David French vs. Jack Dunphy on the Stephon Clark Shooting

 

Over at National Review Online this week, I’ve been involved in a polite but pointed debate with David French over the Stephon Clark police shooting in Sacramento.  On March 29, Mr. French wrote a column in which he called the incident “deeply disturbing and problematic.”  Among my objections to Mr. French’s piece was his assertion that police officers consider the “background level of risk” in a situation before deciding on a course of action.  “According to the City of Sacramento,” he wrote, “it’s been almost 20 years since a cop was shot and killed in the line of duty.”

I found it astounding that Mr. French would have that expectation of police officers, and said so in a March 30 post at NRO’s “The Corner.”  Mr. French responded to me in an April 4 piece on NR, to which I replied yesterday.

In criticizing the officers who shot Clark, Mr. French draws on his experience as an Army JAG officer in Iraq, where he sometimes accompanied combat patrols, during which he “experienced tense situations where you didn’t know whether to shoot or hold fire.”

As I make clear in my responses to Mr. French, I have the highest respect for his service in the Army and for his talent as a writer.  But while I respect his service, I don’t believe it necessarily confers on him expertise in civilian law enforcement.  A military patrol, after all, may unexpectedly come under enemy fire, but soldiers do not engage in foot pursuits of lawbreakers whose dangers are not immediately discernible.  But if one is willing to accept that Mr. French’s year in Iraq gives him insight into police work, I ask you give according weight to the 30-plus years I spent with the Los Angeles Police Department.

I won’t rehash the entire debate here, but I invite you to read Mr. French’s pieces and mine, then submit your comments below.  I’m always enlightened by the thoughts of the Ricochet community, and I thank you in advance.  And in case you missed it, our own Robert C.J. Parry (@robertcjparry), who served as an Army infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote his own response to Mr. French’s first column, which you can read here.

There are 33 comments.

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  1. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Second guessing police officers is so easy to do, much easier than actually making the right split second decision when confronted with a potentially deadly situation.  Criminals need to figure out that when they commit crimes and the cops show up and they decide to run they are placing the cops in a very difficult situation and themselves in a potentially deadly one whether they are armed or not. 

    Surely police are like any other profession in that there are good ones and bad ones and sometimes you get a bad cop making a bad call like the Somali officer here in Minneapolis who shot that poor Australian woman for no reason other than that he was horrible at his job and should’ve never been a cop (affirmative action, anyone?).  He will be charged with murder as he should be.

    The system is pretty good at adjudicating police shootings and almost always makes the right call as I imagine they will in this Sacramento case.  I’m with Jack on this one – Mr French is wrong.

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Frozen Chosen (View Comment):
    econd guessing police officers is so easy to do, much easier than actually making the right split second decision when confronted with a potentially deadly situation.

    Yes. Yes.Yes.

    Lawyers like to take years to decide after the fact what the right course of action was. I remember lawyers invited to surgery and commenting on how many decisions the doctors had to make quickly.

     

    • #2
  3. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    David French … has some history of venturing well beyond his area of core competency.

    He has done so again in mixing it up with Jack Dunphy on police work.

     

     

    • #3
  4. Matt Upton Lincoln
    Matt Upton
    @MattUpton

    Frozen Chosen (View Comment):
    Criminals need to figure out that when they commit crimes and the cops show up and they decide to run they are placing the cops in a very difficult situation and themselves in a potentially deadly one whether they are armed or not.

    Except replace “criminals” with “innocent bystanders” and “when they commit crimes” to “are in the wrong place at the wrong time.” 

    I don’t think the police are systematically racist, or the hand of the oppressor, or fascist thugs. I just find comments like the one quoted above to lack imagination, and categorically dismiss all police shootings because a suspect must have done something wrong to provoke the officer. Its a reflexive defense of ultimate state power that conservatives wouldn’t extend to a state licensing bureaucrat or IRS auditor. 

    An officer’s life is always in potential jeopardy in any confrontation, but remember so is the life of the person he is confronting. 

    At seminary, I knew a friend who was pulled over by the police. Right away he knew it wasn’t a standard traffic stop, because instead of a tap on the passenger window, he was ordered out of the car. Next thing he knew he was on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back. It turns out someone with a car matching the description of his vehicle has exchanged gunfire with the police and fled. The police thought they were going to confront a potential cop killer. My friend was on his way back to campus from work. 

    In the end, no harm was done to him and he had a good story. But stories like the recent shooting in Sacramento start with similar circumstances. If it was dark or if he was at the end of a long shift after cramming the night before and disoriented, who knows how things would have turned out. 

    • #4
  5. Marley's Ghost Coolidge
    Marley's Ghost
    @MarleysGhost

    Jack, a couple of questions if I might…

    1. Why do you think these two officers found it necessary to fire 20 rounds into this young man?

    2. After he fell they shot him some more… why?

    3. Do you feel it is good police procedure to fire on someone if they can’t say with GREAT confidence that the individual has a gun?  

    4. In your estimation do police currently have the appropriate level of practice and training with firearms and the use of those firearms in situations like this one?

     

    I’ll take my answers off air.  ;-)  Thank you. 

    • #5
  6. Jack Dunphy Contributor
    Jack Dunphy
    @JackDunphy

    Marley's Ghost (View Comment):

    Jack, a couple of questions if I might…

    1. Why do you think these two officers found it necessary to fire 20 rounds into this young man?

    2. After he fell they shot him some more… why?

    3. Do you feel it is good police procedure to fire on someone if they can’t say with GREAT confidence that the individual has a gun?

    4. In your estimation do police currently have the appropriate level of practice and training with firearms and the use of those firearms in situations like this one?

     

    I’ll take my answers off air. ;-) Thank you.

    1. I don’t think it was the case that they “found it necessary” to fire so many rounds.  I think they were scared.  Cops often fire more rounds than they think they have (one of them said on video he thought he had fired five rounds).  And they often fire more rounds than people think they should have.
    2. This happens often.  There is lag time in perception of when the perceived threat has ended.
    3. It depends on what you mean by “GREAT confidence.” I think they had great confidence, but it sadly turned out to be mistaken.  If police are forced to wait until there is a level of certainty that would satisfy you before defending themselves, a lot of them would be killed.
    4. Some do, some don’t.  I don’t know how often Sacramento officers qualify with their weapons or in what conditions, but it’s rare for any agency to duplicate in training the conditions the officers faced when chasing Clark.
    • #6
  7. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Quick question; what is the thinking on ordering a suspect onto the ground and cuffing him? When did ‘hands in the air’ get changed to this degradation? 

    • #7
  8. Jack Dunphy Contributor
    Jack Dunphy
    @JackDunphy

    TBA (View Comment):

    Quick question; what is the thinking on ordering a suspect onto the ground and cuffing him? When did ‘hands in the air’ get changed to this degradation?

    The “felony prone” has been around for decades.  When the circumstances warrant it, concerns about “degradation” don’t matter.

    • #8
  9. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

     

    The “felony prone” has been around for decades. When the circumstances warrant it, concerns about “degradation” don’t matter.

    Are people so ‘positioned’ under arrest? Or is this more of a temporary storage solution? 

    • #9
  10. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    From the LA Times:

    And Clark had a criminal history, four cases in four years that included charges of robbery, pimping, and domestic abuse. Sacramento County court files show he pleaded no contest to reduced charges, spent time on a sheriff’s work detail and was on probation for the 2014 robbery when he was killed.

    On Wednesday, a police spokesman said Clark remained the sole suspect for break-ins of vehicles and what a sheriff’s deputy said was the attempted break-in of a home. It was calls about those incidents that sent police to the neighborhood the night Clark was shot.

    He reiterated that deputies in a sheriff’s helicopter observed Clark smashing the window of a sliding glass door of a home to the north of his grandmother’s home.

    I think we can do away with the innocent bystander narrative, so let’s look at the totality of the circumstances, although it’s a brief glimpse. A pdf of a Grand Jury transcript would be preferable.

    Mr. Clark has been observed breaking into cars, and then it escalates into an attempt to break into a home, and then a second attempt at a break in at his grandmother’s home. The officer’s have no idea if he’s armed, or not. He’s not cooperating, but they don’t want to let him get inside the house, and possibly put the residents at any risk of harm. What they do know is he’s not going to obey their commands, and then he pulls an object out of his pocket. Even if Mr. Clark states that it was his grandmother’s house there is no way the officer’s can be sure it is.

    As I say this is a brief glimpse. Each shooting incident has its’ specific facts. Until an investigation is completed it’s all speculation.

    • #10
  11. Jack Dunphy Contributor
    Jack Dunphy
    @JackDunphy

    TBA (View Comment):
    Are people so ‘positioned’ under arrest? Or is this more of a temporary storage solution? 

    It can be a temporary detention, which requires reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.  An arrest requires probable cause.

    • #11
  12. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    As I have said before, when firefighters and/or EMT’s are aware of even the potential for violence at a scene, we wait for LEO’s (blue canaries) to go in and ensure it’s safe.  In our rural area, it’s often a lone sheriff’s deputy.  Sometimes they wait for a second officer, but most of the time they shrug and head in to deal with the unknown.  I have many friends in our sheriff’s office and even the most mundane traffic stop can erupt into violence.  There are just astonishing numbers of crazy and malevolent people out there.  We sometimes see police use deadly force in a way that looks pretty dodgy, and forget how many times a day LEO’s make good decisions, often while taking risks themselves.  

     

    • #12
  13. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):
    Are people so ‘positioned’ under arrest? Or is this more of a temporary storage solution?

    It can be a temporary detention, which requires reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. An arrest requires probable cause.

    Think of it this way: the more helpless the suspect is, the more calm, relaxed and discerning the officer can be. A suspect lying on his tummy with his eyes closed, his head turned away,  and his hands stretched out to the sides is a whole lot easier to approach and take a good look at. Better still, get that suspect into handcuffs. Everyone is much safer once those cuffs are on.

    As for the shooting: police officers are trained to keep firing until the threat is neutralized. If you are really good with firearms, you might actually hit your target with every bullet you fire. If you’re just a regular schlub, adrenalized and facing death or serious bodily injury (not only his own, but his comrades’ and the public’s) you might fire twenty bullets and miss with all but a couple.

    With a semi-automatic, the bullets come out as quickly as you can pull the trigger; the suspect nearly always takes a fairly long time (as it feels, anyway, to the officer) to fall down.  Police officers often empty the magazine; it is fairly unusual for all the bullets fired to actually hit the target—one reason that they are trained to keep shooting.  (One of the most common cop-anxiety-dreams is of a gunfight in which the cop keeps pulling the trigger and the bad guy keeps coming at him. Sometimes the dreamer sees the bullet holes appearing in the suspect, but the bad guy still keeps coming; he doesn’t go down. That’s a wake-up-in-a-cold-sweat dream.)

    Our guys qualify with their duty weapons twice a year. They have to qualify with a long gun and shotgun as well as a sidearm. They are also—to a man/woman—avid hunters, which means they spend a whole lot more time handling and firing guns than many or most urban police officers. I’ve known plenty of municipal police officers who have never fired a gun anywhere other than at the range for the whole of their careers. And—officer-involved uses of deadly force are rare. So it’s not like these officers had lots of experience with combat—another serious problem with David French’s argument, by the way. Police officers are not soldiers.  

    Police officers train a whole lot for an event that will probably never happen.  But it could happen, on every day they spend on patrol.

    • #13
  14. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    By the way, the one remark I’ve heard after every shooting I’ve responded to is “it happened so fast.”

    The other one I hear is ” it was just a normal day...”

    “I’ve done just the same sort of traffic stop on that street a hundred times…on stop 101…someone tries to kill me?”  

    It’s a surreal thing. One advantage soldiers have is that they know that the enemy exists.  Police officers often patrol their own towns, and they interact with civilians who are their neighbors. A state trooper I know just had a shoot less than a mile from his own house. And the investigation of what was a textbook “good shoot” took over a year to wrap up. 

     

    • #14
  15. FightinInPhilly Coolidge
    FightinInPhilly
    @FightinInPhilly

    Some cops stink. Why is that so impossible to believe?

    Allow me to illustrate with a simple example. My wife is the administrator in a large public school district here in NJ. Her district serves over 8,000 students with hundreds of teachers. After a long, well documented, tedious, and nasty fight, she managed to bring tenure charges against a teacher with 15 years of experience and have her fired. Without going into details, you wouldn’t want this woman to wash your car, let along teach your 3rd grader. The next year, there was a new teacher. The students were better off.

    Now you can do a little research and check my math. But how many tenured teachers in the State of NJ were removed “for cause” since 2010? The answer: eleven. My wife’s effort made 12. In seven years. Over 100,000 teachers in the state. That is one FANTASTIC set of human beings. Only .00012 % per decade should be removed because they stink at their job! AMAZING.

    I’m happy to pile on bad teachers. Because my wife was a good one. My mom was a good one. My aunt was a good one. Good teachers HATE bad teachers. Why can’t we manage to apply the requirements to the police force?

    We can continue to believe that every cop is model of virtue, judgment, sound mind and judicious use of force. Or we can actually punish the few that screw up. Off all the abuse the police put up with, from Civilian Complaint boards to lack of community support to budget cuts and weak DAs, why is that shooting a civilian dead is the one thing that doesn’t seem to stick?

    • #15
  16. Jack Dunphy Contributor
    Jack Dunphy
    @JackDunphy

    FightinInPhilly (View Comment):
    Some cops stink. Why is that so impossible to believe?

    No one knows that better than me.  Mohamed Noor, who shot Justine Damond in Minneapolis, stunk.  The cops who shot Stephon Clark do not.

    • #16
  17. FightinInPhilly Coolidge
    FightinInPhilly
    @FightinInPhilly

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    FightinInPhilly (View Comment):
    Some cops stink. Why is that so impossible to believe?

    No one knows that better than me. Mohamed Noor, who shot Justine Damond in Minneapolis, stunk. The cops who shot Stephon Clark do not.

    I think my broader point is the lack of punishment. Surely, if some cops stink, and some cops kill civilians without cause, some cops should be convicted, no? A jury wouldn’t even convict the officer from Mesa, AZ who shot a man in a hotel hallway of a lesser charge reckless manslaughter. We the jury need to able to bring ourselves to say “yes, it was a split second decision and he made the wrong call”. I’m blaming juries, not cops. Some of these guys need to go to jail for a long time. 

    One guy went to jail for the 2008 financial crisis. I can sit you down with wall street friends who will tell you in great detail why that’s one too many. No went jail for the IRS investigation into conservative groups. No one even lost their job! 1 guy went to a jail for the Penn State child abuse scandal. 1 guy will go to jail for the MSU molestation scandal. Everyone has an excuse. You weren’t there. I sent the memo. It’s not my responsibility. 

    But at some point, there should be consequences, no? At least, that’s what the officer told me when he handed me my ticket.

    • #17
  18. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    Marley's Ghost (View Comment):

    Jack, a couple of questions if I might…

    1. Why do you think these two officers found it necessary to fire 20 rounds into this young man?

    2. After he fell they shot him some more… why?

    3. Do you feel it is good police procedure to fire on someone if they can’t say with GREAT confidence that the individual has a gun?

    4. In your estimation do police currently have the appropriate level of practice and training with firearms and the use of those firearms in situations like this one?

     

    I’ll take my answers off air. ;-) Thank you.

    There’s so much wrong here I don’t know where to start.  I’ve been reading coroner’s and pathologists reports for over 20 years.  The moment that pathologist stepped before a microphone he abandoned his proper roll of an objective reporter and became a partisan.  He is not to be trusted.  I want to see the actual autopsy reports.  Until then, everything we’ve heard is suspect.  

    The officers did not shoot the decedent 20 times.  They fired 20 rounds, hitting the decedent 8 times.  I’m not going waste words expanding on what’s already been said.  I’d love to, though.

    What evidence is there that the officers shot the decedent on the ground?  Were there bullets recovered in the ground underneath the decent?  At what range were the officers firing?  Where were the two officers located relative to the decedent?  Assuming for the moment that the officers continued to fire after decedent was on the ground, what were the decedent’s actions after he went down?  We are trained to keep firing until the threat is ended.  How do you determine that, especially at night?  

    To the extent possible, I don’t ever want to feel in a high – stress situation.  I want to think. We call it the OODA Loop.  Try having somebody pull black objects out of his/her pocket tonight in your dark back yard, while you’re running in through a gate.  Instantly call off what it is.  See how you do.  Go ahead and use a flashlight.  Then come back and report.

    Every department for which I worked had pretty good training regimens.  “Situations like this one?”  Which one?  How many situations “like this one” does an officer run into on any one shift?  We trained as much as possible for high – stress, confusing situations.  What are we supposed to do?  Run scenarios for every call we’ll get on the next shift?

    Marley, it sounds like you’ve accepted uncritically the narrative planted by people with an agenda before any actual facts could be discovered.  In other words, the people who want you to believe their lie have succeeded.  

    • #18
  19. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    BTW anybody who thinks that they learn about the job of a law enforcement officer by doing a “ride-along” with an infantry combat patrol has never ridden along with a LEO.  The similarities are almost zero.

    • #19
  20. Jack Hendrix Inactive
    Jack Hendrix
    @JackHendrix

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    FightinInPhilly (View Comment):
    Some cops stink. Why is that so impossible to believe?

    No one knows that better than me. Mohamed Noor, who shot Justine Damond in Minneapolis, stunk. The cops who shot Stephon Clark do not.

    I agree that the cops in this case seemed scared and amped but not malicious or incompetent in any way. But they were wrong to kill this man. Wrong in the objective sense, though perhaps it was reasonable subjectively. What I struggle with is the implication that this is just an unfortunate consequence of policing. No one would care about this killing if Stephon actually had a gun. But he didn’t, and he shouldn’t have died. Again, I’m not questioning the decision to shoot. I’m asking whether there is any way to prevent this, or should we just accept cops will make deadly mistakes for which they are unlikely to be held accountable for and move on?

    • #20
  21. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    Jack Hendrix (View Comment):
    I’m asking whether there is any way to prevent this

    Absolutely.  First, don’t break the law.  Like don’t go around breaking the windows of cars, don’t go around trying to get into houses you shouldn’t be in.  (It doesn’t matter that the particular house he ended up at was his grandmother’s.  Nobody had any way to know that.  Hindsight is 20-20, isn’t it?)  Doing things like that can make you really unpopular with anybody, not just the police.  

    Second, don’t run away from the police.  If you’re breaking the law, then you know why they’re approaching you.  You’re caught.  If you aren’t breaking the law, then they could have a thousand perfectly good and safe reasons to want to talk to you.  Heck, they might even have a reason just to make sure you’re okay.  

    Third, do what they tell you.  See paragraph above.  Yes, sometimes you might fit the description of somebody who just committed a crime.  And, yes, sometimes that means you might be treated a little strongly until it is known who you are.  But there could be a very good reason for that.  When they tell you to show them your hands, do it.  There’s a really good reason for that.  It’s one of the things drilled into you in training: It’s the hands that can kill you.

    If you “take leg bail,” then don’t be surprised if the police chase you.  Don’t be surprised when, as you lead them into dark alleys, or over fences in dark back yards, they get a little nervous about where you’re leading them, or what they’re liable to meet when they pop over the next fence.  

    To the extent that the actual facts are known in this case, so far this situation looks like the police were entirely justified in their actions.  If you break these very simple rules, then you have nothing to complain about.  Of course it’s very sad that a person died.  But just how much blame should be placed on the police?  To the extent that the actual facts are known, not much.  

    BTW the allegation that police are never punished is demonstrably false.

    • #21
  22. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):
    Are people so ‘positioned’ under arrest? Or is this more of a temporary storage solution?

    It can be a temporary detention, which requires reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. An arrest requires probable cause.

    Thank you for your matter-of-fact replies to my questions which look shirty even to me. 

    Let it be said that I believe the Clark shooting was legit and unfortunate. Cops are almost always exonerated in these cases and rightly so. 

    • #22
  23. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    FightinInPhilly (View Comment):
    We the jury need to able to bring ourselves to say “yes, it was a split second decision and he made the wrong call”. I’m blaming juries, not cops. Some of these guys need to go to jail for a long time. 

    Yes, as long as it’s not jail time for a bad call. Jail time for murder, negligence, malice. Not for an honest mistake; not for an unfortunate error.

    • #23
  24. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Jack Hendrix (View Comment):

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    FightinInPhilly (View Comment):
    Some cops stink. Why is that so impossible to believe?

    No one knows that better than me. Mohamed Noor, who shot Justine Damond in Minneapolis, stunk. The cops who shot Stephon Clark do not.

    I agree that the cops in this case seemed scared and amped but not malicious or incompetent in any way. But they were wrong to kill this man. Wrong in the objective sense, though perhaps it was reasonable subjectively. What I struggle with is the implication that this is just an unfortunate consequence of policing. No one would care about this killing if Stephon actually had a gun. But he didn’t, and he shouldn’t have died. Again, I’m not questioning the decision to shoot. I’m asking whether there is any way to prevent this, or should we just accept cops will make deadly mistakes for which they are unlikely to be held accountable for and move on?

    He shouldn’t have died, true. However, don’t absolve him of complicity in or even sole responsibility for his own demise. If he hadn’t chosen to break windows then he would likely still be alive. If he hadn’t run then he would likely still be alive. If he had complied with commands from the duly appointed authorities then he would likely still be alive. There were many points where he could have ended and defused the encounter. He chose poorly by escalating at every point instead.

    On the other hand we employ cops specifically to apprehend suspects. They should do no more than what it takes to exercise their authority in pursuit of the public good. That means that if the police escalate unreasonably or without justification then they should be held accountable, but that in itself is on a spectrum from mentoring to criminal trial depending on the facts in each individual case.  Seems to me that the police already do their part systemically via training and discipline. To the extent that the cops are ever grossly negligent, malicious, abusing authority, then I would agree that more than just retraining should be the result.

    So to answer your question: yes tragedy is a part of life. I would probably rephrase  your question slightly to be more like: should we just accept that people will make bad decisions which lead to their deaths? Again the answer is “yes”.

    • #24
  25. ClosetSubversive Inactive
    ClosetSubversive
    @ClosetSubversive

    I watched 5 seasons of “The Wire”.  You’re wrong.  

    • #25
  26. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Quietpi (View Comment):

     

    BTW the allegation that police are never punished is demonstrably false.

    And then some. 

    • #26
  27. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Incidentally, I think this may be yet another case where the subject involved was mentally ill, either organically or through drug use.  It is his behavior, not that of the police officers, that calls for explanation, not so as to exculpate the police, but to perhaps provide a slightly different answer to the concerned and humane citizen’s legitimate and important question “how could this death have been prevented?” 

     

    • #27
  28. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    @dougwatt, thank you for comment #10. I have not taken the time to research this story, but did see the helicopter footage taken that night. My first thought was, he didn’t start out in granny’s yard. My next thought was, wonder if the break ins have stopped. I know that sounds harsh, but was this “their guy”? I’m not saying that makes it open season to fire, but let’s not act like he’s all sweetness and light, either. Again, thanks for the link. I just had a feeling there was more to this story than he was playing in granny’s backyard when the bad ole policemen came in guns a blazing. 

    • #28
  29. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Blondie (View Comment):

    @dougwatt, thank you for comment #10. I have not taken the time to research this story, but did see the helicopter footage taken that night. My first thought was, he didn’t start out in granny’s yard. My next thought was, wonder if the break ins have stopped. I know that sounds harsh, but was this “their guy”? I’m not saying that makes it open season to fire, but let’s not act like he’s all sweetness and light, either. Again, thanks for the link. I just had a feeling there was more to this story than he was playing in granny’s backyard when the bad ole policemen came in guns a blazing.

    Unless the police were aware of Clark’s background as they approached him, I don’t see how it’s relevant to the discussion as to whether  the protocol in these situations should be re-examined.

    Otherwise what’s the point of bringing it up? Is it just to comfort yourself by saying, “See it was just one of those thugs that got himself killed. No need for me to be upset.”? 

    Nice of you to say his past doesn’t make it “open season” to shoot him, but it sure sounds like you do think it means you don’t have to care about it much. 

    I don’t think the police officers are guilty of any crime here. I do think the case warrants an examination of their practices and procedures. 

    The high horse that many on this site get up on when it comes to victims of these things is troubling. If you think there are no circumstances under which you could find yourself losing your mind and getting confronted by police, you’re wrong. As I mentioned in another thread, I work with accused criminals daily.  The difference between you and them, how they ended up the way they are, and how you ended up the way you are is, I promise you, uncomfortably thin. 

    • #29
  30. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    @daventers, my point is to say Clark is not totally innocent in this situation as portrayed in the media. When I first heard about this story, it was left with the impression that he was just in his grandmother’s yard minding his own business. I’m sure that was not by accident (media narrative made). This was not the case at all. The cops didn’t know who this guy was, but he obviously had dealings with the police before. He knew the rules. Don’t run. Stop. Hands out. Guess what, if he had done that and the cops still shot him, then yes, guilty. But he didn’t. And I don’t buy the “it’s a thin line between how they end up and how I end up “ bit. It’s called personal responsibility. I know plenty of people who have had rough childhoods that aren’t in jail or have criminal records. 

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