Taking the Risk out of Crime and Putting It on You

 

shutterstock_150668036Over the last two years, much of the national conversation has focused on problems in policing. The basic assumption is that use of force is grossly excessive and frequent. It’s not: Barely one percent of officers use deadly force annually – 80 percent never do.

But the substance of the positions of police “reformers” proves they are more interested in taking the risk out of criminal acts – pushing it onto cops and society – than addressing even the few incidents of truly unjustified police violence. “Reformers” really want to decriminalize crime.

In Pasadena, the case of Kendrec McDade has been front-and-center of this conversation and illustrates exactly this agenda.

McDade was killed by Pasadena Police Officers Jeffrey Newlen and Matthew Griffin late at on the night of March 24, 2012, following his involvement in a reported armed robbery. When Newlen and Griffin spotted McDade, he ran through a parking lot and narrow alley, then up a residential street. Newlen pursued on foot while Griffin maneuvered the car to cut-off McDade’s path. When McDade suddenly turned toward Griffin, he fired, as did Newlen.

The 19-year-old McDade, who was unarmed, died at a hospital. Only after the shooting was it discovered McDade was never armed and the “armed robbery” was merely a theft. (For more on that specific element of this incident, see my previous Ricochet post here).

The case drew outrage from many anti-police activists and “reformers.” A lengthy court battle ensued for release of a report on the incident from the Office of Independent Review.

The OIR’s 70-page report is a prime example of the real “reform” agenda. Notably, OIR is a private organization with seven attorneys as principals (one of whom is departing to monitor another agency). Of them, none lists any policing experience. But three were in criminal defense. In their analysis, Newlen and Griffin erred by pursuing McDade because they thought he was armed. Instead, OIR says, they should have held back and observed him until more officers arrived. And when he ran into the narrow alley, creating a potential trap, the OIR questioned why they continued the pursuit at all – since they knew it was dangerous. That is, the cops erred by being courageous.

So, the more dangerous a criminal may be, the more the police should be inclined to let him flee. While that would be just great for robbers, rapists and thieves, it seems doubtful their victims would concur.

Nowhere in the report does the OIR place the blame for McDade’s death on his decision to resist arrest, nor on the lie of the 911 caller. Nope, it’s all the cops fault, because they tried to capture a criminal.

They are hardly alone in this juxtaposition of responsibility.

In Cincinnati, former officer Ray Tensing now stands accused of murder. Tensing stopped motorist Sam DuBose for driving without a license plate. After distracting and delaying Tensing, DuBose started his car and attempted to flee. Tensing reached in to grab the keys as DuBose drove off, then shot him as his arm grasped DuBose’ seatbelt. Analysis of a bodycam video of the incident shows Tensing was pushed backwards 20 feet in two seconds – over 13 miles per hour.

So why charge Tensing with murder? Because by trying to stop DuBose, he created the danger. According to a report by Kroll, a politically-connected private investigations firm, Tensing erred by not “allowing DuBose to drive away.”

Again: police should let suspects flee.

The report goes all-in with the political narrative, asserting that Tensing wasn’t dragged by DuBose’s car. Rather, it claims, he was launched 20 feet backwards by his pistol’s recoil, a ludicrous suggestion to anyone with shooting experience.

In Los Angeles, the Police Commission found Officer Sharlton Wampler “out of policy” for killing Ezell Ford with a back-up gun, despite DNA proof Ford tried to disarm Wampler. Stunningly, the board found Wampler’s partner in-policy for the same shooting. Wampler’s error? Getting out of his car to talk to Ford without iron-clad probable cause.

If they’re in a Constitutional gray area, reformers deny cops the right to self-defense from murder.

Recently, the same board was outraged that not one of 1,365 allegations of racist policing could be proved. Commissioner Robert Saltzman called the findings “quite troubling and disappointing.” Imagine their reaction if a cop was “troubled and disappointed” that a few dozen robbery allegations against gang members couldn’t be substantiated by evidence.

The grind of these “reforms” is having an effect. The LAPD’s own figures show arrests were down 17% in 2015 compared to 2013, while crime is rising: property crimes up 7% in that time, homicide 10%, rape 35%, and aggravated assault 55%. (You can see the details here.)

And it is making policing more dangerous. A great illustration of this came in late December when a Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy confronted a suspect armed with a knife on a busy street in daylight, with citizens nearby. Instead of stopping the armed man, the deputy retreated backward more than 50 feet, ultimately tripping onto his back. Only after exposing himself (and the nearby citizens) to grave danger did the deputy fire as the man lunged at him from inches away, according to a bystander’s video.

Whatever the reason, that deputy reduced the risk to a criminal by transferring it to himself and the people of Camarillo.

Cops make mistakes and there are undoubtedly violent racists who don’t belong in their ranks. But if error and courage are deemed unacceptable in our cops, the risk of their jobs — and the crooks’ — will be passed along to you.

This post is an expansion of an article that ran in Sunday’s Pasadena Star News, and adds additional details, examples and supporting links.

There are 72 comments.

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Police should not transfer risk to me, as a presumed innocent citizen.

    Ergo, if they bust into my home with a no-knock warent, and I have a gun, they can shoot me. That is a risk they move to me.

    If I shoot them, then I get charged with murder! But we know from experience, they mess these things up all the time.

    Cops are paid to take the risk. They should not be shifting that risk to the people they are supposed to protect.

    • #1
    • January 4, 2016, at 2:28 PM PDT
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  2. Matt Upton Coolidge

    http://thefederalist.com/2016/01/04/you-can-simultaneously-support-the-police-and-racial-justice/

    We have quite a few police shootings for a first world nation. I don’t agree with the charges of racial discrimination–the reasons for racial disparity are far more complex–but it is dishonest to dismiss the issue entirely.

    It is interesting to see the effects of reforms in some areas though.

    • #2
    • January 4, 2016, at 2:35 PM PDT
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  3. Quake Voter Inactive

    It’s not: Barely one percent of officers use deadly force annually – 80 percent never do.

    I think you are discounting the strength of your own contention. Only 2/10th of 1% of cops even fire their gun annually, let alone kill a suspect. The numbers for a career are closer to 4-5 percent firing the weapon and less than 1% killing a suspect.

    And 95% of those killings are attributed to Danny Reagan of course.

    • #3
    • January 4, 2016, at 3:16 PM PDT
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  4. Robert McReynolds Inactive

    Bryan G. Stephens:Police should not transfer risk to me, as a presumed innocent citizen.

    Ergo, if they bust into my home with a no-knock warent, and I have a gun, they can shoot me. That is a risk they move to me.

    If I shoot them, then I get charged with murder! But we know from experience, they mess these things up all the time.

    Cops are paid to take the risk. They should not be shifting that risk to the people they are supposed to protect.

    This, right here!! We are innocent until proven guilty in this country. Cops better ensure that when they just bust in to someone’s home that they have the right person. If they can’t even be bothered to do that, then they get what they deserve.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/25/jose-guerena-arizona-_n_867020.html

    And that is just one example out of hundreds that happen every year. Cops are an arm of the state, and they can abuse their power just as much as the IRS can.

    • #4
    • January 4, 2016, at 3:57 PM PDT
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  5. Hydrogia Inactive

    In other words, Politically Correct Police are not good.

    Yep.

    • #5
    • January 4, 2016, at 4:04 PM PDT
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  6. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Aside from writing this kind of article, do you have ideas on how this can be turned around? I think the points made above–of police breaking into the wrong homes–get a lot of media, but happen seldom. Cops do the wrong thing, make mistakes, use poor judgment, and they should be held accountable. But I think there’s a tendency to condemn all of them when bad things happen. Where’s the balance and reason in that?

    • #6
    • January 4, 2016, at 4:27 PM PDT
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  7. Doug Watt Member

    Mr. Parry you are very brave by asking these questions. The best solution would be if police officers become call takers. Like firefighters they should have big recliners with a television in the middle of the roll call room. When a dispatcher calls for service officers should ask the following questions:

    Is the subject Black, Hispanic, Asian, or White?

    If the subject is Hispanic or Asian then the dispatcher should place a call to the DOJ and describe the situation to get a ruling on whether Hispanics or Asians will be classified as White for the call in question.

    If the crime concerns a theft the dispatcher should ask if the caller is insured, regardless a phone call by the victim to the Telephone Report Unit will do, no response is necessary.

    If the subject has not shot anyone no response is necessary. If someone has been shot medical and fire response should suffice.

    Yep, it’s time for tough guys and gals in the roll call room to take a break and it’s time for the tough guys that see someone breaking into their car at Home Depot to step up to the plate and take care of their own problems.

    There is nothing in your home or business that is worth a police officer’s time, or their lives to include your spouse or children. It worked for Baltimore.

    • #7
    • January 4, 2016, at 5:15 PM PDT
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  8. Profile Photo Member

    Police officers are not comparable to the IRS for heaven’s sake. How many IRS employees put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe?

    The police can abuse their power, certainly, but let’s view them as they are and not lump them in with one of the most abusive agencies in the national government.

    • #8
    • January 4, 2016, at 7:49 PM PDT
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  9. Profile Photo Member

    Excellent post, CJ Parry. Throwing the police to the leftist wolves leaves us all exposed in the end. Would we rather live in Rudy Giuliani’s New York or John Lindsay’s?

    • #9
    • January 4, 2016, at 7:59 PM PDT
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  10. harrisventures Inactive

    There certainly needs to be a balance, and generally speaking, I am glad that we have brave men and women serving on the front lines as police officers.  

    But I’m afraid the balance has shifted too far towards a police state. Civil forfeiture means if you look like you may have some assets, then you are fair game to pad the budget of the local constabulary. 

    If an informant desperate for a plea bargain makes up an address, innocent citizens get swatted, their dogs are killed, and if no one else is killed, no apologies are ever issued for a mistaken home invasion by the state. 

    So on the one hand, I’m glad we have police, but on the other, I don’t fully trust them. It’s a dilemma.

    • #10
    • January 4, 2016, at 8:46 PM PDT
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  11. Robert C. J. Parry Contributor
    Robert C. J. Parry Post author

    harrisventures:….no apologies are ever issued for a mistaken home invasion by the state.

    Interesting observation. How do you know “no apologies are ever issued”?

    • #11
    • January 4, 2016, at 8:57 PM PDT
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  12. harrisventures Inactive

    Forgive my rhetorical excess.

    Generally speaking, the Government does not apologize. Unless it is sued. And even then, it’s like squeezing blood from a turnip…

    I wasn’t always so cynical, but my trust in Government has become close to nonexistent. Perhaps it is just a gut reaction to the lawlessness of the current administration.

    I’m a law and order type of guy, but I’m afraid that what we have now is nowhere near law and order…

    • #12
    • January 4, 2016, at 10:07 PM PDT
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  13. The Question Inactive

    Robert C. J. Parry: But the substance of the positions of police “reformers” proves they are more interested in taking the risk out of criminal acts – pushing it onto cops and society – than addressing even the few incidents of truly unjustified police violence. “Reformers” really want to decriminalize crime.

    I find it very interesting that of all the recent alleged police brutality incidents, the one case where it appears that the cop really did murder the victim, Michael Slager shooting Walter Scott, seems to get the least amount of attention. My opinion is that because very few people are defending Michael Slager, he isn’t useful as a political prop. Darren Wilson, in contrast, is useful as a political prop because he’s innocent. His innocence obligates honest people to defend him, which then opens those defenders up to accusations of racism.

    • #13
    • January 4, 2016, at 11:43 PM PDT
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  14. The Question Inactive

    Robert C. J. Parry: Cops make mistakes and there are undoubtedly violent racists who don’t belong in their ranks. But if error and courage are deemed unacceptable in our cops, the risk of their jobs — and the crooks’ — will be passed along to you.

    To those who say that cops are racists, my reply is, “Maybe, but you know who is even more racist? Criminals.”

    A quick and easy way to estimate how racist a group is would be to ask, “How many black people do they kill annually?” By that standard, criminals are way, way, way, way more racist than cops.

    • #14
    • January 4, 2016, at 11:49 PM PDT
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  15. Robert C. J. Parry Contributor
    Robert C. J. Parry Post author

    @TheQuestion.

    It is interesting that you bring up the Slater case. I had considered his case one of the few examples of truly unjustifiable uses of lethal force. However, I’ve seen some evidence just tonight that gives me pause. It’s far from conclusive or even creating significant doubt. But, it is definitely worth exploring.

    • #15
    • January 5, 2016, at 12:08 AM PDT
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  16. Robert McReynolds Inactive

    Sowell for President:Police officers are not comparable to the IRS for heaven’s sake. How many IRS employees put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe?

    No you are correct. The IRS has never killed anyone.

    • #16
    • January 5, 2016, at 1:31 AM PDT
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  17. Manny Member

    Sowell for President:Excellent post, CJ Parry. Throwing the police to the leftist wolves leaves us all exposed in the end. Would we rather live in Rudy Giuliani’s New York or John Lindsay’s?

    Yes! I agree and I agree whole heartedly with the OP. This anti police bias comes from two sources: Liberals, of course, and, at the risk of being beheaded here on Ricochet, Libertarians. I have personally witnessed what Rudy Guillani did with New York City, and it drove all my Libertarian leanings out of me. Strong policing is conservative! That is not to excuse police misconduct, and they should be held accountable for it, but they should be given the benefit of the doubt. Whenever I come across this subject in a post, I quote the father of modern conservatism:

    “The only liberty that is valuable is a liberty connected with order; that not only exists along with order and virtue, but which cannot exist at all without them. It inheres in good and steady government, as in its substance and vital principle.”- Edmund Burke

    • #17
    • January 5, 2016, at 4:30 AM PDT
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  18. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Robert C. J. Parry: Interesting observation. How do you know “no apologies are ever issued”?

    I won’t get behind get behind “no apologies ever,” but I do know of some examples where apologies were either never offered or were so belated and forced as to not count in home invasions gone wrong.

    • Cheye Calvo: A (very strange) case where the mayor of a town unwittingly brought drugs into his house that had been disguised — not my him or anyone else he knew — as a FedEx or UPS package (The Calvos were found to be complete innocent). Police stormed his residence, shot his labradors, and held he, his wife, and mother-in-law on the floor for a long time. Some apologies were eventually issued, but were worse than nothing.
    • Cory Maye: Police raided Maye’s residence, not realizing that the intended target of the raid lived in a duplex, with Maye and his family living in the other half. When one of the officers burst into Maye’s daughter’s, Maye shot him dead. As it happened, the dead officer was the police chief’s son. Maye was charged and subsequently found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to death before the conviction was overturned.
    • Andrew Cornish was shot dead by officers during a 4:30 AM raid for pot. When his father sued, the police fought back in court. Two courts concluded that the police did not properly announce their arrival but were justified in shooting on the grounds that he flourished a sheathed knife at them.
    • #18
    • January 5, 2016, at 5:01 AM PDT
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  19. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Robert C. J. Parry: Interesting observation. How do you know “no apologies are ever issued”?

    I won’t get behind get behind “no apologies ever,” but I do know of some examples where apologies were either never offered or were so belated and forced as to not count in home invasions gone wrong.

    • Cheye Calvo: A (very strange) case where the mayor of a town unwittingly brought drugs into his house that had been disguised — not my him or anyone else he knew — as a FedEx or UPS package (The Calvos were found to be complete innocent). Police stormed his residence, shot his labradors, and held he, his wife, and mother-in-law on the floor for a long time. Some apologies were eventually issued, but were worse than nothing.
    • Cory Maye: Police raided Maye’s residence, not realizing that the intended target of the raid lived in a duplex, with Maye and his family living in the other half. When one of the officers burst into Maye’s daughter’s, Maye shot him dead. As it happened, the dead officer was the police chief’s son. Maye was charged and subsequently found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to death before the conviction was overturned.
    • Andrew Cornish was shot dead by officers during a 4:30 AM raid for pot. When his father sued, the police fought back in court. Two courts concluded that the police did not properly announce their arrival but were justified in shooting on the grounds that he flourished a sheathed knife at them.

    All of these are great examples of how the police push their risk onto citizens. I maintain that they are paid to take the risk. That means, you don’t get no knock warrants. You don’t get military raids at 3 in the morning on the wrong house.

    Say, two out of three of these are clearly for Drugs. Is the middle one too?

    Gosh, War on Drugs being used to trample liberty. Imagine.

    • #19
    • January 5, 2016, at 5:06 AM PDT
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  20. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Robert McReynolds:

    Sowell for President:Police officers are not comparable to the IRS for heaven’s sake. How many IRS employees put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe?

    No you are correct. The IRS has never killed anyone.

    Are we sure? They do have SWAT style teams.

    And I wager they have driven more than one person to suicide.

    • #20
    • January 5, 2016, at 5:07 AM PDT
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  21. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Bryan G. Stephens: All of these are great examples of how the police push their risk onto citizens. I maintain that they are paid to take the risk. That means, you don’t get no knock warrants. You don’t get military raids at 3 in the morning on the wrong house.

    Without undercutting the good work and risk police take, I agree with this.

    Say, two out of three of these are clearly for Drugs. Is the middle one too?

    It was.

    I should have mentioned, though, that Maye had (an inconsequential amount of pot) at home that the handgun he used was not registered. Doesn’t really change the facts, but I should have said so.

    Gosh, War on Drugs being used to trample liberty. Imagine.

    There with you.

    • #21
    • January 5, 2016, at 5:18 AM PDT
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  22. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Gosh, War on Drugs being used to trample liberty. Imagine.

    There with you.

    I should add that this isn’t so much a problem with drug laws as with contraband laws. When you make a product illegal, you often run into the problems by trying to police something’s existence, rather than worrying about whether or not someone is being harmed, wronged, or hurt.

    In some instances, they have their place, but very rarely to my mind.

    • #22
    • January 5, 2016, at 5:39 AM PDT
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  23. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Gosh, War on Drugs being used to trample liberty. Imagine.

    There with you.

    I should add that this isn’t so much a problem with drug laws as with contraband laws. When you make a product illegal, you often run into the problems by trying to police something’s existence, rather than worrying about whether or not someone is being harmed, wronged, or hurt.

    In some instances, they have their place, but very rarely to my mind.

    I am not for legalization, but I am also not for 3am police raids for some pot.

    I am not for cracking down on Rx Drug abuse. All we have done is make it harder for people that need them to get them, and increase Heroin use. Great job.

    • #23
    • January 5, 2016, at 5:48 AM PDT
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  24. Profile Photo Member

    Again, do you prefer Giuliani’s New York or Lindsay’s?

    There is no perfect world where police do not make mistakes.

    • #24
    • January 5, 2016, at 9:05 AM PDT
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  25. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Sowell for President:Again, do you prefer Giuliani’s New York or Lindsay’s?

    There is no perfect world where police do not make mistakes.

    All for stop and frisk etc.

    All against 3am drug raid with no knock warrant.

    • #25
    • January 5, 2016, at 9:11 AM PDT
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  26. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Bryan G. Stephens: All for stop and frisk etc.

    I find it deeply distasteful, though it might have been a necessary evil given the time and place.

    What I find indefensible is the idea that it shouldn’t be phased out as the crime rate diminishes and that (Donald Trump and a few other powerful folks aside) it’s impossible to carry a firearm legally in New York.

    • #26
    • January 5, 2016, at 9:48 AM PDT
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  27. Profile Photo Member

    One might be forgiven for thinking, based on many of the comments on this thread and elsewhere, that libertarians are not serious about stopping criminals.

    • #27
    • January 5, 2016, at 10:11 AM PDT
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  28. PHenry Member

    Sowell for President: One might be forgiven for thinking, based on many of the comments on this thread and elsewhere, that libertarians are not serious about stopping criminals.

    One might be forgiven for thinking, based on many of the comments on this thread and elsewhere, that conservatives are not serious about protecting innocents from being mistakenly killed by police.

    Just because libertarians don’t take the blanket attitude that police are always right to use deadly force, especially when the subject is unarmed, it does not mean they don’t take stopping criminals seriously!

    Do you have any reservations about police shooting unarmed suspects? Should there be any rules limiting the use of deadly force, or is it totally the officers discretion?

    • #28
    • January 5, 2016, at 10:23 AM PDT
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  29. Profile Photo Member

    Bryan – I think no knock warrants are essential to catching bad guys. Making sure they are used for only very serious crimes (e.g., no for personal use of drugs but yes for significant trafficking) is critical, surely. But do you want them eliminated entirely?

    • #29
    • January 5, 2016, at 10:24 AM PDT
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  30. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Bryan G. Stephens: All for stop and frisk etc.

    I find it deeply distasteful, though it might have been a necessary evil given the time and place.

    What I find indefensible is the idea that it shouldn’t be phased out as the crime rate diminishes and that (Donald Trump and a few other powerful folks aside) it’s impossible to carry a firearm legally in New York.

    I am fine with carry laws. Stop and frisk would get the guys who were not supposed to have them. IN fact, it would actually be a way to take guns away from bad guys,.

    I agree there is no need if crime goes down and stays down. But as long as there is a ‘hood full of hoods, you need on the beat policing.

    • #30
    • January 5, 2016, at 10:26 AM PDT
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