Saturday, July 09, 2016
POLICE INVOLVED KILLINGS AND DALLAS SNIPERS
With the killings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas it seems that another thread of the American essence is coming unraveled. I'm not sure what word to use for what I feel, but essence seems best.
I've had my own unpleasant experiences with law enforcement and the legal system, and I'm a white guy. This essay explores changes in beliefs and attitudes, including mine, over the last 25 years or so as well as an analysis of several shootings since Ferguson. This isn't meant to be a beat down of law enforcement nor condemnation of deceased or arrested suspects, but an objective view on how things are with detailed thought concerning police involved shootings and the subsequent Dallas sniping over the first week of July 2016.
We can begin with the facts influencing my perspective, which appear to have been part of a national trend, that things generally changed for some reason in the early 1990's with law enforcement in Kern, San Bernardino and Riverside counties of Southern California, and not for the better. Perhaps regionally it had to do with gang bangers and their late 20th century move from the more urban Los Angeles area to more outlying localities. Having lived in Los Angeles county from '83 to '87, it was my impression that from the long distant past a police officer in Los Angeles County would just as soon shoot you as talk to you, but I never actually had contact with one.
Before I compare more recent police involved deaths of citizens, beginning with Michael Brown in Ferguson, I offer the following observations:
Before the 90's, I had a very positive view of law enforcement officers and the legal system. However, while I'm not bitter anymore about specifics, I know that police reports can be master works of creative fiction, that there is such a thing as manufactured evidence, and that suspects do get beaten while cuffed. It is common for the fourth amendment to be blatantly violated, and for those not explicitly knowing their rights the cards are stacked against the 5th amendment. “Tough on crime” politically sells, and for too many District Attorneys conviction rate trumps justice. So, for DA's who are inclined to do so, overcharging and indicting on baseless charges is a tactic attempting to at least get a plea bargain out of parties who don't know how the justice system really works and those who cannot afford quality representation, an unethical yet apparently legal form of human trafficking for personal gain.
While probable cause prompting LEO contact was different concerning a personal situation in Kern County and the case of of Michael Brown in Ferguson, I hit the ground when drawn down on and was taken into custody. Brown charged the officer and was shot to death. However, I believe that if my situation had happened within the last few years rather than the early 90's I probably would have been fired on.
Judging from what I saw of the camera footage, Eric Garner of New York didn't die from a choke hold. Garner was a tall, obese man who was first physically contacted by a tiny cop who apparently didn't know how to execute a take down from behind while Garner was distracted from the front, and the full group representation of “New York's finest” in action with Garner from beginning to end appears to be that of incompetence complete with the whole circus almost falling through a plate glass window. In a scene resembling a pride of lions pulling down a large cape buffalo, Garner wound up on his belly with the weight of several officers on his back. His belly fat pushed his lower internal organs up into his chest cavity, compressing his lungs and heart for an extended period of time in a man in poor health besides being obese. Garner died either from suffocation by lung compression, a heart attack or both. I didn't see an actual, effective choke hold applied to Garner in the film. My belief about how Garner died is from an unwarranted take down out of the contextual blue on myself by three officers where I couldn't breath. They subsequently threw me into the back of a car, then were baffled when I wouldn't talk to them after they attempted to field question me. They had responded to a maliciously false 911 call prompted by petty disagreement, and I was treated to a rough ride on the trip to an overnight stay at the local lock up. (This was a few years ago in Riverside county)
Garner ultimately died over being an unhealthy, obese, unemployable man selling untaxed cigarettes.
I don't have any idea how Freddie Gray sustained his fatal neck injuries acquired during his transport in a Baltimore paddy wagon, but I had the occasion of an officer bouncing my head hard off the ceiling of the transporting Crown Vic by the officer purposefully speeding up to hit an elevated railway crossing (part of the above incident). If things had been different in the way my head contacted the ceiling, I might have been severely injured.
The footage from the recent Louisiana case needs more contextual investigation before judgment can be rendered. This is how I recall seeing it:
The subject was a large man who appeared to be very strong. The subject was taken down but not subdued, I don't remember how the take down by two cops happened and maybe it wasn't captured by film, this is my best recollection of the film. For some reason, one officer disengaged and drew his weapon, pointing it at the subject's head while kneeling. The subject rolled on the ground and threw the engaged officer off himself towards the kneeling officer. The camera view moved away while shots were fired. When the camera came back to the scene, an officer, whom I assume was the one thrown off the subject, was laying on his side with his weapon drawn and pointed at the subject. I assume the officer who had been kneeling had moved back out of the path of the officer who was thrown and was out of view of the camera. Subsequently an object was taken out of the subject's pants pocket. The questions in my mind are what actually prompted the shooting at the moment shots were fired, was it an unconscious reaction or a conscious decision, was there a realistic alternative to taking the man down to start with, and what factually prompted the take down. The subject seems to have spent some time in prison and probably had some strong resentment concerning LEO's, so it's easy to subjectively believe that the man would be alive today if he hadn't resisted being detained or arrested.
The shooting in Minnesota appears at first glance to be unwarranted from the indirect narrative given by the subject's girlfriend, but on further examination it's not so easy to reach a conclusion either way.
The girlfriend appeared to be the driver from what I saw of the film – the deceased appeared to be in the passenger seat with the officer at the passenger side window, which is standard procedure for a traffic stop where I live. The media reported the deceased as being the driver which appears to be inaccurate. The girlfriend said that the subject declared to the officer to be registered to carry and that he was armed, and while complying with the officer's command to produce identification was shot by the officer. If the deceased told the officer what was up, kept his unused hand in sight at all times, announced all moves in advance while moving slowly after getting permission from the officer to do so, why was he shot? What is puzzling me is why, as wound up as the officer sounded on film, the girlfriend wasn't shot as well while she was in the process of fiddling with her smart phone, which could have been confused with reaching for a firearm. The shooting officer didn't appear to be paying any attention to what the girlfriend was doing while continuing to aim his firearm at the deceased. It's unclear if another officer was at her window. I'm further confused by the fact that she wasn't told to drop the phone and put her hands on the dash, as is standard procedure, particularly when they subsequently did the felony stop procedure of having her get out and back up to them – all the while letting her keep the phone and continue to film. She was unusually calm the whole time, which seems to be a product of much experience or training concerning police contact or traumatic events. I believe most inexperienced people would be in some stage of freaking out, perhaps crying and screaming.
There's a lot of questions that can come out of this one. If the girlfriend was indeed the driver and the probable cause for the stop was for a bad tail light, why were they asking the deceased passenger for his identification rather than the driver? Was there an immediate reason to voluntarily declare his firearm, such as both registration and firearm being in the same location, or could he have kept quiet without alarming the cops and subsequently leave the scene alive? Did they have a reason to ask if there were firearms in the vehicle? Did they ask about firearms for no apparent reason? There is no video of the shooting or what led up to the shooting, just the girlfriend's calm defacto narrative after the fact. Was there some theater by both parties playing to the camera? This case needs thorough, objective investigation.
The Dallas shootings last night bring up a lot of questions as well. From all accounts the protest itself was calm and peaceful. Were the shooters isolated, knee jerk revenge seekers? Or is it something larger which was planned out by conspirators to manipulate useful idiots into shooting cops riding herd on a mass of clueless, yet peaceful demonstrators to provoke greater polarization by creating more paranoia in police officers and thereby more problematic incidents of police – civilian contact? To provoke criminal reaction by genuine white supremacists in order to further fire up minorities to an ideological cause? Whether or not those are intended results, they can certainly be realistic results.
In the meantime, the progressive-socialist left will clamor for gun control rather than reflect on the negative changes in society that have been a byproduct of their 50 year assault on American cultural essence with racial and other polarization, conditioned narcissism of the young and propagandistic portrayal of who and what we have been as opposed to what and who we should be as a culture and a civilization.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary