Omaha cop (courtesy davyv.blogspot.com)

In the wake of the Waco biker shooting, where authorities refuse to release the video footage and the full autopsy reports on the bikers shot to death by police at Twin Peaks restaurant (post to follow), the question arises again: are cops trigger happy? Do they have a tendency to shoot fellow civilians without good cause and/or legal justification? Over at efficient.gov, law enforcement officers and criminal justice academics addressed the question. Their answers (republished with permission) after the jump. What’s your take? Are a small minority/some/many/most cops too quick on the draw, or not?

Tim Dees, Retired cop and criminal justice professor:

No. Most cops–better than 90%–go their whole careers and never fire their sidearms anywhere but on the pistol range. Most cops will go to considerable lengths to avoid pulling the trigger. Cops are regularly confronted with circumstances where they would be technically permitted to use deadly force, but they find some alternative way to resolve the situation. If you point a gun at a cop, there is an excellent chance he or she is going to shoot you. That’s about the only clear “green light.” However, there are many other situations where deadly force might be permissible. It’s rare for a cop to shoot in those situations . . .

There will always be some bad calls. The cop sees, or thinks he sees, a gun, and shoots in defense. Much of the time, the officer’s training and mindset (often shaped by recent events unique to the officer and his situation) weigh heavily on this decision.

India L. J. Mitchell, Retired police officer:

All I can say is that every officer knows that they will be put under a microscope by the news media, citizenry, the police dept itself, plus the Mayor’s office for any shooting that results in a death. They know they will be stripped of their gun, clothing and tested by blood draw for any medicines or alcohol. They will also be checked for gunpowder on their hands and clothes, all while being separated from anyone else, usually alone in a room, other than a Union rep.

They usually aren’t allowed to speak to anyone immediately after the shooting other than that rep and/or union attorney or the Internal Affair investigators and their family will be advised of the situation.It’s somewhat akin to being arrested for a crime and treated as such.They won’t be allowed to speak to the media about what actually occurred and the news media will then talk to anyone who may have heard, much less witnessed the shooting just to get a story to air.

They will talk to the person’s (who was shot) family who will say there was no reason for the police to have used deadly force, despite the fact that most likely they were not even there.If the officer is found to have used excessive force resulting in death, he/she could most likely be looking at a prison sentence, a lost job and at the very least….their lives will be irrevocably changed for the worse knowing they had to take a human life….justifiably or not. This doesn’t sound like what happens in the television and in movies, does it? But having been a part of a shooting I am speaking from experience.

Chris Everett:

Overall, no. Trying to compare US to German police is hopeless for the same reason that other comparisons fail… The US isn’t Germany. Different culture, different issues, different laws.There are about 800,000 police officers in the United states. If 1% of them are trigger happy, that’s about 22 times PER DAY that things will go off the rails. That’s 8000 per year.

The reality?  587 people killed by police in 2012. In a nation with over 300 million people, 587 getting killed by cops hardly seems to be an issue of significance. It should also be noted that most of them are armed… A situation less likely to happen in Germany or the UK.Certainly, there are people who are wrongly killed by the police. And unfortunately, police don’t seem to really learn from these cases, probably because they are so statistically rare. But they do happen, and here’s why:

1.  Poorly trained SWAT teams. A bunch of big guys with rifles does not make a SWAT team. Good SWAT teams train, A LOT, to AVOID the use of force. The idea of employing SWAT is to use methodology to minimize the need for the sort of brutish force that kills people. Note that GOOD swat teams almost never get implicated in “Bad Shoots”. It’s small town, poorly trained ones that do.

2.  Training that creates a mentality that everyone police encounter is a just escaped convicted serial cop murderer from death row. Yes, some people will kill a cop at the drop of a hat. The VAST majority of people won’t. You can’t train for the .000001 % of the time at the exclusion of the 99.999999% of the time.  Some departments do, and it creates cops that are on a hair trigger.

3.  A lack of training, especially firearms training. Cops who aren’t comfortable using their tools (including weapons) tend to use them wrong.

Lee The, BA Sociology UCLA:

One of the saddest statistics I’ve read about is the very rare cases of cops out of uniform (off-duty or undercover or detectives) being shot by other cops. Of the last 14 such incidents, 10 were of black cops in the process of arresting white perps when other cops arrived on the scene, assumed the black cop was the perp and the white perp his victim, and promptly shot the black cop.

This was born out by a 2007 study of Denver cops and civilians playing a videogame in which they had to make split-second shoot-don’t shoot-decisions based on glimpsing white and black men, some armed, others with a wallet or a cellphone in their hand.

The cops were better at spotting the dangerous images and shooting them than the civilians were, but it took measurably longer for them to deal with images of armed white men and unarmed black men than with armed black men and unarmed white men. Cops think blacks are more dangerous–even cops who are not overtly racist–and they behave accordingly.

For another example, “Reuters interviewed 25 African  American male officers on the NYPD, 15 of whom are retired and 10 of  whom are still serving. All but one said that, when off duty and out of  uniform, they had been victims of racial profiling, which refers to  using race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having  committed a crime.

“The  officers said this included being pulled over for no reason, having  their heads slammed against their cars, getting guns brandished in their  faces, being thrown into prison vans and experiencing stop and frisks  while shopping. The majority of the officers said they had been pulled  over multiple times while driving. Five had had guns pulled on them.”

No wonder blacks’ feelings about police forces being trigger-happy aren’t the same as whites’ feelings, in general. So are American police trigger happy? More so with blacks than with whites. More so in the South than most other parts of the country. More so with small town police departments in general. And more so if you have the misfortune of running into that “one crazy cop” in your precinct.

93 Responses to Question of the Day: Are The Police Trigger-Happy? 

  1. >where authorities refuse to release the video footage and the full autopsy reports on the bikers shot to death

    This smells like CYA.

    • The police chief claims the police only fired 12 rounds total. Which, compared to many police shootings is quite low. Think LAPD officers who riddled a pickup truck driven by two ladies delivering newspapers with bullets.

      Are police trigger happy? Some are, some aren’t. Some are struggling with 12 pound trigger pulls trying to get something to land on target.

    • It is not CYA. You do not release the videos because it is part of a criminal investigation. We have courts where this information is presented first, than it is released to the general public. We see how trying people in the media has worked out in Ferguson and Baltimore. Just be patient and you will get to see everything that the police have on the case. The defense attorneys under “The Morton Act” gets every piece of information the police have including the video and autopsy reports. So stay calm!!!

      • They’re conducting an active investigation of people they arrested weeks ago and are in the process of bring to trial?

        If you believe that one, I have some desert properties outside Orlando that I’d like to sell you…

        • What’s not believable about that? As long as there is more info to gather and process, there will be investigation, until the thing is irrevocably settled.

      • and yet other police departments have released video of current investigations to show the public when they believe the officers acted properly. it stinks of CYA

      • @Jon, there have been thousands of cases where exculpatory evidence has been withheld from the defense by overreaching prosecutors.

        Don’t take my word for it. Do your own research, and then talk to some defense lawyers.

        • So get to work, Ralph, and write us an article about overzealous prosecutors. I for one would find it most interesting, as I have seem multiple cases in the news were such things occur. The theoretical rule is that it is better that nine guilty men go free than one innocent man be unjustly convicted; the rule in practice is vastly different. Yet prosecutors who engage in such misconduct are rarely brought up on charges by their bar association, and among those charged, disbarment is a rarity. (I can think of one exception with the lacrosse players accused of rape, and boy was the punishment deserved!) it would seem that prosecutions–e.g. Zimmerman and the doctor in Marin county–are politically motivated, not motivated by any realistic assessment of the merits of the case or ultimate justice.

        • Ralph–Of course there have, “Nifong” and “Corey” are pretty much household words now. But that’s just it–those prosecutors were overreaching–big time. Not all of them do it. My question is–Morton Act? Never heard of it. Heard of “Brady v–was it US?? Anyway, it’s the SCOTUS case that says prosecutors have a duty to turn all exculpatory material in their possession over to the defense for inspection, etc.

  2. “In a nation with over 300 million people, 587 getting killed by cops hardly seems to be an issue of significance.”

    Unless, of course, you happen to be one of the 587 people.

    • “In a nation with over 300 million people, 587 getting killed by cops hardly seems to be an issue of significance.”

      And yet, the shooting of nine has become a national super-priority leading to the destruction or hiding-away of half the country’s cultural traditions.

      I guess it all depends on whose ox is gored.

      • Oddly enough, I see this idiotic, personally infuriating crusade against all things Confederate as something of a deflection from things greater immediate significance–like, for example, gun control. The battle-flag brouhaha has pretty much overwhelmed the usual suspects’ calls for more gun control in the national conversation at large.

  3. “No. Most cops–better than 90%–go their whole careers and never fire their sidearms anywhere but on the pistol range”

    Irrelevant. The cops are the Waco massacre were the SWAT part-timers: specially anointed pigsters who were given rifles, little training and licenses to kill.

    • So, let’s keep the cops and get rid of the death squads. (and yes, that means letting go all of the death squad members)

    • Anti logic.

      Question of the day: Are American gun owners trigger happy?

      Obviously yes. They’re a bunch of untrained, inbred, redneck, racist, tea party voting, beer swilling, overweight, white men with genital complex’s and are just out to slaughter young innocent black teens on their way to buy ice tea and skittles.

      • Boy oh boy, you sound exactly like an anti.

        But remember that cops are protected by the state monopoly on violence and all the legal benefits that bestows, such as extended “police bills of rights”, laws for “officer safety” fanaticism, and subjective feelings-based justifications.

        Check your government privilege.

        • Right. So because of that all police are gunslinging nut jobs. Just like how stand your ground protects all these Klan member gun owners while they murder black children right?

        • Nice non sequitur.

          But let me know when stand your ground applies to defending oneself against police home invasions.

        • Actually it does, and if you had half a brain, you’d know that you can lawfully defend yourself against a police officer, as was settled by SCOTUS during the 70s.

        • Correction: if you survive the onslaught.

          And recall the furor from the gangsters unions when Indiana passed a state law to reiterate that right.

        • So a man defended himself against government goons, spent four years in a government cage and had his life turned into a living hell, and finally was spared further punishment for the rest of his life by the skin of his teeth.

          Praise the Lord, the system works!

  4. “All I can say is that every officer knows that they will be put under a microscope by the news media, citizenry, the police dept itself, plus the Mayor’s office for any shooting that results in a death (that doesn’t involve a dog).”

    There, fixed that for him.

  5. “… What’s your take? Are a small minority/some/many/most cops too quick on the draw, or not?”

    I work closely with many of the Officers in my town and all of them are very hesitant to draw their weapons in any situation. They all agree that once the firearm is out it is very hard to deescalate the situation.

    Having said that, they all agree that there are a few instances where they will not hesitate to draw and/or shoot….. seeing someone reaching for a gun or someone holding a gun who then turns on them. They all agree they would rather shoot than be shot. As one officer put it… The paperwork sucks a lot less than a bullet wound.

    Your police in your town…. your mileage may vary.

    • … [police officers that Chip knows] all agree that there are a few instances where they will not hesitate to draw and/or shoot … someone holding a gun who then turns on them.

      Anyone else notice the huge problem with that criteria? Of course police are going to yell at someone who is holding a gun. And what is the natural reaction of someone when a police officer is yelling at you? You turn toward him/her to figure out what is going on — whether or not you have a firearm in hand. In other words the police that Chip knows will end up shooting anyone who has a firearm in hand without ever confirming that the “suspect” is actually a criminal.

      Why do police feel that they have no obligation to observe someone before engaging them? Why do police feel that a firearm in a person’s hands is sufficient cause to shoot them? Why are police unwilling to find cover and then verify whether or not a “suspect” is a criminal? (Finding cover before verifying a suspect’s status means the responding officer has radically reduced the probability of suffering a serious injury if the suspect turns out to be a violent criminal … and thus can actually take a few seconds to assess someone rather than acting on the default criteria, “if they turn with a gun in hand, shoot them!”.)

      • Not so sure you are qualified to judge them in that situation unless you have been there and done that. Theories are great but reality is often much different. Other than that, I like your theories. IF there is something that offers cover it is probably a great idea to use that cover and buy a few more seconds to assess the situation before shooting. Guessing that is not always the case.

    • If you are a cop, once you draw your weapon, there is LITTLE NEED to deescalate the situation. I don’t think the issue is whether or not the gun is being draw unnecessarily, its whether or not its being fired unnecessarily. Its a fine distinction, and too often fodder for a bait and switch discussion, and I think you illustrated that perfectly.

  6. Given the near-total lack of consequences to the use of deadly force, yes. First reaction is to reach for a firearm instead of pepper spray. If officer safety is motivation #1, where does the safety of the presumed-innocent individual beyond by the muzzle come in?

    • Jason Blackwelder
      Randall Kerrick
      Michael T. Slager
      Lisa Mearkle

      Just a few to Google.

      You should check out the research of Philip Stinson, 41 cops were charged with Murder or Manslaughter between 2006 and 2011. These are just two of many charges that can come from an on duty shooting.

      • “41 cops were charged with Murder or Manslaughter between 2006 and 2011. ”

        Oh no! 8 government employees a year faced charges for killing citizens. That is around one percent of the murdering thugs facing charges that would put a citizen under the jail.

        Any government employee who kills a citizen for any reason, justified or not, should lose his job, his pension and be blackballed from ever again taking a government paycheck.

        • “Any government employee who kills a citizen for any reason, justified or not, should lose his job, his pension and be blackballed from ever again taking a government paycheck.”

          Way to go off the deep end. If it’s a justified shoot then it’s justified. I’m down with that for an unjustified shoot, but under your insane scheme a paper pusher who gets his home invaded and kills his attacker will lose his livelihood. This proposal takes away any government employees ability to defend his or her own life without destroying it in the process. You went full retard. Never go full retard.

        • And yet here you are Yee. Unmurdered and still free to voice your “opinions”, such as they are. If the .gov were in the murder any body they felt needed murdering business either you’d be dead or they see you as not worth the effort.

        • “You’re still here, therefore the cops can’t be bad!”

          This is how stupid you sound.

        • Not even close to what I said. But in your fevered fantasy land that’s what you must have heard. In a nation where the .gov routinely murders people, and such nations exist, how do you explain your continued existence? After all, ttag is no doubt monitered by alphabet agencies and they must know of your rantings against them.

          Either our .gov is not involved in the routine murder of it’s citizens or you just aren’t important enough to bother with. Or both.

        • In the same way people survived in Nazi Germany: by actively being part of the murder system, or by laying low and quietly going along with the rules set by murder system.

          Considering that statistics on people killed by cops are not even legally required and the scant voluntary records show at least one thousand people killed per year by cops, “routine murder” is the appropriate phrase.

        • A thousand a year murdered by cops? Are you borrowing from mda’s game plan and including people like the gentle giant from ferguson in your stats?

          And if you’re going along to get along how does that absolve you from guilt in the state of things? Or when you called me a .gov murderer for serving my country and I said I did it in your name, does this mean that as you’re going along to get along you accept the things I did in your name?

          Care to clarify?

        • That’s cute, you’re still saying you murdered people for my sake. Without ever asking me. This is what government murderers actually believe.

          Come on, be honest, you did it for the benefits and taxpayer funded training which opened doors to yet more “employment” in parasitic government entities. Behold, a lifetime government parasite.

          Here’s the data, have fun: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/data-shows-1000-people-killed-cops-2014/

          I guess it is expected that a government murderer have a cavalier attitude about other government murderers doing their dirty work.

        • A bit extreme, If justified, why should they lose their pension or ability to work a .gov Job. I understand (if not agree with) them losing their current Job though. Makes it in their mindset shooting a last resort.

        • So, yee, you’re perfectly satisfied taking a head in the sand approach to what you consider .gov murders. Keep your head down, accept no responsibility and take no risks.

          But you have no problem at all with calling those of us that served mass murderers, true or not.

          Tell me, how does it feel sitting in trannysoreass’s lap as you type?

        • Why do you insist on diffusing the responsibility for your conscious, voluntary choice to kill for politicians? If there a subconscious guilt on your part? If you are so proud of your “service”, then stand up and take full and sole responsibility for your actions. Stand your ground, bro.

        • That’s what I do, bro. Never committed a murder in spite of your fevered wishes it were so. And you’ve covered yourself in glory this time. “Go along to get along”. Help load the ovens? The rail cars? Anything to keep Yee safe.

          By your own admission, you are truly a pathetic human being. But then, what can you expect from a troll.

          Have a day. And remember, karma has sharp teeth. 🙂

        • “The government said I can kill people so I’m not a murderer!”

          Using the Nuremberg defense in the year 2015. Try harder, brosef. 🙂

          “Help load the ovens? The rail cars?”

          Remember, government workers did all that. Legally.

  7. “In the wake of the Waco biker shooting”

    I was wondering this talking to my buddy from TSTC in Waco yesterday. Seems like theyre really trying to wait a news cycle or two, waiting out the public’s short term memory.

    Disappointed to see only one of the four brought up the issue of needing more training. Not surprised however by the politically charged “academic” from UCLA said, time to google fu some info about that study as I am really curious to see how it was implemented.

    As for Reuters, NYC was one of the big proponents of stop and frisk correct? I wonder how that played into the numbers of the 25 officers polled and if that could be a possible insight into department culture or something else.

    • More like, if 35 officers from all across the city respond to a call about 1 suicidal guy with a gun to his head, and all 35 empty their nagazines into him as he makes the mistake of using his gun-holding hand to wipe the sweat from his brow, then officers 2 through 35 are bloodthirsty trigger happy ghouls who went way out of their way to be in a scenario where they could blow someone away and get away with it.

        • In my area, two cops unloaded on a suicidal man who had a knife to his own throat. The cops said he “lunged” at them (from 20 yards away). 6 witnesses said he was pacing back and forth as he had been for some time. A judge decided the killing was justified, and now everyone around here knows not to call cops to protect a suicidal person.

      • I am not following that at all. It was interesting to see how fast on the trigger Jarrett Maupin was when he was put through use of force simulations. His song has been different since then.

  8. In general they are absolutely too quick on the draw…and too quick to unleash a barrage of gunfire on an assailant that offered no threat of deadly force, or they shoot way too many rounds as appropriate/needed in the situation.

    We have a serious problem.

    That goes both ways…these poor cops have to deal with hate-filled, crime-ridden, gang-infested, drug-driven inner city hoods plagued by a pervasive crime-glorifying culture…and a hypocritical collection of loud mouthed cop-haters (who want them dead). It’s enough to make me want to be trigger happy on a bunch of them…and I’m not even a cop.

    Doesn’t make it right but until society as a whole starts being more accountable for it’s trash, we can’t expect cops to be solely responsible for dealing with it in a saintly manner. It seems to be reaching a breaking point and the cops are by no means completely responsible for the trends we’re seeing.

  9. I have no idea. I do know that I was returning home from playing a softball game at Randolph AFB back in the early to mid 1980s. I passed through several small Texas communities along the way without incident. One of my sergeants left shortly after I did and took the same route, but was pulled over by a local deputy without cause. Neither of us were in uniform, and we were driving different vintage cars. Mine was a 1977 Ford Granada; his was a brand new Audi Fox, as I recall. The only other difference was that I am Anglo and he was Hispanic. You make the call.

  10. “Do they have a tendency to shoot fellow civilians without good cause and/or legal justification?”

    We would be better off if they were shooting fellow civilians (government employees not in the military), but they are way too trigger happy in shooting citizens.

    It is well past time to start disarming government employees. Citizens should be armed, not the king’s men.

  11. They sure are in Chiraq. I can’t comment about the rest of America. As I can’t remember any Po-leece shootings in my town south of Chiraq-but plenty in the town just north of me…

  12. To generalize and say all are is wrong. There however has been a change in police over the years whereas they are more apt to use their firearms without hesitation. There is a level of restraint, compassion, and the risk involved to serve and protect which is in decline. We do have a military concept adopted, this was never meant to be. Policing and military are supposed to be separate frameworks yet have been allowed to merge. This is where the root of the problem exists.

  13. I don’t think that most cops are trigger happy. I do believe that they have been too inculcated with the belief that getting home safe is the only thing that matters. Doing their job does not matter. Showing restraint does not matter. When the only thing that matters is getting home safe, all the rules of proper behavior go right out the window.

    Cops act the way they’re taught to act by their unions and peers. If a cop wrongly believes that you are standing between him and getting home safe, he will blow you out of your shoes without a second thought, because that’s what he’s been told to do.

  14. From Ann Coulters’ website.

    “surveys show that, out of 520,161 interracial violent crimes, blacks committed 429,444 of them against whites, while whites committed 90,717 of them against blacks. In other words, blacks commit more than 80 percent of all interracial violent crime.”

    Safe to say if police are the thin blue line and they deal with this everyday, then worrying more about a black than white man is warranted.

    What is interesting is in training drills police slow react to white criminals.

  15. Ok, I’ve got to give the police the benefit of the doubt here… I can easily see why there would be a compelling reason to delay releasing the video until after the investigation / trials.

    As for the specific incident in question: There were what 200+? Bikers involved in a Brawl / riot?
    and what 20 cops?

    Again, gotta go with the benefit of the doubt here, until the investigations are completed anyways.

    and Note: http://www.kwtx.com/home/headlines/Judge-Allows-Bikers-Attorney-To-Obtain-Video-Of-Twin-Peaks-Shooting-310946891.html

    The bikers attorney’s are getting video – so it’s not being held secret – just kept from release to the general public at this time. I’m good with that.

    • Chris– there were ~ 200 bikers present. Very few were involved in any kind of fight or brawl, witnesses vary as to the number. Some of those arrested showed up after the incident went down.

      Problem is– there was a 1PM meeting of Region 1 of the TX CCOI- a group addressing safety and political issues. Only one of the ‘outlaw’ clubs that had a history of conflicts is a member of Region 1.

      The other club however, decided since this Region 1 meeting was happening in ‘their territory’ of Wasco (it’s normally held in Austin) they would show up anyway to stress to the other ‘outlaw’ club they were out of their box. Cops knew the history between the two groups and showed up to have a presence on scene (… maybe they had an informant so they knew that what historically had been peaceful safety/political meetings might turn violent?) In fact, the ‘outlaw’ club claiming the territory showed up well early and were there in numbers prior to the 1PM scheduled start.

      Result was, folks who’d routinely attended meetings that had always been peaceful showed up. When the incident occurred– the police arrested almost everybody present without sorting out why they were there. Then held everyone on the same cookie-cutter charge, 1million dollar bails, and kept them in jail for a while resulting in lost jobs, issues with child custody etc.

      • Witnesses are always problematic. Especially in a volatile situation. Just like the rest of us civilians; cops do not need to wait until a threat to life and limb is underway – just have “reasonable belief” that they are in imminent danger.

        Yeah, it’s possible the cops panicked — Tell me you wouldn’t when there’s 20 of you and 200 of them; 200 of them if they were of a mind to could swarm the 20; even armed with rifles. It’s a dangerous situation.

        Now as to the Bail – yeah, I’ve seen some that seemed excessive too but that’s not the question here — that’s the judge, not the cops, cops have NOTHING to do with bail being set. So back to the 1 question were they trigger happy? I doubt it. I’d have expected a whole lot more then 9 dead & 17 wounded. These cops were not indiscriminately doing mag-dumps into the crowd.

  16. so the article is basically 3 apologists for what actually are, trigger happy cops and one asker of leading questions. Duh. Police work used to be done by civilians who were not trained to kill, they were trained to convince. Now it’s done by combat veterans who were trained more vigorously to a lethal doctrine. Former soldiers should NEVER be allowed to be police officers. They don’t fucking belong in the industry. They’re killers, trained and experienced killers and that’s fine. They did their duty already and we thank them for their service, now they’re broken toys though and they shouldn’t be used on the public. Just because they’ve got nothing but a high school diploma and 4 years as a marine fighting in the sand box doesn’t mean that they should go and dirty up what was an increasingly classy profession. If 587 isn’t enough to be a problem, what fucking number is?

  17. Better question of the day: Are gun bloggers stupid?
    Why ask a question that paints an entire profession with the same broad brush?

    • Because it’s the “profession’s” brush and their painting, too.

      Gun bloggers didn’t kill James Boyd or Amadou Diallo, nor did we shove a plunger handle up Abner Luima’s ass.

  18. I wonder about that.. is it that there are more cops committing unjustified shootings as opposed to justified shootings or is it there are more cell phones and cameras documenting the shootings before they can be ‘doctored up’ to make them look justified? I am thinking of the cop that shot Walter Scott 8 times in the back while he was running away and then was recorded picking up the tazer and dropping it near the body. Without the video we’d be giving him an award instead of him facing murder charges.

    • Good questions. We will never know the answers because the total number of killings by police in America is not reported, nor is the total number of police shootings where nobody is killed.

      I wonder why.

  19. If they bothered to record every account of police/feds needlessly shooting animals, then we’d see a very different picture.

  20. When I was 10 I had a officer pull a gun on me as I was running away and should “Stop or I’ll shoot.” Granted, I had just been vandalizing abandoned house in a neighborhood that was in the process of being demolished to build a shopping mall, however I will never forget the moment I spun around to stare down the barrel of a police officers gun pointed at me. My legs literally fell out from underneath me.

    I was unarmed, nothing in my hands, running away, and had an officer pull a gun on me. This was 18 years ago. So yeah, I’m of the mindset that police officers pull their guns way too quickly in situations. Maybe not all officers, but some certainly do.

  21. Here in NJ we recently had an incident where an off-duty cop shot his estranged wife to death in the presence of on-duty officers. Of course, the media & the ignorant public immediately demanded to know why they didn’t shoot him. Nowhere in all the articles written were any descriptions of the residential surroundings or the presence of bystanders addressed. Here we had officers showing restraint and they are crucified for not being trigger-happy.

  22. Cops are trigger happy. One sore point is that they deal poorly with and are not trained for the mentally ill. Yelling at someone with limited reasoning skills does not help and is counter productive.

  23. I was reading some of these comments and realised people get touchy when someone is shot by police. Yes I agree some cops are to quick with their firearms. But only a handful. You must realise that cops only have 2 to 3 seconds(If that much) to make a decisionto act whereas the community, lawyers, the media and the courts have weeks or months to question the cops actions. I was a cop for 46 years. I do not believe in taking a life but it depends on whose life is about to be taken mine or theirs. If it is proven that it was an unwanted shooting then let the cop pay for it but if not why condemn him/her. the use of firearms is a huge debate but we cannot ignore the fact that it is the person behind the firearm that is responsible not the gun. If the gun was responsible then that would give me the opportunity to blame my pencil for spelling mistakes or my fork for making me fat. So let us not generalise where cops are involved. You must also realise that criminals these days have more firepower than the police departments. Kids 9 years old (Maybe even younger) carry firearms. Put yourself in a position where you stare down a barrel of gun held by a criminal. What do you do? Beg for your life or ask him/her not to shoot or retaliate. Those of you who were never in a situation where your life was endangered please do not generalise. Cops are also human and have loved ones. They attend accidents where kids and mothers, fathers or someones loved one is fatally injured or attend a homocide with the same results and he/she has to live with that experience. they protect and they serve YOU not themselves. Why do you think soldiers come back from tours and are changed people. Its because what the saw and what they had to go through.Same as cops. I was born a cop and will die a cop and will defend the good work they are doing BUT I have no sympathy for rogue or corrupt cops.

  24. Getting rid of the stupid victimless crime laws might be a first step in reducing many violent deaths in this country. The DEA no knock SWAT raids are disasters waiting to happen.

  25. Not all cops have to be trigger happy. But if the ones who aren’t don’t do anything about the ones who are, then they are just as culpable.

  26. Are the police trigger happy?
    Are gun owners gun nuts?
    Are gays happy?

    Let’s just ask absurd questions to generalize and stereotype. Why… because clicks = $.

  27. As the rather low number of people killed by police in a year demonstrate, cops aren’t necessarily any more trigger happy than the US population at large, which also tend to shoot eachither more frequently than Germans do.

    But that is not really the entirety of the issue. Just as trust-eviscerating as sytemic trigger happiness if it indeed did exist, is the fact that in the few cases where a cop may have overstepped, the entirety of officialdom is much more likely to try to cover it up and downplay it, that they would be if the questionable shooting was done by a regular guy. Hence, even absent evidence of systemic trigger happiness, there is still a culture in place that is needlessly tolerant of it, as long as the culprits are cops. And, just as dangerous, perhaps needlessly INtolerant of any kind of shooting by non cops.

  28. “The reality? 587 people killed by police in 2012.”

    And 1146 killed in 2015. Isnt that a horrible huge uptick in just 3 years? It looks like another 1000 will die in 2016.

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