Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Monday, September 14, 2015

Cops Shoot Man For Recording Them

Cops in California shot a man for recording them with a cell phone.

Because, as they say "they were in fear for their lives". Apparently, the cops there can't tell the difference between this:

and this:

Eye exams should be ordered for all of those trigger-happy jerkoffs. Followed by indictments.


Murphy's Law said...

Or here's an idea: When the police are in the middle of a barricaded-gunman situation with your neighbor, don't reach out of your garage and point something at them.

Just a thought.

I'll give this one to the police.

CenterPuke88 said...

Given that an officer, to be threatened, would have to see the shooter to some extent, if you cannot see the barrel, it isn't aimed at you...if you aren't sure it's a weapon, and no officer is directly threatened, you don't unload a half dozen rounds into a garage which you cannot see into. It's too easy to see this could have been some 9 year-old. It means officers who could not tell what was being extended and in what direction, took a shot. I'm saying those cops got some 'spraining to do, Lucy.

Murphy's Law said...

Sorry, but the legal standard here is one of reasonableness, and it's more than reasonable to perceive a threat when you are trying to arrest a man who was using a machine gun in what was reported to have been a gunfight (that means possible other shooters) and suddenly you see something being pointed at you. There is not the time to stop and try to discern what that item might or might not be nor is there a legal requirement for the police--or anyone in a similar situation--to call for a time out and inspect the perceived object in detail. This is exactly why the police told everyone to STAY INSIDE THEIR DAMNED HOMES while they sorted this out. Pity that one guy just couldn't follow that basic, common-sense direction, but that's what happens when you don't listen.

Will the city pay some money? Probably. But gross negligence or criminal conduct? No way. Cost of doing business.

Comrade Misfit said...

Really? A cell phone?

If you were to make the same mistake, you'd be heading to prison. Of that, I have no doubt.

Murphy's Law said...

"Reasonable person standard" still applies to civilian shooters, and you know as well as I do that that is a pretty low bar: so long as the decision made was not totally ridiculous the shooter will likely come out ok. But civilian shooters aren't supposed to be trying to take down nutcases who are shooting up the neighborhood. Civilian shooters ALWAYS have the option to not engage or to retreat but police do not. We send police in to put an end to such activities and that's a dangerous job that requires split-second decisions. Accordingly we need to give them reasonable latitude and accept that there will occasionally be good-faith mistakes made.

Comrade Misfit said...

And so we let them ditch Rule 4 ("know your target and what is beyond it") and go into spray-and-pray mode?

Sorry, that sort of thinking led the California cops to light up two vehicles driven by civilians a couple of years back. Which is fine if what we've got are a bunch of poorly-trained Third World guerrillas with AKs. But we don't. We have professional police.

Emphasis n "professional".

Murphy's Law said...

Rule 4 is a good rule for target shooting. In actual combat shooting, not so much. The rule in combat shooting is "He who hesitates is often lost". Sad, but that's the way it is. And this wasn't the California shooting. This was a known active shooter situation.

dinthebeast said...

Combat shooting? This isn't a damned war, cops aren't a damned army, and by the way you are wrong in your assumption that cops have no discretion as to whether or not to engage someone using deadly force.
There is no law anywhere saying that they even have to endanger themselves.

-Doug in Oakland

Comrade Misfit said...

So the most professional and best-trained cops around, a SWAT team, acts like a bunch of untrained child soldiers and they shoot everything that moves?

And you're fine with that?

CenterPuke88 said...

Murphy, please explain:

1) The radius around a police incident scene where civilians must now hide until the incident is resolved.

2) The method by which the civilians we be made aware of this requirement. (Perhaps the implants the Obama administration is installing in us by means of the require immunizations, or maybe the fluoride in the water allows us to receive the signals being beamed from satellites?)

3) The amount of time that the removal of standard rules on knowing your target and what is beyond your target are suspended.

4) Just when police response became a "combat situation".

Murphy's Law said...


OK, for Doug and CP...it IS combat when someone is shooting at you and you're shooting back. And guess what? That's one of the things that police are trained to do and used for.

As to CP's questions:

1. That depends on the situation and is typically at the discretion of the Incident Commander.

2. See above, but announcements are usually made via Public Address systems or by door-to-door runners. From the story though, it's pretty clear that the people in the house where the idiot with the camera got shot knew that they were supposed to stay inside though.

3. If I have to try to explain, it's because you've likely never been in a situation like that, which means I probably won't be able to. Bottom line: things happen. And that's why they tell people to stay indoors.

4. Addressed already. We send the police out to do dangerous jobs, and one of those jobs is to stop people who pose an imminent danger to others. Sometimes that means engaging the bad guy with deadly force, aka: "combat".

And as to CM's question, no I'm fine with it, but I understand how it happens. And the fact that it did happen doesn't mean that they were acting "like untrained children". They perceived a threat and responded. Ever perceive something and be wrong? It happens to all of us. Unfortunately when it happens under circumstances when things are moving fast and the players are playing for keeps... These guys are trained to react fast. It's what keeps them, their team mates and the citizens that they are trying to protect alive.

So yeah, I still back these guys. No one is perfect and this was, to me, excusable. Maybe next time, camera fan will do as he's told and not interject himself into a gunfight and point things at the participants. This guy almost died for the sake of a Youtube clip and that's more Darwin in action than anything else. And I notice that no one here wants to blame that guy at all. Is it the opinion of you folks that he was totally blameless here?

BadTux said...

Let's see. Cops have lit up people wielding:

1. Wallets
2. Towels
3. Newspapers
4. Cell phones
5. Nothing at all while walking while black.

But you're fine with all these, because the cops perceived a threat, and a perception of a threat is all that's needed to justify killing someone.

Y'know, I perceive a threat nowadays when I see a cop, since I don't know whether that cop is going to light me up or not anymore, since cops are lighting people up for wielding wallets, towels, newspapers, cell phones, or just on general principle. Does that mean I'm justified shooting cops?

Uhm, no.

If cops are perceiving threats in wallets, towels, newspapers, and cell phones, they need retraining and, if that doesn't work, indicting. They're supposed to be *professionals*, trained in how to accurately assess threats and react in an appropriate matter. They're not supposed to be a buncha pray and spray terrorist assholes. Just sayin'.

CenterPuke88 said...

Murphy, let's get a little refresher:

Combat- A fight or battle between two groups.

Deadly Force- Force a person uses to cause death or serious harm.

So, here's the first problem. The police do NOT engage in combat, the police are tasked with arresting lawbreakers and investigationg crimes. Some police officers are more highly trained in military tactics, but that is to allow them to fulfill their role of arresting an armed individual, to to have them engage in combat. Police are fighting crime, not persons, as such. At no time are police in the United States authorized to behave in any way close to "combat". The "rules of combat" are alien to civilians and would result in mass casualties if applied to police incidents in the U.S.

Also, your answers to my questions betray your bias. Police authority is, in your mind, supreme. The courts continually rule otherwise and take the police to task for their failures. As to blaming the victim, I can't judge with the information presented. Did the police close the area, unknown. Did the police notify persons in the area, unknown. Was the victim appear to receive and comprehend the warning,,if delivered, unknown. Did the police shoot an unarmed civilian who was no threat to any officer, that appears to be a yes.

The police are compensated for putting themselves at risk. They are NOT authorized to use deadly force indiscriminately. They are not allowed to shoot at people just because they do something dumb. They are held to a higher standard, and trained to make a correct decision in situations, but also a decision that sometimes results in danger to them or their colleagues. This is to ensure that a deadly error is not made.

Murphy's Law said...

Bad Tux,

You are trying to use a few isolated incidents to paint all police nationwide as being irresponsible or trigger happy. That's not accurate or fair. By that logical process, we could also "prove" that:
1. All muslims are terrorists.
2. All males are rapists.
3. All blacks listen to rap and play basketball.
3. All Asians are horrible drivers.

OK, that last one might have some merit, but the point is that there are over 800,000 sworn law enforcement officers in this country and the vast majority have not done and will never do what you've described. Now out of that 800,000, are there a few bad apples that never should have gotten on the job? Sure. And the same can be said for a group of 800,000 doctors, lawyers, teachers, clergy, pilots, cabbies, etc. That's just a human factor that we have to live with, unfortunately, but while people seem willing to accept that with all of the other groups, let one cop do something wrong, and even if he's punished for it, some people want to hate on all cops for it. How does that make sense?

Center Puke, I disagree with your definition of combat. If you and I get into a fist fight, that's combat. Any physical fight between two or more people is combat. And this is one of the things that police are trained to do and expected to do when all else fails, using deadly force if need be. Now that doesn't mean that they do it indiscriminately, as you've said. There are policies and procedures and much training and review of use-of-force incidents--as there should be--but no training can cover every situation, especially when the stress is up, things are happening fast, and lives are at risk. Police ARE trained to take action to protect themselves and their partners first and foremost though, and again, that's as it should be. A wounded or dead officer adds to whatever the current problem is and they aren't expected to get shot while trying to figure out if an object being pointed at them during a search for active shooters is a real gun or not. I don't know you, but I'll wager that you've never been in a real armed encounter with someone else who is trying to kill you. I don't criticize you for this, but I say that until you've been there and done it for real, you can't understand what it's like. I've been there and done that and I know how MY thought process worked, and all I can say looking back is that there were a couple of times when I acted quickly based on snap perceptions. A couple of times it saved my life, and one time in particular, it almost cost the lives of a couple of innocents who were just trying to help. You can't train for everything and no one makes the right call 100% of the time. Just ask any surgeon.

Now when a cop egregiously screws up, they should be removed from the job, in my opinion. But absent gross negligence or criminal intent, we've got to accept that sometimes bad things just happen and it's a cost of living in a modern society where we task police with responding. Planes and cars crash all the time and kill people. Are you suggesting that we should jail the operators and sue the manufacturers out of business every time it happens?

dinthebeast said...


-Doug in Oakland

CenterPuke88 said...


You are disagreeing with a dictionary, go right ahead.

You have posited an action based upon a supposition...the "item' has not been shown to have been in any position to threaten another officer. Until we have a detailed understanding of the situation, we have no basis for,judgement, hence my concern with your giving the cops the benefit of the doubt immediately. Common sense, right now, suggests that the police, as a whole, are a group of undertrained, hyperagressive, trigger-happy bullies. Why yes, this is tarring a whole group for the actions of a "few", except the few turns out to have been a lot and on video these days.

It is unfortunate, but the police are currently less trusted than used car salesmen and Congress, and they have brought it upon themselves with the silent blue line. Is it fair that we are all assuming police malfesence, not really...but it is rational. The police deterioration seems to tie into the mass recruitment of veterans after the Gulf War, about the same time the military got busy ignoring PTSD damaged soldiers and just discharging them instead. Before that, the police brutality was more of the old school, beat the crap outta him type. Now it is shoot them because they aren't on our side (I.e. cops).

If we continue down this path (us (cops and cop families) vs them (civilians)) we simply will see bigger and bigger numbers of people killed by cops and less and less trust of the police. It's a critical spiral that will end up with a corrupt police force and cynical citizens supporting vigilante groups...probably the same folks that are ripping up protestors signs outside Trump events (free speech, if you agree with me only) and saying they are going to vote for "white supremacy".

BadTux said...

Let's see, the cops within the past half dozen years have successfully protected the public from the scourge of:

1) a slice of pizza
2) A wii controller
3) A Bible
4) A towel
5) car keys and a flashlight,
6) a prescription bottle of pain reliever,
7) a can of hair spray,
8) a water hose nozzle attached to a water hose,
9) an umbrella,
10) a bottle of beer,
11) an iPod,
12) a microphone,
13) sunglasses,
14) a waiter carrying a crumpled up apron,
15) a rubber sex toy,
16) at least half a dozen *other* cell phones,
17) a driver's license (yes, a cop actually opened fire on someone for proffering his driver's license in an "aggressive" manner!),
18) a finger (yes, someone was arrested for pointing his *finger* at a cop!),
19) a banana,
20) crumpled underpants,
21) a water pistol with a prominent orange barrel,
22) body spray,
23) a vacuum being wielded by a janitor,
24) a broom,
25) an electric drill,

and much much more.

The common thread in all of these is that police officers *failed* at threat assessment and either arrested or killed someone who was wielding an object that was utterly harmless. The other common thread is that in almost every single case, the police officer claimed that he acted correctly because he felt threatened and received no punishment -- even though if you or I had done it, we would have gone to jail for the rest of our natural lives.

Yes, I have high standards for police officers. I expect them to be trained to *accurately* assess threats, for one thing. We give police officers guns not so that they can protect us from towels and wii controllers and Bibles. We give police officers guns so they can protect us from bad guys who want to assault, steal, or kill us. If they cannot accurately identify threats, then they are useless. I don't believe it is an outrageous expectation that police officers be correctly trained so they can tell the difference between a cell phone and a gun, and relieved of duty and forced to take another job if they just can't "get" the difference between a wallet and a gun. Just sayin'.

Murphy's Law said...

Wow. So because of a few scattered anomalous incidents across the country spanning a timeframe measured in years, you two still seriously claim that all 800,000+ police officers in America are bad all of the time? Please remember that the next time you are in trouble and call someone other than 911. Maybe the pizza guy can come help you locate your stolen car, investigate the burglary of your home, or show up when you've crashed your car and are lying in a ditch bleeding out.

Oh--and CP...you got any actual data to back that claim, often repeated on cop-hater websites, that police are hiring veterans with PTSD who are now going around shooting people? (Offensive to both police officers and veterans now...just wow) Because I have never seen anything that, you know, actually even attempts to prove that and it's ridiculous on it's face.

My suggestion to both of you though is a simple one: If you think that you can do the job better, apply for a job at the police department of your choice and show us. Nothing is stopping you that I know of.

Comrade Misfit said...

Maybe that's fair, Murphy.

But the next time you criticize a politician, I reserve the right to suggest that you run for the job and prove that you can do it better, or STFU.

Murphy's Law said...

I have run for office, actually. Didn't win. Back when I cared, I stepped up and was willing to commit to a term in office to try to make the difference that I thought needed to be made. It wasn't in the cards, obviously, but I sure made the other guy work for it. And he did ok in the job. I like to think part of the reason was that I made him commit to a few things during the campaign that he might not otherwise have had to. And to his credit, he kept his word.

And one last point on police officers before I give this one a rest. For ever cop that screwed something up over the last couple of decades or so and killed someone wrongfully, I can show you another one who sacrificed himself for the citizens, to include over 160 of them killed in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. They ran in to rescue others. They died doing that. But that's what cops do, because that's the kind of people that most of them are. And I think that most cop-haters know that and their resentment comes from knowing that they themselves lack that selflessness. That's my theory anyway.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm headed back to guns, dogs and things that fly. At least for now. ;-)

CenterPuke88 said...


Like an iceberg, the majority of the problem is out of view. We are seeing an increasing drumbeat of incidents that show there is a huge problem with the way police treat civilians. We see the increase occurring since the early 1990's. I stated that it appears to relate, I did not claim that it did. I also was clear that it is not a majority of cops that cause the problem, but that a large plurality (at least) have seemingly ignored this problem for some time.

We must also note that the minority community has complained for years about this kind of behavior, and these complaints were ignored or downplayed UNTIL videos started showing that the truth was that the police were abusing people. As I said, it's an iceberg...and people on the privileged side, sailing along on a boat have little idea what's really down there.

BadTux said...

Murph, I'm not CP88 and don't you dare put words in my mouth 'cause I'll call you a ratfucking lying son of a bitch if you do. This homie don't play that. I have never *EVER* said that all cops are bad, or evil, or what have you, and you goddamn well know that because you've commented on my own blog when I've defended cops who shot knife-wielders or who properly responded to a threat. Hell, I didn't even condemn that Darren Wilson cop in Ferguson, because I didn't (and still don't) know what went down when that actual shooting happened. I condemned the response of the department afterwards which seemed calculated to create riots and indicated bad leadership at the top, but that's a different thing altogether from saying that the individual cops were evil or whatever the hell you're imagining I'm saying.

What I *have* said is that a cop who cannot accurately assess a threat and fires on someone who is wielding a banana, a wallet, or, in this case, a CELL PHONE, is either a coward who shoots first and does threat assessment later, a 'roided up rage monkey looking for an excuse to kill someone, or has not been properly trained in threat assessment. If the former two, that cop needs to be fired and prosecuted. If the latter, we need to give cops the training to do their job correctly and communities and departments which refuse to do so need to get their asses sued until they do, because their job *requires* accurate threat assessment -- even if that includes putting their own life on the line to do so. Because serving and protecting is not just a bullshit slogan to put on the side of cop cars, it's what we goddamn hire them to do, including putting their own life on the line to do it. We don't give them all that goddamn equipment and training and bust the city budget with cop pensions just so they can pray and spray like a goddamn ghetto gang-banger whenever they perceive some imaginary threat! We hire them to protect citizens -- including citizens who have cell phones and record them. It's their motherfucking *job*, and when they don't do it, we rightly demand to know *why* they didn't do their job -- whether cowardice, malice, incompetence, or bad training, there's a reason, and making excuses ain't gonna find that reason.

Just out of curiousity, what job do *you* think we hire cops to do?

dinthebeast said...


-Doug in Oakland

Will said...

One important factor has been overlooked here.

It's been stated, or at least it appears to be, that it was the SWAT team that shot the camera guy. Besides the fact that they are supposed to be the most highly trained cops on guns, aren't the guys on overwatch armed with scope mounted rifles? If not, why not? The purpose of the scope is to give the shooter a very good view of the area, for intelligence collecting, in addition to precision shooting.

If it was one of the cops milling around in the street that took the shot, then whoever was in charge was a total fuckup, because that is not how it is supposed to be done. Besides the badge toting shooter(s), the incident commander should also be under evaluation for this.

Comrade Misfit said...

Doug, Pat Lynch is a tool. He's a union president and he'd defend a union member who practiced cannibalism-- "PTSD! Unreasonable stress on The Job!" or some shit like that.

BadTux said...

Will, I don't know if you've ever used a scope. If you had, you would realize that a scope *reduces* your field of view. The guys with the scopes were likely focused on the house where the real perp was holed up. Anything outside that narrow field of view wouldn't be seen by them, thus why there are guys *without* scopes keeping an eye around to preserve full situational awareness.

So it's not unusual that it would be one of the guys without a scope who noticed a cell phone popping out of the garage a few houses down, the guys with the scopes wouldn't be looking that direction. But shoot first, validate sight picture later, is not a valid hunting strategy. Period. If you don't know what you're shooting at, the only valid decision is to keep your hands off your trigger, even if that might threaten your own safety if it turns out to be something bad. That's what we pay cops for -- to put their lives on the line to serve and protect -- not to pray and spray like ISIS terrorists.