Goddamn police

Fire these cops.

Five twelve-year-old kids walking home from a basketball game; a policeman pulls up, opens his car door, and immediately pulls a gun on them and tells them to get on the ground. Nobody gets shot this time, fortunately, but it’s hard to watch — those poor kids are initially confused, and then terrified, and you get to hear them crying and wailing in fear as the brave police officer calmly and politely threatens them with death.

The kids were in the “wrong place at the wrong time”. They tell a distraught parent afterwards “you have to understand our position as well”. Yeah, I understand your position very well, you cowardly motherfucker: you are confident that you have the right to use deadly force against unarmed children, if you even have the slightest suspicion that they might be “bad guys”. They were “just doing their job”. They completely fail to understand the perspective of others. One mother summarizes the situation perfectly: “Y’all didn’t see a gun but y’all pulled a gun on my kids”. The earnest certainty of the police officers is galling — they absolutely think they are in the right, but they threatened children with a gun.

Treat these cops the same way they would be treated if they pulled this shit on white kids in a white suburban neighborhood — you know they’d be off the force in a flash, and the chief of police would be getting savaged in the press for incompetent management.

This is unacceptable.


  1. says

    Call them what they are, thugs. They were bad enough already, but they are getting worse under Trump and Sessions. They are fine with being open bigots; they are fine with being domestic terrorists. And they love having people be terrorized by them.

    Recently, I posted about We Copwatch, and the documentary Copwatch. This would be a good time to support We Copwatch.

  2. komarov says

    What struck me as odd was the tone of voice of the first cop at the beginning. He didn’t sound like someone worried he might get shot if he let his guard down. He sounded very casual, like a normal day at the office. I realise part of this is due to training, but still this seemed rather extreme. Pointing guns at people? Just part of the job. No need to worry and no harm done, apparently.

  3. lanir says

    I think it’s been about 30 years since I had gun safety lessons. So forgive me if I’m wrong but isn’t one of the primary rules not to point your gun at anything or anyone you don’t intend to shoot?

    The NRA torpedoes anything that might imply there could possibly be any limits put on gun sales but their advocates always claim that teaching gun safety is one of the big things the organization is for. So where the hell are they when THIS ignorant BS is happening?*

    * Yes, I know they’re ideological scumbags but if I don’t pretend their BS should be taken seriously for a few moments it’s hard to point out their blatant hypocrisy.

  4. peptron says

    And of course those children will grow up with a *completely inexplicable* fear of cops, and will later in life act defensively in presence of cops. Prooving to the cops, of course, that they are up to no good.

  5. davidnangle says

    Geez, without the kids having been slain, we’ll never know the ironclad proof that they were “no angels.”


  6. inflection says

    I read the first paragraph and was wondering what on earth could cause a policeman to point a gun at five-year-olds.

    Then I scrolled down and saw the kid in the YouTube still. Oh, he’s black. That explains everything. Probably perceived as at least as tall as the cop and carrying a gun in his waistband.

  7. dhabecker says

    Next will be the cops pulling over a group of three year old girls on big wheels.
    “Uhhh, yes mam, we had a report of screaming and hollering at the playground, and these kids fit the description. They didn’t respond when we first pulled our weapons so, in fact, yes, we did have to taze that one little shit who’s still acting a bit twitchy. Just doing our job mam; you can see the position we were in.”

  8. Artor says

    I see a violent thug who shouldn’t be allowed to roam free in a civilized society, let alone wear a badge and draw a public paycheck.

  9. says

    @inflection #6: I believe it was a group of five 12-year-olds, not that that makes it much better. Coincidentally enough, CNN has an opinion piece up today about how we need to recruit more female cops in order to reduce police brutality. While I agree with many of the author’s points about how we need to make policing more like social work and less like a shoot-em-up video game, I was disappointed with the implicit assumption that we need to bring in women to do this “kindler, gentler” policing because apparently it’s asking too much to expect men to employ empathy and understanding before lethal weaponry.

  10. Dark Jaguar says

    Every excuse that could write this off is out the window. These kids were KID kids, not even double digits, much less teenagers. They weren’t armed nor were they all ganging up on some other kid. Frankly, none of those even work as excuses in the first place, but seriously, this is as cut and dry a case as one could ask for.

    Now, I can’t get into the mind of this cop to say with all certainty that he was doing this due to racism. I mean, I’d say it seems pretty obvious, but let’s say that given a gaggle of white kids he’d have done the same thing. Um, nope, still just as horrible. In fact, hey, there’s the way to get this guy fired. Point out “it could have been your kids, your WHITE kids, you know, the good ones!”. Wait, no, I’ve seen this before. It’s a short term win that goes bad decades later. Nah, just focus on how horrible this is for what it is.

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

    yeah even black cops of color can be bigoted assholes too.
    One argued they had reports of a gun so they were being very overcautious rather than casually asking “you got a gun?” Yet he had those kids on the ground covered by his bradished weapon and sat in his vehicle or quite a while, never inspecting them for gun possession, and releasing them when finding none.
    They speak a good CYA [look it up] speech as the Legion of LEO teaches them.
    fine example of how this authoritarian-ism extends across all races, not isolated to a single race. It is the system itself that is at fault.

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

    oh shit, me bad, I ust thought a perfect excuse for them to CYA:
    “we heard of a gunman wandering around and to keep these kids safe we ordered them to lie flat on the ground, and had to wave a gun at them to show them how serious the danger was.”
    I didn;t say that.Don;t tell any cops that
    just between you and me, right, don;t let anybody else see those words.
    oh fark I guess I’m trying to show off how cleverer I am than them those awful cops.

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

    replace all the semicolons in @13 with apostrophes
    my fingers can’t hit that key without conscious thought and instead the one next to it, oops

  14. Larry says

    Never fear. The altright media is on the case, looking into the backgrounds of these thug-lets for any material which will totally justify the brandishing of lethal weapons on them. I hear one of the junior gangsters talked back to his teacher one day back in 5th grade while another was caught coloring outside the lines in kindegarten. Of course, the actual crimes involved here are walking public streets while black.

  15. whheydt says

    Let me try that again….

    /spelling nitpick on
    The word you want in “ma’am”.
    /spelling nitpick off

  16. peptron says

    About thinking that more women in the police would help with brutality: be careful what you wish, you could get it!

    Were I live, our most infamous police brutaliser is a woman : Stéphanie “Matricule 728” Trudeau.

  17. Rich Woods says

    @whheydt #18:

    Sigh… /s/in/is/

    Sorry, but that should be s/in/is/. It’s not your day, is it? ;-)

    But back to the cop: fucking hell, I am lost for words.

  18. Zmidponk says

    I like how this is explained as the kids being ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’. This is where they live. They were not doing anything wrong. If the police were actually doing their jobs properly, there should not be such a thing as ‘the wrong time’, and this would definitely not be ‘the wrong place’.

  19. says

    Why is the time stamp on the body camera near midnight and it’s broad daylight? Why can’t we see an un-blurred time stamp at the beginning of the video? The conspiracy munchkin in me wants to know…

  20. DanDare says

    There is no excuse for that. The kids were just walking. They were neither aggressive menacing or furtive. The duty of the police is to make people feel protected from risks because the police will respond. In this case the police are the risk and the neighborhood has no protective service.

  21. evodevo says

    Very simple solution – one that was implemented in the Clinton years and then promptly defunded by Bush in 2000 … community policing, where the cops are required to KNOW their neighborhoods and the inhabitants by name ….funny how that works…..

  22. jrkrideau says

    @ 20 peptron
    “Stéphanie “Matricule 728” Trudeau”

    Well as her name-sake said “Just watch me”. Clearly, in her case it was worthwhile.

    I don’t remember hearing about the case at all (I’m in Kingston) but two minutes of reading La Presse was interesting.
    Still, officer brutality, fellow officers lying like rugs seems standard. Reads like a good judge though.

  23. wzrd1 says

    Quite a few years ago, back when we lived in SW Philly, there was a big fight between young teen kids. This, of course, drew a crowd.
    In that crowd, a 12 year old kid had a revolver print when the wind shifted, meaning the wind pressed his shirt over the pistol and its outline was quite clear. I walked up to him and told him to be elsewhere with that firearm. He tried denying it, but I told him to just go or explain it to the police who were on their way.
    He left and I never saw him on the street again. No waving a firearm around, no aiming it at people.

  24. Felix says

    Astonishing. In Germany, police trainers have a bit of a hard time getting recruits to even draw a pistol. I’ve not heard of a single case of an officer pointing a gun at children just casually walking.The maximum German police are instructed to do as long as they’re not directly threatened is to point their weapon at the ground in front of them, the so-called “safety position”.
    Statistically, US cops are more likely to get injured or killed when they confront an armed person, even though they’re much more likely to be already pointing their weapon at the person’s torso. That indicates that the “de-escalation” effect of the threat posed by a weapon is an illusion. To the contrary, it looks like the more you bring weapons into a situation, and the more you aim a weapon ready to shoot a person, the more likely it gets that you’re going to be attacked. “De-escalation” by threat of deadly force works on people who were not considering an attack anyway. It can easily trigger an attack by someone who was already aggressive, who thinks he can wrestle the weapon away from the cop, or put the cop down and escape. In other words, it can never de-escalate unless you count death as a successful de-escalation. Add to that the often seen practice of opening fire on a person from all present police the moment the first shot is fired. In a narrow space, this also raises the risk of getting shot by a colleague or catching a ricochet.

  25. Alt-X says

    I can only imagine the horror at seeing your child laying on the ground with a police man pointing a gun at your 10yr old child. Every instinct in your body would be telling you to run over an protect them. Things like this makes me glad I don’t live in America. Such a strange western country.

  26. cero says

    This is why you need gun laws in the US. Why did the cops pull the gun? Because they received a call that there were kids with guns. If there wouldn’t be the potential thread of the kids having guns, the cops would have no reason to escalate. Remember that all cases of deadly police shots in the last years had the same narrative.

    But yeah, having more guns in a society makes you safer…

  27. wzrd1 says

    Remember that all cases of deadly police shots in the last years had the same narrative.

    Actually, quite a few police shootings over the last few years have been of a cop shooting an unarmed man. Quite a few of those cases were where “he bulked up”, whateverinhell that is, running for his life away from a firing officer and gunning down disabled dependents. What was common, disadvantaged people, frequently black.
    Tell me, how does 12% of the population end up being 48% of the gunshot victims?

  28. Saad says

    Holy shit, what an infuriating fucking video!

    Imagine if one of the children was playing with a toy gun…

  29. EigenSprocketUK says

    So we keep being told that these are highly trained officers managing a possibly lethal situation and they’re following their training. What instructions do we hear?
    “Get down on the ground” [or you’ll be shot]
    “Approach me” [or you’ll be disobeying me, and therefore fair game to be shot]
    “No, get back down on the ground” [I didn’t mean you, kid; I meant the other kid. No not him, him!]
    “Walk towards me”
    “Turn your back to me”
    Have you got a gun? No, don’t show me, keep your hands on your head.
    repeat endless ambiguous and self-contradictory instructions here, multiply by two different cops shouting contradictory instructions from opposite directions
    This is their training? Their training sucks

  30. wzrd1 says

    @EigenSprocketUK, while I have actually interacted with a same age child, who actually was armed, witnessed by myself, due to vagaries of wind.
    Yeah, there are many ways superior to dealing with such things. We’re still stuck with the “John Wayne” mentality. Pity that such never existed. John Wayne was 4F, non-deployable, but was a “hero”, typical in the US, to ignore the real veterans in favor of propaganda fixtures.
    I’m retired US military. a veteran as well. I’m the SOB who rarely wore medals awarded, largely out of consideration of my commander.
    Some, I’ll *never* wear or, via writ will, permit on my grave. I have my reasons.
    Suffice it to say, excessive violence was the norm where I was operating.
    Yet still, we didn’t *aim* our weapons at minor children, save if they approached us with packages. Even then, we kept our aim far lower than even the toes of a child, until a threat presented.
    We had a protocol for that.

    Out of my unit, there was precisely one civilian child casualty. A five year old child. Examined by me. Caused by my misjudgement.
    And why I go through 3.7 liters of 80 proof ethanol a week.
    I literally reached out, as I realized my faulty target, to grab the bullet.
    Now, my next duty, due to our own hearts and minds policy, I had to talk with both the village elders and his mother.
    Then, protect her elder son, the sniper, who precipitated the entire clustersmurf.
    Excuse me while I have, yet another drink. And here, yeah, I’m fucking serious.
    I fucked up, killed a kid that could’ve been my grandchild.\

    Welcome to my darkest shame. The one time I fucked up.

  31. EigenSprocketUK says

    @wzrd1 #36 – that’s a crappy and enormous cross to bear.
    I can’t imagine it for you, and of course I can’t imagine it for the victims either. I guess that your situation was far higher risk, and you were taking the best precautions you could under shitty circumstances. And, quite possibly, having been handed flawed rules of engagement.
    Don’t self-medicate your grief — there’s no justice in making one more casualty all these years later.
    Your experience truly throws into stark relief that these Grand Rapid cops, like most US cops, have been sent into a lower-risk situation with gung-ho training that is faulty and far more likely to result in a civilian casualty. It’s pretty much designed that way by folks who should know better. And, let’s be honest, it’s most likely to be a non-white civilian casualty who the system will treat in the shittiest possible way. It’s a disgrace.