Flashbang Grenades
January 15, 2015 8:48 PM   Subscribe

 
It seems like the police are more determined than ever to put all the physical risk of interacting with the public on the public, even to the point of causing death to avoid a scratch. The police must not be scratched even if some innocent civilians must die.
posted by BentFranklin at 9:07 PM on January 15, 2015 [18 favorites]


Two pieces from last year by Alecia Phonesavanh, the mother of Bou Bou Phonesavanh:

A SWAT team blew a hole in my 2-year-old son

“It breaks my heart”: How a SWAT team upended my baby’s life — and got away with it.
posted by homunculus at 9:08 PM on January 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is more than enough. Do the police really get to maim amyone they want to, because of any rumor they hear?
posted by Oyéah at 9:17 PM on January 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Many police seem to be wanted to treated like soldiers, but soldiers that are free to ignore rules of engagement and are free to turn their backs to their commander in chief without repercussions.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:35 PM on January 15, 2015 [36 favorites]


Flash bangs are very dangerous and should only be used in extreme situations.
posted by clavdivs at 9:37 PM on January 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


RobotVoodooPower: More than that, it seems as if they want to have no rules of engagement - they can never break rules they don't have.
posted by el io at 9:37 PM on January 15, 2015


"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit wrote in 2000 that “police cannot automatically throw bombs into drug dealers’ houses, even if the bomb goes by the euphemism ‘flash-bang device.’” In practice, however, there are few checks on officers who want to use them. Once a police department registers its inventory with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, it is accountable only to itself for how it uses the stockpile. ProPublica’s review of flashbang injuries found no criminal convictions against police officers who injured citizens with the devices."
I'm not sure which is more disturbing: the fact that it took until 2000 for a court to tell the police that they can't automatically throw bombs into drug dealers' houses or the fact that nobody seems to have cared about the court's conclusion in the 15 years since then.
posted by zachlipton at 9:48 PM on January 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


Wiki page on stun germades.
posted by clavdivs at 10:08 PM on January 15, 2015


I'm trying to imagine what a bomb made of germade would look like.
posted by el io at 12:04 AM on January 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


Many police seem to be wanted to treated like soldiers, but soldiers that are free to ignore rules of engagement and are free to turn their backs to their commander in chief without repercussions.

This exactly. They want to feel badass and (most importantly) powerful like they imagine a soldier feels, but they don't want to have to deal with any of the rules or discipline that is supposed to (and maybe sometimes does?) come with being a soldier.
posted by IAmUnaware at 12:46 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Phonesavanh family is from my city (in fact the home they were burned out of is just a few blocks from here). Unfortunately both Facebook and newspaper online comments have shown little sympathy for the parents, and generally have shrugged off by implication the injuries to the child, with sentiments commonly along the lines of "Keep your kids out of drug houses" and "Stupid parents" or even "The parents should be charged with endangerment".

The irony is that here we have a really good police department that I don't think is likely to make the same mistakes we are seeing across the country. They're better than average, at least. Last year they called out the SWAT team after a shots-fired incident (again, for kicks, this is a location visible from my side doorway), but managed to wait six hours before going in. They also do things like using social intervention to redirect gang members from anti-social activities. So, no, going in hellbent for leather in a pre-dawn no-knock raid is not the only way to approach situations.

It's really odd to me in a way -- we have thoughtful police and city officials, and a very reactionary, dismissive populace.

But we've seen this with e.g. Eric Garner or Tamir Rice as well, in that the slightest perceived offense or danger to the public is treated as a line that has been crossed after which their life, due to their own acts, is now forfeit.

(I haven't seen any comments suggesting that the interracial nature of the parents' marriage is a problem, but I do suspect it's part of the reaction as well.)
posted by dhartung at 1:02 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


sentiments commonly along the lines of "Keep your kids out of drug houses" and "Stupid parents" or even "The parents should be charged with endangerment" ... But we've seen this with e.g. Eric Garner or Tamir Rice as well, in that the slightest perceived offense or danger to the public is treated as a line that has been crossed after which their life, due to their own acts, is now forfeit.

Yeah, when did this combination of abject hysteria and extra-ludicrous inability to assess risk become pretty much de rigeur? At first glance, the attitudes you're describing combine with the nasty parts of modern policing to sound like a classic case of the public "knowing what it wants and deserving to get it good and hard". The problem is that the type of police behaviour we're talking about is not "what the public wants", it's a product of what the white suburban hordes have been convinced to think they want, I guess.
posted by busted_crayons at 3:48 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, since France has lately been under scrutiny :

Remi Fraisse, 21, was fatally wounded in clashes with police in the early hours of Sunday, the first such death in France since 1986.
His death has been blamed on a concussion grenade fired in the unrest.
posted by nicolin at 4:35 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


The problem is that the type of police behaviour we're talking about is not "what the public wants", it's a product of what the white suburban hordes have been convinced to think they want, I guess.

For the most part, the white suburban hordes have no idea how prevalent these tactics are. No politician ran on "flashbangs and battering rams for suspicion of minor drug infractions." There was no public debate. This grew from within cop culture, largely unnoticed by society as a whole. We didn't ask cops to do this--we just haven't summoned the will and awareness to stop them yet.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:03 AM on January 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


Little Rock Police Department spokesman Allen said he does not consider the force used on Harris' home to be excessive. "If she hadn't been selling illegal items out of the home, no warrant would have been served," he said. "What you call extreme, we call safe."

This is even crazier than I imagined. The drug cases are stupid enough, although it sometimes seems the public will tolerate pretty much any action against the "druggies", even if the end of a no-knock raid is a SWAT officer triumphantly brandishing 2 grams of marijuana or somesuch. But how the hell does something like this even happen? Someone is selling unlicensed beer and food --- a civil violation in most jurisdictions, a low-class misdemeanor even in the strictest locales --- and someone (or presumably several someones) sign off on a forced-entry, militarized service of that warrant? Nowhere in that process was it suggested to them that, hey, maybe a single officer armed with nothing more lethal than a citation pad could pull this off? Were they afraid she'd flush the beer and hot dogs?

And, hey, if you want your officers to be "safe", maybe deliberately inducing fight-or-flight responses in your antagonists isn't a great idea?
posted by jackbishop at 6:18 AM on January 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


What's terrifying is that the police KNOW they operate with complete and utter impunity. They're not going to go to jail if they murder someone, they're not going to jail if they throw bombs at babies, they're not going to jail if they taze 70 year old women for "being mouthy", they're not going to jail.

There is no recourse if you are attacked by the police. They expect immediate and complete compliance with whatever they tell you to do, and they can and will kill you if you don't jump high enough, fast enough.

And as long as they never fuck with the 1%, which they don't, they'll get to keep on doing it, while demanding that we treat them with reverence and respect, or else.
posted by dejah420 at 6:43 AM on January 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


Yeah, when did this combination of abject hysteria and extra-ludicrous inability to assess risk become pretty much de rigeur?

Between homo habilis and homo erectus.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:50 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


dejah420 - I agree with you about the 1%, but given that these violent police tactics are overwhelmingly only used on poor and/or black people, I would put that a little more broadly: as long as they never fuck with the white middle class... If they were doing this on a regular basis in majority-white non-poor neighborhoods, I'm quite confident there would be significant outrage.
posted by tippiedog at 7:04 AM on January 16, 2015 [5 favorites]






If they were doing this on a regular basis in majority-white non-poor neighborhoods, I'm quite confident there would be significant outrage.

White people only riot about important shit like football games.
posted by empath at 7:19 AM on January 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


The original sin was when we (well, the courts) made it ok to serve a no-knock warrant based on the theory that preventing destruction of evidence was more important than the privacy and safety of occupants.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:31 AM on January 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


The police must not be scratched even if some innocent civilians must die.

Also, the police must not be bled upon by suspects they are beating.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:57 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


In the end, after storming the apartment and throwing three flashbangs, the police found about a tenth of an ounce of marijuana.

Or, as the police reported it to the local media, an amount of marijuana with a street value of about $2,000.
posted by mellow seas at 10:05 AM on January 16, 2015


For the most part, the white suburban hordes have no idea how prevalent these tactics are. No politician ran on "flashbangs and battering rams for suspicion of minor drug infractions." There was no public debate. This grew from within cop culture, largely unnoticed by society as a whole.

Sometimes I try to imagine the experience of these "white suburban hordes." You turn on the TV in the evening and watch 2 hours of cop shows, in which the cops are always the heroes and tactics like no-knock raids are normal and justified. Then you watch the news, which is full of sensationalized crime reports. You go to bed thinking you live in a dangerous, crime-ridden society. You almost never interact with cops in real life, except maybe for the occasional traffic ticket, and they're stern but civil with you -- after all, you're white and middle-class. You certainly don't have any real interaction with the folks on the receiving end of a SWAT raid (even if your kids are smoking weed with their friends).

Everything in your world has trained you to believe these tactics are reasonable and necessary. To question them is to question everything you thought you understood about cops and crime.
posted by twirlip at 10:54 AM on January 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I think COPS has had a worse impact on America than Fox News.
posted by el io at 1:15 PM on January 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


soldiers that are free to ignore rules of engagement and are free to turn their backs to their commander in chief without repercussions.

To be fair, we actually are free to turn our backs to our commander in chief, off duty, especially at someone's funeral, especially when it's just a TV screen of them, without repercussions. But the rest of your point applies.
posted by corb at 2:29 PM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


This grew from within cop culture

I do not entirely buy this. Even if these phenomena stem from "cop culture", then "cop culture" is likely a product of the ambient culture, since "cop culture" does not produce the same phenomena with the same prevalence in various other societies that are similar in many other ways. I don't have a problem rephrasing my point to "the ambient culture produces a cop culture that begets bad behaviour". The public is absolutely complicit in bad police behaviour, especially the parts of the public best positioned to avoid being on the receiving end.

For the most part, the white suburban hordes have no idea how prevalent these tactics are.

My definition of the WSH is something like "people who clamour for protection, by the state, from highly unrealistic threats whose magnitudes are amplified, in their minds, by unchecked cognitive biases and, basically, racism". People who use the term "law and order", or watch the propaganda series of the same name, unironically. People who use the phrase "the terrorists" and believe that it meaningfully denotes. The people at whom the term "urban", in its dog-whistle capacity, is directed.

This group includes many folks who are neither W nor S; the catchy name is just derived from demographic descriptors whose conjunction strongly predicts membership in this group. Regardless of what these people know about the nitty-gritty of policing, their attitude makes them complicit because it provides justification and cover for the authoritarian wing of the state's excesses. Ignorance of their worldview's effects isn't really an excuse.
posted by busted_crayons at 4:14 PM on January 16, 2015


Sorry for the typo. I know a guy who's neice lost half her hearing from one of these things. I see the purpose, I don't trust them in the hands of the untrained.
posted by clavdivs at 8:09 PM on January 16, 2015


Cop shoot cop: $60 meth bust led to shooting of officer
posted by cjorgensen at 7:54 AM on January 17, 2015








« Older Green Bay's Board-Game Obsession   |   Stupid Sexy Four-armed Gorilla Dragon! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments