FIRE THAT COP.


Jesus fucking christ. Police dashcam video of the Philando Castile murder has been released, and I made the mistake of watching it. The car is pulled over, the cop explains that he was pulled over for a broken break light, he asks for license and registration, the driver calmly tells him that he carries a gun, and then the cop freaks out and starts yelling and unloads his handgun into the car. Seven shots! It’s horrific.

Later, the murderer is telling his fellow gunmen that Castile had been acting “hinky” and was looking directly into his eyes (truly a criminal act). The only one “hinky” here is the cop, who panics at a traffic stop and slaughters a citizen.

Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted, unbelievably. I hope he’s not working in any position that requires that he be armed anymore — he is a coward unsuited to any stressful situation — and I look forward to the civil suit that should strip him of everything he owns.


Read the statement given by the murder-cop after he killed that man. Would you believe that he was afraid for the little girl in the car, and that he had reason to think Castile might be a stone-cold killer because he was exposing that poor girl to second-hand smoke?

He got off because of that callous kind of lie.

Comments

  1. joel says

    “He was armed” seems to be a get-out-of-jail free card for cops who kill innocent people. Why isn’t the NRA screaming about this? After all, Castile was killed by a jack-booted government thug for exercising his second amendment right.
    Any word? What is the NRA doing about this, precisely?

  2. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    How can anyone watch that and think the cop is not guilty? What the fuck is wrong with people?

  3. johnson catman says

    How in the hell was that cop not convicted? Not just manslaughter, but at least second-degree murder. It was a clear case of unprovoked shooting.

  4. timberwoof says

    It’s hard to reply without cynicism or snark. The NRA aren’t screaming about this because the Second Amendment was written so that well-regulated militias of white men can patrol the streets and keep the slaves in their place. Armed slaves? Are you kidding? Any slave with a weapon is justifiably shot on sight.
    (The NRA can, of course, prove me wrong here by screaming about this, and asserting the man’s right to bear arms. I’ll wait.)

  5. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    As a reminder, Yanez attended one of these sessions.

    Grossman’s classes teach officers to be less hesitant to use lethal force, urge them to be willing to do it more quickly and teach them how to adopt the mentality of a warrior.

  6. vucodlak says

    I wonder if the prosecutor threw the case. In a lot of cases, cases it would be politically inconvenient for the prosecutor to win, but which it is also politically necessary for them to bring, the prosecutor will use a combination of confusing jury instruction and a deliberately weak case to insure the case ends in acquittal.

    I’m not saying the case against the killer cop was weak, mind you; he’s obviously a murderer. I’m saying that the prosecutor could have presented it in such a way that makes it look like offender shouldn’t be convicted of the charges as filed.

    Or, it could simply be that the entire jury was full of racist authoritarians. Or both.

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

    There must be some way to work around the “double jeopardy” clause. With new information.
    F—ck this whole incident. And I thought “Minnesota nice” was real. Cliches come from actuality

  8. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    This is a problem on the left and right: We live in a police state, and most people actually support the police state, left and right.

    In the world as it’s supposed to be, the only reason that a cop may shoot someone at a traffic stop, such as this, is mundane self defense law. Further, in the world as it should be, the cop – I mean pig – is no more privileged than I with respect to self defense law in a situation like this. Yet, it’s the default assumption among the majority of the population, and among politicians, government prosecutors, and judges, that cops pigs are privileged in situations like this regarding the use of lethal force. This is what I mean by a police state: a state of society where military is used in the capacity of law enforcement, in a practical state of martial law, where the normal civilian is expected and required to submit to the military law enforcement, at the threat of immediate lethal force.

    Further, as far as I can tell, the law as it’s currently written more or less describes the world as it should be: This is just a mundane traffic stop. The cop is not judge, jury, and executioner. The only legal reason that a cop pig has to shoot someone in a situation like this is genuine self defense law, held to the same standard as you or I. That’s the rub. If I saw someone pulling out their gun in public, where open carry was allowed, and I shot them in response, that’s fucking manslaughter at a minimum, and most likely murder.

    (I might possibly relax the standard for cops, and maybe everyone else, where the other person is wanted on a violent felony charge, or something like that, preferrably with the requirement that they shout “hands up! you’re under arrest!”.)

    However, that’s not the way that this works out in practice. In practice, we give lots of special privileges to the cop to shoot in so-called “self defense”. Again, the practical effect is that at a traffic stop, the cop is military, and you are under martial law, and certain forms of non-compliance allow the cop to shoot you without repercussion, where with the exact same facts for me in place of the cop, that would be murder. In other words, cases like this are pretended to be tried under mundane self defense law, but it’s blatantly obvious at even a first glance that this is no mere application of mundane self defense law.

    It’s extremely hard to argue most people out of this mindset. For almost everyone in today’s society, it’s taken for granted that we must live in a police state in order to prevent literal chaos and anarchy. I dare say that even most posters in this thread are supporters of the police state.

    However, it is a lie: We do not need to live in martial law under military law enforcement in order to have an orderly society. We do not need to live as second class citizens under military law enforcement. The police do not need the extreme special privileges, powers, and immunities that they have now. We could drastically scale back the powers, privileges, and immunities of cops, and society would operate just fine.

    PS: One of the primary reasons for the American war of independence was the imposition of a military police force on the population. When the British army, aka the (military) police force, was imposed on America, there was no revolt. Practically everyone still recognized the legitimacy of the English crown and English parliament. This was not a foreign army, but a police force imposed by the universally recognized legitimate government. The founder’s complaints about a “standing army” do not mean what you think that they mean. When the founder’s complained about a “standing army”, in most ways, you should understand that to be a complaint about a modern police force. Read the declaration of independence again, where they made their complaints explicit. They complained about the imposition of a military police force in times of peace, and how the military police force killed people wrongly with impunity, and were subject only to mock or show trials. Sound familiar? It should. It’s more or less the exact situation that we have today.

    What do we do about it? We need to bury this lie that we need to live in a police state. That’s a radical proposition which most people are going to be unwilling to accept. I am not proposing that we do away with police entirely. If we didn’t have government police, then we would have private Pinkertons, which are far far worse.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homestead_Strike

    I am suggesting that the police should be in the employ of the government to ensure loyalty to society, but I am also suggesting that we scale back the powers of the police so that they operate much more like private Pinkertons. In other words, the police should be treated as mere bounty hunters, and regulated accordingly. Rather than having more discretion, because of the expectations and requirement that they are trained, they should have less discretion. Rather than having more authority to shoot someone, they should have the same authority that anyone else has to shoot someone, namely subject to standard self defense analysis (give or take maybe the apprehension of someone wanted on a violent felony charge).

    For some concrete examples: “no-knock” warrants should be banned in every case. Arrest should be lawful only for felony offenses, and breach of the peace offenses but only during the breach of the peace – most offenses should not permit arrest, only the issuing of a citation, or a summons to appear at court for trial. Police should not be allowed to hold anyone “for questioning” for any length of time whatsoever, except according to a lawful court order to appear in trial and give testimony. The practice of holding suspects without charge for any length of time should be stopped in all cases, with a strict requirement that an arrested person must be given a bail hearing within 6 hours of arrest for daytime arrests, and like 16 hours for nighttime arrests, weekends and holidays not exempt. Police should not be allowed to stop you for “looking suspicious” nor for mere suspicion of a crime, except for detention to issue a citation, or as an actual arrest, with personal civil and criminal penalties for wrongful arrest. And so on.

    Here are some of my proposals at length:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EJRrzrZAuWv2tU4wz6GZLATBphmx72D__kV-5rdS2Ro/edit

    Thank you for your time, although I know I’m not really welcome here, and I am probably just being super annoying. ~sigh~

  9. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    EL,

    Well, long-winded, certainly. But I doubt you’ll get much disagreement here with your post.

  10. nich says

    But The Cop Feared For His Life!™ Could you imagine if firefighters at the barest hint a flame was going to harm them rather than keep working to put it out instead unloaded a clip into it? Or a doctor who rather than treat a homeless guy with TB, instead unloaded a clip into him? BUT I FEARED FOR MY LIFE! TB IS DANGEROUS! Cops ostensibly are trained and trained and trained to respond to danger. But rather than straddle the thin blue line, 10 percent of officers would rather unload a clip into it, 85 percent defend to their death the right for them to do it, and the remaining 5 percent are the precious few cops I don’t worry will end my life for shifting my beady little eyes in a Threatening Manner™ during a traffic stop.

    Fuck The Police™

  11. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Although I do have one quibble. The Founders (well, some of them) distrusted regular armies for even army stuff. At the beginning of the War of 1812, he thought we could conquere Canada with just the Virginia militia. (Sorry for the derail; I won’t pursue this further here.)

  12. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    It’s hard to reply without cynicism or snark. The NRA aren’t screaming about this because the Second Amendment was written so that well-regulated militias of white men can patrol the streets and keep the slaves in their place. Armed slaves? Are you kidding? Any slave with a weapon is justifiably shot on sight.
    (The NRA can, of course, prove me wrong here by screaming about this, and asserting the man’s right to bear arms. I’ll wait.)

    I’m not a member of the NRA, but I’ll do so right now – minus the screaming. You’re wrong about the second amendment.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ak6bx8jyDxIlsLuFHHevw-4RQ7R5vJb15RtTNG5d79w/edit
    I’m also extremely upset that the current state of affairs is that it’s permissible for a cop to shoot someone for exercising their constitutionally protected right.

  13. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To What a Maroon, living up to the ‘nym in 11
    Agreed. I apologize for overstating my case. I agree with what you wrote. The short version was that it was popular with the masses to argue against maintaining an actual army, and instead to rely on the citizens militia. Privately, many of the founders thought that this was extremely foolish after their experience with the American war of independence, but they still paid lip service to the idea in public because the public still held to that view.

  14. eamick says

    For the record, he was fired. the same day the verdict was handed down.

    slithy @7: New information doesn’t matter for double jeopardy, but federal prosecution is always a possibility.

  15. says

    EnlightenmentLiberal:
    PS: One of the primary reasons for the American war of independence was the imposition of a military police force on the population.

    There were lots of reasons; that’s one of the ones that was fed to the rubes that had to do the killing and dying, and it was a good enough reason for them.They probably would not have been willing to die and kill to protect slavery (which most of the founding fathers except Paine and maybe Madison profited from) or smuggling or land speculation. The founding oligarchs were much more concerned with preserving their “right” to buy and sell people, or to pocket tax-free profits from doing so, They did not care a whit about the population, except as political leverage, and shortly after the rebellion taxes were higher than they were in England and the new army was putting down whiskey revolts (i.e: military policing) and hanging anyone who resisted. Because something something taxation without representation, mumble something no military police.

    There are the reasons oligarchs publish, and there are their real reasons. I don’t think you can count the propaganda as a “primary reason” for the rebellion. It was for some of the suckers that fell for it, to be sure.

  16. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Marcus
    I know of that, and I appreciate you for making your blog post that let me know that. However, I don’t agree that the reasons held by the masses are somehow invalid or “of no consequence” compared to the reasons held by the leaders. I believe that both are important.

  17. shadow says

    I read the Mr. Castile was the passenger, and he’d informed the officer that he had a gun and a concealed carry permit. He was reaching for his wallet, to conform the officer’s request and was saying “I’m not reaching for my gun” when murdered.

  18. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    but federal prosecution is always a possibility.

    [Reads this. Remembers who the President* is. Reads this again. Remembers who the AG is. Breaks into loud guffaws that dissolve suddenly into sobs.]

  19. says

    Fucker should be in prison. It’s absolutely disgusting, all the crap white people come up with to defend that murderer, and to defend the acquittal. Fuck cops, and fuck most white people, too.

  20. says

    EnlightenmentLiberal@#16:
    Yeah, it’s always complicated. The will of the people, once it’s been fanned to flames, is also valid. I don’t know how to assign cause and effect in these things.

    With respect to the cop, please everyone remember, that the cop acted alone, but is being exonerated and supported by the entire system, which pretended to believe his lies and which will, doubtless, continue to protect him afterward. He’ll get another job in some other area, and he’ll retire with a pension. Meanwhile, his co-workers, lawyers, the dispatchers, etc – know what happened. And they made sure he got away with it. Burn it all to the ground, I say.

  21. militantagnostic says

    PZ

    he is a coward unsuited to any stressful situation

    This– The myth that brave cops are risking their lives to protect us needs to be laid to rest. Their risk of dying on the job is less than that of garbage collector and an order of magnitude less than a commercial pilot, fisherman, or forestry worker.

    There was an incident involving an American police officer in Calgary several years ago that drew much ridicule. The cop was walking with his wife in Nose Hill Park (a large natural grassland area in Northwest Calgary) when a young man rode towards them on a mountain bike and asked them if they had been to the Stampede. This frightened the cop and the responded oddly. The young man repeated the question. The cop made some remark asking the cyclist to leave them alone and the bewildered cyclist rode away. The menacing cyclist had been hired by a business to give away rodeo tickets as a promotion. The cop recounted the incident on some sort of social media and said that he wished he had his gun with him. This got picked up by the local media as a funny news story, garnering much well deserved ridicule.

  22. VolcanoMan says

    @Artor and @Caine

    As a white person, I ALSO agree.

    I’d like to think things are a little less dire in Canada, my home. Police officer-involved deaths are ALL investigated, and officers automatically put on paid leave until things are resolved. And independent analysis has revealed that Canadian police have far less incidents per capita of use of force than American police. Deadly force is disproportionately used against minorities however, so there is still a place for organizations like Black Lives Matter in Canada. We have to train police officers to recognize their implicit bias and perform more accurate assessments of risk. The only recent (past 10 years) major incident I can think of where there was a death due to police incompetence and cowardice was when that Polish guy, Robert Dziekanski, got Tasered 5 times in the Vancouver airport and died. But you know what? The RCMP faced heavy criticism for that (most of the PEOPLE of Canada did not automatically take the cops’ side) and actually made policy changes to try to prevent similar incidents (so did police forces that were not involved in the incident but which wanted to be proactive to prevent future deaths). And the officers involved in the incident “got their story straight” before testifying in an inquiry, which lead to perjury and collusion charges. Two of them were found guilty and were sentenced to jail (the TASERer himself got 2.5 years, which he appealed, and lost in the BC Court system; the other guy got 2 years*). The officer responsible for the death was not charged with murder, unfortunately (even though the coroner ruled it a homicide), proving that the Canadian legal system still needs work, and that cops are still seen as different than ordinary citizens when they kill people. However, there is EVERY chance that the four men involved would have faced no censure at all if the incident had happened in America, and would still be on active duty. So I guess we have a ways to go, but for some reason, there is not the immediate assumption that cops always do the right thing, the necessary thing, here in Canada. I don’t know if this is a cultural thing, maybe more anti-authoritarian tendencies are mainstream here, or a gun thing, where cops in America are more justified in assuming that every person they encounter is armed. And if it’s at least partially the latter, what a great reason to restrict gun access (as if America needed more reasons to do that!).

    *I should mention that the Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear both appeals, so it is still possible that the guilty verdicts might be overturned. It is notable thought that OUR Supreme Court has a history of pretty liberal decision-making in recent years, forcing the government to allow safe drug injection sites to operate (and provide free, sterile needles to drug addicts), decriminalize the action of being a prostitute (not the crime of visiting one), and legalize physician-assisted suicide nationwide, for example. So I don’t think they have that great a chance of the verdict being overturned (unless there was some misconduct or technical mistake that the prosecution made).

  23. militantagnostic says

    What a Maroon @5
    In addition to everything else, Grossman is an Alex Jones level kook. Taking that course should disqualify a cop from carrying a gun.

  24. militantagnostic says

    VolcanoMan @20

    There was an incident in Calgary recently where a mentally ill person was killed in what was supposed be a welfare check requested by his family. When the police entered the motel room he was agitated and brandishing a syringe. A cop panicked and shot him. The inquiry decided that although the conduct was criminal, the chances of a successful prosecution were too low to press charges. The family is now suing the police. I hope they succeed. There have been an inordinate number of fatal police shootings in Calgary recently and there is no an inquiry into why this is happening.

  25. VolcanoMan says

    Interesting. I hadn’t heard about that. Hopefully their lawsuit is successful.

    Having thought a bit more about this, I’d say the culture of guns in the US has a lot to do with police shootings. Police aren’t more or less brave overall than everyone else. They know how many guns are out there in the hands of good and bad people alike. It ups the risk factor in ANY encounter, and therefore ups the fear factor. Note that this is not an excuse for pre-emptive action, and the fact that so high a percentage of police-involved fatalities are borne by minority communities suggests that unconscious (and overt) biases are a big factor too. Maybe the right-wing libertarian culture in Alberta has contributed to both a culture of gun ownership and a lack of willingness to admit that all people are biased against minorities. And maybe the recent successes of the NDP there have had a similar effect on Alberta’s RWNJs as Obama’s election did on America’s RWNJs, causing some members of the police to get a bit twitchy and trigger-happy when they feel like they are not in control of a situation. Whatever the cause, we need to air these problems to solve them. And I still think the Canadian public as a whole (maybe not the Alberta public) is less willing to go all right-wing authoritarian and support cops no matter the situation than the American public (though certainly there are pockets of the US that are as anti-authoritarian as we are here, which need to start exporting that attitude elsewhere). White people are always the most naive and trusting of the police because of their privilege, but I think there is a growing recognition of the problems minorities have with the police (and others to whom we grant authority) amongst progressive white people. But this progress needs to spread to all corners of society, Canadian and American alike (I think we can all agree on that).

  26. methuseus says

    @VolcanoMan # 27:

    Note that this is not an excuse for pre-emptive action

    I disagree, but my preferred pre-emptive action is to make it harder for any individual to obtain a firearm, police officers included. I much prefer the British or German models (and I’m sure there are others) where regular officers aren’t given handguns, but there are firearms officers readily available whenever needed. I have no evidence, but independent analysis suggests that incidents are no more dangerous for the officers involved and there is a definite lessened risk to the non-police involved.

  27. Alt-X says

    Someone should really train your police force to do their jobs with our shooting their guns at everything. When ever I read stories about things like this, I realise how lucky I am to not live in the USA.

  28. Marissa van Eck says

    If there’s any justice in this world, this asshole will never get a good night’s sleep again. I truly hope he ends up being driven off the Internet and the public sphere in general by people constantly hounding him about this. If he had a shred of human decency he’d commit suicide.

  29. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To VolcanoMan
    I’m decently well convinced that the problem is mostly cultural. It’s a really simply equation: The American police know that they won’t be punished if they shoot people, and therefore more police shoot people. It’s really that simple. This case is a great example of how goddamned near impossible it is to charge police with a crime. We have the guy on video shooting the victim. None of the facts of the case are contested in any way, except perhaps the shooter’s state of mind, which is why I might see manslaughter as a reasonable charge instead of murder. However, by the uncontested facts of the case, this should have been an automatic manslaughter charge.

    We in America need a culture shift. We need to stop viewing the police as brave superheroes who put their live in danger every day, and their bravery and special powers are the only thing standing between us and criminals, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. We need to view cops as dangerous hired goons, and especially cops with guns. They’re necessary hired goons, but fundamentally they are just hired goons. In other words, they’re bounty hunters, except they’re on salary instead of paid by commission. Let’s train the shit out of them, but we also should never forget their fundamental character as mere hired goons. Power corrupts, and with power should come responsibility. (Ditto for the other military, i.e. army.)

    I still have a weird interest and liking of the radical and obscure idea of bringing back private criminal prosecutions. The victim, or close friends and family of the victim, are able to nominate any person as a potential criminal prosecutor, and seek a criminal indictment before a grand jury. Grand juries are operated by the government, and overseen by government officials i.e. judges, but grand juries are composed of randomly selected persons. The grand jury does a basic vetting process to check for several things (I’ll skip the details for now). With the indictment, the nominated criminal prosecutor may then prosecute the criminal case, again in a government court, with a government judge, with a jury composed of random persons. I’ve thought about it a lot. It’s basically civil suits, but a different standard of evidence (“innocent until proven guilty”), and with criminal sanctions instead of mere civil relief sanctions. I don’t see a reason why it won’t work, and it used to work decently well for hundreds of years before circa 1850 or 1900 when governments took control of all criminal prosecutions. Also, I think that this could help bypass, to some degree, the uncooperative government prosecutors who often have to answer to the public, which explains their relative unwillingness to charge a cop with a crime and to prosecute a case vigorously.

    Yes, I know that only people with money can pursue legal action, and this is not a perfect solution just for that reason alone, but like civil courts, having access to courts that cost money is still better than no courts at all.

  30. Zeppelin says

    Why do so many US cops seem to be twitchy confused cowards, and why is said twitchy confused cowardice accepted as an excuse in court? I don’t get it. Is being pants-shittingly terrified to the point of incoherence by any encounter with a black man just considered normal behaviour?

  31. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    In my plan, the victim, family of the victim, and friends of the victim would have first opportunity to seek criminal indictment, but if they pass, then anyone else, including the government, could choose to seek criminal indictment. I’m not talking about privatizing criminal prosecutors. I’m just talking about ensuring that the victim has an opportunity, the first opportunity, to seek justice as the prosecutor.

  32. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Zeppelin
    It’s partially that. It’s also that our police are completely out of control, and most people, left and right, accept this as a normal state of affairs, where any non-compliance means that you deserve whatever the police decide to give you, including bullets. It’s become so extreme that we see cases like the one described in the OP, where we know that the cop shot him, unjustly, but the public would rather still not prosecute the cop, because of the ludicrous notion that if we punish this cop, then cops couldn’t do their jobs, and then society would fall down.

    Racism is a huge part of it, but don’t make the mistake that it’s all racism. This happens all the time for white victims too of police misconduct and violence. I have several white friends who have been completely fucked by the so-called justice system.

    For some further reading, I suggest:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rampart_scandal
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2001/05/21/bad-cops

    Rosenthal and the officers were horrified by what Perez was telling them, but there was more. Perez said that the practice of keeping a drop gun for framing suspects was quite common in CRASH. “Everybody . . . kept one,” he said. “Everybody.” Bogus arrests and the writing of false police reports, he said, were the rule. “I would say that ninety per cent of the officers that work CRASH, and not just Rampart CRASH, falsify a lot of information,” Perez said. “They put cases on people.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-robinson/the-shocking-finding-from-the-doj-ferguson_b_6858388.html

    In the city of Ferguson, nearly everyone is a wanted criminal.

    That may seem like hyperbole, but it is a literal fact. In Ferguson — a city with a population of 21,000 — 16,000 people have outstanding arrest warrants, meaning that they are currently actively wanted by the police.

  33. johnson catman says

    The morning news that I listen to while cooking and eating breakfast reported this morning that the jury never saw the dashcam footage. They received a description of the footage. I am sure the description accurately depicted the event. (blech! NOT!) Why would the prosecutor present a description of the footage instead of the actual footage? The actual footage would have been the best evidence. The best reason I can come up with is that the prosecutor 1) did not want the jury to see and interpret the event with their own eyes, and 2) he really did not want to convict the cop. That is our “justice” system.

    BTW, I am also white, and I totally agree with Caine.

  34. rietpluim says

    Sometimes I wish the Christians were right about Hell. Some people are good candidates to be in it.

  35. blf says

    I much prefer the British or German models (and I’m sure there are others) where regular officers aren’t given handguns, but there are firearms officers readily available whenever needed.

    Also An Garda Síochána in Ireland.

    Two things about the British model: As far as I can recall, they have mandatory “de-escalation” training.

    In addition, some years ago, the nasty party got a bee in its bonnet that the police should be routinely armed. That didn’t last too long, the Police Federation(? (as I now recall)) — broadly speaking, the police’s union — surveyed its members on the subject.

    The result was unequivocal: With a high level of response (nation-wide), something like 80% said “We do not want to carry guns”. This was years ago (1990s?) and I’m running off memory, so apologies for any mistakes. (Since then, there has been a similar survey about Tasers; in this case, most responses wanted officers to have Tasers.)

    I currently understand there is an ongoing(?) London-only police survey about carrying guns. There are also complaints that there are insufficient specialist firearms units (I don’t know to what extent that is real and to what extent that simply a variant of the usual moaning (not to be confused with the real reductions under May’s tenure as Home Secretary and now PM)).

      ─────────────────────────

    My Generalissimo Google™-fu isn’t quite fu-ing at the moment, so I cannot find a link, but a year or so ago I read an article about States-sides cops visiting a police training centre in Scotland for lessons on de-escalation and unarmed policing by consent. My memory is hazy, but I seem to recall the States cops largely being unwilling to believe its was possible to do policing without a gun, shouting, and so on… As I recall, they simply could not believe UK police aren’t being killed left, right, centre. The reality is, of course, not very many die on duty (How many police officers are harmed in the line of duty?, Oct-2015): “More than 250 officers have been fatally shot since 1945 […]. Since 2010, 11 officers of the Metropolitan police have lost their lives in the line of duty.”

  36. says

    German cops do carry guns, but they still manage not to shoot a lot of people. Probably because “success” is defined as “least harm possible done”.
    Believe me, they usually manage. Had a family member pull a gun (only a gas pistol, but hard to tell from a real one) on a cop and another one threaten a fellow student with a fake gun which lead to bystanders calling the police who arrived with special units. Both are still alive, one of them even came to his senses.

  37. johnson catman says

    What a Maroon @38:
    Thanks for the correction. The printed story on the website of the news station I was listening to also says that the jury saw the video.

    After seeing that video, I do not understand how the jurors could acquit.

  38. says

    I know Britain and some other countries practice “policing by consent,” where the basic principle is that cops are considered civilians in uniform and are subject to the same rules as everyone else. Obviously, American policing doesn’t operate on this principle, so is there some alternate theory of policing that America follows? Or did it just sort of gradually escalate into the militarized police force we have today because there is no guiding principle to it other than “keeping the good (mostly white) guys safe from the bad (mostly non-white) guys?” Also, this is probably an incredibly naive question, but what would it take to introduce policing by consent to America? Police departments operate at the state and local levels, so does that mean that an individual state, county, etc., could decide to practice policing by consent?

  39. mostlymarvelous says

    Giliell @40. Same in Australia. We have more people killed by police than the community would prefer – esp when it comes to people in the midst of a psychotic episode – but, by and large, they only use guns for the most extreme situations.

    Neat graph here comparing US, UK, Oz and Germany statistics.

  40. davidc1 says

    I had to stop watch watching just after the door open and the child got out of the car .

  41. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    so does that mean that an individual state, county, etc., could decide to practice policing by consent?

    IMO, at the city level, not really. They could try to change training, and get some effect for city police, but it’s not going to be effective IMO, because the laws that govern the use of force are mostly at the state level, and IMO as long as cops knows that they won’t be charged for shooting someone unjustly, then they will shoot people unjustly.

    At the state level, perhaps. Here, they could change the law to make it clear that police have to follow difference standards of behavior, or suffer criminal consequences. State laws could even do something like review boards (or private criminal prosecutions, or both). I think good progress could be made. However, there may be a problem because many US courts, state and federal, have contributed to this problem by creating case law out of thin air that gives wide discretion to cops regarding the use of force in their job, and as I just said, as long as police know that they can shoot people unjustly and get away with it, they will. I don’t know the details of this case law as well as I should, but fixing that might require rising to the level of a constitutional amendment (state, and maybe only federal) in order to overcome this judge-created protection of police abuse. (Thanks Scalia et al! /s)

  42. says

    Canadian police forces adopting the UK practice of only specially trained officers being armed isn’t going to happen. Canadian cops have carried sidearms for too long, and incidents like the June, 2014 murder of 3 RCMP officers in Moncton would be used to quash any talk of such a change.
    The last Canadian police force whose officers didn’t regularly carry sidearms was the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, which altere that police in 1998. Prior to that point their handguns were locked in the trunk of their cruisers, and were only deployed with permission of their chief.

    In recent years one of the high profile police cases in Canada where lethal force was used was that of Sammy Yatim. The officer who shot and killed Yatim was eventually convicted of attempted murder.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Sammy_Yatim

    Canadian police forces tend to follow the same trends as their American counterparts regarding tactics and equipment. For example the Saskatoon Police Service acquired a Bearcat armoured vehicle in 2012, and it has seen regular use. Just like in the US black uniforms have become standard with many forces.

    I wonder if US gun culture has any effect on the willingness of US cops to use deadly force. After all they’re exposed to the same rhetoric from the NRA etc. regarding firearms as civilians in the US are, and which officers in other countries aren’t. There’s also the question of how many current US cops are ex-servicemen, how many of that number have seen military duty in a combat zone, and whether this has an effect on their behaviour.

  43. Holms says

    For those holdouts that believe this verdict to be reasonable, an interesting datum to consider is that his own police precinct is letting yanez go. Why might that be? He has a clean legal record, but the police force is rejecting him from continuing to occupy that job. They have no need to rid themselves of him, he has the same good standing in the eyes of the law as his fellow officers… but they saw his conduct.

    And that’s why they let him go. They are probably relieved that a cop was found not guilty, but they know perfectly well that Yanez was in the wrong. They are letting him go because they know him to be a liability.

    If a defender of Yanez believes there is a different explanation, a way to reconcile letting him go despite his innocence, I would love to hear it. But I bet there isn’t one.

  44. says

    PZ:

    I hope he’s not working in any position that requires that he be armed anymore — he is a coward unsuited to any stressful situation — and I look forward to the civil suit that should strip him of everything he owns.

    It’s more complicated than cowardice. Yanez, like so many officers before him, employed the age-old, tired-old defense of “feared for his life” as justification for the state sanctioned execution of Castile. That fear is likely something real–for Castile, but I suspect it is based in some part (perhaps even mostly) on implicit racial biases about African-Americans being prone to criminality:

    While survey researchers depend on respondents to be fully aware of and willing to disclose their beliefs, experimental researchers have indirectly measured how unstated implicit biases influence behavior. Here, researchers capture unintentional and unconscious racial biases by observing people’s decisions and actions. Implicit bias tests have shown that the general public holds negative associations of blacks and Latinos, and suspects them of criminality. These biases have also been documented among police officers and judges, and are believed to reach all corners of the criminal justice system.
    […]
    Implicit racial biases also permeate the work of criminal justice professionals and influence the deliberation of jurors. When researchers administered the IAT to judges66) and capital defense lawyers,67) they found that the majority of white and a minority of black judges and counsel exhibited bias favoring whites over African Americans. Scholars have also explored the potential impact of implicit bias on the work of prosecutors68) and defense attorneys.69) Studies of case outcomes – including bail determinations, prosecutorial charging, and sentencing – also reveal that the work of criminal justice professionals is affected by a defendant’s race even after other relevant factors are controlled, as described later. Finally, studies of mock jurors have found that a defendant’s race has some impact on verdicts and sentencing.70) Mock jurors in one recent study even exhibited skin-color bias in how they evaluated evidence: they were more likely to view ambiguous evidence as indication of guilt for darker skinned suspects than for those who were lighter skinned.71

    as well as violence:

    This modern form of racism, according to Bobo and co-authors, includes persistent negative stereotypes of blacks based on culture rather than biology, individualistic rather than structural accounts of racial inequality, and resistance to ameliorative public policies. As late as 1990, the majority of white Americans expressed the belief that blacks were less intelligent, lazier, more prone to violence, and more likely to prefer living on welfare compared to whites.173) A smaller proportion of white Americans continued to express these views in 2008, with just over 40% describing whites as more hard-working than blacks and about one-quarter describing whites as more intelligent.

    These perceptions are subconscious (even those who believe themselves staunch anti-racists can and do hold implicit racial biases) and so rooted in our culture that they stretch back to the days of Reconstruction (Content Note: graphic description of a lynching at the link; the Jim Crow Museum is a valuable resource for learning more about racial caricatures and racism during the era of Jim Crow in general).

    Thankfully, there is hope for debiasing our minds:

    The Kirwan Institute describes a number of debiasing strategies shown to reduce implicit racial bias in both experimental and non-experimental settings. These include providing exposure to counter-stereotypic imagery, increasing inter-racial contact, and monitoring outcomes to increase accountability.242) Increasing racial diversity in criminal justice settings also reduces biased outcomes and tempers punitive sentiment. Research on mock juries has shown that a diverse group of jurors deliberate longer and more thoroughly than all-white juries, and studies of capital trials have found that all-white juries are far more likely to sentence offenders to death.243) North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act, now repealed, sought to correct for the “stubborn legacy” of racially biased jury selection.244)
    The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) has documented pilot programs developed in California, Minnesota, and North Dakota to educate judges and court staff about implicit racial bias and has made a number of related resources available on its website.245)

    Not that I have much hope that any of the above is going to occur on anything close to the necessary scale within my lifetime though. Le sigh.

  45. says

    Zeppelin @32:
    See my link above for information that might give you some of the answers to your questions.

  46. Pierce R. Butler says

    blf @ # 39: … an article about States-sides cops visiting a police training centre in Scotland for lessons on de-escalation and unarmed policing by consent

    The second half of this article has a summary & links.

  47. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Well, this is fun. Apparently the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension diligently sought to secretly investigate Diamond Reynolds, girlfriend of Philando Castile. They sought phone records from Sprint, and full account information from Facebook. The former complied silently, while Facebook fought it and the BCA withdrew their request. Clearly they were looking for dirt to try to discredit Diamond, but they justified by claiming it was an investigation into the death of Philando.

    http://gizmodo.com/after-philando-castiles-death-investigators-tried-to-s-1796335848

    So, the figurative fish is rotting from the head after all, despite the claims that it’s “just a few bad apples”.

  48. hotspurphd says

    @48 Tony!
    “PZ:
    I hope he’s not working in any position that requires that he be armed anymore — he is a coward unsuited to any stressful situation — and I look forward to the civil suit that should strip him of everything he owns.
    It’s more complicated than cowardice. Yanez, like so many officers before him, employed the age-old, tired-old defense of “feared for his life” as justification for the state sanctioned execution of Castile. That fear is likely something real–for Castile, but I suspect it is based in some part (perhaps even mostly) on implicit racial biases about African-Americans being prone to criminality:”

    Re the above ,i s it possible that the cop was in fact in fear of his life? It looked that way to me in the video. He looked as if he was terrified and felt he had to stop Castile from pulling a gun. And it fits with the fact that that the cop believed Castile had a gun and he was reaching for something, which in his mind was a gun. While this doesn’t amount to a reasonably noble reason to fear for ones life , for this cop it may have. If that’s true the act doesn’t seem to be murder but something else. Clearly he should not be a cop. One thing this incident shows is that police need a lot more training and ways to identify cops who might respond this way to minorities.
    I’m surprised no one here had viewed it this way. How do you account for the cop’s excitement , his yelling and rapid firing when Castile was reaching for his license? Doesn’t it seem as if he is afraid? What other explanation is there.

  49. chigau (違う) says

    hotspurphd #52
    Maybe Yanez is a racist piece of shit who was overly excited that he finally had a chance to kill a n*r.

  50. says

    @holms

    I strongly believe the verdict to be wrong but your argument is specious. There more than a few ways of reconciling believing the verdict to be correct but also thinking the officer should be let go from that department. The easiest two are probably thinking the community will refuse to work with officer because of them thinking he is guilt and it’s quite possible to think not all wrongness raises to the level of criminal.

    It’s a false dilemma.

  51. daemonios says

    @hotspurphd “While this doesn’t amount to a reasonably noble reason to fear for ones life , for this cop it may have. If that’s true the act doesn’t seem to be murder but something else.”

    I disagree. He is a professional law enforcement agent. He should be trained to deal with these situations better than an ordinary citizen. From all I’ve read Castile was NOT holding his gun and did NOT make sudden moves – Yanez simply snapped at some point and emptied his gun on the guy. Even if he was afraid for his life, there is the question of whether that fear was justified. Again, from my limited knowledge of the situation, it doesn’t appear to have been. The cop panicked. A cop should not panic. He is a cop in a country where many people carry guns legally, so he needs to deal with that without filling people with lead out of a knee-jerk reaction.

  52. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    If that’s true the act doesn’t seem to be murder but something else.

    That something else is called “manslaughter”, “negligent homicide”, etc.

    I’m surprised no one here had viewed it this way.

    I did. I explicitly stated that this is manslaughter. I might mayhaps be persuaded that it’s not murder, but it’s very clearly manslaughter: the unjustified / negligent killing of another human being.

  53. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Erlend Meyer

    I can kinda forgive the cuffing. When the shit hits the fan, rule number one is to get people under control. She just watched her husband get murdered, you have to assume she’s capable of almost any behavior. By cuffing anyone connected to the situation you at least ensure that no one else dies that night. And let’s face it, the officers involved proved that they were not in control of the situation to begin with.

    How very authoritative of you. You are the problem. You are one of those people who allow cops to live by different standards of use of force than the rest of us, which allow cops to shoot people for no good reason and not suffer consequences for it, which enables it to happen more in the future.

    What you propose is god-awful, and it ought to be fundamentally unconstitutional – a violation of the basic civil right to be free from baseless arrest and detention.

    I know. But with systemic failures it isn’t really productive to go after the individual cases. Guilty or not, jailing him won’t change much. If anything it will perpetuate the problem by providing a suitable scape goat.

    It’s simple: If you jail cops who shoot people unjustly now, then less cops will shoot people unjustly in the future. It’s called “the deterrence effect”. You might want to learn about it.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deterrence_(legal)
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/punishment/

    How the hell did he come to be in such a situation? Who the fuck allowed him to be an officer?

    Look in the mirror. You will have your answer.

  54. hotspurphd says

    @53
    chigau (違う)
    23 June 2017 at 12:27 am
    hotspurphd #52
    Maybe Yanez is a racist piece of shit who was overly excited that he finally had a chance to kill a n*r.
    Maybe. See below.

    @55
    daemonios
    23 June 2017 at 4:02 am
    @hotspurphd “While this doesn’t amount to a reasonably noble reason to fear for ones life , for this cop it may have. If that’s true the act doesn’t seem to be murder but something else.”
    I disagree. He is a professional law enforcement agent. He should be trained to deal with these situations better than an ordinary citizen. From all I’ve read Castile was NOT holding his gun and did NOT make sudden moves – Yanez simply snapped at some point and emptied his gun on the guy. Even if he was afraid for his life, there is the question of whether that fear was justified. Again, from lmy limited knowledge of the situation, it doesn’t appear to have been. The cop panicked. A cop should not panic. He is a cop in a country where many people carry guns legally, so he needs to deal with that without filling people with lead out of a knee-jerk reaction”
    MY RESPONSE (sorry I haven’t learned proper formatting yet)
    @55 I agree with everything you said. And I thought I had said so. “Reasonably noble reason” in my comment was done by my autocorrect and I didn’t proof carefully. Too much medication. He panicked and should be fired. Shouldn’t have been a cop. His fear was not reasonable. I agree with the prosecutor in the case who said “, “I would submit that no reasonable officer knowing, seeing, and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time would have used deadly force under these circumstances.”[8]
    But that doesn’t mean his fear was not real! It sure appeared real to me in that video. He shot him seven times as fast as he could pull the trigger, and he did it as Castile reached for his ID. He was terrified because of the situation and because of his racism, either implicit racism as described in an earlier post or explicit racism. But I believe he was terrified . I am not suggesting a justification , that he get off ,just an explanation, which is different from most of the posters here. Call it Black Person Derangment Syndrome , but don’t call it a deliberate execution. And if he was acting out of an unreasonable fear, what do we call it and how do we punish him? Fire him for sure. Make sure he never owns a gun. In terms of punishment I am inclined to think in terms of NGRI, NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY.similar to that, not the same. I’m not at all sure of this but that seems to be what the jury thought. Sure PZ, the cop lied but that doesn’t make what I said less true I think. We could see his actions as not entirely voluntary given his fear. Watch the video again with what I have suggested in mind and see if it makes sense.
    Are there any other clinical psychologists here who would comment on this? I find this group to be astonishingly intelligent and informed but when it comes to empathy and psychological thinking not as much. I remember suggesting to someone who said he didn’t fear death that he might fear it if it reared its head, quoting T.S. Eliot, and I was vilified by this person , told I was being “douchey” ( an offensive word I think and should be banned by PZ, as I argued not too long ago and was met by silence, I suspect because PZ and other regulars have used the word at times.) a more psychologically minded person might consider that he might indeed , when faced with it ,fear it, and not say as s/he did, S/he wouldn’t be any more bothered by not existing after death as S/he was before being born. Lots of luck with that. Nice work if you can get it.

    Lastly,We need better training and ways to weed these guys out.

  55. John Morales says

    hotspurphd:

    But that doesn’t mean his fear was not real! It sure appeared real to me in that video. He shot him seven times as fast as he could pull the trigger, and he did it as Castile reached for his ID. He was terrified because of the situation and because of his racism, either implicit racism as described in an earlier post or explicit racism. But I believe he was terrified . I am not suggesting a justification , that he get off ,just an explanation, which is different from most of the posters here.

    That’s a contributing factor, not an explanation.

    Seems to me like you’re going out of your way to pin this on the person rather than on the system.

    Do you dispute the cause is not just personal, but rather is systemic?

  56. Alt-X says

    They don’t need more training, they need to actually be held accountable for once. Only when they start ending up in jail for their crimes will things change. You don’t need to be a genius or have any super special talents to be a police officer, they can easily be replaced if they screw up. They aren’t NASA astronauts.

  57. hotspurphd says

    @60 you said
    “Seems to me like you’re going out of your way to pin this on the person rather than on the system.
    Do you dispute the cause is not just personal, but rather is systemic?”

    Going out of my way? . The person did it. Not the system. The person was terrified and panicked and acted it seems almost reflexively .
    No I do not dispute that it is systemicts as well as personal. But i don’t thnk this guy could help himself.
    I think it generally agreed that police need better training to help these situations from turning out this way.
    This video might shed some light. Indicates it’s not so easy to make these decisions.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yfi3Ndh3n-g

    Sent from my iPad

  58. chigau (違う) says

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  59. John Morales says

    hotspurphd, OK.

    So, you’re of the opinion that better training might have prevented that officer from being terrified and panicked and acting it seems almost reflexively.

    Hard to argue with that.

    Watched most of that video (and, boy, is it a pain to watch USA reports where they take forever to get to the point instead of redundantly telling you what they are about to tell you). Not much surprise there — that police mentality is a long way from Peelian, more akin to an occupying force in hostile territory.

  60. hotspurphd says

    In addition to better traniing cop applicants should be screened by clinical psychologists to weed out those who are unsuitable. We need a nationwide effort in his regard.perhaps also some screening of this already in uniform. Some years ago the psychologists at my state psychiatric hospital screened applicants for the state police to weed out unsuitable ones. How helpful it was I never learned.

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