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Old 03-29-2009, 10:37 AM   #41
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Old 03-29-2009, 07:52 PM   #42
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I think a very unfortunate truth, which I don't believe has been brought
up yet, is that some fraction of people who go into police work are bullies,
pure and simple, and "the job" just gives them a chance to "go pro" (and
to be shielded, by the law, from the hazard any other bully faces - that of
running into someone tougher than him).

Fortunately, I believe that this class of police officer is a distinct minority,
and I certainly hope so. And I accept that it is a price we pay for maintaining
the "thin blue line" that helps to maintain a society of laws.

My heart goes out to Moats, and I hope he can take some comfort for knowing
that his heart-breaking experience may have helped to get one of these bad
eggs out of police work; maybe the next time, his unprofessional conduct might
have resulted in a wrongful shooting or a beating, and maybe Moats' experience
will have prevented this.

That the Dallas PD is taking this so seriously speaks well of them, and shows
that the system usually works. Some (perhaps Leonidas) may say that Chief
Kunkle caved to public pressure in his handling of this incident, but hey, guess
what, that's how policing is supposed to work in a free society.
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:49 AM   #43
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I always thought the cops could shoot you if you refused to stop or jumped out of a car and ran off. But, maybe not. I never saw a cop on "Cops" shoot any of the fleeing people who ditched a car.
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:55 AM   #44
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Garner vs. Tennessee allows the shooting of a fleeing suspect for violent crimes. Shooting a red-light runner in front of an ER entrance probably wouldn't go over well.

"Held: The Tennessee statute is unconstitutional insofar as it authorizes the use of deadly force against, as in this case, an apparently unarmed, nondangerous fleeing suspect; such force may not be used unless necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others."
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Old 03-30-2009, 04:42 PM   #45
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I always thought the cops could shoot you if you refused to stop or jumped out of a car and ran off. But, maybe not. I never saw a cop on "Cops" shoot any of the fleeing people who ditched a car.

AHHHHH, no... that would be a bit extreme...




But who knows what they would say after killing you... not like you can tell someone differently... IIRC, there was someone in NYC who got shot on their steps by a bunch of cops... like over 100 bullets shot (all by police since the guy did not have a gun) and they all got away with it... and he was NOT running...
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:55 PM   #46
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Yeah, I don't think I'd run from a cop angry/scared/concerned enough to unholster his/her service weapon and point it at me.
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Old 04-01-2009, 12:26 PM   #47
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Leonidas made many good observations. For the record I am still working in LE and have made thousands of traffic stops. I have also been in that exact situation. In that situation I made a split second decision that I believed the person and waived good bye and good luck. For the record also that Officer was unprofessional and acted like a jerk.

Just for general knowlege I would like to offer another perspective on a routine traffic stop for those of you who may be pulled over from time to time and don't know why the officer may appear aggresive or nervous or you just didn't think his demeaner fit the circumstance. This type of stop is one where you haven't committed any violation and the first words out of your mouth are, "why are you stopping me?". The first problem is that I can't immediately tell you because it can endanger me further. You have to understand that I have been listenning to the radio for the last five minuetes about an armed robbery that just took place and I have been slowly driving in that direction hoping to find a vehicle fitting that description. This is when I see you driving the same color car, same number of doors, and same rust spot, because they all rust in the same spot, with same number of occupants in the vehicle. I'm going to stop you. I will have a gun in my hand probably down at my side where you won't see it. For the first few seconds I really have no idea if you just robbed a liquor store or not and my body language is not spewing officer friendly. If it's evident you're not the person it will be very short and I'll tell you why I stopped you and be gone. If it's a close match the game continues as I investigate and get closer to a conclusion. If I start to think you are bad person and can hurt me it gets serious very quickly. If I make a decision that you are who I was looking for, you will be handcuffed almost immediately. We will sort it out later. I'm going to take you back to the liquor store and have the clerk look at you. Now I patted you down after I handcuffed you behind your back. The problem for me is that you are wearing long cowboy boots today and I missed the .25 automatic you stuffed down there and you are now sitting directly behind me. Your problem is you can't get to it.

The point here is that there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. We simply don't know who we are stopping. We have to rely on training to stay alive. That might mean that I Handcuff you and humiliate you in front of the store clerk. I will give you a ride back and apologize and you might just be angry the rest of the day. I will collect that pension.
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Old 04-01-2009, 12:57 PM   #48
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The officer in question has resigned from the force. I suspect it may have been a "quit or be fired" situation.
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:14 PM   #49
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The point here is that there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. We simply don't know who we are stopping.
Wow, Ratface, thanks for your insights.

I once read something in an auto-enthusiast magazine about avoiding
tickets. It said a tense officer is more likely to ticket you, so your
job is to make him as relaxed as possible. Don't scurry around the
cabin before he comes up the car, keep your hands in sight (i.e. on
the steering wheel), move slowly, etc.
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:43 PM   #50
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I think Ratface has some good points, inasmuch as we don't always understand what's going on in the cop's head. That was a good example. I personally (with my friend) have been picked up for suspicion of attempted rape, back in college. Wasn't us, turned out to have been a domestic dispute. However, in our case we were taken downtown, sat for an hour or so, then turned loose. No ride back, no "sorry for the inconvenience", mostly just an attitude of "you're lucky we didn't keep you overnight". These are the reasons we stay angry, not all day, but pretty much for good. Not the actions, just the attitude.

As far as not making the cop tense in any kind of routine stop, I think that's an excellent idea. Many years ago I removed all my Deadhead bumperstickers, and if I do get pulled over I pull as far out of the line of traffic as I can go. I told my deputy friend about that and he said I had probably increased my chances of getting off with a warning by about 50%. Police hate standing outside the car with traffic whizzing past at 70 mph.

Despite the fact that I think the cop in the hospital situation was wrong, I'm sorry he is resigning or was forced out. I think this was an unfortunate situation, but he could have learned from it and gone on to become one of the good ones, the ones that keep their citizens' rights in mind. Now all anyone is going to learn is to turn off the cameras whenever possible.
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:06 PM   #51
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Might just be that both of these individuals are partially in the right and partially in the wrong. Just goes to show how a bad situation can get much worse very quickly. It also shows how the pressure and intensity of a situation can push people to the edge and make a reasonable outcome very unlikely.

My policy is not to argue with police, soldiers or other people with guns and badges.
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:17 PM   #52
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I'm sorry he is resigning too if it is just based on public pressure. Hopefully he does not have much time invested toward his pension. Perhaps this line of work is not his cup of tea and would eventually cause him, his family, or some citizen great harm. He looks quite young. The learning curve on getting a handle in dealing with the multitude of possible scenarios is around five years.
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:32 PM   #53
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As some backup to Ratface's post... there was a cop that was killed in Houston similar Rats description... excpet the guy was able to get to the gun..

And I have been on the receiving end as a teen where we fit the descripton of a robbery suspect... they kept us there for over an hour, searched the whole car etc., called our names in... and at the end told us why, but did not appologize (guess since we were teens we did not deserve it)...

My last thought is that police also treat people differently the way they are 'look'... not just race, but how you dress etc.. My BIL went through a phase in his early 60s and grew his hair long... had a pony tail, had bushy sideburns... wearing old clothes and shoes, driving an old pickup... got pulled over and was treated quite badly... When he had his hair nice and was wearing nice clothes in his Lincoln, they were nice... now, this easily could have been the other way around if the cops were reversed, but who knows for sure...
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:33 PM   #54
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I'm sorry he is resigning too if it is just based on public pressure.
It seems that the mob is particularly angry about a lot of things these days. Torches and pitchforks seem to be everywhere.
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:29 PM   #55
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I'm sorry he is resigning too if it is just based on public pressure.
Is not one of the hallmarks of a free society that the police are
responsive to public pressure ?
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:16 PM   #56
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It seems that the mob is particularly angry about a lot of things these days. Torches and pitchforks seem to be everywhere.
Tar, feathers, rails? I have a great idea for an ER business.
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:56 PM   #57
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In response to Rusty...

Public outcry is a good starting point for Police responsibility. It should lead to intelligent fact based discourse. Public sentiment is fueled by anger and outrage. This sentiment can either be pro police or anti police. Just this week we have seen two distinct stories chronicalling police behavior. We have the current discussion where the majority including myself believe the policeman acted inappropriately. We have the case of the policeman who entered the nursing home at great risk to himself and prevented further bloodshed to patrons and saved lives. I stated that I was sorry if our current policeman was forced out by public pressure. I stand by that statement. Public pressure should not dictate the outcome of factual evidence. That Officer was entitled to due process under his department guidelines. If the Chief of Police wanted to separate him from service there is an established framework in place to do so. He violated many rule violations that would have led to discharge in legal proceedings. I suspect that is why he resigned. He also stated that he hopes his blunder will benefit other policeman. I find that admirable. To illustrate my point, consider the following real scenario:

You are a policeman. One night you come upon a vehicle in the roadway obstucting traffic. You walk up to the drivers side and observe the driver passed out. You observe three other passengers in the vehicle who are drinking alcohol. You inquire about the driver and a backseat passenger grabs your coat. You pull away and he pulls you toward him. You realize that you are being pulled into the vehicle. You struggle to get away. The person pulling you slams the car door shut. Unfortunetly your hand is caught between the door and car frame. Your wedding ring is stopping your hand from releasing. In the comotion the driver wakes up and begins to drive away. You can not keep up with the car, yet you are attached by your hand. Your feet are reduced to stubs as the pavement wears out your shoes. Your legs begin to bounce off the roadway until the skin is worn off leaving only tissue embedded with asphalt. The car is now picking up speed in excess of 70mph, God has called you home! You somehow manage to jump up on the trunk and hang on to the rain molding with one hand. You are now peering into the back window and see a gun exchanging hands. God has called you home! You let go of your grip, pull your service revolver and fire into the back window. You kill three of the vehicle occupants including the driver which brings the vehicle to a stop. You spend years in rehab and eventually return to work!

Public outcry was- the policeman murdered three innocent victims.

They marched and protested against this officer calling him a murderer. The coroners office came close to indicting him for murder.

Ok. you tell me the the public was right on this one?
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:20 AM   #58
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Did that scenario happen? If so can you provide a news item?
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Old 04-02-2009, 06:27 AM   #59
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It happened to Officer John Wilbur of the Pittsburg Police Department and the title of the story is " Officer Terror Ride". There is a 16 min video out there somewhere that tells the story. Toward the end you see him on trial for murder.
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Old 04-02-2009, 09:58 AM   #60
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I don't have a problem with any part of this story. If he shot those guys then there should have been an investigation. Coming close to indicting him for murder isn't the same as doing it. Anyone, cop or not, in this situation would have been investigated intensely, possibly charged, possibly tried. I know that police face intense situations all the time, causing their reactions to be sometimes extreme. But no matter what, they've chosen to become LEOs for their own reasons, so the situations and the results of them are part of their chosen life.

My issue is when things happen with police and the response is a whitewash, when a civilian in a similar situation would go to jail. It happens often enough to be a problem. I'm not talking about Rodney King, where we didn't see everything that happened. I'm talking about when the SWAt team breaks down the wrong door after obtaining a warrant based on crappy information from a criminal snitch, shoots and sometimes kills an innocent person, and the findings are that there was no wrongdoing. When the same situation happens but the citizen shoots a cop thinking his home is being invaded he goes to jail. Every time. That's what I have a problem with.

Edit: I've googled the John Wilbur story pretty hard. There's not much out there, since it happened in '97. I couldn't find the film although I found it mentioned as a training film. The stories I read are a bit different than what you wrote, not as dramatic. But everything I read portrays him as a hero, not a potential murderer who got off. I saw one brief blurb saying the dead guys families were shocked he wasn't charged, so it sounds like he wasn't on trial. There will always be a public outcry over any bizarre and outrageous situation, but it sounds like it worked out as it should have.

http://books.google.com/books?id=zy-...esult&resnum=1
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