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“I think when one police officer feels it is appropriate to use a less lethal weapon like a Taser, and the other officer feels like the person has to be killed — it suggests a real divergence in training. I think it highlights that we have a serious problem in this country, which has been seen played out over and over again with police using lethal force in circumstances where it is not necessary and not justified.” – Ezekiel Edwards, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project Director in Police use of guns, stun guns on same person questioned [via]


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  1. Or, a difference in judgment. Those differences cannot be trained away, entirely, and allow less justification for federal intrusion into local law enforcement. I wonder if Mr. Edwards makes note of that.

    • Or of temperament. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the police have their fair share of officers cruising around with an “I wish a MF’er would…” mentality.

  2. Maybe its not the training. maybe its societies unrealistic expectations. After all, we still get people saying why can’t the cops shoot to wound. Just aim for the arm or leg.

    Each event is a living, breathing being. If there are 10 people involved there are 10 different versions of what happened.

    • I support shoot to wound. Especially for concealed carriers in certain circumstances. Example:

      One liberal (a criminal) is attempting to stab another liberal, the second of which, thought the state could protect them. If a person is a good shot and knows they can make the shot, they can save both liberals.

      I also support answering the correct questions to your lawyer prior to making a statement. An answer like “I was aiming center of mass and I must not have been a good shot. Also, he dropped the knife afterward, so he was no longer an imminent threat.”

      • The mantra is: “Shoot to stop the threat” and you are hopefully firing in a situation where the use of lethal force is justified, should your target succumb to your efforts.

        Why in the world would you put yourself in additional jeopardy of injury or death, should your shots fail to stop, in order to save the lives of dangerous (redundant) Liberals? Not to mention the almost certain civil suit against you by the surviving Liberal and/or his family?

    • Variables in liberties…since a suspect is at liberty to choose not to comply, the legal establishment chooses to control with regulations, law enforcement. A simple statement stating if a suspect does not comply with law enforcement, they can use lethal force. Dumbing it down for the hood would be. Bad bad, PO PO, bang bang. fall down die.

      • “Let’s enact instant death penalty for ‘failure to comply’….”

        Totally eliminate ‘bad shoots’ by certifying all LE shoots as good?

      • What if two different officers are saying something different? What is five different officers are all shouting and you can hear clearly what they’re asking? What if you’re in diabetic shock or have dementia and are unable to comprehend anything?

        If anything were that simple, then it would have been done already.

  3. This is typical rule based legal reasoning. It works well in slow motion legal proceedings but not in events lasting seconds.

    • ^ This.
      We send our police officers out to do what we aren’t willing to do: Go into the most dangerous neighborhoods and deal with the bottom-feeding scum who have no respect for other people’s lives and little regard for their own.

      And whenever they have to make a split-second decision involving the use of deadly force, there is no shortage of desk-pushing lawyers eager to judge them.

      • No one is forced to be a police officer…

        So, their job is stressful and sometimes dangerous. They signed up for it.

        They should be held to the same rules and scrutiny that is afforded to armed citizens in any DGU and it needs to be consistent. After all, police officers are citizens too and not above the law.

        As he article stated, it’s simply a training issue that needs to be resolved.

        • Fully agree that officers and armed citizens should be held to the same standard. That being said the standard needs to be loose enough to account for decisions made in real time with incomplete and imperfect information and revolve around the perception of the shooter. The frame work for that is should be belief in a realistic and imminent threat of harm to self or others.

          Anything more complicated is a system looking for to establish rule based gotchas for situations that defy complex rule based reasoning.

        • I agree with the concept of judging police by the same standard as citizens.
          Citizens get a jury of their peers.
          Police get strung up by left-wing idiots and their co-conspirators in the media.

  4. Or . . . what is the ACLU angling for here but to trash cops.

    The ACLU is only in it for your tax dollars, foreign donations, and themselves.

    • A- Athiestic
      C- Communistic
      L- Liberalistic
      U- Unicorn(riding)

      Just another group of communist tyrant wanna be’s dreaming of the day they will be absolute rulers of a “classless” society.

  5. When they come for you, ACLU, we won’t help them. But we may reimburse them for their gas and tolls.

  6. Everybody was demanding body cameras to catch police in unjustified shootings. What has happened now that more police officers are using cameras is police shootings have increased. They are more likely to shoot now that they have evidence that will likely clear them of any wrong doing.

    • Interesting.

      I wonder what the ratio is of said body/dash cam video showing ‘good cop’ vs ‘bad cop.’ And, has that ratio changed since the cams came into common practice.

      Yeah, yeah…destruction/tampering of evidence…yada yada. It would still be at least at a starting point in the discussion.

    • ” They are more likely to shoot now that they have evidence that will likely clear them of any wrong doing.”

      There may be something to that…

    • I want cops to be safe so what’s wrong with that? My only caveat is the standards for a cop to shoot must be the same as any other citizen’s right to shoot in self defense. If a cop can shoot someone for reaching for something out of sight, any other citizen should too. If it is problematic for private citizens it is problematic for cops, too. All citizens should have an equal right to life as our Constitution mandates.

      • “All citizens should have an equal right to life as our Constitution mandates.”


        “Citizens” are your average, untrained, un-vetted, ill-prepared “citizen” should be held to higher standards because they are more likely to over-react. Police are highly trained, highly competent in the use of force, especially firearms. Yes, that makes police slightly different from “citizen”. Cops will make mistakes, but “citizens” are more numerous and thus pose a higher risk of error (given the a small group of variables and a large group, statistically the larger group will produce more events). So, it is not possible that a separate class of person (police) can be treated the same as a mass group. (Besides, just every one should not have guns in the first place).

        Dontchaknow? Eh?

    • @Michael in GA, I don’t think there are more OIS now that the cops are using body cameras. I think there are simply more videos.

      • Well if you are a cop and shoot an unarmed black person, and you don’t have a drop gun, you are in a world of shit even though it was justified. Reason suggests you may be hesitant to shoot. Enter the body cam and two thoughts come to mind. Why would you murder someone knowing you are recording the event and you know the camera is from your point of view so you feel free to act accordingly.

  7. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts, if it were ‘Zek out there, having to police in the armpits of our country, he’d be blasting the F out of everyone, or end up dead.

    Unless that guy has been a beat cop, his opinion is less than worthless.

    • I’d take that bet since I’m guessing ole ‘Zek would be pissing himself in the corner asking the magical unicorn to come down off the rainbow to solve the problem for him….in the form of a real dude with the balls to willingly enter a potentially violent situation and still function.

      His opinion is worthless for far more reasons than whether he has or has not been a cop.

  8. My question ultimately is did the Taser work in securing compliance. In a lot of these cases where someone ends up shot the answer is no. I get the impression he thinks that someone getting the snot shocked out of them is a fool proof way to ensure compliance. It’s not.

    • Which gives lie to all the ‘less lethal’ solutions that are so much in play now.

      The “Force Continuum” has been gutted. It used to be that cops had to use brains and many times brawn to solve problems on the ‘street.’ The gun was a last resort, but it was a very real option when life was threatened.


      Nah. It seems like they are too often going straight to high up the force ladder. There has been a LOT of bad doctrine slipping into American policing in the last two decades (at least); introduction of 40-eleven ‘less lethal’ options that have been declared morally superior is just one of them.

      • It “seems” that way, but is it that way? Does perception match reality? Remembering that we have a sensationalistic media that hypes the bad, and downplays the good.

        • Okay, fair enough. There are many unreported cases of lower force incidents, so the continuum is still in use.

          So, let’s limit our discussion to JUST the cases that have made mainstream news. There HAS been a lot of those cases where the ‘continuum’ has been largely skipped…cases where other force options could likely have been appropriately employed. This is pretty well known at this point.

          But what do we expect, really? The public is being conditioned to this sort of thing. For example, we were watching some dumb cop show on Netflix the other night wherein the cop actually threatened with deadly force an unarmed person not being violent in any way … JUST for not obeying something the cop said (like answering questions or something). The person was not under arrest or anything at all…

          It was very egregious. Yet the cop was portrayed as “heroic” and the (innocent) person was clearly painted as “deserving.”

          That’s artificial, but it does influence. We have actually heard here on these pages someone justify the use of deadly force in a real stand-off situation because it had gone on for 2 hours and the cops were tired of the person not giving up. Yup; we’ve had someone here advocate for the cops killing a person on the basis of the cops being inconvenienced.

        • “some dumb cop show on Netflix the other night wherein the cop actually threatened with deadly force an unarmed person not being violent in any way … JUST for not obeying something the cop said”

          And in these comments right here, some cop or copsucker proposed allowing cops to murder anybody who fails to comply as a legitimate solution to the problem…

          With the ‘continuum of force’ as it’s taught and implemented today, when you detect a LEO deliberately escalating the situation and climbing that continuum to its obviously fatal conclusion, the only safe thing for the law abiding citizen to do is draw swiftly and shoot him in the face.

  9. What Ezekiel Edwards is saying can be responded to by simply saying, “Well, ‘Duh!’ “.

    If you have multiple persons involved in a high stress situation, even if you are certain each received he same training, you cannot be certain each one will use that training to reach the same conclusion as to how to react. If they received different training, then the likelihood of certainty they will reach different conclusions increases. This has been true for centuries and is no great epiphany.

  10. It is not a “divergence in training”, it is evidence that no one really knows beforehand how they will react when faced with a situation that could become deadly in an instant.

    You can plan, train, hope, guess, anticipate, your every re-action to every imaginable situation. Having been drilled and drilled on the dash cam of the shooting of a cop who allowed a traffic-stop suspect to retrieve an M-1 carbine and kill the cop, every nerve is on edge when some other suspect refused to comply with commands (as in the dash cam video example) and reached inside his vehicle (or even appeared to reach inside).

    Every cop on the scene where the one officer used a Taser and the other used a firearm made judgment calls as to the likely threat. One went with the “odds” that the suspect could be stopped with the Taser, the other assessed the threat differently. Same as anyone on this blog might differ with another if faced with a similar situation filled with uncertainty.

    Personally, I kinda like the British system where coppers issue recommendations of behavior to the suspect, and if faced with a situation likely to escalate to gunfire, the coppers just bid the suspect a good day and file a report.

  11. This kind of legalistic advice begs the question of why the officers who were killed in Palm Springs seemingly attempted to negotiate with the killer who had told his father that he would shoot police through the door. Were they trained based on advice like this? Did the dispatcher not get them enough information about what they were facing?

    • Here, you have to decide if a law has been broken and if law enforcement is needed so badly that it’s OK for somebody to die from application of law enforcement. If yes, then it’s one of those rare situations where S*W*A*T is actually needed.

      Now, I’m not going to pretend I know what was happening at the time of the shooting, as even honest cops only willingly release the information that makes them look good. If we assume they’re honest, they tried to negotiate with a subject who had been reported to 9-1-1 as wanting to shoot cops, negotiations ended, and the subject shot 3 cops.

      I’d seriously like to know, what ended the negotiations and started the hostile action?
      If the guy really wanted to shoot cops through the door, there never would have been any negotiations, he would have started shooting when they started knocking. Did he just get worked up to the breaking point during the discussion and start shooting without warning? That would explain his rather impressive score against multiple well armed (and likely armored) opponents.
      Another likely scenario involves cops attempting to force their way inside when they gave up on verbally convincing the subject to comply, and the subject shooting them like home invaders. Either way, cops put themselves in danger, by attempting to provide amateur counseling to an armed and pissed off subject, or by initiating violence against somebody who was allegedly willing to return violence in a deadly fashion. What I want to know is, what was their goal, and was achieving that goal worth getting killed?

  12. Too many cops got their training in Fallujah. It doesn’t translate well to the US.

    Chiraq may look like Fallujah. It may be as dangerous as Fallujah. But it isn’t Fallujah. The Black Disciples are not the Taliban. The Latin Brothers aren’t Isis. And the rules of engagement are different.

    Untraining these officers is impossible, and their military mindset is penetrating up and down through the ranks.

    We don’t like it, but the government loves it. All the petty tyrants and tinpot dictators in America have always wanted their own army, and now they have it.

    Question of the day: Who are the cops going to kill when they’re done with black people?

  13. If we’re talking about the female officer that shot a man after he had been Tasered (for failing to stop when ordered), please keep a couple things in mind:
    1) Cops try to ALWAYS have lethal backup when using a Taser. A Taser is not 100% effective, just like every other hand held weapon (I don’t consider a .50BMG a hand held weapon).
    2) Watch the tape again. The subject is wandering toward his vehicle, with his arms up, ignoring orders to stop. He gets close to the door/window and the officer finally Tasers him (they waited too long, should have done it when he was away from everything/everyone). What happens when he gets Tasered? His arms drop, and he lurches forward (maybe collapsing, maybe diving into the window for a gun, maybe the Taser missed, maybe it hit but failed to stop him). The female officer, backing up the Taser officer, sees the subject make a sudden movement toward the vehicle, and reacts in fear for her life and the lives of her fellow officers.
    Is this what happened? I don’t know, and neither do you. What I DO know, is that if an officer points a gun at me and says “Stop”, I’ll stop. If he says “Put you hands up”, I’ll put my hands up. If he says “Don’t move”, I won’t move.
    Black, white, brown or pink, do you think I’ll end up getting shot?

    • The police don’t have the power to summarily execute someone for failing to follow an order. The penalty for being uncooperative with police for any skin color isn’t death, it’s arrest and jail. Lethal force only comes into play if there is a danger to the police or to the public. Betty Shelby, the police officer you are bringing up, has been charged with manslaughter because of the lack of threat demonstrated by Terence Crutcher before she shot him.

      • Charged is not convicted. In this day and age, most officers are getting charged in these situations, because the prosecutors can’t take the public heat for doing the right thing. She will not be convicted. She felt she and her partner were under threat and I agree. Police can’t shoot just because someone doesn’t obey their orders, but if a suspect ignores their order to stop and keeps coming at them in the threatening manner, that shows intent to do harm to the officers.

        Only about 20% of officers charged for a shooting are eventually convicted of murder or manslaughter. Bottom line is don’t be stupid. If an officer is pointing a gun at you and you comply with his or her orders, you should be fine. If you don’t, you may get shot. It’s always been that way.

  14. This ACLU idiot is another liberal who should take one of these force-on-force training courses. The criteria for using a Taser and gun are completely different. No threat but non-compliant? Taser? Threat? Gun.

  15. The most serious problem in the Edwards quote isn’t about the issue of when to use lethal force.
    What’s really bad in what he says is that he believes that an “officer feels like the person has to be killed.”
    No, that’s not even remotely what goes on in use of lethal force situations.
    The police, like non-LEO people, use lethal force to stop potentially lethal force. If, say, there are 2000 people shot this year by law-abiding citizens, LEO and non-, in the course of self-defense, I’d be willing to assert that possibly only one or two of those, at most, included the defender’s “feeling” that the shootees should be killed.
    That’s the big conflation that is derailing the entire discussion.
    The police, and lawfully armed citizens without police powers, are never “allowed” to kill anyone.
    The fact that the person getting shot is in peril of dying as a result of that use of force is a side effect.
    The police are not trying to kill anyone, not in any remotely “normal” sense or situation.
    It certainly does not apply to cases such as Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, or any other of the exploited heater cases.
    No, sir, Mr. Edwards of the ACLU, you have no idea what you’re talking about, and you should be applying for a refund from Vassar from whence you purchased your J.D.

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