Regarding the preservation of life, liberty and property, the individual states each have extensive statutes to preserve them...more or less. We made allowances for slavery and other kinds of peonage, having just crawled from the muck of feudalism, and that leads to our current predicament, in which debt bondage and prison bondage are still epidemic in the United States.

      It also allows for the stratification of castes, such as the peacekeeping caste being above the law, and the proles being below it.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 6:03pm

        Re: The US Constitution

        Answering to both here:

        [quote]Not all rights are constitutional.[/quote]

        Yeah, and I'm pointing out that a basic right such as not being harmed isn't constitutional is what makes the US Constitution a shitty mess.

        The whole purpose of a Constitution is to set the rights granted to its citizens in stone, supported by a legal framework that makes changing a Constitution very hard, as a guarantee of those Constitutional Rights.

        [quote]Just because a right is not listed in the constitution, does not mean that it does not exist.[/quote]

        As you see in this case, the fact that such a right wasn't explicitly included means that it can be ignored or waived.

        The whole problem of the US Constitution is that it's old. And as it's old, it keeps some very old concepts in there. Sorry guys, but you need a complete overhaul of your Constitution to keep it up to the current times.

        Sure, it's been the base for a lot of other Constitutions (including many European ones), just that those Constitutions were made in times where Human Rights were better defined, moreover if it was after 1948, as many modern Constitutions make a explicit reference to those rights.

        Anyway, it's a bit fun to see the US people telling that their Constitution is the one that supports liberty the best (like not having freedom of speech limitations, or having the less).

        But my question is: what liberty do you have when you can be shot in the knee and the guy who shot you is not facing any consequences?

        That's if he doesn't get a medal, of course. For "bravery in line of duty".

        Dogs and children are srs business.

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

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 6:26pm

          "You need a complete overhaul of your Constitution"

          Yes. We've long established this.

          But as history has demonstrated time and time again, complete overhauls of national constitutions take place at swordpoint, usually when the balance of military might is against the standing govenment.

          So until the people are willing to capture and hang (guillotine, draw-and-quarter) all three branches of government to force a constitutional convention, it's not going to happen.

          In fact, McConnell will not even allow a vote on any electoral reform even while the Russians are deeply influencing (if not outright controlling) the elections.

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

          • icon
            Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 26 Jul 2019 @ 6:47am

            Re: "You need a complete overhaul of your Constitution"

            So until the people are willing to capture and hang (guillotine, draw-and-quarter) all three branches of government to force a constitutional convention, it's not going to happen.

            How long should the inevitable reign of terror following this revolution be in order to be reasonable?

            "The Lord knoweth His own" is not sufficient for me. People need to get more politically engaged. Idiots running around with guns shooting at everyone they think is the bad guy is the absolutely last thing we need.

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

            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Jul 2019 @ 7:34am

              "People need to get more politically engaged"

              In the US we work the proletariat so hard they can't parent, let alone consider civic responsibilities. I'm pretty sure we arrived at this situation without conspiracy, just through natural greed. But Orwell explained well enough this is how a security state keeps the proles in line.

              So the alternatives are either to let the proles suffer until the ecology collapses, or risk a long reign of terror in order to secure a better state and a future for humanity.

              Getting the people politically engaged isn't doing it. That's a commons too easy to neglect. The DNC is already collapsing back towards neoconservativism and we're going to see a fascist resurgence in 2024 or 2028 when nothing has changed.

              I'm willing to hear alternatives to revolution or suffering the current regime. But if we rely on getting millions of people involved, big media is going to out-direct or out-distract us every time. That's not it.

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

              • icon
                Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 29 Jul 2019 @ 2:28am

                Re: "People need to get more politically engaged"

                If people could get organised enough to put Obama in office they can organise enough to effect change. This is precisely why we got Trump: people have given up on the political system and only the organised people are getting anything done.

                As for the paradise of the proletariat, I've yet to see one that actually works. Uneducated people clinging like grim death to ideologies they don't understand but willing to fight for them anyway create a power vacuum into which dictators are born.

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

                • icon
                  Uriel-238 (profile), 29 Jul 2019 @ 1:25pm

                  "Organized enough to put Obama in office"

                  Wendy Cockcroft, do you assume Obama was put into power by grassroots? No, he was put into power by not being Bush and a whole lot of corporate funding. Do note that getting Obama into office wasn't enough to affect actual change. Obama continued most of Bush's policies, including drone-strike massacres and mass surveillance. This is why we're terrified of Biden or the DNC's and DCCC's efforts to squeeze out far-left Democratic candidates: they're only going to flake and set us up for a totalitarian hate-based regime run by the Post-Trump GOP.

                  (And then your and my conversation will end, because I am fairly high-up on typical undesirables list.)

                  Wendy Cockcroft, your argument smacks too much like Ayn Rand deciding the people who are not capable of organizing deserve to perish for their incapacity. As Hitler so judged the Germans for falling to to the Soviet onslaught. If the German people are too weak to win, it deserves to perish.

                  You can blame a person for the individual choices he or she makes, but when people make the same bad decision by the thousands or millions, there's reason. There may be individual stories behind each one (look at abortion, for instance) but there are sufficient good reasons to make that bad decision to not just judge all those people as bad.

                  One-hundred thousand people participated in the German Genocide machine. Considering how truly sickening the brutal reality is within an industrialized genocide machine, not even their ideological devotion was going to hold them there.

                  Sixty-three million Americans voted for Trump, they had reasons which -- to each of them in their circumstances -- were sound. I've looked at the idealistic and pragmatic drives to vote for Trump and against Clinton in 2016. And it's pretty evident that the Democrats weren't working for the public either. Obama's promise of hope and change were false, and Clinton wasn't going to make things any better. Some elected the monster because it was the only statement of dissent that would be heard.

                  Trump's election into power was a symptom of systemic corruption.

                  And attributing blame doesn't stop dictatorships or political violence. It's not going to stop ecology collapse.

                  If you'd rather we go gentle into that good night, Wendy Cockcroft, to avoid violence even if it spells the doom of our civilization and potentially our species, then own that. Some people are deontological pacifists. I actually understand what that is. But then that's saying we choose peace to death because it is intrinsically wrong, not because it's non-utilitiarian.

                  Right now nothing is working, and violence will emerge as the public gets more desperate. The longer it waits, the less organized it will be, and the less it will matter. If someone is going to fight the system to save humanity, they better get started soon, or like our climate policy, it's going to be too little too late (to prevent catastrophe and a population correction).

                  The ship is sinking and the rats know it.

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

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 29 Jul 2019 @ 6:48pm

                    Re: "Organized enough to put Obama in office"

                    "Sixty-three million Americans voted for Trump"

                    ...and 66 million voted for Clinton. They'd agree there are problems with the system, though probably not the ones your rambling is meant to suggest.

                    Just as a quick aside, your randomly directly addressing Wendy and bolding her name is a little creepy and distracts from your overall message.

                    "Obama's promise of hope and change were false"

                    I disagree here to a certain degree. Sure, his extension of certain Bush policies was disappointing, and new things like drone strike were not good. But, he certainly tried to change a lot of things. The problem is, he was met with active opposition to anything he tried. Close Guantanamo? He was blocked by every potential new venue to move prisoners to, and Republicans made it illegal for him to use federal funding to try. Negotiate down to a Republican originated plan to replace the unsustainable and horrifically expensive healthcare system? You're damn right that will be blocked as much as possible to the point where some red states actively refused the assistance that would make it work.

                    The results were far from what was hoped, but to pretend that not only was the intent not there but it naturally led to a bankrupt conman being held up as the new hope because of it seems to be rather light on the contextual facts.

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

                    • icon
                      Uriel-238 (profile), 29 Jul 2019 @ 8:50pm

                      Rambling

                      Well, PaulT, you lost me at rambling.

                      I'll tell you what. I'm having a really fucked up month, and I'm out of reasons to hope for a positive outcome, whether for the 2020 election, the future of the US or for the global ecology.

                      But I do not like being where I am not wanted. I can absolutely make sure that you don't have to suffer my rambling any longer.

                      I'll lurk in September and see if there's cause to resume discourse.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2019 @ 1:36pm

            Re: "You need a complete overhaul of your Constitution"

            Until we the people can get political leaders we can trust, it might be a pure shitstorm watching our Constitution being gutted by those persons mentioned above.

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

            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Jul 2019 @ 7:06pm

              Leaders we can trust.

              One of the points about trying out democracy for size was that we never can or should trust our leaders, hence the alleged checks and balances.

              Maybe we didn't expect them to collaborate in corrupting democracy?

              One the the hypotheses I bat about is we've simply exceeded the upper population limit of homo sapiens sapiens that can be organized without corruption, that to do so involves a system so complex as to feature an unlimited number of vulnerabilities.

              Unlike operating systems, societies cannot be hotfixed when a sect seizes power. From there, serfdom is implemented.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 2:38am

    before, cops used to often, if not usually, shoot first, ask questions after. since these idiotic judges have now made an even more idiotic ruling, police are now not just able but entitled to shoot first, ask questions later! one more notch to the United (Police) State of America!! how ridiculous!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 5:32am

    Jeffersonian Solution

    Violence - raw, pure, illegal violence. Each time one of these fools self-reveals and is spared punishment by the "Justice" system, kill him. Rinse and repeat until the cops gets the message that cowardly, carelessly murdering and maiming the public has real consequences.

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

  • identicon
    dickeyrat, 25 Jul 2019 @ 5:38am

    Besides simply being (very well) paid bullies, a large percentage of cops are also just plain drooling idiots. Their hijinks are protected by their strong-arm unions, and by an ever-increasing number of enamoured judges. who sit in enchanted awe of The Uniform. Nothing a cop ever does is bad, or wrong, or illegal in any way--and this phenomenon will grow like a disease, as Trump's Neue Amerika judges are continually rubber-stamped by Bitch McYertle's Fascist-obedient Senate. This is the way life decays in a Fascist dictatorship; your orders are to get used to it!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 6:34am

    "In this case, Vickers and other officers were pursuing a suspect through a neighborhood."

    Let me guess .... the perp was wanted for disrespect of an officer of the law.

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

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 8:38am

    And another generation grows up with an even more profound distrust and hatred of LEOs. And fully justified.

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

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 25 Jul 2019 @ 5:35pm

    Qualified Immunity is Just another way of Saying Fuck You!

    Appeals Court Says No Rights Were Violated When A Cop Shot At A 'Non-Threatening' Dog But Hit A Kid Instead

    These types of clearly unjust/immoral court decisions - that are masqueraded about as justice in the US - may provide the spark that ignites the tinder box of revolution.

    Allowing government officials/agents to escape accountability is an affront of justice.

    To allow a system that protects clearly criminal/immoral acts to perpetuate undisturbed is sowing the seeds of this nations continued slide into tyranny and then reaping it's banana republic status.

    A government issued costume should never be used as a get out of jail free card for people who commit criminal acts - like shooting a child because you were scared.

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

  • identicon
    Brad Jones, 2 Aug 2019 @ 2:55am

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


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