Oakland Cops Draw Guns at “Non-Threats” 28 Percent of the Time

 

“A recent study found that Oakland police officers drew their guns and pointed them at individuals who did not present a threat 28 percent of the time,” mercurynews.com reports. “The analysis came from Robert Warshaw, the federal monitor assigned to oversee the Oakland Police Department in the wake of the Riders federal corruption case, which settled in 2003. When officers draw their guns, they are required to file a use of force report explaining why. Warshaw’s analysis looked at reports of 80 incidents in which 215 officers had drawn their guns between Jan. 1 and March this year.” OK, that’s the media takeaway. Let’s stir it up a bit . . .

Extrapolating the sample period (three months) to a full year, considering the fact that Oakland employs 240 sworn officers, that’s 860 draws per year or 3.58 draws per officer per year.

In terms of IDing the unholster happy amongst them—should such a thing exist—we’d need to see the actual officers’ records. Many cops report they’ve never unholstered their gun in their entire career. There may be a small group of police whose frequent un-holstering pumps-up the overall average.

To know if some, most or all of the Oakland’s finest were guilty of brandishing (in the civilian sense), you’d also need to know the criteria for “proper” un-holstering. Back to mercurynews.com:

Warsaw said he found in 56 percent of the cases, an officer appropriately pointed a gun at someone. In 16 percent of the cases, he said there wasn’t enough information in the use-of-force reports to determine if the officers had acted appropriately.

In the rest of the cases, there was no indication that the officer or anyone else “faced imminent threat of harm” from the person at whom the gun was pointed.

Define “imminent” and “harm.” And then note: the threat could have come from an associate of the person looking down the business end of the cop’s gun. Or it might have been a situational threat (e.g. a potential perp at the scene of a shooting or armed robbery).

Also, a lack of an indication of a threat in a report doesn’t necessarily there wasn’t one in real life. It may simply mean the officer didn’t write the report correctly. The opposite may also be true. A cop in a department with a history of corruption and a bit of a rep for brutality might—gasp!—lie in his incident report and describe a threat that didn’t exist.

Bottom line: Warshaw was crunching numbers from a dubious source–rather than investigating each un-holstering incident, looking for independent corroboration of officers’ accounts.

Given the nature of the source material, the only conclusion I can draw is that Oakland cops are such a law unto themselves (i.e. arrogant) and/or intellectually challenged that 28 percent of them can’t even be bothered to lie—sorry—“spin” their incident reports in accordance with departmental policy.

Enough facts. Or . . . not enough facts. Let’s play the race card!

Warshaw broke down the bad-draw cases by race and found that 78 percent were black, 17 percent were Hispanic, and 5 percent were other ethnicities.

“That’s unacceptable,” [said Jim Chanin, a civil rights attorney who successfully sued the city in the Riders case]. “I realize sometimes that will happen, but it’s so disproportionate to one community that it backfires. Then you want them to be a witness in a crime, or cooperate with police, an all they remember is having a gun pointed at them.”

Oakland’s population is about 27 percent black, according to the 2010 census. In 2010, 74 percent of shooting suspects and 84 percent of armed or strong-arm robbery suspects were identified or described by a witness as being black. Those proportions so far this year are 66 percent and 83 percent, respectively.

Of 656 Oakland police officers, 43 percent of white, 21 percent are black, 20 percent are Latino and 13 percent are Asian, with 3 percent declining to state.

Now there’s a stat I like! Three percent of Oakland’s police force told the politically correct stat whores to piss off, my ethnicity in none of your God damn business. And they still have jobs?

Right. That’s it. If it’s good enough for cops with guns, perhaps U.S. gun buyers would like to leave the ATF ethnic declaration tick boxes un-ticked and write the words “Not applicable” on those federal forms.

Or not. Meanwhile, I’ll let the police union have the last word. In this case, I agree with the sentiment. Because unholstering is not the same as shooting. More to the point, if you get behind a threat, the OODA loop can turn into a noose. If you know what I mean.

“Police officers draw their guns to protect themselves. I’m concerned some might read this report as suggesting they wait until attacked before being allowed to defend themselves,” he said. “One of the nuances that isn’t discussed is that there’s a significant lag time between when a threat is perceived and when an officer is able to draw his or her firearm; in other words, if their gun hasn’t already been drawn when they’re attacked, it’s usually too late for them to return fire. And then we’re all attending yet another police funeral.”

comments

  1. avatar TTACer says:

    ““That’s unacceptable,” said Jim Chanin, “They should be pointing guns at more Whites, Hispanics, and Asians.”

  2. avatar michael says:

    That’s unacceptable,” [said Jim Chanin, a civil rights attorney…]. “I realize sometimes that will happen, but it’s so disproportionate…that it backfires. Then you want them to be a witness in a crime, or cooperate with police, an all they remember is having a gun pointed at them.”

    What a moron. So he’s saying that cops should not stop blacks because they will not cooperate with a later investigation, because they’ve been stopped? But since when do blacks as a group ever cooperate with cops? Where I live, on the other side of the country, there is always a shooting in the black area, and 20 people are always present. But no one ever sees anything. And if cops make “too many” preemptive stops, the area’s black city commissioner will be bringing out the race card. Privately the cops will tell you they’d just as soon not even bother responding to the calls for all the good it does.

    I blame blacks themselves for this state of affairs–and the liberal politicians that put up with it by making excuses for them. And an honorable mention goes to the local newspaper, written by mush brained liberals, and appealing to readers whose intellectual development stopped at the 10th grade. Finally, let’s not forget the attorneys who make their living off the ghetto lottery.

  3. avatar sdog says:

    “But since when do blacks as a group ever cooperate with cops?

    “bringing out the race card”

    “I blame blacks themselves for this state of affairs”

    any other racialized generalizations you’d like to make? i think stormfront is the website you are looking for.

    1. avatar matt says:

      I suppose you think black flash mobs dont exist either?

      http://kstp.com/news/stories/S2237158.shtml?cat=1

      Generalizations, including racial ones, aren’t necessarily wrong. Did you bother to read the article:

      “Oakland’s population is about 27 percent black, according to the 2010 census. In 2010, 74 percent of shooting suspects and 84 percent of armed or strong-arm robbery suspects were identified or described by a witness as being black. Those proportions so far this year are 66 percent and 83 percent, respectively.”

      1. avatar sdog says:

        sorry, what exactly does idiotic 16 year olds have to do with your “Blaming Blacks” comment?

        once again “Generalizations, including racial ones, aren’t necessarily wrong”

        right so in that frame of logic, all jews are responsible for killing jesus and all Latinos are ms-13 members and and all white people were cheering the Doughety gang on during their recent police shoot out.

        ALL population segments in this country possess a criminal element.blaming a entire “race” (which in itself is a social construct) for the actions of the dregs of society is wrong.

        1. avatar matt says:

          It always make your comments look legitimate when you go on a diatribe. When did anyone blame them for all the dregs of society? We just pointed out that they are responsible for a grossly disproportionate amount. Its even more disturbing when you factor in affirmative action.

          And regarding the Doughety gang, plenty of Chicago Police are cheering them on:
          http://shavedlongcock.blogspot.com/2011/08/dougherty-gangs-lee-grace-dougherty.html

  4. avatar sdog says:

    “A recent study found that Oakland police officers drew their guns and pointed them at individuals who did not present a threat 28 percent of the time”

    how exactly is pointing out that the 28% of people that the OPD are wrongfully pointing weapons at are Black or Brown?

    “pulling the race card”, do we understand how to apply this phrase correctly?

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    “unholstering is not the same as shooting”

    Of course that’s true, but since unnecessary shootings by police are so often covered up or written off with the same lame excuses (“I thought his iPhone was a Beretta”), we’re stuck with looking at unnecesary unholsterings. The difference between pointing a gun and shooting a gun is only a twitch of the finger, so 28% is one hell of a scary statistic.

    Is the study flawed? Dunno. Are there any studies that aren’t? Dunno. Do police slap leather when they shouldn’t? I don’t need a study to answer that question.

    1. avatar sdog says:

      “The difference between pointing a gun and shooting a gun is only a twitch of the finger, so 28% is one hell of a scary statistic”.

      it sure is a thin line btweeen life ande death for those 28%ers.

  6. avatar Silver says:

    This article somehow delivers total logic yet misses the implication completely. It states that 78 percent of wrongfully unholstered weapons were pointed at blacks, then goes on to point out how 74 percent of shooting suspects and 84 percent of armed robbery suspects were black.

    So, let’s draw a parallel to a doctor’s visit. A doctor examines you and finds an anomaly in some tests. If the anomaly indicated a problem that’s mild or easily treatable, no need to send you to the hospital or start freaking out. But if the anomaly has a high percentage of fatality linked to it, that doctor might get jumpy with sending you for further examination.

    Like most anything in modern times dealing with race, this is simply ignoring the humongous elephant in the room. I’m not defending uneven force or inappropriate unholstering, but can’t we be at all logical? Here, I’ll take race out of the argument so as not to damage any PC thugs’ delicate sensibilities.

    If the Joneses, while being a relative minority in population, are perpetrating the vast amount of violent crime, it’s simple logic to be more wary around potential conflict with them.

    That’s not racism; that’s numbers. I’d apply it to anything or anyone.

  7. avatar Ronald Pottol says:

    Ever lived in Oakland? In the flat part, towards the water? Perhaps next to the freeway, which is nice, because it means you almost never hear gunshots over the noise of the cars.

    And I’ve heard less than great things about Oakland PD, though they are better about bad shoots that BART cops (multi county subway system).

    I lived in that part of Oakland for better than two years, walking 1.5 miles home from a BART station after midnight, with out a gun, oh, and I’m white, if that matters.

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