Good Cops, Bad Cops

We have all witnessed the amazing police work in New York and New Jersey the past few days. President Obama has praised their quick and “outstanding” work in apprehending Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is the only suspect so far. Who could argue with that?

Most of the work the police do is good work and they deserve much credit for what they usually do. There is no doubt policing can be a difficult job sometimes, especially when officers are confronted with potentially life-and-death situations. But some of the work the police do is bad work, bad policing. We can’t ignore that fact. And we can’t ignore the fact that such bad police work is often, though not exclusively, directed toward people of color. Like in Tulsa last Friday, as told by the Associated Press:

A black man fatally shot by a white Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer responding to a stalled vehicle had no weapon on him or in his SUV, the city’s police chief said Monday.

Local and federal authorities are investigating the death of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said before the department released dashcam footage of Friday’s shooting.

“We will achieve justice in this case,” Jordan said.

Meanwhile, family members and community leaders who have viewed the footage said it clearly shows that Crutcher’s hands were in the air when he was shot.

“We saw that Terence did not have any weapon. Terence did not make any sudden movements. We saw that Terence was not being belligerent,” one of the attorneys for the family, Damario Solomon-Simmons, said at a news conference separate from one police held….

Authorities said the shooting occurred after an officer stopped to investigate a vehicle in the middle of a road. Police said Crutcher approached after officers arrived to assist.

Police spokeswoman Jeanne MacKenzie has said Crutcher refused orders to put up his hands.

Police say Tulsa officer Betty Shelby fired the fatal shot, while officer Tyler Turnbough used a stun gun on Crutcher. Both officers are white, MacKenzie said Monday.

Here is an AP story on the ACLU’s reaction to the shooting:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma is calling for criminal charges in a Tulsa police officer’s fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, saying he was left to bleed to death while officers stood by without rendering aid.

ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel says Terence Crutcher’s death on Friday shows “how little regard” Tulsa police officers have for minority communities.

Crutcher was shot to death by a Tulsa officer who was responding to a report of a stalled vehicle. Dashcam and aerial footage released Monday by police showed Crutcher lying on the street, bleeding, and no one immediately administered medical aid.

A Tulsa police spokeswoman, Jeanne MacKenzie, said she couldn’t comment Monday on whether officers have a set protocol on when to provide medical assistance.

Here are two videos released so far. If you see a reason—any reason—to shoot Mr. Crutcher, please point it out to me:

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4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  September 20, 2016

    In less than 30 days, any moron in Missouri without a criminal record can carry a concealed weapon legally. This man had no weapon on him or in his vehicle, does anyone this our militarized police will reduce their unjust shootings? In Missouri, the difference will be now there are “white crackers” being shot. That is how the police will define the white citizens killed, just whites with black attitudes.

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  2. Anonymous

     /  September 21, 2016

    The helicopter pilot, even though far away from any violence, commented that, “He looks like one bad dude”. You know that the female officer thought the same of the scary black man, and did not consider him a human being, but a threat to herself. Four officers on scene, taser the man, shoot him when he flinches from shock, and claim he was reaching into the vehicle even though the window was splattered with his blood.

    Justice is not blind when you are a scary black man, it is rendered by the weapon of someone unfit to be a police officer. Any officer that covers for that officer is also unfit to serve. Most officers do their job and protect and serve, but idiots like this that kill for absolutely no justifiable reason bring suspicion and mistrust of all officers. Police academies should be a four year program with tested, audited, and professional officers. Tulsa’s Sheriff’s Department is also guilty of allowing an unqualified “reserve” deputy to kill a black man because he was a donor to the sheriff.

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  September 21, 2016

    OK, Duane,

    You asked “If you see a reason—any reason—to shoot Mr. Crutcher, please point it out to me:” I in turn will ask you if you see enough evidence to move directly to a trial for murder for the police officer (white woman)( firing the fatal shot(s).

    For sure none of us yet know the whole story, beginning with the moment the officer arrived upon the scene. No video or audio showing that initial interaction. There are reports of course that the man did NOT do as the officer directed, immediately. As in almost all of these cases the one killed, eventually, failed to simply stop doing whatever he or she was doing and follow the orders of approaching police.

    Can we all stop trying to conduct a legal trial by video, only. Note we now have riots in NC following another incident of cops shooting another black man, to death, again. I have no idea why they did so, of course, but I am willing to let both sides, with full representation by lawyers, the best lawyers possible, to argue such an incident, again. As well I will accept whatever comes out of a court case, just as I did in the Martin shooting and the death of a black man in Baltimore, or the conviction of the deputy sheriff in Tulsa after full legal proceedings.

    One other observation. The potential terrorist in NJ was subjected to a hail of gunfire after he fired on police and ran. He was only wounded and we can all now let justice take its course instead of moving directly to a burial. In a situation as shown on the video we have another dead man in a much less tense situation. When cops are trained to shoot it is my understanding that they are trained to “go for central body mass”. In other words when you shoot, shoot to kill every time.

    Is that “good training”? As for rendering aid after a cop shoots, I wonder what the training might be as well. Right or wrong, that cop thought her life was in danger. Immediately after she shoots a “killer” (potential) should she immediately go apply a bandage?

    Of course Black Lives Matter will claim she was NOT in fear for her life and just shot the “bad dude” simply because he was a big, black man, and then with “clear” motives of vengance, she just sat by to let him bleed out.

    It goes without saying that based only on the video it would appear that “shooting to kill” was not the right action on the part of the cop. But I demand that she gets her say in the matter as well and then let rational and unemotional justice take its course.

    One other point, to Anonymous. You call for a four year police academy to educate (train?) all cops. OK, let’s create a “West Point” for cops, educating all of them for 4 years at a cost of about $250,000 per cop, before they walk their first beat. Hillary might like that idea and pay for it by taxing the rich, again!

    Anson

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  4. Anonymous

     /  September 21, 2016

    Anson,

    We have never met, although we know some of the same people. I am not on the Joplin social circuit. My time is either spent with my work or my family, and family is far more important than the work. The investment of my family time has rewarded me greatly with quality time with them and my grandchildren. I can count my dear friends on one hand that I enjoy spending time with as much as my family. The most valuable advice I have given them is to respect all humans until you have reason to do otherwise. None of us are superior to others, despite our egos.

    Perhaps you didn’t read my story of how an American WW II veteran served is country despite Jim Crow laws that prevented him drinking from the same fountain as whites,among other things. A successful business man, family man, but was not allowed to be buried I the cemetery proper with white folks in 1998. You say that you never witnessed racism in Kentucky, although you are my senior. I have, Sir, and it is ugly. That is what killed Terence Crutcher. I wish you could see it, but none are so blind as those that refuse to see.

    The helicopter pilot is heard saying, That looks like one bad dude!”. Had that been a white man the response would have probably been, “Look at that fat sob”. The woman saw a scary black man and shot him. I do know you wouldn’t go to a dentist without a four years of training, or see an accountant without a degree, but you have no problem giving a gun to a person and have them make life and death choices, with a couple of years of community college. The officers should be trained rigorously, and educated in racism and cultures, and evaluated psychologically before being issued weapons. But hey, the GOP legislature in Missouri will allow any moron to carry a weapon concealed on his person, as long as he’s not a felon.

    As far as the costs, what is the value of your life, Anson? What is the value of a black mans life, or any human being? I don’t mind paying a little more tax for the investment of professionalism in policing. If you own property in this country, the best I the world, why would you bitch about a few more dollars per year to help all people, not just the cops? It would only be appropriate the rich pay a similar percentage of their income and property as well. Think about that WWII vet and tell me racism is not a factor not only in our police, but
    all of society.

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