Mr Rogers says, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

And then shoot them.

Amanda Marcotte writes about the performative worship of the police at the Republican National Convention. Meanwhile, in Miami, a black caregiver trying to help a severely autistic man who wandered away from a group home, was confronted by police who’d been called by someone who said the man was wielding a gun (it was actually a toy truck). The caregiver ends up lying in the street with his hands up and clearly empty, trying to explain to the police that he was trying to help the man, and please don’t shoot.

So shot him, obvs.

“When I went to the ground, I went to the ground with my hands up,” Kinsey said, “and I am laying there just like this. Telling them again there is no need for firearms. He is autistic. He has a toy truck in his hand.” …

“I’m like this right here, and when he shot me, it was so surprising,” Kinsey said. “I thought it was a mosquito bite, and when it hit me I had my hands in the air, and I’m thinking I just got shot! And I’m saying, ‘Sir, why did you shoot me?’ and his words to me were, ‘I don’t know.’ ”

Then they handcuffed him. Why, I don’t know. I think the new logic has changed from “if you see a criminal, shoot them” to “if you shoot them, you see a criminal.”


  1. specialffrog says

    I gather that if the police beat someone up they will generally charge them with something so they can use the charge as leverage to get them not to pursue action against the police. I assume the same kind of thing is at work here.

  2. mamba says

    What the hell is wrong with the cops??? This is like the ideal peaceful situation…clearly unarmed, actually explaining to the cop the situation…no possible threat at all, and the call was for a suicide threat anyway. (that was unfounded seconds after the cop arrives and sees no weapon)

    Then they shot the OTHER guy…not even the guy they were called about!!! While he does literally nothing except go out of his way to show WHY no guns are needed.

    Then the final fun…the cop HIMSELF doesn’t even know why he shot him 3 times!!! “I don’t know” is 100% NOT an acceptable response to why lethal force (potentially) was used against a person 100% innocent of EVERYTHING, even the initial call. Was his blackness blacking the cop in a threatening manner? Was the cop on drugs? W.T.Fuuuu?????

    They’re not even trying to hide their incompetence nowadays.

    Now cue the inevitable defense of the cop and “administrative leave” (i.e. PAID VACATION) for the shooting of the innocent worker, while they try and make the whole thing go away, as opposed to throwing the cop in jail for attempted manslaughter at least.

  3. davidnangle says

    These news reports always mention somebody “looking for answers” after one of these events. Everybody already has all the answers. There’s no need for answers. Justice… that’s what’s actually needed. No one’s willing to offer that, though.

    I imagine there will be “He’s no angel” comments here and there… about a man I’m sure has actually been called an angel.

  4. numerobis says

    Cell phones have become a major force for social justice, so there’s that.

    But they also enable people calling 911 on an autistic man with a toy truck and calling it a gun.

  5. anchor says

    Then they turned Kinsey over onto his stomach and handcuffed him, leaving him bleeding until paramedics arrived 20 minutes later, goddammitt all to hell.

  6. johnson catman says

    It seems as if the police officers in the US are the ones trying to start a race war. There is absolutely no reasonable excuse for shooting anyone, much less the caregiver, in this situation.

  7. says

    Marcotte’s dig at the Academy over Roman Polanski was unnecessary and distracting in this context. The Pianist was the best directed film that year.

    Anyway for the matter at hand police worship is just an extension of the militarization of the police.

    And the social worker who was wrongly shot was no angel, he’s Saint Job in the flesh. I have no idea why that interview was that calm

  8. cartomancer says

    It’s coming to something when the best you can say about a situation like this is “at least the wound wasn’t fatal”. One hopes that change will come out of a story like this, but it’s not a terribly high hope.

    I do think the policeman’s response was very telling though. Examining the psychology here is important. He shot because that’s what his instincts told him to do. Because that’s what his subconscious reading of the situation told him was the natural conclusion to it.

    That, right there, is why the most important change must be in police training and conditioning. Disarming them is all good, but de-escalation has to be their first, second and all but final focus in their day to day dealings with their fellow members of the public. Getting it into their heads that they ARE just members of the public would be helpful too.

  9. davidnangle says

    I hope that cop feels appropriately responsible for the next inevitable cop ambush. Cops can complain about this situation, but they themselves are the only ones capable of doing anything about it.

    What they are doing, in repeatedly shooting cooperative, law-abiding black men is turning their own existence into that of the law-abiding black man in America: Never knowing when they will be shot without any warning, unjustly, inexplicably.

  10. msm16 says

    What drives me most batty about the police worship is that it’s not actually that dangerous of a job. Construction workers and truck driver have a higher occupational fatality rate than police. Its all just public religion, ritual in no way connected to reality.

  11. cartomancer says

    Though while we’re on the subject of outright fetishization of the police, I have to ask – to what extent does American popular media present that view these days? I would expect quite a lot, but I don’t know. I’m not a fan of police-themed programmes and my only familiarity with US police on TV comes from twee eighties detective series like Columbo, Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder.

    I do remember an episode of Charlie Brooker’s TV Wipe a few years ago, though, which showed US audiences popular UK TV programmes and asked them what they thought. They seemed very shocked that The Bill – our own long-running police drama – often showed policemen as fallible, corrupt or incompetent and had absolutely no intrinsic reverence for them.

  12. says

    Speaking of police worshiping/fetishization, several hundred folks in my town (total population about 8000) got together Tuesday for an “I Support the Force Peace Walk.” Never mind the contradiction in the title itself. One of the posters shown says “#StoptheViolence”. At first, I thought it was a counter-protester, but the person’s shirt seems to be supporting the police.

    Also, I realize our town is 98% white, but it is no surprise that there is not a single person of color in those pictures.

  13. MJP says

    msm16 @10

    I’ve seen statistics that indicate that being a bartender is more dangerous than being a cop.

  14. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    Oh, fuck, I’m so relieved. Seriously, the moment I started reading, I was sure the samaritan had ended up dead. I’m fucking relieved he was “only” shot, not outright killed. I keep having to lower my standards to stay in tune with this fucked up situation.

  15. davidnangle says

    cartomancer, I remember American cop shows from the 60s to now, and offhand can think of only one or two that seemed to present less-than-heroic cops. And I might be wrong about those two, since I didn’t watch them.

    Was “The Commish” about a bad cop? Or just another cop that did the right thing while breaking the rules?

    Otherwise, it’s been decades of openly unrealistic positive portrayals.

  16. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    PZ wrote @OP:
    I think the new logic S.O.P. has changed from was never “if you see a criminal, shoot them” to is still “if you shoot them, you see a criminal.”
    woh, too many edits.
    you get my cynical reaction to this incident.

    –ugh, I reread the Gawker story:
    the cops shot the guy accompanying the man who had been reported as threatening suicide? Even if he really had a gun and was about to suicide, what possible irrationale would lead the cop to shoot the other guy and not the possible suicide?
    If NYPD could mistake a wallet for a gun, leading to 41 shots, then a dark toy truck in someone’s hand could be mistaken for a gun (since they had been ‘primed’ by the 911 phone call). Why they shot the guy without the object, is puke-worthy.

    And they even bungled the over-reaction. They only got him in the arm (“felt like a mosquito”, the victim reported). I thought cops were trained to shoot ‘center of mass’, not extremities. After ‘administrative leave’, that cop will be back on the firing range to improve his skill (my cynicism bets).

    Why am I not surprised that this happened in Florida (miami specifically) and the victim was a POC?? me shake my head at how common this has become. and ain’t just media obsession with denigrating Florida. Florida occurrence frequency has attracted the media attention, not the reverse.

  17. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re catomancer@11,
    your 80’s cop shows reference, makes me reminisce about Hill Street Blues, which I remember as the cops being quite fallible, at least trying to do right, but often getting it wrong and facing consequences. There were only one or two who were the stereotypical “good, infallible, cop”.
    And then there was Miami Vice that took ‘vice’ in both directions.

  18. Trickster Goddess says


    The _only_ thing that needed de-escalating there were the cops themselves. The guy on the ground was the calmest person on the scene.

  19. Larry says

    Although I would never justify the shooting of a cop, I have extreme sympathy for the rage and frustration felt by blacks in the country over the totally unjustified shooting and murder of other blacks by cops. Why, all of a sudden, has the response to any situation, not even life-threatening, become shoot first, ask questions later. It has to be terrifying to have any encounter with the police these days, not knowing if you’re going to come out of it arrested, injured, or dead. Especially for such benign situations like this one. There is no rational reason or excuse this cop had for pulling and firing his weapon. What kind of training are they receiving these days. It’s either not enough or the wrong kind.

  20. cartomancer says

    davidnangle #15, slithey tove #17

    I see. I’m really not surprised that the narrative has always been somewhat unrealistic and reverential, but has changed from one where the police were often well-meaning and occasionally fallible human characters to one of simpering adulation. I tend to take the view that the messages our cultural touchstones give us matter quite a bit in shaping attitudes, and this seems entirely of a piece with the problem. Which is bigger than just the police, of course. I noticed that after 2001 the public discourse in the US seemed to use the word “heroes” an awful lot, entirely unironically, simplistically and uncritically. Which is never a good sign.

    How to fix that is a tricky proposition of course. I’m guessing that the people who run US television stations are entirely corporate and profit-driven, and would balk at the notion of making socially progressive programming that challenges the status quo and introduces new ideas.

  21. says

    My father worked as a lumberjack for a while, and my brother was a commercial fisherman. Both of those are among the most dangerous jobs on the planet. Policeman doesn’t even come close.

    Neither my father nor my brother ever murdered anyone despite the high risk environment they were working in.

  22. cartomancer says

    Trickster Goddess, #18

    Yes, my point entirely. Proper de-escalation training makes it the police’s responsibility to ensure that situations don’t happen that way. They are taught techniques to calm others, but the most important bit is going in with the clear, conscious attitude that what we want is a peaceful and orderly resolution to the incident. Such training, when effective, helps the police overcome any instinct they may have to make things worse.

  23. says

    With all possible respect for all the good, decent cops out there: WHAT THE F*CK IS WRONG WITH THE US POLICE? What does a black person have to do to avoid getting shot by them?

  24. says

    Not surprisingly you hear the term hero overused a lot these days in Canada too, although I think more for soldiers and firemen than cops.

    davidnagle@15 you’re thinking of two different shows with the same actor. The Commish revolved around a small town police commissioner and his somewhat quirky fellow officers. It aired in 1991. The Shield revolved around LA cops of questionable character, and first aired in 2002. Both starred Michael Chiklis.

  25. A Masked Avenger says

    Then they handcuffed him. Why, I don’t know.

    I’ve answered this question a few times before on this blog. There’s a very specific reason for it, and law enforcement are trained to do it. My instructor said clearly, in so many words, again and again, “If you shoot someone, by god you’d better cuff them!”

    The reason is to prepare your defense in any possible trial that may arise out of the shooting. Cuffing them helps in several ways.

    First, it allows you to claim that you were effecting an arrest. Force is allowed not only to defend self or others, but if you’re a cop it’s also allowed when necessary to effect an arrest. “Necessary” is debatable in front of a jury, but if you plan to claim you were effecting an arrest, then by god you’d better effect an arrest. The instructor sometimes added, “I don’t care if they’re fucking dead: handcuff the fucking corpse. Understand?”

    Second, it lets you bootstrap an actual crime out of an illegal arrest. In many jurisdictions, including mine, resisting arrest is a crime, even if the cop and the arrestee both know the arrest was completely illegal. There is no right to defend yourself, even if the cop says, “I’m arrest you for being ugly, and I’ma beat you some more with the ugly stick once you’re cuffed.” You are required by law to submit to the arrest, and wait for your day in court to complain about any misconduct or misfeasance. They can’t resist arrest if you don’t arrest them. You can always claim in court that they resisted; that becomes your word against theirs, and they’re obviously a criminal, so…

    Third, it reinforces a claim of self-defense. You don’t want to claim they were dangerous, and you were in fear for your life, and then leave them lying there shot. “Weren’t you afraid they’d pull a concealed gun and shoot you? Weren’t you afraid they were faking their injuries? If you were so afraid for your life, why did you leave them free to maybe kill you?” It plays better in court to say, “I shot him because I was in fear for my life, and I handcuffed him so he would be unable to attack me while I .”

    This shooting was beyond absurd; beyond obviously wrong. But that doesn’t matter: failing to cuff the victim is as good as throwing away cards the defense could play. It’s the lawyer’s job to decide whether to play that card later.

  26. Chris J says

    Again I have to remind myself that, back when I was younger and fitter, I was carrying a fucking samurai sword to my house late at night (and swinging it around a bit) after I got it as a gift, and someone called the police on me. What happened? They told me to put the weapon on the ground, and I did. They picked it up and examined it, said I was an idiot (rightly so) and said I could pick it up from the station later.

    I asked if they could drive me home instead, and they agreed. No guns were ever drawn. Wasn’t even threatened with arrest.

    What does a black person have to do to avoid getting shot by police, Erlend? Shit like this forces me to consider that the real answer is to bleach their skin.

  27. magistramarla says

    Larry, @ #19
    While it is nowhere near the same level of tragedy that people of color have to deal with, I worry about opening my door to a cop and my dog being shot. There have been many cases of family dogs being shot during a house “raid”, only later to be found that the police were raiding the wrong house.
    I have a huge and friendly German Shepherd. He used to be my mobility dog, but is now retired because he is disabled too.
    It’s a sad state of affairs when citizens have to be afraid for the lives of their loved ones and pets at the hands of those who are supposed to be protecting us.
    I just thought of something else. I’ve lived on military bases. They are no-carry zones for everyone but on-duty military police. I have always felt safe on any base. Also, those MPs knew my dog and were extremely jealous of me. They all said that they would love to have him. It is very sad that I feel much less safe in a quiet suburban suburb than I felt on a military base.

  28. A Masked Avenger says

    Military police can’t shoot people on base because that’s destroying government property.

  29. magistramarla says

    Chris J.
    You reminded me of an incident that happened to my son. He had borrowed my large white station wagon to transport some of his ROTC drill team members and their gun stocks to a competition. They were experts at marching around and throwing those stocks in the air and catching them. ROTC high school kids use inert gun stocks. Active duty military drill teams use the real thing. He later was on a Marine drill team, and I worried about that!
    The boys were pulled over and searched. We later found out that there had been a robbery nearby and my white station wagon sort of matched the description of the white suburban that the real robbers were driving. The cops pulled their guns when they found the gun stocks in the back of the car and I heard that one pointed his at my son when he started to reach for his wallet and ID. This happened in1999. I fear that in today’s atmosphere, my only son might have become a statistic, even though he is white.

  30. A Masked Avenger says

    To follow up on my previous comment I don’t know whether locals go to work on military bases today but during the Korean War that was quite common, and they did not feel so safe.

  31. says

    Obama blathered, “We’ve got your backs,” which is code for someone covering up other people’s crimes. In this case, a violent and corrupt government is willing to cover up for violent and corrupt cops.

    What a government should be doing to cops is looking over their shoulders. Cops should be prosecuted and punished more harshly than civilians because they are trained and entrusted to uphold the law, not hold up the citizenry and rob or murder them.

    specialffrog (#1) –

    I gather that if the police beat someone up they will generally charge them with something

    There’s at least one case where corrupt cops (a redundancy if there ever was one) charged someone with “assault and destruction of property” after their victim’s blood splatter the cops’ uniforms. It was after an unprovoked beating with nightsticks upon the victim who was not “resisting arrest” in any way.

  32. says

    I’m not a fan of police-themed programmes and my only familiarity with US police on TV comes from twee eighties detective series like Columbo, Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder.

    I could write a lot about Columbo, power, and epistemic justice. A large part of what makes the character great is his refusal to see the rich and powerful as better people or more reliable speakers. He goes out of his way to talk to maids, gardeners, valets, and other workers, and taking their perspectives and experiences seriously is indispensable to solving the crimes. He’s generally presented on his own – and not really as representative of the LAPD – or with a neophyte police sidekick, but when others in the department are shown they’re sometimes portrayed in a less than stellar light.

    One episode in particular is fairly impressive (I’m describing it from memory so some of the details might be off). In A Friend In Deed from 1974, a woman is murdered by her husband, the deputy police commissioner. She’s involved with charities helping parolees and ex-prisoners, and is murdered while getting ready for a banquet in which she’ll be rewarded for this work. So shortly after the murder a man representing the charitable organization – I think an ex-convict himself – shows up to find out why she wasn’t at the banquet (or to pick her up to bring her there). He’s black, and the cops on the scene are instantly hostile and suspicious towards him. He tells them why he’s there and that he’s come from the event (or before, to pick her up), and they all keep saying things like, “Oh, yeah. I bet you did.” Columbo appears, sees how they’re acting, and doesn’t scold them but basically says “Alright, alright. That’s enough of that.” Then he pulls the man aside and politely asks him pertinent questions about the event and so on. The unremarked realistic portrayal of LAPD racism is quite unusual, and having a beloved character like that model respectful interactions was a tiny but real contribution to changing the culture.

  33. rietpluim says

    That cop is stupid.
    Stupidity this big should be illegal.
    Oh wait, it already is.
    Hope it helps.

  34. carlie says

    So what would stop police from shooting first without even assessing the situation correctly? Obviously “potentially killing an innocent person” doesn’t do it. Maybe if there were a blanket rule that every time a police officer discharges their weapon, they go on a month unpaid leave while it gets investigated? Maybe then since they’d have actual consequences they’d actually think about it. If they’re actually scared their lives are in danger, they wouldn’t even care about a temporary pay cut. But if not, maybe they’d think a couple of times first. Jeez.

    This did bring up a movement I hadn’t heard about when it happened – “Use me instead”. This same police dept. in this story is the one from last year that was caught using actual black men’s mug shots for target practice. A group of clergy started a movement called “use me instead” where they sent pics of themselves to the police department to use as practice instead . (physical pictures were brought to the station by hand). It’s also a hashtag.

  35. says

    @32; SC – Dammit, now I’m going to have to see about watching Columbo reruns. I love Peter Falk.

    @25; A Masked Avenger – In my view there is no defense, there are no playable cards. By his “I don’t know” response, the cop knew he was wrong. The cuffing is a precursor to trying to cover it up in character assassination of the victim. IMHO, of course. Take that for what it is.

  36. arresi says

    Well, Law & Order and its spin-offs celebrated bad cops for decades (and continue in syndication). CSI and it’s spin-offs weren’t much better wrt police. The Wire was supposedly more critical?

  37. unclefrogy says

    is it something like this
    Minority-> poor -> crime-> dangerous-> arrest->
    Minority->(around again)
    white-> none poor-> familiar-> ………………..have a nice day

    how many cops are combat vets?
    how has being at war for so long affected law and order?
    I do not remember the name of the study I think it has been done a number of times anyway but I remember it as having one group be guards and another be prisoners and the study had to be stopped because the subjects all normal people became too violent and abusive. Could this phenomena be at work here on top of the underlying racial and class issues?
    uncle frogy

  38. davidnangle says

    carlie, the unpaid leave thing would be a step in the right direction. Were I dictator, I might institute a similar regulation: Each cop gets a set number of bullets per year. Each one you use gets you closer to working the job unarmed. You’d learn to only shoot when your life was REALLY at stake… otherwise, your life would be REALLY at stake.

    Finding the right number of bullets for each department would be tricky, though.

  39. says

    Mike Smith

    Marcotte’s dig at the Academy over Roman Polanski was unnecessary and distracting in this context. The Pianist was the best directed film that year.

    I’m glad you could focus on your completely irrelevant to the topic defence of a child rapist out of your system. Because that was really necessary.

    That’s just horrible. I mean, what could that cop have thought shooting an unarmed person lying on the ground with no weapons. It’s a fortunate thing he didn’t just execute him with a shot to the head. What…? I can’t even think of a sensible question to ask

  40. says

    So of course there are racist shits who are still trying to put the blame on Mr. Kinsey. I read the feed of on truly awful “paleoconservative” woman on Twitter who is arguing that he’s at fault for ignoring the police to get out of there when he went to protect the autistic man in his charge to make sure he came to no harm. No, you festering pile of hate, that means the only hero on the street that day was Charles Kinsey.

  41. robro says

    Based on the story in the Miami Herald article, it seems possible that the cop was shooting at the autistic man because he would not lay down. Typical cop response to someone not “obeying orders.”

    Does anyone have any info on the number of police officers involved in such incidences who are combat veterans? Part of the problem might be that vets go into police work. A quick google suggests that 25%-50% of the police force are vets. They might not be the best people for the job, but I haven’t found anything about the background of cops who shoot.

  42. rietpluim says

    timgueguen It would be different if the US had a decent personal records database (if that’s the correct term). That would also take away the necessity of registering to vote (taking the opportunity from the Rethuglicans to obstruct poc to vote).

  43. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    No wonder the caregiver was trying to protect him ,he was probably expecting that if left alone, police would shoot the poor man.

  44. Holms says

    The police were called on a white person acting suspiciously. They ended up shooting a helpful black guy. Fucking amazing.

  45. robro says

    Beatrice @#45 — That may well have been Kinsey’s concern, and for good reason. The autistic man wouldn’t be the first person with a mental health issue shot by police for failing to respond as they deem appropriate. It’s one indicator of just how serious this problem is. My own experience with the way police handle people experiencing mental health problems is grim: they treat it as a crime, they arrest and jail instead of hospitalize.

    The San Francisco police and public health authorities have decent procedures for handling psychotic episodes, but you have to say the right things when you call the dispatcher, otherwise there’s a risk the police will treat the situation as a criminal situation. And you have to know these magic words. If it’s your first experience, you probably don’t know what to say.

    San Francisco police receive training from NAMI on how to handle people with mental health problems. Despite that, they have shot and killed several homeless people recently who may have been having episodes. Unfortunately, these people were carrying knives and did not follow police instructions. Mental health problems are common with the homeless, and they often carry weapons because it’s dangerous on the streets and they may suffer from paranoia.

  46. says

    My own experience with the way police handle people experiencing mental health problems is grim: they treat it as a crime, they arrest and jail instead of hospitalize.

    And amazingly, it’s something that can actually be done.
    The police managed not to kill my drug addict mentally ill cousin who was wielding an actual weapon, pointing it at the police.
    OK, he’S white and this is Germany. Must be genetic, right?

  47. treefrogdundee says

    What the everloving fuck is going on? 2016 is more and more one of those bad dreams that you just can’t wake up from no matter how hard you scream. Unfortunately, I have no optimism that 2017 will be much better.

  48. gijoel says

    I have worked in disability care for the last sixteen years and this story scares the crap out of me. They thought the autistic guy had a gun, so they shot the carer. Fuck that. Glad I live on the other side of the Pacific.

  49. busterggi says

    So what happens when retrograde authoritarians are given a position of power, weapons to enforce that power and the tacit admkission by the government that anything they do is acceptable?

    You get your average police force.

  50. Scott Simmons says

    @PZ #21: Someday, someday, the survivors of those fish and those trees will get their just revenge on your family, you speciesist bastard.

    Never murdered anybody, my eye.

  51. jrkrideau says

    @19 Larry

    What kind of training are they receiving these days. It’s either not enough or the wrong kind.

    I would suggest the wrong training. Here is an example of London UK police dealing with a dangerous person.

    The London police seem well armed with a large green garbage bin, some round shields (looking like something out of a Robin Hood movie), police batons and, apparently, mace since it appears an office maced himself.

    Of course, they knew that the man was only carry a bloody great machete while in the USA the police need to assume anyone over the age of 3, it seems, is carrying at least a handgun.

    @38 uncefrogy

    You are thinking of Philip Zimbardo´s famous study The Stanford Prison Experiment

    Strangely enough I was listening to CBC or NPR about a year ago and heard of something of a duplication of the experiment with 4th or 5 graders. A teacher,attempting to show how silly racial prejudice was, divided up divided up her classroom by eye-colour and in a few hours had more or less duplicated Zimbardo´s study! Unfortunately I did not write down the teacher´s name to follow up on the report.

  52. Matrim says

    Regarding portrayals of police in media. Even when they portray cops as flawed (or even outright evil), people still cheer for them. There are people, a large number of people, that watched The Shield and still think Vic Mackey was the hero.

  53. F.O. says

    So, police called for a white guy with a gun, finds white guy apparently not responding to their requests to keep hands high and black man laying down hands high.
    Result: police shoots black guy.

    “Wrong” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

  54. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    I’ve answered this question a few times before on this blog. There’s a very specific reason for it, and law enforcement are trained to do it. My instructor said clearly, in so many words, again and again, “If you shoot someone, by god you’d better cuff them!”

    The reason is to prepare your defense in any possible trial that may arise out of the shooting. Cuffing them helps in several ways.

    So, basically, it’s planting evidence?

  55. jrkrideau says

    @57 chigau (違う)

    It’s a well known set of ‘experiments’.

    Ah, thank you. I’m a bit surprised I had not heard of it before but I was out of undergrad by then and it was completely outside of any research area I was interested in.

    As something of an aside, while traveling from Montréal to Toronto by train back in the late 1970’s, my seat-mate described trying to see what interventions would increase productivity at the small factory he managed. His results? He managed to duplicate the Hawthorne effect almost perfectly.

  56. militantagnostic says

    FO @59

    I was wrong, apparently the cop was trying to shoot the other guy

    So he shot someone by accident and and then cuffed them?

  57. Rowan vet-tech says

    @FO #59

    That is the most bullshit patently false excuse I have ever read. A barely speaking toddler could come up with a more convincing lie.

  58. tkreacher says

    Ok. So, this is clearly going to result in another violent outburst. Thank god we have Trump on the horizon. That will help matters, I’m sure.

    But honestly I can’t even dwell on this story, because I have to maintain some of my chill. So, instead, I’ll focus on something else.

    Forewarning: this is something of an intentional digression.

    SC (Salty Current) #33

    By the way, I recommend the new HBO limited series “The Night Of.”

    Seconded. I’ve found it to be a great show so far. Incredible immersion, pacing, story and what not. An interesting anecdote is that, despite that I consider myself – and with what I think is objective and thorough consideration – relatively free of hidden, internalized prejudice… an anecdote that revealed an internalized prejudice.

    A scene opened with the John Turturro character shown at what was obviously his residence, in what was obviously a comfortable, half-clothed routine of getting ready to go out. At a kitchen/living room table was a younger black kid working on a report, or something. As they spoke I was thinking – “is that a client he’s taken on in some sort of big brother way? Maybe he volunteer’s or something? Oh! Could be a foster kid, or his adopted kid or something.”

    A black woman showed up and everything became clear that the black kid was actually Turturro’s son (it wasn’t explicit that it was his biological child if I recall correctly, but the kid called him “dad” and whatnot, and it’s irrelevant to my point even if their relationship isn’t biological).

    So, anyway, it crossed my mind third, and only after the mother showed up, that this black kid was possibly Turtorro’s son, specifically his biological son. This may not immediately sound that odd, unless you factor in that I’m a half black guy who’s mother is a blue-eyed white woman. Unless you factor in that as a kid there where multiple instances where I got angry and offended by someone asking me if I was adopted because they had seen me and my mother.

    I mean, as a kid, I felt like someone was trying to erase the biological link between my mother and I. How dare they? How fucking ignorant to not even consider that a white person could birth a brown baby!

    And, here I am, today. Watching a TV show. Not even considering it. Internalized and unthinking bias.

    So, anyway. There’s a little story I can tell to divert myself from this fucking guy being shot with his fucking hands up as he’s trying to take care of his charge.

    Because I need to maintain my chill.

  59. qwints says

    Kinsey is a true hero. He put himself in danger and took a bullet for the person in his care. Soimds like this will be the Akai Gurley playbook of ‘accidents happen’ defense.

  60. tkreacher says

    robro #43

    Does anyone have any info on the number of police officers involved in such incidences who are combat veterans? Part of the problem might be that vets go into police work. A quick google suggests that 25%-50% of the police force are vets. They might not be the best people for the job, but I haven’t found anything about the background of cops who shoot.

    I have precisely zero statistics on this, but based on personal experience I would be very surprised if “vet” correlated to excessive shooting of blacks and specifically in regard to actual accidental and nerves based shootings of any race. Very, very surprised. (Not that this was your only litmus).

    Firstly, while of course there is racism in the military, I found that because of the nature of how teams work, and the nature of rank, a fair number of racist types were disabused of some of their racism in the course of their duties. This does not apply to every unit or every one, obviously, but I have seen the effect.

    Secondly, I have been in combat zones, in bad spots, and in dangerous situations with people who – I mean, seriously, people who, prior to military training, as well as and well in to combat zone experience would have been far, far more likely to pull a trigger in stressful situations.

    I have also been through the police academy (but never became a cop, because obviously) and – really it’s not even close as to who I would choose at random if I were to choose between being on the arresting end of a cop who was prior military and one who was not.

    It’s not even close.

    But the data would be interesting to see, regardless of my personal experience.

  61. Chris DeVries says

    I have a comment and a question for A Masked Avenger. I understand the reason why they cuff people after they shoot them, but it seems to me that they care more about covering their asses than the welfare of the person they shot (whether they deserved it or not). If the guy is hurt and bleeding, without a weapon (because you would obviously search him/her immediately after shooting them), the only purpose of handcuffing them is, according to you, to be able to claim later that you were arresting them. “To protect and serve” means protect yourself and serve your own interests now?

    Also, do police officers not have to tell you they’re arresting you before they do so? I mean, how can you know if you’re resisting arrest or not, if you do not know you’re under arrest? The condition of mens rea, the guilty mind, in cases of reckless behavior (IANAL but resisting arrest seems to fall into this category) is met if a person consciously disregards a “substantial and unjustifiable risk” that his conduct is of a prohibited nature. And people have been charged with resisting arrest if they simply weren’t passive enough in letting a cop handcuff and search them, or if they flee from a police officer. I don’t know about you but if I was a black man in the USA right now and a cop pointed a gun at me and told me to freeze, I might take off running! Fight or flight takes over when you think your life could be in danger, and police officers are a clear and unambiguous danger to black people right now.

    So if a police officer is claiming that he shot someone when trying to make an arrest, but witnesses state that there was no talk of arresting that person until they were already bleeding out, how is retroactively cuffing them going to help? Doesn’t it *actually* show that the cop knowingly tried to manipulate the scene to allow for the best possible interpretation (for him) by the courts? Such behavior, to my mind, constitutes evidence of the guilty mind of the police officer himself (that he would try to alter a crime scene to make it look like he was doing an arrest when witnesses can confirm otherwise).

    In general, I think that the purported number one rule of law enforcement (go home at the end of your shift) needs to be number 2 or 3. Number one should be to work with the people you serve to better serve them, and number two should be to attempt de-escalation before force is used in all interactions with criminal suspects in which the force assymmetry is demonstrably on the side of the police (i.e. when one armed cop is confronting one calm suspect without a gun, or when multiple armed cops are confronting one armed suspect who isn’t waving his gun around). In these cases, if de-escalation doesn’t work, by all means use force, and in cases where a suspect behaves violently and has the capacity (demeanor and/or weapons) to hurt other people (including responding cops), there is no conflict assymmetry, so force can and should be the first option. But if force is used against a suspect who did not actively threaten to hurt anyone, cops should be charged with assault or manslaughter (if the suspect dies).

    Cops are public servants. They knowingly take on a risky job, and should do so with the full knowledge that they may be put into dangerous situations. But situations should have to be *demonstrably* dangerous for a cop to use lethal force legally, meaning a few cops probably will be injured or killed because they were not aware a situation was dangerous from the start and tried to engage suspects without lethal force when they were unknowingly at grave risk. That’s the job. Shooting someone because the situation you’re in *could* be dangerous (but you’re not sure, better to be safe than sorry)…that’s illegal in my book.

  62. Saad says

    A Masked Avenger, #25

    My instructor said clearly, in so many words, again and again, “If you shoot someone, by god you’d better cuff them!”

    What an asshole.

  63. numerobis says

    I’m tempted to believe the cop saying he shot at the autistic man and hit the therapist instead. Because it doesn’t make the shooter look any better, so why bother making up that story?

    Theres no rationalization of shooting anybody in this situation. One has a toy truck and is upset. The other is lying down with his hands up. Why do they have their guns drawn? Why is the police even involved?

  64. jrkrideau says

    “Why were the police involved?”

    Well, this part of the story makes sense. They were quite properly responding to a 911 call. The caller was mistaken but the police could not know that.

    Heck, a former co-worker and some friends were tromping off into the woods to work on a bike obstacle course. They had shovels; a concerned citizen called 911 and reported several men with rifles heading into the woods (this was outside of any hunting season and in Canada near a fairly large city where one definitely does not see this.

    A few minutes later, my co-worker noticed a SWAT team member pointing a gun at him. Really, the police just doing their job.

  65. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 69:
    yeah it’s so reassuring to know that the cops have such skilled marksmen wielding guns to protect us. /sarc

    Yeah, he so wanted to disable the guy with the gun threatening suicide, that he hit a nearby caregiver, inadvertently?

    So they want us to keep trusting, that in a crowd of bystanders, they can pick-off a loonie within that crowd with pinpoint accuracy? Excuse me for my skepticism.

  66. ledasmom says

    Their excuse is that they shot the wrong innocent guy.
    That is a fairly bad excuse. That may be the worst excuse since Florida representative Bob Allen claimed he offered an undercover officer a twenty and a blowjob because he, Allen, was intimidated.
    I hope the man Kinsey was trying to help had someone else familiar to help him after Kinsey was shot. The situation must have been terrifying.
    I spend so much time with my son, when we’re out together, trying to explain to him how not to come across as threatening, since he is autistic and somewhat inappropriately social on occasion.
    I hope Kinsey sues the crap out of the police department. I hope the man they claim they were trying to shoot does too. When you excuse shooting a person by saying you meant to shoot a man who was playing with his toy truck, your police department should probably be sued out of existence.

  67. mesh says

    @69 numerobis

    I’m tempted to believe the cop saying he shot at the autistic man and hit the therapist instead. Because it doesn’t make the shooter look any better, so why bother making up that story?

    I think it certainly does. It’s one thing if this were a textbook case of the weapons effect with a mere human acting on bad information. It’s quite another if this were just yet another blatant inability of a cop to leave an unarmed black men unshot. One speaks to human fallibility in stressful situations; the other speaks to a pattern of institution-wide prejudice and senseless force. Which narrative is going to be more palatable to a faux-neutral whitewashing media and an entire political platform renowned for its victim-blaming, worship of authority, and pandering to racists? Which will garner greater public sympathy and support?

    “I don’t know [why I shot you]” is a very strange answer to give when your violence was plainly directed elsewhere.

  68. chris says

    Oh, crud… the cop was aiming for the disabled young adult playing with a toy truck!? And missed. AAaagh!! Ignore the “missed” part, it was that he was aiming a young adult playing with a toy truck!

    My oldest twenty something kid has autism. I have had to explain to a few of my neighbors that the young person who takes walks in the neighborhood because of a genetic heart condition with the long, wild and beautiful curly hair is not violent. Seriously: violence and severe genetic heart disorder just do not go together.

    I now hate that I live in a time where I need to worry that my agoraphobic developmentally disabled child with a severe genetic heart disorder needs to fear a bullet from a police officer!

    Another thought about this incident: it seems that “driving while black” is a real issue (even if you were a county executive!), but it is ridiculous one could be shot for “working while black”… especially a person who works with the disabled.

  69. chris says

    Reword: “it seems that “driving while black” is a real issue” would be better stated as “it seems that “driving while black” is a real issue is silly enough

    Sorry… both scenarios are idiotic. Just as much as ignoring being told the young person was playing with a toy truck.