1. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I love this.

    I have long advocated that whenever some cop says that they fired at an unarmed person because they were in fear for their life that we feel free to call them cowardly or fatally startle-able or whatever description you want to use, but actually nail them down.

    Investigator: So you’re afraid of unarmed people enough to kill them?
    Cowardly Cop: Yes.
    Investigator: Well, the law says you aren’t guilty of murder, then, but you’re definitely too much of a scaredy-cat for police work. You’ll get your discharge notice this afternoon.

    Frankly, I see the reason why we might not want to charge a cop with premeditated murder for many shootings even when there is a conscious choice to shoot a gun at someone’s torso or head. Even if they’re a complete scumbag, someone our government empowered hired them and gave them a gun and told them to shoot people if they’re scared. If they were honestly scared of someone unarmed and facing away, it might be proof of racism or any number of awful things, but it also could be simple incompetence. Basing the conviction on whether or not we feel that they felt scared is chance business. It’s not so much that it’s unfair or impossible, as that I’m sure it will lead (like so many criminal laws in the US) to disparate sentencing on identical facts, where the officer of color who shoots a white woman is judged not to have been scared despite the officers attestations to that fear, while the white officer who shoots a black man is judged to have been scared.

    Nonetheless, manslaughter should always be on the table. I advocate a change in law that makes it easier to convict on manslaughter charges when a cop kills someone who is not a threat. I also advocate changes in the structure of prosecutor’s offices and certain other aspects of the judicial system to make it easier to charge and to convict when an officer has been criminally negligent. On the other side, I’d take murder off the table for most on-duty shootings.

    You recklessly failed to determine whether or not a threat actually existed? Or you took a situation in which the threat was only to the person’s self and used that as an excuse to shoot the person threatening suicide? Manslaughter – go directly to jail, do not collect any sympathy. You purposely failed to determine there was no threat to others. Same. You purposely chose to shoot even though you knew there was no threat? Same.

    It’s not that there aren’t real differences to these crimes, but proving them is difficult and would inevitably result in intolerable disparities in sentencing when some are convicted of murder and some of manslaughter, but the races and/or genders of those involved have more to do with the nature of the conviction than the circumstances of the killings.

    It’s also a reflection of the fact that I’m convinced we lock up too many people for too long, so I’m more willing to err on the low side for everyone than adjust sentencing for cops convicted of manslaughter up to match those convicted of murder.

    Lastly, I am hopeful that if ever some reform similar to what I advocate does get enacted, that the right wing might actually look at some of the resulting cases and get their law-and-order dander up on at least a few that seem more-obviously murder and unlikely to be prosecuted as manslaughter if the defendant had not been a cop. If that happened (and I know I’m being pollyanna-esque here) you might actually get some bipartisan momentum toward changing the system that determines that the current hiring and training processes are acceptable.

    Hey, a dyke can dream, can’t she?

  2. FiveString says

    Love the sign. I love #1 Crip Dyke’s comment even more. Excellent, rational suggestions that will, sadly, never be acted upon.

  3. mamba says

    Cops too scared to be trusted with a gun should simply not have one. They are supposed to be trained to deal with fear.

    Perfect example was a few months ago when a cop shot the man who had a legal gun and told the cop. The example was AFTER the shooting when it showed his girlfriend/wife (forget which) and while she was obviously terrified (having watched her love shot right in front of her for no reason and having the same cop still waving the gun at HER face in fear for some reason) and while she was talking, she was all “SIR” this and “SIR” that and succeeding in keeping her composure…so she wouldn’t be shot also.

    Think of this…BOTH were afraid, one for much more direct reason, but the CIVILIAN remembered HER training on how to deal with the police, and never wavered from it even in the face of the danger. HE folded in seconds and killed the man with a trembling hand. So why is HE the one allowed to carry the gun?

  4. Rieux says

    That’s clearly the intersection of Snelling and University Avenues, arguably the most important road junction in St. Paul. (You can just barely see the tracks for the Green Line light-rail train, the main mass-transit connection between Minneapolis and St. Paul, behind the signs.) Whoever put the sign up picked a high-visibility spot. Not to mention that, in July 2016, Philando Castile was shot and killed a few miles away from that intersection, almost exactly due north.