The Bland Arrest Video

An authoritarian ego trip for all to see.

Gavel And Scales Of JusticeWhile discussion of the daschcam video from the Bland arrest has already commenced in the comments section of my previous post on Sandra Bland, I figured that the new information deserved its own thread.

The full video can be found here:

 

 

At just about 2:00 the officer comes up behind Bland and she gets out of the way—yes, she should have signaled, but it is clear that she was reacting to the presence of the officer and was getting out of the way of a law enforcement vehicle.  In fairness the officer is polite to Bland at the beginning of the video.

The confrontation that leads to the arrest starts at 8:33.

All the officer had to do was give Bland the warning (or, really, just ignore the lane change sans signal in the first place, given the extremely minor nature of the infraction) and move on.  He didn’t have to ask about how irritated she seemed (what, there is no right to be irritated about being pulled over?) and he didn’t have to as about the cigarette at that point (she has a point:  it was her car).  Indeed, why bring any of this up?  Why demand anything from Bland at that point in the encounter?  Why not just give the warning and let her go?

The entire display is an unnecessary deployment of authoritarian ego.  It all boils down to the officer demanding a citizen to figuratively prostrate herself and when she doesn’t he physically makes her.    Bland was silently waiting in the car.  He didn’t have to ask about her irritation. He did not have to create a confrontation.

It is especially disturbing that the officer behaves this way knowing he is being recorded.

The notion that he was assaulted is absurd.

The video has sections that have been edited, further creating doubts and concern over the entire event.

Examples of concerns over what appears to be editing of the video can be found here:  Loops, Glitches Raise Questions About Texas Dashcam Video and here:  Dashcam Video of Violent Arrest of Sandra Bland Was Edited.

As the NPR story linked notes:

It’s worth noting that these questions about the video matter because they speak to the heart of this case: whether to believe an official account.

Indeed.

I understand that the smart move is to be as polite as possible when encountering the police.  It is sad to have to say such a  thing:  cower to power because you, as a citizen, should not even be irritated at an armed government official.

I think it should be stressed that the officer is the one who initiated the confrontation and chose to escalate.  And for what?

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Law and the Courts, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. PogueMahone says:

    But for this officer’s actions, Bland would not have been found dead in a po-dunk Texas jail.

    Suicide or murder? That’s an additional question.

    Nevertheless, everyone who sees this video should be mad as hell.

  2. @PogueMahone:

    everyone who sees this video should be mad as hell.

    Indeed.

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    I know some police officers who cover some tough neighborhoods. It’s not unusual for them to be spit on, to come home with bruises and minor cuts from trying to arrest truly dangerous people, and to have to deal with verbal assaults that make internet forums seem tame.

    I’m curious what cops who actually face danger feel about prissy officers like this who can’t have their fee-fees hurt without resorting to “respect mah authoritay” violence.

  4. Barry says:

    @Neil Hudelson: “I’m curious what cops who actually face danger feel about prissy officers like this who can’t have their fee-fees hurt without resorting to “respect mah authoritay” violence.”

    So far, from all publicly-available evidence, they’re OK with anything that those guys do. And also, in the rare event that a bad officer gets ‘eased out’, they seem to have no problem being hired in another force.

  5. James Pearce says:

    The entire display is an unnecessary deployment of authoritarian ego.

    And how quickly it escalated, too. I can see myself reacting very similarly to Bland in that situation. As a white man, I don’t see myself being treated the same though.

    This cop should be sinking fence posts.

  6. Rafer Janders says:

    I understand that the smart move is to be as polite as possible when encountering the police.

    That’s what the smart move is. It’s not what the smart move should be, at least not in a supposedly democratic non-police state. It places the burden of correct behavior on the public, and not on those who should be servants of the public.

    I mean, it’s also the smart move to be as polite as possible when encountering a gang of armed meth-head bikers, or for a battered wife to be as polite as possible around her abusive husband. Do we want to be in the same relationship as that to the police?

  7. KM says:

    As I pointed out in the other thread, how many f*ck-ups are they allowed before it stops being general incompetence and becomes something deliberate? How can the police force expect to have their authority be held up when they have been demonstrated again and again to not be worthy of it? When video of their asshattery gets corrected and sanitized then held up as “See, she was aggressive so we arrested her!”

    So many people mindlessly drone on about Respect for Authority being paramount when dealing with the police. It’s used as a jab against “those people” who can’t act right and thus get what’s coming to them. But this is proof positive that such respect is not a two-way street to the public’s detriment. The police in this country need a complete and total reminder that they chose to accept a difficult and dangerous job but they still remain public servants, not the other way around. You earn respect, you aren’t due one whit of it.

  8. Mu says:

    So, how does publishing an edited video not construe obstruction of justice ,and conspiracy to do so? Any accused doing that would be prosecuted for providing false statements to law enforcement.

  9. Rafer Janders says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I’m curious what cops who actually face danger feel about prissy officers like this who can’t have their fee-fees hurt without resorting to “respect mah authoritay” violence.

    They’re fine with it. Cops will always, always, cover for other cops. “No snitching” isn’t just a motto for gangbangers, you know.

  10. Franklin says:

    (or, really, just ignore the lane change sans signal in the first place, given the extremely minor nature of the infraction)

    Sorry, I had to stop here because I strongly disagree with anybody who thinks turn signals are some useless optional device. If you think it is, you have no driving awareness and probably shouldn’t be on the roads until you are being chauffeured by a self-driving vehicle.

    That said, I agree that leniency in this case would be highly recommended, since she was aware enough to notice a law enforcement vehicle coming up behind her quickly.

    /now I’ll read the rest of the post …

  11. John Peabody says:

    This video is reprehensible. I hope people remember that, by now, there are probably thousands of dash cam videos that show police officers correctly handling issues. This video will be plastered everywhere for a news cycle (or two, we are in lazy summertime and congress is out of session), and many people will retain this impression for years, not realizing that most police encounters are nothing like this one.

  12. Nikki says:

    @John Peabody:

    …not realizing that most police encounters are nothing like this one.

    …for which the police will have no one but themselves to blame.

  13. Franklin says:

    @Mu: Before drawing that conclusion, we should be sure that there’s no technical reason for the video skips and loops. But if there isn’t, then I certainly agree.

  14. Barry says:

    @John Peabody: “This video is reprehensible. I hope people remember that, by now, there are probably thousands of dash cam videos that show police officers correctly handling issues. This video will be plastered everywhere for a news cycle (or two, we are in lazy summertime and congress is out of session), and many people will retain this impression for years, not realizing that most police encounters are nothing like this one.”

    I have walked by tens of thousands of people in my day, and haven’t assaulted a single one of them.

    And if I did, the police and prosecutor wouldn’t forge a video and paint the assault as the victim committing suicide.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    @John Peabody:

    most police encounters are nothing like this one.

    Um…spoken like a white person.
    The truth is that for minorities way too many police encounters are like this one.

  16. @Franklin:

    Sorry, I had to stop here because I strongly disagree with anybody who thinks turn signals are some useless optional device. If you think it is, you have no driving awareness and probably shouldn’t be on the roads until you are being chauffeured by a self-driving vehicle.

    I did not say it was optional or useless. I said it was minor in context (did you watch the video?).

  17. @John Peabody:

    realizing that most police encounters are nothing like this one.

    One like this is too many. But the problem is that this takes place in the context of several such examples in the last year alone. We have got to stop treating each example as some discrete, unconnected example of a bad apple. There is a systematic problem here and we have seen examples in Texas, Ohio, Missouri, Maryland, and New York (to name a few),

    This is not something that should be dismissed as some oddity.

  18. @Steven L. Taylor: Seriously–a police car comes up quickly behind you, you are going to get out of the way. Yes, you should signal, but failure to do so is not a really good reason to get pulled over when you are clearly reacting to the police officer in the first place and trying to comply with what you think is his wishes.

  19. Rafer Janders says:

    I understand that the smart move is to be as polite as possible when encountering the police.

    Thinking about this some more, the fact that we tell the public people to treat cops with the same “for god’s sakes don’t make him angry! You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry!” caution that we use for people who encounter abusive husbands, violent psych-ward inmates, or maddened grizzly bears is really an admission that our police forces in this country have become, in many ways, nothing better than criminal gangs.

  20. EddieInCA says:

    Here’s what’s unsaid in the video:

    COP: Do you know know why I pulled you over?
    SB: Because you’re a redneck cracker and I’m a black woman.
    COP: That’s right. Are you irritated by that?
    SB: Hell yes, you racist asshole.
    COP: You’re not acting like you’re supposed to act while a policeman is talking to you.
    SB: Yeah? Well I know my damn rights, and I know this is some bulls**t.
    COP: Get out of the car.
    SB: Why?
    COP: Because I said so!
    SB: Why?
    COP: BECAUSE I SAID SO.
    SB: Am I under arrest?
    COP: YES. YOU AREIII GET OUT OF THE F**KING CAR BEFORE I SHOOT YOUR BLACK ASS, YOU UPPITY NIG**R BITCH!!!
    SB: WHY? WHAT DID I DO?
    COP: YOU DIDN’T OBEY ME.
    SB: WHY ARE YOU ARRESTING ME?
    COP: BECAUSE I CAN, AND YOU CAN’T DO S**T ABOUT IT.
    SB: YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE!
    COP: MAYBE, BUT YOUR BLACK ASS IS GOING TO JAIL NOW.

  21. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    … and to think that I used to complain about cops in Brazil…

  22. michael reynolds says:

    1) Because we are a heavily-armed nation our police forces are uniquely paranoid. This paranoia creates a combat mentality and a closing of ranks.

    2) Because of deep-seated racism, police are given an extra margin to abuse minorities.

    3) Because of this asinine and authoritarian ‘war on drugs’ we have militarized police.

    4) Because of the ‘war on terror’ – a war that is irrelevant to virtually 100% of domestic arrests – we’ve militarized them still more.

    If we want kinder, gentler, more respectful police, reduce the level of gun ownership, end the drug war, adjust training away from the obsession with control at all costs, and recruit more minority and women cops.

  23. EddieInCA says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If we want kinder, gentler, more respectful police, reduce the level of gun ownership, end the drug war, adjust training away from the obsession with control at all costs, and recruit more minority and women cops.

    In other words, be like Germany, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, France, Canada, and most of the civilized world.

  24. Mu says:

    In addition to Godwin’s Law we need Reynold’s Law, anybody who brings up gun control in an otherwise unrelated thread …

  25. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu:

    In addition to Godwin’s Law we need Reynold’s Law, anybody who brings up gun control in an otherwise unrelated thread …

    Nope. It’a legitimate point. Without the proliferation of guns, there would be no reason for the police to be so afraid during routine traffic stops.

  26. humanoid.panda says:

    @EddieInCA: Sorry, Michael’s point is very relevant. The fact that among developed countries, American cops are the only ones who might encounter guns in the course of a routine stop, surely makes a difference in how they interact with the public.

  27. OldSouth says:

    Thanks for sharing this, and for your insights.

    I am a generic middle-aged-white-guy-solid-citizen, resident of the same address for 25 years. Hardly a threat to anyone, I believe. On July 3, my wife and I were stopped at a Highway Patrol roadblock, with ID demanded. No reason, except that they could.

    I handed over my driving license, and noticed no badge on display from the trooper, whereupon I requested both name and badge number. He was irritated, but provided the information. I, perhaps foolishly, notified my followers out here that the State Police were conducting a roadblock, and soon there was a rather preachy response from someone defending the State Police, even creepily providing the pic of the trooper. It was under a fictitious name, and the account was non-existent the next day. It may have been that trooper, for all I know…

    In any case, on the return trip, in about an hour’s time, no sign of the roadblock.

    Very creepy. Had the trooper decided to escalate (thank heaven there were about 10 civilian witnesses on the scene), her story could have been our story.

    What happens to a society when we can’t sort the good guys from the hoods, or if the hoods wear guns and badges?

    This is not, repeat not, a partisan issue. But if not addressed, it will blow up in our collective faces.

    That woman, even if she were at fault, should not have died in custody. It is negligent homicide, at the very least. Now to see if the prosecutor will prosecute.

    The resultant lawsuit will never see court, just a settlement meeting.

  28. EddieInCA says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Um… that’s what I said.

  29. humanoid.panda says:

    @EddieInCA: In my defense, I didn’t see your post 🙂

  30. Barry says:

    @michael reynolds: “Because we are a heavily-armed nation our police forces are uniquely paranoid. This paranoia creates a combat mentality and a closing of ranks.”

    No. We’ve seen about five gazilliion white right-wingers carrying guns in a thousand ‘open carry’ events at WalMarts and such around the country, with zero killed by police.

    In Pennsylvania, a white right-wing nutcase who murdered two police officers was later apprehended alive, even though armed.

    The Bundys were not arrested, or any of the hundred or so white right-wingers who pointed guns at police officers.

  31. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “And how quickly it escalated, too. I can see myself reacting very similarly to Bland in that situation. As a white man, I don’t see myself being treated the same though.”

    Perhaps. Perhaps not, if the guy was feeling up to it (I’m assuming that he’s a bully). He could have just Tasered you through the open window, then beat the f*ck out of you, and later claimed that he saw you ‘make a furtive movement’ toward a ‘shiny metallic object’.

    He’d probably get away with it, because the video wouldn’t reveal much, and they wouldn’t have had to doctor it.

  32. Barry says:

    @Mu: “So, how does publishing an edited video not construe obstruction of justice ,and conspiracy to do so? Any accused doing that would be prosecuted for providing false statements to law enforcement.”

    I imagine that if I had shot somebody and was claiming self-defense, that providing doctored video ‘evidence’ would lead the police to assume a murder until disproven.

  33. EddieInCA says:

    @humanoid.panda: Then why did you respond to me? I’m soooo confused, which is a common state for me.

  34. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @C. Clavin: Twenty-three times a many IIRC.

  35. humanoid.panda says:

    @EddieInCA: I have no idea- I thought I was responding to Michael…

  36. Jack says:

    @humanoid.panda: Cops in the US kill more people in a given year that in all developed countries, most of which occur when the alleged perpetrator is unarmed.

    Yeah, it’s because of the guns. eyeroll.

  37. michael reynolds says:

    @Barry:

    Why do American police officers wear bullet-proof vests when almost no other country’s force does? Not hard to figure out, it’s the presence of large numbers of guns. American police see themselves living in combat conditions. Once you armor a man up, provide him with a 9 mm, a Taser and a baton, you have created an environment that emphasizes the personal safety of the officer, his need for an authoritarian approach to controlling his surroundings. .

    Obviously the abuse falls most heavily on minorities, as I said. But it also affects white people, just ask any number of white people who’ve had their doors kicked in, their children blinded by flash-bangs and their dogs shot, all because the cops decided they might be growing a pot plant in their bathroom.

    Why do the cops kick in the door and throw flash-bangs? Fear of guns. Duh. See, otherwise they could knock on the damn door. The kicking, the yelling, the controlling, the military-style arms and vehicles, they all start with a justifiable fear that cops will be shot. Ask any cop why they go kicking their way in guns drawn. It’s not because a dealer is going to flush serious weight down a low-flow toilet.

  38. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Why do American police officers wear bullet-proof vests when almost no other country’s force does?

    Because we gave them to them. If the only tool in your tool box is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Cops don’t know how to do anything other than escalate if they are not shown boot licking acquiescence.

  39. Paul L. says:

    The officer should be named and shamed.

    It is especially disturbing that officer [ Brian Encinia ] behaves this way knowing he is being recorded.

  40. al-Ameda says:

    @John Peabody:

    This video is reprehensible. I hope people remember that, by now, there are probably thousands of dash cam videos that show police officers correctly handling issues.

    It is reprehensible – precisely because of the response actions of the police officer. This video should be a part of every police training curriculum, as an example of what not to do.

    My father was a city cop for thirty years and he’s always said that an officer is, and should be, held to a higher standard of composure than the public in situations of confrontation. Of course a person might be anxious or angry that he/she was pulled over or stopped – but an officer should not respond by aggravating the situation, My father said that he learned early that you cannot take taunts or negative words personally, just maintain composure.

  41. grumpy realist says:

    @John Peabody: Yes, and in the other encounters the individuals don’t end up DEAD AFTER A NIGHT IN THE JAIL.

    THEY DON’T EVEN GET ARRESTED.

    That’s the difference, boyo.

  42. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Ask any cop why they go kicking their way in guns drawn. It’s not because a dealer is going to flush serious weight down a low-flow toilet.

    Well, it’s (a) fear and (b) a power trip. Cops armor up and go in with guns drawn even when serving warrants for non-violent crimes, in instances where they should have no reasonable fear of resistance. It’s their chance to strut and preen in their little pretend-soldier uniforms, confident that unlike real soldiers, they won’t actually have a determined and trained enemy shooting back. It’s bully-boy tactics.

  43. michael reynolds says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    As long as there are large numbers of guns in the population, cops will plead personal safety and be excused. Try to legislate a more civilized police force and all it will take is one dead cop to stop it.

  44. Davebo says:

    @EddieInCA:

    There is nothing to suggest the officer was afraid during this stop.

  45. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Because we gave them to them. If the only tool in your tool box is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Cops don’t know how to do anything other than escalate if they are not shown boot licking acquiescence.

    So, one day, for no reason whatsoever, cash-strapped states and localities decided to buy body armor for their cops.

    Why? Um. . . no reason, really.

    Was it because they worried they might be shot? No! Of course not! It’s just sort of a . . . a fashion statement. Could have been berets but they went with body armor.

    Totally unrelated to guns. Which is why body armor is not tested in live fire tests. And why armor is not rated according to what type of round it can stop.

    Tell me something: Is that really an example of how your brain works? I’m asking seriously. Is that what passes for logic to you. Does that actually make sense in your brain?

  46. Davebo says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But there will always be a large number of guns in the population. That’s not ever going to change and to think it will is fairly tale thinking.

    So we are left with this. But as I noticed, there is zero evidence that, in this case, the officer involved felt his safety was threatened by the driver. So how should his actions be dealt with?

    I’d say firing is in order and his Texas Peace Officer license should be rescinded so he doesn’t move on to another force. Other than that, let the tort system run it’s course.

  47. EddieInCA says:

    @Davebo:

    What are you referring to? Because I think you have me confused with someone else. 2nd time it’s happend on this thread (not by you).

  48. PogueMahone says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    Agreed.

    For a lot of these instances, it provides an opportunity for cops to use the toys they see in their toy box. They don’t really have a fear of being injured, they rationalize the use of force and military gear on the tiny chance they might get hurt.

    QED – Officer Encino had no fear Bland would hurt him, and threatening to “light her up” [use his tazer] and throwing her to the ground is all about power.

  49. Davebo says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I was replying to “Nope. It’a legitimate point. Without the proliferation of guns, there would be no reason for the police to be so afraid during routine traffic stops.”

    Just saying that in this case it doesn’t appear the officer was concerned about the driver being armed.

  50. @michael reynolds:

    Why do the cops kick in the door and throw flash-bangs?

    It is also to forestall destruction of evidence or perps fleeing (and that is not a defense of the practice).

  51. Rafer Janders says:

    @Davebo:

    I’d say firing is in order and his Texas Peace Officer license should be rescinded so he doesn’t move on to another force. Other than that, let the tort system run it’s course.

    Firing and arrest. The moment he threatened to electrocute Ms. Bland with a Taser for no legal cause he committed assault and battery.

  52. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    So, one day, for no reason whatsoever, cash-strapped states and localities decided to buy body armor for their cops.

    For the same reason they gave them MRAPS for towns of less that 1,200 people. For the same reason they all got tazers. For the same reason that any units have access to flash bangs, M-16s, night vision, etc. Because the government was funding all their pet projects.

    And once that happens, then the towns. hamlets, and cities have to justify maintain these forces so they send them to serve warrants for parking tickets on little old ladies and they get to use all their new toys.

    It’s a way for politicians to say they are both pro cop and pro union…because it’s the unions that will drag your name through the mud calling you anti-cop and try to vote you out of office if you don’t provide their members with the best available gear…regardless of the real need.

  53. Davebo says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    I’m no lawyer but since he didn’t actually follow through with the threat that seems to me a bit much.

    And she did refuse what was, under Texas law, a lawful order to get out of the vehicle. Wouldn’t that be a legal cause?

    I’m not about to defend the guy because his actions were indefensible.

  54. Rafer Janders says:

    @Davebo:

    I’m no lawyer but since he didn’t actually follow through with the threat that seems to me a bit much.

    First, assault, in itself, does not require on to follow through on a threat, merely to make that threat in such a manner as to put the person subject to the threat at reasonable fear of injury. The actual battery then followed on that, after he forced her out of the car and then assaulted her while she had committed no crime which would have actually justified a lawful custodial arrest.

    And she did refuse what was, under Texas law, a lawful order to get out of the vehicle. Wouldn’t that be a legal cause?

    He could lawfully order her out of the vehicle. The immediate escalation to threats of electrocution, however, was so extreme that it probably exceeded the bounds of his authority. What if he’d threatened to shoot her, or cut her with a knife if she didn’t exit the car? It’s the same thing. It’s battery, whether committed with a Taser or gun or knife.

  55. Monala says:

    @EddieInCA: There was a video a few months ago in which a group of cops from some European country were visiting NYC. A guy was getting violent on the subway and they managed to calm him down and subdue him without resorting to force.

  56. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    He could lawfully order her out of the vehicle.

    He had no right to put hands on here as she had not broken any laws. The stop was over when he wrote a warning.

    He said “You can get out of the car now” after she asked why she had to put out her cigarette. That is not an order and after he became abusive, I would have refused to get out too. She should have kept her doors locked.

  57. Jack says:

    @Monala:

    A guy was getting violent on the subway and they managed to calm him down and subdue him without resorting to force.

    I believe they were Sweden. The difference is, they are trained to de-escalate, while US cops only know how to demand compliance and seize control.

    Put it this way. This is the only country where I have heard of cops killing suicidal individuals. They would rather kill you than let you end your own life.

  58. Ken in NJ says:

    yeah, the cop here needs to be fired. Even if one accepts that the video inconsistencies are just video glitches – which is looking more likely despite my initial conviction that they were intentional edits to either cover up bad behavior or to lengthen the video so additional after the fact audio commentary could be inserted (yeah, a little conspiratorial, I admit, but not crazy) – even then the behavior of the cop is appalling.

    The entire cigarette thing was nothing more than a petty little power play, his immediate escalation to “get out of the car” was unprofessional, unjustifiable, and was almost certainly an unconstitutional detention ala Rodriguez v United States. Forget for a moment that she died – even if she had been released from the jail alive, he should be facing termination and criminal charges.

  59. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @michael reynolds: I physically thought with muggers here in Brazil. I wouldn´t think about doing that in the US, because I would know that even a teen mugger could be armed.

  60. Ken in NJ says:

    @Rafer Janders: He could lawfully order her out of the vehicle.

    Well, ordering someone out of the vehicle during a stop is a lawful order.

    But as he was standing their at the window, all he had to do was hand her the ticket and the stop would have been completed. Is an order to exit the vehicle still considered a lawful order when it is no longer part of a lawful stop, but is actually part of an illegally prolonged stop? because re-watching the video, the idea that the cigarette discussion was just a pretext to prolong the stop and provoke an argument isn’t all that unreasonable

  61. Barry says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa: “I physically thought with muggers here in Brazil. I wouldn´t think about doing that in the US, because I would know that even a teen mugger could be armed.”

    It’s clear by now that guns are not the reason for police brutality[1]. We’ve seen too many incidents of white, armed right-wingers acting up and being treated quite professionally. We recently saw a white right-wing guy murder two police officers and being taken alive later, although armed and extremely dangerous. We’ve seen countless ‘open carry’ events, with nary a white right-winger being killed. We’ve seen a hundred white right-wingers point guns at police officer to protect the Cliven Bundy crime family, and none be arrests.

  62. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: You left one out (the data is from the 1980s, but I see no compelling reason to believe anything’s changed much):

    5) a significant segment of the police force comes from a socio-economic cohort in our society that believes that violence is a tool to solve problems.

    While all of your suggestions would be welcome additions to the society, until society can address problem 5 (and that will involve members of that [or those] cohort[s] addressing their own beliefs), I don’t expect to see much progress.

  63. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jack: US cops know how to de-escalate, “I got out my gun and shoved it in his nose…THAT’S de-escalation” (I posted this quote in a related post yesterday, IIRC, emphasis in text).

    They just use a different tool (as I noted above).

  64. Davebo says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Thanks for the explanation.

    We all know there is zero chance of this officer facing criminal charges for this. I actually doubt he’ll even be fired.

    But there can be no doubt, to me at least, that HE was the person responsible for escalating this situation beyond reason.

  65. steve says:

    Wow! I don’t usually watch these youtubes, but that was awful. That cop should be fired and then locked in a room with a large aggressive male without his badge to hide behind. He completely escalated this and caused a confrontation. There was no reason for her arrest. Her death should follow him everywhere.

    Steve

  66. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    1) Because we are a heavily-armed nation our police forces are uniquely paranoid. This paranoia creates a combat mentality and a closing of ranks.

    Sick to death of this excuse for the cops. Right now I can come up with a half dozen instances of ARMED WHITE PEOPLE being confronted by police and not only not being shot, they weren’t charged and what is more, they were allowed to keep their guns. A black man doesn’t even have to be armed or violent to get shot. Hells Bells, just this morning I read about a sovereign citizen who not only was armed but FWCKIN’ TWICE tried to grab a gun, AND STILL DIDN”T GET SHOT. He did at least get arrested.

    So please, stop it Michael.

  67. michael reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    In a world where guns did not exist, fear of being shot would also not exist, true?

    In a world where guns do in fact exist, and many of those guns are in the hands of criminals or mentally unstable folks, it is not irrational for cops to fear being shot. True?

    In a world where cops worry about being shot they take a different attitude, see the world differently, see approaching people differently, and are aware that their margin of error may be narrow given the speed with which a gun can be drawn and fired. True?

    Now, that justifiably paranoid cop may also be a racist. True?

    But if race were the sole explanation for police brutality then black cops would never be seen to be overreacting or bullying citizens. And I don’t think you can make that case.

    Motives are always plural. In the entire history of the world no human has ever done anything without at least two motives, very often many, many more. To suggest as I do that race is not 100% of the explanation is not to deny that it is an explanation.

    There are racial tensions in the UK between white cops and black or brown people. And yet, seldom ever a shooting. Why? Because the British crook doesn’t have a gun.

    Ditto Germany, ditto Denmark, Sweden, France, Japan, Canada. . . They all surely have at least some racist cops, and they all have minorities, and those minorities are statistically over-represented in the criminal population, and yet: no shootings of or by cops.

    I’m sorry, but guns play a very, very big role in this.

  68. PogueMahone says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m sorry, but guns play a very, very big role in this.

    They do, but it is a secondary and irrational role.

    Tracking gun ownership in America is difficult – law abiding citizens may not admit to owning a gun for some [perhaps irrational] fear of being tracked by the government and criminals would most certainly never admit to owning a gun.
    However, the data suggests that gun ownership in America has either remained stagnant or has decreased. Yet, the problem of an overly militarized police prone to abuse of power has significantly increased.

    This suggests firearm proliferation in America cannot, or at least should not, be the cause of the rise in militarized police prone to abuse of power.

    I think the main cause is something you mentioned earlier – prohibition. We’re telling our police that they are in a war on drugs, then we arm the police with military gear. Why shouldn’t we expect police to treat us like occupied territory?

    Add that to a SCOTUS during the 80’s and 90’s giving carte blanch to police for search and seizure, plus qualified immunity, plus politicians running on a tough-on-crime police-hero-worship agenda, plus television that cements an image that police officers would be able to imprison all the demons if only the bureaucrats and red tape would just get out the way… Oh yeah, and criminal defense attorneys are slime.

    It’s a recipe for disaster.

    Firearms in the public domain is a problem, yes… but it is bottom tier. And it provides the police with an unreasonable excuse to treat everyone as Scarface.

  69. anjin-san says:

    Here’s video of Fredricksburg PD telling stroke victim David Washington “Get out of the car or I’m going to smoke you” after tasing and pepper spraying him. Charming.

    We clearly have a systemic problem here. Anyone who exists outside the Foxverse can see it quite clearly.

    At 2:22, you can see Washington’s own car running over him after they dragged him from it. How much incompetence can we squeeze into on video?

  70. DrDaveT says:

    BTW, when I click on the video I now get the message “This video has been removed by the user”.

  71. Hal_10000 says:

    @Barry:

    Exactly. Black people have low rates of gun ownership but high rates of getting shot by police. You don’t see cops gunning down Bob from rural Georgia who has a collection of AK-47’s and we did not see this kind of hair-trigger response until the last couple of decades despite a long history of Americans have guns, carrying guns and using guns. Trying to squeeze gun control into this issue is silly. If we passed serious gun control tomorrow, would the police give up their tanks and SWAT gear? No.

    (And I’m not sure what guns have to do with the Bland case anyway. She wasn’t armed and the officer never feared she was. He escalated the situation because he didn’t feel she was respecting him and because today’s officer training encourages escalation.)

    The other problems Mr. Reynolds cites are much more important: racism, even subconscious racism; a heavily militarized police; a policing and popular culture that tells us there is a constant “war on cops” and that they have to always be ready for attack; the War on Drugs. If you read Radley Balko’s book, he details point by point how the policing culture has changed over the last forty years to increasingly militarized, increasingly confrontational, increasingly paranoid despite declining levels of violence and declining level of police-specific violence. Cops aren’t told “people have guns”. Cops are told “people want to kill you”. This isn’t a gun issue; it’s a culture issue.

  72. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @michael reynolds: I´m sorry to point that to you, but there are huge problems with police brutality in the French Banlieues(That what sparked the 2005 riots) and there are huge problems with police brutality in the Black Suburbs of London. On the other hand, arresting people for failing to signal changing lanes, that´s an American Thing.

  73. michael reynolds says:

    I would beat this same horse around the block until it was dead, but much more interesting: One of the ADA’s texted the family informing them they were going to need a redo on the autopsy. This cover-up/investigation is flying apart at the seams.

    And 2, new PPP national poll has Trump #1 at 19, Walker 17, Jeb 12. Rubio, Carson and Huckabee at 10. Jeb is really not doing well. 2 points ahead of Carson and Huckabee? Wow.

    And 3, Rick Perry ripped Trump a new one in an epic, brutal take down.

  74. dennis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Nobody carries those p***y-a** 9mm pistols anymore, michael. 🙂

  75. dennis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Which is why body armor is not tested in live fire tests. And why armor is not rated according to what type of round it can stop.

    Umm, that’s actually not accurate, mr. Body armor is live-fire tested and rated according to type of round stopped, and also whether it can withstand a knife slash. I’ve live-fire tested body armor myself.

    Which says nothing to invalidate your other points.

  76. Scott O says:

    @dennis: It’s irony

  77. dennis says:

    @Davebo:

    And she did refuse what was, under Texas law, a lawful order to get out of the vehicle. Wouldn’t that be a legal cause?

    Well, it’s not as black and white as that, and no pun was intended. Doug, HarvardLaw, and DrDaveT can correct me if I’m wrong; I’m operating from a street patrol mindset.

    Legally, Officer Encinia had no standing to make her comply with a “put out your cigarette” order. Bland committed no crime or infraction by not putting out her cigarette. The minute she refused to do so, Encinia orders her out of the car so he can arrest her. We know this because he told Bland that she was under arrest, as he was trying to pull her from the vehicle. It is at that point that everything that occurred was “poisonous,” in that he had no lawful authority – no Probable Cause – to arrest Bland.

    All of Bland’s back talk, “arrogance” (as one retired cop described her), and physical resistance really don’t matter, because Encinias had already planted that “poisonous tree” the moment he decided to arrest her for not complying with his not-lawful order to put out her cigarette. It is our duty – our SWORN duty – to enforce laws that are within our jurisdiction and purview to enforce; not harass the citizenry for petty shyt.

    Now, Officer Encinias claimed that he arrested Bland for “assaulting a public servant.” The problem with that is, he had already told Bland she was under arrest BEFORE any physical altercation occurred. So, he lied to Bland (knowing he did not have any ground to arrest her at that point), and he lied on his official report (knowing that was NOT the reason for his initial cause to arrest Bland). Poison. All poison.

    He is certainly not to blame for Bland’s death: that is kind of a stretch. But, if the family’s attorney can make a prima facie case for proximate cause – Y wouldn’t have happened if X hadn’t occurred – well, Officer Encinias might get roasted. And, since the department has already placed him on admin leave for “violations of procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy,” it already looks like they’re putting him under the bus tires.

    But that’s just my opinion from a street patrol perspective. The lawyers on the thread could give a better narrative.

  78. dennis says:

    @Scott O:

    Oh. I guess I take myself too seriously, sometimes …

  79. Sherparick says:

    @Franklin: I must admit although polite, I am sure I have always acted a little irritated on the occasions I have been pulled over by police. But of course being a middle age white guy, they just gave me a ticket and sent me on my way. That is all Trooper Sineca had to do here; do his job, give her a ticket, and send her on her way. And that is what he did with the white woman he had stopped a few minutes earlier. But not with Bland; somehow her irritation and lack of obsequiousness toward him made him want to teach her a lesson and “f–k” up her life (the charge of assaulting a police officer is a felony charge, 3d degree, in Texas, with a suggested sentence of from 2 to 10 (fucking) years of imprisonment.) And seeing that her skin color is probably the most significant difference between the two drivers, I suspect it had something to do with why his attitude was so different with Bland then with the white female driver he had stopped a few minutes earlier earlier.

  80. KM says:

    @michael reynolds:

    This cover-up/investigation is flying apart at the seams.

    Now they’re claiming she told them she was suicidal while in their custody. BULL. SH*T.

    Suddenly there’s all these questions and evidence that show blatant incompetence and possible malfeasance on the police’s end and a document appears saying she told them she was suicidal? There was NO change in procedures which should have taken place if they were informed a threat to her person of this nature – no extra watch, no removal of materials, nothing. They left a supposedly suicidal person with access to privacy and materials that they then claim she utilized to kill herself. So are we to believe somebody jotted this vital info down, didn’t follow up on it and she surprisingly is found dead of a suicide some days later? Why wasn’t this noted earlier since it seems like relevant information to include from the start? Why the hell is this just coming out now other then somebody’s trying a last minute CYA?

    Based off the veracity of their reports, video and documentation so far, it’s a fairly safe assumption that if they were willing to play fast and loose with some regs and terminology, it’s not a stretch to see a casual planting on false info to defame the suspect. After all, if she was “aggressive” in her arrest, they could conceivably feel comfortable with “unstable” and “suicidal” to justify holding her. So we are left with two choices: they are either criminally incompetent and thus responsible for her death or are some lying mofos with something to hide.

    The more we look, the dirtier that place gets….

  81. Sherparick says:

    @michael reynolds: I also want a pony and a unicorn. Watch Fox News and/or read Breibart and you will the real victim here is Officer Sineca, just like all the other cases, it is the dead Black man or woman’s fault. Funny how that works. Just like all but 1 of 400 shootings by officers in the City of Chicago were “justified” or the fact that the 150 shootings by FBI agents between 1993 to 2013 were found to be “justified.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/us/in-150-shootings-the-fbi-deemed-agents-faultless.html?_r=0

    Except for the paperwork involved, and the risk if video camera being around when you shoot a person running away from you in the back, there does not seem to be much deterrent to an officer shooting a random citizen, also known as a a suspect.

  82. Barry says:

    @michael reynolds: “In a world where guns did not exist, fear of being shot would also not exist, true?

    In a world where guns do in fact exist, and many of those guns are in the hands of criminals or mentally unstable folks, it is not irrational for cops to fear being shot. True?”

    You’re just making excuses.

  83. Barry says:

    @michael reynolds: “I’m sorry, but guns play a very, very big role in this.”

    We keep posting evidence of the fact that they don’t play a big role, and in fact not that much of a role at all, compared to race. You keep – well, making excuses.

  84. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But if race were the sole explanation for police brutality then black cops would never be seen to be overreacting or bullying citizens.

    Gawd…. Your ignorance of racism is biblical in proportion Michael. Do you really think only white people can be prejudiced against blacks?

    Anyway, another:

    ‘Angry’ man with loaded AR-15 terrifies bystanders in quarrel with black protester at Confederate statue

    Police arrived shortly after that and told Passariello he needed a sling for his weapon so it would be more difficult to steal.

    Michael, I know you will never see this as this post is well past it’s ‘Sell by’ date, but you are wrong.

  85. Barry says:

    @michael reynolds: “One of the ADA’s texted the family informing them they were going to need a redo on the autopsy. This cover-up/investigation is flying apart at the seams.”

    Do you have a link? That’s rather interesting news.

  86. Barry says:

    @michael reynolds: “And 2, new PPP national poll has Trump #1 at 19, Walker 17, Jeb 12. Rubio, Carson and Huckabee at 10. Jeb is really not doing well. 2 points ahead of Carson and Huckabee? Wow.”

    I’m not too impressed by that; we saw in 2012 how these klowns melted once they were in front and under the spot light. IMHO, Trump has just started the ‘saggy melting wax’ phase of his stunt.

  87. Ken in NJ says:

    Legally, Officer Encinia had no standing to make her comply with a “put out your cigarette” order. Bland committed no crime or infraction by not putting out her cigarette. The minute she refused to do so, Encinia orders her out of the car so he can arrest her. We know this because he told Bland that she was under arrest, as he was trying to pull her from the vehicle. It is at that point that everything that occurred was “poisonous,” in that he had no lawful authority – no Probable Cause – to arrest Bland.

    All of Bland’s back talk, “arrogance” (as one retired cop described her), and physical resistance really don’t matter, because Encinias had already planted that “poisonous tree” the moment he decided to arrest her for not complying with his not-lawful order to put out her cigarette.

    All good points. It’s pretty clear that he intentionally provoked the entire incident so he could make her kowtow to his authority a bit. It’s also pretty clear that she was having none of that , which just enraged him further. And I agree that pretty much everything about is is, in fact, poisoned as you describe, with one exception – in Texas, resisting arrest is still a crime even if the arrest itself is unlawful.

    Frankly, I think it’s gigantic catch-22, but there it is

  88. Rodney Dill says:

    @Ken in NJ:

    And I agree that pretty much everything about is is, in fact, poisoned as you describe, with one exception – in Texas, resisting arrest is still a crime even if the arrest itself is unlawful.

    That’s an aspect I’ve been mulling around in my mind. When she said, ‘Don’t touch me, I’m not under arrest.’ and the officer responded, ‘You are under arrest’ (those are not exact quotes). That would’ve been the best time for her to change her demeanor and start complying with the officer, even though as dennis pointed out, the whole thing was poison by that point. (very good comments above by the way, dennis)

    Of course, backing down didn’t seem to fit her personality, especially give that she was pretty much in the right. She was already pretty mad, irate at that point. She may not have known about the dashboard cam or the audio being recorded that was pretty damning about the officers actions. And as vocal as she was here, I wonder how vocal she was about the abuse she faced during the three days in jail.

  89. michael reynolds says:

    So, let me get this straight.

    Guns in society in have NOTHING to do with police brutality. The fact that our police are far, far more violent has NOTHING to do with the fact that we live in a uniquely gun-saturated society. Police are not afraid of being shot, they wear body armor for fun. They are not more paranoid than in every other developed country, why no, of course not, it’s Copenhagen out there on the streets. Paranoia over guns is not in any way connected with police overreaction and insistence on maintaining control in every situation.

    When police officers approach a vehicle and tell you to keep your hands in sight, not to reach for your glove compartment, and walk up on you at a carefully-chosen angle that – just coincidentally – would make it awkward for you to twist around and point a gun at them, that isn’t about guns, or police paranoia about guns, it’s all just. . . I forget, but surely not about guns.

    Nope. No problem with guns. All just coincidence. We’re just coincidentally the nation with the highest level of gun ownership, the highest level of gun crime, the highest level by far of police shootings of suspects.

    Whatever. I’m weary of arguing points you’ll agree with in a couple of years.

    As for me not getting racism’s impact? When I started hanging out here many years ago the constant knock on me was that I was obsessed with race, that I saw race in everything. Oh, Michael Reynolds, poor fool, so obsessed with race. And now that’s become consensus. Such a consensus that people here are now actually lecturing me on the importance of race as an issue, telling me I don’t get it?

    Ooookay.

  90. michael reynolds says:

    @Barry:

    It’s here. I think this is the same video I saw last night, but I haven’t replayed it to be sure.

  91. dennis says:

    @Ken in NJ:

    I agree that pretty much everything about is is, in fact, poisoned as you describe, with one exception – in Texas, resisting arrest is still a crime even if the arrest itself is unlawful.

    Okay; however, the arresting charge was not “resisting arrest;” it was “assault on a public servant.” Which 1) didn’t occur until AFTER physical altercation (according to the officer), and 2) wasn’t the initial reason he was going to arrest her. The arrest charge does not synch up with the sequence of events. As Rodney stated above, as soon as Officer Encinias stated she was under arrest, Bland should have complied, although, it would have been helpful for Encinias to explain why she was under arrest.

    He couldn’t, though, because you can’t tell a citizen, “Well, I’m really not arresting you; I just want to intimidate and harass you into the proper attitude I expect you to display.” Shyt just got out of hand on him, is all. And everything he did that day, in my 2-cent opinion, indirectly led to her death.

  92. michael reynolds says:

    @dennis:

    The cop could not believe she wasn’t submitting. He’s very nearly hysterical.

    I am not a conspiracy guy normally, but this whole thing smells. A black lives matter activist gets pulled over for a bullsh!t charge, the cop clearly goads her, probably figuring he’ll “show her” and then gets unhinged when she won’t comply.

    And then she turns up dead in jail.

    And the dashcam footage links hinky, and the cop’s report doesn’t in any way match what the dascham shows, and then an unsigned form pops up to tell us she was “on medication.”

    And then, even as the DA’s office was assiduously leaking details of her autopsy an ADA texts the family that they want a new autopsy.

    And a second ADA says, no, no, nothing wrong with the first autopsy, we’re just saying, um, we’d uh, like to be able to cut her up again. Not that there’s any reason, mind you.

    This is some week-old mackerel here.

  93. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The cop could not believe she wasn’t submitting. He’s very nearly hysterical.

    He’s only been a Texas state trooper for about a year. I think her behavior was entirely new to him, at least in the context it took place, and he had no idea how to handle it aside from exerting force.

    Watch this video. It’s hard to express how much more confrontational that driver is than Sandra Bland was. He calls the officer an asshole about a dozen times. But the officer stays entirely calm.

    Sandra Bland didn’t do anything even 1% as hostile as that driver, and she got pulled out of the car and died in custody.

  94. Monala says:

    @michael reynolds: Oh come on. People aren’t saying guns having nothing to do with it. Just that racism is a far bigger factor, since cops are reacting with far more brutality toward unarmed black people than to heavily armed white people.

  95. Matt says:

    @humanoid.panda: That’s complete ignorance of other nations.

    @EddieInCA: Yet history and real world examples have shown that cops will always find something to “be afraid of” when they want to behave like this.

  96. Matt says:

    @michael reynolds: Oh bullshit. Not even all the cops in the USA wear vests. I saw plenty of vests when I was in England, France and Spain. Bullet proof vests are worn by police officers around the world.

  97. Matt says:

    @michael reynolds: Oh bullshit. Not even all the cops in the USA wear vests. I saw plenty of vests when I was in England, France and Spain. Bullet proof vests are worn by police officers around the world.

    Cops kick in doors and use flash bangs because it’s fun. No knock raids are being used for even common petty criminal enforcement. Hell even the cops say they have to do no knock raids because “If we knock and announced, all evidence is going to be destroyed,” and not because they are afraid of guns.

    Anytime the cops know that weapons will be there they are MUCH more careful and slow about approaching. It’s quite common for police forces that use no knock raids on drug suspects to take a much more careful approach with those they know might be armed. Such as arresting the individual while at work.

    http://reason.com/blog/2015/01/23/bou-bous-law-would-restrict-no-knock-pol

  98. Barry says:

    @michael reynolds: “It’s here. I think this is the same video I saw last night, but I haven’t replayed it to be sure.”

    Thanks!

  99. Barry says:

    Michael, my point about guns is that we see an almost daily test of that hypothesis, and it fails. It’s not hard to come up with example after example after………….. of white guys with guns who aren’t killed out of hand, and of example after example after………….. of black guys without guns who are killed out of hand.

  100. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    What I’d like to know – just to indulge my really very stunted sense of conspiracy – is whether the cop knew who she was before he pulled her over. Did he run plates while he was following her? Is she someone he already knew something about?

  101. michael reynolds says:

    I get so fu**ing tired of arguments that come down to an insistence on single bullet theories of politics.

    As I believe I said up-thread, and have certainly said many times before, motives are always plural, causes are always multiple, the answer is almost always, “All of the above.”

    We impose dichotomies on others while we ourselves are more complex. It’s a habit of thought which incidentally is one of the pillars of bigotry, this reduction of everyone but ourselves or those we like to simple black and white (not in the racial sense.) “We” can come up with six different reasons why we chose hot dog over hamburger, but when it comes to police shooting people we insist that the only possible explanations are yes/no, up/down, black/white.

    When I suggest that there is more than race here, I get liberals jumping on me because I’m coloring outside the lines. If I ever applied this kind of thinking to writing characters I’d be hooted off the shelves.

    Sorry for the nuance. I’ll try to remember in future: dichotomy. Everything is a simple dichotomy. Each thing has only one possible cause.

  102. Barry says:

    @michael reynolds: “As I believe I said up-thread, and have certainly said many times before, motives are always plural, causes are always multiple, the answer is almost always, “All of the above.” ”

    That’s true, and meaningless. There’s presumably always a zillion causes. The purpose of study is to figure out which are strong, and which are not.

    Race is quite clearly much stronger than firearms. As I’ve repeatedly pointed out.

    And I’ll add on that police, from what I’ve heard, tend to oppose any laws which might reduce the volume of firearms floating around.

  103. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: I think the chances of that are negligible. He was just a young, “green” trooper who wasn’t equipped to handle a subject who didn’t immediately submit.

  104. Barry says:

    @michael reynolds: “What I’d like to know – just to indulge my really very stunted sense of conspiracy – is whether the cop knew who she was before he pulled her over. Did he run plates while he was following her? Is she someone he already knew something about?”

    My guess is that he saw that she was black at that first pass, and then saw that she had out of state plate when he zoomed up behind her.