Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Do Cops Look for an Excuse to Shoot?

 

shutterstock_157183979The next time you hear someone complain that police officers are always looking for an excuse to shoot people, ask them to consider recent events in California.

On Oct. 24, Deputy Danny Oliver, of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, and Investigator Michael Davis, of the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, were shot and killed by Marcelo Marquez, a twice-deported illegal immigrant from Mexico.

On Oct. 28, Deputy Eugene Kostiuchenko, of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, was struck and killed by a car driven by Kevin Hogrefe, who was allegedly drunk at the time and fled the scene.

Also on Oct. 28, Officer Shaun Diamond, of the Pomona Police Department, was shot by David Martinez, a member of the Mongols motorcycle gang. He died yesterday.

Cops looking for an excuse to shoot someone surely had one in all of these incidents, yet all of these accused killers were captured by police without suffering so much as a scratch. In the second and third of these incidents, the accused were captured by officers who had witnessed the crimes, but who nonetheless made the arrests without using force.

By all means, hold cops accountable for their misdeeds, but don’t overlook stories like these.

Image Credit: Shutterstock user Steven Frame.

There are 19 comments.

  1. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    How often are cops held accountable for their misdeeds? How many SWAT raids gone wrong do we hear about? Or raids on the wrong address? None of those cops ever seem to be held accountable. Cops are given wide latitude and deference for their actions. Do you not think that gives them a little more “flexibility” on deciding their course of action? Knowing they can get away with going over the line since they will be protected.

    • #1
    • October 30, 2014, at 6:02 AM PDT
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  2. Doug Watt Moderator

    Metalheaddoc:How often are cops held accountable for their misdeeds? How many SWAT raids gone wrong do we hear about? Or raids on the wrong address? None of those cops ever seem to be held accountable. Cops are given wide latitude and deference for their actions. Do you not think that gives them a little more “flexibility” on deciding their course of action? Knowing they can get away with going over the line since they will be protected.

    Officer Dunphy listed three specific incidents with links and ends his post with the statement: “By all means, hold cops accountable for their misdeeds, but don’t overlook stories like these.”

    I reread the post several times I just cannot find any statement Officer Dunphy makes asking the reader to give officers a little more “flexibility”, or excusing officers for going over the line.

    • #2
    • October 30, 2014, at 6:56 AM PDT
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  3. PHenry Member

    You should change the title of this post to ‘Do ALL cops look for an excuse to shoot?’, since your argument is that SOME (or most) don’t.

    In my opinion (based on news reports, which are admittedly unreliable at best), the majority of police are heroic and would only pull their weapon or use force in extreme circumstances, but that being said, there are far too many instances of innocent, unarmed, or otherwise inappropriate victims of police shootings/ beatings / raids being performed. There is a pervasive attitude that any perception of a threat justifies deadly or extremely violent force. ( I can list as many examples of inappropriate use of force resulting in injury or death to innocents as you have listed above of restraint resulting in injury to policemen) It is not inconsistent to say that most officers are innocent of such abuse of force, and also that it is occurring far too often. And when it does occur, the tendency to cover up and make excuses for those actions by that majority of police drags them in to the same murky waters.

    Most police are honorable and laudable in their duties. Some let the power go to their heads, and become abusive or dangerous to the public. It is not in the police force’s interest to cover up and ignore those individuals who are on a power trip.

    • #3
    • October 30, 2014, at 8:10 AM PDT
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  4. Salamandyr Inactive

    We say all the time that 90% of Cops are good cops; it’s only a few bad apples. Yet, all the good cops know who the bad apples are, and they say nothing. So really, how good can they be?

    We all know, or know of police who have fallen in the line of duty, and it’s terrible. But even so, police work isn’t even in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the country. Lots of people risk their lives every day to serve their fellow man, and they aren’t given the benefit of the doubt to the same extent police are.

    Post Ferguson, how many articles did we see, penned by police officers, that amounted to “Just do what we say and you won’t get hurt”? (A policeman of my acquaintance seems to have shared all of them on my Facebook feed-with not the least bit of self awareness). In a discussion of whether police should be required to wear cameras while on duty (in which he strung out the most far-fetched hypotheticals to justify his opposition), he replied to a statement of my support that “officer safety is paramount”.

    No.

    This is exactly the problem. Officer safety isn’t paramount. It shouldn’t even be number 2. Number one is the rights and liberties of the public under the law; Number two is ensuring the safety of the public. Then, and only then, can officer safety be addressed. Making everyone speaking to an officer do it on their knees with their hands behind their head, with refusing treated as “resisting arrest” and allowing lethal force, would make police officers safer; it wouldn’t be good law.

    • #4
    • October 30, 2014, at 8:27 AM PDT
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  5. robberberen Inactive

     Metalheaddoc:How often are cops held accountable for their misdeeds? How many SWAT raids gone wrong do we hear about? Or raids on the wrong address? None of those cops ever seem to be held accountable.

    By mentioning “SWAT raids gone wrong” in the context of officer misdeeds, you’re conflating two things that are not the same. The examples you hear of officers executing warrants on the wrong house and damaging property or harming innocents are not “misdeeds.” They are mistakes. The consequences of such mistakes are often tragic, but they are mistakes nonetheless.

    Of course, we should hold officers to the highest standards of professionalism because we entrust them with power over the lives and liberties of others. But, as conservatives, we should understand that we’ll never get perfect outcomes from imperfect people and be slow to ascribe malicious intent to people who screw up.

    And, anecdotally, your observation that officers never seem to be held accountable for their errors is simply wrong. Officers are regularly held professionally accountable for their mistakes and criminally liable for violating the law while on the job.

    • #5
    • October 30, 2014, at 9:55 AM PDT
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  6. Profile Photo Member

    No one here is saying that some officers don’t pay the ultimate sacrifice for their service, but I fail to see the correlation between their deaths and a willingness to shoot first and think later. The vast majority of police officers who will shoot and kill suspects have never been shot or shot at.

    I just watched the video where 8 police officers murdered Milton Hall. None were charged. The problem I have isn’t so much with LEO’s, it’s with the self-congratulating, cultish police culture that justifies this sort of behavior and shields the officers from any real consequences.

    Maybe the reason people don’t entirely trust law enforcement is because they suck at self-policing. The problem isn’t individual officers, it’s a culture that is rotten to the core and values its members over the lives of the people they’ve sworn to protect.

    • #6
    • October 30, 2014, at 10:39 AM PDT
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  7. Profile Photo Member

    robberberen:

    By mentioning “SWAT raids gone wrong” in the context of officer misdeeds, you’re conflating two things that are not the same. The examples you hear of officers executing warrants on the wrong house and damaging property or harming innocents are not “misdeeds.” They are mistakes. The consequences of such mistakes are often tragic, but they are mistakes nonetheless.

    The “misdeed” portion usually occurs afterwards, when the department fails to apologize for shooting the family pet or makes the replacement of damaged property difficult.

    • #7
    • October 30, 2014, at 10:46 AM PDT
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  8. Another Lawyer Waisting Time Inactive

    It is easy to second guess hours later a decision made in a split second when you life isn’t on the line.

    • #8
    • October 30, 2014, at 11:27 AM PDT
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  9. Salamandyr Inactive

    Well, if police have a habit of making the wrong decision on those split seconds, then perhaps we’re doing a pretty lousy job of training our police and creating a culture where, in a split second, you make the right decision.

    • #9
    • October 30, 2014, at 11:35 AM PDT
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  10. Salamandyr Inactive

    Making the wrong call in a split second, may not entitle you to a jail term (as it would for anyone else), but it absolutely should lead to unemployment.

    Personally, I’m for treating police exactly as we would anyone else involved in a shooting. If that seems harsh…well, maybe we should re-visit how we treat civilians involved in a shooting (including how police treat them).

    • #10
    • October 30, 2014, at 11:38 AM PDT
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  11. Profile Photo Member

    Walter Neta:It is easy to second guess hours later a decision made in a split second when you life isn’t on the line.

    Watch below. ignore the commentary. Man is gunned down by 8 police officers. Yes, he had a knife, but he never charged anyone. They could have let their dog go, but they lit him up 45 times. No one was charged. I am so sick of the “you don’t understand” defense. I’m not a cop. So what? I still wouldn’t have shot this guy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3pLwwwCcYg

    • #11
    • October 30, 2014, at 12:15 PM PDT
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  12. Devereaux Inactive

    Mr. Dunphy –

    You have pointed out, rightfully, that several officers were killed in the line of duty this week. That is tragic. You failed to point out that at least one civilian I believe was also killed. And a recent officer shootout included the wounding (don’t know how she fared ultimately) of an innocent bystander.

    None of these events are celebratory. It is tragic when an officer is shot down. It is also tragic when a civilian is shot down. AND it really doesn’t matter whether it was an officer or a bad guy who shot them down.

    Once upon a time the police made sure that gangsters didn’t cavalierly shoot officers, as that would make for much more difficulty in their performance of their duties. Today that sense has now extended to pretty much anything done either by or to an officer.

    You will note often even in these pages that officers are lauded. However, just as often the dangers of the job are exaggerated. It is a somewhat dangerous job, but not nearly as much as is often claimed. If you review the statistics of the number of officers involved in a shooting in their lifetimes, this becomes evident.

    What you seem to be reacting to is the righteous indignation of many civilians to cavalier attitudes of departments, and often the officers within these departments to excesses of force used by officers. Once upon a time these things were considered just par for the course. But times have changed. No longer are police allowed the “latitude” to shoot whenever and whomever they see fit.

    Along with this is the fact that more people are coming to the realization that they are ultimately responsible for their own safety, and are now going about their daily business armed. BUT the rules for THEIR use of force seem radically different than for officers, and for no good reason. There is no Fraternal Order of Police to give them shelter. There is no Civilian Line to correspond to the Blue Line, wherein the civilians close ranks to protect a fellow civilian. Indeed, often the DA’s appear to be particularly eager to prosecute civilians, as if these uppity people have had the nerve to muscle in on their turf (good guys vs bad guys – the civ’s merely being the “playing field”).

    So what we are talking about here is not absolutes but perspective. No one would make the patently false claim that all officers are bad. But unfortunately it seems enough of those that are get away with it. Or we are seeing more of the examples – AND the resistance of officers to this exposure.

    Perhaps ultimately what we seek is to have us, as civilians, have the same rules for use of deadly force as officers. After all, they are armed, not for us, but for their own protection. They may, in the course of executing their duties, be exposed to more risk of having to use deadly force, but the basic rules should be no different. And they should be treated no differently than a civilian would be when deadly force is utilized.

    We’re not asking them to lay their lives down, nor even expose them selves unnecessarily. All we ask is that we all get the same rules.

    • #12
    • October 30, 2014, at 2:54 PM PDT
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  13. Funeral Guy Member
    Funeral Guy Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My favorite cop trick is to have the suspect pinned to the ground by 3 or 4 burly gendarmes and as they’re whaling the tar out of the poor mope they’re screaming, “Stop resisting!!! Stop resisting!!!!” It’s so obvious it would be funny, if it wasn’t so scary. As for officer safety being paramount, I was talking about this same subject with a couple of friends who were retired, old-school, revolver wielding patrol officers. We’ed already had conversations about the militarization of the modern police forces. “A Armored personnel carrier, helmets, Ninja suits, flash bangs and full auto sub guns to serve a warrant for past due child support?” Their disdain was obvious. “Back in the day, we’ed send two guys, maybe a back-up, have the guy come out and we’d arrest him.” In the case of a drug raid they’d up the ante. It was all a matter of common sense, they’d tell me. If you really wanted to raise their hackles just bring up the subject of Columbine. They said they got sick to their stomachs watching all these “Toy soldiers” as they called them; duck-walking around the perimeter while victims inside were bleeding to death and it had been some time since the sound of gunfire. “Sometimes you just have to grab some guys, bust in the door, and do what you gotta do.” They said. All anecdotal, to be sure, but it all rang pretty true to me. Both of these guys have since passed on, which is too bad. I’d love to get their take on how every alphabet agency of the federal government on down now has the firepower of an invading Army.

    • #13
    • October 30, 2014, at 3:31 PM PDT
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  14. Duwzzrd Inactive

    Would you feel safer with cops like these on your local police force?

    Heck, these guys should be sent for a drug test, not allowed to carry loaded weapons.

    • #14
    • October 30, 2014, at 6:50 PM PDT
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  15. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Bob Laing: No one here is saying that some officers don’t pay the ultimate sacrifice for their service, but I fail to see the correlation between their deaths and a willingness to shoot first and think later. The vast majority of police officers who will shoot and kill suspects have never been shot or shot at.

    I think Jack’s point was that — if cops are as trigger-happy as often alleged — you’d certainly think that a greater proportion of cop-killers would end up in the morgue, not the jail. Doubly so in cases where officers witnessed their comrades’ death.

    • #15
    • October 31, 2014, at 5:30 AM PDT
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  16. Devereaux Inactive

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Bob Laing: No one here is saying that some officers don’t pay the ultimate sacrifice for their service, but I fail to see the correlation between their deaths and a willingness to shoot first and think later. The vast majority of police officers who will shoot and kill suspects have never been shot or shot at.

    I think Jack’s point was that — if cops are as trigger-happy as often alleged — you’d certainly think that a greater proportion of cop-killers would end up in the morgue, not the jail. Doubly so in cases where officers witnessed their comrades’ death.

    Perhaps so. But if we are merely seeing the outliers, then it would seem there are a whole lot more outliers. ?Is it that suddenly there are more cops shooting people or simply that we are hearing more about cops shooting people. Either way, it is disconcerting.

    The cops who choked that guy to death in NYC are apparently not going to be prosecuted for murder, despite the finding of the coroner that the death was a homicide. Nice of the DA to give them that break. ?Think a civilian would have gotten the same treatment.

    • #16
    • October 31, 2014, at 3:42 PM PDT
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  17. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Devereaux: Is it that suddenly there are more cops shooting people or simply that we are hearing more about cops shooting people. Either way, it is disconcerting. The cops who choked that guy to death in NYC are apparently not going to be prosecuted for murder, despite the finding of the coroner that the death was a homicide. Nice of the DA to give them that break? Think a civilian would have gotten the same treatment.

    No disagreement.

    • #17
    • October 31, 2014, at 4:18 PM PDT
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  18. Flyondawall Inactive

    Ala Staten Island police murder. Dial it back 40 years. I choked to him to unconsciousness. He was the poster boy for the consequences of emptying the mental hospitals in the ’70s. My partner and I were enjoying a slow weekday shift. The call was dispatched as a disorderly man in the sanctuary of St. …… Church. Everyone else was busy. We were it. No backup. Upon entering we encountered a fellow (6+/190#). He was collecting missals from the pews and announcing his intention to set a fire. Our audience was comprised of a priest and two nuns. No tazers. A night stick, a slapjack, handcuffs and revolver, and our brute strength. Ricky and I were 6’/240. This was before phone cameras. Should have been a quick physical resolution, if verbal commands did not have the desired effect. An officer with good stick skills could make quick work of the situation…then off to the hospital for a cast and some stitches. We were familiar with the priest. He was an outspoken advocate for the downtrodden urban masses. Good for him! Well, Father, any suggestions? Should we intervene, or let him get on with his fire making? Certainly there should been no police brutality. What happens when a little nonnegotiable force is introduced? Things can get messy. And unpredictable. So we went with a hands on tactic. He was strong and probably high on something. We both knew this physical battle needed to end quickly. We fought for several minutes to cuff him … no success. I got him into the crook of my elbow and he passed out. Not a department sanctioned maneuver. Stuff happens. With cuffs in place and the return of blood flow he regained consciousness. Off to the pokey. No blood. No one injured. Result…?? Found guilty of disorderly conduct.. The agg assault, criminal att, causing a catastrophe, arson were tossed by the prosecutor and the young man was back on the street. Job security…always enough miscreants about to keep the criminal justice system(?) humming.

    • #18
    • November 1, 2014, at 7:28 AM PDT
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  19. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My problem is that Jack says “By all means, hold cops accountable for their misdeeds…” But he says it in the abstract. When there is a specific case, cops automatically circle the wagons and protect their own. 

    Jack, can you point out a case or two where you think the cop went over the line AND was punished with something more than administrative leave?

    I am not reflexively anti-cop like some Reason-oids. I am a law and order guy. But I sense a shift in the past few years of police attitudes towards the public, like we are all potential cop killers and criminals and should be treated as such until we are subdued or restrained. I sense an us-versus-them attitude from police in general, but not necessarily from individual cops.

    Is is really so hard to fathom that a significant percentage of cops, when given a suit of armor(i.e. DoD weapons and vehicles) and a veil of protection, go over the line, especially when in a group?

    • #19
    • November 1, 2014, at 10:24 AM PDT
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