Unintended consequences of the George Floyd protests and riots, part two

Read this first: Unintended consequences of the George Floyd protests and riots.

Then watch this:

  • A few things:
    She lies about not having a firearm on her. Breaking News! People lie to the police, in particular when they have done something wrong.
  • She is compliant, right up to the point where she isn’t. In the blink of an eye, the script is switched.
  • When she attacks, she immediately scales up all the way to lethal force. No slow ramp up, just skip straight to the killing part.
  • Notice how many times the officer has to tell the men to stay away. Why? Because they in no way help the situation and more likely than not make it more difficult to handle. E.g.: she immediately becomes verbally aggressive when the yare close to her.
  • Despite being asked to hang back, the man stays close. When she runs, she runs in his direction. Notice how he then has to run for cover because suddenly, every bullet is coming in his direction too…

If you can accept the above in this case, apply the same logic to other incidents where you instinctively want to yell at the cops for not trusting the suspect, stopping them “without reason”, etc.

Why?

Because:

  • You don’t have all the facts. Unless you made the call, you don’t know why the police were called. In this case, the caller said the woman fired a gun. Unless you saw it yourself, you don’t know that. All you see is the police arresting a woman “for no reason”. You’d be wrong in thinking that. You’d be even more wrong in interfering because of it…
  • Even if she hadn’t fired the gun, she had an outstanding warrant for her arrest: you don’t know that. That “for no reason” narrative is only true in your own head.
  • There is no way to predict which incidents will explode into lethal force like this one and which ones will not. Rewatch the video. She is compliant all the way except for the end. Had she not pulled the gun, she most likely would not have been shot. Point is, what *looks* like compliance can *always* escalate in this way.
  • Re. the previous point: when an officer gives you a *lawful* order, follow it. There are reasons for this, including both their and your safety (remember the guy not hanging back when told and then bullets whizzing at him?) and not escalating a situation. There are procedures, no matter how imperfect, they have to follow for many reasons they don’t have to explain to you.

The folks at police activity do good work IMO. No drama, no outrage clickbait headlines, just (relatively) neutral presenting the video evidence, including the cases of bad use of force.

I wish PDs around the world would spend more time explaining what I just did here above, give examples of what they face every day, and why they do things a certain way. There is too much misinformation and delusional thinking about violence, as well as what it takes to handle it.

This is not without horrible consequences…

Which ones?

Let’s start here:

The doctor is technically right from her medical perspective. She is completely irrealistic from a violence perspective. Just because there are vital organs in the torso, doesn’t mean these will automatically be injured to the point of causing death with any sort of pressure, even lots of pressure. Millions of martial arts competitions and tens of thousands of arrest videos prove she is wrong.

That doesn’t mean there are never fatal injuries because of these. But looking for solutions that offer 100% certain outcomes when it comes to violence is naive and irrealistic.  It is just as naive and irrealistic for me to demand of her that she never lose a patient: such a standard is impossible to obtain.

What’s worse, by making even unintended and non-harmful contact with the chest a crime, officers have no other choice but to completely abandon many of the safest and most effective techniques for controlling violent suspects. That leaves them with no other option to go for less safe and inherently more aggressive methods: striking, using the baton, pepper spray, taser and ultimately their firearm.

Many years ago, many PDs outlawed the use of the chokehold. From recollection (and it’s been a while so forgive me), the reason was somebody misused it and killed a suspect (this was years before Eric Garner) so they banned the technique. Result: many incidents in which a chokehold would be the fastest and safest solution escalated into full-blown violence…

For those who don’t believe me, Rener does a good job of explaining it:

The unintended consequences of this bill will be…

Lots more injuries due to higher levels of use of force. Because LEOs will have no other choice but to use them.

Also, even more LEOs will resign. Why would they expose themselves to a lawsuit when in the tussle of a violent arrest, they touch the chest of the suspect by accident? That happens when people fight, all the time.
This bill is the result of generations of people not having any understanding of violence and how to handle it. It came as a direct result of the social pressure of millions of people protesting in the streets. I’m not arguing against the protests, though I will condemn all the looting and violence that happened and still happens. But I have seen way too many people during these protests voice opinions on use of force that are straight out of an alternate universe where violence must work differently. They don’t have a clue as to what really happens and create fantasy solutions they then want politicians to make a reality.

As always, politicians feel pressured to act and appease the crowds.

As always, there are unintended consequences.

For the New York population, these consequences will be increased violence.

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Comments

  1. William Gary says

    Wim – I don’t comment much, but your words are taken to heart. Thank you.

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