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What happens after cops start getting shot

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  • Sun, Jul 10, 2016 - 03:46pm

    #1

    thc0655

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    What happens after cops start getting shot

Start with the below essay.  It has the ring of truth to me as a cop, though I never thought of these issues in quite this context (insurgency).

http://theantimedia.org/police-start-getting-shot/

The airwaves are full of pundits screaming about violence against police officers. These are the same pundits that disregarded the warnings of experts in the field of insurgency when the Ferguson riots broke out and chose to dismiss the rioters as “thugs.” They continued to cheerlead for more police militarization even after the first officers were shot in targeted killings. They are now continuing their efforts to support police militarization. Those of us that warned of this last year, have watched in horror as all of our predictions came true. We are now in the fourth stage of the cycle of insurgency. The fifth stage is open insurrection. It is time for officers to dismiss the pundits on Fox News that have never held a firearm outside of a range and listen to people that know what they are talking about. None of us that have made these warnings did so because these are things we want to happen, we did it in an attempt to stop them from happening. A year after my first article on the subject, every single prediction has come true. Can the pundits on Fox News say that? No, and listening to their rhetoric has caused more cops and innocents to die.

To understand where we are headed, we have to know what has already happened. For a bit of background, review a brief synopsis of the cycle of insurgency from an article written in August of 2014:

Pamphlets:

Prior to the digital age, pamphlets were the main method of spreading dissent around the world. The pamphlets examined and questioned the authority of the contemporary governments and control systems. In the modern world, pamphlets have been replaced by blogs, memes, social media, and to a smaller degree, adversarial journalists.

Reactive Protests:

Once the seed of dissent is planted, people take to the streets to voice their opposition to the government. These protests occur after the control systems of the era attempt to diffuse an offending incident.

Preemptive Rioting:

Preemptive rioting follows a period of reactive protests that go unanswered by the government. The people begin taking to the streets and destroying private and public property as soon as an offending incident takes place, rather than waiting and hoping for the government to police itself.

Military or Law Enforcement backlash and crackdowns:

These riots and small incidents of resistance trigger a government reaction. The control systems of the country tighten their grip on the people and further curtail civil liberties and infringe on people’s rights. The government crackdown fuels the resistance movement as more people tire of government intrusion.

Widespread rebellion and insurrection:

At some point during the crackdown, an incident occurs that tosses a match into the powder keg of dissent. At this point, open rebellion occurs.

***

We are now in the Fourth Stage and the media that you falsely believe represents the views of the American people are calling for a harder crackdown. From the same article last year, written before NYPD officers were ambushed while sitting in their car:

“Without serious reform in what’s left of the justice system, the future is not one of officers walking free after killing an unarmed person; it will be one of officers becoming the target of sporadic violence. Despite the propaganda, being a cop in the United States is safer than being a trash collector. That will change, and officers will become targets of opportunity for those that previously sought reform through peaceful means.

“Those in departments that have excused the actions of their officers and made significant peaceful reform impossible, have now set the stage for their officers to be shot while sitting at traffic lights. Only 61% of murders are solved in the United States. Imagine how hard it will be to solve an officer’s murder that is completely random and lacks a direct connection to the shooter. Without a clear motive, there is no place to even start investigating.”

Certainly, departments all over the country will be issuing memos explaining the new security procedures to counter the threat of targeted killings. Some officers may have already received one. Allow me to guess its contents. The memo suggests riding in pairs, only answering a call once back up has arrived, sitting at separate tables when you eat in a restaurant, and performing all actions as a team to provide greater security. I’d be willing to bet that the phrase “safety in numbers” is somewhere in the memo. These tactics will all fail. The attackers will simply upgrade from firearms to pipe bombs. An even worse scenario is that officers do succeed in making themselves too difficult to attack. The insurgents will stop targeting cops and begin targeting their families while the officers are at work. This is what has happened in every insurgency in history.

It is extremely important to note that in all of recorded history, an insurgency that matured through the phases and reached this stage has never been quelled through force. Ever. It may have been delayed, but the insurgency simply went underground until opposition forces relaxed. In some cases it took 800 years to achieve an insurgent victory. Once an insurgency reaches this stage, it wins. It is that simple. See: Irish Republic Army.

At this point, in a form of bizarre just deserts, the only option law enforcement has is the same option it offered to the American people, which prompted this cycle: comply or die.

Certain police departments may believe they are isolated from the violence because of their geographic location. They aren’t. Because of social media, events that historically would have only prompted violence within the immediate vicinity can prompt violence on the other side of the nation. We are so close to an open insurrection in this country that it boggles the mind. If police proceed with a law enforcement crackdown, events could spiral out of control and open insurrection could happen tomorrow.

Some in the media are calling for the arrests of the leaders of Black Lives Matter, Cop Block, and other organizations. This is possibly the worst move law enforcement could make. This gives the cause martyrs. To continue the Irish comparison, after the Easter Rising the British government arrested, interned, and even executed some of the rebellion’s leaders. The names of those men are still recited in songs today, 100 years later. It fanned the flames of rebellion and as Éamon de Valera is said to have  remarked while waiting for the British government to decide between executing or imprisoning him, “every one of us they shoot brings ten more to the cause.” Today, with social media, the effects of martyr-based propaganda are even stronger. As a more recent example, ask those associated with the Anonymous collective how much influence people like Jeremy Hammond, Aaron Swartz, and Dennis Collins hold. Two of them are deceased, one sits rotting in a federal prison, and yet they are still massive recruiting tools.

Is this guy really saying to give in to violence? Yes. That is exactly what I am saying. There was an opportunity for a negotiated peace after Ferguson. Law enforcement chose to refuse. Law enforcement chose to dismiss the threat. Law enforcement chose to listen to pundits within the media that were only interested in pandering to their viewers. Now, that time has past. My best advice: immediately decommission the MRAPs, end no-knock raids for non-violent offenders, make certain the suspect is home and that you have the correct house before executing a raid, issue body cameras to all officers, end intrusive electronic surveillance, decommission the drones, and adopt a “do not fire until fired upon” policy. The end result of this scenario will be law enforcement demilitarizing; the only thing left to determine is how many cops and innocents die along the way.

Those in political office do not care about police officers’ lives. The last time the United States came this close to an open insurrection we had a President that understood insurgency. In fact, he understood it so well that he is responsible for the SEAL Teams and Green Berets having the role they have today. He understood that once it reaches a certain point, violent revolution is inevitable. He said:

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”

Of course, this is President John F. Kennedy. The threat of open insurrection was during the Civil Rights movement. The reader may still be under the false narrative that the Civil Rights movement was a nonviolent movement. While Dr. Martin Luther King played an important role in the building the movement that would finally achieve victory, he was most important in the first stage of the cycle. In the end, it was not “I have a dream” that forced the passage of the Civil Rights Act, it was “I have a gun.” The reader can take a detailed timeline of the Civil Rights movement and compare it to the stages listed above. For the sake of brevity, we will jump in at the point where the targeted killings of law enforcement began. John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert, had this conversation:

Robert Kennedy said

“The Negro Reverend Walker…he said that the Negroes, when dark comes tonight, they’re going to start going after the policemen – headhunting – trying to shoot to kill policemen. He says it’s completely out of hand….you could trigger off a good deal of violence around the country now, with Negroes saying they’ve been abused for all these years and they’re going to follow the ideas of the Black Muslims now…If they feel on the other hand that the federal government is their friend, that it’s intervening for them, that it’s going to work for them, then it will head some of that off. I think that’s the strongest argument for doing something…”

President Kennedy replied

“First we have to have law and order, so the Negro’s not running all over the city… If the [local Birmingham desegregation] agreement blows up, the other remedy we have under that condition is to send legislation [The Civil Rights Act] up to congress this week as our response…As a means of providing relief we have to have legislation.”

John and Robert avoided an open insurrection by recognizing the signs of insurgency and providing relief. There is no person in political office at the national level that has this foresight today. The changes will have to be made at the local and state levels. The reader may be wondering why this historical tidbit was left out of their high school history book. It really isn’t in the government’s interest to tell citizens that the fastest way to achieve reform is to begin shooting government employees.

Officers and politicians can ignore this article as they have the articles over the last year. If they choose to do so, they should rework their fiscal budget to buy more flags to put on coffins. Those funerals are inevitable without immediate and drastic reform.

The night of the Dallas shootings we got the memo described above: we’re now riding in pairs, no solo cars.  We’ve been here before, and we expect it will blow over shortly and we’ll be back to business as usual.  Veteran officers view such measures as “feel good” efforts when what we really need are substantive changes.

The author says only drastic reform can short circuit the drift to open insurrection, but in this particular article I don’t see the details of the reform.  What “reform” is he thinking of?  Police officers and front line supervisors aren’t really able to reform anything as they have next to no power in the system in which politicians, police chiefs and high ranking commanders set the tone.  For instance, we use CompStat to analyze and map crime patterns, and District commanders are under considerable pressure from the Chief and the Mayor to show they are responding effectively to crime patterns.  That translates into demands on officers and supervisors for more and more documentable enforcement activities where the crime is the highest.  That pushes officers into daily encounters with those most likely to resent them and respond to them violently.  Officers are rewarded for arresting serious offenders, recovering firearms illegally on the street, and shutting down crime patterns before they get worse.  Rewards for keeping themselves and the Department out of the evening news are almost nonexistent.  We recently added a commendation and medal for “deescalation,” which is a step in the right direction.  However, the first written request I wrote for a deescalation medal for two of my officers was denied.  The officers came upon three males in a car using drugs and conducted a stop.  The males were under the influence and were not capable of making the best decisions even for their own survival.  One of the males was told to put his hands on the dashboard, but instead reached under his seat for what the officers feared was a weapon.  The officers drew their pistols, pointed them at this suspect and ordered the male to pull his hand back empty.  He did pull his hand back, but when they opened his door to get him out and see what was under the seat, the suspect again reached under his seat.  The officers shouted repeated warnings while taking the slack out of their triggers.  A 60 second standoff ensued (which is an eternity in such a situation) in which the officers verbally tried to get the suspect to save his own life by pulling his hand back empty.  The suspect refused and refused and kept looking from officer to officer as if trying to make a final decision about what to do.  Finally, he pulled his hand out empty.  The officers removed him (and the other two) from the car, handcuffed them all, and looked under the seat where they found a loaded pistol.  Their performance was fantastic, I wrote it up, and the higher ups denied them the new medal for “deescalation.”  If that suspect had instead pulled the pistol from under the seat, both officers would’ve shot him and they could’ve easily been in the eye of the next national storm over “police brutality” even though their performance was ideal and the suspect himself caused them to use force.  The officers would’ve been awarded medals for valor, the highest award they can receive without being killed.  

The author does not seem to take into consideration a separate dynamic some have called “The Ferguson Effect.”  Many officers are resisting commanders’ demands for more and more activity and have consciously become less proactive, preferring to wait for 9-1-1 calls instead of initiating police actions.  The car stop in Minnesota for a broken taillight is an example of what is happening less and less.  Over the long term this will cause crime rates to rise, but that may be worth it if in the medium term it deescalates the animosity.  This is happening enough where I am to make me hopeful it can have the effect of calming things down with those in the public who may be moving toward open insurrection.  However, there is still considerable room for disaster when officers merely respond to 9-1-1 calls as is evidenced by the incident in Baton Rouge.  The officers there didn’t go looking for “trouble,” as they were responding to a 9-1-1 call regarding a “man with a gun”  (and they found one, a convicted felon it turns out).  It only takes one incident like the one in Baton Rouge to set a whole city (and even nation) aflame, regardless of the police-community relationship before the event or how justifiable the officer’s use of force was (legally, not necessarily by the “standards” on social media).   Officers aren’t proud of trigger happy officers who fire in unnecessary or questionable situations (like Minnesota), but they are wondering what they’re expected to do when they encounter a resistant and violent suspect.  We respond hoping for the best, but once the suspect responds with violence or illegal resistance it’s next to impossible to extricate yourself from the situation or control its outcome (Baton Rouge).  The suspect drives the action.  Unlike TV and the movies, it’s not black and white.  It’s gray and messy under the best and most legally justified of circumstances.  Officers know that practically any of the calls they respond to day in and day out can “go bad” (like Baton Rouge) and there’s practically nothing they can do about it no matter how professional they are.  And body cams and cell phone videos are NOT guaranteed to make everything clear so we can decide right from wrong.  In Baton Rouge, the officers body cams were knocked off their bodies in the struggle before the shooting, and in Minnesota the cell phone video started after the officer’s shooting.  And remember, perhaps the most controversial recorded shooting in US history happened in Dallas in 1963: JFK’s shooting was captured on video and we are still unsure what really happened there.  Video is no panacea, especially when the public is quite uninformed on the law, police policies, and what its actually like to have to deal with a resistant and violent person.  Videos combined with ignorance and misperceptions are an incendiary mix.

The mood I’m seeing is most officers desperately want to deescalate the level of animosity, but they’re apprehensive and frustrated that, short of staying home, they may be unable to avoid getting tangled up in the next incendiary event even if they defy their commanders regarding their level of activity, be as respectful of individuals as they can, and only resort to force as a last, last, last resort.  Events spiral out of officers control every day, and every now and then one ends up on the evening news or social media.

How are others here interpreting this events and trends?

Tom

 

  • Mon, Jul 11, 2016 - 12:29am

    #2

    Mark Cochrane

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    Right proper mess

Tom,

Thanks for taking the time to provide a view from the police perspective. The article that you link derides the 'media' versions of Ferguson and other events from talking heads who know nothing and try to steer public responses. I imagine that you and other police on the pointy end of the spear have very little actual ability to make significant changes that might help deescalate things though everyone unfairly looks to you to do so because the public tends to be myopic.

Where does this mess come from? Likely a mix of things. The ongoing process of wealth distribution vacuuming most of the income from the bottom ranks to flood the never satisfied upper echelons is one part of the problem. I am sitting here in Brazil where such wealth disparity leads to rampant crime and anyone with something worth stealing has to live in walled and guarded compounds or behind bars on their windows. Whenever wealth gets concentrated too greatly in too few hands it never ends well. In the U.S. we see the ongoing militarization of police forces and get the feeling that this isn't for our protection any more. The lower down the pecking order you are the more oppressed than protected a person probably feels.

The second major issues is a lack of respect for any law and order. This comes fro the top too. If bankers and politicians don't get held accountable, why should anyone else? I'm not advocating this, just stating a logical outcome. If police are seemingly not held accountable either (whether true or not) then the entire corporate/government system from top to bottom seems to have impunity and the ability to do anything to anyone. This is where the anger that can drive an insurrection really should be springing. Hopefully we are not there yet.

As for cops like the one in Minnesota, I don't think they are racist or evil people out to kill for the fun of it. I think that event shows how bloody scared they are nowadays. As respect for the law breaks down, the chance for any stop to turn ugly must weigh more and more on everyone. Now we get scared cops shooting people for little or no good reason. Then we get dumb maniacs shooting random cops for no good reason. Now we dance on the edge of having idiots on both sides determine the fates of many other people, maybe all of us if this really becomes an open insurrection over time.

How to fix things? I don't think that there are any easy cures for our malady but I think I know where to begin. Get rid of 'too big to jail'! That is the most corrosive element for the break down of societal belief in the fairness of the law. Throw the bankers, Hillary and their ilk in jail and the middle class will toe the line and respect the law. If cops are held responsible for their actions (fairly, not lynched in social media) then perhaps we can get things back into some sort of order again. Of course, if we continue to have an economic system that only serves the very rich then the social fabric will tear sooner or later. Someone else can take that problem on…

Fodder for the discussion.

  • Mon, Jul 11, 2016 - 01:18pm

    #3

    thc0655

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    More fuel for the fire

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/12/upshot/surprising-new-evidence-shows-bias-in-police-use-of-force-but-not-in-shootings.html?_r=0

new study confirms that black men and women are treated differently in the hands of law enforcement. They are more likely to be touched, handcuffed, pushed to the ground or pepper-sprayed by a police officer, even after accounting for how, where and when they encounter the police.

But when it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — the study finds no racial bias.

“It is the most surprising result of my career,” said Roland G. Fryer Jr., the author of the study and a professor of economics at Harvard. The study examined more than a thousand shootings in 10 major police departments, in Texas, Florida and California.

The result contradicts the mental image of police shootings that many Americans hold in the wake of the killings (some captured on video) of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.; Laquan McDonald in Chicago; Tamir Rice in Cleveland; Walter Scott in South Carolina; Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati; Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La.; and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

The study did not say whether the most egregious examples — the kind of killings at the heart of the nation’s debate on police shootings — are free of racial bias. Instead, it examined a much larger pool of shootings, including nonfatal ones.

  • Mon, Jul 11, 2016 - 04:56pm

    #4

    thc0655

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    More developments

Here's some ways we could reform policing.

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2016/07/11/dallas-police-chief-were-asking-cops-to-do-too-much-in-this-country/

“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country” said Brown.

“Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve” said Brown. He listed mental health, drug addiction, loose dogs, failing schools as problems the public expects ‘cops to solve.’

“Seventy percent of the African American community is being raised by single women, let’s give it to the cops to solve that as well” said Brown. “Policing was never meant to solve all those problems.”

Chief Brown's suggestion about what black men could do to help solve some of the problems we're having:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-11/dallas-police-chiefs-advice-young-black-men-everywhere

Rioting against police in Berlin?  Really?  I don't keep up with current events in Germany very much, but I think I would've heard if German police were killing innocent young men.  3,500 riot.  120 cops injured.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-11/civil-unrest-explodes-berlin-over-3500-people-riot-against-police

Hopefully, this won't go viral and be the inspiration for more violence: Black Lives Matter supporter breaks into officer's home over a disagreement on social media.  Off duty officer shoots and kills black male while his family tries to escape out a back window.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/off-duty-st-louis-county-officer-fatally-shoots-intruder-at/article_00c6c2bd-d559-5b78-a8f1-e78187dfa2a6.html

Former Philly Police Commissioner fears something really bad is going to happen at one of the presidential nominating conventions.  Philly has the DNC starting July 25.  Everybody's dreading it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/07/10/former-philadelphia-police-commissioner-said-america-is-sitting-on-a-powder-keg/?utm_term=.9d94adfe2de2

  • Mon, Jul 11, 2016 - 07:02pm

    #5

    Mark Cochrane

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    How does this decision happen?

First, I just want to say that I hope that neither convention ends up as ground zero for anything worse than a political embarrassment, especially since you will be on the front lines of one of those battles.

What I am wondering is if anyone else feels that we crossed the Rubicon in some ways when they blew up Micah Johnson with a rolling drone? Not much doubt about what he had done but now we are taking out US citizens on US soil with drones, judge jury and executioner in one package. We used to be disturbed about doing that overseas without a trial.

This decision was apparently (from reports I´ve read) taken after a few hours of ´fruitless´ negotiations. A few hours! Was there any imminent threat to anyone? Could they have just waited him out or used less lethal tactics? Hard to second guess without knowing the real situation on the ground at the time but it does lead to serious questions. For all of the horror of that day and the righteous anger of the police, I think that in terms of historical precedent, the manner of its conclusion is what will be remembered.

Are there existing ´rules´ or ´regulations´ for when the police can use drones or heavy ordinance to kill suspects? The level of collateral damage (aka deaths of innocent bystanders) has been very high to date when they are used overseas. Are we really supposed to tolerate that here too?

  • Mon, Jul 11, 2016 - 08:23pm

    #6

    Mark Cochrane

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    Perspective

There is no disputing that a lot of police have been shot in the last few days (just saw this in Michigan) but Jim Quinn at the Burning Platform just posted this (below). We are fed a perception of what is happening (violence spinning out of control) and we act on emotion. The statistical facts (where violence is concerned) seem to be that the police and our current societal situation are leading to less violence decade by decade, but it certainly ´feels´ like things are getting worse and worse. Are we spinning out of control or getting safer? Who wants us to feel which way and why? Statistics as presented below are not likely to make any police feel more comfortable at the moment regardless.

 

124 Police Officers Were Killed In The U.S. Last Year

Some more facts that don’t match the hero narrative. Police deaths while on duty are on pace to be at a record low in 2016, down 60% from the peak in 1974. Gun related homicides are also trending towards the lowest levels since 1900. In 1991 there were 24,700 homicides in the U.S. Last year there were just over 16,000 homicides, down 35% while the population grew by 26%. The number of guns owned by American citizens has tripled since 1991.

Does this match the anti-gun narrative of the left and the popos? Does the government want to confiscate our guns because of crime or because they are worried we will use them against a tyrannical establishment? The militarization of police forces isn’t to protect us. It’s to protect them from us.


You will find more statistics at Statista

Last Thursday night, a gunman in Dallas killed five police officers and wounded eight others, the worst toll on U.S. law enforcement since 9/11. It’s a dangerous job – 124 officers lost their lives last year with 51 dying so far in 2016. Generally, the number of police fatalities has fallen considerably since it peaked at 280 in 1974.

  • Mon, Jul 11, 2016 - 09:29pm

    #7

    thc0655

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    Death by Dallas PD robot

My Department has a VERY clear policy that time is no consideration at all when dealing with a barricaded gunman or severely mentally disturbed person.  Without some other issue forcing the hand of the police in that garage in Dallas, our Department would never have initiated lethal force against the shooter unless he came out shooting or tried to escape.  We would have kept switching out negotiators, SWAT teams and commanders, for days and days if it took that long, until the suspect surrendered or until he attacked again. I would've thought Dallas PD, being a big city outfit, would have had a similar policy.  It's theoretically possible DPD had an exigent circumstance that caused them to initiate action, but I haven't heard of it yet. For instance, the shooter said he had placed bombs in the area.  IF he had also said he had with him a remote detonating device and that he was going to start setting off the charges, that would've justified initiating lethal force instead of continuing to negotiate and wait the shooter out.

If there is legal justification for police to use lethal force because the suspect is endangering lives, then ANY lethal force would be ruled justifiable in court and by the prosecutor, though the officer would have some explaining to do.  Police policies and the expectations of the public are that if we absolutely must use lethal force that we use the weapons the Department has provided us with and trained us to use proficiently.  However, strange things happen and when your life is on the line, sometimes you use whatever method is at hand.  If, during a struggle with a homicidal suspect, the officer loses his firearm he would be within his rights to use any weapon or method he could come up with in the heat of the moment to stop the suspect and save his own life or someone else's life: knife, car, strangulation, etc. I guess an armed robot could be justified if there was no other choice or no better choice.  It sounds like the DPD improvised their bomb robot, and don't yet have an armed robot for missions like this.  I wonder if the robot survived the explosion that took out the suspect.

All that being said, "everybody" knows if you kill a police officer it's going to be very difficult for you to live long enough to surrender and be arrested, if that's what you decide to do.  Most suspects wanted for the murder of a police officer who want to be sure to survive arrange to surrender in the presence of a lawyer and the media so that there aren't any "misunderstandings."  However, when police murderers are killed during an arrest attempt it's usually when there are only one or two officers present and able to testify later as to why they had to kill him.  In that garage, there would've been too many witnesses for some vengeful officer to risk being charged with murder to kill the suspect right then and there in cold blood while he was trying to surrender.

 judge jury and executioner in one package

Whenever officers use lethal force and kill a suspect they have acted as judge, jury and executioner.  It can't be avoided, and it's the awesome and frightening power police are given by society.  Of course, the police decision to exercise that power is always closely scrutinized afterwards.  Some people don't understand this.  I've seen "activists" protesting a particular police killing by saying, "The victim was innocent and had not been convicted of any crime deserving death when the police shot him."  And they say that even when the suspect had robbed a store and engaged in a gun battle with responding officers. Their statement is true in this sense: the suspect had not been convicted of robbing that store nor convicted of shooting at police that day.  But that's only because it JUST happened and the suspect made a peaceful arrest followed by a trial impossible by initiating a gun battle with police.  Childish "logic."

 

  • Mon, Jul 11, 2016 - 10:29pm

    #8
    Luke Moffat

    Luke Moffat

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    Robot Loadout

[quote=thc0655]

I guess an armed robot could be justified if there was no other choice or no better choice.  It sounds like the DPD improvised their bomb robot, and don't yet have an armed robot for missions like this.  I wonder if the robot survived the explosion that took out the suspect.

[/quote]

Tom,

It'd be interesting to see whose decision it was to rig the robot with a bomb if this were the case. As soon as I heard about the incident with the robot my immediate reaction was, "could they not have armed the robot with a taser?" I'm sure others will ask the same question as well. It might have been a matter of practicality – i.e. did the Police Department have any non-lethal drone which they could deploy? And, if not, will any be built as a preference to explosive robots?

The other question I have is which officers are reviewed in the aftermath? Police procedures are outside of my field but I would assume, as a minimum, that were this a simple case of cop vs suspect with the suspect dying as a result of resisting arrest/dangerous behaviour then the officer who discharged his weapon would be under review along with any colleagues present? Now, with a remote detonation, who is under review? The robot operator? The officer who made the call to use it? Or the Police Department for not making non-lethal robots available?

And perhaps a question which can't be answered yet, is this the model going forward? That is, if police are becoming exposed to ever increasing risk then will the tendency be to deploy robots to those scenarios which are likely to result in loss of life? And how will the decision to pull the trigger be made?

Appreciating the insights,

Luke

  • Mon, Jul 11, 2016 - 11:01pm

    #9

    thc0655

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    Robot precedents

It'd be interesting to see whose decision it was to rig the robot with a bomb if this were the case. As soon as I heard about the incident with the robot my immediate reaction was, "could they not have armed the robot with a taser?" I'm sure others will ask the same question as well. It might have been a matter of practicality – i.e. did the Police Department have any non-lethal drone which they could deploy? And, if not, will any be built as a preference to explosive robots?

Someone is definitely going to be on the hot seat for this one, and it will be the highest ranking officer on location who was the tactical commander.  There will be zero ambiguity who that was.  This will be interesting to follow over the subsequent months.  Here in Philly we have some traumatic history with explosives so I know this would be something we would NEVER do, but Dallas is different.  

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

The group (M.O.V.E.) is particularly known for two major conflicts with the Philadelphia Police Department. In 1978, a standoff resulted in the death of one police officer, injuries to several other people and life sentences for nine members. In 1985, another standoff ended when a police helicopter dropped two bombs on their compound, which was a row house in the middle of Osage Avenue. This killed eleven MOVE members, including Africa and five children. Fire destroyed 65 houses and prompted widespread news coverage.[1]

Why force the issue with the suspect at all, Taser or no Taser?  Why not just wait him out?  Most barricaded gunmen give up, often out of exhaustion.  The problem with a robot deploying a Taser against a shooter with a rifle is that they probably had no way of attaching the Taser to the robot and firing it remotely.  But even if they overcame that, the Taser shocks for 5 seconds and then automatically stops.  You have to pull the trigger again to make it shock for another 5 seconds.  Recovery is instantaneous after the current stops (unlike on TV), so it would've been an unacceptable risk to officers who would have had to get to the suspect during those five seconds (if the prongs even attached properly and disabled the suspect) and that would be too high of a risk in my mind.  Tasers don't always work and I personally wouldn't want to charge a suspect armed with a rifle with only a 5 second window to get to him.  I would've waited him out for days if necessary (and perhaps secretly hoped he came out shooting instead of giving up).

The other question I have is which officers are reviewed in the aftermath? Police procedures are outside of my field but I would assume, as a minimum, that were this a simple case of cop vs suspect with the suspect dying as a result of resisting arrest/dangerous behaviour then the officer who discharged his weapon would be under review along with any colleagues present? Now, with a remote detonation, who is under review? The robot operator? The officer who made the call to use it? Or the Police Department for not making non-lethal robots available?

Everybody on the location of a use of force is interviewed, either as a witness who didn't use force, as one who did use force, or as an officer in command of the situation.  The investigation considers local and state laws, and departmental policies (which are not always the same thing).  So an officer could be found not guilty of breaking any laws, but guilty of breaking police department policies and disciplined accordingly.  In this case, everybody in that garage will be investigated to find out who did what, and why.  But the police investigation won't start until the District Attorney has done his/her investigation to see if they are going to be bring criminal charges.  So it will be months and months until the police investigation into the death of the suspect even gets started.  (Police are bound by employment contract to cooperate with internal investigations, but they still have 5th Amendment rights re: self-incrimination if criminal charges are possible. So, the DA goes first, then Internal Affairs second in this case in which police killed somebody.)  Mark my words: there will eventually be a civil lawsuit about this "wrongful death" and that will include the whole police department, the Mayor and the manufacturer of the robot.

And perhaps a question which can't be answered yet, is this the model going forward? That is, if police are becoming exposed to ever increasing risk then will the tendency be to deploy robots to those scenarios which are likely to result in loss of life? And how will the decision to pull the trigger be made?

The technological and ethical issues are intriguing.  I'll take any technological advantage I can get on the street, but there's a lot to consider.  This incident will push that discussion to the front.

  • Tue, Jul 12, 2016 - 02:12am

    #10

    Mark Cochrane

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 24 2011

    Posts: 1189

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    The more things change the more they stay the same…

Tom,

Thanks for clearly addressing these questions and providing actual information useful for understanding what drives the decisions. I have given up on MSM because they never seem to provide real information useful for understanding any situation, they just provide hype and blather. I imagine there must be a few real reporters left out there but they are getting rare as hen's teeth, or more likely, they aren't allowed time or resources to do real reporting anymore. I feel I got more out of a half hour of nightly news (dating myself here) than a day of watching CNN.

I had no idea about MOVE. Killing kids and burning down dozens of houses is just the sort of collateral damage that no one wants to see. I didn't realize how much variability there was in police procedure and regulation between states, cities and towns.

The technology question does pose some interesting possibilities and dilemmas. I have to imagine that flying drones in to spot shooters is coming soon if not an existing capability already for some cities. If you can do that, do you arm them too? If the shooter attacks the drone is the operator able to return fire? All in all, I agree with you on the wait them out strategy if no one is under immediate threat. I imagine that it gets dicey whenever there are hostages involved.

The real concern I have with the Dallas attack response is that they were originally flagging multiple snipers/collaborators. Of the four, three were not involved. Given the hot headed nature when cops are killed, as you mention in your post, what is the likelihood that someone innocent is going to get remotely killed through association or misidentification should the robo-killing continue? Rhetorical question, not expecting any definitive answers.

It is all too easy to be an armchair general on these sorts of things when the boots on the ground perspective at the time is very different. When I was in the military it was called use of 'deadly force' and we had specific rules under which it could be used, mainly being to protect your own life or that of others (and to protect nuclear weapons above all else!). There was an awful lot of drilling and training for all sorts of situations to try to make our responses more mechanical than emotional but whenever real casualties (not gun related) happened they seemed to require thinking outside the box. Sounds like it will be many months before we get the details needed to really make sense of this event in Dallas.

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