Commentary: Discussion Must Move Beyond Race to Police Training and Tactics

Share:

police-blue

A couple of comments yesterday caught my attention – they argued that some of the recent cases “have nothing to do with race.” I disagree with this contention because I believe that race and unconscious bias color the interactions between law enforcement and the people they encounter, often in subtle and subconscious ways.

But one commenter stated, “For me, the bigger issue is not so much of race, but police procedure when a citizen does not obey/appears not to obey/does obey the lawful orders of a police officer and the use of deadly force.”

A police practices expert once told me that among the most tricky situations for police officers is what happens when the subject is not cooperative, but also not violent and doesn’t really present a threat to law enforcement. A police officer locally once told me that police are often too quick to use tools like Tasers and guns rather than their most powerful weapon – their mouths.

When I watch the encounters of Sandra Bland and Samuel Dubose, what I see more than anything is police officers who are ill-equipped to de-escalate situations that go south very quickly.

Both incidents seemed to start innocuously enough except for one problem – in the case of Sandra Bland, she was pulled over for failure to signal as she appeared to try to get out of the way of the officer. In the case of Samuel Dubose, he was pulled over for not having a front license plate and it was noted that he was not even in the officer’s jurisdiction.

While the police often use minor infractions as pretexts to stop drivers, the fact that they are using these minor infractions begin to color the encounter from the start. In the case of Samuel Dubose, he appeared to be evasive about coming up with his driver’s license.

The video shows Officer Tensing asking repeatedly for Mr. Dubose to produce his driver’s license, which he was unable to find. The officer asks Dubose about objects on the floor of his car, and Dubose picks up an unopened pint bottle of alcohol and hands it to the officer for inspection.

Like many incidents, the situation rapidly escalates. Mr. Dubose does not appear to make any violent or threatening moves toward the officer. For reasons that are not clear, a matter of minutes into the incident, Officer Tensing pulls out his service weapon and fires one shot into Dubose’s head. The car rolls away, and Tensing runs down the road after it.

“I think he lost his temper because Mr. Dubose wouldn’t get out of his car,” Prosecutor Deters stated on Wednesday. He added, “When you see [the video] you will not believe how quickly he pulls his gun and shoots him in the head. It’s maybe a second.”

The Dubose shooting is probably less fathomable than some incidents where there have been struggles that escalate.

For example, the Sandra Bland video shows Ms. Bland as combative with the police officer, refusing to put out a cigarette.

In the video, we see Trooper Brian Encinia pull Ms. Bland over for a failure to signal as she changed lanes. Mr. Encinia retrieves Ms. Bland’s driver’s license and insurance and heads back to his car. The trooper returns to issue the ticket to Ms. Bland and asks her if she’s okay.

“I’m waiting on you, this is your job,” she says.

“You seem very irritated,” he tells her.

“I really am,” Ms. Bland says. She explained to him that she’s unhappy that she was pulled over.

At this point the officer does not handle the situation properly. He started out by noting her irritation and then she explained the source of it to him, and rather than calming the situation down, he escalated it for no real purpose.

He asks if she’s done speaking, then asks her to put out her cigarette. Ms. Bland refuses, saying that she’s free to smoke a cigarette in her own car.

The trooper could have simply walked away at this point after giving her the ticket and wishing her a nice day. He didn’t.

Instead, he orders her out of the car, calling it a “lawful order.” It is far from clear that her failure to extinguish a cigarette made it a lawful order. When she refuses, he continues to escalate rather than de-escalate the situation, opening the door, forcibly removing her from the car, and then pointed the Taser in her direction, threatening to “light her up.”

Whether Mr. Encinia’s order was legal or not is still subject to some debate and it appears to be a gray area of the law. There are reasonable suspicion provisions that give officers considerable authority during a traffic stop. But much of that authority is only permissible if they have reason to believe that the person is armed, dangerous, or has committed a crime.

Ms. Bland was simply upset at being pulled over, was smoking a cigarette and refused to put it out.

Regardless of the legality of Mr. Encinia’s actions, he did not have to escalate the situation at that point.

Clearly, Ms. Bland was unwise in her conduct. She was angry and belligerent.

But the officer should be trained to deal with angry and belligerent people in a way that de-escalates the situation. In Sandra Bland’s case, while the officer did not end up using deadly force on her, the unnecessary arrest of Ms. Bland appears to have led to her suicide – something that could have and should have been avoided by better police work

In the case of Samuel Dubose, his unwise refusal to follow the directions of the officer, even an officer outside his jurisdiction with no real reason to stop him, led to the officer losing his composure and shooting him for no valid reason.

Both situations could have been handled much better by law enforcement and that has to start with proper training.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

Share:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

83 thoughts on “Commentary: Discussion Must Move Beyond Race to Police Training and Tactics”

  1. zaqzaq

    David states,

    “Mr. Dubose does not appear to make any violent or threatening moves toward the officer.”

    Once again you spin your facts to support your narrative.  If the officer is partially inside the vehicle and pinned so that he cannot get out and Dubose puts his car in gear the officer is clearly threatened.  Did the officer reasonably fear that he would be dragged and possibly fall under the wheels and be run over at that moment?  That is the issue here.  The officer made a poor decision putting himself in that position but that is hindsight and possibly the result of poor training.  Receiving poor or inadequate training is not the fault of the individual officer.   In the video the officer remains calm with Dubose while being given the run around by Dubose concerning the license. I do not hear him getting angry or losing his temper with Dubose.

     

    1. Miwok

      why would a person in danger of a TRAFFIC TICKET escalate the incident?

      While no person deserves to die from a traffic stop, the officer never stops someone with the intention of killing someone. It is the person driving or riding in the car that decides this. Why this forum keeps defending criminals in the pursuit of their “activities”, the more strange I think this is.

      1. Tia Will

        Miwok

         It is the person driving or riding in the car that decides this.”

        What I find strange is you belief that the person driving or riding in the car decides that the police will shoot them.  Can you explain how you believe that this process works ?

  2. Tia Will

    zaqzaq

    The officer made a poor decision putting himself in that position but that is hindsight and possibly the result of poor training.”

    I see the issue as broader than you are portraying here. It should not take extensive police training to see a number of points on this video where the officer could have prevented the problem.

    1. He could have chosen to not pull the vicim over for such trivia as a missing plate

    2. He could have done as the man suggested and run a search by name or license plate number to see if the man was telling the truth. He could have ordered the man to remain in his car while he secured back up and the desired information. All of this he could have done from the safety of his own vehicle if he was becoming alarmed.

    3. He could have handled the entire interaction in a non accusatorial fashion instead of “tell the truth, are you suspended’ which is clearly suggesting that the man is lying with no knowledge in the matter.

    4. Even after the man has refused, physically to get out of his car, he still has all of the above options available to him, but instead chooses to use physical force.

    Fear, disobedience, or even a  verbal display of a really bad attitude are not in my opinion any reason to pull either a taser or a gun on anyone. That was all that was manifested here by the victim. Every thing else was conjecture on the part of the police officer. I was afraid that …….

    Do we really want to sanction these activities based on conjecture on the part of the police ? Should training be improved ? Obviously I support this for all endeavors in life, my field included. Should individuals be held accountable when they demonstrate behaviors that are far outside the realm of common sense let alone technical training ? In my opinion, absolutely. I do not feel that this police officer should be “punished” as I do not believe in “punishment”. What I do believe is that he has proven himself dangerous and society needs to be protected from him in some manner.

     

    1. Sam

      “Fear, disobedience, or even a  verbal display of a really bad attitude are not in my opinion any reason to pull either a taser or a gun on anyone.”

      So you really think that it is a good idea for a police officer to not pull out their gun when they make a traffic stop and the people in the car are being disobedient? You don’t see that will put the officer in danger?

      1. Tia Will

        Sam

        So you really think that it is a good idea for a police officer to not pull out their gun when they make a traffic stop and the people in the car are being disobedient? You don’t see that will put the officer in danger?”

        Not necessarily. And that is the point. Neither the shooting victim in this case or in the case of Sandra Bland posed any danger to the policeman. The police in both circumstances had very good alternatives that would have been both safe for them and for the intended detainee. In both cases they could have ordered the detainee to remain in their vehicle. How difficult would it have been in either case to say to Ms. Bland or Mr. Dubose, ok….stay here until I get this checked out. Mr. Dubose even suggested that his license could have been checked using his name. What made this an unacceptable solution to the police.

        They  could have retreated to their own vehicle to await back up, or a crisis intervention team, or what ever support was appropriate to the situation. What you have right is that I do not believe is that the threat of the use of a taser as in the Bland situation or the actual use of a gun in this situation was in any way either necessary nor appropriate for the safety of the officer. And further, from the tapes I do not believe that they had any reason to believe that they were in danger while they steadily escalated the situation themselves.

        1. Sam

          Like I said yesterday you only know the officer was not in danger after they pulled the drivers body out of the car and searched it. On the other hand in Hayward you now know that officer was in danger, but only after he was killed.

          Having the officer go back and sit in the car and wait for backup puts them and the public at risk. Mr. Dubose was obviously willing to drive off and start a high speed chase, something that kills thousands of innocent people.

           

    2. tribeUSA

      Tia–I disagree with your point #1–a missing license plate is far from trivial; try it even in Davis and you will likely get pulled over by the first cop who comes up behind you; of course in high-crime neighborhoods a missing plate is highly suspect, for obvious reasons of getaway car; or plate was taken by someone else to use on another getaway car. So I think the missing plate is fairly strong reason to stop someone. The fact that the driver did not produce a drivers license; in combination with no license plate, is highly suspect.

      That said, I agree the cop could have handled it better–it’s not clear to me why he shot the driver; perhaps there are some things not visible/audible on the video that are germane to the shooting.

    3. zaqzaq

      Tia,

      Here is my response to your points.

      “1. He could have chosen to not pull the vicim over for such trivia as a missing plate”

      I really think this point is silly.  Officers are supposed to enforce infractions.  Having been pulled over before for not having my registration tag on my license plate (it was sitting in the kitchen) I received the fix it ticket.  I was polite, produced my license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration.  Dubose was wasting the officers time by playing games with the officers.  The officer remained calm during the exchange.

      “2. He could have done as the man suggested and run a search by name or license plate number to see if the man was telling the truth. He could have ordered the man to remain in his car while he secured back up and the desired information. All of this he could have done from the safety of his own vehicle if he was becoming alarmed.”

      Now that is really some Monday morning quarterbacking.  So you want cops to get a second or third officer on scene every time an officer is given the run around?   How can the officer in that situation believe that he will be given the right name, date of birth, or license number?  This method of identification is only as accurate as the information being provided by the suspect.  He already ran the license plate and it did not come back to Dubose.  Had Dubose stated right off the bat that he did not have his driver’s license on him the officer might have done so.  Maybe the officer wanted him out of the car to determine height and weight if that is information that he would receive from the dispatch center.   Bottom line he is authorized to remove him from the vehicle and Dubose was legally required to comply and did not do so.

      “3. He could have handled the entire interaction in a non accusatorial fashion instead of “tell the truth, are you suspended’ which is clearly suggesting that the man is lying with no knowledge in the matter.”

      I did not see anything in the officers tone or attitude that was rude.  He was not yelling or cursing at Dubose.  The one comment that you refer to is reasonable in that situation.  There are many reasons why Dubose did not want to produce his license.  Having a suspended license or having arrest warrants are two reasonable reasons for the officer to consider.

      “4. Even after the man has refused, physically to get out of his car, he still has all of the above options available to him, but instead chooses to use physical force.”

      I do not equate reaching into the vehicle to secure the keys or turn off the car as the use of physical force.  Reaching into the vehicle was stupid and dangerous for the officer.  I can only wonder what training the officer had on how to handle these situations.  The use of the gun occurred after the vehicle was put into gear and the officer was leaning into the vehicle with his arm inside the vehicle or pinned inside the vehicle.  Any reasonable person would concede that this is a dangerous situation for the officer.  He can be seriously injured or killed if Dubose accelerates and drags him or he falls under the vehicle wheels.

      The bottom line here is that Dubose’s actions got him killed.  Had he followed the legal directives of the officer he would be alive today.  It will also be interesting to see what Dubose’s background is.  It will be really interesting if he had just committed a violent crime like Brown did in Fergeson and was trying to avoid capture.

       

      1. Davis Progressive

        “I really think this point is silly.  Officers are supposed to enforce infractions.  Having been pulled over before for not having my registration tag on my license plate (it was sitting in the kitchen) I received the fix it ticket.  I was polite, produced my license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration” 

        you may think the point is silly, but the practice is probably what is most responsible for the belief in racial profiling and tensions between minorities and the police.  why?  because there is a belief that whites don’t get stopped for such infractions.

        ” Dubose was wasting the officers time by playing games with the officers.  The officer remained calm during the exchange.”

        until he shot him in the head for no lawfully justified reason.

        1. tribeUSA

          DP–About 7 years ago I was pulled over 4 times over the period of a year, here in Davis, for license plate infarctions on my pickup truck:

          (1) Trailor hitch partially obscures license plate (I had to have a mechanic remove it, as the large nut:bolt were solidly frozen together).

          (2) License plate bending downward, making license difficult to read (simple fix, I straightened using tie-wraps)

          (3,4) One (of two) rear license plate lights not functioning–I got stopped twice for this, it turned out to be an intermittent connection that required a re-soldering job to a flat surface (taxed my soldering skill in awkward hard-to-reach place).

          I am blond and blue-eyed, so this doesn’t just happen to african americans.

        2. Barack Palin

          Thank you, tribeUSA.  I’ve been pulled over a few times in Davis for the same types of what I felt were petty things.  About 6 months ago I got a ticket in the downtown area for not wearing a seatbelt from a bike cop of all things.  I’m also white but do sport a very nice recent tan.  😉

          1. Matt Williams

            I recently had the same bicycle cop experience BP. And what was worse, I actually had my seat belt deployed, but not completely buckled when he saw me and signaled me to pull over (I was fully stopped at a stop sign on F at the corner of 2nd at the time). I had just pulled out of the limited duration green curb parking space at that corner.

        3. zaqzaq

          DP,

          Once again the racial profiling , driving while black or brown whine.  A subjective belief that you are being racially profiled does not provide the legal basis for resisting or obstructing the officer.  It does not allow one to refuse to provide a drivers license, refuse to exit the vehicle when directed, start the car when told not to or to drive away during a detention.  You purport to be a lawyer and should know better.

          Dubose was not shot until he put the officer at risk when he car in gear with the officer partially inside the vehicle.  You seem to miss that fact.  Dubose’s actions got him killed.  Had he complied like white drivers tribeUSA, Barrack Palin, and Matt Williams identified below he would be alive today.  There is a clear pattern of black drivers disobeying officers lawful orders the lead these incidents to the outcomes where they are injured.

          As a society we arm police officers with firearms and authorize the use of the weapons and then are willing to crucify them when they do not act perfectly using 100% hindsight.  I seriously doubt that the officer that shot Dubose had any expectation that he would be involved in a shooting as he was getting ready for work that day. He exercised poor judgement by putting himself in a situation where he felt his physical safety justified using deadly force.  I do not see this as a crime.  It would be interesting if we held doctors to the same standard when treating patients.

        4. Barack Palin

          (I was fully stopped at a stop sign on F at the corner of 2nd at the time)

          Funny Matt, but that’s the exact spot I got my ticket.  Did you get a ticket?

          I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt so yes I had the ticket coming.  But what gets me is we have bike cops riding around downtown and peering in driver’s windows as they drive by so they can give a ticket, is that why they’re there?  That same bike cop was on a corner one day when I was going to Chipotle and a girl on a bike ran a stop sign and almost hit me (I had to lunge to dodge her as I was walking in a crosswalk),  he saw the incident and did nothing.  I just looked at him and put my hands out like ‘didn’t you see that’?

          So Matt, we’re both white and we got stopped for what I consider a minor offense.  If we were a person of color would that then be racial profiling?

          1. Matt Williams

            Yes, I was given a ticket, and I’m going to dispute it in court in September. The DMV says “With a few exceptions, everyone riding in a car must be contained by an approved safety-restraint system (seat belts and/or safety seats).” I was very clearly “contained” at the time that the bicycle policeman saw me. I was very clearly “contained” at the time that the bicycle policeman signaled me to pull over approximately one second later. I was very clearly “contained” at the time that the bicycle policeman spoke to me in my car. He even apologized to me three times during the process time it took him to write up the ticket.

            No, your proposed scenario would not be.

        5. Barack Palin

          Matt, the ticket cost me $160.  My wife and I were going to a movie at the theater on F St.  I and my wife decided to skip the movie and subsequent dinner we were going to have downtown.  The we decided to skip another downtown outing to pay for the ticket.  So the real money losers were the downtown merchants, not us.

          1. Matt Williams

            $160???

            Per DMV (see http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/safety-laws.php#General-Seat-Belt-Laws- ) Why 8 times as expensive as the law provides?

            General Seat Belt Laws

            With a few exceptions, everyone riding in a car must be contained by an approved safety-restraint system (seat belts and/or safety seats). Some passengers may be exempted from this requirement due to medical issues if they have a letter from their doctor excusing them from the seat-belt law.

            Passengers who are at least 16 years old can be cited for failing to comply with the law. Drivers are responsible for their own conduct along with their passenger’s behavior, and can be cited for any seat-belt violation that occurs within their vehicle.

            Fines

            First offense―$20
            Subsequent offenses―$50

      2. Tia Will

        zaqzaq

        The bottom line here is that Dubose’s actions got him killed.”

        While that may be “the bottom line for you” it is far from my bottom line.  For me, the way our police are trained, a system that leads them to believe that someone is guilty of something, rather than innocent until proven guilty, and that every stop is dangerous until proven that it is not even if that means tasseling or shooting someone to death is much closer to the bottom line. The real bottom line in our society in my view is our tendency to fear each other and our willingness to use lethal force whether or not their is a real threat but merely on the basis of ” I was afraid”.

        1. zaqzaq

          The cops are making sometimes split second decisions that will keep them alive or get them killed.  CHP officer Andy Stevens was killed in Yolo county on a routine traffic stop.  Another cop died last night on a routine traffic stop in Memphis.  A black thug (convicted robber) shot and killed the officer.  Cops do not know if you are a dangerous thug or a safe citizen.  Failure to follow instructions or not answer questions raises red flags for them (see Dubose).  This has nothing to do with your fallacy that cops think someone is guilty of something, rather than innocent until proven guilty where in reality it is all about officer safety.  Cops make arrests on a probable cause standard that is even lower than the civil standard of beyond a preponderance.  They are more interested in conducting a safe investigation than worrying about a jury trial.  You need to get a whiff of reality when cops are out on the street.  Innocent until proven guilty is a courtroom issue having no relevance on the street where officers make detentions and arrests at much lower standards.  Dubose was not determined to be “unarmed” until he was dead and the vehicle was searched.  Until then he had the potential to be armed.  Your perspective on this issue is unrealistic.

          I suspect more Americans have died as a result of misdiagnosis at the hands of doctors each year than were killed by in error by cops.  Maybe we should hold doctors to the same standard.

  3. Anon

    When I watch the encounters of Sandra Bland and Samuel Dubose, what I see more than anything is police officers who are ill-equipped to de-escalate situations that go south very quickly.

    Exactly.  Neither case had anything overtly to do with race that I could tell, so to assume it did is pure supposition, as if one could read what was in the officer’s mind.  However, if we look at the ACTIONS of each officer, it becomes clear that both were incensed when the person stopped did not immediately obey orders.

    Let’s take the Bland case.  When it became clear to the officer that Bland pulled over to the side of the road without her turn signal because she merely was getting out of the way of the police car, why ask her, “Why are you getting irritated?”.  This question only served to escalate the situation, because prior to that question Bland was completely cooperative.  Why did the officer not say, “I am only giving you a written warning.”, which would have de-escalated things?  And why pour gasoline on the fire, seeing that the driver was now getting agitated, by asking her to put out her cigarette, which was not even illegal?  It does not take rocket science to understand the officer unnecessarily and purposely escalated this traffic stop into a needless arrest.

    The Dubose case is much trickier.  The driver could not produce a license, and was being very evasive about it.  (I think some police officers at this point would have run the guy’s plates, to see if he had a valid driver’s license, and perhaps called for backup.  But I believe this was a campus cop, so perhaps he didn’t have the equipment to do so.  Just don’t know.)  The driver also had a liquor bottle in the car, which might have made the officer think he had been drinking while driving.  It was reasonable, I think, to ask the driver to step out of the car, perhaps to take a sobriety test or wait on the side of the road until his license plate was checked, but the driver refused to do so.  Instead the car starts to drive off, but it is not clear if the officer was leaning over into the car, and could have been dragged.  (There is no video of the actual shooting, so it is hard to tell if the officer’s version that he was dragged is correct.)  So what is the officer permitted to do at this point, assuming he was not actually dragged?  Engage in a high speed chase, putting even more people in danger?  I would actually like a well trained police officer to explain how this incident should have been better handled – because to me as a civilian it is not clear.

    Additionally, events often unfold in unpredictable ways, and law enforcement has to make split second decisions.  It ought to be made very clear when an officer can and cannot use a gun, that is universal throughout the nation, so civilians understand what to expect.

    1. Sam

      “I think some police officers at this point would have run the guy’s plates, to see if he had a valid driver’s license”

      He ran the plates before he pulled him over. The car was registered to someone else.

        1. Sam

          In the very beginning of the video the officer introduces himself, asks is this your car, he says yeah, officer says its is coming back as Siena, he says that is my wife.

  4. TrueBlueDevil

    Today race colors many things. Yesterday police seargent Scott Lunger was laid to rest after being killed by a gang member recently in Hayward, California. The tragic death of a white officer is ignored, and illustrates the dangers police officers face every day.

    The funeral was not covered by the San Francisco Chronicle.

    “Mark Estrada, 21, has been arrested in Lunger’s death. He is being treated at Highland Hospital and is under police guard, Urban said.

    “She said Estrada, who is from Oakland, has gang ties and that he was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland by relatives. It’s unclear whether Estrada is represented by a lawyer who could comment on the arrest.

    “Lunger was shot about 3:15 a.m. after he stopped a white Chevrolet pickup that was swerving on the road and driving erratically, said Hayward Police Cpt. Mark Koller said.

    “The driver pulled over, and there was a confrontation. Koller said the driver shot Lunger without warning and that Lunger’s partner fired back.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/07/23/man-with-gang-ties-arrested-in-california-police-officer-shooting-death/

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          That was the announcement. I think the funeral was yesterday.

          No tears for Kate.

          No tears for this officer.

          No tears for a Native American couple in Montana who stopped to help an illegal immigrant, and are killed.

          More Senseless Violence, Mexican National Murders Good Samaritans who Stopped to Help Him when He was Stranded on the Roadside

          http://libertynews.com/2015/07/more-senseless-violence-mexican-national-murders-good-samaritans-who-stopped-to-help-him-when-he-was-stranded-on-the-roadside/

          These stories don’t fit the liberal media narrative.

          1. Don Shor

            They announced the funeral. There was plenty of coverage of Kate’s death. You have an endless “narrative” about what the media covers and doesn’t cover. It’s something conservatives have been going on about for decades, and it’s basically an unprovable belief of yours. It’s actually pointless. If conservatives would spend less time railing about hypocrisy and supposed media bias, and more time actually discussing issues, there might be more productive conversations.

          1. Don Shor

            Barack Palin, maybe you should write an article about it for the Vanguard so it would be on topic.

          2. Matt Williams

            I would be very interested in visiting those websites and reading their information.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Matt, I think the New York Times ran 22 stories on “Air America”, the failed experiment to launch a liberal radio network. They may have also been largely cover articles to boot. (Air America failed.)

          Bernard Golberg wrote a book on the topic called “Media Bias”. I’ve heard reports that 92% of the media voted for Bill Clinton, not a balanced spectrum.

          Ironically, this may also be driven by liberal guilt. I saw a report recently where the White House press corps is more lilly white than it was in 1965! Hollywood is not much better with the white producers, directors, actors … Friends and Sex in the City are examples of whiter than white shows … where they slip in a “person of color” in season 3 or 4. Hypocrisy?

           

           

      1. zaqzaq

        Another white officer shot during a routine traffic stop in Memphis.  People seem to forget that CHP officer Andy Stevens was murdered in Yolo county during a routine traffic stop.

  5. Tia Will

    TBD

    These stories don’t fit the liberal media narrative”

    Some may fit the conservative media narrative. So they are being covered somewhere.   You were obviously able to turn up your examples without too much difficulty, obviously from news sources. Folks who find themselves on the conservative end of the spectrum often state that they do not read the “liberal media” because the do not trust a word that it is in it. One poster on the Vanguard recently made a nearly identical comment. So if you have already decided that you “will not read a source” because you know that their coverage will not fit your preconceived ideas then,  why complain about it at all ? If your concern is a lack of local coverage of something you feel newsworthy, instead of complaining about lack of coverage, write an article.

    Some investigative journalists have chosen to focus on “shining a light on the inappropriate or illegal actions of those in power. If what you desire is a focus on those who are not in power, but who commit inappropriate and/or illegal actions, why not seek out and write on these incidents yourself.

    The Vanguard has a very open article publication policy. At times the Vanguard, and I as a member of the editorial board , have actively solicited new writers so that we can expand the topics and perspectives being represented here.

     

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      I know that I have to look around for the truth, or for additional sources. I know where to look, have trusted sources, and if information is new to me, I will verify what I have read. For example, I had heard allusions to a higher crime rate per illegal immigrants, but didn’t take that at face value. I did see a link for the DEA’s “Most Wanted” website, which isn’t a political animal, and I clicked on San Francisco and saw that virtually 100% of their list are Mexican nationals. It is logical that it could be the Mexican cartels, and there may be other issues at play, but I found a non political source. (A few other locations had a lower percentage of Mexican nationals, but still high.)

      Many Americans and new immigrants and visitors don’t know the ropes. So if they see something on NBC, ABC, the LA or New York Times, they might think it is gold plated. I didn’t pick up on the heavy liberal bias of the NY Times until I was well out of college, but this is the “paper of record”, columns are syndicated, and they have impact.

      I heard recently that the media has a very low rating with the public as far as being honest brokers, but I have yet to confirm that. If true, it could show that the public is smarter than we think.

      This is one of the reasons Fox News and talk radio has thrived. Mainstream newspapers were (are) so liberal, just like the networks, that people found an outlet where things made more sense. I don’t like all of the Fox people, I like some more than others (Brett Baer, Bill O’Reilly, and the new woman), and I’ll also tune in MSNBC and the Communist News Network.

      Optimism helps! I heard today that Bernie Sanders is against Open Borders!! White I am cautious about his intentions, his logic was quite sound, actually paralleling my own. i.e., runaway illegal immigration hurts the wages for the lower classes here, including Mexican Americans and African Americans, who are already here. He noted an unemployment rate that pushes 50% for young people in the black community.

      Thank goodness for fresh voices! I’m so tired of Clinton – Bush. Hillary left the White House “dead broke”, and Jeb Bush has had to feel racism because his children are bi-racial. Oh Please! They both make me sick. (Though Jeb Bush does seem like a good man.)

      1. Davis Progressive

        my impression is that you don’t look around for the truth, you post obscure right wing blogs that validate your pre-existing views.  and you inject partisan politics into stuff that isn’t partisan and shouldn’t be political.

  6. WesC

    Officer Tensing will never be convicted for the simple reason that juries are very very hesitant to find a police officer guilty of anything, and in the rare cases when they do, the officer usually gets a very small slap on the wrist at most.  Everyone knows police work is violent, and nobody wants to second guess an officer’s decisions

    In 2013  19 yr old Russell Rios fled a WalMart in Copnroe Texas after allegedly stealing about $50 in goods from the store.  An officer, Sgt Jason Blackwelder, responded and chased Rios on foot to a wooded area. Blackwelder left the woods, Rios did not.  Blackwelder later said in his report during a struggle Rios had choked him to the point of almost losing consciousness. Blackwelder fired his gun and killed Rios, arguing it was self-defense.  But prosecutors said evidence from the scene contradicted that account, including the fact that Rios had been shot in the back of the head.  Blackwelder was charged by a grand jury for manslaughter and making false statements. He was convicted in a jury trial.  After his conviction, Blackwater was given 5 years probation for his crime.

    Philip Stinson who is a researcher at Bowling Green University and a former police officer, found that from 2002 to 2011 there were only 41 officers who were charged with murder or manslaughter. In that same period the FBI recorded several thousand justifiable homicides.

     

     

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      And what happened to those 41?

      You didn’t list how many officers were killed in the line of duty during those years, and how many were shot at (attempted murder).

      1. WesC

        According to the FBI from 1980–2014, an average of 64 law enforcement officers have been feloniously killed per year.

         Preliminary statistics released today by the FBI show that 51 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2014.  By circumstance, 11 officers died from injuries inflicted as a result of answering disturbance calls (one of which was a domestic disturbance). Ten officers were conducting traffic pursuits or stops, eight were killed as a result of ambushes (six due to entrapment/premeditated situations and two during unprovoked attacks), and six officers were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances. Five officers sustained fatal injuries while they were performing investigative activities, four while they were engaged in tactical situations, three officers were handling persons with mental illness, and one officer was slain during a drug-related matter. Three officers were killed while attempting other arrests.   Offenders used firearms in 46 of the 51 felonious deaths. These included 32 incidents with handguns, 11 incidents with rifles, and three incidents with shotguns. Four victim officers were killed with vehicles used as weapons, and one was killed with the offender’s personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.).  Thirty-five of the slain officers were confirmed to be wearing body armor at the times of the incidents. Five of the 51 officers killed fired their own weapons, and six officers attempted to fire their service weapons. Seven victim officers had their weapons stolen; one officer was killed with his own weapon.

        1. WesC

          In September 2008, state and local law enforcement agencies employed more than 1.1 million persons on a full-time basis, including about 765,000 sworn personnel (defined as those with general arrest powers). Agencies also employed approximately part-time  44,000 sworn officers. These findings come from the 2008 Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies (CSLLEA).

          I suspect that approx. 64 deaths per 800,000 sworn officers does not peace officers in the top 10 most dangerous professions. (this does not include accidental deaths in the line of duty)

          I also want to be clear that I do not have any grudge or animosity against peace officers. I have worked in law enforcement agencies for over 20 yrs and have seen 1st hand the dangers they deal with on a daily basis. I also believe that the real tragedy in these officer deaths is that they were killed while protecting and serving the public, putting their own life on the line so you and I might live in a safer and more civil society.

    2. Davis Progressive

      on the other hand, tensing shot very quickly at an unarmed individual with little real provocation.  add to that the focus on police violence and i think we can be more cautious about applying past history of deference to police officers.

  7. Tia Will

    BP

     I can pull up several websites that track media liberal bias but you wouldn’t believe it anyway, so why bother.”

    When you make statements like this I cannot help but wonder whether you are more interested in making personal judgements and throwing around derogatory statements than you are in actually considering and discussing the issues. If you believe that you have sources that provide valuable information, why not post them and let others make their own judgements rather than prejudging what others will and won’t believe. I am sure that you know just how much I love being told what I think from previous posts.

    So if your goal is to promote conversation, please post, if your goal is to just throw barbs….well, you can just post those too. But please be aware that what you do not post will never contribute to the conversation.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      I’m sure Bernard Goldberg in Media Bias covers some of what you seek.

      There are many reasossn I watch someone like a Bill O’Reilly. One, he is not an idealogue. Second, over 50% of his guests are liberal, and he lets them speak! When I watch MSNBC it gives me a headache because the panel will be largely liberal, and maybe they’ll have one fake conservative (like the half-baked conservative from the New York Times). Or they’ll have one Rhino on the screen, not much diversity.

      O’Reilly also features different voices from the “diadvantaged” communities, I think the one guy is Dr. Lamont Hill. He is still completely goofy liberal, but at least he’ll not spout the party line talking points every single time. That gets so old.

      Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News

      “IN HIS NEARLY thirty years at CBS News, Emmy Award- winner Bernard Goldberg earned a reputation as one of the preeminent reporters in the television news business. When he looked at his own industry, however, he saw that the media far too often ignored their primary mission: objective, disinterested reporting. Again and again he saw that they slanted the news to the left. For years Goldberg appealed to reporters, producers, and network executives for more balanced reporting, but no one listened. The liberal bias continued. Now, in Bias, he blows the whistle on the news business, showing exactly how the media slant their coverage while insisting that they’re just reporting the facts. -”

      http://www.amazon.com/Bias-Insider-Exposes-Media-Distort/dp/1621573117

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      Doesn’t the airplay Cecil the Lion has gotten over the Planned Parenthood videos where doctors are haggling over baby parts tell us something about the media bias we face?

      Or how the media ignored the uncovered audio tapes where Hillary Clinton laughs about her defense of a man who was convicted of a brutal rape of a 12-year-old girl? Doesn’t that bother you to your core?

      But no, 30 years ago Mitt Romney tied a dog to a car roof in his dog cage, that gets more traction and coverage. Ridiculous.

      Or 1500 foster children brutally raped, beaten, and threatened by Pakistani Muslim cab drivers in England over a 7 year period, I’m surprised how little coverage we saw of that. Is it too brutal for people to handle, or is it Political Correctness run amok? I was so livid when I first read that story … and then when I googled it to confirm that it was real, and to learn more, I kept running into similar stories on rapes in the UK and Sweden. Again, too hot for the media to handle? Not PC??

      1. Tia Will

        TBD

        Doesn’t the airplay Cecil the Lion has gotten over the Planned Parenthood videos where doctors are haggling over baby parts tell us something about the media bias we face?”

        No, it tells me nothing at all about media bias. Poaching is a serious issue in Africa and other parts of the world. Just because this particular instance has a strong emotional component and a media identified villain does not mean that the impact of poaching is not serious.

        Your repetitive use of the word “haggling” when there has been absolutely zero attempted made to bid up “body parts” says more to me about your bias than it does about media bias. The only media bias that I am seeing in this story is coming from the far right.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          FWIW, my understanding is that lions at present are not endangered.

          I think you and I view the Planned Parenthood tapes differently, and the coming tapes may reveal more. Doctors strategizing on how to get the most for various fetal tissues, changing medical procedures to get more money for fetal tissues, changing medical procedures to preserve fetal tissues, saying that a specimen was “5-star”, laughing all during this over chardonnay and / or appetizers… sounds like haggling to me, even if it is sophisticated haggling by One Percenters. And then proclaiming “Its another boy!” … yuck.

          Interesting that you so easily pass over 1500 foster girls rapes and brutalized in England. Are you familiar with the story?

          1. Don Shor

            Interesting that you focus on the Rotherham story, and ignore the other massive child sex abuse scandals unfolding in the UK. They’ve all had a lot of press coverage there, with a full government inquiry into the scope of the abuses, the institutional failings, the involvement of individuals in government and the media over a long period of time, and much more. Are you familiar with the stories that don’t happen to involve Muslims, or is that just your special focus?
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_sexual_abuse_in_the_United_Kingdom#Statistics

    3. Davis Progressive

      i don’t think there is any desire by several people to discuss these issues.  they have a partisan grind.  personally, i see a lot of people on both sides of the fense as good on this issue, and people on both sides of the fense as bad.  i see how politicizing this helps.

  8. Miwok

    Just watching a few episodes of COPS: RELOADED will give you a dose of reality. When a person is “detained” they grab an arm and twist, then yell or throw someone to the ground for “tensing up”. Do they train this way?

    In the topics for this article, Ms Bland, and Mr Dubose, both of them had the opportunity to listen, but they wanted to disobey the officers. Tense Up? the guy started his car, I would have taken that as a clue. No one mentions it.

  9. Tia Will

    Sam

    Like I said yesterday you only know the officer was not in danger after they pulled the drivers body out of the car and searched it.”

    So is it your position that every officer, because they cannot 100% guarantee their own personal safety during any particular stop should be able to shoot any individual that they have detained who does not obey them rapidly enough or whom they believe may try to escape thus “endangering” the officer….even if he is positioned so as to not be in the line of injury, or too far away to be injured ?  Because if you are going to site potential danger as a reason to shoot, then it might as well be open season on citizens with whom the police become angry or frustrated. What would there be to stop them other than their claim of fear for their life.

    I think Anon has this right. There must be very clear indications for the use of lethal force, not just “I was afraid”.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      You would think based on some of these comments that the only reason the prosecutor is charging the officer with murder, was political expediency. However, for the most part, officers are given huge deference here and only charged in very egregious cases.

    2. zaqzaq

      Tia,

      Your problem is that it is the officer’s subjective feeling of fear that leads to the use of force.   It is only in hindsight after the racial component is introduced that the officer’s analysis is attacked.  If the fear for personal safety is genuine at the moment force is used why are we criminalizing it?  You were not in the officers shoes when he was partially in the vehicle when Dubose put the vehicle in gear.

  10. Sam

    No Tia, my point is that it is ridiculous to think that when you interact with the police you can choose to be disobedient (that was your first comment). When people do that they are putting the officer in a horrible situation where the officer quickly has to assess the chance that they, or someone else is going to be hurt or killed and react. Now the officer has to weigh the chance of murder charges if he does the wrong thing because when all of the information has been disclosed a large group of people who have never been in that type of situation are going to critique the officers reactions.

    In every one of the recent situations the person disobeyed the commands of the police officer and yet it is always the officers actions that are analyzed.  In every case none of those people would have been shot had they followed the police commands.

    (I do remember one video of a cop asking for someone’s ID at a gas station. The guy reaches into his glove box and the cop shoots him three times. So every time minus one)

    1. Davis Progressive

      police are trained professionals – they are trained on how to handle these situations (or should be) and ultimately they are held to a higher standard.

      1. zaqzaq

        DP,

        If they are trained professionals how come I keep hearing about training deficits for these same trained professionals.  I would not hold them to a higher standard for determining use of force when they feel their lives are in jeopardy.  You want to hold them to a strict liability standard based on your viewpoint which is both biased and unrealistic.

      2. Sam

        “The men and women in blue have certain rules of engagement that they have to follow, but at any given minute in a 24-hour day they’re dealing with folks who have no rules of engagement,” Wharton said.

        Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton Jr. commenting on the shooting death of an officer during a traffic stop on Saturday.

  11. sisterhood

    “…bottom line here is that Dubose’s actions got him killed.”

    Bottom line is some brave humans will always act in a way that breaks a rule if they know it is dangerous or unjust. Gay men used bath houses in S.F. Blacks sat at the counter in Woolworth’s. Women helped other women get illegal abortions. Vietnam veterans smoked small amounts of cannabis after returning from a war they thought was protecting Americans and some of those vets went to prison for a long time. 18 year olds who could not drink a beer but could die in combat drank a beer before being shipped out, too.

    If a person of color, low income person of any color,or a white West Sac hooker is afraid of a cop, they may speed away or run away rather than risk a beating, rape, rough ride, or murder. (Or  an unjust or inequitable arrest that costs them their job, hundreds of dollars in fines, court appearances, children being taken away from them, bail & lawyer fees.)

    Bottom line.

    1. zaqzaq

      Bottom line if they resist a lawful detention they are subjecting themselves to an increased penalty and increasing the likelihood of the use of deadly force being used by the officer.

      1. Barack Palin

        Yes zaqzaq, everybody should know and abide by that.  Some are trying to take a few isolated incidents and paint all police departments like they’re corrupt or racially biased.

  12. Tia Will

    zaqzaq

    Bottom line if they resist a lawful detention they are subjecting themselves to an increased penalty and increasing the likelihood of the use of deadly force being used by the officer.”

    If they resist a lawful detention they are subjecting themselves to an increased penalty. Fine so far. I completely agree. Should they be “increasing the likelihood of the use of deadly force being used by the officer. This is where we part company. A poster earlier asked me if I felt it was realistic to call for back up every time an officer encountered a resistant detainee, and my answer is an emphatic “yes”. That is infinitely preferable to killing an unarmed ( yes, I know, only known after the fact) detainee because you are personally feeling edgy or uncomfortable or unsafe.

    The doctor equivalent of this would be to decide after starting a surgery that you are worried that the individual might have Ebola, and that if you are exposed to his blood, you might get Ebola and might die from it and on the basis of this completely unsubstantiated fear, you decide to step away from the table knowing that this action will result in the patients death. Is this how you would want your surgeon to behave if they found out you had just returned from Sierra Leone ?  Professionals, whether they are police, or doctors or any number of other professionals accept their job knowing full well before they even start training that their job involves risks up to and including losing their own life in the line of duty.

    I want my police, like other professionals to accept the responsibility of their position, which in the case of police is to protect the public, not kill citizens because of unfounded fear or fear generated by their own actions.

    1. zaqzaq

      Tia,

      The doctor equivalent is a misdiagnosis, in other words a judgment call, that results in the death or permanent injury to the patient.  In the medical review, which is secret in California, the other doctors all look a the symptoms and in hindsight disagree with the diagnosis of the treating physician.  We do not charge doctors with criminal negligence or murder if they are wrong.  Why do so for cops?

        1. Tia Will

          zaqzaq

          Either you willfully ignored, or did not understand my analogy. I was not talking about an honest mistake in which a doctor makes a misdiagnosis. I thought I was very clear that what the doctor in my case had done was to start the surgery, get thrown a piece of information they were not expecting which in their estimation increased their own risk of dying, and therefore took an action that they knew would kill the patient, namely stepping away from the table.

          In my opinion ( although perhaps not in yours) this is the same thing a police officer is doing when he shoots a detainee without so much as seeing a weapon. For me, no demonstrated risk means that you do not abandon you patient, or shoot your detainee.

    2. sisterhood

      Agreed. I also expect D.A.’s, judges, juries and law enforcement to be held accountable when someone is wrongfully arrested, incarcerated or wrongly given the death sentence.

  13. Tia Will

    BP

    Some are trying to take a few isolated incidents and paint all police departments like they’re corrupt or racially biased.”

    Who are the “some” that you see as doing this ?

  14. tribeUSA

    The suspect is black–not to worry, you will never see a headline proclaiming ‘black suspect shoots white police officer’; the shooting was during a vehicle stop.

  15. sisterhood

    I guess I could list all the people of color who have been killed or beaten by nervous, edgy stressed out, sometmes sleep deprived cops, or the women raped by them. But readers would just come back with other incidents of white officers dying. I guess people have already made up their closed minds on this subject & there’s really no reason to comment any further, imho

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I think people want to either justify police killing unarmed blacks because they believe that police face danger and such shootings like in Memphis embody that danger. On the other hand, police face as WesC pointed out, a fairly low mortality rate and a much higher responsibility to act to protect the public. I don’t see the two issues as flip-sides at all. The shootings we have seen for the most part the officers did not face any real or mortal danger. They responded inappropriately to people who were not cooperative but otherwise did not pose a threat.

      1. Barack Palin

        I’m sure the Memphis officer that was killed didn’t think he was in any mortal danger either, but he is now dead.  That’s the point, police officers never really know when they might be confronted with a life or death situation.  Everytime they approach a car their lives are possibly on the line.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          That’s true, but the same can be said for the risk of crossing the street. Police officers assume that risk when they take on the responsibility of police officers, that does not give them carte blanche to shoot someone in the head because they think they might be about to drive off and then concoct a cover story on it.

          But if it makes it easier, I think the guy who shot the police officer should get the same penalty as the police officer who shot Dubose.

        2. Barack Palin

          That’s true, but the same can be said for the risk of crossing the street. 

          LOL, yeah, crossing a street equates to a police officer approaching a stopped vehicle.

    1. Barack Palin

      Yep, I paid $160 about a year ago.  Amazing how screwed up things are that a $20 ticket can turn into $160 once you add on all of the gov’t fees, assessments and other bull****..  When you think about it who are the real crooks?

    2. Matt Williams

      Thank you for the information QBD. I think the message is pretty clear … whether innocent or guilty the cost of taking the simple step to state your innocence is eight times more costly than abandoning the opportunity to pursue the truth. That is a substantial disincentive.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for