Another Toothpick
December 24, 2014 2:57 AM   Subscribe

A black teenager two miles outside Ferguson, Mo. has been shot by police and subsequently died.

Whether or not the shooting is justified or justifiable, the divide between law enforcement and black communities continues to widen. This new incident will undoubtedly be used by media to color and inform the number of previous police fatal interactions with black men, for good or ill. Huffpost has already been gamed by a twitter user claiming to have been on the scene. Actual on-scene coverage, however, was provided by Stackizshort, a Ustream user. The incident itself was not captured, but the thin blue line of white police and the mass of, primarily black, protesters draws an undeniable picture of the state of race in America.
posted by SinisterPurpose (550 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 


...

...


I am starting to feel like this nation is a child playing at flicking a cigarette lighter inside a warehouse full of gasoline. Between Trayvon Martin, etc, etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum, I have felt considerable pride in the degree of civility and restraint that the public has shown.

But we just keep adding piling those straws onto that camel, don't we?

Here's hoping for peace in the USA in 2015.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 3:03 AM on December 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


Users on Twitter have alleged that Martin remained alive for a period of time - between 30 minutes and two hours - before emergency services arrived.

So if the bullets don't work, neglect the necessary medical attention.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:05 AM on December 24, 2014 [17 favorites]


Excuse me if I don't automatically accept the officer's accounting of the incident. But given this is a gas-station, there should be ample objective evidence to clarify this.

And that "We waited for EMS until he was dead" thing? If it wasn't a bad shooting, why wait? I mean, SURE there's one less person to sue you, but really?
posted by mikelieman at 3:10 AM on December 24, 2014


You'd think that somewhere there have to be some smart cops who realize that every death like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, or Tamir Rice or even just the constant weight of all the smaller non-fatal shit we never see on the news just discredits and endangers all cops by destroying any chance of cooperation or trust in huge sections of the community and making a significant number of people actively hate and fear police, yet somehow you don't see much agitation from them to make things change.
posted by dilettante at 3:12 AM on December 24, 2014 [23 favorites]


Here's hoping for peace in the USA in 2015.

What we're seeing here isn't some new police movement to hurt the African American community; this has always been the status quo

The difference is that EVERYONE has like 1-3 cameras on them now.

The revolution will be on youtube.
The revolution will be live-streamed.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:13 AM on December 24, 2014 [68 favorites]


Aw, no.

I find myself hoping the gas station has security camera video showing a gun really was involved; undeniable evidence might help, since I doubt the cops' word will matter much. Amplifying this tragedy is the fact noted in the FPP that if the young man did pull a gun on police, it isn't likely to matter very much, the atmosphere is so toxic. And I do blame the Ferguson police and civic authorities for that.

The invaluable Charles Pierce is troubled that police (and the CIA) seem to consider themselves unanswerable to civil authority, and notes that the principle of subordination to civil authority goes back to the Declaration of Independence. It's deeply troubling that in Ferguson, the civil authorities seem to encourage the police to at that way.
posted by Gelatin at 3:15 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


There's just nothing I can say anymore. I was arguing with someone earlier tonight, after this came out, and I just.............. fuck. Don't. I'm exhausted. We all are. This is just going to keep on happening. This is the new form of lynching we have. Full stop. Bodies left out on the street to die.

We've been through this cycle enough times now to know exactly how it works. How it will all be spun from here. It's all depressingly predictable. HOW MUCH LONGER do we have to endure it.

People are tired.
People are tired of death.
People are tired of marching.
People are tired of this cycle of pain.
posted by naju at 3:16 AM on December 24, 2014 [15 favorites]


making a significant number of people actively hate and fear police

This is a feature, not a bug, of the american police state. Also, this kind of thing - police killing minorities without repercussions, has been happening since the reconstruction. It's only now, with the advent of cheap and small personal recording devices and social media, that it's being shown widely.

HOW MUCH LONGER

Until we have our own 'green revolution' and people are put against a wall.
posted by anti social order at 3:33 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Berkeley Police Officer exited his vehicle and approached the subjects

My first thought is of the man - I am embarrassed that I can't remember his name - who was killed not long after Mike Brown, had a knife and was acting mentally unstable. The cops came right up to him and then were "too close" and feared for their lives. Because they came right up to him.

To say nothing of leaving him on the ground to die, if it's true. That is the type of thing that, in our non-police-don't-get-charged-world, turns actions from maybe justified to homicidal.

.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:37 AM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]




.

I thought, "unbelievable", except it completely isn't.

Revolution? For it to work, people either need more guns on their side, or more shame on the other.
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:57 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I find myself hoping the gas station has security camera video showing a gun really was involved; undeniable evidence might help, since I doubt the cops' word will matter much.

This is where cameras on the police uniforms will resolve these problems and many more. Just make it impossible for them to turn off without serious effort, and if the video is unavailable/tampered with it's an automatic suspension and public review of officer's record.

Of course the police will throw a fit - but they put themselves into this position.

As the years wear on, it seems that more and more we are returning to pre-1970's/80's both in police and media - for a while we had police we could trust and reporters who did their job. Now nobody checks their sources (seriously, twitter?) before rushing to print, and police are one step removed from a legal gang.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 4:09 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Revolution? For it to work, people either need more guns on their side...

As I've pointed out before, there are certainly guns a-plenty on the civilian side of things. It's just that the majority of those guns are in the hands of people who tend to side with the police in actions like this.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:11 AM on December 24, 2014 [19 favorites]




Look, guns aren't going to solve this. Having a gun is an excuse for a cop to kill you. Shit, if they say they thought you had a gun, but it's like your wallet, they get a pass. Nope. The real question, I think, is "What does grass-roots organization look like when the NSA and FBI have total information awareness and they pipe the information down to local law enforcement?"
posted by mikelieman at 4:25 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


[Guys, just a reminder that we want to be a bit careful with reporting via Twitter, etc. There will be speculation, honest mistakes, and hoaxes amid actual facts, so It's probably best to temper sharing and/or presentation of those sorts of links with this in mind.]
posted by taz (staff) at 4:31 AM on December 24, 2014 [17 favorites]


For the love of god.
posted by JHarris at 4:34 AM on December 24, 2014


On the one hand, it is possible that this was a justified shooting. On the other hand, if cops everywhere thought 150 angry protesters would show up every time they shot a black teenager, maybe a lot fewer unjustifiable shootings would happen.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:36 AM on December 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


Did someone really fire a tazer next to a gas pump?! Wow, that could have ended much, much worse than it did.
posted by dances with hamsters at 4:37 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


One of the things I remember from the Ferguson protests is how hard the police were trying to incite a riot. Everything from the timing of the announcement to not indict, to the preemptive tear gas seemed calculated to provoke people. I'm perfectly willing to believe the police there are more trigger happy than before the protests.
posted by ryanrs at 4:38 AM on December 24, 2014 [33 favorites]


Even if the shooting was in self defense, it still doesn't mean the police officer acted correctly. Why didn't he realise the alleged assailant was armed? Why did he put himself in a vulnerable position? Why didn't he call for backup? These are the questions that would be asked in other jurisdictions; there's no such thing as a "justified" shooting that lets the survivor walk away without an inquiry.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:45 AM on December 24, 2014 [13 favorites]


Did someone really fire a tazer next to a gas pump?!

If you watch the video, you'll see some sort of ordinance get lofted in from the right hand side of the scene. It wasn't a "tazer". Was it a smoke bomb, tear gas, fireworks? I don't think we know at this point, it's also uncertain as to who threw it.

I sincerely believe that angry/violent discussions, mobs, protests that occur before the facts are known are counterproductive and damaging to any useful process to determine truth and responsibility.
posted by HuronBob at 4:57 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Jesus Fucking Christ
posted by angrycat at 5:00 AM on December 24, 2014


useful process to determine truth and responsibility.

Some would suggest that after Eric Gardner, truth and responsibility are irrelevant. It might be that truth and responsibility were never relevant.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever."
posted by mikelieman at 5:04 AM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


It might be that truth and responsibility were never relevant.

If we stop at least striving for truth, we might as well just give up altogether.... "Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals."

posted by HuronBob at 5:08 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


There's no satyagraha without satya.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:10 AM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


...SURE there's one less person to sue you, but really?

Once when my dad was getting his firearm inspected at a police checkpoint in the midwest, the officer gave him some self-defense advice: "If you've got to shoot someone, make sure they're dead, or you'll be paying them your entire life."

So, yes. Really.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 5:12 AM on December 24, 2014 [18 favorites]


.
posted by sexyrobot at 5:13 AM on December 24, 2014


We've seen how Due Process of Law and Equal Protection of the Laws don't work if there is an exempt class called "The Police". So, given that "Truth" doesn't matter in the special courts where Police are "held responsible", I'm not real hopeful.

If you have ideas on how we get from where we are -- the police have declared war and there's no limits to their effective power -- to the ideal -- where if you kill someone you better have a good explanation for the judge and jury -- I'd love to hear.
posted by mikelieman at 5:19 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


St. Louis County police have just released video from the camera at the gas station where Antonio Martin was shot.

The accompanying info says it "shows the suspect pointing a gun at the officer." Whatever it is that happens seems to take place in the last 10 seconds of the clip, in the upper left hand corner of the frame. One of the men definitely appears to raise an arm, but given the distance, lighting and video resolution, there's not much detail, it's almost like a silhouette.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 5:23 AM on December 24, 2014


.
posted by pemberkins at 5:24 AM on December 24, 2014


Conspiracy theory time: if that's camera 29, where are the other 28 angles?
posted by cjorgensen at 5:38 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


The ones where he's clearly brandishing a Big Gulp?
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:39 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think it would have been nice to have the kid's name in the post:

"Antonio Martin, a black teenager" rather than just "A black teenager"
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:40 AM on December 24, 2014 [33 favorites]


St. Louis County police have just released video from the camera at the gas station yt where Antonio Martin was shot.

That's the best they could do? A figure steps into the frame, stands there for a few seconds, turns away, turns back and raises an arm. Jesus wept.
posted by Gelatin at 5:42 AM on December 24, 2014


That video doesn't really answer any questions but it raises a couple more. When did the police officer draw his gun? If the man raising his arm had a gun, he sure had the drop on the officer if the officer's weapon was still in the holster. If the officer already had his gun out, that's a pretty ridiculous overreaction to two men leaving a gas station. What happened after the end of the video? There's a lot of context that the video leaves out.
posted by Apoch at 5:42 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


I think it would have been nice to have the kid's name in the post:
"Antonio Martin, a black teenager" rather than just "A black teenager"


I second this.
posted by jammy at 5:49 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Guardian is following developments: Missouri police officer fatally shoots black teenager in St Louis suburb. Liveblog.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:50 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Some of these comments read to me like the flip side of the coin of those of the Darren Wilson apologists. As in, short of a close-up professionally shot video of a guy opening direct fire on a police officer, some people will never believe use of deadly force was justified. To me, when I look at that end of the video it looks more like there is guy pointing a gun at the officer than anything else. Maybe it's some sort of Rorschach test... who knows. Oh well, I'm sure in 48 hours there will plenty more facts.
posted by gagglezoomer at 5:50 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I have no position as to whether the victim had a gun, but that video is presumably only one among several, and it's been edited in a suspicious way - freezing on the last few seconds, when the victim apparently has raised his arm. It looks to me as though the editing is intended to persuade us that the victim is pointing a weapon at the police officer. In actuality, we don't know what he was doing. He may have been pointing a weapon at the police officer. He may have been answering a question like "where do you live?" He may have been showing some ID. The video is remarkably unhelpful.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:54 AM on December 24, 2014 [15 favorites]


Some of these comments read to me like the flip side of the coin of those of the Darren Wilson apologists. As in, short of a close-up professionally shot video of a guy opening direct fire on a police officer, some people will never believe use of deadly force was justified. To me, when I look at that end of the video it looks more like there is guy pointing a gun at the officer than anything else.

I suggest that just because the video looks you you like someone -- presumably Martin, but how do we know at this point -- is pointing a gun, the nature of the video is such that others can disagree in good faith.

The released clip is far short of a close-up professionally shot video; it's grainy and low-res to begin with and the relevant action occurs in the background and out of focus.
posted by Gelatin at 5:57 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


The point is that recent events tend to support the position that the Ferguson police are not entitled to the benefit of the doubt.
posted by Gelatin at 5:59 AM on December 24, 2014 [31 favorites]


freezing on the last few seconds

I would suspect that the video ends at that point due to the fact that the authorities were unwilling, for a lot of reasons, to release the part of the video where Mr. Martin gets shot.
posted by HuronBob at 6:00 AM on December 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Ferguson police are not entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

At this point, no police officer is entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Until the police are treated EXACTLY like any other suspect in a shooting, there won't be any semblance of "equal protection of the law".
posted by mikelieman at 6:02 AM on December 24, 2014 [36 favorites]


He could have been dangerously brandishing a cell phone!
posted by Metafilter Username at 6:02 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


it's been edited in a suspicious way - freezing on the last few seconds, when the victim apparently has raised his arm

In his press conference, the St. Louis County Police Chief said they didn't want to release the footage of Martin actually being shot at this time so as to not upset the family (paraphrasing).

The point is that recent events tend to support the position that the Ferguson police are not entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

This didn't happen in Ferguson; the officer who killed Martin was a Berkeley officer. Two different departments in St. Louis County.
posted by brentajones at 6:04 AM on December 24, 2014


The system is so stacked in the police's favor all over the U.S., they don't need the benefit of the doubt whether they deserve it or not.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:07 AM on December 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


but that video is presumably only one among several, and it's been edited in a suspicious way - freezing on the last few seconds, when the victim apparently has raised his arm

The video has the stench of a PR campaign on it. It does not engender trust and a sense the police are responding in good faith. Shades of Michael Brown all over again.

And it looks like he's pointing a finger. If he wasn't, it's a Christmas miracle because Martin has the drop on him and at that range and in that position, the officer should be flat out dead in any kind of firefight.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:07 AM on December 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Honestly, at this point I don't give a shit if he had a gun or not. The cops are far too eager to kill black people. Yeah, maybe, possibly, from time to time, deadly force is justified.

But you know what? In Iceland they went 70 years without a single police shooting. Seventy fucking years and not one person killed by cops. Yet here it's literally a daily occurrence. The fact is, cops are too trigger happy. They've been drilled and trained to believe that their lives are in danger every moment, and that black people are dangerous, demon faced, Incredible Hulk-like beings who get bigger and madder and stronger when they're shot. So American police kill a lot of people, and they kill a lot more black people than white people because the police basically focus all their law enforcement efforts on black people.

So if this was a "justified" shooting, I still don't give a shit. I don't care if Martin had a gun, or if like so many other black people murdered by cops he was unarmed. Enough is fucking enough.

We need a new policy, you kill someone on the job while you're a cop you get fired. Immediately. No questions. No explanations. No pension. Cop kills someone, they lose their cop job and can never, ever, be a cop again. It can be the most "justified" killing imaginable, I don't care. No exceptions. Cop kills someone, they aren't a cop anymore and never can be ever again. And they lose the right to have guns. Forever. No security guard jobs. No jobs with guns. Let them flip fucking burgers after they murder someone.

There's no point in talking about criminal charges, with our current setup cops get off with no penalties even if, as in the case of the murder of Oscar Grant, there is actual video showing that the cop deliberately and maliciously shot a restrained, unarmed, person in the back for no reason other than the sheer sick joy of murder.

But maybe we can reign in their evil if they know they'll lose their job and never get to be cops again if they kill someone.
posted by sotonohito at 6:07 AM on December 24, 2014 [45 favorites]


This didn't happen in Ferguson; the officer who killed Martin was a Berkeley officer. Two different departments in St. Louis County.

Point taken, but I'm not especially willing to give any St. Louis County officer the benefit of the doubt either.
posted by Gelatin at 6:08 AM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


at this point, i seriously wonder what the point is - one side has their beliefs and will find the "facts" to suit them - the other side will do the same

there is no trust left, only "truth"
posted by pyramid termite at 6:08 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nice Sopranos reference in the title.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:09 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


oh yes! just two sides! both sides do it! sure, one side routinely kills a large number of unarmed black teens, the other side is killed by cops with impunity. Its just a disagreement!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:10 AM on December 24, 2014 [38 favorites]


this has gone beyond unarmed black teens being shot - it's now a potentially bloody civil conflict

good luck with the "truth" then
posted by pyramid termite at 6:15 AM on December 24, 2014


Unarmed black teens being shot was already a bloody civil conflict.
posted by Metafilter Username at 6:22 AM on December 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


but this thread - and the godawful comments one can find elsewhere - is a good illustration of what i'm talking about

some allege the gun was planted - some suggest someone was tased by a gas pump, others that somebody threw something - some suggest that the dead man was just pointing a finger - the news account says the officer approached them, but the video shows the people walking over

i saw on the guardian website that the officer's body cam wasn't working - and they're not sure about the dashboard cam - and the footage i saw is pretty much useless, perhaps deliberately so

nature abhors a vacuum - and "truth" abhors ambiguity

on preview - it's going to get much worse, metafilter username
posted by pyramid termite at 6:24 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


The two sides are one that's actually happening all over the country and one that could potentially happen: totally comparable.
posted by snofoam at 6:25 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


The United States has never had a clearer justification for armed revolution against the State. Unarmed civilians being summarily executed by government representatives is what the 2nd amendment is for. But the NRA sides with the cops.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:26 AM on December 24, 2014 [16 favorites]


Worse for whom, exactly?
posted by Metafilter Username at 6:26 AM on December 24, 2014


it's going to get much worse, metafilter username

It has been "much worse" for one particular group of people pretty much since the founding of this country. Now we are seeing if other groups are also going to experience or recognize that "much worse."
posted by rtha at 6:27 AM on December 24, 2014 [18 favorites]


When there's a clearly established pattern of police establishing their dominance in black communities by murdering black kids and getting away with no penalties of any sort whatsoever, I don't think it is unreasonable to assume that the latest police officer turned murderer fits that pattern.

We don't know for sure, and again if the past is any guide the police will actively hamper any attempt to know for sure by planting false evidence, destroying evidence, etc. Again, the pattern is clear, when one cop murders someone every other cop in existence rallies around the murderer and the entire apparatus of the state explicitly including the government official theoretically employed to press charges against murderers is deployed to destroy evidence of wrongdoing, vilify the victim, etc.

So yeah, the truth has been lost. Blame the cops who like getting away with murder.
posted by sotonohito at 6:29 AM on December 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


Belmar confirms that the officer’s body cam was not on during the shooting.

There should be legal consequences for the officer for that; criminal defense attorney Scott Greenfield over at Simple Justice calls it " the missing video presumption."
posted by mediareport at 6:30 AM on December 24, 2014 [19 favorites]


As in, short of a close-up professionally shot video of a guy opening direct fire on a police officer, some people will never believe use of deadly force was justified.

Problem is, we often do get this video, and it still means nothing.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:31 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


So yeah, the truth has been lost. Blame the cops who like getting away with murder.

Dude, this just happened this morning. 10 years ago you wouldn't have even heard about it yet.
posted by gagglezoomer at 6:32 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


sotonohito: "But you know what? In Iceland they went 70 years without a single police shooting. Seventy fucking years and not one person killed by cops. "

Iceland has three orders of magnitude less population. A direct comparison can't be made like that.
posted by Mitheral at 6:33 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Worse for whom, exactly?

all of us
posted by pyramid termite at 6:33 AM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Does anyone have a link with a timeline? I'm trying to find confirmation of when EMS was called.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:33 AM on December 24, 2014


it's now a potentially bloody civil conflict

For the vast majority of people in the US, this is an item on the news between the latest celebrity scandal and an update on ISIS air strikes. A tragedy, yes, but not something of immediate personal importance.

Once when my dad was getting his firearm inspected at a police checkpoint in the midwest, the officer gave him some self-defense advice: "If you've got to shoot someone, make sure they're dead, or you'll be paying them your entire life."

If there really were police checkpoints inspecting white people's firearms, then you might see a civil conflict. (As compared to stop-and-frisk, which is carefully racially and class targeted, of course.) But that advice is what you hear all the time. I suspect that being sued into bankruptcy after wounding someone who is breaking into your house is mostly an urban myth, but it's repeated like a law of nature. It was brought up in the training session I had to sit through to get a CCL, and I've heard police say it, too. True or not, it's something that people really do believe and it has to be influencing actions as well.

Unarmed civilians being summarily executed by government representatives is what the 2nd amendment is for. But the NRA sides with the cops.

The modern interpretation of the second amendment is not disconnected from the violence of Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era (and similar racial violence in other parts of the country). Maintaining access to firearms for white men and relatively few limits on the use of those firearms is very deeply embedded in our legal system and our culture. (Which is of course also why the people here saying "uprising!" and "revolution!" are out to lunch -- this is pretty much the opposite of an issue that could lead to that.)
posted by Dip Flash at 6:38 AM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: The Guardian has been posting live updates and has a timeline, but thus far no mention of precisely when EMS were called.
posted by jammy at 6:40 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Here's how I would reform the police departments:
  1. Only hire police from the community in which they serve.
  2. Require body and dash cams.
  3. In the event of missing or tampered video the presumption of innocence goes to the non-police and the officer is sanctioned.
  4. All police required to possess liability/malpractice insurance paid for by themselves. You can only stay being a cop as long as you don't rack up million dollar payouts. Can't afford the insurance? Time for a new profession.
  5. A database that tracks all police complaints and firings (too often a fired cop just goes and gets a job in another department).
  6. Suspensions cannot be with pay.
  7. Mandatory civilian review boards where the people are put on there like in a jury.
  8. Disband police unions.
  9. End the war on drugs.
I'm sure there are some other reforms that make sense, but this is a good start.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:41 AM on December 24, 2014 [50 favorites]


Mitheral: the city of Amarillo TX, where I used to live, has a population of around 200,000. Less than Iceland's 323,000. I can, off the top of my head and from the past decade, remember three incidents where the police killed someone in Amarillo. And I'm sure that many more people were killed by the police, I just don't remember all of them or simply never heard about all of them.

So yes, there can be a comparison, and it shows American cops as bloodthirsty, trigger happy, murder machines.

Other nations prove that it is possible to have police who do not routinely murder citizens. I don't know why you want to deny that it is possible.
posted by sotonohito at 6:41 AM on December 24, 2014 [19 favorites]


But you know what? In Iceland they went 70 years without a single police shooting. Seventy fucking years and not one person killed by cops.

Iceland has a current population of about 300k (and was about 120k in 1940), so about the size of a college town in the US. It's not impossible that there is a US town that has had not police shootings in that timeframe, though it would be hard to know for sure since these things are poorly reported and there is no centralization of data.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:42 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Here's how I would reform the police departments:
1. Only hire police from the community in which they serve.


If memory serves me correctly, at one (pre-Katrina) point, New Orleans took steps to reform its chronically corrupt police department by only hiring people from out of town, presumable because they would not have grown up in an atmosphere of such accepted corruption. I know because the sister of a friend of mine went to work for them. Just a data point.

I'd also move #9 on the list to #1, but other than that I endorse your platform.
posted by Gelatin at 6:45 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I expect police in Iceland are trained in non-lethal methods for subduing suspects. I further expect that they actually use these methods as a matter of course and would consider lethal force an absolute last resort. American police just use their guns for everything, justified or not. It's time to stop portraying them as heroes, because these are the actions of cowards.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:48 AM on December 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


If there really were police checkpoints inspecting white people's firearms,

He's a truck driver, so he does get inspected occasionally at weigh stations and such. I'll accept any accusations of being deliberately inflammatory.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 6:53 AM on December 24, 2014


A pity cameras 1-28, 30+, and the dashcam's were malfunctioning. Then we might have gotten to see how Antonio magicked a gun smoothly out of the pocket of his jacket, not eight feet from them, with them facing him, in a well lit parking lot, before the police could so much as fucking twitch.

He's pointing a finger and has been killed for getting uppity while black And I'll think that until I see video to the contrary.
posted by Slackermagee at 6:55 AM on December 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


It's never going to end. It's never going to get better. Someday soon some unarmed black kid is going to be gunned down by cops in broad daylight, and someone on Fox News is going to flat-out say, "It was his fault. Everybody knows that if you're black in America and you walk down the street, you might get shot. If he wanted to be safe he would have stayed inside."
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:57 AM on December 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


New Orleans took steps to reform its chronically corrupt police department by only hiring people from out of town […]

Well, I suppose if you are trying to address corruption you might need to do something like that, but I think it's better to hire from within.

The reason it's important for me that police be hired from within their communities is this means they have to live with the consequences of their actions. It also means individuals within that community have another avenue of employment. It also means there is informal policing. When I grew up everyone knew where the cop's house was. Presumably it also means another house sold in the area and another person shopping in the area. You can actually go on for a long time why this is good. Trucking in cops from outside to do your policing creates the wrong kind of mentality in my mind. Also, this hopefully means when a shooting does happen it would be far less likely to be a shooting of an "other." There's no way I'd trust the police if they always came from "outside" and were authorized to use deadly force.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:58 AM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


"It was his fault. Everybody knows that if you're black in America and you walk down the street, you might get shot. If he wanted to be safe he would have stayed inside."

Not racist enough for FOX News: "If he wanted to stay safe he should have winning self-deported to the country he came from."
posted by cjorgensen at 7:00 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Black communities need black police officers. It's only a band-aid on the core problem, but it's really the only practical way to address it right now.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:01 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Trigger-happy much?: "The rate at which German police discharged their firearms is further underscored by how rarely they shot with fatal intent. Of the 85 bullets used in 2011, 49 were warnings shots, 36 were aimed at criminal suspects, 15 people were injured, and 6 were killed, the German daily continues. ... Last month, Los Angeles Police killed a 19-year-old man after unloading over 90 shots on him following a high-speed chase down an area freeway"

Why so aggro? "The number of fatalities [110 officers] of U.S. law enforcement officers in 2013 is the lowest in 54 years and the number dying in firearms-related incidents is the lowest since the 1800s, according to a preliminary report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. ... Firearms-related incidents accounted for 33 deaths, a drop of one-third over 2012 and the lowest since 1887 when 27 officers were shot to death, the NLEOMF reports"

By comparison, " logging workers, .... lost their lives at a rate of 127.8 per 100,000 full-time workers. In total, 62 loggers were killed on the job last year."

About 11-fold higher than police officers, at least in the current era: "In 2013, out of 900,000 sworn officers, just 100 died from a job-related injury. That's about 11.1 per 100,000, or a rate of 0.01%. ... It's more dangerous to live in Baltimore (35.01 murders per 100,000 residents) than to be a cop in 2014." [Detroit: 47 per 100,000 in 2014]
posted by etherist at 7:02 AM on December 24, 2014 [41 favorites]


Having never read a far right wing blog many, if not most, of these posts would seem to me to a mirror image of what I would expect from one--speculation, conspiracy, government coverups, revolution, a paucity of facts/data. etc. I am going to wait and see. Guns, guns, guns--too many guns, too little control, too many willing to tempt fate and too many deaths. I find all of this overwhelming sad--whether teens, blacks, whites, police or civilians.
posted by rmhsinc at 7:05 AM on December 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


Only hire police from the community in which they serve.

Our local Police Chief got himself elected to state office and the city has been trying to replace him. Unfortunately, due to a "hire from the community" policy, this means that the available candidates to move up to the job are folks who recently got disciplined for double-dipping overtime or only have been in the job for a few months (the Chief ran unopposed so any scandal re: overtime did not affect him much). The Mayor has been trying to look for candidates outside the system and is getting push-back from the local cops. Locals-only leads to an insular behavior which is not the best for making sure communities are welcoming to minorities or immigrants.

I agree with the sentiment that cops should be part of the local community, though. A good relationship between the community at large and that aspect which is supposed to protect it helps everyone.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:10 AM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Here's some speculation for you:

The cops will release his criminal record today or tomorrow. If he has none they will release his affiliations with any questionable organizations. If he has none of those they will talk about how shitty his home life was. If that was fine they will release his toxicology report. If that is fine...
posted by cjorgensen at 7:11 AM on December 24, 2014 [30 favorites]


The cops will release his criminal record today or tomorrow. If he has none they will release his affiliations with any questionable organizations

They have already said, several times, in the press briefing, that Antonio Martin was "well known" to the police for multiple charges.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:13 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


They have already said, several times, in the press briefing, that Antonio Martin was "well known" to the police for multiple charges.

IOW, there was no outstanding warrant for his arrest.
posted by mikelieman at 7:20 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


They were quite specific: "Belmar said the 18-year-old had a considerable criminal record in the less than two years since he turned 17, with three assault charges, armed robbery, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon."
posted by smackfu at 7:29 AM on December 24, 2014


But of course, he was also Black. James E. Holmes killed 12 people and shot 58 others in a movie theatre, and he was taken alive.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:32 AM on December 24, 2014 [28 favorites]


One of them pointed a loaded 9mm handgun at the officer across the hood of the police car, Belmar said.

Pulling his own weapon, the officer stepped backward, stumbled, and fired three shots. One of them struck the man with the gun, a second hit a police car tire, and the third cannot be accounted for, he said.


So... Maybe the cop fell over himself and shot the guy by accident whilst trying to threaten him?
posted by Artw at 7:38 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


But of course, he was also Black. James E. Holmes killed 12 people and shot 58 others in a movie theatre, and he was taken alive.

Serious question, do you really believe that the critical deciding factor in James Holmes being taken alive and not shot by police was that he was white? That white life was so precious to the apprehending police officers that they risked their own lives to preserve the one of a crazed mass murder on a shooting spree, and would have just shot him if he had been black?

Or perhaps the particular facts and circumstances of the Holmes theater incident provided for the suspect to be taken alive in that instance regardless of his race. Everything isn't about race except when it is I guess.
posted by gagglezoomer at 7:40 AM on December 24, 2014 [18 favorites]


Serious question, do you really believe that the critical deciding factor in James Holmes being taken alive and not shot by police was that he was white?

No, I don't. But I think that fear of Black men is a real thing, and cops are more likely to attempt to kill a Black man with a gun than a white one.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:41 AM on December 24, 2014 [20 favorites]


Well, it's probably true that Antonio Martin was no angel. (sarcastic reference!)

America is founded on the principle that white agents of the state can kill non-white people with impunity. We started that way, we have always been that way, we cannot fix it with incremental policy changes. We have millions in prison, the murdered are just the tip of the carceral/homicidal iceberg that is "law enforcement" in this country, aka, enforcement of white supremacy.
posted by spitbull at 7:42 AM on December 24, 2014 [19 favorites]


Serious question, do you really believe that the critical deciding factor in James Holmes being taken alive and not shot by police was that he was white? That white life was so precious to the apprehending police officers that they risked their own lives to preserve the one of a crazed mass murder on a shooting spree, and would have just shot him if he had been black?

Not commenting on this particular incident, but the argument is that even in the most extreme circumstances where a suspect is a known violent psychopath, police are capable of apprehending him without killing him, yet in many situations police are apparently incapable of taking in a black, non-massacring suspect in without shooting him. Several times.
posted by Think_Long at 7:44 AM on December 24, 2014 [31 favorites]




Didn't Holmes surrender to cops, rather than pull a gun?
posted by holybagel at 7:47 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


so what is a cop supposed to do when someone points a handgun at him at close range?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:48 AM on December 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


Well, it's probably true that Antonio Martin was no angel. (sarcastic reference!)

Rev. Osagyefo Sekou:

Mr. Martin either had a gun or didn’t, but by morning he will have morphed into a gun wielding ‘super negro’, firing from bushes with at least two different handguns with his DNA-less hands, displaying his “demon” strength, and “bulking up” before running towards armed police. What’s more, we’ll soon know if he ever smoked marijuana, got good grades at school and if he ever took a selfie with a bottle of liquor.”
posted by Artw at 7:48 AM on December 24, 2014 [26 favorites]


so what is a cop supposed to do when someone points a handgun at him at close range?

Attempt to talk the guy down, or shoot for somewhere that wouldn't incur a fatal injury?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:51 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Instead of a war on drugs, the US needs a war on guns. No more carrying. If you want a gun, you can keep just one gun at home per gun-licensed adult living in that home. If you're caught carrying or hoarding, you get sent away, not just fined.

Then stop having cops carry guns. Guns come out only on special occasions, something like in the UK.
posted by pracowity at 7:52 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]




so what is a cop supposed to do when someone points a handgun at him at close range?


That's why I'm not referring to this specific incident but the general trend overall, as facts are still unavailable. I have no doubt that if I pointed a gun at an officer at close range I, a white male, would be shot without discrimination. But this event, whatever happened, is still taking place in a much larger context of black men being treated as unstoppable death machines always reaching for their waistbands, and whites as something else.
posted by Think_Long at 7:55 AM on December 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


"This is not an incident where he said he felt threatened."

wtf???
posted by pyramid termite at 7:56 AM on December 24, 2014


Or if you do pull a gun on a law officer, be white and act like a sniper .
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:57 AM on December 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


"This is not an incident where he said he felt threatened."

Well clearly he felt threatened once a gun was pulled, so would think they were talking about the time prior to that. But since this is sourced from Twitter, who knows.
posted by smackfu at 8:00 AM on December 24, 2014


But since this is sourced from Twitter, who knows.

Dude, it's a direct quote from the press conference the mayor is making right now.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:00 AM on December 24, 2014


Yeah, tweets pulled out of a casual liveblog of a presser probably aren't the best way to go for introducing new material to a hard discussion, all else aside. Link to a transcript of the presser, or at least something providing more explicit context about where a pullquote is coming from, is gonna lead to a lot less confusion and speculation, even if it takes a little longer to come down the pipe.
posted by cortex at 8:02 AM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yes, and quotes are never, ever taken out of context.

EDIT: woops, THANK YOU cortex.
posted by Melismata at 8:02 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to agree re: if Antonio Martin had a gun pointed at the cop, as the video is alleged to show, how did the cop draw and shoot when Martin has his finger on the trigger? I'm remember posts from the last threads where people calculated how far the kid could have run in the time it took to draw a weapon, and its pretty far, so how did this one work differently?
posted by marienbad at 8:02 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


so what is a cop supposed to do when someone points a handgun at him at close range?

Attempt to talk the guy down, or shoot for somewhere that wouldn't incur a fatal injury?


Aiming for the kneecap is a fiction. First, any gunshot is a massive trauma anywhere on the human body that can kill (as in this case, where Martin appears to have been alive well after being hit). Second, taking the time to be that accurate with a handgun when someone else is pointing a firearm at you gives the other person time to take several shots, any one of which can kill you.

The problem here is not whether the officer fired well.
posted by Etrigan at 8:02 AM on December 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


They have already said, several times, in the press briefing, that Antonio Martin was "well known" to the police for multiple charges.

So were just a little further along on the narrative. Normally I would have started out that story with, Cops will say he had a gun. If it's provable he didn't they will release his criminal record.

And saying he's "well known" isn't releasing his record. We'll get to find out everything this guy did that was bad. Or maybe you were pointing out this is following the traditional narrative?
posted by cjorgensen at 8:04 AM on December 24, 2014


how did the cop draw and shoot when Martin has his finger on the trigger?

Maybe the kid thought that you could threaten a cop with a gun like you can threaten other people.
posted by smackfu at 8:04 AM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


So how did he manage to draw and shoot in the split second it would have taken for Martin to press the trigger. You haven't answered the question at all.

Edit: this question is aimed at Smackfu.
posted by marienbad at 8:06 AM on December 24, 2014


It's possible* that Martin drew the gun without planning to do a quickdraw kill. Guns are more often used as a symbol for threat and intimidation.

*NOT saying this is what did or did not happen here.
posted by Think_Long at 8:10 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


so, dumb question, but is there a reason we can't quickly get a high-rez shot of what's in that guy's hand? I mean, guns are small enough to be concealed by a hand/wrist, are they?
posted by angrycat at 8:12 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


so what is a cop supposed to do when someone points a handgun at him at close range?

Not shoot the person? I mean is this a fucking serious question? Like the cop had no other choice.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:12 AM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


So how did he manage to draw and shoot in the split second it would have taken for Martin to press the trigger.

That's not a difficult question to answer.

In the book "On Killing" the author points out it's incredibly difficult to shoot another human being. It generally takes training and conditioning to do so. So it is plausible that Martin hesitated and the cop didn't.

Not saying that's how it happened, just saying there are plenty of ways you can have a non-firer be shot. Perhaps he thought they were going to have a stand off. Perhaps he wanted to engage in a bad guy monolog.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:13 AM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


so what is a cop supposed to do when someone points a handgun at him at close range?

Not shoot the person? I mean is this a fucking serious question? Like the cop had no other choice.


So this is kinda where I get off the knee-jerk anti-cop bus. If a guy draws down on you, you shoot them. I don't think there's a reasonable expectation that they have to have a conversation with a guy with a gun pointed at you.
posted by empath at 8:14 AM on December 24, 2014 [56 favorites]


maybe martin left the safety on - maybe having the drop on the officer, he just didn't think the cop would dare draw on him - maybe he chickened out or couldn't make up his mind what to do
posted by pyramid termite at 8:14 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


angrycat: is there a reason we can't quickly get a high-rez shot of what's in that guy's hand?

Because technology doesn't work like CSI?
posted by symbioid at 8:15 AM on December 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


also, isn't it sort of weird to assume that a black man would be pull a gun on a officer as some sort of threatening move after the events in nearby Ferguson? I mean, I'm more wary of the cops these days, and I'm a white chick.
posted by angrycat at 8:15 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


I mean is this a fucking serious question?

i've had a gun pointed at me - you'd better believe it's a fucking serious question
posted by pyramid termite at 8:15 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Maybe the gun didn't exist.
posted by Artw at 8:16 AM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


If a guy draws down on you, you shoot them.

I can't even begin to explain what the problems are with this. Why aren't cops trained t have a better mentality than this?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:17 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


ZOOM ENHANCE!
posted by cjorgensen at 8:18 AM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


We got a tough guy here!

Tough guys shouldn't be cops. The appropriate response for a cop is NOT to shoot someone who has a gun drawn, without exhausting the alternatives. This is like pretty basic shit.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:20 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


isn't it sort of weird to assume that a black man would be pull a gun on a officer

I can see a scenarios like: I have some assault charges pending against me, and I'm hanging out in the gas station parking lot. I know I have an illegal weapon on me that is going to fuck me up if I get caught. The officer comes out to investigate a robbery, I try to slip away, but he calls me back. He asks for ID, I pull my gun and tell him to just get back in his car.
posted by smackfu at 8:20 AM on December 24, 2014


Because you're dumb? That's the only way drawing on a cop makes sense.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:21 AM on December 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


We got a tough guy here!

we gave them the money
posted by pyramid termite at 8:24 AM on December 24, 2014


smackfu, I don't know if you're just spitballing hypotheticals, but my read on the press conference (from the Guardian, haven't listened yet) is that Martin had a record, but not outstanding charges. Big difference.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:25 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Basic shit? Besides the immensely complicated choice of what to do as somebody has a gun on you, it ignores how criminals on the run have a tendency to shoot cops.
posted by destro at 8:26 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


he wasn't on the run
posted by angrycat at 8:27 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


That video really doesn't show shit. I'm not going to trust a police account of anything. That the alleged gun wasn't recovered immediately is enormously suspicious.
posted by Artw at 8:29 AM on December 24, 2014 [14 favorites]


I can't even begin to explain what the problems are with this.

I think you should try, since I think the proper mentality and response is to shoot at that point. Someone points a gun at you it's a safe assumption he wants you dead and is intending to kill you. If someone is going to die then you want it to be the other guy.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:30 AM on December 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


I am impressed with the number of people in this thread who are still willing to hold water for police in Missouri.

It is certainly possible, considering the past four months of unrest, just days after police in NY all but declared open rebellion, that an 18 year old black kid, two miles from Ferguson, after being stopped by a policeman who just happened to have neither his dash nor body cam on, decided to pull out a gun out and not fire a single shot before the cop (allegedly) fell over and got off three rounds. After the fact, it is possible that there was some good reason that EMS wasn't called, that his body wasn't loaded into an ambulance but an SUV/MiniVan and that of all the cameras recording at that gas station, there is only one with usable footage and it is incredibly grainy and unclear and yet totally exonerates the officer involved.

It's certainly POSSIBLE that this is what happened. But being aware of the climate surrounding police killings right now, not just in America but in that very specific region, I find it baffling how anyone's first reaction to this news could be credulity on behalf of the police.
posted by StopMakingSense at 8:31 AM on December 24, 2014 [149 favorites]


StopMakingSense, stop making sense.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:32 AM on December 24, 2014 [19 favorites]


The appropriate response for a cop is NOT to shoot someone who has a gun drawn, without exhausting the alternatives.

I suspect we won't agree with each other on this one. I think the scumbags who murdered Eric Garner and Michael Brown should be in jail, but I also think that if you point a gun at a cop (slight difference from simply drawing a gun within sight of a cop), then the alternatives have already been exhausted, and the appropriate response is to shoot you.

However, that doesn't mean the cop in this case should get off scot-free. He should at the very least be fired for not having his body camera on. We need to get it into their heads that their body cameras are as important to justice and civil society as their guns -- if either one isn't working, it is that cop's fault, and he doesn't leave the station until it is working. None of this "Oh, IT, whaddaya gonna do..." bullshit.

(Not to mention the fact that this is looking more and more like the cop just rolled up on Martin because he was a Known Scumbag* and some crime may have potentially been reported in the area, so he was naturally a suspect.)

* -- I'm not calling Martin a scumbag; I'm saying that the cops think of him that way.
posted by Etrigan at 8:34 AM on December 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


Attempt to talk the guy down, or shoot for somewhere that wouldn't incur a fatal injury?

Seconding Etrigan here; police are trained to shoot at the center mass, and for good reason. Even so, the results are so chaotic as to almost be random. Attempting to shoot in the arm or leg just increases the change of missing outright, and besides, as Etrigan said, nearly any gunshot wound can be fatal anyway.
posted by Gelatin at 8:35 AM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


That the alleged gun wasn't recovered immediately is enormously suspicious.

Where did you see that?
posted by smackfu at 8:38 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Guardian liveblog Correction: This blog previously stated that the officer was wearing a body cam at the time of the shooting, but that it was not activated. In fact, St Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a press conference that the officer had the camera inside his car, not on his person.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:39 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Attempt to talk the guy down, or shoot for somewhere that wouldn't incur a fatal injury?

When someone points a gun at you the time for dialog is over, and unlike in the movies it is incredibly difficult to accurately hit a moving target with a handgun. You always aim for center mass since it increases your likelihood of actually hitting what you are aiming for. Remember, three rounds were discharged in this event and only one found its mark.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:39 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


In fact, St Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a press conference that the officer had the camera inside his car, not on his person.

Okay, now we're talking about something that should be an out-and-out criminal offense.
posted by Etrigan at 8:41 AM on December 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


Credit where credit is due (listening to the presser, finally):
The Chief, Jon Belmar, gave a pretty good conference. He's giving as exact details about the incident as possible - and this seems to mean that a police report was actually filed, unlike the Ferguson situation. He's acknowledging the fact that nothing good is in this situation, for anyone. He's being careful about saying what they know and what they don't know, as well as what they know now but didn't know then. A seemingly different department is doing the investigation (Crimes Against Persons? Unsure what they are.) When talking about the protests, he only really talked about the people throwing bricks and explosives, notes the numbers of arrests. He says very specifically that the police didn't throw any flashbangs/teargas - which I don't know if I believe, but he is opening himself up to be caught in a lie if it's untrue, rather than weaselling away.

It sounds like there are more camera angles, he mentions multiple cameras at the gas station. As such, the release of the particular video in question is bad. As everyone is mentioning above, it fits with an attempted demonization of Martin. I think it would have been reasonable to say "this happened 9 hours ago at night, they're turned over to the investigation team, they will ALL be released as soon as we're able to."

Unfortunately the prosecutor's office is McCulloch.

With regards to the bodycam, the story so far is that the officer didn't get the bodycam at roll call, but was handed to him later during the shift, when he was engaged in some task, so it didn't get put on. Which is not a good system. Which Belmar seems to acknowledge - small comfort.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:42 AM on December 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


Okay, now we're talking about something that should be an out-and-out criminal offense.

It's not though. There is no legal requirement they have cameras, or that if they have them that they be on. About the only law you could possibly break is if they capture something and the officer destroys the data or the device.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:45 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it sounds like they don't have enough bodycams to go around, which leads to this kind of sloppiness.
posted by smackfu at 8:45 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


It is certainly possible, considering the past four months of unrest, just days after police in NY all but declared open rebellion, that an 18 year old black kid, two miles from Ferguson, after being stopped by a policeman who just happened to have neither his dash nor body cam on, decided to pull out a gun out and not fire a single shot before the cop (allegedly) fell over and got off three rounds.

Exactly. It's possible, but it's not probable. Although disclaimer: at this point if a cop told me I was on fire I'd look for a second opinion before seeking an extinguisher.
posted by winna at 8:51 AM on December 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


One of the interesting dynamics of this narrative of police-on-minority-fatal-violence in America is how there is almost guaranteed to be another high-profile incident in the news #every28hours. It's not a single event whose repercussions play out over time but a similar situation that replicates itself all over the country with slight variations.

On the one hand, this ensures that the political movement against police violence will always have a new outrage to mobilize around, and that it doesn't even necessarily need to be composed of the same group of people since it is probably in a different location than the last several police shootings. On the other hand, I wonder if regular news cycle dynamics will eventually boot this issue from the headlines. My suspicion is no, since it seems like activists have successfully raised the issue to such a level that the news has no choice but to cover it (but of course, people don't protest because mainstream news tells them to; they likely get information from other channels).

I know I'm kind of just rambling at this point, but I'm trying to predict where this political dynamic and the news coverage will go. Are there any precedents for this kind of thing, where an endemic social problem -- which seems to strike anew at somewhat predictable intervals -- has been promoted to the regular, recurring headlines because of mass outrage? I'd be interested to hear what others think.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:51 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


When someone points a gun at you the time for dialog is over,

This is not a fact or a law of nature; it is (inconsistently applied) policy and a way of thinking. The police forces of many other countries do not act this way, and there are many instances of law enforcement right here in the US where this is not the case. We collectively really need to stop acting like a thing we decided to make cultural norm, a thing we can decide to unmake, is like a hurricane or earthquake.
posted by rtha at 8:52 AM on December 24, 2014 [39 favorites]


Okay, now we're talking about something that should be an out-and-out criminal offense.

It's not though. There is no legal requirement they have cameras, or that if they have them that they be on. About the only law you could possibly break is if they capture something and the officer destroys the data or the device.


I'm saying that it should be. Misconduct in the performance of official duties or whatever you want to call it -- when you are given a tool that is specifically intended to provide an official record of your activities, especially the ones you might not want on the official record, and you just don't bother with it, that should be a crime.

Yeah, it sounds like they don't have enough bodycams to go around, which leads to this kind of sloppiness.

I bet they have enough guns. Enough cars. Enough badges. Enough computers. Enough radios. Enough things that make their jobs easier for them. If we as a society start prioritizing things that make their jobs better for society, then that shit would get done.
posted by Etrigan at 8:52 AM on December 24, 2014 [31 favorites]


The Power to Redirect Critique: Activists Demand Dialogue on Racism
“Looters.” “Rioters.” “UnclearEvidence.” These baseless arguments are just a few of the lengthy list of reactionary excuses used to derail the much-needed conversation about racism in the United States.
posted by audi alteram partem at 8:53 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


When someone points a gun at you the time for dialog is over,

So do you propose that police in the US adopt a training policy that if someone points a gun at you, you shoot them? Is that really what you want?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:58 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Looks like, regarding "was known to the police" or whatever:
via this he had a low-grade assault charge and a petty theft (under $500) in 2013. That's all I can find.
posted by notsnot at 8:58 AM on December 24, 2014


Are there any precedents for this kind of thing, where an endemic social problem -- which seems to strike anew at somewhat predictable intervals -- has been promoted to the regular, recurring headlines because of mass outrage?

The war in Viet Nam? (if you want to consider an unjust draft for an unjust war an "endemic social problem")
posted by HuronBob at 8:58 AM on December 24, 2014


So do you propose that police in the US adopt a training policy that if someone points a gun at you, you shoot them? Is that really what you want?

Do you seriously propose that officers let people shoot them? What do you want them to do? I'm 100% behind the idea that cops escalate unnecessarily all the time, but the point at which someone is threatening to murder you in the immediate future is at maximum escalation already. (I don't have an opinion on whether a gun was actually drawn in this instance)
posted by empath at 9:02 AM on December 24, 2014 [15 favorites]


I think a couple things could happen. First, I heard in another thread that cops test and hire for low IQ. The opposite should happen. Hire high IQ people. If burnout and turnover is a problem with smart people, don't put them on the street full time. A month on the street a month training. Or more. Larger payroll? So what? Take it out of DoD budget.

I don't think I care about hiring locally. In fact, I say move them around. People should feel safe because of the uniform.

A man can dream.
posted by Trochanter at 9:02 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


cjorgensen: "Suspensions cannot be with pay."

Suspending cops without pay during investigations will discourage investigations.
posted by Mitheral at 9:04 AM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Such a tragedy that people are killed, kids, cops, anyone by mistake or bad judgement. I also find it incredibly sad that no one realizes that the same force that makes most cops rush to judgement about black male kids, makes people rush to judgement about cops that kill black youth. Each fact situation is different, each person is different. Strong opinions without facts (and I don't mean media reporting - I mean seriously, you don't trust cops but you trust the media?) is at the base of both.
posted by sfts2 at 9:04 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


So I take that as a yes?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:04 AM on December 24, 2014


The war in Viet Nam?

I think that would be analogous only if, say, a public burning draft cards ritual happened about every day (probably not) and if it was front page headlines when it did happen (probably not).
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 9:05 AM on December 24, 2014


I too have heard the 'low IQ' claim - I'm not sure that is a fact. Fewer cops, less gear.
posted by sfts2 at 9:06 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Do you seriously propose that officers let people shoot them? What do you want them to do?

Whatever works best. We should study what works best. Maybe the lethality is lowered by running away and taking cover. Have we really studied that?

Maybe the cops not on the street in my proposal above could spend their time studying best practices in all areas of policing.
posted by Trochanter at 9:06 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


the same force that makes most cops rush to judgement about black male kids, makes people rush to judgement about cops that kill black youth

No, the force that makes most cops rush to judgement about black kids is called "racism". The force that makes people make judgements about cops that kill black youth is called "history".
posted by jammy at 9:09 AM on December 24, 2014 [46 favorites]


No, no its not.
posted by sfts2 at 9:10 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jay Nixon: “The events in Berkeley are a reminder that law enforcement officers have a difficult, and often dangerous, job in protecting themselves and law-abiding citizens.”
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:11 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yup. First and foremost, we're heroes. All discussion starts from there.
posted by Trochanter at 9:13 AM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Whatever works best. We should study what works best. Maybe the lethality is lowered by running away and taking cover. Have we really studied that?


First shot's free, make it a good one!
posted by MikeMc at 9:13 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


The title of this post is too meta. I mean, it's a sociopathic mobster's glib response to someone dying of cancer in an episode of the Sopranos. This glib response is ironically juxtaposed with another plot theme where someone gets "whacked."

Like, a kid just got shot and died. Does anyone have the right to make strange conceptual jokes like this? Is this glibness what MetaFilter as a community is all about?

It just seems wrong, and is yet another example of a dead black male being used to further someone's agenda.
posted by Nevin at 9:15 AM on December 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


The operation of implicit psychological racial bias and institutional racism must be addressed.
posted by audi alteram partem at 9:17 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Apparently our thirst for outrage is so great that even verified facts from our unbelievably shitty world are insufficient to quench it. We need to draw on things that we are "sure" have happened as well.
posted by leopard at 9:17 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I have no doubt that if I pointed a gun at an officer at close range I, a white male, would be shot without discrimination.

My local police force (in a small town and slightly thuggish but not prone to shoot people) has twice in the last few years managed to find non-violent outcomes to mentally ill white guys brandishing guns in public, at least one of whom was trying for suicide by cop and was directly aiming at the officers and the other was aiming at other people. I don't have any insight into how much is training, how much is racism, or what other factors made those situations end peacefully and this one not, but I have been impressed with the effort my local police have made to have those situations (and a few standoffs with armed men holding their families hostage in houses, not all of whom were white) end with no deaths.

That said, part of how they have done this is to take some serious risks -- in every case, it would have been far safer to just shoot the guy either immediately or after someone shows up with a scoped rifle.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:20 AM on December 24, 2014 [9 favorites]




So do you propose that police in the US adopt a training policy that if someone points a gun at you, you shoot them? Is that really what you want?

I think that is the policy now. And yes, that's what I want. The alternative is uglier.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:22 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Or you could look at what actually works in other countries. Or stay with the status quo which just happens to result in large number of young black males being murdered. Whatevs
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:24 AM on December 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


I'm all for finding alternatives to gun violence. I'm taking the stance that once a gun is actually pointed at someone those alternatives are exhausted. Your stance may differ. If I ever have a gun pointed at me and there's a cop around I hope he agrees with me and not you.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:27 AM on December 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


Strong opinions without facts (and I don't mean media reporting - I mean seriously, you don't trust cops but you trust the media?) is at the base of both.

Here are some facts:

"Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings."

"[T]he less clear it is that force was necessary, the more likely the victim is to be black."

That's from the FBI's own numbers. But you're right, I'm sure they were "rushing to judgment" when they published that data.
posted by jackflaps at 9:27 AM on December 24, 2014 [33 favorites]


sorry, why is he being called the suspect? i mean, i know he allegedly pulled the gun, but prior to that, how was a he a suspect?

also, when the attorney for the cop starts spinning tales of the likelihood of organized police ambush because of the "environment," I get a strong Patrick Lynch vibe
posted by angrycat at 9:27 AM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I too have heard the 'low IQ' claim - I'm not sure that is a fact.

At the very least New Haven, CT has a maximum IQ limit (another article states that it is 120).

Also: If a guy draws down on you, you shoot them.

I have had guns drawn on me, both by police and muggers. Most people a) don't really want to kill anyone and b) don't want to compound a possible armed robbery charge with murder, so I was, honestly, more afraid of the police, since they weren't subject to b). And, no, I wouldn't have shot any of them had I a gun myself.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:28 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


angrycat, "Belmar said the officer had been called following reports of a theft, though he declined to go into details."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:29 AM on December 24, 2014


Thanks, New London actually, New Haven Court.
posted by sfts2 at 9:32 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wish I could favorite rtha's comment many times. It's not even true in the US that aiming a gun at law enforcement eliminates all other options available to the police, e.g. during the Bundy standoff.
posted by idb at 9:33 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Or you could look at what actually works in other countries.

I'm trying to come up with another country with such a heavily armed populace where the police rarely shoot people and I'm honestly drawing a blank.
posted by MikeMc at 9:33 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


He should at the very least be fired for not having his body camera on.

Yes. Fire him. Make it a law. If you're a cop, and you don't have a working body camera on your uniform and/or it's not turned on and recording, you don't get to carry or use a gun either. Period.

The point of the camera is to (A) keep cops honest (B) cover cops' asses and (C) help restore the public's faith in police. Having a camera issued but sitting in the patrol car unused does the opposite of those three things.
posted by Foosnark at 9:34 AM on December 24, 2014 [17 favorites]


It seems to me that any approach to the problem of rampant police killing and the possibility of retaliation killings which relies upon expecting officers to allow people to point guns at them with impunity or even the expectation that the cop is going to restrain themselves is unrealistic, to say the least. I wouldn't do it, wouldn't ask someone else to.
posted by sfts2 at 9:35 AM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Thanks, New London actually, New Haven Court.

Aha! That's what I get for commenting while working.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:38 AM on December 24, 2014


once a gun is actually pointed at someone those alternatives are exhausted

But this is false, and we know it is because there are many incidents of people pointing guns at cops where the alternatives are not exhausted, where the alternatives are exercised and the person pointing the gun is not shot.

It is a choice, not an inevitability.
posted by rtha at 9:40 AM on December 24, 2014 [26 favorites]


sorry, why is he being called the suspect? i mean, i know he allegedly pulled the gun, but prior to that, how was a he a suspect?

2nd Amendment has this secret clause where it only applies to white people. Possession of a firearm by an untermensch is verboten, so that's why he's a criminal.
posted by mikelieman at 9:41 AM on December 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


American law enforcement is disproportionately focused on African Americans, for a variety of reasons, almost all of which are deeply troubling.

I personally don't think that a movement to protest police shootings of black men who have pulled guns on police officers is a great political maneuver, but that's just me. Pulling a gun on someone is a big fucking deal. Can we at least hold the police accountable for killing unarmed children first? Or thinking bigger picture, the fact that a 25 year old black man without a high school degrees is more likely to be in jail than have a job seems like a monumental social failure we should all be ashamed of.
posted by leopard at 9:41 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Pulling a gun on someone is a big fucking deal.

Yes. Every time a cop draws their weapon, there should be a formal inquiry.
posted by mikelieman at 9:43 AM on December 24, 2014 [31 favorites]


It is a choice, not an inevitability.

I'm OK seeing things differently.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:46 AM on December 24, 2014


And if a formal inquiry determines that the police officer drew their weapon in response to someone drawing a weapon on the officer, the officer is not very likely to receive a punishment. Most people are not anarchists, not even the ones pretending here.
posted by leopard at 9:53 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Milliken said it's possible that his client was being set up for an ambush.

"Their behavior is certainly bizarre, and it wouldn't surprise me at all, in the environment we are in, that's for sure," Milliken said.


Are there any black guys here who can maybe bring this up at the next black guy meeting
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:54 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


He could have been dangerously brandishing a cell phone!

I think this was supposed to be sarcastic ... but hang on, maybe it was a cell phone. I can't make out its shape, but suppose Martin decided to video the cop's interaction with his friend? The cop says something he doesn't like, Martin turns around, holds up his phone, says "I'll get this on video!", the cop is alarmed, stumbles and his finger jerks against the trigger. Bang bang bang.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:55 AM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Most people are not anarchists, not even the ones pretending here.

The topic is rife with reductio-ad-absurdum and edge-cases. Edge cases make shitty policy.
posted by mikelieman at 9:55 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


In addition to body cameras, I think there should be gun-mounted cameras that start recording as soon as they're removed from the holster, or as soon as the safety is disengaged in the case of weapons other than pistols. Cameras can be very, very small and as an added incentive since we all know lawmakers can get behind throwing money at weapons manufacturers, if such a law was enacted the first gun manufacturer to produce a gun with built-in camera or a safety- or drawing-activated aftermarket add-on to existing police weapons would make money hand over fist.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:58 AM on December 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


Why is I hear lots about cops not turning their camera on but never hear about them not loading their gun?
posted by Metafilter Username at 9:59 AM on December 24, 2014 [36 favorites]


I don't see how body cams will be a success unless (a) the cops can't turn them off (b) the live feed from the footage automatically goes somewhere secure that cops can't access. Otherwise we're going to be treated to a long parade of tragic instances where the footage was irrecoverable or nonexistent due to no fault of the officer involved.

The last few months have also made it very clear that we need special prosecutors for all police shootings, if not a process that skips the grand jury altogether and proceeds immediately to trial in every case; the regular prosecutors have plainly been throwing these prosecutions and have discredited the existing process beyond repair.

Too much of the country's law enforcement has betrayed the public trust; they need to find ways to rebuild it, not triple down on arguments from moral authority that are widely and increasingly perceived as illegitimate.
posted by gerryblog at 10:01 AM on December 24, 2014 [17 favorites]


The cop guncam idea is pretty good. YouTube would be flooded with some hideous shit though.
posted by Artw at 10:03 AM on December 24, 2014


we all know lawmakers can get behind throwing money at weapons manufacturers

Except for the giant roadblock the NRA would throw up. This bill would be DOA at the federal level and probably an overwhelming majority of states.
posted by MikeMc at 10:03 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


The NRA will never allow guns with built in cameras to be sold, and thus manufactured. Look up "smart guns" and you'll see how they do it. They feed on this violence, they're not into gun safety.
posted by spitbull at 10:04 AM on December 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


Or what MikeMc said!
posted by spitbull at 10:04 AM on December 24, 2014


If you can put a laser sight or a lamp on it you can put a camera on it.

Not that the NRA wouldn't burn down stores/threaten owners over accessories as well as guns.
posted by Artw at 10:11 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think they would at least have to come up with a different argument than the one they have against smart guns, they're up in arms about forcing civilians to have smart guns while this kind of gun cam would be for law enforcement only. And gun cam add-ons already exist and are bought by civilian enthusiasts, they're just not holster or safety activated.

I mean, I say this knowing that the NRA is run by a bunch of disingenuous assholes who wouldn't hesitate to make up a new argument, but still.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:13 AM on December 24, 2014


The NRA is the NRA. It's those who capitulate to them that you really wonder about. It's how the NRA is relevant.
posted by Trochanter at 10:19 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


And if you can put the camera on it, you can forget to do that, or forget to turn it on. Such cameras of course already exist.

Cops are really good at passive-aggressive resistance, aren't they?
posted by spitbull at 10:19 AM on December 24, 2014


It is a choice, not an inevitability.

Here's a video of a white man waving a gun at police officers and innocent citizens, that had children terrified and hiding in bathrooms. The police eventually shoot him, but only after waiting quite a bit. They wait until they are able to aim and shoot to wound, and then take him to the hospital.

Choices get made, most definitely.
posted by jammy at 10:32 AM on December 24, 2014 [29 favorites]


and then take him to the hospital.

Police actively thwarting efforts to render aid after these shootings has been a genuine revelation for me, and I was pretty cynical before.
posted by gerryblog at 10:36 AM on December 24, 2014 [31 favorites]


People in this thread are telling me that if I have a gun pointed at me, I should not defend myself, and I am a bad person if I think otherwise. Making me very, very uncomfortable.
posted by Melismata at 10:37 AM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Isn't shooting someone who is pointing a gun at you a good way to get yourself shot? People don't just immediately crumple from a bullet like in the movies.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:39 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


People in this thread are telling me that if I have a gun pointed at me, I should not defend myself, and I am a bad person if I think otherwise.

I don't think people are generally saying that. I hear a lot of people saying that if you have a gun pointed at you, you are not required to attempt to kill the wielder, which is a very different thing.
posted by cortex at 10:39 AM on December 24, 2014 [24 favorites]


"Shoot to kill" is one available option. But it is by no means the only available option.
posted by wabbittwax at 10:40 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Police actively thwarting efforts to render aid after these shootings has been a genuine revelation for me, and I was pretty cynical before.

Me, too. I think that needs more focus. You could possibly imagine a scenario where a cop feels that he must fire, but there is no conceivable excuse for not calling for medical assistance when the person is still living. Surely we could at least prosecute that.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:41 AM on December 24, 2014 [25 favorites]


My miserably cynical assumption is that they don't want to be recorded on the 911 or similar call saying that they've shot someone in case it's used against them later. Also, I forget which recent murderous cop called his union rep instead of emergency services but that made me even more nauseated than usual.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:45 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, is there any reason for not calling EMS? Even if they're fairly certain the person who was shot is dead? Leave aside all questions of whether the shooting was justified or not, is it in any way standard practice to just...leave a person there, bleeding on the ground?
posted by yasaman at 10:45 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


The texting cop was the shooting of Akai Gurley. That wasn't even a deliberate shooting.
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on December 24, 2014


People in this thread are telling me that if I have a gun pointed at me, I should not defend myself

I'm telling you if you have a gun pointed at you, you WILL MOST LIKELY be shot before you can access whatever means of defense you have. Your best odds are to do whatever the gun pointer (cop or robber, black or white) tells you to do - that was how I survived an armed robbery when I worked overnight at a 7-11 (worst college summer job ever).

is it in any way standard practice to just...leave a person there, bleeding on the ground?

Sounds like a damned good way to instill fear in the entire community, and very effective so far.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:58 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


People in this thread are telling me that if I have a gun pointed at me, I should not defend myself, and I am a bad person if I think otherwise.

Are you a cop? If you are a cop, have you been trained in de-escalation techniques? If not, why not? As many people have pointed out, there are non-lethal tools and techniques available to the police to deal with an armed suspect, and those tools and techniques are hardly radical new ideas.

If you're not a cop, I don't think the people saying that cops shooting people should be a last resort applies to you. Your average joe or jane is not expected to be trained in de-escalation or hostage negotiation or non-lethal weapons use. When cops aren't trained in those things, it's a choice made by the local police department, and a bad one.
posted by Mavri at 11:01 AM on December 24, 2014 [23 favorites]


One of the things I remember from the Ferguson protests is how hard the police were trying to incite a riot. Everything from the timing of the announcement to not indict, to the preemptive tear gas seemed calculated to provoke people. I'm perfectly willing to believe the police there are more trigger happy than before the protests.

You mean like the Chicago cop who blared Sweet Home Alabama on his car stereo during a Memorial Protest March for two Black men killed by Police? I can think of no reason for that other than a deliberate attempt to provoke a race riot.

"There" covers a lot of geography in the current United States of Armed Policing.
posted by srboisvert at 11:06 AM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


The smart gun debacle was previously covered on the blue and is fascinating in a terrifying kind of way.

In short:

1. Smart guns have already been invented.
2. Laws have been passed that prohibit non-smart guns once smart guns have been sold in the USA.
3. Gun store owner who wants to sell smart guns gets death threats and changes their mind.
posted by meowzilla at 11:06 AM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


"I was disgusted. "You sure did it up," I declared. "If you're clean for last night, why didn't you stay put? You must have something in your heads or you wouldn't have stayed alive and got this far. Why didn't you use it?"

Carl smiled at me. He really did smile, but it didn't make me want to smile back. "A policeman asking questions," he said in the level tone he had used before, "has a different effect on different people. If you have a country like this one and you are innocent of crime, all the people of your country are saying it with you when you answer the questions. That is true even when you are away from home - especially when you are way from home. But Tina and I have no country at all...Two people alone cannont answer a policeman's questions anywhere in the world. It takes a whole country to speak to a policeman, and Tina and I - we do not have one"
-Rex Stout's Cop Killer


I hope that what can come out of this long term, is the country speaking to the police, probably not nearly so sternly as many mefites would prefer, but shifting things somewhat in the right direction. Everyone should feel like they have a country with them when they speak to a police officer.
posted by pseudonick at 11:08 AM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


The Body In The Street, Charles P. Pierce, 22 AUG 2014
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:17 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


It was really important. But the burden of whiteness is this: You can live in the world of myth and be taken seriously. @tanehisicoates

Context and collection at gawker (I know!).
posted by rtha at 11:30 AM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


So, recap? Officer shoots a black teenager. So far, no indication of a crime taking place, and the teenager has no outstanding warrant. Officer has, depending on reports, either a body cam or both a body cam and a dash cam - neither are operational during the shooting. Ambulance is not called for 30 minutes, possibly 2 hours, while teenager is still alive. Teenager is finally put in a non-emergency vehicle.

Officer claims teenager drew a gun on him. No confirmed reports of a gun found at the scene. Video from the gas station is released, footage is inconclusive, is presented as corroborating the officer's story, but no footage from any of the seemingly closer cameras has been released, though it's been confirmed that the footage is being reviewed.

Even setting aside how skeptical many of us are of the police these days, when the only piece of hard evidence is the testimony of someone who has just killed a teenager, I think the presumption of innocence for the victim is warranted. There is literally no evidence I would call conclusive that Martin had a gun, and even if he did, between the delayed EMS and the disuse of cameras, a miscarriage of justice is taking place.

So can we please stop arguing about what a cop should do when a person draws on them? Because at this point that conversation is just rhetoric, and now doesn't feel like a good time for rhetoric.
posted by Peevish at 11:35 AM on December 24, 2014 [52 favorites]


.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:40 AM on December 24, 2014


If you have a gun drawn on you, you shoot the person. That's simple.

But when you are at war, you don't defend the right of your enemy to shoot you, even if it can be justified.

And since the cops have declared war on us, I don't care if they were justified in shooting this guy or not. They are our enemies; the time for justice has run out.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 12:14 PM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


If someone pulled a gun on your husband, or your wife, or your mom or dad or one of your kids, wouldn't you want them to do whatever they could to defend their life?

Being a cop does not make you impermeable to bullets.
posted by amro at 12:15 PM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Often, police are wearing bulletproof vests. So they are at least bullet-resistant.
posted by wabbittwax at 12:17 PM on December 24, 2014


gagglezoomer wrote "Serious question, do you really believe that the critical deciding factor in James Holmes being taken alive and not shot by police was that he was white? That white life was so precious to the apprehending police officers that they risked their own lives to preserve the one of a crazed mass murder on a shooting spree, and would have just shot him if he had been black?"

Serious answer: I don't think cops are particularly motivated to preserve white life, but I do think that's the wrong question.

Cops are trained, both formally by their departments and informally by society in general, to see black men as uniquely dangerous, to see them as animals who must be controlled or fought rather than as people who should be engaged with and reasoned with. Cops are trained by society in general to see white people as inherently people, folks who you can talk to.

So when a cop sees a white guy with a gun, the result is a cop who sees a person and assumes the person is open to reason, assumes that if the white guy has a gun then he has a good, valid, reason to have the gun and won't just kill the cop out of hand.

When a cop sees a black person, the result is a cop who sees a dangerous animal, a beast who is impervious to reason and only understands force and dominance displays, a demon who is intent on killing him, a monster who gets stronger when shot.

Studies have shown that racism in terms of seeing black men as inherently dangerous is deeply ingrained across all racial and ethnic groups. When test subjects are briefly shown photographs of people, some holding guns, some with empty hands, and some holding non-gun objects, the test subjects were vastly more likely to misidentify an unarmed black man as being armed than they were to misidentify an unarmed white man as being armed.

The image of black men as dangerous, as bestial, as a threat, is very deeply ingrained and will inevitably affect police decisions.

And this is backed up by the figures: black men are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than white men.

And we see this in specific examples: John Crawford III was innocently walking through a Wal-Mart carrying a toy gun which he presumably intended to purchase, police were called via a malicious and false 911 report and upon seeing Crawford shot him dead without attempting to communicate.

An unnamed white man in Forsythe County Georgia was brandishing a real rifle while screaming at people attending a little league baseball game "You want to see my gun? Look, I got a gun and there’s nothing you can do about it." Police arrived on the scene in response to 911 calls, spoke briefly to the man in a calm and peaceful way, and then left while the man continued to brandish his weapon and scream about it to parents at the game. He is unnamed because the police didn't even bother to get his name.

Or another example: Tamir Rice was 12 and playing with a toy gun. Police arrived in response to a panicked 911 call and upon arriving simply shot Rice without attempting to communicate with him at all. Black male, armed, dangerous, threat, kill.

Meanwhile a white man in Dallas, Douglas Leguin, set an actual ambush for police officers, shot at them several times, and was talked down and taken into custody without being shot. He was white, so while he was a threat he was perceived as open to reason even after he shot at police, he was not seen as a dangerous animal who needed to be put down.

Again, I'd argue that your framing is simply incorrect. It isn't that police see white life as precious (they kill white people from time to time too), but that they see black life not merely as without value, but as being inherently bad and dangerous.
posted by sotonohito at 12:22 PM on December 24, 2014 [116 favorites]


If a gun was pointed at him he could has a justification for drawing and shooting, or even maybe for falling to the floor firing wildly as appears to be the case. But that's an "if", and as noted above officers have handled similar situations differently.

I don't have a lot of faith in us ever knowing, TBH.
posted by Artw at 12:29 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you have a gun drawn on you, you shoot the person. That's simple.

Let me see if I get the point of this, if a cop draws a gun on me, I'm supposed to shoot him? I don't want to shoot ANYONE!
posted by mikelieman at 12:33 PM on December 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


The real hang-up is this perception that a Police Life is more valuable than anyone they've sworn to serve. Which in the context of oaths of fealty is just all sorts of messed up.
posted by mikelieman at 12:34 PM on December 24, 2014 [17 favorites]


I don't want to shoot ANYONE!

In Florida that's actually illegal.
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on December 24, 2014 [27 favorites]


So far, no indication of a crime taking place,

The officer indicated that Mr Martin pulled a gun on him. Which I'm pretty sure is a felony.

...when the only piece of hard evidence is the testimony of someone who has just killed a teenager, I think the presumption of innocence for the victim is warranted.

Meaning you assume Mr. Martin did nothing. Your prerogative, of course, and you may be right. At this time, I'm agnostic on the subject. In any event, it's for the courts to decide the truth of it. Moreover, as it will be the officer in the dock, the only presumption of innocence that will matter goes to him.

Still early days and plenty of time for the narrative to unravel. I'm still unable to find a definitive time line for when, or even if, the police on the scene (or any of the dozens of others on the scene for that matter) ever called for EMS.

Cops are trained, both formally by their departments and informally by society in general, to see black men as uniquely dangerous....


Formally? That suggests government issue, government sanctioned education, which, if true, is major league scandal, not to say litigation fodder. Of course you could be right, but I would welcome some hard citations, as the only thing I can find under police training and race are programs dedicated to racial sensitivity.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:36 PM on December 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


It seems to me that it is too early to be jumping to conclusions here. It is possible that this was unjustified police action, and possible that it was a justifiable response to a person that aimed a gun at a police officer.

That said, it is sad that someone has died. Hopefully some good will come of this.
posted by ayedub at 12:37 PM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Anybody still giving the cops the benefit of the doubt in these cases is either a giant racist our a giant sucker. No two ways about it. Unless a cop has corroborating evidence, he's a liar till that evidence comes to light.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:41 PM on December 24, 2014 [8 favorites]




We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know you can count me out
posted by clavdivs at 12:42 PM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Formally? That suggests government issue, government sanctioned education...

Instead of "formally," I'd say institutionally. Racism doesn't operate in conscious, explicit How To Be Racist training offered in the police academy. Racism does operate in the formal, institutional practices that have developed over centuries in a society pervaded by racism (in addition to racist cultural patterns and the unconscious, implicit racism deeply embedded in individual psychology).
posted by audi alteram partem at 12:59 PM on December 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


I'm really depressed reading people who just want protests and everything to just go away. They think protesters should not give the benefit of the doubt to people who are possibly fatally shot, and then don't receive timely emergency medical treatment. Regardless of perceived innocence, people have a right to demand inquiry and justice. But racists can always find some flaw, so there will never be the perfect innocent black person wronged by police to demonstrate systematic injustice... and even then, they'll just treat it as an unfortunate, individual incident.

I think this was supposed to be sarcastic ... but hang on, maybe it was a cell phone. I can't make out its shape, but suppose Martin decided to video the cop's interaction with his friend? The cop says something he doesn't like, Martin turns around, holds up his phone, says "I'll get this on video!", the cop is alarmed, stumbles and his finger jerks against the trigger. Bang bang bang.

Oh wow. I just noticed my cellphone and wallet are both black. They could possibly get me killed my skin was also dark. It's scary.
posted by halifix at 1:11 PM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Has it even been established the kid had a gun?
posted by angrycat at 1:12 PM on December 24, 2014


Just to point out - I'm not advocating for revolution, but stating that our current police state won't substantively change without it.

Also there is so much to our cultural "black men are dangerous" social meme that it's impossible to sum up in a comment. But to suggest police are somehow immune to its effects? Wildly unlikely.

Formally? That suggests government issue, government sanctioned education

is "on-the-job training by senior officers" not enough called "government sanction" and/or "formal training"? Why or why not? Please provide hard citations.
posted by anti social order at 1:23 PM on December 24, 2014


Having been in a position were video is paramount to case, these matters can take awhile.
posted by clavdivs at 1:24 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sorry. For example when living in Jacksonville, two guys blew away a co-worker. The footage was grainy and was sent to NASA. That was in the nineties so i imagine the process is shorter now.
posted by clavdivs at 1:27 PM on December 24, 2014


The stat about blacks being that much more likely to be shot, isn't that more connected to the nexus of poverty and crime, and therefore more likely to have more police interactions?
posted by destro at 1:32 PM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


In any event, it's for the courts to decide the truth of it. Moreover, as it will be the officer in the dock, the only presumption of innocence that will matter goes to him.

I don't trust for a second that this will ever go to trial or be handled with anything but kid gloves by the prosecutor, we just had a whole big thing about that.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:33 PM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Meaning you assume Mr. Martin did nothing. Your prerogative, of course, and you may be right.

I assume nothing. I'm saying the only evidence that Martin did anything is the testimony of that man that shot him. Such testimony should always be suspect, cop or otherwise.
posted by Peevish at 1:40 PM on December 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


> The stat about blacks being that much more likely to be shot, isn't that more connected to the nexus of poverty and crime, and therefore more likely to have more police interactions?

In 2013 a white person had a 12.3% chance of living in poverty, a black one 27.2% (source), so if poverty were the main cause you'd be expecting blacks to be shot a little over twice as often as whites rather than the "21 times as often" as reported in this statistic .
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:45 PM on December 24, 2014 [22 favorites]


The stat about blacks being that much more likely to be shot, isn't that more connected to the nexus of poverty and crime, and therefore more likely to have more police interactions?

This doesn't make the racial aspect go away, or become irrelevant.

I'll poke around for the comment in a bit, but a while back I pulled stop-and-frisk stats for a chosen-at-random Manhattan precinct and then compared those stats to the makeup of the neighborhood according the the Census tract data. The neighborhood was pretty white. Guess who was most likely, by orders of magnitude, to be stopped and frisked?
posted by rtha at 1:47 PM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Here it is.
posted by rtha at 2:09 PM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


I would say from personal knowledge that a vast amount of PDs suspend, reprimand, fire and/or arrest officers who engage in wrongdoing, through negligence or intentional acts. It doesn't matter if its speeding when not on priority calls or unjustified display/discharge of firearms on or off duty. It isn't publicly spoken about, of course, but perhaps it should be.

Everyone needs the police to exist, to keep them and their belongings safe.

I cannot stress enough that: With rare exception, officers want to go to work, have the most uneventful day possible and return home.

This does not mean there are not bad cops, whether they are thrill seeking hotdogs with inflated egos/prejudices or those too afraid for their personal safety to effectively make the correct decisions in the face of bodily harm.

Those officers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law or face departmental punishment as necessary, and while I appreciate the intent of making the gulf between impoverished minorities and those charged with protecting them more apparent, what I find lacking is any reasonable approach to have an effective police force not hamstringed by PR and over-accountability for its actions.

Body cams are great, but devices fail, and sometimes the nature of the job requires that those officers stay on duty. I know of an instance where an officer's radio failed and he was instructed to remain on patrol and communicate via cell phone if necessary. He was the only officer not out on a call, and was needed if any new situation(s) arose.

In this instance, I find it suspect that both the dash cam and body cam had failed, and there should be a very thorough investigation as to the nature of this shooting.

Were police instructed to not discharge a gun unless they were already being fired on, They would probably stop showing up to highly charged calls. I also know that many officers and emergency responders fervently WISH the general public would stop using the "heart attack at the ER" excuse to get priority to their calls. Some people think if they call 911 and say that "they thought they saw a gun" that will get the cops there faster. While it usually does, it also sets the stage for shootings, and these idiot callers always get off scot free.

Regardless of the outcome, I hope the eventual police response is not apathy, similar to police reactions to crimes in inner cities in the 70s and 80s, where victims of homicides lay in the street for hours until any cops showed up, with EMS too afraid to respond without law enforcement presence.
posted by Debaser626 at 2:17 PM on December 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


If an African-American male does not graduate from high school, he has a 70% chance of going to prison by his mid-thirties.

That statistic should serve as an indictment of American society as a whole -- our economic system, our education system, our law enforcement system.

That's just a statistic though. I guess calls for radical social revolution will have be prompted by police shootings, especially ones in which the facts are unclear.
posted by leopard at 2:19 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Innocent until proven guilty - unless you were shot by a cop in which case obviously you must have been guilty.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:21 PM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Gun cameras are a thing. You can buy one today for under $150. As far as I know, they are not especially controversial or anything. For lack of any uptake by police, they're mostly sold to people doing various shooting sports who want cool FPS-ish Youtube videos.

It wouldn't be hard to make one start recording when removed from a holster, although you'd have to redesign the holster to accommodate it. And write-once (non-erasable) SD cards already exist as well.

I don't think the NRA would care about them being used by police.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:27 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Don't the police pull their weapons and use them to threaten others in an attempt to control a situation all the time? Don't they often knock down doors and violently rush in while heavily armed specifically so they DON'T need to fire them?

People seem to be working from the assumption that a person point a gun at a cop can only mean that they intend to fire that weapon. I don't think that one necessarily follows the other.

I remember a cop coming to talk to my class somewhere around 3rd grade. I have no idea why he was there or what his message was. I remember very clearly that it was not tied to the D.A.R.E. program which I don't think existed yet. One thing that he said that really stuck with me was something to the effect of, "If my weapon even leaves it's holster, it means I've done something wrong."

Somewhere along the way we took a turn away from that. I blame the drug war and I'll paraphrase The Wire, "if you tell people that they're fighting a war, eventually they start to think of themselves as warriors."

As a cop, if your reaction to someone pointing a gun at you is always to draw your own, you're basically guaranteeing that it's going to end with at least one person shot and you'll be lucky if one of them isn't you. Furthermore, I'd argue that if it's public knowledge that police training and policy is to avoid shooting people as far as is possible, the public won't be so quick to draw on or fire at the police.

On the other hand, a policy of, "If you draw on a cop, the cop is going to shoot you" is going to work both ways. If people see a cop draw a gun, they're just going to assume that the cop is about to kill somebody and shoot first.
posted by VTX at 2:40 PM on December 24, 2014 [14 favorites]


In any event, it's for the courts to decide the truth of it.

The likelihood of this ever making it as far as a courtroom, let alone that court finding actual truth is incredibly, horrifically low. The worst this cop will suffer, maybe, is a temporary suspension.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:45 PM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Paramedic Owns Idiot in Christmas Twitter Miracle
Here is author and paramedic Daniel José Older tweeting about the killing of Missouri teenager Antonio Martin. Here is a stranger aggressively questioning his credentials. And here is Older's response, which is so satisfying you'll be able to skip dinner.
(Desperate attempt at bringing some levity to this thread until we know more about what actually happened.)
posted by tonycpsu at 2:47 PM on December 24, 2014 [16 favorites]


where victims of homicides lay in the street for hours until any cops showed up, with EMS too afraid to respond without law enforcement presence.

As opposed to when victims of police homicides lay in the street for hours -- or at least until they're not able to sue the cop anymore and they can plant a weapon...
posted by mikelieman at 2:49 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I assume nothing. I'm saying the only evidence that Martin did anything is the testimony of that man that shot him. Such testimony should always be suspect, cop or otherwise.

You say a good deal more than that. Your comment was a "recap" of a still very fresh, still developing story shaded with phrases like "no evidence I would call conclusive", which is frankly tendentious. Your take may prove correct, but until this thing is totally played out, it is irresponsible to claim flatly that "a miscarriage of justice is taking place". A tragedy, certainly, but justice or lack of it has yet to be determined.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:54 PM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


The Science of Why Cops Shoot Young Black Men - "And how to reform our bigoted brains."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:00 PM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Your take may prove correct, but until this thing is totally played out, it is irresponsible to claim flatly that "a miscarriage of justice is taking place".

You want to tell me a version of this story where failing to call EMS while the victim was bleeding out isn't a miscarriage of justice?

I don't have "a take" beyond that.
posted by Peevish at 3:22 PM on December 24, 2014 [13 favorites]


> Don't the police pull their weapons and use them to threaten others in an attempt to control a situation all the time?

CHP Defends Undercover Officer Who Pulled Gun on Protesters in Oakland

Oakland police: We had no idea CHP officers dressed as protesters
posted by rtha at 3:25 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


> CHP Defends Undercover Officer Who Pulled Gun on Protesters in Oakland

> Two plainclothes officers began backing away from the crowd when a man ran up and punched one of the officers in the head from behind

For fuck's sake.
posted by mullingitover at 3:52 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Two new surveillance videos posted.
posted by STFUDonnie at 5:05 PM on December 24, 2014


Re national "conversation," and/or outrage level - this was maybe the 5th topic listed in the intro to CBS News tonight, just before the closing feel-good segment (lead topic was the weather). Gwen Ifill did not even mention it in her intro on PBS.
posted by mmiddle at 5:10 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]



poffin boffin: "My miserably cynical assumption is that they don't want to be recorded on the 911 or similar call saying that they've shot someone in case it's used against them later."

They don't have to say _they_ shot someone, just that there is a wounded person. Heck they could even just generically request an ambulance.
posted by Mitheral at 5:15 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Man, the officer must be kicking himself for not having either his dash or body camera switched on, what with the story bein that Antonio Martin was suddenly shoving a gun in his face a few in front of his car, and now having only grainy or far away or inconclusive CCTV footage, right?
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:17 PM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Grainy far away footage is all that's been released. There may be more damning footage that's being held back.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:19 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Like how medical aid was held back?
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:21 PM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


There may be more damning footage that's being held back destroyed.

The refusal to call for medical assistance until Martin was safely dead is damning enough evidence for me.
Dead men tell no tales.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:22 PM on December 24, 2014 [19 favorites]


Here are the fact as given and agreed upon so far:

He was 18
He was unarmed
He was with his mother and girlfriend when he was shot @ 11:30pm last night by police
He was shot for fitting the description of a suspect
He was alive for 30 mins after he was shot
Instead of calling for an ambulance police called for crowd control
Police left his body there for 2 hours
Police wouldn't let his mother comfort him while he laid there dying
Police body cams were off
Police dash cam was off
Police showed security footage that cuts off right before the shooting
Police put his body in the back of an SUV

At the bare minimum this is still really messed up.
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:29 PM on December 24, 2014 [22 favorites]


I thought the unarmed thing was still up for debate.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:32 PM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


>I thought the unarmed thing was still up for debate.

Not if you've already decided what to think based on emotion.
posted by stavrogin at 5:43 PM on December 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


Two new surveillance videos posted.

In that second video it sure looks to me like a cell phone - there's a light in his hand. I guess it could be the flashlight, but it looks square and a different color than the flashlight.

Of course all this could be avoided if the cops released better angles. The fact they haven't doesn't surprise me - all the aspersions cast on the dead kid and that amazing appearing after two hours gun tell their own tale about what happened.
posted by winna at 5:46 PM on December 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Most news outlets are still saying he had a gun, or are quoting the police in saying he had a gun. The police chief is being quoted by WaPo as saying (somewhat oddly specifically) that it was "a 9mm handgun with one round in the chamber and five more in the magazine". The Guardian article says "Police say they recovered a gun they believed to be Martin’s at the scene. Belmar said the gun’s serial number was defaced [...]".

At any rate it's certainly still an open item. You don't have to be particularly cynical to note that if you were going to plant a gun on someone, one with the serial number defaced is probably exactly the sort you'd want to plant.

I am not expecting any useful new information until early next week.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:01 PM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Two new surveillance yt videos yt posted.

the first one clearly shows the cop skittering on his ass backwards as he fires and then running like hell around the gas pumps away from the scene

we still can't tell from any of the videos whether martin actually had a gun in his hand, but the cop's reaction is certainly not one of a person who thinks he is shooting an unarmed man
posted by pyramid termite at 6:53 PM on December 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


Last week, one day, I was late to work.

This turned out to be fantastic luck, because if I was on time, I would have been late anyways because the Seattle Police had the road blocked off in front of my building. According to a couple of eyewitnesses that I talked to (including Q13 News), there was a wanted man that they were chasing, who then drew a knife on the cops. The cops responded by tasing him, and then taking him into custody. It became such a nonevent that it didn't even make the news.

I'm grateful that it ended up this way; under different circumstances, it could have been so very very much worse.
posted by spinifex23 at 7:03 PM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


It would have been quite difficult to plant a gun with all of the onlookers.
posted by learnsome at 7:12 PM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


we still can't tell from any of the videos whether martin actually had a gun in his hand, but the cop's reaction is certainly not one of a person who thinks he is shooting an unarmed man

Neither was this cop's.
posted by maxsparber at 7:33 PM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Just protest all the shootings. We've enough non-lethal technology that we don't need cops that kill anyone under any circumstances. Institute a law, constitutional amendment, whatever that :

No one may hold office in law enforcement, including cops, prosecutors, judges, and their staff, nor receive a full pension associated with pervious work in said capacity, if their actions have resulted in the death of another person.

No worries about justifiable homicide, etc. If you've ever killed anyone in any circumstances, including war, auto accidents, or capital punishment, then you may not be a cop or other officer of the court, period end of discussion.

Beavercreek Ohio Cops Plow Into, Knock Down, Then Arrest Retired Law Professor At John Crawford Protest
posted by jeffburdges at 7:57 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Here are the fact as given and agreed upon so far:

He was unarmed


How is this remotely a fact to be taken as given and agreed upon? The cops at least clearly believe he had a weapon. The videos released so far are crappy, sure, but they wouldn't release them if they thought it was possible they could eventually be cleaned up or whatever to show it was a cell phone.

I do think we'll eventually see some higher quality video. What's the point of even having security cameras if all you can see on them is grainy suggestions of human-shaped objects?
posted by Justinian at 8:15 PM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


In 2013 a white person had a 12.3% chance of living in poverty, a black one 27.2% (source), so if poverty were the main cause you'd be expecting blacks to be shot a little over twice as often as whites rather than the "21 times as often" as reported in this statistic .

The "21 times" number isn't true. It's very hard to come up with a definite number, because there's no reliable nationwide database of "officer-involved shootings." Which is part of the problem. But everyone who's actually looked at the data agrees that the 21 times number that ProPublica is throwing around is just nonsense.

Various number-crunching methods come up with 9:1, 5:1, or 4:1. Which is still bad! Though it is also noted in the article that "the black-to-white homicide ratio is 15:1," so one wouldn't expect a straight 1:1 ratio.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:31 PM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


We definitely need the missing video presumption that officers who's video is unavailable are lying.

In this case, there is strong evidence that the gun was planted by the cops.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:35 PM on December 24, 2014


The "21 times" number isn't true.

But it has the air of truthiness about it so will no doubt continue to be repeated by many.

In this case, there is strong evidence that the gun was planted by the cops.

That's not strong evidence, its a two second mockup conspiracy theory. Without a wider angle on the shot of the gun we have absolutely no idea if it should be present in the first couple of shots.
posted by Justinian at 8:39 PM on December 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


This is one of those threads where I don't even think I'm living on the same planet as other posters. The contortions people are willing to go through to make an inconvenient case fit their own preconceptions are jaw dropping.
posted by empath at 8:45 PM on December 24, 2014 [18 favorites]


I do think we'll eventually see some higher quality video. What's the point of even having security cameras if all you can see on them is grainy suggestions of human-shaped objects?

I don't think you will see anything of "higher quality" for whatever you might mean by those words. Only based on working anywhere from 3rd shift to store manager, stores like that don't have piecemeal systems. They are sourced from and installed by third parties. They focus only on proving which employees are stealing. That is why odd angles aren't recorded, why there are always several angles on the register and none on the far side of the pumps.

Those cameras are almost certainly there to intimidate the employees whose actions can be verified independent of the video (count the cigs, count the beer, count the lotto, look for oddness outside the doors but focus on the register).

Grainy suggestions of activity are plenty when you know who and what you're looking for. This is not the situation c-store cameras are supposed to help with.
posted by timfinnie at 8:48 PM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


That's not strong evidence, its a two second mockup conspiracy theory.

exactly - anyone can put any time they like as a caption under those pictures - no, we need to have a solid chain of custody on the evidence before we accept it
posted by pyramid termite at 8:57 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Someday soon some unarmed black kid is going to be gunned down by cops in broad daylight, and someone on Fox News is going to flat-out say, "It was his fault. Everybody knows that if you're black in America and you walk down the street, you might get shot. If he wanted to be safe he would have stayed inside."

Hell, they'll probably edit video of the kid's family to make it sound like he was looking for a fight, sort of like they did recently in this Baltimore case:

Slimy Baltimore FOX Affiliate Caught Faking "Kill a Cop" Protest Chant
posted by homunculus at 9:12 PM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also from the STL Public radio link from ThatFuzzyBastard:

"One other study of police shootings that has gotten attention in St. Louis and an important international forum is the Malcolm X Grassroots movement study that found 313 “extrajudicial killings” in 2012, or one every 28 hours.
[...]
But a case-by-case review of the Malcolm X study shows that only 134 of the 313 blacks killed were unarmed. Of those unarmed people, 55 were driving cars at a police officer when shot or were fleeing at high speeds – both situations in which police are authorized to use deadly force. Another 23 suspects were shot by security guards or private citizens, not police. About 20 died after police used a taser rather than deadly force. That leaves 35 cases where police killed unarmed suspects; many of these resulted in prosecutions."

posted by destro at 9:53 PM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


The "21 times" number isn't true ... Various number-crunching methods come up with 9:1, 5:1, or 4:1.

According to your link, the 21:1 number IS the ratio of young black men to young white men killed in the three years prior to that study. It's not "untrue". The critics of that 21:1 number in your article get 9:1 by looking back more than three years (which is sorta legit), 5.5:1 by looking at all age groups too (which changes the topic), and 4:1 by including hispanics with whites (which is a bit misleading.)

Given that the quote jackflaps linked to was: "Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings.", the 21:1 answer is correct -- the 9:1, 5.5:1, and 4:1 ratios are actually not applicable. Given that study, at least.
posted by fleacircus at 11:02 PM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


clavdivs: "We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know you can count me out
"

(In)

You know it's gonna be, etc.
posted by jokeefe at 12:46 AM on December 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Here's how I would reform the police departments:
1. Only hire police from the community in which they serve.


I know this poster meant well, but this notion needs to be extinguished asap. This is a terrible, terrible idea.

In the country I was raised in, police can never serve in the district they are from. There's a reason from that. I can count four close family members who are active service police officers, three of whom I'll be chatting or Skyping with over the holidays. If they served in the district we grew up in... well, I'd have been untouchable as a teenager. My whole family would have been.

There's a whole system, even in the relatively uncorrupt parts of the world, whereby the police interact with the local community... bar owners, the old lady on the stoop, the garage shop guys, the firemen, the EMTs. They all get to know each other over time. Small favors are exchanged. Favors that may not even be detectable by the most diligent regulations and oversight. Walking past the bottle shop an extra time or two on Saturday night. A coffee on the house here. A quiet word with a local scumbag telling him to fuck off to another street and not to disturb these nice neighbors. Sure, maybe your police parent didn't do this, and god bless his/her exalted soul... but for the others, that's the reality.

Now, add in the fact that the bottle shop owner is your brother. The neighbor is your grandmother. The scumbag is in fact the same scumbag you hated in high school, and he's still a scumbag, and you know for a fact that he deals blow and beats the shit out of his pregnant girlfriend, because his girlfriend gets her hair done at the same place your sister does. You haven't caught him in the act yet, but fuck it, that shithead is guilty of something. You know this for a fact. Oh, and you're white, and whenever you walked down the mexican street on your way back from school you would get the shit kicked out of you.

But now you're the cop. And you're from the family of cops around here. Think about the consequences of that situation! This is the worst fucking idea that I've heard bandied about this supposedly progressive place in quite some time. The only thing that might be worse is that it's possible "from the community" isn't intended to mean "from the local area" but could mean "from the same race", in which case, I am glad there are amendments against that so I don't have to argue from scratch why that might not be desirable in the long run.
posted by amorphatist at 1:47 AM on December 25, 2014 [11 favorites]


amorphatist, in a good part of rural, small-town, and even small city (less than 50k) america, that's often how it is - in fact, at the convenience store i worked at, we did give coffee to the cops - partially because it keeps then coming around at night, partially because the owner was an ex-cop himself

remember that small towns and counties in the u s are pretty much responsible for their own police departments - in fact, county sheriffs are generally elected

yes, it can get corrupt - and people who are excluded from the local power structure have a rough time of it - but the whole point of community based policing is that it's a lot harder to abuse the community generally when the police have to live there and deal with the social consequences

at least there's something there to keep things from getting way out of control - although if the community elite are mean and corrupt, it can really be a problem

so, at worst, it turns out to be a homegrown cabal of people - but that's still better for a community than what can only be described as an occupying force - and ferguson is actually the worst of both worlds - a small town with a corrupt local government that hires police who aren't from the community

i don't believe that cops necessarily have to be from the places they police - but they should have to live there
posted by pyramid termite at 3:06 AM on December 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


IndigoJones Sorry, that was a bad sentence. I meant by cops being formally trained to view black people as uniquely dangerous that they are trained to focus policing on black people. They are trained to patrol black majority areas in a paranoid, occupying force, sort of way. They are trained to do stop and frisk on black youth almost exclusively. Older cops train them to see concealed weapons on black people at higher rates [1], etc. So I suppose that's informal training, in that the police department doesn't sit them down and say "black people are very dangerous".

I suppose what I meant was "trained by other cops" not "formally trained".

[1] Interesting side note: It is apparently not actually possible for people to spot a concealed handgun by looking for bulges in clothing or gait changes or whatever. Tests have shown that people's efforts to do so produce results no better than random chance. But interestingly, people's belief that they can spot concealed guns correlates strongly with doing worse than random chance. In tests cops do worse than civilians in terms of false positives, and the longer a person has been a cop the worse they do.
posted by sotonohito at 4:39 AM on December 25, 2014


i don't believe that cops necessarily have to be from the places they police - but they should have to live there

pyramid, that is a huge and critically important distinction. The former is terrible, the latter desirable.
posted by amorphatist at 5:05 AM on December 25, 2014


Beavercreek Ohio Cops Plow Into, Knock Down, Then Arrest Retired Law Professor At John Crawford Protest

Less dramatically: police order people to leave the mall, she "chose to stay" (her words), cops bump into her (she doesn't fall, she explains), and arrest her.
posted by jpe at 6:17 AM on December 25, 2014


amorphatist, the police are never going to be nice to the scumbag. They're either going to profile based on knowing something about the guy (rumor mill/knew in highschool), or knowing nothing (racial/location-based.)

Civilization is pretty much built on people trading favors and helping each other, and, dare I say, ongoing mutual benefit between individuals is important to racial integration. We've found that it's not good when police are kept out of that part of life, and we'd rather have them participating both professionally and personally rather than commuting.
posted by michaelh at 6:25 AM on December 25, 2014 [2 favorites]



i don't believe that cops necessarily have to be from the places they police - but they should have to live there

That's all well and good for lower class areas, but there is a huge portion of neighborhoods and precincts which cover areas that police cannot afford to live in.

I believe NYC tried this years ago, until they realized that those assigned to precincts covering most of Manhattan would need roughly a 200% raise to be able to comply with the rules.

Cops are not storm troopers or Clint Eastwoods; emotionless stoic, unflappable and robotic in their pursuit of justice. They have lessons and experiences which like any of us they operate on. It is an imperfect system, as justice should be unassailable, but by placing people in the mix, you create an environment where an individual's personality--good and bad, weighs heavily into the duty performed.

Before one decries all police as trigger happy mercenaries, realize that without them we would all be worse off. They are duty bound to not retreat from any given situation, which is why they are authorized to use deadly force at their discretion.

I have run into my fair share of asshole cops: those power hungry egomaniacs, but it is far more common to encounter a seasoned officer who is resigned to just get through his or her shift. Harangued by politics and PR, they don't extend any more effort than necessary, as it has been demonstrated time and again that extra effort equals extra trouble.

It's almost sad, because many did not start out with this mindset, but the third time someone gets an IA investigation for stepping into a situation while off duty or out of their beat, they kinda stop bothering unless they are officially dispatched.
posted by Debaser626 at 6:33 AM on December 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


Debaser626

Wish I could favorite your post a thousand times.
posted by learnsome at 7:18 AM on December 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Slimy Baltimore FOX Affiliate Caught Faking "Kill a Cop" Protest Chant

Ah, a Sinclair station. That explains a lot.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:39 AM on December 25, 2014


Captain Chesapeake is rolling in his grave.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:00 AM on December 25, 2014


The remarks from the mayor almost sound like he thinks that this is different from Ferguson because police were responding to a report of a crime. (He must know that it wouldn't justify the police executing a guy on the scene, right?) Now that I've read more of his remarks, it seems that most likely he meant to emphasize the gun-pointing aspect, but on radio yesterday that wasn't included in the quote, since it took him so long to get to that part of what he was saying. I'm still not quite sure what he meant.

It's incredibly sad. My heart goes out to the family. Has anyone found more info on the EMS delay?
posted by salvia at 8:43 AM on December 25, 2014


They are duty bound to not retreat from any given situation

Bullshit. All this “The police are risking themselves for you” rhetoric was proven false by the NY State Supreme Court ruling in Grishaber v. City of Albany where we learned that in fact the police have NO DUTY to any of us.
posted by mikelieman at 9:39 AM on December 25, 2014 [16 favorites]


Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, New York.

Bruce GRIESHABER, as Administrator of the Estate of Jenna Grieshaber Honis, Deceased, Respondent,
v.
CITY OF ALBANY, Appellant.

Decided: January 25, 2001

" a plaintiff cannot establish justifiable reliance by demonstrating a victim's reasonable expectation that help would be forthcoming"
posted by mikelieman at 10:17 AM on December 25, 2014


Mikelieman, I think you missed his point. He wasn't talking about a legal duty, but rather that the police have an obligation to enter, and not retreat from, dangerous situations. The very nature of their jobs don't allow them the out the rest of us take (it's not my problem, I need to move on, etc.). Not all cops are prudent in satisfying that obligation, but that failure doesn't undercut the fact of the obligation.
posted by learnsome at 11:12 AM on December 25, 2014


He wasn't talking about a legal duty, but rather that the police have an obligation to enter, and not retreat from, dangerous situations.

Yeah, that's a nice thing to talk about, but the idea that the police have an obligation to enter, and not retreat from dangerous situations is a FAIRY TALE, and the case law shows that to be clearly the case.

It is certainly in the Police Officer Union's benefit to promote the fallacy that an officer will put their life in danger to serve us. But that's almost laughable at this point.
posted by mikelieman at 11:21 AM on December 25, 2014 [10 favorites]


There is no such thing as a "scumbag"; there are some pretty horribly broken, misguided, belligerent and degraded examples of humanity out there, but not one of them is any less human or less entitled to the same presumption of innocence and due process than the most heroic beat cop. The fact that this childish "scumbags" vs. decent people way of framing real life has become the cultural norm for so many in and out of uniform is close to the root of the problem.

Hell, child development experts will tell you straight up that looking at the world as breaking down to good guys versus bad guys is associated with earlier stages of childhood development and that it might be a sign of arrested development to persist in seeing the world in such stark, manichean terms into the teen years and young adulthood. Adults just aren't supposed to be this simpleminded. It really seems bizarre to me how much we all seem to fall into patterns of thought that would have once been regarded as immature. And I'm not talking obvious, cliched stuff like enjoying comic books and video games--I mean rudimentary mental skills like metacognition, parsing irony and metaphor, and context shifting.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:28 AM on December 25, 2014 [10 favorites]




I guess calls for radical social revolution will have be prompted by police shootings, especially ones in which the facts are unclear.

Calls to redress racism, sexism, classism, etc. in the US have existed almost as long as the injustices themselves. These calls are often ignored or distorted, but the conversation, such as it is, has gone on for a long time.
posted by audi alteram partem at 1:14 PM on December 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


An NYPD officer with 5.5 years on the job makes, on average, over $90,000 a year with overtime pay (and numerous opportunities for side income not included, nor other generous supplemental in-kind benefits). I am assuming a Berkeley, Mo. cop makes less, but then I'm not so sure I should be assuming that. But the poor, underpaid cop trope -- a whole lot of people do live in Manhattan on less than $90k a year, believe it or not, I'm sure that's well above the median income in Manhattan -- needs a rest. Poor Sarge Sad Sack, trudging through his grim day keeping his head down so he can go back to the little 2 bedroom in the suburbs and wash his Chevy pickup, is an appealing everyman figure. But he's making professional money and he will retire young with an exceptional pension and the opportunity to make quite a bit more side money after retirement, at least if he's on a big city force.
posted by spitbull at 1:42 PM on December 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


And by the way, I think cops are worth that kind of money if they do their job with utmost professionalism. So are teachers and nurses, and they make way less. But I am not saying cops are overpaid.
posted by spitbull at 1:43 PM on December 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


What kind of gun lights up?

Why move all of the gathered onlooker across the street, but not call for an ambulance?

Why leave his body there for over two hours?
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:16 PM on December 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


wabbittwax : "Shoot to kill" is one available option. But it is by no means the only available option.

This has already been addressed further up in the thread, but I'll speak to this specifically, if for no other reason than to reinforce the point.

wabbittwax (I'm using your quote as an example, but don't consider this directed at you but the idea in general), I'm going to choose to believe that "But it is by no means the only available option." is referencing the options available to someone (an officer) who has already drawn their weapon and is going to fire it.

Not shooting to kill is not an option. When you shoot, you are trained, and you drill over and over and over to shoot center mass. It provides the most likely cessation of action from the person shot, and provides the shooter with the best possible chance of hitting the target.

Shooting to wound is not-quite a fallacy, because people get shot and live quite a lot. But think of those as incidents where the expected result (happily) did not happen. There will always be strange one-off examples, like when the sniper shot the gun out of a suicide-by-cop guys hands years ago, but those are remarkable because of the virtual impossibility.

Shooting to wound also has another failure point; there really isn't any "safe" place to wound someone and not cause immediate catastrophic damage. Kneecaps, for example, are remarkably close to the femoral artery, which is severed will cause the victim to bleed out very quickly. It is also a much harder target to hit, leading to the possibility of a stray bullet missing the target, and hitting someone behind them. A center mass shot with hollow points is very unlikely to produce this result. Movies and TV have suggested otherwise, but for the victim, any shooting can be a lethal shooting.

Now, if I was complete mistaken, and you were talking about someone (again, an officer most likely) who has not made the decision to fire, then yes, there are still many, many options on the table including diplomacy, attempting a less-than-lethal option like a tazer or pepperspray, or a baton if close enough.

But if the situation has escalated where, right or wrong, the shooter is going to pull the trigger, s/he expects the result to be a dead person. That is the only expectation one with a firearm and training is ever allowed to have, expecting any other alternative is to not understand the effect of a gun-shot wound. These obviously work when employed and really should be the first option that all cops attempt. It should be a core part of their training, and pulling a gun should be considered not just a last resort, but a failure on their ability to police.

Now, all that being said, what I would really love to see one day, is a situation where an officer is forced to pull the trigger, and then immediately calls it in and begins treating the shot with emergency first aid to give them the best option of survival. If the police are going to continue to use deadly force, they should also be responsible for mitigating it as much as possible.
posted by quin at 8:31 PM on December 25, 2014 [3 favorites]




"These obviously work..." from my above post references the less-than-lethal options following attempts at diplomacy. Rereading what I wrote makes it sound like I mean the exact opposite of that.
posted by quin at 9:16 PM on December 25, 2014


What kind of gun lights up?


My first knee jerk was to snark and post a dollar store toy laser gun. Because you know, that other guy was shot for holding a toy gun while black.

But no, seriously, that's a phone. Who here still believes that video shows a gun? What the hell?
posted by emptythought at 9:40 PM on December 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


The idea that you can tell what he is holding in that crappy video is a cell phone is crazy. It's impossible to tell what he is holding. Do I believe it shows a gun? I dunno, I can't tell from the video. But you sure as heck can't tell its a cell phone!
posted by Justinian at 9:48 PM on December 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't know what he's holding, but it genuinely seems to be lighting up, and if a cop panics, opens fire, and says he saw a gun, I am, at the moment, disinclined to believe it based aoley on testimony, for reasons I think are easy to understand.
posted by maxsparber at 10:12 PM on December 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Which video is the one showing it lighting up so I can rewatch it?
posted by Justinian at 10:21 PM on December 25, 2014


There is the loaded gun recovered at the scene, maxsparber. So it's not based solely on testimony. People may distrust that bit of evidence for other reasons but it surely counts as physical evidence.
posted by Justinian at 10:22 PM on December 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, as far as I'm concerned, until an independent source confirms that gun was in the dead boy's hand, it is evidence of nothing.
posted by maxsparber at 10:37 PM on December 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's a little easier to belive that the guy was holding a gun than to believe that the police just carry around loaded weapons with the serial filed down for the purpose of gunning down innocent people and planting it on them. Call me naive.

Here's a cropped/zoomed/enhanced video of the shooting, I don't see anything lighting up. I do see the cop who was within a couple feet of the gun/"phone"/whatever freaking out and running for his life. Almost like a guy suddenly pointed a gun at his head or something.

I really get the sense that everyone is so thirsty for outrage that even a reasonable case for use of force is immediately turned into 'omg the police state is oppressing us.' I mean, in this situation a mob showed up before the sun came up, and started lighting off fireworks at a fucking gas station and set fire to a totally unrelated business across the street. Color me surprised that the police might be a little jumpy in this environment where it's completely warranted.
posted by mullingitover at 10:42 PM on December 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


Frank Serpico reported that NY police carried around exactly this sort of gun to drop if they accidentally killed someone, so I am going to need more proof than what actually does strike me as a naive belief that cops don't do this.
posted by maxsparber at 10:47 PM on December 25, 2014 [12 favorites]


I'm really disappointed with some of the discussion this time around, as there are people who are not only jumping to conclusions but maligning other discussion participants who don't share their view of the facts or want to wait for more evidence.

I believe there are serious unanswered questions and I would particularly like to know:
  • Which video cameras were working and which were not? Are there additional videos that have been collected but not yet released? If so, why was the video which was released chosen to be presented to the public?
  • For video cameras that were said to be non-working at the time of the shooting (including especially the officer's bodycam and the cruiser's dashcam, when was the last time those cameras were known to be working? Who is responsible for maintaining them and making sure they are operable? What is the Berkeley P.D. policy?
  • What explanation is being offered for the reported failure to immediately summon emergency medical responders after the shooting?
There are plenty of unanswered questions, but answers to these would be nice.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:22 PM on December 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


Really.
Serpico? As an example? When did he plant it. Who else was there. What does the video suggest allegedly happened.
It's called a throw away and for some nonsupported fact fun, they usually get them from...criminals.
If a flash is on video, a muzzle flash it will discern. Not a phone, not an m80 not a bloody bazooka.
The cop is running. Ever heard of shot and scoot. Sounds cute but unless you have been there. You shoot, you move when fired upon. Assuming a fixed position will better your odds of surviving return fire...
Fuck it. Let the gods have blood.
posted by clavdivs at 11:24 PM on December 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


a reasonable case for use of force

Here's the thing. The police have lost The Public Trust and there is no reasonable case for the use of force anymore, since there's no way to tell if it's being abused to cover for cops panicking. It really is a shame that the police can't police themselves and we're at a point where they've pretty much forgotten that the lives of the people they've sworn to serve are MORE VALUABLE THAN THEIRS, and as sworn officer, they've volunteered to make the ultimate sacrifice if needed.

Whenever I hear of a cop panicking and killing someone, I'm reminded of Steve Earle's live album called "Shut up and die like an aviator."
posted by mikelieman at 11:27 PM on December 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's a little easier to belive that the guy was holding a gun than to believe that the police just carry around loaded weapons with the serial filed down for the purpose of gunning down innocent people and planting it on them. Call me naive

Sorry, but I think you're naive. I'd be inclined to agree with you that the odds of the police carrying around a gun to use as a plant if necessary were pretty remote - if we were talking about ten years ago or in some remote area somewhere. But this is so close to Ferguson I'd say the odds are very, very good that keeping a spare gun around that could be used to plant when an officer claims a gun was drawn against him but there's no gun and no evidence of such. All the police departments in that area are dealing with furious citizens due to an incident in which their own incompetence led to a man's death - the people are riled up, and justifiably so, and if that isn't a good reason to think it's more than possible that the police are going to do everything they possibly can to make damn sure they're not caught with their pants down again, I don't know what is.

Police departments all over the country have stockpiles of guns they've taken from criminals. Some of those have probably had the serial number filed off - that's as old as the hills - and it doesn't take a genius to figure out how to do it, anyway. How could anyone think it's unreasonable to think the cops would be taking every measure they can think of to cover their own rear ends right now? I seem to recall that there were some hours that went by before anyone saw a gun anywhere near this man's body and then OMG there's one after all. Right.
posted by aryma at 12:42 AM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Buffalo Cop Loses Job And Pension After She Intervenes With Fellow Officer Choking A Suspect"
posted by homunculus

What a surprise, she's black. After nigh on 20 years of work they are going to deprive her and her family of money she has rightfully earned, for doing the right thing,
posted by marienbad at 2:27 AM on December 26, 2014 [18 favorites]


Most criminals don't bother to file off the serial number - they're typically carrying the gun illegally anyhow, usually bought in batches "second-hand" with no questions asked by the buyer or seller at a gun show, and then sold again on the street, again with no questions asked or answered.

Possession of stolen property isn't a rap they're terribly concerned with, and a lesser charge than the federal felony of possessing a firearm with the number filed off. It's also difficult to do, and you risk damaging the pistol.

It's generally something only firearms enthusiasts do when they want to feel like rebel renegades... or if the serial number was entered as part of a catalog of evidence, and someone really needed a gun that wasn't documented as being in police hands.

If the pistol has its serial number filed off, it's a giant, blinking red beacon it's probably planted evidence.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:08 AM on December 26, 2014 [15 favorites]


Drop guns are definitely a thing, and it would precisely be one with the S/N filed off.

Police cannot be trusted to tell the truth. That is the price of being habitual liars. If anything good comes of the publicity for cop-assisted lynchings in this country of late (they've been business as usual since slavery times) it will be that juries are increasingly disinclined to believe cop testimony,

I for one am fantasizing that I will get jury service, play the dumb white Fox News type in voir dire who loves cops until I'm seated, then refuse to vote to convict because I don't believe the cops, which will be my stated reason for nullification. I cannot be alone in having at least this fantasy of fighting back as a citizen.

Or better yet, a grand jury. If it works to spring Wilson and Pantaleo, with prosecuter collusion obvious, let's just see if we can spring a few people the cops and prosecutors actually want to charge.

We need a serious movement to nullify the jury trial system with covert citizen resistance, as a jury is one of the very few places ordinary citizens have real power in this situation (you say voting booth, I say lol).

Nullify.
posted by spitbull at 5:18 AM on December 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


I was going to raise the issues that Slap Hapy just did. Incidentally, if someone from your department needs to go fetch a gun (and maybe file its number off) that would give a reason not to move the body for two hours.

The police account is this: eighteen year-old carries around a gun with the serial number filed off. Why was it filed off? Reasons. Cop pulls up and happens to identify them as bad guys. He asks them questions, one walks away. The cop calls him back and the bad guy complies - and then decides he'll get in less trouble killing a cop than answering questions. Wait, what?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:34 AM on December 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


Has an incident report been released? Why do we get the shitty video and no incident report. I sound like a broken record with this 'best practices' thing, but are we seeing by the book police work in all of this? Where the police report is classified but the butchered, incriminate the perp video isn't?
posted by Trochanter at 5:52 AM on December 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


The cop calls him back and the bad guy complies - and then decides he'll get in less trouble killing a cop than answering questions. Wait, what?

Why do you assume the 18yo criminal is going to make a rational, considered decision? Since we're all just speculating here, couldn't the 18yo have had a rush of blood, thought 'not this shit again, fuck the police'? We just don't know yet.
posted by amorphatist at 7:03 AM on December 26, 2014


So we are not referring to this dead kid as a person anymore, just a criminal?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:08 AM on December 26, 2014 [10 favorites]


I don't think that referring to him as a criminal is denying his personhood, especially when referring to it in the context of whether he's going to deal with the police in a Homo economicus perfectly-rational way.
posted by Etrigan at 7:11 AM on December 26, 2014


Yeah, to me the filed-off serial number bit was straight out of some police detective novel.
posted by salvia at 9:19 AM on December 26, 2014


Doesn't that require the presumption that the police officer is a rational-actor? That dog won't hunt. And absent any actual conviction the words you're looking for are "ALLEGED criminal".
posted by mikelieman at 9:44 AM on December 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


Martin pled guilty to purse-snatching last year. That doesn't mean he should have died in and of itself, but calling him a criminal is neither denying him personhood nor incorrect.
posted by Etrigan at 10:09 AM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well I've been known to hit a bong. But no one calls me a criminal.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:16 AM on December 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


I shoplifted a lot in my 20s. Last time I was discussed on MetaFilter, I don't recall being referred to as a criminal.
posted by maxsparber at 11:17 AM on December 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


Why do you assume the 18yo criminal is going to make a rational, considered decision? Since we're all just speculating here, couldn't the 18yo have had a rush of blood, thought 'not this shit again, fuck the police'?

Explanations that rely on a series of improbable events and irrational decisions should only be accepted after all the other explanations have been excluded. The "rush of blood" scenario requires that all the following are correct:
  • An eighteen year-old youth owned a pistol - most don't, you know;
  • That pistol had the serial numbers removed;
  • He was carrying it, loaded, on a trip to a convenience store, when he happened to be accosted by a police officer;
  • The youth had a "rush of blood" that made him end the encounter;
  • While leaving he decided to kill the police officer rather than just continue walking;
  • There is an innocent explanation for the denial of medical attention;
  • There is an innocent explanation for the lack of police video evidence.
I think all these assumptions are at least somewhat unlikely, except perhaps the assumption that he decided to break away from the encounter with the police officer. If they weren't, police officers wouldn't enter the area except in teams with full backup. Also consider the fact that the police officer himself was surprised by the attack, no matter what explanation you prefer. In contrast, here's a scenario that requires fewer unlikely assumptions:
  • A police officer decided to interrogate a couple of black youths, for no apparent reason and in a way that would make himself vulnerable to attack;
  • One youth made (what the officer thought was) a threatening gesture;
  • The officer shot the youth;
  • The officer's comrades decided to help him conceal the crime;
  • Police officers either can obtain pistols with the serial numbers removed or can remove the numbers themselves.
I submit that the unlikely assumptions in this scenario are only two: that police officers can be startled and that police officers will help a comrade conceal a gross error of judgment. Are they really so unlikely? We know that similar things happen all the time, and even the "rush of blood" scenario presumes that the police officer made two apparently-bad decisions that are otherwise unexplained: to interrogate these youths without any good reason and in a way which would make him vulnerable to an attack, and to deny medical attention after shooting one of them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:31 AM on December 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


But you include facts not in evidence on one side of that equation. For example, bystanders report that Martin was denied medical attention. However, the police report that he was evaluated and declared dead by EMS. You might not believe the police but you can't simply discard that statement and include "denied medical attention" as one of the givens.

Basically you're assuming your conclusion by accepting many of the worst-case scenarios as givens rather than as disputed facts.
posted by Justinian at 12:19 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why do you assume the 18yo criminal is going to make a rational, considered decision? Since we're all just speculating here, couldn't the 18yo have had a rush of blood, thought 'not this shit again, fuck the police'? We just don't know yet.

Ok so I'm not black, and nearly all of my friends in high school were white because the school I went to was whiter than a goddamn suburban yoga class... But we were all totally afraid of the cops because we were dumb stoners constantly trading boogieman stories, plus a few activist kids who constantly went to protests and fundraisers talking about fucked up things the cops did all the time. And how shitty my cities cops are which we heard on the news a lot.

And yea, only a couple of us were brown. The one black guy I regularly hung out with then was way more avoidant of the police, or situations that could draw their attention than us. I didn't totally get it at the time, and I know I never completely will, but now I at least sort of do.

Unless you're suggesting this is a suicide by cop scenario, this makes utterly no sense.

Assuming he did have this gun when he first encountered the cops, which is a BIG assumption to hand off, why does the "he just lost his shit" seem more plausible than him just trying to play it off all like no big deal? That's what we always tried to do when we had weed or booze or something else we really didn't want to get caught with.

And yea, I realize the cops are going to be more persistent in fucking with you if you're black, but that just supports the "play it off" side even more imo.

Why are so many people so readily willing to buy the "crazy negro went crazy" thing here, when its dressed up as "oh he's just a dumb kid kids lol"? Try harder. Think harder.
posted by emptythought at 12:23 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


"bystanders report that Martin was denied medical attention. However, the police report that he was evaluated and declared dead by EMS. "

How are these in tension?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:27 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


However, the police report that he was evaluated and declared dead by EMS

Two hours later.
posted by Trochanter at 12:30 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


But you include facts not in evidence on one side of that equation. For example, bystanders report that Martin was denied medical attention. However, the police report that he was evaluated and declared dead by EMS. You might not believe the police but you can't simply discard that statement and include "denied medical attention" as one of the givens.

Basically you're assuming your conclusion by accepting many of the worst-case scenarios as givens rather than as disputed facts


I guess the last line makes it clear, but this really felt like a "both sides" thing to me.

If a whole crowd of people is watching something and says scenario A happened, and at the beginning a couple cops(which later turns in to a dozen or so?) say scenario B happened, just because someone disagrees this becomes disputed?

I mean I know it's technically correct, but I've just seen too many scenarios with my own eyes where everyone there saw what went down, and the later official statement by the cops and the one the news runs with is just... Not what happened.

I believe the crowd more than the cops, and I think saying its a disputed thing that could go either way is giving them a bit too much credit and getting too close to "both sides" sort of stuff.

People were posting right at the time on Twitter and such what was happening. This openly contradicts police statements. There's even phone video(which is the first I saw of this), although I'll admit it's not a continuos 2 hour clip. I wonder how complete of that timeline you could piece together from that?

Real gas station video would be the objective observer here, but we may never get that. Until then, I'm willing to believe the people who stood there and watched, with no motivation to lie.

And really, the cops in this same county just did the exact same thing recently.

Its like reverse cry wolf. You just saw a wolf in the exact same circumstances, and I think there's enough info here to decide it isn't confirmation bias, depending on your viewpoint at least.
posted by emptythought at 12:34 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


It seems like "when did EMS arrive" is the type of fact which will be pretty easy to establish once a timeline is developed. So we'll probably find out for sure either way.
posted by Justinian at 12:55 PM on December 26, 2014


The report linked in the FPP says
Some users have claimed that Martin was lying on the ground for a period of time - between 30 minutes and two hours - before emergency services arrived.
I don't know if there's any confirmation one way or the other, but I'd like to know if that's correct.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:56 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, here's an article with more times, from the St Louis Post-Dispatch:
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a Wednesday morning news conference said the officer was responding to a report of stealing at a Mobil on the Run station about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday when the deadly shooting happened.
[...]
Martin was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS units. Berkeley police called the county's crimes against persons unit at 11:45 p.m., and they arrived at the scene at 12:15 a.m., Belmar said.
OK, so the police themselves say that EMS wasn't called for half an hour, and they didn't arrive for half an hour after that. That doesn't seem right to me; that doesn't seem innocent behavior.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:02 PM on December 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't think the "crimes against persons" unit is the same as EMS. If they waited for half an hour that should be criminal (although I'm not sure if it actually is) but I don't think that's an acknowledgement that they waited half an hour.

EMS should have logs of exactly when they were called and when they arrived, to the minute.
posted by Justinian at 1:05 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't know what this adds, but Antonio Martin's girlfriend was on the scene, arriving after the shooting when she wondered why he had not returned home. Huffpo reports:
It took close to 30 minutes for ambulances to arrive, according to Brown, who also said responders hung up on her own phone call to request emergency medical help.

Brown said she was prohibited by police officers from comforting or providing help to Martin as they awaited the arrival of the medical response team. When she told one nearby police officer that she was Martin's girlfriend, Brown said, the officer told her she didn't care.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:08 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've spent the last hour or so trying to find out if there is new information (the enhanced gif that suggests a cell phone, if not doctored, is incredibly damning).

But that's not what I'm concerned with- rather the unabashed racism. With each shooting, the racists are doubling down. Comments being the worst; anywhere someone can speak out. How did we get here? We went from racism with race to people explaining how the blacks are doing it wrong and trotting out old tropes like how black parents don't raise their kids right, and the black demons and murderous thugs and... It's overwhelming and shocking. Are comments the ugly id of society?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:26 PM on December 26, 2014


It took close to 30 minutes for ambulances to arrive

What am I seeing there? Thirty minutes after Brown's arrival? Which was long enough after Martin left her that she went to see what was wrong?
posted by Trochanter at 1:39 PM on December 26, 2014


Re: the gun. Filed off serial numbers can be recover through a few forensic means. Filing off the surface obscures the serial number from casual view, but the stamping process keeps the numbers intact below the surface. If this were to be a real investigation, and not a shut and closed case as it's looking like it will be, I'd love to know the history of the gun. I.e. if it was in police possession before suddenly appearing at this crime scene.

Mind you, I'm not sure what happened here- the video evidence is really inconclusive. The first release video does kind of look like he's holding a gun, but it's so far away and indistinct that I don't think anyone can say with any certainty that it's a gun. But that's what the media is reporting. I suspect people (myself included) see a gun because we were primed to see a gun. It seems entirely irrational that Martin would have pulled a gun. But people do act irrationally. I'm just sad that this probably won't be investigated in any serious manner.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:42 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Have you got a link to that .gif? I can see a light in his hand (at 1:17 in this video) but I suppose it could be a reflected gleam from a watch or whatever it is he's holding. Mind you, the light seems to move as his hand moves ...
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:42 PM on December 26, 2014


Remember this when the media tells you “the cop had to shoot him because he was armed” .. “many, if not most,” officers carry throw-away weapons on them, so they can plant these weapons on Americans after murdering them.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:15 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


i just got a chance to watch that video on my nice big monitor in my office, at 0.25x speed.

i'd like to see the gif as well, because simply played back slowly here that's not just a reflection, not only does it stay consisted as its moved(and seemingly tilted somewhat) but it's not a straight line of light. it's sort of an inconsistent checkerboxed lit up pattern.

Which, holding my similarly sized to the light source smartphone up, and pushing a button so it wakes up, seems like a pretty close fit.

I really hope this isn't too building 7 for you guys, but i'm just saying that from here that looks an awful lot like a phone. It bugs me so much how closely it looks like that, it makes me almost want to call a friend who works at a shop with a similar security system, position myself in similar lighting at night outdoors, and pull my phone out.

Someone really needs to recreate this, like they did in ferguson with the measurements.
posted by emptythought at 2:26 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why do you assume the 18yo criminal is going to make a rational, considered decision?

I've been a thief, shoplifter, drug user and, for a short time, dealer -- in all of those things I was always a rational actor. I don't think there exist circumstances in which I could take another person's life -- certainly not seemingly on a whim. I have never been called a criminal. Going back to my earlier comment in this thread, I've had someone pull a gun on me in order to rob me. That was their objective. I was certain they didn't want to shoot me -- that would only further complicate things for themselves. They were acting illegally and harmfully, but not entirely irrationally.

So I think this question points to one of the central themes of institutional racism going on in the country. There is this unspoken chain of logic in it -- black person who has committed crimes (has this teen, by the way?) = criminal, criminal = non-rational actor, therefore black person = non-rational actor. Every link in this chain is faulty. And I think in many ways this is the same chain of reasoning that is used by police that apply excessive force in dealing with black men. This is why we see these counterexamples of police talking down white men with guns, apprehending them alive, but a black man, well, he must be a non-rational actor! I think someone else commented on this in one of the recent threads.

And I'm not at all convinced this kid had a gun. It does not seem unreasonable to think that, given the current state of affairs, a black teen in an encounter with police would want to take out his cell phone and film it, a jumpy police officer trained under a deeply racist system and intimidated by the recent killings in NYC would assume any unexpected movements to be him reaching for a gun, and, finally, in order to attempt to avoid further scandal, a gun was planted. It seems significantly more reasonable to me than this: mid encounter with police, aware of recent events, a teenager decides to pull out a gun, point it at a police officer, and not immediately pull the trigger.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:05 PM on December 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


I think the FBI should immediately take over any investigation of an officer involved shooting, and a cop shooting someone in any circumstances other than their lives being provably in danger should not just end their career and forfeit their pension, but be 20-life in a federal prison.

I'm also a proponent of "If you shoot someone, your career as a cop is over".
posted by mikelieman at 3:21 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was pretty undecided but after watching the gif closely and the reading several blog posts about the reaction of the friend ( he doesn't react to what's in AM's hand but to what the officer does) I am leaning toward it being a phone as well. The light source can't be a reflection off of a gun, AM's "gun" has a matte finish. My opinion doesn't mean much but I hope enough people start to question so that a full investigation will commence and this spoon feeding that Antonio was armed and dangerous that is being forced down our throats by the media will stop.
posted by pearlybob at 3:31 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


See the thing is, there's a reason this happens. just like the convenience store video in ferguson.

If you get the first story out there, then everyone is going to bring that up and you have to address and actively counter it if the evidence provides a different story. And now there's "conflicting narratives" and whatever.

Just planting that seed of "wait, but i thought he was armed?" is worth a lot. It's a sort of fucked up first mover advantage that plants a seed in peoples minds. And even if it is disproved later, that isn't breaking news and it won't get nearly as wide of coverage.

Controlling the first story that gets out seems to matter almost more than anything else in swaying the general public view. This is changing, a bit, but it's still true. Basically everyone who hasn't been following this to the level we have been in this thread will now bring that up, and have to be brought on board to whatever the objective truth(or as close as we can get) ends up being from that position.

The videos do what they're supposed to do, in creating what appears to be Reasonable Doubt. It doesn't matter if it can't hold up to real scrutiny, because a lot of people, even some who were skeptical, will go "hmm well he pulled out something that looks like it could maybe be a gun and the cops said it was, and recovered that gun, so oh well case closed i guess".

And pearlybob, i think the shape of the reflection makes as little sense as how reflective/lit up it is. It looks almost totally square. Are people carrying these around now?
posted by emptythought at 4:01 PM on December 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


Remember this when the media tells you “the cop had to shoot him because he was armed” .. “many, if not most,” officers carry throw-away weapons on them, so they can plant these weapons on Americans after murdering them.

Which, you know, would be fairly consistent with the whole filed-off serial number deal.
posted by Artw at 4:05 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


There is this unspoken chain of logic in it -- black person who has committed crimes (has this teen, by the way?) = criminal, criminal = non-rational actor, therefore black person = non-rational actor.

I think "any person at all = non-rational actor" is a perfectly good chain of logic, because every person has non-rational moments, especially when under pressure. The idea that it's simply not possible for Martin to have pulled a gun because it wouldn't make any sense is like saying that it's not possible for people to keep smoking even after everyone agrees that it's an unhealthy habit.

(Yes, he pled guilty to a purse-snatching last year.)

None of this excuses the officer from rolling up on him and escalating the situation into a fatal one, but let's not pretend that it's as easy as "No sane person would have drawn down on a cop, therefore Martin didn't have a gun."
posted by Etrigan at 4:05 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


What does it say about the cop's sanity if they draw their weapon?
posted by mikelieman at 4:11 PM on December 26, 2014


What does it say about the cop's sanity if they draw their weapon?

That he shouldn't be a cop. Or that the whole system that allows cops to escalate situations is fucked up too.
posted by Etrigan at 4:21 PM on December 26, 2014


None of this excuses the officer from rolling up on him and escalating the situation into a fatal one

It looks to me like all the cop did here was start talking to a couple people though. If Martin drew down on the cop then it was Martin who escalated the situation into a fatal one. If Martin didn't have a gun then it is tautologically the cop who escalated it.

But if you accept the very concept of a police force then I don't see how just talking to some people calmly without a drawn weapon is "escalating the situation into a fatal one".
posted by Justinian at 5:25 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, I meant to append "if it turns out that's what happened." I still don't believe basically a word of any version of this story yet, other than that Antonio Martin is dead.
posted by Etrigan at 5:36 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


A lot of the info we wish we knew (like the EMS calls and response time) are trivially available to the media if they care enough to bother. I'm starting to think they do not, however, and that this is going to disappear into the ether as an open and shut case like some other people have suggested.

Or maybe its just Christmas weekend so the news media is taking a couple days off?
posted by Justinian at 5:39 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


The idea that it's simply not possible for Martin to have pulled a gun because it wouldn't make any sense is like saying that it's not possible for people to keep smoking even after everyone agrees that it's an unhealthy habit.

I never said it was not possible, just that it seems really unlikely to me.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 5:42 PM on December 26, 2014


A lot of the info we wish we knew (like the EMS calls and response time) are trivially available to the media if they care enough to bother.

I don't think the cops would officially be allowed to prevent the release of the EMS logs, but I don't doubt that a quick phone call from the police chief to the person in charge at EMS could suddenly make EMS's media relations person suddenly too busy to respond in a timely manner to media requests for as long as it takes for the cops to get their stories straight.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:45 PM on December 26, 2014


The gif in question (I meant to post it in my earlier comment, but forgot). A different site suggested the light on the ground is probably the led "flash" cameras have. I first figured it was a flashlight the cop was using, but watching again, the light really does seem to track with Martin's movement.

I'm not sure what to make of it, because I could see what I want to see or be primed to see what someone wants me to see. It could be faked too. But it is compelling. I wish more people felt that way and this would get investigated for real. But sadly, I also suspect this will be viewed as an "open and shut case" and that's that.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 6:02 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


To me his stance and how his arms are positioned are all wrong for that to be a cell phone. Unless he's going for a whole isoceles firing stance filming position I guess.
posted by Justinian at 6:36 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


So who's that second guy? Isn't he a witness to the entire thing?
posted by mazola at 7:15 PM on December 26, 2014


The other guy knows the police will murder him if he dares to contradict their convenient cover up story, duh. Or maybe they already did.

This comment thread is generally a disgrace. Look, social justice is an uphill climb even when it's simply a battle between human decency and evil bigotry. If you're going to argue that police officers have an obligation to resolve situations peacefully when someone 5 feet away from where they're standing has suddenly pulled out a fucking gun, you're just signaling that you're so in love with feelings of powerlessness that you're willing to go pretty far out of your way to get your high. Maybe Martin just wanted the police officer to feel like a weak victim for once, a form of sociological training. Or maybe Martin wanted to kill a cop. It's too bad we'll never find out.
posted by leopard at 9:04 PM on December 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


I was skeptical about the gun/phone thing, having watched a number of videos which had appallingly bad resolution, but the .gif provided pushes me into the phone category. The light shine on the ground as [icnh] points out matches what an LED flash set to constant-on for filming video would look like.

So this raises the obvious question; will Martin's phone be released to his family, and will it be wiped of any contents? If he was filming, it is not unreasonable to believe that there could be footage of the ground and the officer's foot.

And if he wasn't filming (or was getting ready to and hadn't yet hit 'record') I'd still like an explanation of why the light appears to to match his hand movements the way it does.

I know at this point it is all speculation and that is normally poison to the conversation as it sets expectations that future evidence may prove wrong, undercutting the voice of those looking at the police with skepticism. But, with the way Ferguson worked out - the robbery footage, late night press releases, etc. I'm starting to think that early examination of any evidence by the public, in the absence of any kind of federal investigation/oversight, might be a worthwhile endeavor after all.

(There is the slim possibility that all of this could be explained if Martin's gun had a weapon light attached to it, but without that, the light moving is still the most damning piece of evidence I've seen.)
posted by quin at 9:31 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


For those suggesting that the cops in the neighborhood don't have outright contempt, let me remind you that nearby Ferguson police's public relations officer had this to say about someone having run over the Michael Brown memorial, "I don’t know that a crime has occurred... But a pile of trash in the middle of the street? The Washington Post is making a call over this?”
posted by ShawnStruck at 6:40 AM on December 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


And the people stanning for the cop like "oh, why would he haul ass if it was just a phone?", well y'know how Darren Wilson didn't see a human, he saw a demon? Turns out that is pretty common. Lots of white people see black folks as otherworldly or superhuman.
posted by ShawnStruck at 7:47 AM on December 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


Is there a word for that?
posted by Artw at 7:55 AM on December 27, 2014


I've been a thief, shoplifter, drug user and, for a short time, dealer -- in all of those things I was always a rational actor.

Well, bully for you. I don't see how your "rational" criminal career has much bearing on these circumstances.

I don't think there exist circumstances in which I could take another person's life -- certainly not seemingly on a whim. I have never been called a criminal.

Well there's a first time for everything... according to your own statement, you were once a criminal. The dictionary definition is pretty succinct: "a person who has committed a crime."

What does it say about the cop's sanity if they draw their weapon?

That he shouldn't be a cop. Or that the whole system that allows cops to escalate situations is fucked up too.


I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at here? If a cop who draws their weapon should not be a cop, then you're basically asking for an unarmed police force. Which is a fine thing to desire, there are many successful unarmed police forces in the world, but we all know there's no chance of that happening here.
posted by amorphatist at 8:26 AM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


What does it say about the cop's sanity if they draw their weapon?

That he shouldn't be a cop. Or that the whole system that allows cops to escalate situations is fucked up too.

I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at here? If a cop who draws their weapon should not be a cop, then you're basically asking for an unarmed police force.


The cop. Not a cop, not any cop, not every cop. The single person in this situation, who might have been looking to question Martin about a theft at a gas station, appears to have escalated it to the point that someone died. Given what little we actually know at this point, the only explanation that I would accept as the cop not being at least slightly at fault for a death is that he simply got out of the car, approached Martin, and Martin actually had a gun and pointed it at the cop. That's it. Anything else -- it was a cell phone, the cop was an asshole, dozens of other possibilities -- and that particular cop should not be a cop anymore.

And going back to my point about the system that allows cops to escalate -- this is the result of that. Every time a police officer gets off scot-free because someone says, "Well, to a reasonable person, that could have looked like a gun...", we give the police more power to do whatever the fuck they want and just shrug and say, "Well, my life could have been in danger, so I shot him."
posted by Etrigan at 9:03 AM on December 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'd be happy with a basically unarmed police force. The cops in other nations aren't armed to the teeth and they manage just fine. Take their guns away and maybe the American cop's fantasies of being an occupying military force will finally end.

If nothing else, the police of America have demonstrated that they simply aren't capable of handling weapons in a mature and responsible way.
posted by sotonohito at 9:56 AM on December 27, 2014


The cops in other nations aren't armed to the teeth and they manage just fine.

Er, neither are the citizens. As much as I want strict gun control, you can't take the guns away from the cops before you take them away from everyone else.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:02 AM on December 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


amorphatist: That was a response based on personal experience to the sentiment that this teenager had committed crimes in the past so, because people who have committed a crime don't act rationally, we can assume he would pull a gun on a police officer. I suppose if he had a gun then, no, my experience wouldn't be relevant to this case. But if not (and the gifs push me further into the cell phone camp), it certainly is relevant. Like the whole debate over Michael Brown's state of mind having shoplifted from a convenience store, there exists this implied assumption that a person, particularly a person of color, who has committed a specific crime is therefore capable of committing any crime.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:04 AM on December 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


The cops in other nations aren't armed to the teeth and they manage just fine.

How many countries have unarmed police forces other than the UK? (And for all that regular beat cops there are unarmed, that was the first place I ever saw police with submachine guns, back in the 1980s, so I wouldn't exaggerate their pacifism.) Everywhere I have lived other than the UK has had armed police, often with assault rifles in addition to pistols.

As with the German statistics someone cited, it is possible to have armed police that don't shoot people very often; I don't see how you would get to that in the US, however, without nationalizing the police and at least partially disarming the society, and both of those are nonstarters politically.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:36 AM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


The light shine on the ground as [icnh] points out matches what an LED flash set to constant-on for filming video would look like.

From where I sit, that light looks like the cop's flashlight, which he has turned on from the moment he steps out of the car. When he runs away you can see him drop it and it rolls away. To be quite honest, I don't see someone filming an altercation from five feet away- what would you have in the frame? I suppose it depends on the phone, but holding up a phone at head height and then moving toward a cop when you're already right there ( with cop whose attention appears to be on the other guy) seems suicidal. I agree that gun-planting is a thing that happens. I can't say that Martin had a phone or a gun, but his big movements are more aggressive than passive- in the sense that he pulled something out and pointed it at a cop's face. I don't think arguing about what makes sense if you are an X is helpful- I live in Oakland and cops and people do completely idiotic and violent things here with some frequency. You'd think it would be in the best interest of the police to call EMS right away, yet that allegedly wasn't done.

All in all, I think it is fucking great that cop shootings of black men are being heavily scrutinized, but the scrutiny should become part of all police departments, and done by an independent citizen's board. I think everyone should hold institutions more accountable, and require greater transparency from the things we fund with our taxes. There are still huge numbers of people for whom all black men are thugs, and there are going to have to be some serious adjustments to American thought to start to address the deep bias in our society. Police reform alone won't do it.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:48 AM on December 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't see someone filming an altercation from five feet away- what would you have in the frame?
To me his stance and how his arms are positioned are all wrong for that to be a cell phone.


If you favour the cell phone side, what if it's not about filming, but about "Hey cop, look, I'm filming you."

I agree it doesn't look like filming, but I can see his stance being what I've said.
posted by Trochanter at 12:42 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


At that point you've retreated to the position of "Yeah, he's holding it like you would hold a gun instead of a cell phone but it could still be a cell phone!". It's the God of the Gaps theory in action. No evidence, just a continuous retreat towards a position which can't be falsified.
posted by Justinian at 12:48 PM on December 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Yeah, he's holding it like you would hold a gun instead of a cell phone but it could still be a cell phone!"

I didn't say he's holding it like you would hold a gun. I'm saying exactly what I said. If you were holding your cell as a defiant demonstration that you were filming what was happening, that's how it would look.

How about the part where a lot of people don't carry guns? Even black people.

How about the part where you'd have to be a total idiot to draw a weapon on a cop? Whereas in my scenario you just have to be a pretty typically foolish young man paired with an extremely twitchy police force.

One thing I don't doubt for a moment is that the cop thought he'd been drawn on. But is that where we are now? "Don't make any sudden moves." That's what you say about a crazy person.
posted by Trochanter at 1:08 PM on December 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


One thing I don't doubt for a moment is that the cop thought he'd been drawn on. But is that where we are now? "Don't make any sudden moves."

Yep, That's where we are now. Allow me to link again to W. Kamau Bell's On Being a Black Male, Six Feet Four Inches Tall, in America in 2014:
By the time I found a late-night convenience store, I had passed a few—by my eye—unsavory characters of all races. So, as I walked in the store I had to take some precautionary action. For starters, I took the hood down. I took it down even though my afro had become a flat-fro from being squashed underneath. I didn’t touch anything that I wasn’t absolutely sure I was going to buy. (Just like my mom had taught me.) I kept my hands out of my pockets with palms clearly visible so the clerk behind the counter could easily see that I wasn’t shoving things in—or maybe more importantly about to pull something out of—my pockets. And as soon as I decided on an It’s It ice-cream sandwich, I went directly to the counter and gingerly placed my selection down, again keeping my palms visible and only making the movements I needed to get the money out of my wallet.
And that's a guy who went to an Ivy League university and doesn't have a record and has achieved some level of fame and was just buying an ice-cream sandwich. African-Americans have been well-educated on not making any sudden moves ever.
posted by Etrigan at 1:25 PM on December 27, 2014 [14 favorites]


Some people seem really, really invested in the idea of him having a gun here. I get that it doesn't make sense otherwise, but what if this is a bit of a nonsensical situation?

Is "cops shoot unarmed man they maybe thought had a gun" something new? Because last time I checked there was a big history of that. Like to the point if it turns out he was really armed, it wouldn't be illogical to be sort of surprised?
posted by emptythought at 1:31 PM on December 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


In a world where even mild-mannered African-American professors get harassed by the police, it shouldn't be necessary to argue that a policeman shooting a man who suddenly pulled a gun on him must have overreacted, or to speculate that the gun must have been a phone. Racism isn't the Loch Ness Monster, if you're using unconvincing GIFs on Tumblr to prove it exists you're doing it wrong.
posted by leopard at 1:36 PM on December 27, 2014


if you're using unconvincing GIFs on Tumblr to prove it exists you're doing it wrong.

Whereas, if you're simply taking the word of the cops and the same grainy long-distance video from which the GIF was pulled:

a man who suddenly pulled a gun on him

you're in the clear.

Got it.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:45 PM on December 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Whether it was a gun or a phone is a factual question. Given that it is completely plausible that it was in fact a gun, it makes zero sense to hitch the credibility of an anti-racism pro-police-accountability movement to this factual question.

That the police are comfortable killing black men whenever they make sudden movements is not actually a reason to believe that they decided to plant a gun at this scene -- it's actually the opposite.

The evidence that this was a cell phone comes down to a flash of light in a video and a series of "it's possible" statements. If you want to espouse the value of skepticism, sure, I'm on board. If you want to say that the default assumption should be that everything the police say is a lie, then no, sorry, this is shitty epistemology and batshit crazy conspiracy theorizing.
posted by leopard at 2:04 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


It remains compleyly plausible that it's not a gun. Also remember this is a controlled release of evidence so this is going to be the footage that makes whatever it is look as much like a gun as they can manage, which is not very.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on December 27, 2014 [5 favorites]


it makes zero sense to hitch the credibility of an anti-racism pro-police-accountability movement to this factual question.

Who's hitching anything to anything? All anyone wants here is a full investigation, the timely release of an incident report, an explanation for the many problematic aspects of this incident that Joe in Australia cited above... things like that. If this turns out to have been a simple case of "suicide by cop", and there are benign explanations for what happened, then the anti-racism pro-police-accountability movement will at least have gotten more transparency out of this incident, which is a victory for the cause, regardless of whether this shooting was justified or not.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:11 PM on December 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


And yet again we have no police report. We have (possibly illegally) dribbled information that exculpates the cop and vilifies the dead guy.

Aren't you sick of it?
posted by Trochanter at 2:11 PM on December 27, 2014 [7 favorites]


Some people seem really, really invested in the idea of him having a gun here. I get that it doesn't make sense otherwise, but what if this is a bit of a nonsensical situation?

I mean it could be a nonsensical situation, and it also could be a criminal shot by a cop.

Some of us accept that there will continue to be criminals shot by cops, and some of them will be young black men. We don't yet know that this is definitely one of those times, but some people around here seem to want to believe that in every such incident, the shot individual was just an innocent young man and the cop a racist.
posted by amorphatist at 2:11 PM on December 27, 2014


Confidence in that does seem to be low for some reason, yes.
posted by Artw at 2:16 PM on December 27, 2014 [5 favorites]


We don't yet know that this is definitely one of those times

Hey, looks like we've reached consensus! Quick, who's got some good recipes to share now that we have nothing to argue about until more evidence is released?
posted by tonycpsu at 2:16 PM on December 27, 2014


What is so nonsensical about a young black man being hassled yet again by cops making a pathetic, defiant gesture? Trying to stand up for himself just a little bit.
posted by Trochanter at 2:17 PM on December 27, 2014


Or the cop had his gun out because he was engaged in routine threatening behaviour, tripped, accidentally shot a guy and then lied about it. We'll probably never know.
posted by Artw at 2:19 PM on December 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


Or the cop had his gun out

Yeah, that's one more huge thing. Either that cop is bloody quick on the draw, or as you say, his weapon was already drawn. That's pretty big, right?
posted by Trochanter at 2:24 PM on December 27, 2014


Claiming that the police planted a gun at the scene on the basis of a flash of light on a Tumblr GIF is indeed hitching the credibility of a movement to a factual question on very shaky ground.

It's possible that most of the commenters here are police officer plants trying to make "black lives matter" protestors look bad -- I'm open-minded -- but that's not my default position.

I do wonder what happened to Martin's companion. His friend was apparently executed by a cop for trying to record the encounter. Do you guys think the other 28 cameras show the cop chasing him down and killing him so there would be no witnesses? Possible, right?
posted by leopard at 2:33 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Claiming that the police planted a gun at the scene on the basis of a flash of light on a Tumblr GIF is indeed hitching the credibility of a movement to a factual question on very shaky ground.

1. The "movement" is not embodied in the comments of a few MeFi-ites. It's much larger than that.

2. Nobody is definitively claiming the gun was planted, merely pointing out that guns have been planted many other times, and that there are enough unanswered questions here to cast doubt on the notion that it was Martin's gun.

Do you guys think the other 28 cameras show the cop chasing him down and killing him so there would be no witnesses? Possible, right?

Way to elevate the discourse, brah.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:37 PM on December 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


I do wonder what happened to Martin's companion. His friend was apparently executed by a cop for trying to record the encounter. Do you guys think the other 28 cameras show the cop chasing him down and killing him so there would be no witnesses? Possible, right?

Considering how recently we've seen that witnesses -- even ones who had cameras themselves -- can't get cops who kill unarmed people indicted, I doubt they feel they need to bother eliminating witnesses.
posted by Etrigan at 2:51 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Give me a break. Almost all of the commentary here is about the police in general, about how a million other incidents provide a framework for believing that the police planted a gun on Martin to justify a wrongful shooting. The only incident-specific evidence is a flash of light on a Tumblr GIF.

But when I point out that this is conspiracy theorizing, suddenly this is an isolated incident being discussed by isolated commenters and any relevance to other currents in society is a pathetic derail.

Sure, why not.
posted by leopard at 3:07 PM on December 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


[guys, I think it might be time to take a step back and calm down, try not to swipe at each other so much, thanks.]
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:15 PM on December 27, 2014


The evidence at present is very limited, yes. That's because the scene was locked down by police from the moment of the shooting, and all the video evidence was apparently seized by them. The police report that we don't have (what should have been) the best and strongest evidence - the record from the police officer's personal camera, or the police car's dashboard camera - because of police negligence. What we do have is three video records, at least two of which have been edited to support the police account.

This doesn't prove that the police narrative was false. On the other hand, there are a number of questions about police behaviour, and the answers to those questions are in the hands of the police. I think we're entitled to ask why an incomplete and partial record has been released. It looks self-serving to me.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:09 PM on December 27, 2014 [5 favorites]


But when I point out that this is conspiracy theorizing, suddenly this is an isolated incident being discussed by isolated commenters and any relevance to other currents in society is a pathetic derail.

Is it, though? I think we've seen enough police misjustice to be rightfully skeptical. I can't even say the gif isn't doctored in some way! Conversely, the cop could have been momentarily blinded by the LED from the camera, and that panicked him! Or any other number of circumstances. We're speculating because evidence isn't really forthcoming and an illegitimate police shooting fits the pattern of police violence that has been emerging in the public eye over the last year. As mentioned above, throw downs are definitely a thing. I've heard cops joke about it (and in one case, a cop's son). With the current trend of disinformation from police departments, it's not even a little bit surprising that there would be such widespread distrust. That just seems like common sense.

Again, I do hope the friend comes forward safely, and that the rest of the footage is released. But I'm fearful it won't be.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:17 AM on December 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


A late data point to follow up on the James Holmes discussion -- the officers apprehending Holmes likely did not know his race when they apprehended him. He was standing next to his car in the parking lot, wearing a gas mask, and officers initially thought he was part of the SWAT team that had responded to the scene. When they realized he was not moving quickly (everyone else on scene was either rushing into the theater (cops) or out of it (victims)) they realized he may be the shooter and held him at gunpoint. He immediately complied with their requests to raise his hands, even though it was later discovered that his right hand was near his 9mm Glock pistol, which was resting on the hood of his car. I'm not convinced his race had anything to do with the fact that he was apprehended alive.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:30 AM on December 28, 2014


It's In the Culture
Woman drives through suburban Chattanooga neighborhood, clad in body armor, with hand out the driver's side window shooting at cars and people. After being cornered, Julia Shields, 45, pointed her firearm at police but was taken into custody without injury.

Shields is being charged with 3 counts of attempted first degree murder, 7 counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, felony evading arrest, and felony reckless endangerment.
It's never about race. </Pierce>
posted by tonycpsu at 9:33 AM on December 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm not convinced his race had anything to do with the fact that he was apprehended alive.

You understand the very big difference between "I can't confirm that the shooter is white" and "I can plainly see that shooter is not white", do you not?
posted by tonycpsu at 9:35 AM on December 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Police have justified releasing edited versions of the videos "to spare his family the pain" of seeing their son being shot. It turns out that at least some family members would like to see a video showing the gun in his hand, thankyouverymuch.

Berkeley suspect's grandmother: 'I want to see the gun in his hand'

Also: Martin is a suspect? Suspected of what? Obstructing police bullets?
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:26 AM on December 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


Suspected of illegal possession of a firearm, I'd imagine.
posted by amorphatist at 10:41 AM on December 28, 2014


And the whole pulling the gun out and pointing it at the cop.

If you don't believe he did that then, obviously, he is the victim and the cop should be the suspect. But again that's assuming the conclusion.
posted by Justinian at 11:43 AM on December 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Your evidence-free assertions aren't any more logically sound just because they happen to match up with the police version of events. None of us knows where the gun came from, whether one was aimed at a cop, etc. from the available evidence, so you're just as vulnerable to charges of question-begging as anyone else.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:54 AM on December 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Have you looked at the gif Justinian? I started off prepared to say that this case might be a different animal than the Brown thing. But on the gif, it sure looks like a phone. It looks a lot like a phone. Plus it's such a familiar motion he makes -- set the phone to camera and point.

I see what I see. I don't like being a conspiracy guy.
posted by Trochanter at 11:59 AM on December 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


> Isn't shooting someone who is pointing a gun at you a good way to get yourself shot? People don't just immediately crumple from a bullet like in the movies.

Actually, that's exactly what happens. In real life when you shoot someone they fall down. Bullets deliver an incredible amount of kinetic energy. Mostly people think it's blood loss or having a hole punched into you that does one in. It's generally the trauma of the force of the bullet. Pretty much you have a high speed baseball bat stabbed into you. If you look at the amount of gel displaced in the above video and imagine it to be flesh instead you will see someone isn't generally going to be returning fire after being struck by a bullet. You fall down, you go into shock.
> I know this poster meant well, but this notion needs to be extinguished asap. This is a terrible, terrible idea.

In the country I was raised in, police can never serve in the district they are from. There's a reason from that. I can count four close family members who are active service police officers, three of whom I'll be chatting or Skyping with over the holidays. If they served in the district we grew up in... well, I'd have been untouchable as a teenager. My whole family would have been.

There's a whole system, even in the relatively uncorrupt parts of the world, whereby the police interact with the local community... bar owners, the old lady on the stoop, the garage shop guys, the firemen, the EMTs. They all get to know each other over time. Small favors are exchanged. Favors that may not even be detectable by the most diligent regulations and oversight. Walking past the bottle shop an extra time or two on Saturday night. A coffee on the house here. A quiet word with a local scumbag telling him to fuck off to another street and not to disturb these nice neighbors. Sure, maybe your police parent didn't do this, and god bless his/her exalted soul... but for the others, that's the reality.
Small favors and such are what form a community. They are loyalties built and people forming bonds. What you point to as a contribution to potential corruption is a plus. Without these favors we lack a society. The day-to-day interactions are what make this idea essential. If your law enforcement comes only from without then you are not living in a democracy.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:03 PM on December 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I see what I see. I don't like being a conspiracy guy.

Sure, I think we've all looked at the gif. I can't tell what he's holding and I think anybody who claims they can is fooling themselves. But his body language is sure a lot more "gun" than "phone" as far as I can see. Particularly when taken with the crappy far-away angle video which appears to show Martin's arms nearly fully extended out in front of him. That's how you hold a gun, not a cell phone.
posted by Justinian at 12:17 PM on December 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Looks like we've discussed this before. He's not filming qua filming, he's making a show of filming.

You're basing your belief that there's gun being pointed on a video (the long range, first released one) which was released to make you believe exactly that. Jesus Christ it even freezes on that one frame. Hey, looks like it worked. It was working for me, too.

It's just like the four stills from the security cameras that made Michael Brown look like he was choking the store clerk.

Watch how the light tracks with Martin's movement. That's a light source on the object, not a reflection. What's got a light source on it that everybody carries?
posted by Trochanter at 12:43 PM on December 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


Bullets deliver an incredible amount of kinetic energy.

As long as Newton's third law and entropy remain things, the shooter will always be struck by slightly more kinetic energy than their victim or target.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:54 PM on December 28, 2014


That's how you hold a gun, not a cell phone.

Plus, I'm no longer buying that. It's entirely consistent with how you hold a cell phone when you're shooting video. It's one of several ways you hold a cell phone when you're shooting a video. here

If I'm wrong, I gave a kid the benefit of the doubt. But it's more than that.
posted by Trochanter at 1:00 PM on December 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


You're basing your belief that there's gun being pointed on a video (the long range, first released one) which was released to make you believe exactly that

Well, yes. But that's completely consistent with the idea that it really is a gun! The fact that they want you to believe its a gun is in no way evidence that it isn't a gun...
posted by Justinian at 1:02 PM on December 28, 2014


Likewise, the fact that a policeman who shoots an unarmed black teenager is unlikely to get into trouble is not actually evidence that the police will plant a gun on a black teenager that they shoot, and the fact that the police were in a hurry to release exculpatory info is not actually evidence that they were in the wrong.
posted by leopard at 1:29 PM on December 28, 2014


Actually, that's exactly what happens. In real life when you shoot someone they fall down.

Nope. People often fall down when shot, but they also often don't. We don't know why, it's pretty had to test ethically for obvious reasons. One line of thought is that we see people who are shot in movies and TV fall down, so people assume that is what you do when shot. But reality is different. If people don't know they're shot, they're likely to keep standing, moving, what have you. But that's also why you have stories of trained soldiers and police continuing to act while shot. Same thing for civilians, though in those cases, that's where you get the hopped up on drugs or raging black demon stories, depending on the circumstances.

Animals don't drop immediately when shot either. So there is something particular about humans crumpling when being shot. And it also means that a human doesn't need to fall immediately upon being shot. I would suspect the nature of the wound plays a part too.

So no, firing at someone pointing a gun at you is not going to mean the guy who shoots first wins.

As for conspiracy theories, this is a conspiracy theory. We're just asking questions.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:46 PM on December 28, 2014


Releasing edited videos is weird. Releasing a video that pauses on the last frame for eight seconds is beyond weird. The edited videos were released for a reason, and that reason wasn't "we wanted to show people the truth while sparing his family the pain of seeing their son shot."

Oh, and I don't really believe the story about the cop forgetting his body camera and the dashboard camera not working. It's all too neat. I could change my mind about that if an external body audited the video records, though. I'd want the auditor to see if this sort of error is unusual, and check the records for signs of tampering - timestamps, missing files that should be sequential, that sort of thing. Someone is dead. Shouldn't it be investigated properly even if there's only, say, a 10% chance that it's manslaughter? Or murder? So who's doing the audit?
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:48 PM on December 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


Nobody is doing the audit. I think that police shootings should always be investigated by an outside agency.

You run into the quis custodiet problem even there but at least its one level removed.
posted by Justinian at 1:55 PM on December 28, 2014


a video that pauses on the last frame for eight seconds is beyond weird

Yup. EVERY frame after this one which damns the dead man would traumatize the family.
posted by Trochanter at 1:57 PM on December 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


We also know St. Louis cops would never plant a gun on a suspect.

(found while trying to find out if there were any updates to the Antonio Martin case. It's corruption all the way down, isn't it?)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:55 PM on December 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


I didn't know whether to post this here or the De Blasio thread. But man, it's not even a question of cops would plant a gun. Thinking they wouldn't is just naive.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 3:07 PM on December 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


no one planted a gun on michael brown
posted by pyramid termite at 3:11 PM on December 28, 2014


There's still time.
posted by Trochanter at 3:14 PM on December 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


no one planted a gun on michael brown

"How come nobody talks about all the black people Darren Wilson didn't kill?"
posted by Etrigan at 3:49 PM on December 28, 2014 [12 favorites]


"because he's got pit bulls in his backyard and a new swimming pool"

over and out
posted by pyramid termite at 3:54 PM on December 28, 2014


The fuck?
posted by tonycpsu at 4:21 PM on December 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Don't worry tony, it will be edited in due course.
posted by clavdivs at 5:03 PM on December 28, 2014


you know, not that it would do anything to make the world a better place, but I would feel some bloody satisfaction if say, Samuel L Jackson called those fine members of the NYPD who wore the "I can breathe" shirts (with the typography in comic sans) and / or turned their backs on the mayor a bunch of fucking shitty babies.

because if you're a cop, and you are protecting and serving, learn some fucking goddamned humility and stop smearing shit all over the walls because you can't stand well-reasoned criticism.

i am not sure why i'm suddenly ready to bare my teeth and participate in die-ins and all that stuff -- maybe because I kept checking the #antoniomartin results over Christmas and apparently what racists do when they are bored/drunk/aggro over the holidays is post vile racist crap.

the cell phone gif/theory (and am not subscribing to it or rejecting it at this point) seems to be gaining traction of this morning on twitter, however. And I'm fucking glad, because even if it's bullshit, it seemed to me that as once as the 'he had a gun' narrative emerged, I've read the word 'thug' so often I fear I'm going to bleed out of my eyeballs
posted by angrycat at 5:21 AM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Do you guys think the other 28 cameras show the cop chasing him down and killing him so there would be no witnesses? Possible, right?


Apparently, we can't find this guy. Am I right in that?
posted by Trochanter at 8:20 AM on December 29, 2014


I'd want the auditor to see if this sort of error is unusual, and check the records for signs of tampering - timestamps, missing files that should be sequential, that sort of thing.

For the dash cam, the police explanation is that it is setup to only run when the blue lights are on. That's a pretty normal setup.
posted by smackfu at 8:39 AM on December 29, 2014


For the dash cam, the police explanation is that it is setup to only run when the blue lights are on. That's a pretty normal setup.

No reason it has to be the default setup anymore. Storage is cheap.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:06 AM on December 29, 2014 [3 favorites]




i am not sure why i'm suddenly ready to bare my teeth and participate in die-ins and all that stuff -- maybe because I kept checking the #antoniomartin results over Christmas and apparently what racists do when they are bored/drunk/aggro over the holidays is post vile racist crap.

One of my favorite memes over the weekend went something like: "The NYPD and the Westboro Baptist Church are the only two organizations that protest at funerals."
posted by cjorgensen at 10:38 AM on December 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


Small favors and such are what form a community. They are loyalties built and people forming bonds. What you point to as a contribution to potential corruption is a plus. Without these favors we lack a society. The day-to-day interactions are what make this idea essential.

I'll make this distinction again: it is a terrible idea for police to be from the district they serve in... by from I mean, born and raised, family ties etc. This results in clannish corruption. It is a good thing for police to live in the community they serve.

What you point to as a contribution to potential corruption is a plus.

Debatable, but you can have that "plus" by having the police live amongst the community. They don't need to be from there.
posted by amorphatist at 1:14 PM on December 29, 2014




For accounting purposes, that's the same one I linked to yesterday.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:42 PM on December 29, 2014


LAPD has released Ezell Ford's autopsy report. The Los Angeles Times reports, "The gunshot wound on his back showed the surrounding skin had a 'muzzle imprint," according to the autopsy, suggesting that shot was made at very close range. The autopsy said the back and side gunshot wounds were fatal."
posted by sallybrown at 2:27 PM on December 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


NYT:

Police Respect Squandered in Attacks on de Blasio

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD DEC. 29, 2014

"With these acts of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity, many New York police officers, led by their union, are squandering the department’s credibility, defacing its reputation, shredding its hard-earned respect. They have taken the most grave and solemn of civic moments — a funeral of a fallen colleague — and hijacked it for their own petty look-at-us gesture."
...

"But none of those grievances can justify the snarling sense of victimhood that seems to be motivating the anti-de Blasio campaign — the belief that the department is never wrong, that it never needs redirection or reform, only reverence."
posted by Trochanter at 6:58 AM on December 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


Tell me what has de Blasio said that is either untrue or inflammatory?


He's said he was amazed at the lack of an indictment in the Eric Garner case. I'm surprised he was surprised, but any right thinking individual who watched the video knows there was enough evidence to sustain an indictment (it would have gone nowhere at trial, but baby steps, you know).

And he's said he worries about his biracial son's treatment at the hands of the NYPD. What father wouldn't? I suppose if you haven't been watching the news over the last couple decades you would have no worries.

These cops are dumbass cowards and a shame to their uniform and are in need of firing. If we are going to label them heroes for showing up to do the job they signed up for then we need to call them babies when they are being babies.

Sure, I think some cops are heroes. I think some are amazing people doing a job I chose not to do. But you aren't a hero just because you showed up to do your job.

If the NYPD treats the mayor this bad in public, imagine what they do to black men when no one is looking
posted by cjorgensen at 8:18 AM on December 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


Not that I think it matters to many in this thread, but witnesses have confirmed the police version of events. See here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/12/30/police-multiple-witnesses-say-antonio-martin-pulled-gun-on-officer/

There are too many who are OK with flirting with anarchy. Just sad, as the true end of anarchy is actual fascism every time.
posted by learnsome at 4:11 PM on December 30, 2014


And, to pile on a bit, the paramedics did arrive quickly. When will folks learn not to jump to conclusions that fit with their predetermined ideological priors? It's been dispiriting to see so much of that on this site.
posted by learnsome at 4:16 PM on December 30, 2014


When will folks learn not to jump to conclusions that fit with their predetermined ideological priors?

Well, there is the overwhelming objective evidence in the historical and contemporary records that support those predetermined ideological priors.

It's not like the police have effectively cleaned up their ranks, and all of a sudden they deserve the benefit of the doubt w.r.t acting in good faith.
posted by mikelieman at 4:26 PM on December 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


The police could clear this right up by releasing unedited video. So far they've released Martin's (minorish) criminal history, including charges that were allegedly contemplated but never filed. They've released three videos of Martin, at least two of which were edited in unusual ways. It looks to me as if they're controlling the flow of information to support their own narrative, which is an extraordinary thing for a law-enforcement agency to do.

The police account is at least partially disputed by Brown's girlfriend and a number of other witnesses, who say that EMS took a lengthy amount of time to arrive. Against that, Hoskins and McCall (the mayor and the police chief, respectively) cite unnamed people whose story allegedly concurs with the police account. It may, but ... who are these people, and why should we trust them? Why should I trust this sort of hearsay any more than I should trust the mayor and police chief themselves? To the extent that other witnesses dispute their claims, why do Hoskins and McCall prefer the ones that support the police account? Especially since we know that the prosecutor in the Ferguson case knowingly put a crazy liar on the witness stand.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:30 PM on December 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


Feel free to call me a conspiracy theorist, jumping to conclusions, and whatever else you like... but in a world of witness 40 so recently that i haven't even bought another package of toilet paper, "eye witnesses" don't really mean shit to me when paraded around by the cops.

Video of this exists, and we're not seeing it. It's being withheld, and we're getting promises that witnesses totally saw it go down in a way that exonerates the cops.

I don't think i'm being unreasonable to still be skeptical here.
posted by emptythought at 5:00 PM on December 30, 2014 [9 favorites]


I hear the mayor say multiple witnesses. Where are they on the video? The two people who were beside the second fellow as he walked to the car moved on and were no longer present. Who saw the events at any nearer range than the first video? Who besides the second fellow? And... where is the second fellow?

This thing stinks just like the others.

And, I for one don't want anarchy. I want a professional, adept police force that is answerable to and acting in the interest of the citizenry.
posted by Trochanter at 5:04 PM on December 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'll settle for Due Process of Law for *everyone* accused of violating the law, that way *everyone* gains Equal Protection Of The Law.

In other words, if people just did what the laws that regulate the judicial process SAY, and IN GOOD FAITH, we'd get a professional, adept police force.
posted by mikelieman at 5:28 PM on December 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Witness 40 was convincingly debunked in front of the grand jury. One can legitimately argue that she should not have been permitted to testify in front of the grand jury in the first place, but if an unreliable anti-Wilson witness had been prevented from testifying, or if an unreliable anti-Wilson witness had been put in front of the grand jury, the chorus here would also have had an easy time raising objections, so the perniciousness of the prosecutor with regards to witness 40 is somewhat overdetermined.

The police are a heavily flawed institution, but they are still human beings with identifiable motives, not simply the manifestation of pure evil. That the police would act quickly to tell people that a black man killed by a police officer was shot in self-defense is not inherently suspicious or evidence in itself that it must not have been self-defense. That's not to say that the police don't lie, but once we interpret evidence that contradicts our preconceived notions (however weakly) as evidence that *supports* them we are down a rabbit hole.

My bet is that Martin's companion saw his friend pull a gun on a cop and figures his best bet is to simply disappear and lay low. It is possible that he watched his friend get killed for pulling out a camera and he would love to bring the truth to light but right now he's living some "Enemy of the State"-type nightmare, I obviously don't know for sure.

Skepticism is good but to read about this particular incident and walk away even *more* convinced of one's notions about how evil the police are seems to show off a rather unhealthy amount of confirmation bias. If the police are lying here, then there should be blood on the streets. But if they aren't lying, this is simply an incident that fits into some people's preconceived notions while contradicting other people's prejudices. Life tends to be more complicated than we think.
posted by leopard at 5:43 PM on December 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


they are still human beings with identifiable motives

Yeah, all too identifiable. Like, cover your freaking ass. Like, we can not have another unarmed black kid shot by a panicked cop goddammit, they're still protesting the last one.

Their motives are identifiable alright.
posted by Trochanter at 6:05 PM on December 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


My bet is that Martin's companion saw his friend pull a gun on a cop and figures his best bet is to simply disappear and lay low.

Except the police chief reportedly says that the companion "confirmed that Martin drew a weapon on the officer before being shot." So there's not much reason for him to lay low. It looks to me as if the police have him on a leash, just as they have the video evidence on a hard drive.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:15 PM on December 30, 2014


The statements from the police in that Washington Post article are no more convincing than anything else said or shown so far. I remain open to either possibility but the lack of definitive evidence one way or the other I find nauseating, and the whole fucking thing depresses me.

Thanks for listening.
posted by STFUDonnie at 6:17 PM on December 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Not that I think it matters to many in this thread [...] And, to pile on a bit

Hey, maybe don't do this? The time for spiking the ball is when you're across the goal line, not at the 10. Police saying they have witnesses is a data point, not a conclusion. It's not even a data point we can see -- it's just "hey, we have some witnesses." As we learned with the much more thorough but still terribly flawed Mike Brown grand jury proceedings, you can quite easily find many witnesses on all sides of an issue.

If we see unredacted video, which the cops have, and have provided no credible reason for not releasing, then you can do your little endzone dance on this incident. Until then, please lose the attitude.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:14 PM on December 30, 2014 [10 favorites]


I'm now feeling that weapons found at the scene of a crime should inherently be considered to be police "throw-aways" unless the cops can actually prove the weapon was possessed by someone else.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:14 PM on December 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


As this is the active thread most related to police and poverty :
Police Are Illegally Arresting People For Not Repaying Payday Loans
posted by jeffburdges at 8:16 PM on December 30, 2014


that would legitimately make a good fpp in and of itself with a couple background links, and it probably should be as well... because this situation is a big enough mess on its own.
posted by emptythought at 12:19 AM on December 31, 2014 [2 favorites]


One can legitimately argue that she should not have been permitted to testify in front of the grand jury in the first place, but if an unreliable anti-Wilson witness had been prevented from testifying, or if an unreliable anti-Wilson witness had been put in front of the grand jury, the chorus here would also have had an easy time raising objections, so the perniciousness of the prosecutor with regards to witness 40 is somewhat overdetermined.

Which "anti-Wilson" witness lied about being an actual witness? Whenever Witness 40 comes up, people keep claiming "well some other witnesses lied too" (and I have yet to see specific evidence of this, but even assuming that is true...) but Witness 40 was *not actually a witness to the crime*, was not even there on the scene at all! That is orders of magnitude different from an actual witness describing what he or she thinks occurred, and being wrong about it. OF COURSE Witness 40 should not have been permitted to testify. She was not a witness! It was a gross perversion of the judicial process that she was placed in front of the grand jury at all.
posted by sallybrown at 7:12 AM on December 31, 2014 [9 favorites]


I reread my comment and I don't understand where I said that an anti-Wilson witness lied too. I simply said that had a similar anti-Wilson witness existed, the prosecutor would have been slammed whether or not that witness would have been allowed to testify. Either they would have been imposing their personal biases regarding credibility, preventing the grand jury from seeing all the relevant evidence, or they would have been using a bad witness as a way of poisoning the jury, making it seem as if the entire anti-Wilson case was as unreliable as the bad witness. I'm not sure why no one thinks that Witness 40 hurt the pro-Wilson side -- surely if a mentally ill racist who was obviously lying about having seen Wilson shoot Brown with his hands up had been torn down in front of the grand jury, someone here would be clever enough to argue how this was a dirty trick?

Of course the fact that any course of action leaves people open to criticism seems to be a feature, not a bug. If the police take their sweet time to put forth a story, then they're scumbags trying to cover their asses; if the police quickly put forth their story, then they're scumbags trying to cover their asses. If all the evidence gets laid out in the open, then this is an overwhelming data dump that is too confusing for people to handle; if only the essential evidence is provided, then selective filtering is preventing people from getting to the truth. Meanwhile character assassination and random anecdotes are either essential parts of the story or evil propoganda tools, but of course it all depends on who is using them.
posted by leopard at 7:59 AM on December 31, 2014 [2 favorites]


If all the evidence gets laid out in the open, then this is an overwhelming data dump that is too confusing for people to handle; if only the essential evidence is provided, then selective filtering is preventing people from getting to the truth.

This is weird and hysterical, and it's not even the reason given by the police themselves. They released three videos. They terminated one video before the actual shooting, but froze it on the last frame, where it looks as though Antonio Martin may be aiming a gun. They let another video run its full length, but they selectively deleted the left side of the frame, so we don't get to see Martin at all. The third video was apparently unaltered, but it isn't really aimed at what's going on. What it does show, though, is possibly inconsistent with the police story. Other videos, which we would expect to see, are reportedly not available.

I think the whole question could be cleared up by releasing the three videos unaltered. That's not "an overwhelming data dump"; that's exactly the same amount information release.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:38 AM on December 31, 2014 [7 favorites]


leopard: " too. I simply said that had a similar anti-Wilson witness existed, the prosecutor would have been slammed whether or not that witness would have been allowed to testify."

Counterfactual hypotheticals are really not useful in this kind of discussion. They just add to the noise: yes it would! no it wouldn't!
posted by Lexica at 8:46 AM on December 31, 2014 [2 favorites]


If your argument relies on a false dilemma between "dribs and drabs of evidence that support the police version of events" and an "overwhelming data dump", you have no argument. We're talking perhaps a few dozen frames of video and the issue is put to rest. It's not like people who are upset at how many young black men are being killed by police these days don't have other cases they can focus their attention on.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:04 AM on December 31, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ok, so this entire 500 comment thread could have just been cleared up if the police released an additional eight seconds of video that presumably depicts Martin dying. Then we would be comfortable believing that a black mayor and a majority-black police force were not engaged in an elaborate coverup that could easily be challenged both by video evidence and eyewitness testimony (there was an acquaintance of Martin standing right there). Good to know!
posted by leopard at 9:28 AM on December 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


No problem -- glad I could help clear things up for you!
posted by tonycpsu at 9:32 AM on December 31, 2014


By the way, the overwhelming data dump was a reference to how people referred to the evidence presented in front of the grand jury in Ferguson.

Has anyone commented on the city claiming that paramedics arrived at the scene 5 minutes after they were requested, which in turn was 1 minute after shots were fired? Very ballsy for the police to plant a gun in this situation, under so much time pressure and not knowing what the video evidence would show. But if you really think about it, that just shows how rotten and evil and corrupt the police truly are -- it makes my blood boil!
posted by leopard at 10:04 AM on December 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


By the way, the overwhelming data dump was a reference to how people referred to the evidence presented in front of the grand jury in Ferguson.

It's still a false dilemma.

But if you really think about it, that just shows how rotten and evil and corrupt the police truly are -- it makes my blood boil!

Happy new year to you as well.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:10 AM on December 31, 2014


Look leopard, you're going to get your way. The cop's going to walk. Look up Antonio Martin on google. All you get is what the city, and the mayor and the cops are claiming. The media have moved on. (I think there's a plane missing or something.) You win. What do you care what we think?
posted by Trochanter at 10:16 AM on December 31, 2014 [10 favorites]


Has anyone commented on the city claiming that paramedics arrived at the scene 5 minutes after they were requested, which in turn was 1 minute after shots were fired?

Yes. That contradicts what his girlfriend reportedly claims. From upthread:
It took close to 30 minutes for ambulances to arrive, according to Brown, who also said responders hung up on her own phone call to request emergency medical help.
Those are two very different claims, but the truth should be easy to establish. Just like the truth about what Martin was holding.

On preview: what Trochanter says. Nobody cares about Martin. The police have sequestered all the evidence and there are a zillion media reports that use identical language, presumably originating with city's press office. Who's going to call them on it?
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:21 AM on December 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not sure if this has been posted already, but it explains that Eric Garner was targeted by cops who had previously stolen from him and abused him.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 10:36 AM on December 31, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yes. That contradicts what his girlfriend reportedly claims.

If one won't take anything the police say as evidence because of a conflict of interest surely you can't in good conscience take what his girlfriend says as the truth either? Can you actually imagine her saying "yes, my boyfriend pulled a gun on a police officer and was shot in self defense and then received prompt and appropriate medical attention."? I can't.
posted by Justinian at 10:36 AM on December 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


If one won't take anything the police say as evidence because of a conflict of interest surely you can't in good conscience take what his girlfriend says as the truth either?

The straw, it burns. Neither Joe nor anyone else here has said that the girlfriend's account is authoritative, just that it exists, and is by default no more or less credible than what cops say they have, but have not actually produced.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:41 AM on December 31, 2014


The girlfriend didn't seem very confused about where the crime scene gun came from, but maybe she wasn't asked about that.
posted by leopard at 10:43 AM on December 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh my God we're never going to know, are we?
posted by STFUDonnie at 10:44 AM on December 31, 2014


THIS is why, whenever a cop kills someone, it should be a "Federal Case". The FBI has got all that shit sitting around just to block off crime scenes and collect 8x10 color glossy pictures....

And that'll give us the objectivity needed to feel that the accused killer gets "Due Process of Law". Sure it ain't perfect, but it's obviously better than pretending that the POLICE DEPARTMENT INVOLVED IN THE KILLING could ever be objective.
posted by mikelieman at 12:56 PM on December 31, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've been meaning to post this for a couple of weeks now. I haven't seen it here. From Matt Taibbi:

The Police in America Are Becoming Illegitimate
posted by Trochanter at 3:54 PM on December 31, 2014 [2 favorites]


becoming, rofl.

my mom was a brown person going to school during integration. becoming is a fucking joke. like, onion headline level of joke.
posted by emptythought at 5:12 PM on December 31, 2014 [8 favorites]


I read that hoping for something to the tune of "They're only designed to keep people in line, not to kill them," but yeah, Taibbi seems kinda tone-deaf there.
posted by Etrigan at 5:58 PM on December 31, 2014


It's like there's a second part he never got around to.
posted by Trochanter at 7:16 PM on December 31, 2014


THIS is why, whenever a cop kills someone, it should be a "Federal Case". The FBI has got all that shit sitting around just to block off crime scenes and collect 8x10 color glossy pictures....

And that'll give us the objectivity needed to feel that the accused killer gets "Due Process of Law". Sure it ain't perfect, but it's obviously better than pretending that the POLICE DEPARTMENT INVOLVED IN THE KILLING could ever be objective.
posted by mikelieman at 12:56 PM on December 31 [3 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


While I've been on the "other side" and been treated dismissively by many on this thread simply for demonstrating that there are two sides to this story (at the very least), I completely agree with the point above, though I wouldn't make all of the police shootings a plenary federal issue. Instead, I would make them reviewable by a citizens review board and prosecutable by the state, or at least a different DA than the one that works with the PD everyday. I can see using federal resources as supportive, though I understand the need to make the issue federal.

What displeases me about how the MeFi conversations are handling all of this is that it seems all Manichean. There are some fixes which can unite us (the one above and the one from the other thread about training cops to hang back at first, etc.), but instead folks are really grasping at straws in this thread, given what we now know and can reasonably suspect. All in service of what? Pointing out that there are racists in this world? Well, duh. But using that prism on everything, even when the facts are in dispute, doesn't seem like a good idea, if your goal is to find a way through the thicket. Simply put, I would love not to be accused of unconscious racism (Michael Brown thread) or having an attitude (this thread), just for advancing my position in complete, good faith.
posted by learnsome at 8:00 AM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


For many, it doesn't matter what the particular facts in a particular use of police force is. One dead kid is a data point given the larger issue of the police being a clear and present danger to the people who pay them for their service.

Only advocates of the status-quo benefit by arguing about a single data point while avoiding the clear evidence of the aggregated data. I think a lot of the pushback you might feel is due to that rather than presumptions of bad-faith.
posted by mikelieman at 8:28 AM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


just for advancing my position in complete, good faith.

To review:
Not that I think it matters to many in this thread, but witnesses have confirmed the police version of events.
Transparent accusation of bad faith on the part of others. Not a great way to jump back into the thread.
There are too many who are OK with flirting with anarchy. Just sad, as the true end of anarchy is actual fascism every time.
Accusation aimed at members of the community for simply holding a different opinion than you.
And, to pile on a bit, the paramedics did arrive quickly. When will folks learn not to jump to conclusions that fit with their predetermined ideological priors? It's been dispiriting to see so much of that on this site.
And here, a comment that's 10% substance and 90% more MeTa-derail BS aimed at other members

So yeah, after those comments, I asked you to "please lose the attitude." That attitude was one of unapologetic sneering, condescension, and gloating about having one single data point in your favor. You used that data point as a jumping-off point for back-to-back comments that both took shots at other members of the community in ways that don't lead to productive discussions.

I acknowledge that I'm compounding your error by continuing to engage on the MeTa issues you raised, but I'm not the one with the problem, so if this bothers you so much that you have to keep coming back to complain about it, I would recommend a visit to the gray.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:33 AM on January 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


Think of cops like pit-bulls.

Pit-bulls aren't inherently dangerous. Pit bull owners fucking up their minds and training them to kill is the problem.

Cops are the same. Cops aren't inherently dangerous. Cop owners fucking up their minds and training them to kill is the problem.

So, while ONE pit-bull mauling ONE kid is certainly a tragedy, you're going to see people wanting to ban pit-bulls, right?

And we certainly do see people wanting to ban all cops.

But if we focus on that one incident, and blame the dog, we lose sight of the real thing.

If we want cops to stop killing people, we need to STOP TRAINING THEM TO KILL.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weltschmerz

posted by mikelieman at 8:33 AM on January 1, 2015


While I've been on the "other side" and been treated dismissively by many on this thread simply for demonstrating that there are two sides to this story (at the very least) [...]

That's not how I understood your earlier comments:
Not that I think it matters to many in this thread, but witnesses have confirmed the police version of events.
[..]
And, to pile on a bit, the paramedics did arrive quickly.
You seem pretty committed to "your" side of the story. Me, I'm agnostic. I distrust officials who purport to "investigate" themselves or their subordinates. And I distrust gatekeepers who support their account with selectively-leaked information. I want this shooting and all other police shootings to be investigated by independent officials, but in the meantime I want the city and the police force and whoever has released partial records to release unedited versions.
When will folks learn not to jump to conclusions that fit with their predetermined ideological priors?
Yes, they'd be less wrong if they were less partial.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:47 AM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, since I'm one who sees a light source that tracks with the young man's hand in the video from the second camera, I'm going to be a bit of a stick in the mud. I just do. I see it.

At first, before you eyes know where to look, you just see a flash of light. If that's all you do, you tell yourself (as I did) "Well, I can't tell anything from that." But once you watch it enough that your eyes are watching the right part of the image, it's pretty apparent. There are a few frames where you don't see the light itself, just the glow. Then you see a couple of frames with the light source itself. And the glow and the light travel right with Martin's hand.

At one point in the thread someone suggested maybe the gif had been doctored, so I went and captured the stream of the video that was posted by the St Louis County Police. I made a loop on my video player and, if anything, the results are more apparent there.

All of that has nothing to do with anything ideological. It has to do with what I see.

I guess I challenge people who disagree to go and look again. That's all I can do.

edit: And to repeat, I don't like being in this position. I'm uncomfortable being a conspiratorialist.
posted by Trochanter at 9:32 AM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nice try. None of that undermines my claim to good faith. It might demonstrate that I believe in what I say or that I believe that many in this thread are wrong or whatever, but it does not undermine my good faith. That you think it does proves my point about how this incident and other ones have contorted how we argue about stuff.

That said, I'll let this drop and move on.
posted by learnsome at 10:00 AM on January 1, 2015


None of that undermines my claim to good faith.

To quote you again:
Not that I think it matters to many in this thread, but witnesses have confirmed the police version of events....

And, to pile on a bit, the paramedics did arrive quickly.


The former is, in point of fact, the police saying that witnesses have confirmed their version of events.

The latter is unsupported by you in this conversation, and in fact by anyone except, again, the police and other city officials.

You are, at best, arguing badly. Repeatedly defending your bad arguments as though no one has pointed out that the entire point of this conversation is that many people do not take the word of the police as the absolute truth... well, that is virtually indistinguishable from arguing in bad faith.
posted by Etrigan at 10:13 AM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


So we have a majority black city with a majority black police force and a black mayor and a black police chief. A white cop is talking to a black teenager, the kid pulls out a cell phone to record the interaction, the cop panics and shoots the kid while the kid's companion runs away. The cop immediately plants a gun on the victim and claims self defense. The cop waits 30 minutes to call the paramedics. Within a couple of days the police release video clips to the public, suppressing the evidence that proves that an innocent man was murdered and framed. A few days later the city announces its findings, lying about the gun, the video evidence, and the EMS response time. Martin's companion does not contradict this horribly false narrative. Not a single person does -- with the exception of the victim's girlfriend, who claims that the EMS response time was very long, but does not seem too thrown off by the notion that her boyfriend not only had a gun but had also pointed it at a police officer.

Fortunately there are commenters here who carely deeply about the assumption of good faith, and who have raised some good points. Like if someone points a gun at a cop, shouldn't a minimally qualified officer try to talk them down before assuming that the person intends to shoot them?
posted by leopard at 10:40 AM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pretty scathing NY Times editorial.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 10:43 AM on January 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


but does not seem too thrown off by the notion that her boyfriend not only had a gun but had also pointed it at a police officer.

What's your source for this? You've said it a couple of times.
posted by Trochanter at 10:49 AM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fortunately there are commenters here

There's probably a more formal name for this logical fallacy, but I'm going to refer to this as the "composite straw man." I see this now and then when someone can't refute individual arguments made by individual commenters, so instead, they roll all of those arguments together into one narrative (usually overstating those arguments such that they're made more definitively than they were originally) and then talk about how ridiculous it is to believe all of those things. (Bonus points are awarded for calling the fictional people who believe all of those things "conspiracy theorists.")

Some people have suggested that the gun may have been planted. Some people pointed out that early accounts suggested the EMS didn't arrive in a timely manner. I think one person said at some point that they thought cops had a duty to try to talk to people aiming a gun at them. But in this master work of condescension, anyone who has suggested anything other than a reflexive trust in the police accounts at any time throughout the development of this story is a total fool who believes in a giant conspiracy. And then you top your shit sandwich with question-begging in the form of "her boyfriend not only had a gun but had also pointed it at a police officer", a fact which, if it had been established as such, would have ended this thread immediately.

I recognize that your rhetorical strategy here doesn't work if you argue the actual points people are making instead of the caricature you've built up, but that doesn't mean we have to play along.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:13 AM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


My source is that she spoke to the press about police misbehavior and didn't think to mention the planted gun, which is kind of a big deal.

A lot of people just had some reasonable questions about Obama's birth certificate, you know. What it really came down to was how believable it was that Stanley Ann Dunham constructed an elaborate conspiracy in the 1960s to ensure that her biracial son could become President a few decades later. Lots of people found this quite believable and compelling.

In the unofficial version of Antonio Martin's death, how many people are complicit in the city's disinformation campaign, and why are they all staying silent? How many of these people are black?
posted by leopard at 11:15 AM on January 1, 2015


A lot of people just had some reasonable questions about Obama's birth certificate, you know.

I know that there were, in fact, no **reasonable** questions about Obama's birth certificate. Irrational? Yes. Unfounded? Yes? Crackpot Conspiracy Theories? Yes. Reasonable, as in "from reason" and "logical"?

No.
posted by mikelieman at 11:23 AM on January 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


So we have a majority black city with a majority black police force and a black mayor and a black police chief.

If you don't think that blue > black in this equation, you've never been a cop or served in the military.

Add in the fact that Martin was a known criminal-about-town and you've got a lot of people who don't see it as "white cop kills black kid" but "cop kills scumbag (maybe by accident) and is going to get crucified by the liberal big-city media for it and my nice little town is going to get called a bunch of racists."
posted by Etrigan at 11:27 AM on January 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wikipedia : Occam's razor : Controversial aspects of the razor:
Occam's Razor is not an embargo against the positing of any kind of entity, or a recommendation of the simplest theory come what may. Occam's Razor is used to adjudicate between theories that have already passed "theoretical scrutiny" tests, and which are equally well-supported by the evidence.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:28 AM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


tonycspu, if you are such an expert on logical fallacies, surely you recognize "we are not claiming anything definitive, we just independently have ten different reasonable questions about this situation, and the fact that every single one not-so-subtly implies that the authorities are vile scumbags is a totally random coincidence" as the hallmark of every dumbfuck conspiracy theory.

Of course this thread has nothing to do with general feelings that the police are an illegitimate institution causing much harm in the world, just as the various Obama and Clinton conspiracy theories have nothing to do with general feelings that the Democratic Party is an illegitimate institution causing much harm in the world. Oh no, it's all just careful reasoning based on flashes of light and thoughtful epistemology.
posted by leopard at 11:28 AM on January 1, 2015


leopard, you have made eighteen comments in this thread, and sixteen of them have included sneering at everyone in this discussion who doesn't agree with you. You are not on the side of the angels of rational discussion here.
posted by Etrigan at 11:44 AM on January 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


Etrigan, not just the cops, but the mayor and the EMS people have to be in on it too. And Martin's buddy's silence has to be assumed. And people have to have full trust that not a single person will speak out or object or dig deeper.

So what's this Occam Razor concept? Sounds useful.
posted by leopard at 11:44 AM on January 1, 2015


Etrigan, not just the cops, but the mayor and the EMS people have to be in on it too.

Yes, they may well also be part of the "This is a nice little town, and maybe the cop made a mistake, but let's face it, Martin was a scumbag, so let's not make a big federal case out of this" thinking. That is definitely also a thing that happens.

And Martin's buddy's silence has to be assumed.

Why? You're dismissing what other people close to Martin have been saying; what makes you think that you or other people will believe him if he contradicts the official line?

And people have to have full trust that not a single person will speak out or object or dig deeper.

Well, yes. This is a thing that often brings down these sorts of conspiracies. Eventually. Not so much in nine days.
posted by Etrigan at 11:48 AM on January 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I believe there is literally one thing I've "dismissed" from people close to Martin, and that was the EMS response time. I am open to the city lying about this.

How much weight do you give Martin's companion? In the unofficial version of events he saw his friend murdered and then framed.
posted by leopard at 12:16 PM on January 1, 2015


How much weight do you give Martin's companion?

I really don't think this is the right way to look at it. I think it's more like, "Disregarding everything the parties to the killing say, what other OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE is there to evaluate?"

We need to start from, "Nothing the police or local government says can be trusted", and go from there. Sure, we can take their statements, but they're no more valuable than any other statement, and the caveat that they or their organization is involved in the death, and cannot be expected to be objective should be strongly emphasised.

So, with that in mind, we should consider only the evidence we have that is not potentially biased.

Not a lot, eh?
posted by mikelieman at 12:25 PM on January 1, 2015


Who was Martin's companion and what does he have to say? I've read that the police chief says that the companion "confirms" that Martin drew a weapon. Did the police chief talk to the companion himself? How many levels of hearsay are we talking about? I mean, it's possible that the police chief is simply relaying a claim made by the police officer who shot Martin.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:29 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, with that in mind, we should consider only the evidence we have that is not potentially biased.

Not a lot, eh?


There is virtually no such thing as evidence which is not potentially biased. Even video evidence is potentially biased as evidenced by this thread.
posted by Justinian at 12:47 PM on January 1, 2015


not to pile on...
posted by Trochanter at 12:50 PM on January 1, 2015


I mean, it's equally possible that the released videos are not just misleadingly edited but completely fabricated, and it's possible that the police officer didn't shoot Martin because he mistook a phone for a gun but just because he was having a bad day and felt like it.

The game here is not "what is an objective way of summarizing the evidence" but rather "is it possible to construct a narrative that allows me to hold on to my cherished belief that the Martin shooting was unjustified." It turns out that it is always possible to construct such a narrative, especially if one distrusts the authorities. Evidence can be manipulated, officials are self-interested, people don't want to rock the boat, no one can handle the truth, etc etc etc. This incident had no problem getting on social media when it first broke, but the lack of "favorable" developments recently is surely due to media laziness. There is no evidence that the guy who saw the shooting claims that Martin was holding a phone, but hey, there's no truly irrefutable evidence that he's not claiming that, right? So hope lives on.
posted by leopard at 2:52 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


There is no evidence that the guy who saw the shooting claims that Martin was holding a phone, but hey, there's no truly irrefutable evidence that he's not claiming that, right?

Which guy are you talking about?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:17 PM on January 1, 2015


The game here is not "what is an objective way of summarizing the evidence" but rather "is it possible to construct a narrative that allows me to hold on to my cherished belief that the Martin shooting was unjustified."

Please, do tell us more about what we believe.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:29 PM on January 1, 2015


and it's possible that the police officer didn't shoot Martin because he mistook a phone for a gun but just because he was having a bad day and felt like it.

Yeah, thats why cops shoot black kids. Because they have bad days. Can you try harder?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:32 PM on January 1, 2015


There is virtually no such thing as evidence which is not potentially biased.

We're not talking platonic perfection here. We're talking "Every Raw file vs. One or Two Edited Files", which difference should be intuitively obvious to the most casual observer.
posted by mikelieman at 5:32 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's funny how everyone who walks into this conversation and announces that everyone else only wants to hang this cop in the village square also immediately adds "Oh, and the whole EMT thing isn't really a thing" without even linking to another "police say..." story. And in this case, the chief of police admits to 30 minutes from bang-to-EMS.
posted by Etrigan at 4:28 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Etrigan--you link is dated 12/24/14--subsequent stories with addition information indicate paramedics arrived much earlier: timeline as posted on 12/30 in the St Louis Dispatch and Washington Post: I really do think some want a story that just is not there. Do you believe this timeline is substantially more accurate:
Berkeley shooting timeline

11:11 p.m. Police receive call about shoplifting at the Mobil station.

11:12 "Second car" is dispatched to Mobil with a description of a suspect that matches Martin.

11:14 Officer arrives.

11:15 Officer reports shots fired.

11:16 First assist officer arrives.

11:16 EMS is requested, police supervisor arrives on scene.

11:17 EMS is contacted by Berkeley dispatch.

11:19 Unidentified female calls 911 for an ambulance and is told one is en route.

11:21 Berkeley firefighters and paramedics arrive and begin treating Martin.

11:24 Rescuers begin EKG monitoring.

11:28 Paramedics determine Martin is dead and cover his body.

11:28 Rescuers notify Christian Hospital Northeast that Martin's time of death is 11:28.

12:40 a.m. Medical examiner arrives.

2 a.m. Martin's body is logged in at medical examiner's office.

11:35 a.m. Body is identified by family.
posted by rmhsinc at 5:27 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


So your response to my pointing out that you won't link to anything is to not link to anything. Well, that sure showed me.

Note that my link was from what the chief of police said. How can we take anything else from the police (e.g., learnsome's "police say witnesses support police version" link) seriously if they've been proven wrong from the very get-go? They've written their own Catch-22; some of us are pointing out that way more investigative effort from neutral parties needs to go into this, because the official line is, at best, fishy.
posted by Etrigan at 5:38 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: you of so little faith:
Link and Story: Of course you can dismiss but it was published for public scrutiny
Perhaps time clears up some of the initial confusion.
posted by rmhsinc at 6:30 AM on January 2, 2015


Rmshinc: thanks for that. The wording of the article makes me think that the reporter was dissatisfied with the answers to his questions:
McCall said Tuesday that “several” witnesses corroborated the police account, but he would not say exactly how many. Officials said that paramedics and an assisting officer had seen Martin’s pistol.

Video released to the public last week shows at least part of the confrontation. It appears to reveal a man stretching out his arm and pointing something at the officer, but it’s not clear what.
I especially like the deadpan reporting of "Officials said that paramedics and an assisting officer had seen Martin’s pistol."

As for the timeline itself, it contradicts eyewitness accounts. I presume that the "unidentified female" who rang EMS at 11:19 is Martin's girlfriend, but she says the ambulance didn't arrive for half an hour later. She might be lying, confused, or wrong , of course, but she's not the only person to make this claim. The timeline is sourced as "City of Berkeley", which indicates that the reporter didn't personally investigate the events. So we are thrown back on the official statements of the Berkeley police once again, even with regard to matters that should be trivially easy to confirm.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:13 AM on January 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


because the official line is, at best, fishy.

So far at least, it really isn't. Maybe a journalist will uncover something, but right now the various pieces are matching up pretty well (videos, timeline, witnesses, etc), unlike the shitshow that was Ferguson. People here are really reaching in some of their claims.

That doesn't negate that (anecdotally at least, I don't know if there are accurate numbers for this based on encounters or just those based on per-capita killings), police forces in the US seem to do a fairly good job finding non-fatal outcomes when there is a white person waving a gun around, and meanwhile black men tend to get shot in those situations.

And it also doesn't negate that, as been suggested several times here and previously, there needs to be a better way to investigate police shootings that provides transparency and removes obvious bias -- it should never be the local force investigating themselves.

I presume that the "unidentified female" who rang EMS at 11:19 is Martin's girlfriend, but she says the ambulance didn't arrive for half an hour later.

Initial EMS response may have been firefighters, with the ambulance arriving later -- many cities cross-train a lot of people as EMTs in order to get the fastest response possible.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:19 AM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Etrigan, your damning link is to a police statement that the EMT response time was within 30 minutes and completely standard. Later the official timeline had the response time down to under 10 minutes. Just goes to show that you can never trust a cop.
posted by leopard at 7:23 AM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


It got even better!
posted by Trochanter at 7:24 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Chocolate ration increased again!
posted by Trochanter at 7:35 AM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


The distinction between "within 30 minutes and completely standard" and an official time that is actuallly within 30 minutes might be the least damning "inconsistency" imaginable, especially since that appears to be the entirety of "inconsistent" statements.

Now of course the city and police may be thoroughly corrupt, but you could have said that in the absence of any information at all; nothing that has happened should have made this prior belief stronger, except for whatever psychological mechanism is responsible for doomsday cult members doubling down after the world doesn't end.

I believe the county is conducting an external investigation, but no one here trusts them anyway. Even if it wasn't St. Louis, the external investigators would basically be in the same boat as the mayor and the EMT workers participating in the coverup -- do they really want to create a shitshow over some lowlife getting killed -- so you couldn't trust them either.
posted by leopard at 9:53 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Etrigan, your damning link is to a police statement that the EMT response time was within 30 minutes and completely standard. Later the official timeline had the response time down to under 10 minutes. Just goes to show that you can never trust a cop.

Well... yes. When a story from the same source changes, it doesn't mean that everyone gets to pick the one that conforms to their worldview, it means that that source is untrustworthy.
posted by Etrigan at 9:54 AM on January 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


[guys, I think continued discussion of EMT timing is beating a dead horse, might want to move on now.]
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:14 AM on January 2, 2015


Huh, leopard disabled his/her account?
posted by tonycpsu at 6:10 PM on January 2, 2015


Huh. So he has. Weird.
posted by JHarris at 8:08 PM on January 2, 2015




Very interesting development in the following article. The initial police report identifying the victim as Andrew Weusthoff (the police officer) and the case status as "exceptionally cleared" (i.e., the suspect is now dead) has been amended. The report now describes the victim as Antonio Martin, and the case status as active. So there may be something happening.

Cop who killed Antonio Martin, 18 in St. Louis suburb of Berkeley is Andrew Weusthoff
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:22 PM on January 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well at least that one little site is remaining skeptical. At least somebody is asking these questions beyond this thread.

Also, this is great from the earlier posting on that same page:

"And the only reason the cop was not wearing his body cam was because he had not been trained to clip it on his uniform and turn it on, which takes approximately six months to get it right, said Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins."

Say what, now?

(The links on that page to the two 'reports' they reference are dead, though.)
posted by Trochanter at 8:00 PM on January 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wow. They were active an hour ago.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:24 PM on January 3, 2015


Links to the reports are currently active at this version of the story.
posted by Trochanter at 8:44 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Those links now appear to be dead, too. If you have saved copies of pdfs, I'd love to see them.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 11:36 PM on January 3, 2015


All officer involved shootings are reported as an assault on an officer. It is standard operating procedure. I read this in the Ferguson grand jury testimony and found it to be really weird. It was explained as innocuous and an insignificant detail with no impact on investigation. And it may well be. But it feels to me like intentional initial investigation obfuscation or one more way the deck is subtlety stacked.
posted by phoque at 11:46 PM on January 3, 2015 [6 favorites]




If you have saved copies of pdfs, I'd love to see them.

I didn't. I checked the link addresses and saw they were from the same site, and thought they'd be safe.

There were no particulars. They were pretty much exactly what Joe in Australia describes. The same form with the entries differing as he says.
posted by Trochanter at 7:07 AM on January 4, 2015


http://imgur.com/a/Kbxnc#ZAy0mZQ
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:59 AM on January 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


A new twist in the Officer Wilson matter. Highly doubt this will go anywhere, though I will continue to wish, hope and pray that McCulloch is made to pay in some way for his actions:

Darren Wilson grand juror suing prosecutor for botching the case and putting Mike Brown on trial

FTA: "In a lawsuit filed Monday morning, the juror — described as “Grand Juror Doe” – claims McCulloch’s statements to the press following the announcement of no indictment against Wilson were inaccurate and that the juror would like to address those inaccuracies....“Doe” is upset that McCulloch continues to speak about the grand jury’s deliberations even though he was not present and they were not recorded by a court reporter....Additionally, the grand juror claims that McCulloch did a poor job of presenting the case, focusing more on the victim, Brown, than on Officer Wilson who shot him."
posted by lord_wolf at 10:00 AM on January 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


Diblasio is on TV now fluffing the NYPD. Guess he couldn't take the heat.
posted by Justinian at 12:31 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Too clarify, the juror filed a motion to lift the injunction on jurors speaking to the press.
posted by empath at 12:44 PM on January 5, 2015 [4 favorites]








Dangers of being a cop:
Off-duty Kentucky cop accidentally shoots himself in the stomach after a dinner date with his wife
Video released by Cincinnati police captures Erlanger police officer Darryl Jouett fumbling with his .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun and then crumpling to the elevator floor after it fired.
[...]
Jouett’s shooting came a day after a police chief in Peachtree City, Ga., shot his wife with his department-issued Glock in the couple’s bedroom while she slept. Margaret McCollum has since told investigators that she believes her husband, Peachtree City Police Chief William McCollum, shot her accidentally, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:22 PM on January 6, 2015








Justice Department Will Not Charge Darren Wilson in Michael Brown’s Death

This is hardly surprising, but it's a false dilemma to suppose that the only responses to the shooting are lock the bastard up for life and LOL NO COURT WOULD CONVICT HIM. It's perfectly possible to say that although the circumstances of the shooting are unclear, it's obvious that the Ferguson police are institutionally racist; that they did not handle the shooting correctly; that Wilson acted wrongly both in his initial approach to Michael Brown and to the altercation; and that Wilson, the police force, and the prosecutor may have done their best to stymie a proper investigation. Those are all things that should be addressed, even if Wilson isn't prosecuted over the death itself.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:12 PM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's perfectly possible to say that although the circumstances of the shooting are unclear

They're not, though. All your other points are reasonable.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:48 PM on January 22, 2015


I may have been mislead by the (no doubt deliberate) presentation of contradictory reports, but I thought that we don't actually know how Michael Brown was first shot, whether he initially reached into the police car or was grabbed by Wilson, what was going through Wilson's mind when he first approached Brown, or when he followed him, or when he decided to start firing bullets at him.

To convict Wilson you'd need to prove at least some of these beyond reasonable doubt, but I suspect that there's no way to do that - especially now, after that farce of a grand jury presentation. I suspect that what happened was a racist stop of two people committing a minor breach of the law. Wilson handled the stop so clumsily that it turned into a scuffle; Brown was shot; Wilson panicked (because he's an incompetent racist); and Wilson convinced himself that he was the victim, that he was in danger. Bang bang bang, bang bang bang bang bang bang bang. But this is just a guess, because the best witness is dead.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:37 PM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just highlighting jeffburdges link about what to do about agents provocateur and undercover cops. Very nice info! Basically: document them, and don't let them push you into breaking laws.
posted by JHarris at 6:52 PM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]




« Older every generation has an action hero that’s...   |   Ball don't lie (about cake) Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments