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?

Tags: Brown, Michael, Police

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"...this killing (and a zillion others)"

WOW the cops in New Zealand have killed a zillion people (shocking) well on the bright side that leaves more room for the sheep.

Another thing not yet raised about this killing (and a zillion others) - there were a MYRIAD of other options: throw a net over him, tackle him (there were others on duty (although someone might have bumped their head - remember these are trained fighters), dogs (though this would have required a few extra minutes and, as I said, a couple more broken windows would have been worth a LIFE.

So, are NZ cops all equipped with nets? "Please don't hit me with the bat while I get my net out of the trunk."

Tackling him without getting within range of the bat...how do you do that?

A bat can kill or seriously injure a dog, but that's acceptable along with a few more windows, I suppose.

Finally, you didn't mention, though the article does, that he was also armed with a golf club.

You're forgetting that the cops had ALL KINDS OF TIME to plan and execute a strategy - enough to assess the situation, go back to the station, check out a gun, and return and the ONLY thing they could come up with was lethal force to take down ONE man!!.

Tackling him without getting within range of the bat...how do you do that?

I guess I forgot to mention it was a bat - not a light saber - it did not dieintegrate an opponent with a touch. As I said the cop was NOT alone. Firstly a bat cannot strike attackers coming from different directions at the same time. They're unwieldy - one swing and you're done. Secondly They're COPS! They would certainly have had helmets and batons at their disposale - if not shields. (Tasers were not widely available then, but I bet they are in Missouri.) I'm guessing even the dumbest cops could figure out something other than shooting him dead were they required to rather than being encouraged to move immediately to the most lethal option.

a golf club ?

Did you forget? He threw that away (of course the cop may have gotten a lethal neck strain ducking from the golf club (the horror)).

How else did your find my rendition to be "extremely one-sided"?

Most importantly I'm placing the majority of the blame upon the laws and the resultant training. It is an acceptable first force option to shoot a young man DEAD for having a bad day, breaking some windows, and being in no mood to surrender. This is sickening.

Mike,

I've been thinking about this robot program of yours that you've written. I really liked the idea. Was this inspired by anything that you've read before? 

"I've been thinking about this robot program of yours that you've written. I really liked the idea. Was this inspired by anything that you've read before? "

No, this just illustrates the conundrum I see in the law. It has to be prescribed in some manner - in some language. However ALL language is abstraction and can never accurately represent the thoughts and actions of normal human behavior.

Therefore I tend to prefer to see laws which are vague so that human judges can reach human decisions without being forced to act like computers which, right or wrong, do exactly what the programmer tells them to do - however simplistic.

Indeed. It was not just entertaining but extremely insightful. Do you mind if I use this concept (the structure not the content)? I'll reference your name and your original quote.

It's your to use as you like except please don't include my name. I'm not in control of the context in which it will be used. (Make up a pseudonym if you like) 

Just a few, there are many more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IRs5biK7f8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5qDRDPI2xQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IIt4mwFe04

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1gYEG1TzBk

Cops have a service weapon to protect themselves, they have every right to do so.

Your irrelevant clips aside, there is a simple contract in play here: the police enforce the law - including against violent offenders, we pay them money (a LOT of money considering their academic and intelligence requirements). They risk their lives but, like stunt performers or high-steel workers, nobody forces them to - this is their choice of careers. This contract does NOT automatically give them double-oh license to kill.

Cops have a service weapon to protect themselves, they have every right to do so.

Like everyone else, they should be subject to the doctrine of "reasonable force". They should NOT be free to put a clip-full into someone's chest just for making an empty threat.

@MikeLong:

WOW  you consider videos of Police Officers being killed in the line of duty "irrelevant", that is a very callous position to take, I am underwhelmed Mike.

"...just for making an empty threat."

Tell me Mike how do you determine when a threat upon your person is empty, mostly empty, half empty, over half empty, almost full or a full on threat?

You are setting standards that no one can meet as the videos above show.

People who take on the job and the risk of enforcing the law should not have to die just to satisfy the sensibilities of someone who doesn't face that risk of death.

Mike if you really feel that way then become a policeman and never shoot anyone, I hope you don't die but if you do...well then, C'est la vie.

Gregg, obviously Mike, like Belle Rose, can read minds. Mike gets out his turban, closes his eyes, and knows a guy's intent. Belle Rose gets out her crystal ball and knows that the man was just joshing, even though he sure LOOKED like a suicide by cop, but I don't know for sure.

Tell me Mike how do you determine when a threat upon your person is empty, mostly empty, half empty, over half empty, almost full or a full on threat?

Anyone in ANY situation posing ANY threat does all this and more several times a second. (I don't know, perhaps you and Unseen have never felt under threat of violence.) The problem, again, is that you're pretending cops are robots. You load in the procedures manual and press "Start". Even your six levels of threat demonstrate this perception.

The point is that the laws and police procedures specify that  if a cop feels under threat - ANY threat - he may legally respond with deadly force - even if, as we've seen, that threat consists of an unarmed man taking ONE STEP in the direction of the police. Unacceptable! We should be able to trust cops with good judgement. And we can 99% of the time. The problem is, protecting cops from consequences of the 1% of incidents where they DO screw up - pretending that no mistake was made actually does far more harm to police reputation than indicting unacceptable behaviour.

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