Spawned from the aidsfest in the gun thread, I’d like to use this thread to discuss policing in the United States and its appropriate role.
I remember a big media attention incident a few years ago that I think was discussed in old politics. An unarmed man in huntington beach CA was shot and killed by a police officer who emptied a clip into the guy after claiming the man reached for the officer’s belt.
Here was the original story:
I remember there was a LOT of outcry, and the original footage looked suspicious as hell, as did the story.
Well, there’s been an update. In a facebook post, the HBPD released this statement:
Message from Chief Robert Handy
This Community Briefing video is about an officer involved shooting involving one of our officers at a local convenience store in September 2017. There are several reasons why we decided to do a video now. The shooting drew a great deal of community interest, especially due to the edited video that went viral on social media before the scene was even secure. Although much of that attention waned in the weeks following the shooting, there have been some who have asked questions about it to this day. There was a change in state law that took effect earlier this year requiring the release of records (when requested) in officer involved shooting cases.
It has taken us some time to prepare the files in this case and other officer involved shooting cases in compliance with the law. The files and videos we had in this case were recently released to several media outlets, nonprofits, and individuals.
The same law change permits us to release more information than we have ever been allowed to release in the past, so we decided to put together a video summary of the case along with body worn camera footage from the officer for our community to view. As mentioned in the video, please contact me through our website if you have any questions or would like additional information. Please be advised, the video is graphic and may be disturbing to some.
What ensues is the encounter from several angles, which clearly show the officer giving appropriate warnings, tasing the man to no effect, and getting into an intense physical fight with a man that was clearly very strong and very dangerous. In the scuffle you can clearly see the man grab something from the officer’s belt, at which point the gun is drawn and he is shot.
They released the body cam footage as well, and it does appear the shooting was justified. All witnesses stated they were extremely concerned for the officer’s safety and you can hear in one video someone screaming “HELP HIM!”
Anyway, I just wanted to use this story as an example. I think there is too little police oversight and cops do a lot of fucked up shit, and get away with it. The murder of homeless man Kelly Thomas in Fullerton CA really bothered me. Both those cops got away with it with zero consequence. In california, BY LAW, police records are private. Who polices the police?
With police killing innocent people for non-crimes all the time, I also want to note that there are 100’s of thousands of police interactions a day where an officer behaves lawfully and competently. The few that don’t, however, need to be dealt with appropriately. I think the HBPD’s response to the incident was very, very good transparent policing. Although, I wonder if the officer was at fault if that video ever would have seen the light of day. Kind of doubt it.
My take is that policework by nature attracts a certain type of individual. This individual leans towards violence and is a bit of a bully. The nature of the work dulls one’s emotions and you lose a natural empathy. You have to, or the work becomes impossible. I think the United States is overpoliced and that police unions are far too powerful, particularly in California. I believe the problem is systemic and proper oversight would fix a lot of problems. That all said, I believe the majority of police are law abiding and doing their jobs as they are trained to do.