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Oct 04 2012

What happened next?

A woman in Bangladesh; a police officer; a whole fierce and furious story in one picture.

42 comments

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  1. 1
    osmosis

    Her: Do you have any Grey Poupon?!!
    Him: No. *thud*

  2. 2
    Ichthyic

    well, we don’t know what she did just before he decided to try and crack her skull open.

    why, she might have said his uniform was a particularly natty shade of blue or something!

    *shudders*

    jeez, the guy is MEASURING her with his left while he winds up for the swing with his right.

  3. 3
    Ichthyic

    …was it related to what happened there last weekend?

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-30/rioters-torch-buddhist-temples-in-bangladesh/4288598

  4. 4
    JohnnieCanuck

    Ichthyic,

    This was posted at the reddit link as ‘more photos’. It shows very large crowds attempting to march to the Ministry of Energy to protest price hikes and other policies regarding the supply of electricity. It happened in Dhaka. Twenty people were reported injured.

  5. 5
    Ichthyic

    This was posted at the reddit link as ‘more photos’. It shows very large crowds attempting to march to the Ministry of Energy to protest price hikes and other policies regarding the supply of electricity. It happened in Dhaka. Twenty people were reported injured.

    I am unable to see or find any link to this story, only the burning of buddhist temples and the resultant march in protest.

    can you paste a direct link?

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Marcus Ranum

    I remember when the cops busted up the occupy camp in Berkeley and some of the pictures were posted on FB. One of my former acquaintances, who is a bit “conservative” actually offered the theory that the tiny woman the cops were hauling to the curb may have somehow threatened the armored, helmeted, and armed cops. Authoritarian submissives disgust me.

    So, maybe this woman is threatening the cop. You can’t tell, it’s a still photo.

  8. 8
    Ichthyic

    So, maybe this woman is threatening the cop. You can’t tell, it’s a still photo.

    maybe she has really, REALLY bad breath?

  9. 9
    snarkmatter

    I actually would like to know. He could just be threatening her to try and get her to move or he might be getting ready to whack her.

    In the photo I see people breaking through the police wall and one plain clothed person (civilian) wearing a police helmet and carrying a police “baton”. I really don’t see anyone laying on the street nor injured.

    Nor have I followed the story but it’s a very unconvincing photo. He has his hand out as if to warn her to stay back.

    It’s a nasty looking photo for sure but I can’t draw one conclusion about it other than a riot is taking place.

  10. 10
    Sids

    Not a fan of photos like this. Without any real context, they do nothing more than fuel a ‘f*ck the police’ mentality, which frankly gets tiresome. It’s basically just the visual equivalent of quote mining \ cherry picking. It’s entirely possible that this is an example of police brutality, but that’s is certainly not clear from the photo. It only leads to people jumping to overly emotional conclusions.

  11. 11
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    You have to be a particular kind of asshole to think that this picture of a cop about to smack the shit out of a tiny woman with a huge fucking baton is anything but what it is.

  12. 12
    Sids

    It doesn’t take that much of an asshole to think that he could be threatening her to try to make her move so he can get past and defend himself or others from people behind her. In which case, he is doing exactly what he should. Threatening with a show of force, would be much quicker and gentler than running through and shoving her to the ground. There is of course no evidence to suggest this possibility, and that is exactly the point. There is no context.

    What can be seen is that the mob has gotten violent. The guy in the background has taken a police helmet (I don’t suppose he just asked the officer for it?) and is trying to take take a baton too. That could be to defend himself (which I’m sure will be the emotional assumption, we all want to side with the little guy), it could also be because he wants to attack a now unprotected person for doing his job. Like I said, no context.

  13. 13
    Sids

    By “show of force” I meant a harmless display, not actually showing that he can attack someone at random. Just to be clear.

  14. 14
    Hurin

    So, maybe this woman is threatening the cop. You can’t tell, it’s a still photo.

    Which would make the cop a fucking coward. Do you always apologize for cowards, or just when they wear pretty uniforms?

  15. 15
    Sids

    And I’m sure the woman wasn’t hiding in a huge crowd that outnumbered the cops and the people they were protesting against (possibly violently) several times over. That’s not at all cowardly.

    I don’t think Marcus was defending anyone. Simply pointing out that the evidence wasn’t sufficient to say whether he is innocent or guilty.

  16. 16
    Ichthyic

    I really don’t see anyone laying on the street nor injured.

    the article I linked to said that 30 people (civilians) were injured and many sent to the hospital.

    The police were allegedly attacked with banners and signs… but no mention of police injuries that I recall.

    yup. cops in full riot gear with batons vs protestors with signs.

    sure sounds familiar…

  17. 17
    Ichthyic

    It doesn’t take that much of an asshole to think that he could be threatening her

    that’s not what the body language is suggesting.

    left armed extended to help measure the blow, right arm FULLY wheeled back, concentrated grimace on face…

    sure doesn’t look like a warning to me.

  18. 18
    Hurin

    It doesn’t take that much of an asshole to think that he could be threatening her to try to make her move so he can get past and defend himself or others from people behind her. In which case, he is doing exactly what he should. Threatening with a show of force, would be much quicker and gentler than running through and shoving her to the ground. There is of course no evidence to suggest this possibility, and that is exactly the point. There is no context.

    No it takes a sophist piece of shit bent on apologizing for brutality by raising absurdly unlikely alternated explanations for an obvious act of brutality.

    What can be seen is that the mob has gotten violent.

    Oh, I see, you can tell that the people are a violent mob without context, but not the fucking cop in the middle of swinging a giant bludgeon at a woman he outweighs by 50 pounds. What accounts for your lack of knowledge in the latter case, the fascist uncertainty principle?

    By “show of force” I meant a harmless display, not actually showing that he can attack someone at random. Just to be clear.

    Which would still be considered assault if a civilian did it. Just to be clear.

  19. 19
    Ingdigo Jump

    By “show of force” I meant a harmless display, not actually showing that he can attack someone at random. Just to be clear.

    No such thing. A show of force is by definition a message to your target that you ARE willing to do said action. A show of force even in your brain dead jackbooting example is a threat of violence. A show of force is never harmless

  20. 20
    anteprepro

    Well, obviously the picture is out of context. The stick is simply being stretched backwards so that the good officer can scratch his back. And besides, even if he were going to beat that woman, I’m sure it is entirely justified, for reasons that I am sure couldn’t have been captured in the shot. I’m just so glad that we can be nuanced and skeptical enough that we have transcended even the simple “pics or it didn’t happen” skepticism of the Internet, into a more robust “complete video footage or it didn’t happen” skepticism. We just need a chorus of “Innocent Until Proven Guilty” and our Skepticism ™ on this issue will be Complete.

  21. 21
    sonofrojblake

    One question: AT LEAST two people snapped a photo of this moment or the one just before/after – there’s a guy in the background with a very large, expensive camera of a type I’d hestitate to take to a football match, let alone a riot.

    The cop in question is clearly personally identifiable in the photo.

    How long before people in these situations start realising they may be identified and held accountable for their actions?

    It’s already started in the UK.

    In 2009, a man named Ian Tomlinson was pushed to the ground by a riot cop during a protest in London. He had his back to the cop and his hands in his pockets. How do I know this? Because someone happened to be videoing the incident on their phone. Tomlinson died. A coroner recorded that he was unlawfully killed, but the cop, Simon Harwood, was found not guilty of manslaughter. He was, however, fired from the police force.

    The practical upshot of this was that in the riots of last summer, the police took a much more hands-off attitude. Nobody wants to be the next Harwood.

    This of course is an example from
    (a) a civilised country where violent police are held to account for their actions where possible
    (b) a country where those police are not permitted to carry ranged weapons for self defence or crowd control – no guns, no water cannon, no baton rounds, no tear gas grenades. A stick and some pepper spray, that’s all they get.

    So it’s not necessarily comparable with the apparent thug in the picture.

    One other question: can you really trust that picture? I don’t know about you, but no matter how small, pathetic-looking, emotional or upset I was, standing where that woman is I’d have my hands UP, not hanging by my sides. Pointless, possibly, but it would be such an instinctive reaction to at least cringe a *bit* that I don’t think I’d be able to stop myself. Yet she seems not to be in any way reacting to the cop’s movements. I just find it harder and harder to trust photographs these days.

  22. 22
    Sids

    The police were allegedly attacked with banners and signs… but no mention of police injuries that I recall.
    Ok, so lets assume for a moment that they were attacked. What would you have them do? Stand there and take it? Few have shields, and they could certainly be hurt if they do nothing. They can tell them to stop, do you suppose that will work?

    that’s not what the body language is suggesting.
    If the body language isn’t there, then it’s not much of a warning. When you have hundreds of screaming rioters around you, I’d hope you’d be concentrating, it’s not a good time to look at the clouds. I don’t find the body language particularly convincing.

    No it takes a sophist piece of shit bent on apologizing for brutality
    Strawman and ad hominem, I never apologised for brutality, I pointed out that the evidence is inconclusive that there was brutality.

    Oh, I see, you can tell that the people are a violent mob without context
    I used that example to point out that we have at least as much, evidence of rioter violence towards police, yet no one seems to care about that.

    Oh, I see, you can tell that the people are a violent mob without context, but not the fucking cop in the middle of swinging a giant bludgeon at a woman he outweighs by 50 pounds.
    Begging the question (though it’s not really a question). You’ve assumed that that’s what he’s in the middle of doing.

    Which would still be considered assault if a civilian did it. Just to be clear.
    Sure. Which is why we don’t just expect the civilians to end the riot themselves. We also allow police to enter crime scenes, which would be illegal for a civilian to do. We also allow the civilian to just leave the riot if have better things to do, which the police would not be allowed to do.

    I’m just so glad that we can be nuanced and skeptical enough that we have transcended even the simple “pics or it didn’t happen”
    I don’t see a pic of him hitting the woman, do you? That pic only shows that he raised a stick amongst an angry mob. Do we have medical records to show that she was one of the people injured?

    Anyway, I’m done. My point was that the picture does nothing but sensationalise something with flimsy evidence. I think the amount of abuse here demonstrates that fact. It’s quite possible that he did hit her, but more evidence is needed. People will always assume that the civilians are innocent and are just being beaten up by ‘Big Government’. I’m simply saying that thinking before leaping to conclusions might be a good idea.

  23. 23
    Menyambal

    I tend to distrust photographs because they are a frozen instant, not in stereo, and limited in area. That doesn’t mean they aren’t what they look like, sometimes.

    In this case, you can’t see if the big guy is actually swinging, or just posing. It sure looks like a windup, though.

    It does look like the two are making eye contact, and are in the same plane of action. (There was a photo of the Cuban boy, Elian, where it looked like a gun was pointing right at him, but careful study showed it was pointed more toward the camera.) This one looks like he is focussed on her.

    It might be that he is going for someone behind her, but I see no evidence for that. He seems to be looking at her, and not to push her aside. His left hand is in counterbalance position, not preparing to grip.

    I noticed that his mouth is shut, even tensed as if for a strike. Hers is open, seemingly yelling.

    She does not seem to be bracing for a blow, but more crouched as if yelling.

    Someone in the linked site points out that he seems to be wearing two wristwatches.

    I am very certain that his baton is made of rattan, a viney palm-wood, which is very slightly softer than hardwood and a lot lighter. Not that it will hurt much less after a windup like his.

    My limited training with a nightstick said that the best way to use one in a crowd is a two-handed poke to the stomach. None of the police seem to be trained, nor are they in a coherent formation.

    I’m not saying he isn’t about to brutalize the woman, I’m just detailing what I looked at and for.

    He is damn big, armed and armoured, and she is very brave. I hope she didn’t get hurt, I hope her cause triumphed.

  24. 24
    sonofrojblake

    Here’s an exercise:

    Cover up the right side of the picture, so you can only see the cop. What does it look like he’s doing? Warning someone? Or winding up to hit them? Is he advancing… or retreating? Is he following his training calmly, is he excited and having fun, or is he stressed out and frightened? Does he look like he’s under attack, now or at some point in the previous few seconds?

    Now cover up the cop, so you can only see the woman. What does it look like she’s doing? Crying in grief? Screaming in anger? Yelling aggressively and getting ready to charge forward? Screeching in terror? Does her body language look like she’s getting ready to run forward, run away, or stand her ground? Does she look physically threatened or show any signs of being under imminent attack, or look like she’s yelling a threat? Is she making any attempt to shield herself from anything?

    Still pictures suck, even if they’ve not be digitally messed with.

  25. 25
    Ichthyic

    the fascist uncertainty principle?

    Ok, that was a keeper.

  26. 26
    hallpower

    Is this funny for yoy?

  27. 27
    Ichthyic

    Ok, so lets assume for a moment that they were attacked. What would you have them do? Stand there and take it?

    dude…

    you’ve obviously never been in one of these situations.

    cops in full riot gear are not threatened by signs.

    not at all.

    which, of course, is why you had 30-50 people injured, and not one of them was ever mentioned as being a cop, even though the very article I linked to was very biased in favor of the police presence there.

    you don’t think you’re reaching here? just a little?

  28. 28
    blf

    There are continuing reports of torture and extrajudicial executions in Bangladesh. With a documented background like that, it seems a considerable reach to suppose the photograph shows something other than it looks like, namely, a uniformed thug about to bash a small civilian.

     ────────────────────────────────

    The International Herald Tribune published a loosely-related article on attacks against women and the poor in Bangladesh recent, Women hurting women.

  29. 29
    Hurin

    Sids

    Strawman and ad hominem, I never apologised for brutality, I pointed out that the evidence is inconclusive that there was brutality.

    Translation: I like to use fancy words, but I have no idea what they mean.

    I’ll help you out with one of your confusions, since I’m feeling less angry this morning.

    apologist

    one who speaks or writes in defense of someone or something

    ——

    Like, that person for instance who counters documented police brutality by saying it might not actually be brutality, you know, that cop might just be walking around with a big club over his head because he is auditioning for a grant from the ministry of silly walks.

    Begging the question (though it’s not really a question). You’ve assumed that that’s what he’s in the middle of doing.

    This isn’t a philosophical question you fucking worthless dimbulb, that is some woman’s face that guy is smashing.

    I think the amount of abuse here demonstrates that fact.

    Oh, but how do you know you are being abused? What if I think all the words I am using mean something else entirely from what you think they mean? I could be posting from bizarro world, and I might be using the words “worthless dimbulb” to tell you that I am impressed with your argumentative skills.

    I really think you should collect more evidence before you jump to conclusions like this.

    Anyway, I’m done.

    Good riddance.

  30. 30
    anteprepro

    Ok, so lets assume for a moment that they were attacked [by people armed with signs]. What would you have them do? Stand there and take it?

    BAAAAAAW. Apparently police can’t just arrest people.

    Strawman and ad hominem, I never apologised for brutality, I pointed out that the evidence is inconclusive that there was brutality.

    “I’m not apologizing for rape, I’m just sayin’ that we don’t have conclusive, absolute proof that it was actually rape, is all. Just Skepticizin’ here.”

    I used that example to point out that we have at least as much, evidence of rioter violence towards police,

    Not apologizin’ for police brutality at all, nosiree.

    [In response to "it would be an assault if a civilian did it"]

    Sure. Which is why we don’t just expect the civilians to end the riot themselves. We also allow police to enter crime scenes, which would be illegal for a civilian to do.

    So, basically, police are Above The Law, huh? That’s what you’re going with?

    I don’t see a pic of him hitting the woman, do you? That pic only shows that he raised a stick amongst an angry mob. Do we have medical records to show that she was one of the people injured?

    Yes, a picture only snaps one moment in time, and this is a picture where the only plausible explanation is that the cop is winding up to hit the woman. But, because you are Such A Skeptic, that doesn’t matter, because who gives a fuck about plausible explanations as long as there is only remotely possible alternatives. Just throw up your hands, say “We can’t know anything for sure!” and demand that everyone else stop jumping to the most obvious conclusion until we have absolute, 100% proof. You need a picture of Before, After, and During before you accept that the cop actually hit her and it did anything. I’m sure you’d need a picture of her in a hospital bed before you would accept that her injury was significant. I’m sure you’d need pictures of every instant before the cop approached her in order to be sure that she didn’t have it coming to her. Then and only then will you be satisfied, it seems.

    People will always assume that the civilians are innocent and are just being beaten up by ‘Big Government’.

    Yeah, because there are absolutely no people who think The Police Are Always Right, and assume that any time they are shown to actually be behaving badly, it must be Out of Context, or Jumping to Conclusions. Who think accusations of police brutality is just people lying about those Pure, Shining Exemplars of Law. Or people who think “criminals” deserved to be brutalized. And absolutely none of those people, if they did exist, would do so on the basis “well, we just don’t have enough evidence” when pretty damn clear evidence was already present to make a decision on the matter outside of a Court of Law.

  31. 31
    Menyambal

    … that is some woman’s face that guy is smashing.

    No, that is “some woman’s” head he appears to be about to club. You have advanced the action in time, and the target in vulnerability. He may have stopped, he may have missed, or he may have fractured her skull, torn an ear off and cracked her collarbone. But he is not currently smashing her face, even though what he is doing certainly looks like brutality is about to occur, and would probably rate as assault (in the threatening sense) in an American court, even if he turned and walked away—which I doubt is going to happen.

    If you look past the brutal cop’s belly armour, you can see the back half of what looks to be an AK-47. It’s down low, seems to be out of a secure grip, and I can’t tell who is carrying it.

    You can also see two pairs of non-police athletic shoes in amongst the police, and one police-type helmet on a guy wearing a non-police shirt and shoes.

    Also in the background is a news microphone.

    Another cop appears to be licking his lips, as if nervous, and using an improper grip on his stick. The police are not in formation.

    I am guessing that this is a second encounter between the protestors and the police, with one guy wearing a helmet he took off a cop. This may be second-string police, poorly trained. I’d say the protestors just broke the police formation, somehow, probably just by scuffling and shoving.

    I cannot say what the gun is doing in there, other than possibly a policeman was carrying it down low to avoid showing it in a protest situation, or maybe it just got used to club somebody. Maybe.

    Any way I slice it, the woman is not presently advancing on the policeman, he is twice her size, armed and armoured, and he certainly is poised to strike her on the head.

  32. 32
    RFW

    Just like American pro football. Give the fools body armor and the violence level soars.

    We need to put all cops in dainty pink pinafores and ballet slippers, with no guns and no batons. Or if that’s just too too emasculating, then a high cut wrestling singlet might do, sufficiently manly to soothe frazzled studs but offering zero protection.

  33. 33
    Weed(less) Monkey

    Menyambal

    No, that is “some woman’s” head he appears to be about to club. You have advanced the action in time, and the target in vulnerability. He may have stopped, he may have missed, or he may have fractured her skull, torn an ear off and cracked her collarbone. But he is not currently smashing her face, even though what he is doing certainly looks like brutality is about to occur, and would probably rate as assault (in the threatening sense) in an American court, even if he turned and walked away—which I doubt is going to happen.

    What he is doing is certainly nothing I was trained for as a military policeman. She is obviously not an immediate threat. And even if she were, the preferred use of baton was to target the large muscles, biceps and thighs, to cause pain but no permanent damage.

    If you look past the brutal cop’s belly armour, you can see the back half of what looks to be an AK-47. It’s down low, seems to be out of a secure grip, and I can’t tell who is carrying it.

    That’s definitely not an AK-47.

    You can also see two pairs of non-police athletic shoes in amongst the police, and one police-type helmet on a guy wearing a non-police shirt and shoes.

    What ever other people are doing is no excuse to beat up someone who is not an imminent threat.

    Also in the background is a news microphone.

    So what?

    Another cop appears to be licking his lips, as if nervous, and using an improper grip on his stick. The police are not in formation.

    So what? They are supposed not to bash heads indiscriminately even when nervous.

    I cannot say what the gun is doing in there, other than possibly a policeman was carrying it down low to avoid showing it in a protest situation, or maybe it just got used to club somebody. Maybe.

    Hard to guess what the purpose was, but to me it looks like a gas grenade launcher.

    And it definitely is not any assault rifle I know of, including AK-47.

  34. 34
    Ichthyic

    Hard to guess what the purpose was, but to me it looks like a gas grenade launcher.

    yup. the article I linked to mentions they used tear gas.

    seems likely that’s what it is.

  35. 35
    Menyambal

    Thanks, Weed Monkey. I didn’t bother to go look up the gun, I just guessed AK, as it wasn’t a plastic stock. It seems likely that it is a tear-gas launcher, now that you mention it. I did look closer and see that it appears to be hanging from a strap, and that strap looks like it is just tied on, not clipped to a swivel.

    I am not in any way excusing the policeman’s action, dammit, I am just trying to analyze the photo as best I can. I’ve had college classes in photo interpretation, even if that was mostly for air photos.

    I pointed out the news microphone as an indicator that this wasn’t a sudden happening. Although having the police dressed in riot gear also indicates that, obviously.

    No, the policeman shouldn’t be doing an overhead swing like that, whatever the target. He’s wide open to retaliation, for one thing.

    He and all the other cops are acting like a bunch of scared amateurs. I’m now thinking that the two guys in running shoes are part of the troop, way out of uniform. Some of the other have shields, some do not.

    I earlier speculated that their formation had just been broken, but given all the signs of poor organization, I doubt they ever got into one. Something bad may be coming at them, as it looks like a few are running away.

    It’s a giant mess on the part of the cops, and I have no doubt that one of them is out of control enough to be clubbing an unarmed woman.

  36. 36
    Ichthyic

    He’s wide open to retaliation, for one thing.

    Yeah, I think the woman is gearing up a Kamehameha wave in response!

  37. 37
    slowdjinn

    FWIW it looks like one of these:
    http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/File:Federal_M201-Z_Riot_Gun.JPG

  38. 38
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Menyambal — Sambal’s Little Helper

    You know I always wonder. What the fuck is the investment for people like you?

  39. 39
    Hurin

    Menyambal

    He and all the other cops are acting like a bunch of scared amateurs. I’m now thinking that the two guys in running shoes are part of the troop, way out of uniform. Some of the other have shields, some do not.

    Forgive me if I can’t find it in me to empathize with them. I’m past tired of seeing law enforcement “authorities” abuse the limited license they are given to act differently from the rest of us. If these asshats can’t deal with a protest without jack-booting people, then they should be shit-canned and charged with crimes where appropriate, up to and including murder.

    If the cops are a bunch of amateurs then there is no reason for them at all. I’m an amateur. If the police resemble me in that respect, then why the fuck would I, or anyone else in society need them? The one and only good argument for the existence of coercive government functions is a pragmatic argument, and if it doesn’t hold because the government is a bunch of total incompetents, then down with Big Brother.

    I found some of the insights in the photo that you shared in 31 to be interesting, and I respect you generally, but as far as this one goes I’m with Ing. I’m really not sure why you are bringing this up.

  40. 40
    Menyambal

    I don’t understand what you think I am bringing up, really I don’t.

    As far as I can tell, I’ve maybe made the possible point that the government hasn’t sent out highly-trained cops with the deliberate mission of beating women over the head, but rather has failed to control or train or properly equip their police force, and to protect its citizens. The government is still wrong, the cop is still, to all appearances, winding up to clobber a smaller, un-armed female person over the head. Which is wrong.

    Saying that the cops are a bunch of goobers is NOT excusing their behavior. Nor have I in any way placed blame on the woman, have I?

    I have not said that her left hand could be going for a concealed weapon, nor that her pose looks like my first karate stance. I thought of those possibilities, and dismissed them. But I do think a lawyer for the cops might, maybe, use them as excuses, and I think he’d be wrong to do so.

    I’m about ready to bail out on this discussion, before it goes all fruity, but I just want to say again that I haven’t been trying to do anything but examine the photo to the best of my ability. I have expressed support for the woman, and condemned the cops.

    And I don’t know what you think I am bringing up.

  41. 41
    Hurin

    Menyambal

    I don’t understand what you think I am bringing up, really I don’t.

    I guess my assumptions are part of the problem. I’m used to going to threads about police brutality (especially on DU, but that is neither here nor there) and finding police apologists doing what Sids was doing, and it tends to anger me. Consequently, I have a hair trigger for things resembling apologia for police brutality.

    The response I penned to you last night looks angrier this morning than I intended it to be, so I apologize if I came off as hostile. I get that you are more interested in examining the photo than exonerating brutal cop, but keep in mind that when you start talking about how poorly trained and scared the cops are, it can sound like you are trying to excuse them.

  42. 42
    Menyambal

    Hurin, thank you very much.

    I really appreciate the explanation, and I understand your line of thought. There are folks who assume the police are always right, and I’ve seen them often. I was guessing that what you thought I was doing, but I was too upset to clarify any better.

    I will try to be more aware of the people/communication side of things, and try to get less wound up in the technical.

    Thank you.

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