ACAB. Always ACAB.

Don’t watch this video if you’d rather not see a cop slowly murder a man. Minneapolis police responded to a “forgery in progress”, whatever that is, although it sounds like a non-violent crime to me; they found a man sitting in a car, “under the influence”, and we’re still in non-violent territory; the cops then escalated everything, getting him into handcuffs and on the ground. Then, while he’s helpless and handcuffed, surrounded by at least 3 cops, one of Minneapolis’s Finest puts his knee on the man’s neck and pins him there.

I guess they expected to be overpowered by a bound drunk man.

The cop kept pressure on the man’s neck while he moaned and repeatedly said he was in pain and that he couldn’t breathe. He gradually stops moving, apparently stops breathing, and is later declared dead. That cop just kept crushing his neck, even as it was obvious there could be no further resistance.

Our men in blue! Fire ’em all. None of them even suggested to the cop kneeling on the man’s neck that maybe he could lighten up a little.

The one bright spot in this horrific incident are the Minneapolis citizens who record and vocally protest the police violence as it happens. Everyone is still cowed by the armed cops, but as their moral authority continues to erode, as they become nothing but thugs in uniforms, that will change, as long as they continue to think they are above the mere citizenry.

It always embarrassed Samuel Vimes when civilians tried to speak to him in what they thought was “policeman.” If it came to that, he hated thinking of them as civilians. What was a policeman, if not a civilian with a uniform and a badge? But they tended to use the term these days as a way of describing people who were not policemen. It was a dangerous habit: once policemen stopped being civilians the only other thing they could be was soldiers.
Terry Pratchett

Two of the cops have been put on paid leave.


  1. davidc1 says

    I did catch a bit of a tv progamme ,someone said cops spent most of their training learning how to shoot ,and a little time was spent on how to interact with other people .
    Haven’t had a lot of time to do with plod ,except for the nine years i spent as a motorbike courier in London .
    Some were just doing their jobs ,others really ,really ,really enjoyed giving you a ticket .

  2. says

    I saw this earlier today. This is why cops should be deemed guilty until proven innocent – that cop is a murderer unless someone can prove that a handcuffed man on the ground was in some way a “threat”. That would be more and fairer due process than that poor man received.

    This is also why cops should get stiffer sentences for their crimes against civilians, stiffer than civilians who commit crimes against cops. Cops are supposed to know and uphold the law, so it’s worse when they commit the crime than when a civilian does.

  3. Artor says

    Of course, the punishment for murdering a man in cold blood is paid vacation. That’ll show them!

  4. Ray, rude-ass yankee - One inseparable gemisch says

    All involved need to fired and charged with murder, nothing less will do.

  5. daverytier says

    unless someone can prove that a handcuffed man on the ground was in some way a “threat”

    He could have dynamite in his stomach and start hissing and puffing up before exploding like a creeper in minecraft if not killed immediately. You say it’s improbable ? Well, it’s not logically impossible and therefore it is a non-zero threat and killing is therefore permissible.

    Yea, this is a parody, but I have seen quite a few fascists authoritarians to justify murders using the same “reasoning”.

  6. says

    Maybe in my country median salary is around 10k USD a year, but I have free healthcare, free unemployment, some social security and when policeman kills someone it is THE story of the decade, not another one of many similar everyday stories.

  7. daverytier says

    Maybe in my country

    Well. As someone put it, the US is a third world country with the richest billionaires. Maybe not entirely fair, but coming closer and closer to that with each passing year.

  8. says

    Though I haven’t watched this video, I have seen others in which police will have someone pinned down and they tell him to stop resisting, apparently he doesn’t and they apply more pressure and tell him to stop resisting again. This cycle continues and often they end with the person dead.

    I remember as a child playing football, and when tackled such that I was held down by other players and couldn’t move for more than a few seconds, I’d freak out and would do everything in my power to get people off me. I guess it was a kind of panic attack. After that happened a couple of times I gave up on tackle football. From those experiences I know that if I was ever held down in the manner seen in those videos I wouldn’t be able to avoid resisting. Presumably, when all was done I’d end up in a morgue or, if lucky, a hospital bed.

  9. Timo Kaaarp says

    Fucking hell America, is there anything you do properly? Your whole education, policing, work/life balance, political, environmental, gun law, health care system etc, etc – appears, from the outside, to be completely fucked. And your sports suck ass. Fix it all please, it pains me to see how badly the richest nation in the world treats its citizens. Your human rights do not appear to be important or even considered.

  10. rabbitbrush says

    Timo Kaaarp @9 – ƒü¢k yeah! We do ignorance and selfishness and violence really well.

  11. weylguy says

    Ah, but think how much worse things would be if we weren’t living in a post-racist America.

  12. microraptor says

    Remember that to a racist cop (but I repeat myself), trying to breath constitutes resisting arrest.

  13. robro says

    Four cops have been fired by the mayor for this. Now, I suppose begin the lawsuits for wrongful termination.

  14. microraptor says

    Have they started dredging the victim’s past for incidents where he might not have turned his library books in on time as justification for why he needed to die?

  15. John Morales says

    This is depressing.

    Perhaps I’m too cynical, but it seems to me that the police system in the USA is working just as intended, much as the health system is working as intended.

    (or: their ostensible purpose is not their actual purpose)

    Vicar @12, I’m not the most sensitive guy around, but I find it really, really “on the nose” for you to ride your hobby-horse about Biden on this particular story.

  16. christoph says

    @ Timo Kaaarp, # 9: And where are you from? You didn’t say. Presumably some perfect Utopia of a country. Please knock off the generalizations about Americans. I’ve seen similar comments blaming all black people (insultingly referred to as “blacks” and omitting the word “people”) for the actions of one criminal.

  17. blf says

    christoph@17, There is a nazi dictator backed by a nazi-majority senate appointing nazi-infused lifetime judges, with concentration camps (immigrant dentention centers), no viable heath-care or social-support system, a racist and selective death penalty, ex-felons who are not allowed to vote, cops who murder with impunity, a guilty if black mentality, an overpowering military, an underwhelming concern for the First Nations, and on and on and on. And on.

    Incidentally, I am a natural-born States citizen, and hold a valid States-issued passport.

  18. says

    This is horrific and awful. ACAB indeed. I’m glad to see you saying it. I hope it’s a sign of you moving further and further left politically. Even here in Japan, where cops are far less dangerous, their job still involves shit like harassing homeless people and suppressing protests and strikes and they do it without question. Once you realize that cops are enforcers of an incredibly unjust order, that their job is to side with the powerful people who rules society, you have to conclude that the job makes all of them bastards.

  19. microraptor says

    Mathew Ostergren @20: Isn’t the Japanese legal system infamous for its lack of any Fruit of the Poisonous Tree laws, placing a much higher emphasis on the value of signed confessions above any other form of evidence, and having a successful prosecution rate that’s above 99%?

  20. says

    vicar @12: In mathematics, there’s the concept of “necessary, but not sufficient”. In order to be divisible by 6, a number must be even, so there’s the necessary bit. But at the same time, only 1/3 of even integers are divisible by 6, so clearly, being even is not sufficient to make a number be divisible by 6.

    As best I can tell, getting Biden into office is one of those necessary-but-not-sufficient deals for getting progressive shit done. If all that happens is Biden getting elected, that certainly doesn’t guarantee any progress, but at least there won’t be a massive, intransigent barrier against progress.

  21. numerobis says

    microraptor: almost all prosecutions in the US end in some kind of conviction as well. Except if the defendant is a cop. Or particularly rich.

    Just a coincidence I’m sure.

  22. Badland says

    Aaaand there they go again, The Vicar boldly proclaiming Biden and Trump are as bad as each other.

    O to be so blessedly privileged, that I could spout such mendacious shit and not give a fuck for the majority of Americans who will be so very much the worse off under Trump courts, Trump education, Trump taxation, Trump welfare (corporate, of course). Who already are worse off.

    You selfish fuck.

  23. ajbjasus says

    I was lucky enough to be taken to America in the 60s as a young child. I was pretty naive, but I thought the rest of the world seemed second rate in comparison. How things have changed. I have relatives there and really, no desire to visit a beautiful country, with so much going for it, whos inhabitants seem to have completely fucked up. Correction, some inhabitants. It would have been better off left to the natives.

  24. Timo Kaaarp says

    Christoph@17 I said America, not Americans. The system is broken, the majority of you are it’s victims.

  25. khms says

    From Wikipedia:

    The criminal justice system of Japan has been referred to as a form of “hostage justice” (hitojichi-shiho), including in an appeal by 1010 Japanese professors, lawyers, and other legal professionals.[8] Collin Jones, a professor at Doshisha Law School in Kyoto, notes that the system has a conviction rate commonly described as 99.9%, but that the rate is, in fact, closer to 99.4%.[9][10][verification needed] Jones agrees with the group of legal professionals petitioning for change that practices such as interrogating suspects without counsel or charge for up to 23 days, not requiring the disclosure of exculpatory evidence, or of relationships between prosecutors and the courts increases the likelihood of convictions;[9][8] these professionals are unequivocal in their belief in the issue continues despite reforms, and that the system contributes to wrongful conviction:

    Japan’s criminal justice practices—stretching suspects’ detention until they confess, forcing detainees to face investigators’ questions without the presence of lawyers and stripping them of their right to remain silent, and coercing them to confess including false confessions—have long been called “hostage justice” and a cause of wrongful convictions. However, the criminal justice reforms including the latest post-2000s reforms did not address this issue and these problems remain to date.[8]

    United States

    Ambox current red.svg
    This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (January 2020)

    See also: United States incarceration rate, Incarceration in the United States, and Overturned convictions in the United States
    In the United States federal court system, the conviction rate rose from approximately 75 percent to approximately 85% between 1972 and 1992.[13] For 2012, the US Department of Justice reported a 93% conviction rate.[14] In 2000, the conviction rate was also high in U.S. state courts. Coughlan, writing in 2000, stated, “In recent years, the conviction rate has averaged approximately 84% in Texas, 82% in California, 72% in New York, 67% in North Carolina, and 59% in Florida.”[15]

    In 2018, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that among defendants charged with a felony, 68% were convicted (59% of a felony and the remainder of a misdemeanor) with felony conviction rates highest for defendants originally charged with motor vehicle theft (74%), driving-related offenses (73%), murder (70%), burglary (69%), and drug trafficking (67%); and lowest for defendants originally charged with assault (45%).[16]

  26. davegilbert says

    ACAB? All Coppers Are Bastards? Really PZ? ALL coppers, including every cop in the world? I take exception to your comment. I was a cop in the UK and retired after 30 years blemish free service to the people of my county. Moreover, I served with great people that displayed great courage and commitment. I find your reductionist bigotry disturbing.

  27. mamba says

    We witness a cold-blooded murder, not manslaughter or accidental death, that was plain murder.

    Punishment? Initially vacation time, ultimately they were fired. Place bets on whether it EVER gets to the stages of “murder?”

    Meaning that if you’re a cop the WORST that can happen if you need a new job apparently, if you kill someone for no reason at all. The REST of us have to worry about jails and the court system…clearly THAT isn’t a concern once you get a badge.

    I’m not asking for cops to be perfect…I’m just asking that they get the SAME if not MORE punishment when they flagrantly break the law they supposedly uphold!

  28. christoph says

    @ blf # 18, Timo Kaaarp #26: Yes, things are a mess, but some of us are working to fix things. Blame the people responsible, not everyone. Even Nazi Germany had an effective resistance.

  29. rossthompson says

    Mark McGlone @#8

    “Stop resisting” are the magic words that cops are taught to say whenever they brutalize a restrained subject. So long as they loudly and repeatedly tell witnesses that the victim is “resisting”, whatever happens next is perfectly justified and won’t be punished in any way.

  30. says

    davegilbert –

    If you were a cop in the UK for thirty years, how many cops did you arrest (e.g. the cops who lied and perptetrated the fiction of “drunken fans” at the Hillsborough Disaster)?

    If you never arrested any and/or you opposed their arrest, then you were complicit in protecting them.

  31. Rowan vet-tech says

    @davegilbert- That you are more concerned that someone might think you fall under that umbrella than the fact that cops kill people with impunity, to the point that you whined about it on a thread specifically about a man being murdered by a cop in broad daylight shows that yeah, you do fall under that umbrella. All cops are bastards. You are definitely not excluded.

  32. John Morales says

    davegilbert, I’m sympathetic to your perspective, and yes, overgeneralisations and collective guilting is a thing around here. It’s not literal, though.

    Note that Peelian principles never really took a foothold in the USA, and this is a USA-centric blog,

  33. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To davegilbert
    The brute fact of the matter is that almost all American cops support the police unions that do* their damnest to protect dirty cops, almost without any limit on the outrageousness of their conduct. So long as that remains true, I am quite justified to say “fuck all (American) pigs”.

  34. says

    Maybe if all the supposedly good cops got busy arresting the bad ones, we could move things forward?

    Of course, the dirty, little not-so-secret is that we all know there are more bad ones than good ones. I’ve heard the stories from actually good cops who tried to push for better policing. Those stories usually end with something like: “…but when my children started getting death threats, I decided to just quit instead.”