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One of the most persistent shibboleths in the gun world: racking a pump-action shotgun will scare away a burglar. While it can be true, it’s not the best way to play You Bet Your Life. Besides, if you’re racking a shotgun either A) you’re ejecting a round (from a platform not famous for its ammo capacity) or B) you didn’t have a round in the chamber to start with (not the best starting point for armed self-defense). Cops carry long guns in one of two conditions: Cruiser Safe (magazine loaded, chamber empty, safety on) or Cruiser Ready (magazine loaded, chamber loaded, safety on). At 3:20 in the video above, a cop racks his shotgun in front of Black Lives Matter protestors in New York. Here’s a sample of the resulting outrage [via] . . .

No sooner had the group spread itself across the two lanes of incoming traffic than a group of Port Authority police approached, says Patrick Waldo, who was among the protesters. One of the officers was carrying a shotgun.

“The officer with the gun was one of the first that I noticed,” Waldo said. “He actually had hand-on-the trigger, shotgun up in the air. We were all like, whoa whoa whoa, take it easy!” . . .

For the protesters, the officers’ display of weapons was a clear example of precisely the issues that had moved them into the streets in the first place. “We were out there to address the militarization of the police, over-policing, police brutality, and the disconnect between police and the communities that they are hired to serve and protect,” Waldo said. “And here was that disconnect on full display. It was this guy who walked up to us with his gun drawn and no words. No language, no words, just a gun. And that’s exactly why we’re out there every night that we are: to say that there should be communication, there should be language.”

Ortiz says the cops’ behavior won’t dissuade her from protesting. “It makes me more inclined to be out there,” she says. “It’s a testament to exactly what we’re going out to protest for. As long as there are police that do that, there will be marchers.”

Dumb move by officer no-so-friendly? Dumb enough for a Vine loop. Which is pretty damn dumb, if you think about it.

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  1. Perhaps the message more correctly is you shouldn’t assemble into an unruly mob and angrily march down traffic lanes resembling a riot? When you do, you should expect riot police, in riot gear, with riot weapons and shields, possibly with beanbag rounds in the shotguns, but best not to count on it. There are bad cops everywhere, just like there are bad accountants and bad bartenders, so you should expect one or two, though I’m not saying that’s the case here. I don’t think it’s possible to have a conversation with an angry mob that explicitly hates you. I have no love for the police forces anywhere, but in this case it sounds like they were protecting the community from an unlawful rabble.

    • If I was waiting in one of those taxis I would have wished I’d had a shotgun with rubber bullets too.

      All the people stuck in those vehicles didn’t deserve punishment from the marchers.

    • Got that right – I loved this quote from the idiots: “… that’s exactly why we’re out there every night that we are: to say that there should be communication, there should be language.”

      And apparently, “communication” consists of shouting idiotic slogans and interfering with people who are just trying to get home to their families. This is the same group of happy Marxists who were the Occupy Whatever dweebs. Their self-righteous screaming makes an excellent case for massive oppression by the eeeevil police – who, I note, did not kill any of the little shits.

    • I would just like to throw out there as a member of The Port Authority Police Department and officer at the Lincoln Tunnel facility. Those are my brothers that were out there that night and there responsibility was to not only protect the motorists traveling through th Lincoln Tunnel, but also the protesters who were peacefully protesting. Ever since the Boston bombings we are trained and taught to “look through the crowd” The officer named in question here who responded he is concerned with terrorism is correct and doing his job. We are concerned about the people who maybe riding the coat tails of peaceful people to use them as a distraction to us to attempt to do harm to both Law Enforcement as well as innocent civilians. The shotgun being “racked” is a handling tactic used in any event where the firearm is displayed outside our radio marked patrol cars. The shotgun was pointed towards the sky, that’s all anyone needs to be concerned about. We are the police, and unfortunately we have to carry firearms of all power and size to conduct our duties as trained.

    • Just googled it, I knew where it came from but I wanted to see the correct modern usage. I have concluded it is a very misused term. I think the more proper term in the article above would be “myths”, or perhaps “bromides”.

  2. Not to nit-pick, but it is a potentially huge safety issue. “Cruiser Safe” and “Cruiser Ready” are sometimes used interchangeably, and are almost the same thing. Both utilize EMPTY chambers. In CO POST, “Cruiser Safe” is actually referred to as “Cruiser Ready.” In areas that teach true “Cruiser Ready,” it is:

    Closed action – released hammer – safety off


    “Cruiser Safe”

    Closed action – cocked hammer – safety on

    The general advantage of “Cruiser Ready” is that you don’t have to press the release to chamber a round. If it is in a shotgun rack that prevents movement, it is completely safe. I don’t know of any agency that has a policy of a loaded chamber. That is just flat out dangerous as shotguns are usually not inertia-fire safe. Hit a bump and, well, you know . . .

    • I was thinking about that. My brother threw his shotgun in a rack behind his seat and forgot to unload it, and while driving home on the 210 hit a bump and it went off. Left a cool hole out the side of the truck. Damn lucky it was late at night and there weren’t any CHP around (you don’t actually have to lock up a longgun in California, it can be uncased and on the front seat, but it does have to be unloaded… and I am sure they would not be happy had shrapnel damaged other cars in traffic).

    • You hit the nail on the head. I’ve personally had the saftey on a mossberg 500 fail. Luckily at the time it was pointing down range and I was actually testing it to make sure the saftey worked. Not sure about other shottys but I’d never roll around with one in the chamber on an m500 unless I’m getting ready to shoot.

  3. Are they still doing “black lives matter” protests? I thought we had passed that by, at least for the moment. At any rate, I agree, probably not the best thing for the officer to do at that point, PR-wise.

    • Despite the screeching, the claim is that they’ll keep protesting, so obviously the cop was not scaring anybody, just gave an excuse for more protesting.

  4. “We were out there to address the militarization of the police,”
    While i do agree that the police are being militarized, and I both hate and fear it. However, a shotgun is not militarization.

  5. It could be possible that the cop loaded a bean bag or some other less than lethal round. It is difficult to see if he had his finger on the trigger, but the other cops that they showed with shotguns didn’t have there fingers on the trigger.

  6. This is why riot police should use flamethrowers. No need to rack anything, just point and spray. That gets the message across real fast that blocking traffic isn’t tolerated.

  7. The title of the video says a lot about their mentality. “We shut sh*t down” instead of, maybe, “we march for justice” or “we rally to oppose police brutality”. Not that those titles would have been perfect either, but they would’ve indicated a real desire to affect change, as opposed to inconveniencing unsuspecting people for the sale of their own self-importance.

  8. “We were out there to address … disconnect between police and the communities that they are hired to serve and protect,”

    Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    The ruling class hires the police to serve and protect the ruling class. Any intersection between the interests of the ruling class and the local community is strictly coincidental.

  9. I REALLY hate to say it, but I think that it was a dumb move on the cops part to display shotguns in front of them. I know that it probably seemed like a prudent decision at the time, but any kind of implication that force will be used only strengthens the protesters’ platform

  10. Then if black lives matter, try teaching your sons that attacking armed men with badges is not a long term survival strategy. When officer friendly tells you to stop and put your hands up, try, oh, maybe… stopping and putting your f’n hands up. Let the lawyers sort it out. You’ll still be alive to see the results. Mebbe even go for a civil rights civil suit payday.

  11. It racks my brain that racking a shotgun is considered a threat. I am more concerned that he did not top off his magazine tube after loading.
    Peaceful protest is a right; blocking traffic is not. One group breaks some laws. Then another group shows up to maintain peace and enforce the laws that have been broken, and they are considered to be the aggressors. Got it. Smart Lives Matter.

  12. ” “We were out there to address the militarization of the police, over-policing, police brutality, and the disconnect between police and the communities that they are hired to serve and protect,”

    Really? Cause your youtube video is called “We shut shit down”

    • “Shut sh*t down” is domestic terrorism, and should be treated as such. Where is the Holder Justice Department to deal with such blatant civil rights violations as are being committed by the Black Lives Matter instigators?

      • You can damn well bet if it’d been the NRA or an OC group, they would’ve called out the guard and arrested them all as terrorists.

        • Well those groups are! I mean anyone that would carry a gun is just bad. These people peaceably assembling in the middle of the road blocking traffic are just good people that matter and . . . sorry, wait, just remembered, I’m no longer on my undercover assignment on Mother Jones! LOL

  13. Regardless if the cop did the racking on purpose to scare people, he is making his weapon ready. A lot of departments do have a policy of not having shotguns with a shot chambered. I believe it’s called Cruiser safe. Either way, that cop is justified in being prepared to defend himself because regardless if he’s a white cop or a black cop or asian, hispanic, etc, he’s a cop and he doesn’t know the protestors. They might be peacefully protesting one minute and the next minute some punk throws a bottle or a lit something on fire. Peaceful protests, I have no problems with. It’s the ones that turn bad that’s the problem.

  14. Uh, no. Law enforcement only carries a shotgun with the chamber empty in a vehicle, same with any rifle. Both the AR system and all pump action shotguns can fire when jarred strongly. Therefore neither are ever carried in a vehicle with a round in the chamber. Remember, no long arm has modern passive safety systems as are found on modern semi-automatic pistols.

    • So I guess if we assume this cop had just gotten out of his ride, it would be absolutely ordinary for him to rack the slide, not in any way a challenge or a threat, right? So the whole video is pure BS.

  15. No point in carrying a gun that isn’t loaded. Officer Fusco did the right thing in loading it. He turned away while doing it, to be as non-threatening as possible. Other than walking away from the scene out of sight to load it, he did it as inconspicuously as he could.

  16. I rack my slide before I leave the house… But, I’m not a Cop…

    Both sides of this national argument are stupid fools; the cops and the protesters alike. The one given Carte Blanch to murder at will and fix it in the report is the one with which I take issue. This is a distraction from the root issue of a Judicial Branch that has incrementally granted itself ultimate power.

    Lest we forget, the Police are an unconstitutional standing army which answers to itself and no one else; they are a part of the Judiciary with no checks and balances within the same branch…

    • A “standing army” is one which lives in the houses of the citizens they are guarding, we don’t have one.

  17. Pulling out a shot gun and racking it to intemidate unarmed civilians is a prime example of the fear and disconnect the police have with people of color. Their cowards and they know it, whoever thought that crowd looked dangerous is foolish, we will never be pass Black Lives Matter.

      • If you believe the MSM its blue and white. Because only cops and white people kill blacks irregardless of what the facts actually say.

        • I doubt our friend Willie will be back to answer the question; so, yes: the correct answer is: black.

          It would appear that the only black lives that matter to the Black Lives Matter agitators are the statistically few who are killed by non-black people. If I may borrow an age-old proverb: physician, heal thyself.

      • Chip, more black people kill black people just like more white people kill white people, that’s a fact. The thing with police is they’re paid to protect and serve the people, all people. When we have so many incidents of police killing unarmed people then it’s a problem. Police should be trained better and have a more diverse race of officers who doesn’t automatically think the person of color life is not worthy of a trial, so they shoot, choke and taze someone to death. Killers are supposed to kill people and they usually kill people in their own race because that’s who there around more but the police are not supposed to be killers, Chip.

  18. Uh, a lefty indie paper qouting a random protester said abiut what a cop said, is hearsay.
    And more likely more progtard agitprop, judging by how these post-Ferguson protests have been run by the usual group of Usefu Idiots (V.I Lenin).

    Maybe the cop was racking a beanbag round? You know, the typical less than lethal Force Continuum.
    Like these nitwit protesters would know or care.

    PS, to the video geniuses, maybe you should be in your under college remedial english class, judging by your spelling and grammar….than illegally obstructing traffic and costing hard working Americans time and money for your “precise message”.

    Some of those drivers were black citizens whose lives matter, too. And probably wouldnt choose you, to speak for them.

  19. “Dumb move by officer no-so-friendly?”

    Weeeellll last time they didn’t take authoritative action, Ferguson burned. Call it what you want, but nothing got torched that day except a few people’s hurt feelings.

  20. Disrupting other peoples lives for your cause is not going to get anyone on your side its just gonna piss people off. They’re idiots for thinking that this form of protest is gonna make anyone care. Rally in a park get a permit to rally in the streets do not just decide to mess with other people because you think your opinion is right.


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