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  #21  
Old 06 January 2018, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Koshka View Post
In the news reports I've seen, the Wichita PD is still saying the man kept moving his hands to his waistband despite multiple "keep them in the air" demands.
This is part of what I don't understand about these kinds of situations. How are police officers trained to perceive a movement as threatening? I can think of lots of reasons why a person might not keep their hands in the air. Granted, I'm not a police officer and I've never been in a situation where I've had to decide whether somebody might suddenly shoot me. I know that takes away a lot of my 'has a say in the matter' points.

But I still feel that police - and not just in the US - have too much leeway to determine what counts as a threatening motion. Widespread clarification and training could help to reduce a lot of law enforcement 'mishaps', regardless of whether or not the law enforcement in question is armed. Being uncooperative is not necessarily threatening. Panicking is not necessarily threatening.

I would have thought - or hoped, rather - that an officer would be trained that they have to actually see a gun before they shoot on suspicion that the suspect is about to shoot first. I mean, nobody can shoot hands-free from a weapon in their pants, so even if they're suspected of having a gun in their waistband they would have to at least partially reveal the weapon before they can get the first shot. I know people can be quick, but the swat team is already aiming!

A lethal shot shouldn't be a punishment for simply not following instructions, is what I'm getting at.
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  #22  
Old 06 January 2018, 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Blatherskite View Post
I mean, nobody can shoot hands-free from a weapon in their pants, so even if they're suspected of having a gun in their waistband they would have to at least partially reveal the weapon before they can get the first shot. I know people can be quick, but the swat team is already aiming!
The trouble is that police seem to have been trained that at that point, it's already too late. Factoring in reaction time, if you wait to see the gun you're waiting to get shot, even if your gun is already drawn.

It's the cold calculus (from a training standpoint) that features in so many seemingly incomprehensible police shootings.
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  #23  
Old 06 January 2018, 02:36 AM
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My problem of late is that the police seem willing to accept zero risk for themselves at the expense of the public they serve. Theoretically the guy could pull a gun and shoot and theoretically his aim would be good enough to hit someone. This is a risk. But there is also a pretty major risk that when you are firing a gun at someone they are not actually a threat and you're just frightened.

Add this to the drunk man gunned down in a hotel for no apparent reason other than "he reached for his pants" while he pled for his life, and the deaf people being gunned down because they can't hear the orders, and I'm not going to apologize for asking the police, who aren't drafted and chose these jobs, and who, if they are a SWAT team, are wearing body armor, to take some flipping risk on themselves and not transfer all risk to us.
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  #24  
Old 06 January 2018, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Avril View Post
Add this to the drunk man gunned down in a hotel for no apparent reason other than "he reached for his pants" while he pled for his life, and the deaf people being gunned down because they can't hear the orders, and I'm not going to apologize for asking the police, who aren't drafted and chose these jobs, and who, if they are a SWAT team, are wearing body armor, to take some flipping risk on themselves and not transfer all risk to us.
We just need something better than people to make up our police forces is all. Well, that or something much less, something that no one will bat an eye over if it gets shot. Either way, some sort of inhuman machine would do nicely.*

One of these days, I hope to be able to tell you how we went about reducing the risk for our EOD teams in Iraq/Afghanistan. It's nothing too sensational, just a little cold.

*ETA: Okay, I'll apologize for the portion of that that was snark: some procedural changes may reduce risk to suspect without increasing risk to police s well.
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  #25  
Old 06 January 2018, 04:42 AM
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As I understand it, some countries teach their police officers that lethal force is a last resort, not a first resort. They promote things like deescalation techniques before resorting to violence.
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  #26  
Old 06 January 2018, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Koshka View Post
In the news reports I've seen, the Wichita PD is still saying the man kept moving his hands to his waistband despite multiple "keep them in the air" demands. OTOH, the man's family, who were inside the house at the time, say they didn't hear a single one of those demands -- just the gunshot.
Thing is, if your hands are in the air, and assuming you're standing upright, then pretty much any movement is "towards the waistband". So we can't tell from that whether he simply wasn't holding his hands completely rigidly in the air. *

Also, it seems to have happened pretty quickly while they were all still at the front door, and before anybody had been into the flat to see what was going on (the original statement from a police spokesperson said he was shot "as he came to the front door") so how many times could this "keep them in the air" demand actually have been repeated to make it "multiple"? How quickly were the police talking? How many were shouting at once?

To me, the statement above seems to me to be trying to make it all sound much clearer and more deliberate than it appears from the other circumstances to have been.

* (eta) It also just occurred to me that, if your hands were initially down by your sides and you're told to put them in the air, then you have to move them "towards your waistband" in order to get them there! That really doesn't seem a very good criterion to use to identify threats, as Blatherskite said.
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  #27  
Old 06 January 2018, 01:46 PM
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I think I've mentioned this before: I've read multiple accounts over the years of cases in which a person actually had a gun out, but the police managed to defuse the situation and perform an arrest without anybody getting shot.

I don't know what all the factors are that go into this happening in some cases, while in other cases unarmed civilians are shot because they moved a hand in what the police thought was the wrong direction. But I would hope that police departments would study them with the intention of training people to as much as possible get the result that winds up with everybody alive.

-- I don't know that it actually makes the police safer for them to get a reputation for shooting unarmed people as soon as they arrive on the scene. It seems to me that this is a) going to make many people reluctant to give any information at all to the police, with the result that they're far less likely to find out about those who might actually be dangerous to them and b) make a few people more likely to start shooting at the police as soon as they're confronted, instead of waiting to see what the police are actually going to do.

There are a lot of reasons somebody might not instantly put their hands in the air and keep them there. They might be physically unable to move their arms that way, or physically unable to keep them there for very long. They might be deaf and not have heard the command. They might not speak English, and therefore not have understood the command. They might be of limited understanding, and not comprehend the situation. They might be losing their balance, and trying to keep from falling.
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  #28  
Old 06 January 2018, 10:31 PM
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TL, or they might have one officer screaming "PUT YOUR HANDS UP" and another screaming "DOWN ON THE GROUND!", both while pointing their guns at him. Either way, one of those police officers will be disobeyed, and then can say they felt frightened.

crockoduck, I have heard that in some evil countries, the police officers don't even usually carry weapons. Those places must be lawless hellzones, with huge parts of the country no-go areas for all non-gang members.
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  #29  
Old 07 January 2018, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
We just need something better than people to make up our police forces is all. Well, that or something much less, something that no one will bat an eye over if it gets shot. Either way, some sort of inhuman machine would do nicely.
The problem is that many people seem to think it's absolutely fine for cops to just kill people, even completely innocent people, if the cop was "afraid." Such people are disposable to those who try to shut down discussion so the wonderful cop who "risks his/her life every day" won't be scrutinized. So I focus on risk, yes, and who should take it, because that's where the discussion has gone so many times.

Obviously this is not a zero sum game where the only option is that someone gets shot. But I am saying, and I realize some may take offense at the idea, that I would rather the cop get shot than someone who had no choice about taking any such risks get shot for these flimsy reasons.
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  #30  
Old 07 January 2018, 01:44 AM
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Originally Posted by dfresh View Post
I have heard that in some evil countries, the police officers don't even usually carry weapons. Those places must be lawless hellzones, with huge parts of the country no-go areas for all non-gang members.
I lived in a very safe and not particularly evil Central European country where the regular police were unarmed. But so were the citizens. The Serbian mafia weren’t, however, and that was a problem when they began to move in.

So when we called the police to report that someone was brandishing a weapon, they did not arrive for 30 minutes. We were told that their protocol in such situations was to deliberately wait until things played out and cooled off before they showed up, because only special units were equipped to deal with armed encounters. It wasn’t a no go, but there was a solid delay while we were left to fend for ourselves (we hid, and no one was hurt).

America is different. When you have an armed population, and any situation can involve an invisible gun, the police would be at a pretty considerable disadvantage if they were weren’t carrying.
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  #31  
Old 07 January 2018, 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by dfresh View Post
TL, or they might have one officer screaming "PUT YOUR HANDS UP" and another screaming "DOWN ON THE GROUND!", both while pointing their guns at him. Either way, one of those police officers will be disobeyed, and then can say they felt frightened.
They might both be disobeyed, because many people can't get down on the ground while holding their hands above their heads; at least, not without falling in an uncontrolled fashion and quite possibly either seriously hurting themselves or moving, as they fall, rapidly towards the police.

Everybody in the situation may well be frightened; and everybody in the situation may have good reason to be frightened. Police, however, are supposed to be trained to deal with the situation; and quite a lot of members of the general public aren't so trained.
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  #32  
Old 07 January 2018, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
We just need something better than people to make up our police forces is all. Well, that or something much less, something that no one will bat an eye over if it gets shot. Either way, some sort of inhuman machine would do nicely.*
.
We also need something better than people getting shot by the police because they answered their own door. Do you really want to live in a country where something like that is considered, apparently by some, as an acceptable risk? The police are the ones with the training, it's on them to handle situations and minimize risk, both to themselves and the general population.
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  #33  
Old 07 January 2018, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
As I understand it, some countries teach their police officers that lethal force is a last resort, not a first resort. They promote things like deescalation techniques before resorting to violence.
Those countries do include the United States. Police here are not taught to shoot first, then ask questions even though it may seem like that to you.
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  #34  
Old 07 January 2018, 05:01 PM
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We also need something better than people getting shot by the police because they answered their own door...
So are you saying, that he opened his door and they opened fire? Where did you read that?
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  #35  
Old 07 January 2018, 06:05 PM
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In the OP article, the police are quoted as putting it exactly that way.

Quote:
“A male came to the front door, as he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon,” Livingston said.
So basically, yes, he came to the door, so the cop shot him.
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  #36  
Old 07 January 2018, 06:07 PM
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That is clearly wrong. The cop absolutely should not have done that.
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  #37  
Old 07 January 2018, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
Quote:
As I understand it, some countries teach their police officers that lethal force is a last resort, not a first resort. They promote things like deescalation techniques before resorting to violence.
Those countries do include the United States. Police here are not taught to shoot first, then ask questions even though it may seem like that to you.
Saying that deescalation techniques are not promoted or that police officers are not taught that lethal force is a last resort is not quite the same as saying they're taught to shoot first and ask questions later. A nervous, untrained person in that situation might naturally be inclined to shoot first, which is why training is so important. I'm sure there's some training to this effect, but perhaps there needs to be more since it doesn't seem to be sticking.
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  #38  
Old 07 January 2018, 07:05 PM
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Police here are trained to deescalate, use minimal force to accomplish their task, etc. They do accept quite a bit of risk.

I've seen research where civilians were put in police shoot/don't shoot simulations, and they were generally much more likely to shoot people who were unarmed. You would certainly expect a difference between trained police and untrained civilians, but not necessarily -- especially with how some view the "trigger happy" police -- that civilians would be more likely to shoot, and do so earlier in the encounter.

That does not mean that the outcome when an unarmed person is shot is OK. Or that police don't screw up. Or that police training and procedures can't be improved. Or that US gun culture has not put us all at increased risk for numerous bad things. But I expect more nuanced discussion here than just claim that the police are trained to shoot first and ask questions later, are not trained in deescalation, or in using the appropriate degree of force.

And there is a trade off. If you want zero unarmed people (or even zero people not armed with a gun) to be shot by police (who wouldn't like that, as an outcome considered in isolation?) then you will have an increase in both police and innocent civilians being injured or killed by suspects, because waiting until you can be absolutely, beyond all doubt, sure of the danger has a cost.

Sometimes it is hard to know, or to discuss, whether a particular instance is from an officer screwing up, a failure of the system, or a cost of the system. Sometimes it is much more obvious which one it is.
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  #39  
Old 08 January 2018, 12:48 AM
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Thank you erwins for more clearly explaining things than I did. My experience in police type shootings was during an exercise while going through a citizen police experience many years ago. Pairs of us went into a large classroom (not during school hours) where a known armed bad guy was known to be. I really don't remember what I did since I apparently operated on auto. At the end of the exercise, my gun was empty, my partner's gun had jammed. The police officer playing the bad guy had 4 paint ball impacts on his vest. It seems when he, the bad guy jumped out, I shot him 4 times and then hollered "Stop." I don't really remember now nor did I really remember at the time. I remember going into the room and I remember walking out.
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  #40  
Old 08 January 2018, 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
Saying that deescalation techniques are not promoted or that police officers are not taught that lethal force is a last resort is not quite the same as saying they're taught to shoot first and ask questions later. A nervous, untrained person in that situation might naturally be inclined to shoot first, which is why training is so important. I'm sure there's some training to this effect, but perhaps there needs to be more since it doesn't seem to be sticking.
One of the things that bug me about all the “Cops shoot an unarmed person” stories is that when it hits the papers, the police and their defenders will say something like, “The other person was doing X and the Cop was so freaked out and had to make a snap decision.” Thing is, while I do not deny that law enforcement is a very high stress job that does take its toll, at the same time, cops are supposed to be trained to deal with intense situations. Yet they are allowed to get away with being so freaked out, they felt like they had no choice but to be all Dirty Harry, while an untrained civilian is expected to remain in a state of zen-like calm as a cop, aka someone with gun, acts all aggressive, yelling and getting in their faces.

It’s probably born of the mindset as described by Abraham Maslow: when all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. While cops do undergo deescalation training, the amount of training they receive in this area, is pitiful when compared with the amount of training they receive in firearms.

It’s probably born of a lot of trends born over the decades. The War on Drugs probably helped intensify the militant mindset of the organization’s culture and as our culture grew harsher and more punitive towards criminals, along with the paranoia created in the wake of 9/11, this mindset grew, until now the police see themselves less as members of a community they’ve sworn to serve and protect, a more as protected class outside the community, deserving of greater privileges and protections than their fellow citizens.

The militant mindset leads the police to see the people they are supposed to serve and protect as guilty until proven innocent, which leads to tragic shootings of unarmed civilians. These shootings leads to the community further mistrusting the police and they become more hostile in their attitudes, which only further fuels the militant mindset among the police, and now we find ourselves trapped in a moebius strip of awful.

I don’t know how to fix everything and tragedies will always happen, but you should try to lessen the amount of manmade disasters wherever and whenever you can. My suggestions are increased time spent on deescalation training and bad cops should face harsher penalties.

After all, the Cleveland cop who shot and killed Tamir Rice, had been previously employed by the town of Independence. He quit the force while they were in the process of firing him, yet still managed to find work with another department, claiming that he resigned for personal reasons. Yet the Cleveland Police just accepted him at his word and didn’t bother to call up his former employers; a person applying for a job ringing up groceries, faces more hurdles to employment than that.

If they had checked the officer’s records, they might have discovered a memo recommending his firing, saying “Individually, these events would not be considered major situations, but when taken together they show a pattern of a lack of maturity, indiscretion and not following instructions. I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies."

I know, I know, that cop was just one guy and the Wichita Police Department is just one department, but these cases reveal a disturbing pattern. The expression isn’t “Oh it’s just a few bad apples, there’s nothing to worry about.” The expression is “A few bad apples spoils the bunch.” Even if someone is truly a great cop, a veritable saint of a human being, if they allow abuses, either ones born out of malice or incompetence, to continue, then they are basically serving as accessories to the bad cops’ crimes.
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