Republished with permission from forcescience.org

Police officers are granted special considerations under current use-of-force laws–a fact that some reformers want to change. If that happens, “the result will be a catastrophic deterioration of law enforcement services and more violent and other crime,” according to a compelling article on police legal rights appearing recently in a magazine for criminal defense attorneys . . .

As high-profile police shootings continue to grab headlines, “[e]motion is being used to attempt to eradicate long-settled law that strikes a balance between the rights of police officers and suspects,” the article states. Some proposals aimed at reducing alleged excessive force reflect a profound misunderstanding of force dynamics and would “endanger police lives” by limiting officers’ constitutional protections, the article contends.

Written by veteran police attorney J. Michael McGuinness of Elizabethtown, NC, the article appeared in the May issue of The Champion magazine, a publication of the National Assn. of Criminal Defense Lawyers. McGuinness has been recognized for “outstanding advocacy” by the National Assn. of Police Organizations for his quarter-century of experience in handling civil and criminal legal matters for law enforcement.

Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, recommends widespread exposure of the article. He told Force Science News: “McGuinness’ message is vitally important both for reassuring officers about their legitimate use of force and for helping agencies educate civilians about the realities of dealing with uncertain, rapidly unfolding conflicts that may have controversial outcomes.”

The article, titled “Law Enforcement Use of Force: Safe and Effective Policing Requires Retention of the Reasonable Belief Standard,” can be accessed in full on the Force Science website at: www.forcescience.org/champion.pdf

REFORM GOALS. McGuinness wrote his article as counterpoint to another piece in the magazine by three lawyers whose practices appear to deal primarily with white collar crimes.

The failure of grand jurors to indict Ofcr. Darren Wilson for at least involuntary manslaughter for shooting Michael Brown in Ferguson (MO) led these authors to propose that existing state statutes be substantially changed to “properly calibrate the permissible use of deadly force” by officers. (In recounting details of the Ferguson case, the writers, incidentally, describe Wilson as shooting Brown with a “semi-automatic revolver.”)

Specifically, the trio advocate enacting laws that would permit police to use deadly force only when “actually necessary” to make an arrest, thus enhancing the “rights of citizens to be free from unjustified” shootings. “In other words,” they write, “police officers’ subjective perspectives should not govern whether they are charged with committing a crime. Only homicides committed by the police that are objectively justified should be considered lawful.”

This standard, they say, “would empower grand juries (and petit juries) to determine if [an] officer committed a crime, regardless of [the] officer’s subjective belief that the use of deadly force was necessary.” This goal, they write, merits “immediate, concrete action.”

McGuinness brands this intended reform as “draconian” and “dangerous.” Along with “the recent public brouhaha” over police shootings, the demand for change stems, he claims, from the biased emotional pressure of interest groups, a fundamental ignorance of the life-threatening risks cops face daily, and “a lack of understanding of the most basic principles of use-of-force law.”

SPECIAL RULES. Since the late 1980s, McGuinness writes, statutes and case law have solidly and for good reason established a “special set of rules” regarding police use of force that is “substantially different from traditional tort and criminal law principles,” because of the “unique context” of law enforcement.

At the core, he explains, is the “reasonable belief” standard. This insulates LEOs from criminal and civil liability if an involved officer “reasonably could have believed” that the force used was necessary and appropriate

A perceived threat does not have to prove accurate–only reasonably apparent. “Honest mistaken beliefs in many enforcement environments are common and easy to make,” McGuinness writes, and may result in escalated force. But misperception “does not equate with criminal intent.”

Jurists and legislators have realized that circumstances can “materially impede well-reasoned instantaneous decision-making in potential life or death scenarios,” McGuinness explains. “Some of these include darkness and other poor lighting conditions, glare, other visibility constraints, rapidly evolving circumstances, uncertain terrain, reflections from police lights, noise, agitated suspects and or witnesses, and anxiety and emotion…along with hostile suspects who make foolish sudden furtive movements into pockets, waistbands, purses, and other locations where deadly weapons may be hidden….”

He points out that LEOs must “react to apparent dangers and apparent weapons” because their decisions often have to be made in split seconds, not permitting time “to wait to ascertain with certainty” a precise weapon or threat.

McGuinness quotes directly from pivotal court decisions defending officers’ judgment calls even when suspected dangers turned out not to exist. And he notes, despite time pressure and ambiguous environments that foster the likelihood of error, that much more often than not, officers are right in their threat perceptions, thanks to their training and experience in analyzing human behavior.

HOT TOPICS. In building his case for retaining the “objectively reasonable” standard, McGuinness addresses such hot button topics as the firing of multiple rounds to stop a threat, the delivery of shots to a suspect’s back, and the provocative, “de facto suicidal” behavior of some offenders (including Michael Brown).

He explains the legal foundation for the doctrine granting qualified immunity to officers in civil cases and the “substantially higher” liability standards for criminal prosecution. “There are compelling reasons why few officers are criminally convicted of excessive force,” he writes. These include standards of “willfulness” and of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Decades of cases have demonstrated that true actual police misconduct by criminal excessive force is indeed extremely rare,” he says.

RUSH TO JUDGMENT. In reviewing the Supreme Court’s landmark Graham decision, McGuinness reminds that in judging an officer’s use of force, the “totality of the circumstances” must be considered and that Monday morning quarterbacking is prohibited.

Yet, “many who opine about police use of force by loud speakers before the witnesses are even interviewed do not objectively assess the totality of pertinent circumstances. The typical headline-grabbing, distorted media sound bite often goes for this punch line: ‘Unarmed youth gunned down in cold blood by police officer.’ Many do not want to hear a full account before labeling an honorable police officer as a murderer.”

In a break with past practices, he charges, “More police officers are now being indicted because of interest group pressure on elected prosecutors,” a “politicization of law enforcement which threatens the core of effective policing.” This “increasing criminalization of American policing is among the most dangerous legal developments in law enforcement jurisprudence in recent decades,” he believes.

He singles out for criticism the prosecutor in Baltimore who brought criminal charges against six officers last May after riots over the death of a prisoner. Through her public remarks, McGuinness claims, she has ensured that the officers “will not receive a fair trial.”

REFOCUS. In conclusion, McGuinness argues that “what happened in Ferguson is not a reason for any reform at all.” He believes that those who would vengefully change the prevailing rules of force, based on “incomplete facts and unreasonable beliefs,” should instead focus their energies on the real threshold of force problems: the behavior of suspects.

“Suspects and others who engage in hostile threats to the safety of officers and bystanders or make movements inferring a possible deadly threat are creating havoc for themselves,” he writes.

“Police officers do not want to use deadly force.” But they “regularly face severe risks in split-second environments like no other professionals…. Violence against law enforcement officers has exploded in recent years to horrific levels…. [D]eath and injuries to officers are so prevalent that a new term should be coined: suspect brutality….”

Urging that the focus be shifted away from efforts to target police with “misplaced” reform, McGuinness quotes from a 6th Circuit federal case, Smith v. Freeland:

“[W]e must avoid substituting our personal notions of proper police procedure for the instantaneous decision of the officer at the scene. We must never allow the theoretical, sanitized world of our imagination to replace the dangerous and complex world that policemen face every day. What constitutes ‘reasonable’ action may seem quite different to someone facing a possible assailant than to someone analyzing the question at leisure.”

Recommended For You

115 Responses to Police Attorney: Use of Force Reform Will Bring Catastrophe

  1. Maybe It’s the hangover, but I had a hard time following this article. Are they maintaining that the police having a lower standard for justifiable homicide is a good thing? If so, why should the police, which have ‘tons of training’, better equipment, paid attorneys, and nearly limitless backup at the touch of a button, be held to a lesser standard than myself?

    • My guess is that there are many people who want us dependent on government for something, if not food or housing then medical care or hurt feelings. If self-defense or home defence is inflicted with quagmire of laws and regulations, people would give up and need cops more, but the police don’t want that legal fustercluck to apply to them, because they are not stupid.

      • actually they are. think of babies burned by flash/bangs in a “good faith” raid on the wrong address. how many times have the general populace been assaulted by a bunch of “exempted” legal gangbangers? waco, ruby ridge? immunity leads to sloppy work. immunity protects bad actors and their handlers. the “everyone not in police uniform is a known criminal one step away from committing another felony pervades every dept.

    • you could not have made this point any better. i don’t see how anyone could read this and NOT agree with what you have said.

  2. Be nice if we have the same protections as the police when we have to make the same judgement calls.

  3. i would be inclined to support “special” rules for police once the forces take the responsibility and initiative to swiftly dismiss and charge the true bad actors. advertise those actions, and the pressure from the emotionally unhinged might relent. until the forces show determined, public willingness to “throw the bums out”, i will be suspicious of gangbangers with badges.

    • That’s the problem with the position the cop attorney took. The rules for responsibility are so loose, you can’t reach that justification. If he wants to maintain an exemption for increased use of force by the police, it needs to be a defense, not an immunity.

      Let the cop be charged, let the facts come out, and let him explain how the circumstances led to the perception that force, lethal or not, was needed and that it was appropriate. It’s their community that will be judging the facts, and since they exist to protect and serve, I’m sure they have nothing to fear.

  4. All I know is this, the cops are not the same as they used to be. I used to tune those cool KZ1000’s for the local Sheriff. State Patrol lived two houses down. Was related to retired city cop and indirectly to a County detective. I recall accurately how it used to be, and it isn’t this way anymore. The militarized police, the common use of SWAT teams, the defensive attitudes, it’s no wonder people are not happy with the police.

  5. No more double standards. No more immunity. Period.

    They are every bit as civilian as I am, and no cheap costume with a badge and a gun changes that, full-stop. They must be held to a standard every bit a rigorous as we would be, if not higher. To do otherwise only flies in the face of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and makes a complete mockery of the Rule of Law that all peace officers feign to uphold — and endangers both the police and the citizenry alike.

    Oh, and ending the failed “War on (Some) Drugs” and changing the culture in police departments (i.e. not throwing whistle-blowers completely under the bus for once) are things that would go a fair bit farther to solve use of force problems than practically anything.

    • My Batman Holloween costume cost $30. A tailored uniform shirt is $115. My trousers are $140, also tailored. The Altama combat boot were a little over $100. My undershirts run $6-25 apiece, depending if they are Walmart, Hanes or Under Armor. Most of the rest of my uniform was provided at taxpayer expense, except for numerous holster, knife, gun light and flashlight upgrades.

      The personal cost of my uniform items ran me more than the cost my $800 suit I wore to my wedding.

      • Ha! Sounds like quite the racket. Of course, the same could be said of all the military uniforms that I had to buy, once upon a time. Took more than $1,000 out of my first pay-checks after basic, not to mention all the replacements I bought later. LOL

        • Ya but that’s for uniformity. Uniforms are for uniformity, and for differentiating between the genuine article and someone pretending.

          Same goes for militarized cops. Are they the genuine article? If so why is that needed? (Not that the answer may not be acceptable, just that the civilians they serve should be entitled to that answer) Or, are they just pretending?

  6. This has so many holes in it, Swiss cheese looks airtight by comparison. Let’s start by dissecting the words herein. “Reasonable belief.”

    What do these two words mean?

    Let’s take them to the dictionary:

    Reasonable:

    1. (a) being in accordance with reason, (b) not extreme or excessive, (c) moderate or fair, (d) inexpensive
    2. (a) having the faculty of reason, (b) possessed of sound judgement

    Belief:

    – A feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true
    – a feeling that something is good, right or valuable
    – a feeling of trust in the worth or ability of someone

    Let’s take some recent examples of police behavior that utterly destroy any assumption of “reasonable belief” by the public:

    1. The shooting by the LAPD of two women delivering newspapers in the pre-dawn darkness. Neither they, nor their vehicle, matched the suspect profile. The police, (at least seven of them) discharged over 200 rounds into the vicinity of the women’s pickup, injuring them and scattering rounds downrange into homes, vehicles, etc.

    A “reasonable man,” possessed of sound judgement, would have looked at said vehicle and said “No, that’s not the pickup we’re looking for” and withheld fire. Actually, that’s not completely true. A “reasonable man” with an IQ north of room temperature would have looked at the vehicle and never pulled his weapon out of the holster.

    The “belief” part of reasonable belief also utterly fails us here. I don’t think there is anything good, right or valuable about having a couple of innocent, middle-aged women lit up in the streets while delivering newspapers.

    2. Pick any case where the police have conducted a no-knock dynamic entry on the wrong address, with attending injury or death. A “reasonable man” would read the warrant, double-check it, make sure they had the correct address and not proceed until and unless he had the correct address. A “reasonable man” would also exhaust other options to capture a suspect without resorting to such high-risk schemes.

    Again the belief half of the term also fails. There is nothing good, right or valuable, or trustworthy, about having someone kick in the wrong door because they could not be troubled to read the warrant.

    3. Pick any case where the police have executed a no-knock warrant on an address based upon the testimony or “evidence” given by a convicted felon or a felony suspect in return for favorable treatment of said felon or suspect, without any effort to corroborate said information. A “reasonable man” would know that in such a situation, many people would lie like a cheap rug to get their “pro quo” part of the bargain, and that such “evidence” should be treated as highly suspect until and unless it is verified against other sources.

    In these cases, the belief side of equation fails even more strongly. I don’t have any logical or reasonable need to believe someone who is a felon or felony suspect – unless, that is, we collapse any and all trust in the police departments and we can assume that felony convictions and suspects are railroaded by the cops more often than not.

    After seeing so many blatant violations of reason by LEO’s, the public loses the belief that law enforcement is staffed with reasonable people – and this lack of belief of LEO’s are reasonable,leads to a collapse in the “reasonable belief” doctrine. After so many wild, outlandish, over-the-top tactics are used (eg, flashbangs into baby cribs), the public also loses any belief in the goodness or even the utility of law enforcement.

    And so, where we are.

      • It means unless a cop is faced with an actual, direct assault with a firearm (any other weapon does not justify a shooting), the objective facts will result in criminal prosecution. It also means any bullet hole not completely in the frontal 180degrees of a person will be objectively regarded as an unnecessary and unjustified shooting.

        • Just exactly as it would happen for any of us “little people” who are forced to defend ourselves. Cops are not even one iota different from us, and should be treated no differently.

          Oh, and if you think that being assaulted by nothing less than a gun would be anything less than a justified shooting, you’re categorically wrong going back to at least Brown v. U.S. in 1921.

          “Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife. Therefore, in this Court, at least, it is not a condition of immunity that one in that situation should pause to consider whether a reasonable man might not think it possible to fly with safety or to disable his assailant rather than to kill him.” — Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.

        • Not really, no. Completely different culture there in the U.K. — and thank goodness for that — clearly making it a purely apples-to-oranges comparison.

        • If our culture can change to embrace gay marriage and unfettered immigration from south of Texas, then the culture can change to accept and respect unarmed police. Part of fundamentally transforming America.

    • “And so, where we are.”

      Unfortunately.

      Now we have the fun of waiting until it hits rock bottom.

    • DG,

      That’s where we are *sometimes.* Unfortunately, it’s easy to cite the most ridiculous violations of due process by police. And those issues should be dealt with accordingly. If police abuse authority than they should be punished.

      Not all police are that way. I could similarly argue that your gun rights should be removed or severly curtailed based upon civilian carelessness. I could point out murdering boyfriends, idiotic football players, or even gumsmiths who ruin firearms.

      Rather, I judge everyone on their individual actions and the totality of the circumstances surrounding them. Blow a red light? That’s a legitimate ticket. Driving drunk? A few hours in jail until you sober up. Raped your date? Multiple years in prison. Murder one? Life in prison. Multiple murders? Firing squad.

      I don’t see any reason to give police any favoritism in the process, and I’ve taken drunk cops to jail. And I’ve met murdering cops who’ve gone to prison. Rightfully so.

      So rather than paint all cops with a broad brush, let’s just hold individuals – particularly politicians and police chiefs – accountable for their actions. Whether they wear a uniform or not. And don’t try to punish me because of the actions of someone else, and I’ll do the same for you.

      • The attitude that DG and a great many others hold (and rightly so) isn’t going to change unless and until the good cops stop actively covering up or staying silent about police misconduct, police misconduct is actually punished with at least the same consistency and severity as ours is, and police departments stop throwing whistle-blowers completely under the bus and trying to actively destroy every single solitary aspect of their lives. That change can only happen, peaceably anyway, from the inside. Lord knows damn near nobody inside gives a rat’s ass about whatever is said on the outside by anybody, in any case.

      • the problem with that is that its very easy to not hold police officer’s accountable, and its very easy to ignore simply because so many of them will refuse to “snitch” on each other.

        at the very least, there needs to be transparency, or most of these forces will NEVER be held accountable because of the blue wall of silence and the powerful unions surrounding them.

      • Accur81,

        I trust that most police officers are good people, and I support the notion that they should have a different legal standard for use of justifiable force. To a point. I certainly wouldnt want to put myself into a potentially dangerous situation without it.

        What I don’t understand is where the line is for criminal negligence. Wrong address no-knock raid seems very negligent to me…..same with flash bangs in cribs, etc.

        What I don’t want to see is a police officer losing his life and family because he shoots someone pointing an air soft gun (with a painted black tip) at him. The same protection is given to first responders who, may try to give cpr to a man having a heart attack but may not be held liable for breaking his ribs in the process. Similarly, a lifeguard may not try to give that an a traqiatomy because that would be negligent. There has to be a middle ground, and, to be fair, I feel that the media may be one of the problems here. If it bleeds it leads puts both of these situations into the public eye, front page special, while the clean up, and follow ups get Buried in the c section 6 months later. What I’m trying to say, is that largely I agree with the premise of this article. Police need some protections. But they also need accountability, and that doesn’t always happen in the view of the public if it happens at all.

    • I have great respect for your knowledge as a gunsmith that you have demonstrated many times here, and an appreciation for skill as a writer as well, but you are not a lawyer, and your deconstruction of “reasonable” and “belief” do not accord with the meaning of this phrase “reasonable belief” upon which the jury will be instructed in any given case. Once the word “reasonable” is injected into an instruction, what we are dealing with, definitionally, is an objective test, not a subjective test. In other words, while the officer may subjectively believe that his conduct was lawful, and may even testify to that belief, the standard is whether a reasonable person in the officer’s shoes, under the totality of the circumstances, would have concluded that lethal force was justified.

      So let’s turn to your examples. In the shooting of the newspaper ladies, the City of Los Angeles concluded that the officers were NOT justified i using lethal force, and paid a huge sum (quickly I might add) to resolve the civil claims asserted by thees women (only one of whom was shot, by the way). In an “no knock raid” at the wrong address, and specifically where the warrant list a different address, the entry is unlawful and damages are typically awarded against the officers involved and their employing agency. (And in my experience, such cases are quickly resolved as well if an agreement can be reached as to the damages suffered.)The real hard cases are where the warrant, lawful on its face,lists the wrong (or old) address; in such cases, except for the officer who obtained the warrant, other officers who relied upon it are generally held to have reasonably relied on the facial validity of the warrant, even if someone was injured or killed.

      It must be remembered that “police immunity” is a misnomer. It is not an absolute immunity, but a qualified immunity–qualified by the objective “reasonable police officer in the same situation” rule. If a jury can look at the totality of the circumstances and conclude, yeah, what the officer did was reasonable, then there is no liability. But where the officer makes an error (or an intentional act) that any sane person can see is wrongful, liability attaches. And when an officer beats the crap out of a “suspect” with no rhyme or reason, as has happened too many times, then liability attaches. And there are many many times when substantial damages are awarded.

      • Ok, let’s talk about how objectively ephemeral the concept of “reasonable” is:
        – juries are not made-up of knowledgeable gun owners
        – juries are not made-up of experienced gun owners
        – juries are made up of people not quite nimble enough to avoid jury duty
        – juries are allegedly, but not provably, made up of peers
        – a juror looks at what is reasonable through their own subjective lenses
        – – jurors believe themselves reasonable person, and generally would not own a firearm
        – – jurors believe themselves reasonable persons. and if faced with a cop would not resist/fight/challenge
        – – jurors believe themselves reasonable persons, and would not settle any confrontation with a weapon
        – – jurors believe themselves reasonable persons, and if faced with someone with a gun, would run away
        – – jurors believe themselves reasonable persons, and would never attack someone from behind (shoot in the back, or someone fleeing)
        – – jurors believe themselves reasonable persons, and if shot once would immediately stop whatever they were doing and give-up
        – – jurors believe themselves reasonable persons, and cannot conceive of any reason to shoot someone – ever
        – – jurors believe themselves reasonable persons, and would be capable of recognizing danger and diffusing the situation through negotiation

        And from this you would conclude that long after the fact and a long way from the incident, reasonable jurors would arrive at an objective determination of what is reasonable?

        • Juries are generally composed of individuals whom the attorneys feel they can most easily sway to their argument, and they voir dire the independent thinkers and the rest out at the first opportunity.

      • Looking at the examples you cited of shootings found NOT to be justified, how much time did those cops spend in prison? How much of the damages did they pay out of their own pockets?

        • Bingo.

          Academic legal hand twisting over the word “reasonable” as it’s instructed to a jury does not change the fact DG was ultimately making: the standard of “acceptable behavior” is very different, in practice, for cops and for everyone else.

          Take any one of those cases where there was a big “payout” (not by the cops themselves!) and make it one of us doing that shooting and there would be jail time and crucifixion in the pop press.

      • Counselor, I would posit that we are now debating how many angels may dance on the point of a pin.

        Because the problems in law enforcement have not only been left unaddressed in the last 20 years, but in fact additionally funded and amplified, we’ve moved a bit beyond legal dissection of the terms. We have people killing cops in broad daylight as supposed “retribution.”

        What the public sees is behavior that is outlandish and unreasonable, (for any definition of the word “reasonable”), and lack of real accountability thereafter. When 7+ cops light up two middle aged women delivering newspapers in the pre-dawn darkness, what the public wants isn’t a cash settlement. The cash settlement is a) going to the victims, who need restitution and b) ultimately coming out of the taxpayers’ pockets, so there is no real penalty for the officers involved.

        No, what the public wants is for those trigger-happy morons to be banished from carrying a badge with a gun for the rest of their lives. Cash settlements don’t address the problem perceived by the public: that there are people lacking in sane and reasonable judgement empowered to carry guns whilst wearing badges.

        • Such remedies cannot be granted by the civil justice system, but are almost invariably dealt with internally. Yes, the could and maybe should be charged with negligent homicide, but as a practical matter, the DA will not prosecute any but the most egregious cases. Any DA who did otherwise wold find himself unable to obtain police cooperation in prosecuting cases.

          Let’s talk abot the award of damages for a moment. If you are an employee and are involved in an accident during work hours in a company vehicle, both you and your employer will be sued. But only the employer will pay any damages. Good old respondeat superior. It is the same for the police. But there are exceptions, primarily where the officer/employee engages in intentional misconduct,, such as raping pretty drunk drivers in exchange for letting them off. In such a case, the officer will go to jail, and will be liable for damages for which there will be no indemnity from the public employer

        • state-sponsored, state-sanctioned extortion. unnecessary deaths of ‘civilians’ is a small price to pay in order to get cops to do a little actual copping,

    • At the core, he explains, is the “reasonable belief” standard. This insulates LEOs from criminal and civil liability if an involved officer “reasonably could have believed” that the force used was necessary and appropriate
      He explains the legal foundation for the doctrine granting qualified immunity to officers in civil cases and the “substantially higher” liability standards for criminal prosecution. These include standards of “willfulness” and of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.
      The above is just a blank check for LEOs to be totally irresponsible with few checks and balances. Too many episodes of SWAT teams throwing flash bangs at babysitters, babies, toddlers, and cribs. Too many cops just blasting kids with toy guns and pets. Too many cops lighting up vehicles with people in them for no reason at all. Let alone all the harrasment and false arrests.
      It is just carte blanche with our current policies..

  7. People don’t want to be responsible for themselves.

    Create unconstitutional police forces.

    To do the impossible task of being responsible for someone else, they have to cross the line, infringe on Rights, and sometimes do other bad things.

    Special protections and vast infringements are OKed by the same branch of government to which the Police belong.

    Same branch then tells us, many times, in many court cases, that they cannot be held accountable for their failures to do the impossible OR their crimes against those they’re supposed to be protecting/helping.

    Granted a license to kill and commit other attrocities with impunity, those who should be in prison end up being employed in the job where they put others in prison. Sick and Evil is not usually Stupid.

    People get tired of it and demand that the sheepdogs turned rabid wolves be reigned in.

    But, still refuse to take responsibility for themselves.

    Yes, it’s going to be ugly.

    That is the natural order of things.

    If The People refuse responsibility, they suffer the consequences; be it by demanding an Orwellian Dystopia, or by their own hands after rejecting it and still refusing responsibility…

    Take the law into your own hands? Uh, when was it removed?

  8. You libertarians will get your utopian world when the police have no gun. I hope you move to these cities when they disarm the police.

    • Libertarian… I do not think that word means what you think it means. Please show me any instance of a libertarian advocating the disarmament of… well, anyone, actually.

    • And you Statists will have to continue living in the Orwellian nightmare of your own creation if you chose to continue giving the police complete and total immunity from any wrongdoing whatsoever like you in fact have been. I hope you can learn to love it to the point of looking into the mirror and honestly say that you’re proud of yourself for creating this monster.

    • Libertarians move to a city? I think you don’t know, not only what that word means, but a lot more about reality…

      No one who loves freedom lives inside city limits intentionally, because there’s even less freedom inside city limits than outside. As a rule. Always.

      In fact, no decent person lives inside city limits on purpose. That’s where all the dickbags are…

    • No-one is complaining about police having guns. We’re complaining about the ways they use said guns, especially when the same attitude practiced by us when exercising our RKBA would result in a very long prison sentence.

  9. Aren’t copcams a better first step before contemplating changing statues affecting LEOs?

    The experience so far is limited, but every department that’s equipped officers and reported ‘before and after’ numbers show impressive outcomes. Mesa, AZ, San Diego,CA, and Rialto, CA report huge drops in misconduct complaints, faster investigations, and higher conviction rates. Police shootings are uncommon – not enough data to draw conclusions at this point. But the results look encouraging.

    Seems like the lawyers are failing to consider proven alternatives to changing the law.

  10. Okay, I’m really really torn between logic and gleeful revenge on this.

    In CA, LEO’s are NOT the friend of the CCW carrier or gun owner in general. The idea of them having to obey the laws that they’ve foisted onto us for years makes me kinda giddy.

    But, I also dont really need to see cops just give up fighting crime and turning into nothing more than overpaid security guards.

    • “But, I also dont really need to see cops just give up fighting crime and turning into nothing more than overpaid security guards.”

      Because the choice between the status quo and that is a False Dichotomy.

      If we kept everything in LE the same as it is now except two things, the situation would improve IMMENSELY and pretty near overnight:

      (1) Qualified Immunity
      (2) Separate Rules for LEO’s vs everyone else…regarding off-duty and retired cops.

      Gut the “other class” aspects of LE and things get back to “reasonable” pretty quick.

  11. Yeah taking responsibility for your own actions-and not behaving as a standing army would be a good start. I’m still PO’ed at the baby who was flashbanged without apology. Blather and worthless rhetoric is all I see…

  12. “Decades of cases have demonstrated that true actual police misconduct by criminal excessive force is indeed extremely rare,” he says.

    An interesting observation, please go on Mr. Coppy McLawyer.

    • No, he’s entirely correct. Remember that “police misconduct” is defined here as “police officer doing something illegal and being caught”. Given that police unions incessantly argue for the lowering of the standards (as in this case); judges will rubber-stamp warrants with nothing but a word from the officer that it’s necessary; most cases of misconduct are investigated by the police themselves; in cases where there is a potential crime, prosecutors are loathe to even start proceedings, and when they do more often than not they just guide the grand jury to shut it down right away; and if it gets to the actual court, most jurors will eagerly accept “I thought I was in danger!” from the officer as the sole argument and acquit – it would be extremely surprising if “police misconduct” were high!

      • Hummm…San Jose, CA instituted an Independent Police Auditor and staff to handle complaints. IPA uses SJPD’s Duty Manual as the basis for many of their investigations (which are separate from the PD’s Internal Affairs unit). See http://www.sanjoseca.gov/ipa/ for more info and annual report at http://www.sanjoseca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/42029

        SJPD has lost a number of officers due to a pension reform measure that’s not shown in the 5 year summaries. The IPA report doesn’t weight the number of actions by year by force size.

        Overall, IPA seems to have made a difference in attitudes. They also conduct outreach in schools and community groups. San Jose has had sympathetic demonstrations to show support for alleged misconduct in other communities, But unlike many, the demonstrations have been peaceful.

        Folks may want to get copies of their PD’s Duty Manual or equivalent and urge elected officials to consider something like San Jose’s IPA. Although far from perfect, it seems well worth having one.

  13. Somewhere inbetween armed obsearvers and rabid unaccountable murderous thugs exists a realistic balance of Constitutional, transparent and accountable law enforcement services to the tax-paying public…..

    We just need to get there.

    • Ya no police at all. Common laws no raping, murdering, stealing or harming others outside of mutual combat or self defense.

      • But but but *clutches pearls* the speeders, and drunk drivers, and and and and…

        Good luck convincing any statist of going to common law as an alternative to statutory. Both sides of the statist camp want to control your behavior. One way or another, they will make you behave the way they want.

        When you make the law as simple as “Do not harm the life, liberty, and property of any other” you just destroyed 99% of the “justice” system. That’s not in the interests of those that wish to control others.

        • Once the state strays from force and fraud type of laws, tyranny quickly develops.

    • yes there is. and i know its location….

      “first star on the right, straight away until morning.”

  14. But misperception “does not equate with criminal intent.”

    While misperception does not equate with criminal intent, it may very equate with negligence and our society should hold everyone — including police officers — accountable for negligent homicides.

    Fortunately, you can help reduce how often police officers commit negligent homicides: be armed and make sure you subdue violent criminals who attack you. Subduing violent attackers before calling police greatly reduces the urgency and stress of the situation. This means that police who respond can respond in a much more relaxed state of mind … which greatly reduces the risk of a police officer negligently harming you or anyone else.

  15. Baby steps. No more no knock raids. Swat only gets called out once shots are fired or hostages taken.

    • And quit beating people’s asses and they won’t automatically start fighting. If I know I’m taking a beating even if I surrender peaceably, I’m sure as hell going to get in a few licks of my own.

  16. Lets disband all police arm all citizens and watch how quick the crime problem goes away. I think we could figure out how to survive without the police.

    • While I don’t necessarily agree 100% with what you are saying we “should do,” I’ll play it as an intellectual game.

      What you propose would never happen because we have far, far too many Statist minded people in our culture. There are a lot that claim to be small gov advocates, but only until their own pet desire is threatened.

      Back to your point, though…we don’t even really need to go to that extreme. I’m not saying it would not work, but there IS a middle ground between “jack booted thugs” and “no cops at all.”

      Admittedly, the true proper middle ground starts with the assumption of “personal responsibility.” People, everyone, needs to wake up to the fact that it is not LE’s responsibility to protect and serve them…not legally and certainly not morally.

      Getting roughly half the present population to see that is a tough row to hoe as well, however.

  17. Ya, tough sh_t, that’s just one of the many straw man fronts.

    We’re being warred upon by them saying they’re being wared upon.

    It’s a many-front war. The cops can’t do their jobs, and you’re a disease.
    takepart.com/violent year

  18. I still can’t wrap my mind around the idea that Darren Wilson shot Mike Brown with a “semi-automatic revolver.”

    I gotta get me one of those.

    • Also Mateba. The Mateba Auto-Revolver was the basis for Deckard’s gun in Blade Runner if I recall correctly.

    • Mateba Unica 6 Autorevolver, as immortalized by Detective Togusa in Ghost In The Shell.

      Also, Marcus, Deckards blaster was a Charter Arms .44 Bulldog with Steyr rifle parts and LEDs glommed onto it.

    • Body cams will reduce use-of-force, and they will reduce bogus claims of excessive force by a lot. I know that many police officers are concerned about body cams, but eventually they will prove to be a cop’s best friend.

      • Body cams on every law enforcement officer will eventually mean massive stockpiles of pre-gathered video evidence for possible crimes committed at some future date TBD.

        • No, it’ll mean they archive it for a set amount of time and destroy (overwrite to reuse storage space) it, or contract a service provider to archive it for them, like Tazer offers for it’s Axon body cameras.

        • Statuate of limitations and the need for a cooperative victim in court make this less of a worry than you might think.

        • “Statuate of limitations and the need for a cooperative victim in court make this less of a worry than you might think.”

          I don’t know, man…if NASA can ditch recordings of the FIRST FREAKING MOON LANDING on the “we don’t need it anymore” basis, I’m guessing some underpaid, underappreciated municipal video archive clerk could easily be convinced “erase these tapes or your fired.”

        • I took the comment to mean that police could go back as many years as they wanted, nitpick the most trivial of offenses from video archive, and bring it to trial out of spite or boredom. My response meant that this is impossible, because there’s a time limit for prosecution, and many good cases never get charged because the victim doesn’t want to go to court or even talk to police.

  19. “constitutional protections”; what, like shooting an unarmed person who tries to run away, rather than being physically fit enough to give chase?!

  20. To sum this up this article is basically a temper tantrum. It’s the formalized response of LEO
    via a union attorney stating that they are ‘special’ and shouldn’t have to abide by the same laws they impose on everyone else by FORCE. It’s nothing but a bleating cry of ‘we don’t have to follow the rules’. F**k em. If they don’t like it they can quit. The average citizen is at as much if not more risk of having their lives ruined by LEO than they are by a criminal.

  21. People often say they were happy with police the way they used to be, before SWAT became the cool and then over used thing, before ‘officer safety’ was the overriding concern in any interaction with the public. When departments hired manly men who had their own dogs at home and could make it through a shift without shooting someone else’s.

    The solution to get back to that kind of atmosphere isn’t going to be criminally charging cops.

    Why? Because if you actually have a department that embodies all those bad qualities people here complain about (and rightfully so in many examples), all the threat of prosecution is going to do is cause the bad cops to lie and cover up more than whatever they were already doing, and the good cops to do as little as possible until retirement. Regardless of right or wrong, that’s human nature.

    Remember that the big cities which are starting to criminally charge cops can also be the ones that don’t want to prosecute real crimes because it could be considred discriminatory in some way- there goes the rest of the motivation for your good cops.

    Good luck getting any large organization composed primarily of human beings to accept sweeping changes that go against human nature. If you think current hiring practices result in knuckle dragging morons and bloodthirsty ex-military stereotypes, what changes can you expect when you tell all your applicants that they can only enforce the law where politically expedient, and the public hates them and will demand they go to jail if they make a mistake? Don’t tell me it’s wrong, tell me how to get quality men and women to volunteer for it.

    If you want actual positive change, you have to start with the public that the police are supposed to be serving. The public has to want changes from the top down, and that means they have to elect local government willing to dramatically change training and doctrine standards. They have to elect mayors and councils that will not replace a police chief because they want someone who will parrot their political goals, but put someone in the top spot who will lead by example and inspire the people below them to actually give a damn again.

    And yes, hold cops accountable. In my mind, that does mean criminal charges where appropriate, but if the chief takes a strong stand on ethics and pushes it down the chain of command, it can turn an entire agency around. That is, if the newly elected local government backs the chief enough to let him fire people who won’t change.

    My department has cut several people loose for ethics violations over the years I’ve been here- and standing firm on the small stuff has prevented us from keeping anyone long enough to deserve criminal charges. The times in the past I’ve mentioned that here, the reaction has been one of disbelief more often than not. I know it’s not the way things are around the country. All I’m saying is that it’s the way things could be.

    Of course, the need for giving a damn to originate with the public at large makes this approach likely impossible.

    • In my opinion, there are many dumb-ass laws on the books. Each dumb-ass law was enacted only because a majority of dumb-ass politicians voted in favor of it. Rather than blaming the cops, who have the dirty job of enforcing such laws, blame the dumb-ass politicians and work to replace them with sensible ones.

    • You are correct on so many counts. We used to have a fairly broad public cohesion on public policy. We used to have a much better educated electorate. We used to have public servants who had higher ideals. Now they merely pander to the lowest common denominators, enrich themselves at public expense and enact legislation for the approval of their classmates who populate the media.

      This was all before the 1960’s happened. Then the 60’s came along and the left started their long march through our public institutions.

      And here we are.

    • Ahhh, yes. The old “vote for change” trick again. And just how well has that worked out for us over the last 50 years?

  22. “Reasonable” is a term that pervades the law. Given the same circumstances, what would a reasonable person conclude and how would he respond?

    A few months ago, the cops in my city shot to death a robber who fired at them with an Airsoft pistol. Since it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between an Airsoft gun and the real thing, shooting the robber was a reasonable response. Under an objective standard, because an Airsoft gun isn’t lethal, shooting him would be a crime. Such a standard would require you to wait until you are injured or dead before deciding how much force you can use to defend yourself. Neither police nor private citizens can function under it. The problem isn’t with reasonableness as a standard. It’s that unreasonable behavior on the part of police officers often goes unpunished.

    McGuinness is complaining, I think with justification, about the recent raft of don’t-be-mean-to-the-poor-criminal bullshit. Recently, I’ve watched videos of the fat guy in New York City who died after he resisted arrest for illegally selling cigarettes, the NYC cop trading punches with a bigger guy suspected of carrying an illegal knife, and a punk kid who died in a struggle with a cop who had given him every opportunity to cooperate during a traffic stop. Their attitude was, “The law you accuse me of violating shouldn’t apply to me. Therefore, I won’t accept arrest, prosecution and punishment.” I expect there are people who believe it was only fair that Michael Brown be able to take whatever he wanted from the Ferguson convenience store without paying, that the clerk had no right to object and that the police had no right to arrest him for strong arm robbery. It’s now a moot point since rioters burned out the store.

  23. The sound of rustling straw men is deafening in this article.

    Before we discuss whether people want cops to be held to higher standards than exist now, what the system needs to work on is actually holding cops to the standards that exist now. We’ve all seen enough videos of cops illegally abusing the hell out of “civilians,” and yet the system always seems to give the cops a kiss on the cheek and a paid vacation beore putting them back on the street to abuse others.

  24. The standard of “objectively reasonable (at the time) is not a special legal consideration to police- it is the general standard used for using force. Woe to any who don’t roll over to criminals if one needs to be able to somehow show that force was ‘necessary’ in a court, as the only way I can see that being shown is if you wait until you are mortally wounded before responding with deadly force. After all, his gun might not have been loaded.

    • In the case of the guy gunned down while reaching for his wallet (pick one at random)…its just a tough break for him; he needs to get over it? Nobody said the officer needs to be wounded before responding with deadly force.

  25. Bad facts would make bad law in this case. Darren Wilson would likely have been justified in shooting Big Mike Brown in self-defense, if he had been a civilian. The proposals would seemingly make it harder for police to shoot in self-defense than if they were civilians. There are times when the police shoot and there wasn’t a reasonable threat of death or great bodily injury to themselves or the public – but this wasn’t such a case. Brown grabbing Wilson’s gun turned his strong armed robbery into attempted murder, which is considered a violent offense under MO law. And continuing to advance in the face of gunshots, esp given his size, would have been sufficient to put most of us in fear of our lives.

  26. This is a terrible article about a terrible law. The problem is not the “reasonable belief” standard, which as others have pointed out is no different from the standard applied for civilians. Going to an “actual threat” standard would be to judge officers according to information they did not have, and could not reasonably HAVE had.

    The problem is the failure to actually apply the “reasonable belief” standard in any meaningful sense. It’s often been interpreted, in the context of police shootings, to refer to a reasonable police officer, not a reasonable layman, and it’s implied to jurors that they therefore have to take the word of police as to what’s reasonable, no matter how outrageous it may seem to lesser mortals.

  27. I see no reason for the standards for justifiable use of deadly force by police should be any different from the standards to which anyone else is held. This goes for the shooting of a fleeing felom, too. Unless there is a reasonable belief that the person who can running away poses a grave danger to the public, the cops shouldn’t be shooting at him. Conversely, if that belief is reasonable to a jury, then it shouldn’t matter whether it was a cop doing the shooting, or not. And the presentation of the facts of a shooting to a grand jury should be automatic in all cases.

  28. Well you have 2 edges to this sword. With almost all officers having chest cameras they are held under much higher scrutiny than ever before. The videos from thier incidents makes its way to the Internet to be judged by armchair strategists that no nothing about being an LEO. But with that you also see some LEO firearm use that is unjustified. I.e. The video of that teenager being shot by an LEO that had earphones in and was walking away from the officers because he didn’t know the were trying to get him. The teenager didn’t make any threatening movements, he was just casually walking away and was shot multiple times. Why did the officer use deadly force instead of a tazer, there was no immediate threat from the suspect. But you have multiple where the suspect is obviously pulling out a weapon(or what appears to be) and the LEO has to make a split second decision(I call that justified). If you don’t know by now that when an LEO is confronting you to keep your hands where they can be seen then, and informing them of your actions(hey I’m getting out my wallet ok) then you are looking to get force used on you. Many of you see most LEO as thugs with a badge but being in public safety(paramedic) I see the average people they have to deal with and you have to maintain a high level of suspicion because you don’t know what they may do.

    • Nowhere near all police in this country have body cams. It’s coming, sooner or later, but not here yet in many agencies that can’t afford it or don’t think they need it. Give it at most, twenty years, and it will be standard if not mandatory.

  29. Yes. But very much no.

    Why should the Police have a different set of rules and laws applied to them? What is wrong with the rules and laws that apply to me also applying to them? Can I not shoot someone if I have a ‘reasonable belief’ that my life is in jeopardy? Why do they need a special law that lowers the standards for that ‘reasonable belief’?

    The job of the Police is no more dangerous than mine, the only difference is one of numbers… they see more criminals than I do because it is their job to do so. It is the same as Doctors seeing more disease than I do and tow-truck drivers seeing more accidents… its what they do.

    I will grant that police are more likely to be injured by criminals. If there is a one in one hundred chance of something happening, they see their hundred a lot sooner than I see mine. That, however, is what they signed up for so if they don’t like the odds then they can seek employment in another field.

    • perhaps the one difference, perhaps, is that cops must intervene and non-cops can choose to dis-engage and flee the scene. being forced to push into a situation that can go bad very quickly might be the tiny difference between them and us. perhaps.

      • I’ll agree with that.

        But I still don’t see that as a different enough situation that would require them to have a different set of laws applied to them.

        Besides, aren’t we supposed to hold them to a -higher- standard because of what they do? Because they are specialized and have specific training we should hold them MORE accountable for their actions, not less?

        • just noting that being forced to push beyond where the armed citizen is required to go puts cops in situations any reasonable non-cop gun carrier might never encounter. if we generally are not placed in those situations, we might not be able to properly judge what is a “reasonable response”. but on the whole, i think anytime cops act as the result of prior planning, or act to pressurize a situation, or conduct themselves as armed bullies, the standard for proper action should be what the average citizen would recognize as a situation gone bad primarily because the cops failed. a threat to a cop generated by that cop is not “reasonable” or acceptable justification for shooting a person. i guess i am still stunned by the swat team who invaded the wrong house, screamed multiple conflicting commands (a standard cop tactic to confuse and freeze a target) resulted in the innocent victim being shot 16 times at close range (non-fatal wounds) because he tried to follow one of those commands. the defense was the cops feared for their combined lives while they surrounded one man in his bed. those cops should have been criminally charged, and convicted in about 5min.

      • Where do you get the crazy notion cops have to intervene? Because they don’t. USSC has ruled the police have NO duty to protect any individual. Cops have left the scene, in NYC,hidden in a subway train to avoid a criminal who was attacking a citizen! So, your argument does not fit the circumstances.

        • not saying they must protect, saying they are charged with intervening when non-cops are not. cops are called to respond to incidents (once they get there is another matter); non-cops are not. just the arrival of cops can propel a situation to a dangerous confrontation. non-cops, not responding because they aren’t called, or can simply flee to safety don’t face the same risks, that’s all. facing risks that non-cops can avoid maybe, perhaps makes for a tiny separation between what we can expect of cops re reasonable action, and non-cops. maybe. perhaps.

  30. We don’t necessarily need to change the use of force guidelines. What we need to do is stop escalating situations. Why do we make officers arrest a person, book them and them release them back on the streets in an hour? Instead, we need to remove force from the equation. For non-violent offences, think Eric Garner, why arrest, just write them a ticket and they can show up to court and argue with the judge rather than arguing with the cop. This works for vehicle violations, why can’t it work in every other facet. Theft? Write them a ticket. Only arrest the violent offenders.

    • That’s certainly an approach that has merit, but here’s the other side of it.

      In WA, there are three degrees of suspended driver’s license. DWLS 3 is generally for not paying your tickets. See them all over the place. DWLS 2 is generally for DUI issues, and DWLS 1 means you’re a genuine menace on the road, for habitual criminal driving offenses. Hardly ever see those, and they get booked into jail even if you stopped them for a burned out brake light.

      The guys who are DWLS 3 know that if they get stopped, they will generally get a ticket for the original traffic infraction, a ticket for no insurance (because they never have it, I don’t think it’s even possible to get insurance with a suspended license), and a criminal citation (court date) for driving suspended. Most departments either let them call a licensed driver to get the car, or just have them promise to not drive and then leave for the next 911 call, at which point the suspended driver drives off and throws his ticket away. They just don’t care, because nothing really happens to them.

      Most of the hit and run drivers I see are suspended. The ones that cause crashes and don’t run, because they never have insurance, still aren’t held accountable- they just buy another junk car and keep driving. Now, driving suspended is definitely a non violent offense, so it would seem to be a perfect candidate for nothing but tickets. However, the added cost to the public in the form of more hit and run crashes, more crashes in general (because these guys really are not that good at driving), and more uninsured crashes, is a significant factor.

      This is just one example, but the point is that at some level, setting a policy of limited enforcement, or enforcement with no punishment, encourages continued criminal behavior that does affect the quality of life for regular folks who actually go to work, support their families, and just want to have a peaceful day. The ‘broken windows’ theory is at the other end of this spectrum.

      • How about something intermidiate then? First non-violent offense, a ticket. If you blow that off and get stopped for another non-violent offense, you now have a bench warrant for your arrest (due to failure to appear). At that point, you will be arrested, because you’ve demonstrated there’s no other way to get you to show up to court.

        Of course the number of people I know who dodge the police because of a parole or probation violation in their past is astoundingly high–in other words, even in our current system there are ways to get a bench warrant out for you and it happens frequently, so there are plenty of people who won’t go through the process without being forced to. I know people who were shot at but begged bystanders not to call the police because they didn’t want to spend two months in jail, which they earned because they couldn’t be bothered to fulfill their mildly onerous probation terms.

        So I don’t really think even this modified version I’ve put out will ever be seriously considered.

        • Actually, for the DWLS 3 thing I described, that’s exactly what happens. The problem is that at least here in King County, they know they really won’t spend any time in jail. The cities don’t want to pay to house them, or appear that they are being racist (I’m not just making that up, I’m told Seattle decided years ago that too many black drivers were being arrested, so DWLS for everyone would no longer be enforced).

          Generally, for other crimes, this system seems to work around here- at least outside of Seattle. I honestly don’t know what would happen if it was tried in places like NYC and Baltimore, but I suspect it would just change from resisting arrest for a petty crime, to resisting arrest for the petty crime committed two weeks before, when contacted for this week’s petty crime.

      • SteveInCO pretty much nailed my response. Failure to appear would result in a bench warrant, and then your next interaction with police would be an arrest. As for those that fail to comply, I always look back at the founding of this nation. Not only did we set up a unique government, but we set up a unique justice system. A system where it was the government’s responsibility to prove guilt rather than the accused’s job to prove innocence. The underlying principle was, “better to let a guilty man go free, than imprison an innocent man.”

        My take on that is if they are able to stay clear of police, we assume they are following the laws. If they are constantly interacting with police for some reason, they will get picked up on the bench warrant. Would this result in fewer arrests? I don’t know. Maybe Eric Garner would still have been due for an arrest. I can say it shouldn’t result in more, so at worst its a wash. I think its worth trying.

  31. We’re at this point today because very few bad police officers, with no business wearing a uniform, have committed acts against innocents that would get regular citizens locked up for life without some much as “I’m sorry / my bad” or penalty of any kind. A lot more bad officers have circled the wagons, impeded investigations and covered up for some of those that committed the acts. We know it happens because it gets exposed occasionally. Cops are going to have to get over the “brotherhood” crap because society has grown leery of it. Some in society have come to not trust the police. If officers intend to reestablish that trust, they will need to remove the bad cops from their ranks and they are going to have to make a show of it.

    This is secondary to the root problem. In liberal bastions, citizens have been discouraged from bearing arms by the establishment politicians and by extension, their police departments. How many times have we seen big city chiefs come out against reducing restrictions on legal firearms, ownership and possession? Criminals, undeterred by police being just 10 minutes away, commit felony acts against citizens; caught or not, the result is a call for more police and more restrictions on folks that never commit felonies. The solution is to arm and train a higher percentage of society which would began to police itself again. Many criminals will deem the risk to high for the reward. There would be less crime and less need for ever expanding police departments.

    • i was with you until you wrote “a few bad”. they are potentially all bad, just waiting for the opportunity to show. anyone in a police uniform (of any type) is just a heartbeat away from being a non law-abiding badge carrier. we need cops, when they are professional. but never lose sight of the fact they see us as the enemy.

    • “Cops are going to have to get over the “brotherhood” crap because society has grown leery of it. Some in society have come to not trust the police. If officers intend to reestablish that trust, they will need to remove the bad cops from their ranks and they are going to have to make a show of it.”

      Well, said. It’s worth noting that this discussion is taking place on a site named, “The Truth About Guns” whose commenters are almost uniformly vociferous in their support of gun rights. There was a time when we cold be counted on to support the police. Now it’s clear that time is past. In terms of “realpolitik” some things are quite clear. it’s one thing when members of poor and minority community have negative opinions of the police (which they have traditionally had, often for good reasons), but it’s quite another when members of middle and upper classes, people with educations and political influence, begin to lose confidence in the police. When that happens real changes are not far behind. And that’s something we’re seeing happen now.

      Changing police organizational culture—which is where the problems with the police primarily reside—is extremely difficult and potentially highly destructive. Police managers must know what is on the not-to-distant horizon, yet they appear to be unwilling or unknowing about how to effect the kinds of meaningful change in police culture to stave off the coming disaster. The police can no longer count on being able to hide behind a “blue wall of silence” to obscure and excuse increasingly visible instances unacceptable behavior by bad police. If something isn’t done quickly and effectively, the political consequences aren’t going to be pretty.

      • Nobody ever got fired for doing that which earns rewards. Change the incentives, and culture quickly follows along. Closure rates, conviction rates, arrest rates, tickets written, fines collected all are geared toward quantity. Why do you think so many cities have traffic cams that can issue tickets? The traffic lights are timed to generate revenue, not smooth traffic flow or improve safety.

        But then, police all have unions, and changing that reward system will really be tough.

      • “Change the incentives, and culture quickly follows along.”

        Sure, but when those incentives are institutionalized within a political structure, supported by police unions with significant influence in elections, used by politicians as a way of advancing their careers, enmeshed in legal system with overlapping conflicts of interests, you have a deeply dysfunctional police/political/legal process that is both self-protective and aggressively hostile to change. Even when cities are going bankrupt, the local cops complain bitterly about the prospect of losing their lucrative pension plans and health benefits. Cops with bad employment records routinely float from town to town because of tacit understandings that it’s OK to overlook levels of incompetence that would not be tolerated in other fields.
        Changing those kinds of practices will be very hard.

  32. For those who enjoyed the cop lawyer’s disingenuous cry of pain, the following item may provide even more merriment for the same reason.:

    http://chicago.suntimes.com/news-chicago/7/71/749097/slain-7-year-olds-dad-among-hundreds-free-bond-gun-charges-mccarthy

    Despite the source, he does have a good point. If RF/someone else can get the C-SPAN footage/transcript of testimony by a Boston PD official on (IIRC) youth gun crime before then Sen. Mike DeWine it’d be well worth the effort as he openly stated that “going only after guns did nothing to reduce violent crime in Boston” & that “when we concentrated on those who used guns to commit violent crimes & put them in prison the violent crime rate went down dramatically”. What said BPD official was referring to was the Boston Gun Project whose later iteration was the much ballyhooed (then subsequently gutted & ended) Project Exile w/ a later modified (VERY successful & equally VERY hated by criminals/their excusers/anti-2A cult allies) version being CA’s “10/20/Life” statute. Would it not be delicious to see the reaction of the anti-2A cult & its criminal/political/LE allies if those 3 ‘anti-gun violence’ measures were re-examined & pushed HARD? Imagine the discomfiture of the opponents having to publicly justify their position against 2 (the BGP & 10/20/Life) obviously successful ‘anti-gun violence’ measures & then explain why Project Exile was terminated in light of the success of the BGP & 10/20/Life, the naked attempts to derail such an exposee on racial grounds would IMO be quite enlightening for Americans & thereby damaging to the anti-2A cult/its LE allies like McCarthy. Perhaps Detroit PD Chief James Craig & ‘conservative’ media darling Milwaukee Cty Sheriff David Clarke could be asked to give their opinions about the efficacy of such measures, seeing such men attacked by the anti-2A side (some of whom would be ‘their own kind’) would IMO be simultaneously entertaining/educational given that neither are the type to submit to BS w/o giving back as they get & then some.

    Just a thought.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *