HOLD THE LINE

Another day, another person with hands in the air doing nothing that could even remotely be construed as threatening or illegal being shot dead by a cop. The professional cop apologists will behave as they always do, dragging out the dead man's apparent criminal record (conveniently ignoring the number of complaints filed against the officers involved, as their histories are never relevant) and noting gravely that he did something the cop told him not to do and therefore he merited the death sentence. You know, like it says in that one part of the Constitution: "If you don't do what the police tell you, they get to shoot you." I think it's in Article IV.

The question that needs to be put to the cop apologists out there is: What could a police officer do that you wouldn't argue is justified? Since no matter what the police do the same people always leap to their defense with the same excuses, that suggests the statistically impossible reality that nothing the police do is unjustifiable. If their beliefs were based on any kind of objective reality there would have to be at least one instance in which we could all look at police actions and say "Yeah, that's totally unacceptable. Clearly over the line." There would be some historical example they could point to and say "This is the limit of what I can make excuses for."

Since they can't, the rest of us can safely ignore their tired routine as the ramblings of authoritarian-follower personality types claiming to create the appearance of logic in what for them is really a matter of blind, unwavering faith.

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42 Responses to “HOLD THE LINE”

  1. Dbp Says:

    It's not what the cops do as much as it is who they do it to that makes it ok. The cop who say….strangled Eric Garner to death was just a guy doing his job to these people. I suspect, however, that if that same cop gave them a speeding ticket, that cop would suddenly be a massive asshole. I'm guessing to many of these individuals, the only person who ever truly gets mistreated is themselves.

  2. Dick Nixon Says:

    Building on what Dbp said above–a small thought experiment—

    What if the police foces were primarily Black males and routinely shot white citizens for minor infractions (selling onesies, sassing an officer). We can only guess the reaction…

    The authoritarian sanction given for police shootings is a reflection of white fear of brown peoples.

  3. Delbort Says:

    @dbp, @Dick Nixon

    Truth, notice that law enforcement (or at least, people acting in that capacity) became jackbooted government fascist thugs when they went to collect back taxes from the Bundies. Cops and the military are saints and angels when they're fucking with brown, powerless people, but as soon as they turn their guns on white people it's tyranny.

  4. Amanda Says:

    I feel like this has some relationship to the way we treat the military in this country too. People who are in the military lead with that information as though they have been programmed to expect us to fall down at their feet, thanking them for everything they have done just because they are in the military. Ask no questions, make no delineations between people who actively save people vs people who drive trucks to people that do no more than one weekend a month, three weeks a year. ~heroes~ And if you question that, or refuse to tow the line, you aren't American. This attitude has found its way into our domestic situations and I feel like it's doing more harm than when it's applied to military personnel. I don't think it can change.

  5. Pat Says:

    "You know, like it says in that one part of the Constitution: "If you don't do what the police tell you, they get to shoot you." I think it's in Article IV."

    Ed, don't be obtuse. Art. IV provides that in order to balance the budget Congress is empowered to cut spending on social programs but not payments to prison contractors, and can eliminate transfers to the poor but not raise taxes on the rich.

    I mean, that's just ign'ant. Like you're making a cheap joke.

  6. Dave Dell Says:

    Amanda – Our lionization of the military…

    As a vet myself I don't feel what I did was special. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable to be thanked for my service. Thanked for my service in what with 45 years of perspective I now realize was a war to insure the global American Hegemony.

    All our conflicts since have been the same. Which leads me to the following thought…

    The white XIAN right has realized that the military and the police forces can be dominated by the XIAN right simply by sheer weight of volunteering in sufficient numbers and thereby control U.S. society and thence control the world.

    Too paranoid? Not paranoid enough?

  7. RosiesDad Says:

    Let me play Devil's Advocate and say that this is, based on the linked story, a case of a cop shooting that is in the grey zone. The cops may be bad guys, the guy they shot is also a bad guy. He's a convict who has a gun that is in the open in a state where possessing that gun is almost certainly illegal. He did time for shooting State Troopers. He is instructed to stay in the car but gets out anyway. Does he have another weapon on his person? They don't know. He has a history with the cop(s) who pulled them over. This is not the Eric Garner case, it is not Mike Brown, it is certainly not a case like Tamir Rice.

    Did the cops over-react? Maybe. Did the guy pose a threat? Also maybe.

    As such, I don't think that this is the best case to raise the specter of police overstepping their bounds.

  8. c u n d gulag Says:

    As long as the police stick to shooting "those people," I suspect white America is going to be ok with that.

    I guess maybe they think it's funny when the white cop says he wants to see a license, and when the black male reaches for it, they kill him.
    HA-HA!
    Yeah, that's a real knee-slapper.
    NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. ronzie Says:

    @RosiesDad
    Have you seen the video? Go watch it, and keep this in mind: the Black officer who was screaming at the passenger not to reach for anything had already taken the suspect's gun into his possession, AND he knew the guy and had arrested him before. I think it's VERY possible this officer decided to use this as an opportunity to "take out some trash" and dish out his own justice. There are a LOT of people who not only have no problem with that, they think it should be done more often. Hell, these types would cheer on right-wing death squads as long as they kept the raping and killing of women and children to a minimum.

    As for Ed's question about where police violence apologists would draw the line, Howard Stern, who has always been a pro-cop voice when these incidents occur, finally drew the line at the anal-rape-with-a-stick that Abner Louima suffered at the hands of cops, but only because it was "too gay". He was just fine with the beating that accompanied the rape.

  10. ronzie Says:

    @c u n d gulag
    And if you don't reach for the license when the cop asks for it, he shoots you for not complying with his orders. A win-win situation for justice and The American Way℠!

  11. John Danley Says:

    Craig Peyer apparently missed the Enforcement with Impunity Renaissance.

  12. komoriblue Says:

    I usually hate the "here's a single example of a thing now let's extrapolate the state of the universe based upon it" posts, but I'm going to do it anyway; here's an article I saw recently:

    http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2015/01/former-deputys-wife-sends-angry-fb-message-photographer-whose-pictures-got-husband-fired/

    Interesting?

  13. Chicagojon Says:

    @RosiesDad
    Don't 'play Devil's Advocate' on the internet…just don't. If you do want to post a contrary position is is probably a good idea to reference the available information (video) directly.

    "Did the cops over-react? Maybe."
    This is murder and you can't even make it over the threshold of 'over-react'? Good day to you sir.

    "He is instructed to stay in the car but gets out anyway"
    A traffic stop conversation changes to:
    'Show me your hands', 'show me your fucking hands', 'don't you fucking move', 'don't you fucking move', 'get them out of the car rog we've got a gun in this glove compartment'
    It took the cop 8 words and ~1 second to take a conversation into a yelling match where he was pointing his gun at a target ~3 feet away.

    'I'm telling you I'm gonna shoot you', 'you're going to be fucking dead I'm telling you', 'you reach for something you're going to be fucking dead I'm telling you', 'keep your hands right fucking there', 'if you reach for something you're going to be fucking dead', 'he's reaching he's reaching', 'no you're not no you're not', 'don't you fucking move'
    By my count there are 6 shots when he gets out of the car and a 7th cherry on top after the murdered victim has fallen to the ground. Now that you know this is the end result do you still think the passenger should simply comply and do whatever he is told by a fucking lunatic that's screaming at him and holding a gun 3 feet away from him tells him? Even when he is screaming that he's going to shoot and he is screaming that the guy is reaching for a gun when the victim says he isn't?

    It seems to me that in the last half-dozen or so cop murder videos that I've seen there is a time when the "situation escalates"(TM) that is more often then not the same time that the cop starts screaming, swearing, & draws his gun and points it at a person that has no visible weapon of their own. Oh, and they start screaming 'you're reaching' and 'do ___' and 'don't move' because that get's the murder-someone-for-free-card. After all, they didn't follow orders and commands and should have just gotten down on the ground (while I was screaming at them to not move) or not moved (while I was screaming at them to put their hands up)

    This is not policing. It's murder first and ask questions later. Hell – they're more worried about getting crime scene tape set up and following that proper procedure then they were worried about the life of the victim before, during, or after they killed him.

    Most damning is the end of the video 'he pulled a gun on you' from cop #2 (bullshit lie / said for the cameras) followed by 'listen, turn it off turn it off, everything should be off' from cop #3 telling everyone to turn of their cameras. Why bother putting supporting evidence on a camera when you can turn it off entirely and follow the George Zimmerman & Darren Wilson roadmap.

  14. Chicagojon Says:

    Also –

    It's 50 seconds from seeing the gun in the glove compartment until the murder. By all accounts the gun was still in the glove compartment and the end of the 'situation'. Maybe the cop knew of some telekinetic gun-drawing prowess in the suspect.

    "You must be what they call one of those quick draw artists you know because of the way that you have the gun stuck down way in your belt like that" — Dennis Farina in Get Shorty

  15. Stacey Hager Says:

    I bet that if one of the aforementioned police apologists were driving through another state and were pulled over and had the old civil forfeiture trick pulled on them, then they would complain.

  16. Isaac Says:

    There's a thing going around: It takes 460 hours of training to be a cop, and 1600 hours to cut hair.

  17. Skipper Says:

    If you understand that the role of the police is somserve and protect the One Percent — and protect them from us — everything else makes sense. We don't matter. We're not even people. They would shoot white people with the same impunity, if they thought they could get away with it, but they know they can't. Although, that day may come. It's "mission creep."

  18. RosiesDad Says:

    @ronzie: I agree with your points which is why I considered this event to be gray zone. The cop and the dead perp had a history. The cop may be a bad guy, the guy he shot is a known bad guy. And yes, I looked at the video. The cop gave direct orders, while pointing a gun in his face, not to move and he still forced his way out of the car. Confrontational or just stupid? You decide. If he had stayed in the car, the odds are that he would still be alive. Maybe back in prison but still alive.

    @chicagojon: thanks for giving me advice on what to do and what not to do, Sparky. That was really helpful. Can't tolerate people who don't agree 100% with you? Maybe you ought not spend time trolling on the Internet.

  19. drouse Says:

    I saw the question of just what it would take asked in another forum and some wag came back with 'I dunno, field dress the corpse maybe?'. I don't think even that would be far enough for some of these defenders. Rolling around in the entrails might do it though.

  20. mothra Says:

    Here in Albuquerque, the cops don't just shoot brown people, but white folks, too. Their murder-dish-of-choice is mentally ill people. I have a couple of friends (who I continually wonder why I am friendly with) who support the local police wholeheartedly in their campaign to murder mentally ill people. Their position is that the scum that the police encounter are probably not really worthwhile citizens, so yeah, they deserve to be removed from society. Do they SAY that? No. They trot out the usual "obey the police and you won't get hurt," and "if you keep your nose clean, you won't get hurt." But when you push them, you see they they are really just psychopaths who don't care much about their fellow citizens.

    Did I mention I don't know why I am friendly with these people?

  21. Chicagojon Says:

    @RosiesDad: "I agree with your points which is why I considered this event to be gray zone. The cop and the dead perp had a history."
    That works wonderfully with the worlds largest prison population. Cops encounter known suspects all of the time. I don't think we should give cops vigilante passes to take out the trash. I think the history between them doesn't create a gray area for expectations on the cop, I think it raises more red flags like if they ran a stop sign at all or if the cop recognized them and wanted to make a stop.

    "The cop gave direct orders, while pointing a gun in his face, not to move and he still forced his way out of the car. Confrontational or just stupid? You decide."
    We did watch the same video where a gun-drawn cop was screaming that he was going to shoot, right? And the car passenger was supposed to sit with his hands up – or was he supposed to get the registration as originally requested – or was he not supposed to put his hands up because that would contradict 'don't move'. If he's not moving or has his hands up (whichever was the right step to placate the officer) is he allowed to talk? I can't tell from the video if his hands are up or going up or if he's not moving with his hands already in the right position, but the officer doesn't seem to like it when he says (paraphrased) 'I've got no reason to reach'.

    "If he had stayed in the car, the odds are that he would still be alive. Maybe back in prison but still alive."
    I agree. It is also a 100% chance that he would still be alive if the cop didn't murder him. (well, at least alive through the encounter)

    "thanks for giving me advice on what to do and what not to do, Sparky. That was really helpful. Can't tolerate people who don't agree 100% with you? Maybe you ought not spend time trolling on the Internet."
    Actually in your follow up post you moved from a 'Devil's advocate' (taking a contrary position for the sake of debating) to confirming that you watched the video and expanding on your viewpoint. That's pretty much the advice that I was giving. I assure you that I have no problem with people who don't agree with me – I just would rather discuss/argue with someone voicing their opinion instead of disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing (e.g. trolling)

  22. Skippper Says:

    @mothra — Actually, your "acquaintances" are onto something. They have assimilated the message that this wholesale murder of marginal members of society is meant to send — do what you're told and we won't kill you. This is the fascists' dream. If you can get the population to police itself — simply out of fear, then you don't need a classic police state. You don't need brownshirts on every street corner. Better still, you can maintain the illusion of a functioning democracy — just as our corrupted voting process does.

    There's an old joke — a mother goes to the teacher and tells her that her son is very sensitive. "If he does something wrong, don't punish him — just punish the boy next to him and that will frighten him into behaving."

    Your acquaintances (I never use the word friends for people like this — I call them acquaintances) have gotten the message and assimilated it. You and I are still resisting it. But, even though we're resisting it, how would we react when confronted by a police officer we thought was wrong? Would we argue with him? Would we try to discuss it? Or would we just shut up and lie down on the ground for fear of being shot, strangled, or beaten to death — knowing that the cop would not be held accountable for our murder?

    Welcome to the Corporate Dictatorship of the US.

  23. Xynzee Says:

    @Dick Nixon:
    You mean this guy??
    http://youtu.be/KF0_Qe4zNrE

  24. Joe Brown Says:

    I told one of my neighbors that her headlight was out on her Audi. She replied that yeah she knew. Then added "good thing I'm white". Yeah, I said, me too.

  25. Aaron Says:

    Defenders of the cops are going to say, "Why did the guy get out the car when the cop said, 'Don't fucking move'?" Here's why: the very cop who said, "Don't fucking move" told the other cop to "Get them out of the car". The victim heard the first cop say "Get them out of the car", started to get out of the car with his hands up, making assurances that he wasn't reaching for a gun, etc….and then the first cop shot him.

    @Rosie'sdad: Say again how this is an example of the cop *not* simply killing someone unjustifiably.

  26. Nick G. Says:

    "What could a police officer do that you wouldn't argue is justified?"

    Tell a rancher where he can't let his cattle graze.

    Then it's the anarcho-capitalist section of tumblr collectively masturbating while the place their other hand on their pile of non-NFA weapons while repeating the mantra "THAT GUN'S POINTED AT THE GOVERNMENT."

    And they're consistent in their hatred of authority. They hate regular cops too. But of course, somehow their private defense agency isn't a government because capitalism. Or something.

  27. Emerson Dameron Says:

    Killing a heavily armed white guy would at least make things awkward in the precinct lounge.

  28. sophronia Says:

    I think the tell is that the cops are allowed, and as far as I can tell encouraged, to scream orders at people and kill them if they don't get instant obedience. Think about it: If someone is pointing a weapon at you and screaming, are you able to remain calm and instantly follow orders? And I assume you are not someone suffering from mental illness or terrified by whatever tense situation got the cops involved in the first place.

    There is no reason for the cops to be screaming. It doesn't make people more likely to obey or do anything except drive up the tension. Why are we not insisting that our police be trained to handle situations in a way that minimizes the potential for violent outcomes?

  29. RosiesDad Says:

    @chicagojon: A Devil's Advocate position can also be construed as a position that is an alternative from the accepted norm. In this case, by the time I posted, the accepted norm was that this was another black and white case of bad cop shooting innocent Black man. After all, Ed began, "Another day, another person with hands in the air doing nothing that could even remotely be construed as threatening or illegal…"

    I think Ed got this wrong. The guy with his hands in the air was the driver, who followed instructions and was not shot. The guy who got shot was a known felon (and the cop did know him because as soon as he recognized him, he started to call him by name) who was sitting inches from an illegal gun and who disobeyed instructions to stay put, instead forcing his way out of the car (the cop was clearly trying to hold the door closed but failed) to advance on the cop in a manner that could reasonably be construed as threatening.

    It's possible that the cop is a bad guy. But Jerame had already done 13 years for shooting three State Troopers so we know that he was no Alter Boy. As such, using this event to claim, "Bad cops shot another innocent citizen" was a poor metaphor, IMHO.

    Have a good night.

  30. Emerson Dameron Says:

    @Stacey:

    As a group, they don't do much traveling outside places like Long Island and Utah.

  31. eau Says:

    Your use of the word "Justified" reminded me that the show "Justified" is wrapping this year. A friend told me she read an interview with star/producer Timothy Oliphant in which he alluded to being uneasy about playing the trigger-happy lead character "in the current climate" or some such. I can't find the interview online, but I'd love to read/watch what he actually said.

  32. Fiddlin Bill Says:

    Your dictum: "Since they can't, the rest of us can safely ignore their tired routine as the ramblings of authoritarian-follower personality types claiming to create the appearance of logic in what for them is really a matter of blind, unwavering faith," can be understood today as essentially the Republican Party credo. Thus is born American fascism.

  33. Anderson Says:

    The cop is screaming because he's a scared coward who shouldn't be allowed to carry a gun, much less wear a badge.

  34. witless chum Says:

    RosiesDad:
    "It's possible that the cop is a bad guy. But Jerame had already done 13 years for shooting three State Troopers so we know that he was no Alter Boy. As such, using this event to claim, "Bad cops shot another innocent citizen" was a poor metaphor, IMHO."

    The idea that you think 'bad guy' is a concept is childish. It's hard to not think the rest of your opinions don't come from that fundamental error. Cops shouldn't have the right to shoot any guys unless there's a clear and obvious threat to their life or someone else's. There wasn't here.

  35. Chicagojon Says:

    I need to get better at watching videos.

    This also is the problem with dash videos and the inevitable body cameras. You can show a cop murdering someone in a video and it doesn't matter. There will always be an alternate viewpoint and the camera does nothing to stop the injustice that's already in the system.

    @Rosiesdad wrote:
    I think Ed got this wrong. The guy with his hands in the air was the driver, who followed instructions and was not shot.
    –2:07 – exits the car and stands up with his fingers pointing up / palms out (otherwise known as 'hands up').

    The guy who got shot was a known felon (and the cop did know him because as soon as he recognized him, he started to call him by name)
    –Being a felon is not justification for murder. Knowing someone is not justification for murder

    who was sitting inches from an illegal gun
    –Technically I'm inches away from an illegal gun (probably thousands of inches, maybe tens of thousands of inches). Is the gun a threat or not? From the video it appears not and the article/reports doesn't say anything about him grabbing the gun.

    and who disobeyed instructions to stay put,
    –'don't you fucking move', 'don't you fucking move', 'get them out of the car rog we've got a gun in this glove compartment' — those were apparently the instructions to stay put. But what was 'I'm telling you I'm gonna shoot you', 'you're going to be fucking dead I'm telling you', 'you reach for something you're going to be fucking dead I'm telling you'. How is he supposed to react to that?

    instead forcing his way out of the car (the cop was clearly trying to hold the door closed but failed)
    –Yes, he forced his way out of the car – there is no question.

    to advance on the cop in a manner that could reasonably be construed as threatening.
    –This is why we have video. 'Threatening' is relative. Standing up with your hands in the air when someone has a gun pointed at you from a few feet away is not threatening to them. They have a gun, they can see your hands, they can see your face. Or are we to believe that the murdered passenger's face "was looking straight through him, like he wasn't even there, like he wasn't even anything in his way" (Ferguson quote)

    This cop should be put in jail for murder. Since our justice system is a joke and is designed for plea bargains he should be allowed to plea to manslaughter and spend the next ~5 years in jail (well, ~2 since our justice system is a joke)

  36. RosiesDad Says:

    @witless chum and @chicagojon: I think you are both exceptionally naive. If you are armed and pointing a gun at someone and they continue to advance on you, you have two options. You are either going continue to back up as they advance (because otherwise they are going to take your gun and use it on you) or you are going to stop them in their tracks by shooting them. End of story. (If you have some other scenario that your fertile imaginations can conjure up, I would love to hear them. Actually, I really wouldn't.)

    Their are some aspects of the interaction between the police and the guys in the Jag that are unclear due to poor lighting, poor resolution, poor audio. What is perfectly clear, however, is that Jerame Reid posed a threat to the police, first as a result of his proximity to an illegal weapon and second because his refusal to stay put as he was instructed. Had he kept his hands in plain sight, moved slowly as directed, he would have been instructed to get out of the car, get on the ground, put his hands behind his back so he could be handcuffed and he would have been taken to the police station as his companion was. And then the legal details could have been sorted out.

  37. Bill Says:

    It's a damn shame that Rosie is saddled with a stupid, racist, fascist asshole as a father.

  38. ndf Says:

    seems like the advice from the post qualifies for tonight's resident murder apologist:

    "safely ignore their tired routine as the ramblings of authoritarian-follower personality types claiming to create the appearance of logic in what for them is really a matter of blind, unwavering faith"

  39. Phoenician in a time of Romans Says:

    @RosiesDad:

    "Let me play Devil's Advocate and say that this is, based on the linked story, a case of a cop shooting that is in the grey zone. The cops may be bad guys, the guy they shot is also a bad guy."

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Why do you hate the Constitution, RD?

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