Michael Brown was 18 years old, black and unarmed when a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri shot him to death after a scuffle in the street. The incident has provoked ongoing mass protests, vandalism, and national calls for an independent investigation and higher standards of police accountability.

The police, citing death threats, have refused to release the name of the police officer who shot Brown. The hacker collective Anonymous has promised to discover and make public the officer's identity anyway. I suspect they will succeed (if they haven't already).

General questions for those who have followed this story:

Do you think the shooting was reasonable under the circumstances?
How do you feel about the police?
Do you trust the police? Why or why not?
Who do the police answer to? Who ought the police answer to?
Are police held too accountable, properly accountable or not accountable enough for their actions?

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Also, even if you are familiar with an inmate, you never...ever...ever trust them. ever ever ever. Every CO knows that's the way you get conned. Just because you don't think someone is capable of something, means squat.

It would be interesting what these clown cops would have done had he not had a knife. I mean knives can be concealed easy. Would they have still shot him and then said, "we thought he might have a knife."
One more thing. You never assume that you know what an inmate is capable of because you never know what their martial arts/fighting background is like. You always assume that you are dealing with someone who is a black belt and be prepared to respond accordingly. So even in prison if you see the same person every day, and they are already well classified, you should never feel safe in thinking they would never draw a blade on you.
Here's a lesson for you Unseen. You obviously don't know what police officers SHOULD be capable of.


This guy seems like an excelent teacher...is he? Did you have  training similar to what's presented in this video when you were a CO Belle?

Yes, except that in a correctional facility we do not have the luxury of a gun. And the person is already behind bars, they usually care a lot less about any consequences. We were trained to take down and cuff them. That is the only choice when you are dealing with inmates. They would then be booked in segregation, changed into "reds" (red clothes that means high risk) and they would only be allowed out of their cell in "dual custody" which means two officers present. There were very strict procedures to follow. There are a LOT of shanks in jail/prison. You basically assume everyone has one. Everyone does. They can make them out of anything and everything. Water bottles, toilet paper, razor blades, there are no lack of ways to make a shank. So being in a pod full of 80 inmates, that's 80 ways a person can get stabbed. These clowns could have done something else. Just shooting him was the pussy way out. He was not serious. I can tell that by his verbal and non-verbal queues. That is something that policemen should know. Killing him like that was totally uncalled for.

Belle, I've seen dozens of "how to defend against a knife" videos, but the first rule of knife fighting is "Don't get into a knife fight." The nominal "winner" of the fight could actually be the one to die!

Hand-to-hand with a person with a knife is definitely Plan C. Any knife fighting instructor who says otherwise is a fraud.

So, you see a hostile person with a knife. You need to make a quick assessment: do you think you can run faster? If so, run. Unfortunately, we expect cops to stick around and deal with the threat. Plan B is the gun. Use it. Turn him into the idiot who brought a knife to a gun fight.

One last thing. No matter how well-trained your police are in hand-o-hand, there are military people out there and black belts in this or that martial art. A police person has to assume the worst. He even has to contemplate that simply because the person has a knife, it doesn't follow that he doesn't also have a gun.

I'm still waiting for those "department guidelines." did you say it was "textbook?" where is your textbook?

I don't have specific access to the St. Louis police guidelines for when and how to use a gun, but I think you'll find they're much the same almost everywhere. Listen to this expert explain gun protocol. BTW, they're talking in regard to the Michael Brown shooting, but the gun protocols are almost certainly going to be about the same everywhere.

The thing you have to always keep in mind, is that the "protocol" is written to protect the police department from liability. There is a huge amount of subjectivity that surrounds any type Of lethal force incident. The reason the "textbook" guidelines are there is so that the AGENCY is never caught liable unless an officer steps completely out of bounds (and even then, there is wiggle room.)

So yes. The guidelines are there so that when this kind of thing happens, the police are never seen in a bad light. No one wants that now do we?

The reality Unseen, Gregg, is that there are multiple ways any one scenario can play itself out, and the police have a huge amount of options at their disposal at any given moment. I understand that they may have had to make a split second decision. I get that. I also understand the need to uphold the professional image of the department.

But the truth is that in the police world, the way any officer should see him or herself, and the responsibility that they bear, is not ONLY whether they go home at night, but if they have done everything in their power to protect the citizens they serve.

The oath that I took as a corrections officer was to ensure a safe and secure environment of BOTH staff and inmates. Did you even look at my links at the end of the thread? That is what a heroic act is all about. These police officers took the easy way out (for them). Sloppy police work if you ask me. And while the media is spouting about how they "followed the guidelines," remember that those guidelines are written to protect THEM (the department) not the citizens.

Unseen...could you give us something of a borderline scenario where a policeman should be punished for shooting a suspect?

Let's start with "shooting someone for no reason." Not being under any sort of threat. Shoots only out of anger. Things like that.

Okay, that's a start...


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