Tamir Rice And The Question Of How The Law Should Handle Officer-Involved Shootings

The decision by a Cleveland Grand Jury to decline to indict a police officer in the shooting of 12 year old Tamir Rice raises once again questions about how the law handles shootings involving police officers.

Tamir Rice

Late yesterday, the District Attorney for Cuyahoga County, Ohio announced that a Grand Jury had declined to indict a Cleveland police officer in connection with the shooting death of twelve year-old Tamir Rice:

CLEVELAND — A grand jury declined on Monday to charge a Cleveland patrolman who fatally shot a 12-year-old boy holding a pellet gun, capping more than a year of investigation into a case that added to national outrage over white officers killing African-Americans.

In announcing the decision, Timothy J. McGinty, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, said he had recommended that the grand jurors not bring charges in the killing of the boy, Tamir Rice, who was playing with the gun outside a recreation center in November 2014.

Mr. McGinty said the fatal encounter had been a tragedy and a “perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications.” But he said that enhancement of video from the scene had made it “indisputable” that Tamir, who was black, was drawing the pellet gun from his waistband when he was shot, either to hand it over to the officers or to show them that it was not a real firearm. He said that there was no reason for the officers to know that, and that the officer who fired, Timothy Loehmann, had a reason to fear for his life.

The case began when a caller to 911 said a male was pointing a gun at people in a Cleveland park. The caller added that the gun was “probably fake,” and that the person waving it was “probably a juvenile.” But those caveats were not relayed to Officer Loehmann or his partner, Frank Garmback, who was driving the patrol car. Officer Loehmann, who is white, opened fire within seconds of arriving at the park. Officer Garmback was also spared any charges.

The shooting in Cleveland came just two days before a grand jury in Missouri declined to indict a white police officer in Ferguson who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old. The Ferguson case became one of a series of police killings that drew protests — in New York, Baltimore, North Charleston, S.C., and other cities — by demonstrators denouncing the way the police treat African-Americans.

Though some officers have been charged this year for on-duty killings, in cities including Cincinnati and Baltimore, others have not. Mr. McGinty said that no matter how tragic the circumstances involving Tamir’s death, the law gives the benefit of the doubt to officers who must make split-second decisions.

Tamir’s family and protesters had criticized the approach of the prosecutor throughout the investigation, which took more than 13 months. The Cleveland police initially investigated the case, then the county sheriff’s office conducted its own inquiry. Mr. McGinty’s office released the results of the sheriff’s investigation in June, and months later presented the case to a grand jury.

“It has been clear for months now that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty was abusing and manipulating the grand jury process to orchestrate a vote against indictment,” lawyers for Tamir Rice’s family said Monday in a statement. “Even though video shows the police shooting Tamir in less than one second, Prosecutor McGinty hired so-called expert witnesses to try to exonerate the officers and tell the grand jury their conduct was reasonable and justified.”

City and state officials urged calm. In a statement, Gov. John R. Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, said that he understood “how this decision will leave many people asking themselves if justice was served,” but urged residents not to “give in to anger and frustration and let it divide us.”

A steady wind and cold rain Monday night drove away a small group of demonstrators who had gathered at the park where Tamir was fatally shot. Mementos were left at a makeshift memorial there throughout the day, including dozens of teddy bears, plastic flowers and small wooden crosses. The rain and wind extinguished candles that had been lit in the boy’s memory.

At a news conference after the prosecutor’s announcement, Mayor Frank Jackson expressed condolences to the Rice family and said the city would begin an administrative review of the shooting now that the grand jury’s work was finished. Mr. Jackson said meaningful changes to the Division of Police had been made since Tamir’s death, including efforts to give officers first-aid training and provide basic medical kits in police cars.

“This has caused the city of Cleveland, with the loss of a child at the hands of a police officer, to do a lot of soul searching,” Mr. Jackson said. “And in the midst of that soul searching we have made some changes.”

“All this is designed to better ensure that an incident like this will never happen again,” he added.

Police Chief Calvin Williams said Officers Loehmann and Garmback would remain on restricted duty until the administrative review was completed. He said the review would look at whether department policies were violated during the encounter, including the actions of the call taker and dispatcher, the shooting itself, and the aftermath. “We’ll look at the incident from start to finish,” Chief Williams said, and consider discipline if violations are found.

As with many police killings this year, outrage was sparked by what was caught on camera. Grainy surveillance video, which circulated widely online, showed Officer Garmback pulling the police cruiser within a few feet of Tamir and Officer Loehmann stepping out of the car and almost immediately firing his gun. Tamir died hours later.

Mr. McGinty noted that the officers had never been told that the original caller suggested the gun might be a fake. “Had the officers been aware of these qualifiers, the training officer who was driving might have approached the scene with less urgency,” said Mr. McGinty, who said the officers could not be penalized for what they did not know. “Lives may not have been put at stake.”

Matthew Meyer, an assistant prosecutor, said that it was difficult to tell the difference between the pellet gun and a real one because the orange safety tip was missing, and that the guns otherwise look the same from a distance. Prosecutors also said that Tamir looked large for his age, and that the neighborhood has a history of violence, and that other officers have been killed nearby.

Mr. McGinty said: “The death of Tamir Rice was an absolute tragedy. It was horrible, unfortunate and regrettable. But it was not, by the law that binds us, a crime.”

Mr. McGinty defended his decision to publicly release a series of expert reports he commissioned before the grand jury announcement, saying they made for a transparent process that allowed the public to reach informed conclusions. Those reports found that Officer Loehmann acted reasonably in shooting Tamir, but the Rice family commissioned its own outside reports that reached the opposite conclusion.

Mr. McGinty said he had called Tamir’s mother to tell her of the grand jury’s actions and that it had been a “tough conversation.” He said he “appreciated the sincere emotion and concern of all citizens” but asked the community to “respect the process.” He said Tamir’s family may yet find some redress in civil courts.

As I noted when I first wrote about this case at the beginning of the year, there are a number of factors about this case that raises serious questions about the officers conduct, and they remain even after the decision announced yesterday and the release of the Grand Jury’s report. Off the top, it seems to be well-established from the radio reports that the police officers who responded to the initial 911 call regarding an incident at the park were not aware of several facts that had been passed on the 911 dispatcher. The first of these was the caller’s assessment that the person he saw brandishing a weapon appeared to be a minor, and the second was the observation by the same caller that it looked like the gun he saw might be a toy rather than an actual gun. Why the dispatcher failed to pass this information along to the officers is unclear, but the record of the radio traffic seems to make clear that it was not passed on at all. Had it been, then it’s at least possible that the officers would have handled the encounter differently than they actually did, and that Tamir Rice would be alive today. Even taking that into account, though, the officers actions as represented on the videos that have been released certainly raise questions about how they approached the situation.

As the video shows, the officers involved come up on the scene at a high rate of speed, exit their patrol car, and almost immediately begin shooting. Even taking the representations of what they interpreted Rice’s movements to be at face value, there doesn’t appear to be any effort on the part of the officers to either assess the situation or give the suspect involved a chance to surrender. There is no evidence that any of this happened. Indeed, if the officers did try to give Rice time to surrender and drop the weapon, the video makes clear that they gave him no time at all to respond before opening fire. While it’s true that police are often called on to make split second decisions in cases like this, the fact that there was no apparent danger at the time would seem to make the decision to immediately open fire unreasonable regardless of Rice’s age or any of the other facts involved. Additionally, the fact that there was no apparent threat to civilians, and no evidence that Rice was a fleeing felon, or indeed that he was fleeing at all. Instead, all the videos appear to show is Rice standing in a park when a police cruiser pulls up, the police get out, and begin shooting. If this were an “active shooter” situation, that would perhaps be appropriate, but there’s no evidence to suggest that it would have been reasonable for the police to assume that this was the case.

Interestingly, and perhaps significantly, the Grand Jury’s determination that there should not be an indictment in this case is different from the conclusion reached by a Cleveland Judge earlier this year who found probable cause to charge Officer  Loehmann with murder in the Rice case. That ruling came in an somewhat unusual proceeding brought by activists and community leaders designed to force the authorities to act in the case, and it ended up having no real impact on the outcome of the case. It’s also worth noting that the Judge did not have access to certain information that was submitted to the Grand Jury because the Police and prosecutors refused to participate in the proceedings, and could not be forced to participate. Notwithstanding this caveat, though, the difference in outcome is certainly noteworthy, especially in light of the fact that the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor who submitted the Rice case to the Grand Jury has admitted that he did not believe that charges against Officers  Loehmann were appropriate given the facts of the case.

Given that admission on the prosecutors part, this case once again raises the issue of whether investigations of officer-involved shootings are being handled appropriately, or at least handled in a manner that brings more public confidence to a system that many people believe to be rigged. As I’ve noted before, the procedure that is used in most officer involved shootings in most jurisdictions today means that the party responsible for investigating officer-involved shootings is the same prosecutors office that is required to work with the very police department(s) they are investigating on a daily basis in ordinary criminal cases. Because of that, there are obvious concerns raised that the need for prosecutors to maintain a good relationship with the police ends up overriding the obligation to fully investigate cases where police are accused of improper behavior. Quite often, in fact, it seems clear that prosecutors end up giving officers the benefit of the doubt in situations where civilians would obviously not get such consideration. Because of that chance for bias, or at least the appearance of impropriety, there have been many proposals made to have police involved shootings handled in a different manner. Some have proposed that these officer involved shootings should be investigated by prosecutors independent of those who work with the officers and departments involved on a regular basis. In New York State, the Attorney General has proposed state law be changed to provide that officer-involved shootings be investigated by his office rather than local prosecutors, an idea that Paul Cassell at The Volokh Conspiracy has also suggested. Others have made similar proposals for some kind of “special prosecutor” for officer-involved shootings that at the very least would not have the appearance of being biased in favor of the police in these types of situations. As I’ve written before — here and here — however one structures it, this would seem to be an idea worth exploring. As we’ve seen so many times over the years, and especially in the wake of the events in Ferguson, prosecutors don’t seem to be very well situated when it comes to investigating their own and the public doesn’t seem to trust the system as it exists today. Getting rid of the appearance of impropriety would, at least to some degree, help to restore some confidence that cases involving police shootings would be fully and fairly investigated without worries that the prosecutor is putting their thumb on the scale for the police.

This isn’t necessarily the end of the road for the Tamir Rice case, of course. Administrative action by the Cleveland Police Department could lead to the officers involved being disciplined or losing their jobs, for example. Additionally, the Rice family still has a civil claim against the city and the officers involved regarding Tamir’s death. Finally, the Federal Government is apparently still investigating this shooting to see if civil rights charges would be appropriate. In order to make such charges, of course, U.S. Attorneys would have to have evidence of some sort of racial bias involved in the shooting, and that’s not an easy burden to meet. Additionally, the fact that a Grand Jury has found that there was no evidence to justify charges would undoubtedly be a huge part of the defense in any such Federal case. Regardless of what happens, though, it seems clear that the Rice case points out that there continue to be problems in the manner in which the police interact with the civilian community, especially African-Americans. Until that larger issues addressed, it’s unlikely that Americans, especially members of minority groups, will have much confidence that they are being treated fairly by the justice system.

Here are the originally released and extended videos, so the reader can judge for themselves:

And here’s the report prepared by the prosecutor based on the evidence presented to the Grand Jury:

Tamir Rice Prosecutors Report by Doug Mataconis

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, Race and Politics, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    My biggest concern, and you see evidence of this on the streets today, is that people of color are going to take an aggressive stance with police much earlier than they would have because (rightly or wrongly) they have little expectation of being treated fairly. This escalates the situation and guarantees more tragedy.

    The Police need to be the adults in the room at all times. It’s absolutely a tough job, and not for everybody, but to this casual observer this case feels like little more than a legalized drive-by shooting. That’s not an image that will instill confidence in law enforcement.




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  2. pajarosucio says:

    Can we stop with the obfuscatory “officer-involved shooting” language and be direct about it? The police killed a kid.




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  3. Modulo Myself says:

    No one thinks this is how to handle officer shootings. It’s a total disgrace. McGinty seemed to be a defense attorney running a grand jury for a client who was an embarrassment even if innocent. McGinty’s lackey was going on about how Tamir Rice was known to have pulled toy guns on people before, like this really distinguishes him from other young boys. If I was a parent of a 12 year old boy killed by the police for holding a toy gun and they justified it by pointing out that he was big and prone to playing with toy guns, I would seriously contemplate murdering the prosecutor in cold blood, or at least challenging him to a public duel. These people are basically human garbage. It would be better if they said we have a system that’s insane and cares nothing about the damage it does rather than try pathetically to justify it.




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  4. humanoid.panda says:

    @Modulo Myself: Seriously, the argument that Rice was large and therefore scary basically goes back to narratives going back to the slavery era about Blacks being biologically different than regular folks. To hear this from an office of the state in 2015..




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  5. gVOR08 says:

    Tamir Rice was one of the people the police are supposed to protect and to serve. Many officers don’t seem to see it that way.




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  6. Davebo says:

    When the prosecutor tells the grand jury that there isn’t really grounds for an indictment and accuses the victims family of being “economically motivated” as McGinty did in this case no one should be surprised that they follow his lead.

    This is a pathetic miscarriage of justice and one perpetrated by those tasked with enforcing the law.




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  7. JKB says:

    If we are to look for fault here, then the fault lies with the person who called the police on a kid with a “toy” gun. Of course, although they hedged their report, we can assume they thought this was an young adult with a firearm. In any case, when one calls the cops on someone, you must accept that if the person is uncooperative or has a gun-like object in their hand, they may be killed by police who are required to subdue/disarm them until the investigation determines the gun is not a firearm or the firearm was not being handled illegally.

    The only real question here is why the roll up so close to the subject in their car so that their was not time to observe and assess the situation. But that judgement call has no bearing on the justification for the use of deadly force in self defense by the officer.

    At the time of the shooting, there was a reasonable belief (by the officer) of an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury due to the subject (later determined to be a juvenile) reaching for a gun (later determined to be an air gun vice a firearm) as the officer’s exit the vehicle.

    That close roll up may be a violation of policy or it may be a lesson-learned for future encounters, and it may inform police how to avoid creating the split-second decision situation that resulted in this death. It may also be the basis of a civil suit against the city, but it doesn’t bear on the criminal investigation into the use of deadly force.

    And yes, a non-law enforcement individual would be judged differently that police in this situation. That stems from the fact that the police are authorized and required to investigate the behavior of individuals suspected of criminal activity. A non-law enforcement person would need to justify why they interfered with another private individual’s non-imminent threat business.




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  8. Davebo says:

    @JKB: Wow! So we’ve gone from blaming the victim to blaming the family to blaming citizen who reported the non crime!

    Anyone but the murderer.




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  9. Rafer Janders says:

    @Davebo:

    Anyone but the murderer.

    Being a conservative means never, ever accepting responsibility. It’s always someone else’s fault.




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  10. gVOR08 says:

    @JKB: I’m thinking about calling the cops in your fair city, reporting I heard you talk about shooting up a C store, and saw you tuck a .45 in your waistband. Oh wait, you’re probably white.




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  11. humanoid.panda says:

    @JKB:

    And yes, a non-law enforcement individual would be judged differently that police in this situation. That stems from the fact that the police are authorized and required to investigate the behavior of individuals suspected of criminal activity. A non-law enforcement person would need to justify why they interfered with another private individual’s non-imminent threat business.

    Look here: a “constitutional conservative” argues that agents of the state should have pretty much iron-clad immunity for shooting unarmed people. It’s almost as though “constitutional conservatism” is not but a thinly disguised yearning of return to the days of where both state and the armed citizenry did what the 2nd Amendment enabled them to do : keep the boot on the neck of the sub-humans.




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  12. Mu says:

    There is just nobody interested in prosecuting bad police officers. The cities are the employer, they sure don’t want to be held responsible in a civil trial. The prosecutors don’t want to see the trustworthiness of their primary witness group challenged, and for the police unions safety is in backing each other less you end up with no one backing you when you need it.
    An independent investigative and prosecuting agency for this kind of activity would be nice, but no politician will go for it. It would mean admitting that our whole system of law enforcement is one corrupt mess. One can only hope that cities will get hit with enough lawsuits to be forced to rain in their forces via changed contracts e. g. by automatic lay-off for anyone causing more than $1,000,000 in settlements. But as they typically owe the unions and their pension funds large fractions of their annual budgets it’s unlikely that a few million extra damages will achieve that.




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  13. humanoid.panda says:

    Seriously, this is the key to understanding the mind set of people who BOTH think that citizenry should be armed AND that the Rice shooting was justified. These people believe that only Whites are citizens, and police and the 2nd Amendment exist in order to maintain racial hierarchy. Thing is, they can’t quite say it openly, and thus JKB’s gibberish.




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  14. Jenos Idanian says:

    Some inconvenient facts that don’t get much attention:

    1) The toy gun had its orange “I’m not a real gun, I’m just a toy” tip removed.

    2) Guns don’t ask for ID when they are picked up.

    3) The caller did exactly what commenter “Scott” recommended on the Texas Open Carry thread — if you see someone with a gun, no matter what they are doing, even if you think it might be a toy, call the cops. And the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence also recommends doing just that.

    4) This is also reminiscent of the shooting of John Crawford III in an Ohio Wal-Mart because someone saw him carrying an air rifle and called the cops.

    5) The cop probably should have stopped further away, but this was hardly a clear-cut case of a racist cop looking to kill some black person.

    6) If the concern is about cops and bad shootings, and not an excuse to wave the RAAAAACIST flag, I would recommend people look into the killing of drunk driver Andrew Thomas. That one is a hell of a lot more blatantly wrong than this case.




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  15. Jenos Idanian says:

    @humanoid.panda: Look here: a “constitutional conservative” argues that agents of the state should have pretty much iron-clad immunity for shooting unarmed people.

    Wow. You went from Point A (what JKB said) to your own translation with a major layover in Crazytown.

    You’re seriously abusing your day pass away from there…




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  16. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Oh- and the other “constitutional conservative” who thinks Black people exist outside the protection of the law pops up!




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  17. gVOR08 says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Is there a point in there somewhere? The cops drove right up to the kid and bailed out shooting without having made any attempt to assess the situation or having time for any realistic attempt to warn the kid to drop the gun, which was a toy. What part of that statement are you disputing?




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  18. Tillman says:

    Remember back when scholars were disturbed at how easy it was for prosecutors to secure an indictment? What a turnaround we’ve had since then.




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  19. Jenos Idanian says:

    @gVOR08: I said that probably the cop should have stopped his car further away. But the toy gun had been altered to remove the “I’m just a toy” marker, so the cop didn’t have a handy visual cue to tell him it wasn’t real.

    If only we had a law that said children couldn’t possess real guns or something…




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  20. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Tillman: It’s the same damned thing. Prosecutors have remarkable discretion. They can bring indictments incredibly easily when they wish (one great example is that hyperpartisan swine down in Texas who indicted Rick Perry for wanting a convicted drunk driver removed as a prosecutor), and they can refuse to indict when they should but don’t want to.

    Your whining is ridiculous.




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  21. anjin-san says:

    Ah, Jenos has no problem with yet another black child who was going about his lawful business being shot dead.

    I know I am shocked…




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  22. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san:

    Remember that the people under discussion are human beings. Comments that contain personal attacks about the post author or other commenters will be deleted. Repeated violators will be banned. Challenge the ideas of those with whom you disagree, not their patriotism, decency, or integrity.

    Just how did you get your exemption from the rules, anyway? Is there a Premium membership here? Incriminating photos of a host with an underage goat? Do I need to send in some boxtops?




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  23. anjin-san says:

    @gVOR08:

    It’s also worth noting that the cops handcuffed the kids sister and took her to the ground when she attempted to rush to his side as he lay bleeding to death, and that they apparently made no attempt to give him medical aid.

    Tea party America folks. A white man can show up with an AR-15 strapped to his back when th e President is speaking with impunity, a small black child playing with a toy gets blow away…




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  24. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: You keep peddling that “racist” bullshit, annie. You and MSNBC.




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  25. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Tell ya what skippy – you stick to TOS for a year, and then you can whine about other people. Better yet, why don’t you start you own blog and administer it as you see fit? If the staff at OTB is unhappy with my comments, I am sure they are more than able to deal with it with no assistance from the peanut gallery 🙂

    Oh, I’m sorry, did you think you had come up with a clever new approach to ducking my comments? Nope, sorry. Thanks for playing.




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  26. anjin-san says:

    Oh, and Jenos? Since you are all about TOS, I am formally notifying you that I find the use of “annie” in reference to me offensive and hurtful. I ask that OTB commenters refer to my by my chosen handle “anjin-san”

    Put up or shut up.




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  27. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    If only we had a law that said children couldn’t possess real guns or something…

    If only our nation weren’t so utterly infested with guns that the police must assume by default anything resembling a gun is a threat or something…




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  28. David M says:

    It’s worth noting that Ohio is an open carry state and that the not-a -real-gun was tucked into his waistband. Noting the lack of an orange tip is a meaningless distraction meant to excuse the killing of a 12 year old boy in a public park.




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  29. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    The cop probably should have stopped further away, but this was hardly a clear-cut case of a racist cop looking to kill some black person.

    Sad, dude. You don’t have to buy the racist cop angle to be disturbed by this.

    And really, thanks for the constructive criticism about what the cop should have done, but hell, man. Forget “you should have stopped further away.” The new order is “Do whatever you have you have to do to avoid shooting innocent unarmed kids.”

    We set such low standards and are surprised when they are consistently met.




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  30. stonetools says:

    This is IMO, the greatest miscarriage of justice since the murder of Emmet Till in 1955.In both cases, the authorities decided before hand to make sure that the perpetrators of a murder would escape justice, and subverted the judicial process to achieve the result. Indeed, MacGinty went one better than the Mississippi authorities and made sure that the perpetrators would never even be charged. The chief difference is that the prosecutor in the Till case at least made a show of prosecuting the defendants , with the Sheriff overtly taking the side of the defense. Here, the prosecutors were the ones who worked hand in glove with the police to enable the killers to escape justice. MacGinty has now proved that not only can a prosecutor indict a ham sandwich, but a prosecutor can also exonerate a drive by executioner.

    This disgraceful result cannot stand. I agree fully with the recommendations of NAACP Legal Defense Fund:

    This case is one of the most flagrant examples of how the criminal justice system routinely fails in ensuring accountability for the needless killing of unarmed civilians at the hands of police. Rather than “a perfect storm of human error” as Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty described this tragedy, Rice’s death and the lack of accountability for it are a result of racial profiling, incompetent 911 services, over-zealous and reckless policing practices, and a systemic bias in favor of police.

    LDF is calling for three critical actions in response to the failure to hold Officers Loehmann and Garmback criminally responsible for Rice’s death:

    We call on the Cleveland Police Department (“CPD”) to discipline Officers Loehmann and Garmback for their negligent and reckless conduct toward Rice, including but not limited to his shooting death and the subsequent failure to provide adequate medical assistance, in addition to the callous treatment of the Rice’s family in the aftermath of the incident.
    We support the Rice family’s renewed call for the Department of Justice to open an investigation specifically into the killing of Tamir Rice and to reopen the settlement it reached with the CPD to address the practices at issue in Rice’s death.
    We invite our civil rights colleagues to join us in re-examining the legal standards governing officer misconduct, including but not limited to the standards pertaining to use of force and qualified immunity.
    In addition, LDF reiterates its concerns about the lack of independence of the prosecution in this and other cases, which has eroded public trust in the justice system. The disclosure of expert reports by Prosecutor McGinty in October foreshadowing the result reached by the grand jury, as well as the June order by a Cleveland Municipal Court judge finding probable cause for criminal indictments against the officers, cast doubt over the integrity of the process and highlight the need for special prosecutors in use of force cases to ensure a fair and transparent investigation.”

    Frankly, I would go further. It’s time for the DOJ to conduct an investigation into the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. What’s happening in these cases is that the police commit the homicides, and the local prosecutors work with the police to exonerate the offenders. I think far too little attention has been paid to the local prosecutors, who violate their oath and the tenets of their profession to make sure guilty police officers go free.




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  31. Stan says:

    The policeman who shot this kid should have gone on trial, but he’s only one of the people responsible for Rice’s death, and he’s not the most culpable. The real villains in cases like this are the 2nd amendment fundamentalists, the people who think that any restriction on the ownership of firearms strikes at our most fundamental freedoms. I name no names; you know who you are. You’ve created a situation in which every American police officer spends his working life in deadly peril. Tell an erratic driver to pull over, intervene in a domestic dispute, try to stop a fist fight, and you stand a chance of being blown away by somebody with more firepower than brains. For this we can thank the NRA and their supporters. You know who you are.




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  32. humanoid.panda says:

    @James Pearce:

    The cop probably should have stopped further away, but this was hardly a clear-cut case of a racist cop looking to kill some black person.
    Sad, dude. You don’t have to buy the racist cop angle to be disturbed by this.

    Sorry James, but you fell into Jenos’ trap here: he is presenting a false dichotomy between the shooter-cop being Bull Connor and him not seeing race. In truth, we very well know that even people who are not racist tend to over-estimate risk from African Americans, and presume that African American kids are adults. In a better world, training would tackle that issue, but that would be PC.




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  33. DrDaveT says:

    @JKB:

    The only real question here is why the roll up so close to the subject in their car so that their was not time to observe and assess the situation.

    No, that is not the only real question here.

    Why did the police feel justified in shooting before issuing a warning, or (if they did) before the victim had any time to react to that warning? Hint: “They thought he had a gun” is not adequate grounds for execution.

    Why, having shot the child, did the police feel justified in tackling and physically abusing his entirely nonthreatening sister?

    Why, having shot the child and subdued the sister, did the police entirely fail to render any medical aid to their victim, even when they discovered their error?

    I’m sure we could come up with a few more if we worked at it. This is not a single tragic error; “perfect storms” don’t happen a dozen times a year.




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  34. KM says:

    @JKB:

    In any case, when one calls the cops on someone, you must accept that if the person is uncooperative or has a gun-like object in their hand, they may be killed by police who are required to subdue/disarm them until the investigation determines the gun is not a firearm or the firearm was not being handled illegally.

    What? No, seriously – WTF? I have to accept Shoot First, Ask Questions Later as part of the Social Contract? Are you high??




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  35. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    But the toy gun had been altered to remove the “I’m just a toy” marker, so the cop didn’t have a handy visual cue to tell him it wasn’t real.

    Ohio is an open-carry state, so open possession of a real gun is not against the law.




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  36. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    the cop didn’t have a handy visual cue to tell him it wasn’t real.

    Why don’t you just come right out and tell real criminals with real guns to paint the tip of their gun orange? I doubt that cops would use your orange tip as the deciding factor to subdue their inclination to fire first and ask questions later.




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  37. Rafer Janders says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Why did the police feel justified in shooting before issuing a warning, or (if they did) before the victim had any time to react to that warning? Hint: “They thought he had a gun” is not adequate grounds for execution.

    Especially since, as I note above, Ohio is an open-carry state. Walking around with a gun is perfectly legal in Ohio and in no ways cause for the police to shoot you.




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  38. Modulo Myself says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    The Baltimore PD has regulations that suspects are required to be seatbelted in vans. And yet despite being on the books for three years these regulations, apparently, aren’t being followed. What can you do against institutions which find it inhibiting to care about others?




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  39. Bob@Youngstown says:

    I pray that there are only a few cops that live by that combat Marine adage:
    “Kill’em all, and let God sort’em out”




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  40. humanoid.panda says:

    @Modulo Myself: Send people to prison. Sue them for millions. Put them under federal supervision. Fire their entire chain of command.

    I mean- we live in a country that managed, within a decade or so, to break Jim Crow once it put its mind to it. We know what needs to be done. We just don’t have the political will to do it.




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  41. James Pearce says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    he is presenting a false dichotomy

    When he’s not doing that, he’s introducing unrelated topics. “Hey, guys, why are you talking about Tamir Rice when we could be talking about Graeme Frost?”

    His reactive anti-leftism (the only coherent ideology I’ve seen the dude hold) pretty much means that whatever he’s saying now will be contradicted in another context.

    Imagine Jenos saying this about a gun-nut killed by cops for taking his AR-15 shopping:

    “But the toy gun had been altered to remove the “I’m just a toy” marker, so the cop didn’t have a handy visual cue to tell him it wasn’t real.”




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  42. the RAAAAACIST flag

    Anyone who spells/pronounces racist this way is not to be taken seriously, because they do not take racism seriously.

    It is something I am thoroughly sick and tired of.




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  43. KM says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    the cop didn’t have a handy visual cue to tell him it wasn’t real.

    Bull.

    Do you support then making it illegal to have a toy that’s so close to the real thing? Why not mandate they have to be bright florescent orange all over instead a tiny cap? After all, if it’s for “handy visual cues”, shouldn’t we be making it as obvious as possible? You’d think the NRA would be all over that…..




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  44. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Perhaps, then, you should add that to your Rules.

    And then you can not enforce that one, too…




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  45. Jenos Idanian says:

    I think we should ask our resident responsible gun-owner, anjin-san, what he thinks of realistic toy guns, and how important and helpful that legally-mandated orange tip is.

    I know a bit about guns, but I”m hardly an expert. I don’t even own any guns.




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  46. Modulo Myself says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Well, we broke Jim Crow but we let most of the perpetrators go and there were no Truth and Reconciliation committees going through American life and putting names to deeds. White America specifically rejected the truth in the same way that they rejected busing and the idea that normal people really enjoyed being superior to blacks. The worship of police silence and indifference is an outgrowth of that.




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  47. Jack says:

    @gVOR08:

    Tamir Rice was one of the people the police are supposed to protect and to serve. Many officers don’t seem to see it that way.

    “protect and serve”, that’s a good one. They protected and served the life right out of him.




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  48. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I think we should ask our resident responsible gun-owner, anjin-san, what he thinks of realistic toy guns, and how important and helpful that legally-mandated orange tip is.

    Again, who cares about the orange tip? Having a real gun out in public is perfectly legal in the state of Ohio, so even had the gun been real, and not a toy, that would not have been cause for the police to shoot him. People carry real guns on the streets of Ohio all the time.




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  49. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Rafer Janders: It’s not legal for a MINOR to possess a gun at all.




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  50. Ron Beasley says:

    Most police officers are not guilty of such transgressions. Here in Oregon all certified police officers have to attend the State Police Academy and about a decade ago the first week consisted of a psychological evaluation – on the average 30% of the candidates fail.




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  51. Ron Beasley says:

    Most police officers are not guilty of such transgressions. Here in Oregon all certified police officers have to attend the State Police Academy and about a decade ago the first week consisted of a psychological evaluation – on the average 30% of the candidates fail.




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  52. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I think we should ask …..how important and helpful that legally-mandated orange tip is.

    Sorry, Jenos. Since you won’t cut the shit, I did it for you.

    And now that I have done so, we can address the substance of your question, which is this:

    Tamir Rice wasn’t killed because he removed the legally-mandated orange tip from his toy gun. He was killed because the cops who shot him didn’t even bother to check for one.




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  53. @Jenos Idanian:

    Just a personal rule. The only thing that usage is good for is to settle the issue as to how much a person takes racism seriously. It is not clever. It is mocking rhetoric, and tedious at that. You want to make an argument about the subject or critique the applicability of race in a conversation, go right ahead. To make mocking noises is the stuff of children.

    And in regards to the TOS, anjin-san has a point: you are are frequently mocking and rude to other commenters. There is a certain famous saying about eyes, specks, and planks that comes to mind.

    (And, quite frankly, if I understand which comment you are upset about, it is a tad sarcastic, perhaps, but not unfair).




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  54. Jack says:

    @Stan:

    You’ve created a situation in which every American police officer spends his working life in deadly peril.

    Police officer;s jobs are not even in the top 10 of most dangerous jobs. The cops in this instance put themselves in danger by rolling up not 20 feet from their objective. Unfortunately, the default for cops these days is a simple, “I felt my life or the life of my partner, despite my bullet proof vest and tactical training, was in danger, so I fired on the suspect.” The facts no longer matter once that statement is uttered. The age, race, gender, lack of weapon, lack of intent, lack of ability to actually project fear by the target of the cops attention doesn’t matter. All that matters is what the cops say they felt, regardless of what officer actions may have directly led to the situation.

    Cops, who have become our default overlords, being held responsible for their actions is a result of the populace they are supposed to serve and protect being unwilling to actually hold officers accountable. And so, it will continue, unless and until the populace says enough, lets police know they are not a paid overlord, and relegates police back to a position where they must prove actual danger rather than “feelings”.




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  55. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    It’s not legal for a MINOR to possess a gun at all.

    So either (a) they thought he was a minor, in which case they shouldn’t have driven right up to him and shot him, or (b) they thought he was an adult, in which case it’s perfectly legal for him to have a gun, and they shouldn’t have driven right up to him and shot him.

    Is there some point this moron thinks he’s making? Because he’s kind of flailing right now.




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  56. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Texas will become an “open carry” state on January 1. I’m thinking of telling my wife that we’re not taking any trips to visit her friends there for a long time.




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  57. Jack says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    It’s not legal for a MINOR to possess a gun at all

    Wrong. It’s illegal for a minor <18 to possess a handgun, rifles can be owned and carried by a minor.

    http://smartgunlaws.org/minimum-age-to-purchase-possess-firearms-policy-summary/




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  58. An Interested Party says:

    And then you can not enforce that one, too…

    Ah look, the Conservative Victimhood Tour continues…you poor poor thing you…




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  59. Jack says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    Texas will become an “open carry” state on January 1. I’m thinking of telling my wife that we’re not taking any trips to visit her friends there for a long time.

    There are only 5 states (and DC) left (not including Texas) that do not have some form of open carry.

    http://www.opencarry.org/?page_id=103




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  60. mantis says:

    Having a real gun out in public is perfectly legal in the state of Ohio, so even had the gun been real, and not a toy, that would not have been cause for the police to shoot him.

    Exactly. And how much do you want to bet that if Rice had been a white man with a gun (fake or not), he would still be alive today? I think it’s quite likely that he would be.




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  61. anjin-san says:

    @Jack:

    rifles can be owned and carried by a minor.

    In fact, there are guns that are specifically manufactured for, and marketed to, children.

    I know, I know – it’s hard to believe that Jenos based an argument on something that is simply not true…




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  62. James Pearce says:

    @Jack:

    And so, it will continue, unless and until the populace says enough, lets police know they are not a paid overlord, and relegates police back to a position where they must prove actual danger rather than “feelings”.

    Right on, Jack. Good comment.




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  63. Jack says:

    @mantis:

    Exactly. And how much do you want to bet that if Rice had been a white man with a gun (fake or not), he would still be alive today? I think it’s quite likely that he would be.

    People who open carry don’t wave the gun around and point it at people. It’s in a holster or sling. Anyone that waves a gun around, real or fake, regardless of race, would have received the exact same response from this group of cops.

    The problem as I see it was, the cops didn’t wait to see a gun, they pulled up and fired claiming he was going for a gun/reaching for his waist. Imagine if Rice had left and another boy had shown up after the 911 call. The cops would have shot that boy too, because they showed up on scene with adrenaline pumping, gave no verbal warnings, and allowed no time for Rice to give any reasonable response.




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  64. Jack says:

    @anjin-san: Jenos didn’t make that argument…Rafer did at 16:33 in response to Jenos.




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  65. Jack says:

    @James Pearce:

    Right on, Jack. Good comment.

    Even a broken clock…

    Thanks.




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  66. mantis says:

    @Jack:

    Anyone that waves a gun around, real or fake, regardless of race, would have received the exact same response from this group of cops.

    In Cleveland? I doubt it. Maybe if he was waving the gun around when they arrived, but he was not.




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  67. Jack says:

    @mantis:

    In Cleveland? I doubt it. Maybe if he was waving the gun around when they arrived, but he was not.

    This is the same town that murdered two people because their car backfired and a police officer stood on their hood, emptied his gun, reloaded and emptied it again…and was found not guilty. Cleveland is far from the example of when it comes to exemplary policing.




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  68. anjin-san says:

    @Jack:

    Jenos didn’t make that argument…

    @Jenos Idanian:




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  69. Jack says:

    @anjin-san: My bad. You are correct.




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  70. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    No, Jack, I think you misread the sequence there. It was Jenos who claimed that minors couldn’t legally possess guns




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  71. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: Correct. I misread the sequence.

    Mea culpa




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  72. mantis says:

    @Jack:

    This is the same town that murdered two people because their car backfired and a police officer stood on their hood, emptied his gun, reloaded and emptied it again…and was found not guilty.

    Two black people.

    Cleveland is far from the example of when it comes to exemplary policing.

    If you somehow inferred that I was holding it up as an example of such, you are mistaken.




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  73. Tyrell says:

    @James Pearce: It would be good to have a procedure of a “cooling off”, wait and observe from a distance. That way the police can make better judgments about what to do. In some situations that may not be possible; a sniper, a kidnapper, someone choking a person, someone getting ready to detonate a bomb, or someone trying to hit people with a car. It could also inisvolve someone playing with a loud cap pistol or a gun that fires blanks. Those could present problems.




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  74. Tyrell says:

    @James Pearce: It would be good to have a procedure of a “cooling off”, wait and observe from a distance. That way the police can make better judgments about what to do. In some situations that may not be possible; a sniper, a kidnapper, someone choking a person, someone getting ready to detonate a bomb, or someone trying to hit people with a car. It could also could involve someone playing with a loud cap pistol or a gun that fires blanks. Those could present problems.




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  75. Jack says:

    @mantis: Police see blue and everything else. It doesn’t matter your color if you’re not wearing blue.




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  76. anjin-san says:

    Here we can see My First Rifle from Cricket Firearms, makers of quality firearms for America’s youth.

    Seriously Jenos, why don’t you go away for a while, get informed, and try to improve your attitude to the point where you can make a positive contribution to a discussion among adults on an important topic?

    We are taking about a dead child here. If all you have to offer is failed attempts to be clever and whining about your victimhood, GTF away.




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  77. Monala says:

    @Jack:

    Anyone that waves a gun around, real or fake, regardless of race, would have received the exact same response from this group of cops.

    Except for these people. And this woman.




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  78. mantis says:

    @Jack:

    Police see blue and everything else. It doesn’t matter your color if you’re not wearing blue.

    The facts say otherwise.




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  79. PJ says:

    Hmm…

    What was my comment in the Texas Open Carry thread.

    Don’t forget, a minority carrying a gun, or a toy gun for that matter, is always acting in a threatning manner. Because he or she is in the possession of gun which by itself is enough to make them act in a threating manner.

    Black kid with a toy gun. Murdered within seconds by cop. Murderer doesn’t get charged.




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  80. anjin-san says:

    @Jack:

    It doesn’t matter your color if you’re not wearing blue.

    Well, my own life experience as a white guy, and that of my black friends suggests otherwise.




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  81. dazedandconfused says:

    This post is seriously off-key for the discussion so far, but I’m make it anyway…

    Based strictly on what I read in the press:

    IMO city is going to pay big in a civil suit for the game of “telephone” that went down between the caller who said there was someone waving a gun that might be a toy and the dispatch for “active shooter”. I doubt that is news to anyone.

    The driver screwed up by placing his partner just a few feet away from what they thought was an “active shooter”, by the look of it. It may be found they thought they were picking up a possible civilian “in harms way” and sought to gather him up just as quick as possible but some of the statements made indicate the police in the car considered him a possible perp. This is not a minor screw up on the part of the driver. Additionally the toy was the Airsoft M9, deliberately made to look as real as possible for military and police training and sales to the entertainment industry. It’s so real looking it’s almost universal on movie sets the world over and this is a big factor in Airsoft’s sales. This may not be a great thing but that’s almost another discussion. In this case it just is what it is.

    To summarize: I think the cop who did the shooting is very likely the least responsible. A chain of screw ups put him in that position and the return of no indictment is easily understandable. The press generally doing an awful job of analysis these days but in this one it has been nothing short of abysmal. Anybody who talked to an experienced cop could have found all the above out in minutes yet there is nobody who has apparently done so. Their curiosity appears to be structured entirely around their ratings and clicks.




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  82. James Pearce says:

    @Tyrell:

    It would be good to have a procedure of a “cooling off”, wait and observe from a distance.

    Sure, but here’s a better suggestion: Punish cops who screw up.

    Cops who know there is wide latitude for reckless behavior tend to be somewhat reckless.

    It’s like sports. If the penalty for fighting is only 5 minutes in the penalty box, then fighting becomes a strategic part of the game. (Hockey) If the penalty for fighting is an immediate ejection and possibly a mutli-game suspension, then it won’t. (Football.)

    Same thing here. Every time a cop escapes indictment over a questionable shooting, it makes the next questionable shooting a matter of time.




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  83. Jack says:

    @James Pearce:

    Every time a cop escapes indictment over a questionable shooting, it makes the next questionable shooting a matter of time.

    Truer words have never been spoken.




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  84. Jack says:

    @Monala: @mantis: @anjin-san: Over 1000 people have been killed by cops this year alone. Your examples are a minority. Cops kill people because it’s what they are trained to do. They are told they are so important and that they will be lauded as heroes, some even get medals for killing people who were less of a threat than the flu virus.

    Again, the police see blue and then everyone else…well, they may see green if they can figure out a way to pocket some.




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  85. anjin-san says:

    @Jack:

    Over 1000 people have been killed by cops this year alone.

    How many of them were black? If the number is about 10%, you have an argument. if it’s more than that, not so much.




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  86. anjin-san says:

    As of 1 June, black Americans were more than twice as likely to be unarmed as white Americans when killed by police. At that point 32% of the 135 black people killed by police had been unarmed, compared with 15% of the 234 white people. This disparity has since shrunk, with 26% of the 248 black people and 18% of 490 white people being recorded as unarmed.

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/16/the-counted-killed-by-police-1000




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  87. mantis says:

    @Jack:

    Over 1000 people have been killed by cops this year alone. Your examples are a minority.

    I didn’t give examples, I gave statistics. You either didn’t bother to even follow the links or you’re just dismissing facts because they contradict your opinion.




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  88. Jeremy says:

    @KM: If you’re going to call the cops, yes. That isn’t the social contract, that’s just how cops operate, so you have to factor that in when you decide to call them.

    It really, really sucks, but there’s no way to escape it. Not until cops start behaving.




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  89. David M says:

    It’s amazing to see the number of Republican leaning comments here and elsewhere, that are somewhere between ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and “he deserved it”. They talk of freedom and borderline worship guns, but for some reason, this is an acceptable outcome. (Jack here is one of the few lone conservative voices not willing to cover for the police.)

    I think there should be more restrictions on gun ownership and transfers, and think open carry is dangerous, pathetic and uncivilized. However, it is the law, and under no circumstances should it be OK for the police to just roll up and immediately shoot someone, even if that person is armed.




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  90. Tyrell says:

    @James Pearce: “immediate ejection and possibly a multi game suspension” (football): sometimes, but not in the Panthers-Giants the other week .




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  91. Jeremy says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    “To summarize: I think the cop who did the shooting is very likely the least responsible.”

    Completely disagree. While I acknowledge and accept that a lot of other agents did bad and dumb things, he was the one to actually pull the trigger and kill that boy. It was his decision, his action. That means he’s the most responsible, not the least.




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  92. stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    You’ve made good posts on this, but every person killed by the Cleveland police over the last two years has been a black person. Then there is this:

    Fourteen of those departments — St. Louis, Atlanta, Kansas City, Cleveland, Baltimore, Virginia Beach, Boston, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Raleigh, Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia and Charlotte-Mecklenberg — killed exclusively black people this year.

    Those figures don’t lie, Jack. It is unarmed black people that is disproportionately earring the brunt of these police killings. But I’ll give your credit: you have part of the truth, and you are not 100 per cent in denial like Jenos, who never met a police murderer he wouldn’t defend.




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  93. More evidence against the notion that cops “only see blue”: Why white people see black boys like Tamir Rice as older, bigger and guiltier than they really are.

    From the piece:

    In one experiment, a group of 60 police officers from a large urban police force were asked to assess the age of white, black and Latino children based on photographs. The officers were randomly assigned to be told that the children in the photographs were accused of either a misdemeanor or felony charge. The officers overestimate the age of black felony-suspected children by close to five years, but they actually underestimated the age of white felony-suspected children by nearly a year.

    Not the same thing as the issue of who gets shot, but tangentially relevant (and it speaks the way race is a key variable here).




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  94. stonetools says:

    Quite frankly, even worse than the murderous police misconduct as far as I’m concerned is the complicity of the prosecutors. McGinty is either a stone cold racist, or a police bootlicker, or both. Frankly, I don’t care which he is . What I do know is that he has totally violated his duty as a prosecutor to see that justice his done, as well as the canons of the legal profession. Neither he , or anyone on his team should be a prosecutor for even one more day. The good thing is that he is facing election soon. Every thinking voter in Cuyahoga County should run to the polls on that day to vote this man out . The sad thing is that he was in a position to stab the Rice family in the back and further stain the already tarnished reputation of Cleveland “law enforcement”.




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  95. bill says:

    @Rafer Janders: i think you got that backwards…..liberals and “responsibility” are like water/oil.

    side note, they should do all these verdicts in crappy weather, keeps the trouble makers at bay.




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  96. DrDaveT says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    To summarize: I think the cop who did the shooting is very likely the least responsible.

    Nonsense. He executed an unarmed child with no provocation.

    Let me repeat that — with no provocation. Tamir Rice, even if he had been carrying a real gun, was not doing anything illegal in Ohio. There is simply no excuse for killing people for doing things that wouldn’t even be against the law if they were doing what you (incorrectly) thought they were doing.




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  97. DrDaveT says:

    @stonetools:

    McGinty is either a stone cold racist, or a police bootlicker, or both.

    I think the phrase you’re looking for is “accessory after the fact”.




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  98. James Pearce says:

    This disparity has since shrunk, with 26% of the 248 black people and 18% of 490 white people being recorded as unarmed.

    Interesting stats there. Although, I will say this: These numbers would warn me off the racial angle somewhat.

    The racial disparity is concerning, of course, but this clearly shows that twice as many white people are being killed as black people. One might be tempted to wonder (using the Guardian’s numbers) why these figures don’t line up more clearly with population figures, but consider: why would they? Just because 62% of the population is white doesn’t mean that 62% of the “people killed by cops” should also be white. (Or that only 38% of “people killed by cops” should be minorities.)




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  99. Hal_10000 says:

    I wish I could say I’m surprised but I saw this coming a mile away. The statements by police. Statements by prosecutors. I mean, they hired an expert witness — Kim Crawford — who once said it was justified for a sniper to shoot an unarmed woman in the head who was standing in the door of her own home carrying a baby (Vicki Weaver). The fix was in from day one.




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  100. DrDaveT says:

    @bill:

    i think you got that backwards

    No, you believe (or perhaps feel) that he got that backwards. Thinking clearly has nothing to do with it.

    You might try it sometime, though. Think past the cliches to actual instances of people making grotesque mistakes that got lots of people killed, or displaced, or impoverished. Who made those decisions? Did they accept responsibility (and the consequences of that) for it?

    For the last 35 years or so, the people screwing up on a large scale and never admitting it have been Republicans. The closest I’ve seen was when W said that he “accepted full responsibility” for the post-Katrina cock-up… but of course he didn’t actually go on to suffer any negative consequences or do anything to make up for it, so it hardly counts.




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  101. James Pearce says:

    @Tyrell:

    “immediate ejection and possibly a multi game suspension” (football): sometimes, but not in the Panthers-Giants the other week .

    No doubt. That was ridiculous. But Beckham was suspended and it was upheld. The league continues to frown on non-football-related violence.




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  102. Guarneri says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Dr Taylor

    Those are fine sentiments. I would note, however, that mocking, name calling, rudeness, mind reading, intentional misrepresentation etc are so widely prevalent in the comments section here that to single out this fellow or fellowette jenos seems unwarranted in the extreme.

    To your point concerning racism being taken seriously, racism is a charge thrown about so frequently and in such cavalier fashion here – a simplistic attempt at disqualifying their debating opponent – as to disqualify a rather healthy portion of the commenters from the notion they consider the issue a serious one.




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  103. anjin-san says:

    @Guarneri:

    I’m always so impressed when a white guy dismisses the fact of racism…




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  104. dazedandconfused says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Nonsense. He executed an unarmed child with no provocation.

    Rubbish. The “toy” was specifically designed to look like the real thing, and his partner screwed him by driving him right in there close. He wasn’t trained to just roll up on an active shooter like that, and that is what the dispatcher told them was happening. No shots fired and nobody told 9/11 that any had been is what the reports all say.

    I think you missed my point and are confusing explaining with advocacy. Chill.




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  105. James Pearce says:

    @Guarneri:

    racism is a charge thrown about so frequently

    @anjin-san:

    the fact of racism

    I know this is an unpopular thought in this polarized age, but these two seemingly contradictory thoughts strike me as both true.

    For instance–

    The Guardian has been compiling a database of people getting shot in the United States. They record the state, the gender, the age, the ethnicity, as well as certain circumstances of the shootings (whether the deceased was armed, how they died), but what’s missing? Income statistics, information on their educational backgrounds, their employment history, mental health state, etc.

    Whether we want to admit it or not (and we should) these are probably the more significant factors in these shootings. How many millionaires did the police shoot? How many college graduates? Are police shooting a disproportionate number of minorities, or are they shooting a disproportionate number of poor people, many of whom are minorities?




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  106. Stan says:

    According to the Guardian, see http://tinyurl.com/q9krt3c, in England and Wales, combined population 56.9 million, there were 55 fatal police shootings in the last 24 years. In the US, population 316.1 million, there were 59 fatal police shootings in the first 24 days of 2015. If the reason for this disparity isn’t the insane number of guns in the hands of the American public, what is it?




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  107. Gustopher says:

    Since we aren’t going to prosecute the police in most of these cases, perhaps we should be pragmatic and go for a different approach: treat police shootings like airplane safety.

    The NTSB requires very comprehensive reports on aviation accidents and errors, with a general philosophy of correcting methodologies rather than disciplining anyone, except in the most egregious cases, or when someone has falsified a report.

    The data collected then gets fed back into the training, to reduce accidents and incidents in the future. As a result, we have some of the safest air travel in the world (plus some security theater, courtesy of DHS).

    It would need to be over a large area to get enough data — federal makes the most sense, possibly with divisions based on the makeup of the counties (rural policing and urban policing are different). Since police departments aren’t federalized, we would have to use a big stick to get compliance from the departments. Probably a big carrot too (federal government insuring against police misconduct, for departments following the training guidelines)

    It wouldn’t give any justice to victim’s families, and it would create a pretty strong formal divide in how the law is applied for police and non-police, but, if we assume that police are generally trying to do their job safely and well, it can guide them towards a reduced rate of shootings and abuse a lot faster than playing whack-a-mole and indicting one in ten cops who deserve it.




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  108. Pch101 says:

    @Stan:

    According to the Guardian, in England and Wales, combined population 56.9 million, there were 55 fatal police shootings in the last 24 years. In the US, population 316.1 million, there were 59 fatal police shootings in the first 24 days of 2015. If the reason for this disparity isn’t the insane number of guns in the hands of the American public, what is it?

    Beat cops in England and Wales don’t carry guns, either. (They need to call in a specialty unit when they require artillery for backup.) Not to say that the cops are all sweetness and light there, but that does force them to be a bit less aggressive.




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  109. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    From my experience as a criminal law clerk, the main problem is that there is no official “compensation” for the fact that police are put in situations where they can screw up badly much more often than regular people.

    As a result courts and persecutors have created an unofficial system of stretching the process to the benefit of officers wherever possible. Since that “system” does not have any clear guidelines or clear determinants of when a screwup would “still be ok-ish” and when it is “way over the top” this leads to a lot of cases of unacceptable behaviour that just slide through.

    Unfortunately just as with the question of efficient punishment there is absolutely no will either by society or the public to look at things dispassionately, determine a certain level of screwup we are willing to live with and make rules in accordance with that. Instead we pretend that everything is perfect and leave an unregulated shadow system in the hopes that it will work out somehow.




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  110. Mikey says:

    @Stan:

    According to the Guardian, see http://tinyurl.com/q9krt3c, in England and Wales, combined population 56.9 million, there were 55 fatal police shootings in the last 24 years. In the US, population 316.1 million, there were 59 fatal police shootings in the first 24 days of 2015.

    @Pch101:

    Beat cops in England and Wales don’t carry guns, either. (They need to call in a specialty unit when they require artillery for backup.) Not to say that the cops are all sweetness and light there, but that does force them to be a bit less aggressive.

    German police are all armed and they had 109 fatal police shootings between 1998 and 2014, in a population of around 80 million. And that’s on a steady slope of decline: the last two years of that time frame, there were only eight.

    Of course, unlike America, Germany isn’t so inundated with guns that police would immediately assume a man pulling his wallet out of his pocket is actually pulling a gun.




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  111. gVOR08 says:

    @stonetools:

    Every thinking voter in Cuyahoga County should run to the polls on that day to vote this man out .

    Cuyahoga County is 64% white. Do you really believe the prosecutor didn’t have the next election clearly in mind?

    Doug started this with an OP on how the law should treat these cases. I’d suggest an officer involved shooting should have a prosecutor from the state’s AG office, as Doug reports NY is considering, and an automatic change of venue.

    WAPO reported we’ll have around a thousand fatal police shootings this year. The overwhelming majority will have been well justified. A mandatory review by the state AG, and an out of town court if it comes to it, should be able to deal with those routinely and fairly. There would still be, I suspect, a strong pro-cop bias, but not as bad as our present set up.




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  112. Rafer Janders says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    He wasn’t trained to just roll up on an active shooter like that, and that is what the dispatcher told them was happening. No shots fired and nobody told 9/11 that any had been is what the reports all say.

    Not “an active shooter” — as you yourself say, there was no reports of shots fired, so at best they had a report of a person with a gun — and as has been repeatedly noted, having a gun out in public is not a crime in Ohio.

    They treated it like an active shooter situation, but they had absolutely no reason to do that — no one had reported gunshots.




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  113. humanoid.panda says:

    @James Pearce: I don’t sure if any statistics on this exist, but I do know this. I was a graduate student and am now a post-doc at a large urban campus on the East Coast. I am a large (250 pounds) shaved-headed, formerly muscular and now mostly flabby guy, usually dressed in a very sloppy way. I was not once detained or harrassed by our campus police. I have African American colleagues who are very careful about grooming and appearance- and they get detained constantly. Again, anecdotes are not data, and its very possible that “walking while Black” and “driving while black” are simple urban myths, but if they aren’t, shootings are just the tip of the spear.




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  114. C. Clavin says:

    We have a gun problem.
    We have a race problem.
    Until we decide we are going to own up to both of these things, and begin to address them, more black kids are going to die needlessly. And white cops will continue to skate.




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  115. humanoid.panda says:

    @Mikey:

    Of course, unlike America, Germany isn’t so inundated with guns that police would immediately assume a man pulling his wallet out of his pocket is actually pulling a gun.

    +1,000.

    Given realities in the US, the basic implicit assumption of proponent of mass arming the citizenry is that cops will never shoot the right kind of person, and if the wrong kind of person gets killed- they must have had it coming.

    <Now, for sure, this feeling is not universal: Jack seems to be someone who is both fanaticallly pro-gun and genuinely appaled at police violence. Still a)this is a minority position. and b) it ignores social reality that when you combine legitimate fear for their lives police officers feel while policing a super-armed society and the realities of racial bias, police shootings (and less stringent acts of violence) hitting innocent minorities disproportionately are inevitable.




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  116. anjin-san says:
  117. James Pearce says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    I was not once detained or harrassed by our campus police.

    Well, then your campus police weren’t doing their job. (Wocka wocka.)

    In all seriousness though, you do have a point.

    I would add that I, a white guy of similar stature and body type, have been detained and harassed by cops. In my pre-car youth, I was stopped a couple of times walking around the neighborhood, once while carrying a toy laser tag gun. (I would estimate I was Tamir Rice’s age at the time.) This continued after I got my first car, a 71 Plymouth Duster, steering wheel a mile wide, bench seats, AM radio. One time I got pulled over for “a cracked windshield” but the cop was just sniffing me out to see if I was up to no good. My youth and economic situation put a target on my back.

    I’ve largely aged out of that and now have a vehicle that was obviously bought on credit. The cops don’t come sniffing around anymore. It would be nice if minorities were afforded the same opportunity.




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  118. Pch101 says:

    @Mikey:

    A cop in Germany typically receives three years of training:

    http://www.dw.com/en/why-german-police-officers-rarely-reach-for-their-guns/a-17884779

    The LAPD has some of the best trained cops in the US (by US standards), and its academy term is six months.

    I doubt that it’s just the guns. A fair number of police in the US just aren’t very good at their jobs, including some who are trigger-happy or too inclined to use force.

    It probably doesn’t help that the American idea of a well-trained cop is one who is steeped in paramilitary training. A fair number of them are ex-military. We shouldn’t be surprised that some of them are overly aggressive — police culture here tolerates and even encourages it, then protects its own when civilians pay the price for the excesses.

    In many other countries, policing is managed at the national, state or some other higher level of government, whereas much of it in the US is local. So I would expect the US quality of training and screening to also be a lot more inconsistent, just as is the case with our locally run public schools.




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  119. Mikey says:

    @Pch101:

    A cop in Germany typically receives three years of training

    This does not surprise me at all–many (if not most) training programs for para-professional jobs in Germany are three years long.

    I doubt that it’s just the guns. A fair number of police in the US just aren’t very good at their jobs, including some who are trigger-happy or too inclined to use force.

    No doubt. Still, even the good ones have to keep in mind that any seemingly-routine traffic stop can turn into a life-or-death situation in moments. This isn’t true in most of the world.

    In many other countries, policing is managed at the national, state or some other higher level of government, whereas much of it in the US is local.

    Police in Germany are organized almost exclusively at the state level. If you’re in a city in Bavaria, the police uniform won’t have the city seal, it will have the seal of Freistaat Bayern.




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  120. Pch101 says:

    @Mikey:

    Still, even the good ones have to keep in mind that any seemingly-routine traffic stop can turn into a life-or-death situation in moments.

    In Tamir Rice’s case, they drove right up to him and started shooting. I’m not a cop and I may be missing something, but that looks like an indication of a cowboy mentality and/or incompetence. Even if they had every reason to believe that Rice was an armed adult suspect, it would have been more appropriate to begin by assessing the situation and attempting to talk him down.




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  121. DrDaveT says:

    @Gustopher:

    Since we aren’t going to prosecute the police in most of these cases, perhaps we should be pragmatic and go for a different approach: treat police shootings like airplane safety.

    Won’t work. Everyone genuinely wants to prevent air disasters; the only quibble is about how to balance costs (and profits) against safety.

    The police genuinely do not care about killing black citizens. There’s no balance point to find; they will accept any number of Tamir Rices to avoid even one dead cop, or even to avoid hassle about how they deal with genuine inner-city crime.

    If cops felt as bad about killing unarmed blacks as they would feel about accidentally killing their neighbor’s dog, they’d be working to help fix the problem.




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  122. David M says:

    I also have a problem with the line of logic that Loehmann didn’t have a choice about shooting Rice after his partner made a mistake by stopping so close. Or that the shooting was more understandable because the dispatcher made a mistake and didn’t let the officers know it was probably a toy gun.

    No, if the cops make mistakes, they should bear the consequences of their actions, not random 12 year old children. They shouldn’t be allowed to just shoot someone if they only reason they feel threatened is their own mistake.




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  123. gVOR08 says:

    @David M: I’ve always felt that issues like “felt threatened” or from the afluenza case “knew right from wrong” are basic flaws in the legal system. It’s basic management practice that you reward and punish people for what they DO, not what they think, or more accurately what you think they think. If the standard is whether the officer felt threatened, all he has to do is say he felt threatened.




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  124. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08: The standard isn’t whether the officer felt threatened, but whether a “reasonable person” would have felt threatened in the same situation. If someone comes at me waving a Nerf bat and I shoot him dead and then declare I felt my life was being threatened, I’ve no doubt jail time would be in my future, because it’s not reasonable to believe a Nerf bat is a deadly weapon.

    This standard is not without its problems, but it is at least an attempt to apply some objectivity.




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  125. humanoid.panda says:

    @Pch101:

    It probably doesn’t help that the American idea of a well-trained cop is one who is steeped in paramilitary training. A fair number of them are ex-military. We shouldn’t be surprised that some of them are overly aggressive — police culture here tolerates and even encourages it, then protects its own when civilians pay the price for the excesses.

    What we saw in Cleveland had nothing to do with military or paramilitary training: no trained military unit would just surge into a tactical situation without stopping to gather intel and evaluate situation, and just start shooting. At best, this is a drug cartel muscle MO..




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  126. bill says:

    @DrDaveT: your myopic views aren’t helping- if liberals were responsible they wouldn’t be liberal anymore…..
    what group of voters sides more with the irresponsible crowd than liberals?
    and katrina is a prime example- the people who live under sea level, scoffed at evacuating and then blame the gubmint for what happened to them?! i think Haitians take more responsibility than that……and that’s not saying much.
    speaking of screwing up an entire race of people, what have liberals (via the democrat party) actually done for blacks since the 60’s? i mean aside from destroying them as a group?

    side note, how’s the “ferguson effect” going? i see baltimore has the highest murder rate now- they earned it though.




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  127. gVOR08 says:

    @Mikey: Is it that the officer in question ‘felt threatened’ or ‘a reasonable person would have felt threatened’? I don’t know. I’ve not seen it described as reasonable person. None of the discussion I recall seeing mentioned a reasonable person standard, just that the benefit of the doubt goes to the officer. IIRC many of the ‘stand your ground’ laws are written as ‘felt’, not ‘reasonable person would have felt’. Anybody out there know how the relevant statute in OH is phrased?




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  128. Pch101 says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    A Cleveland cavalry unit identified and eliminated a target, allowing Cleveland forces to reoccupy territory that had been claimed by the enemy.

    The idea that Tamir Rice was a citizen who was entitled to the benefits of police protection as are other citizens didn’t enter into it. This is about command and control, the sort of thing that one would expect from an occupation force.




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  129. gVOR08 says:

    @DrDaveT:

    For the last 35 years or so, the people screwing up on a large scale and never admitting it have been Republicans.

    That does seem to be true.The country seems to operate on a bipartisan consensus that once you reach a certain level of status, you’re immune to consequences. The principle applies to both parties, but boy howdy it does seem like Rs have done most of the big time screwing up lately. Although I don’t know that many of the banksters who deny responsibility for 2008 weren’t Dems, at least at the time.




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  130. DrDaveT says:

    @Mikey:

    The standard isn’t whether the officer felt threatened, but whether a “reasonable person” would have felt threatened in the same situation.

    Granting that as fact for the moment, is the “reasonable person” a racist? A sexist?

    If Tamir Rice had been Gretchen Buckner, 12-year old blond white girl with an air pistol, there would never have been any police incident at all. Given all other facts of the situation identical — same 911 call, same dispatcher message, same responding officers — young Gretchen might have been given a stern talking to, but her parents would probably never have learned that anything had happened. Not unless her little sister ratted her out.

    …which leads to the inescapable conclusion that Tamir Rice was killed for being black and male. Anyone claiming that the police acted reasonably here is implicitly saying that they are OK with that.




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  131. DrDaveT says:

    @bill:

    what group of voters sides more with the irresponsible crowd than liberals?

    Well, let’s see:
    Who sides with hedge fund managers, CEOs, and market manipulators?
    Who sides with murdering cops?
    Who sides with overreacting cowardly anti-libertarians?
    Who sides with “don’t tax, spend anyway” policy-makers?
    Who sides with promoters of ever greater wealth inequality?
    Who sides with the ostrich-head-in-the-sand approach to climate change?
    Who sides with suppressing research on the public health impact of gun laws?
    Who sides with maximizing the number of unwanted an unaffordable children in the US?
    Who sides with enshrining racism and sexism, rather than fighting them?

    Compared to the ones who side with “a lot of people are poor and unskilled for reasons beyond their control”, it’s pretty clear who is more irresponsible.




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  132. Mikey says:

    @DrDaveT: I don’t believe the police response here was even remotely close to meeting the “reasonable person” standard. Most significantly, Loehmann fired as he was exiting the vehicle. How could he possibly have had time to make ANY reasonable determination of a threat? He simply did not. And yet, he is somehow not subject to any criminal sanction.

    Unfortunately, grand juries in these cases are led, by prosecutors who have an inherent conflict of interest, to replace a true “reasonable person” standard with an “any judgment a police officer makes is by default reasonable” standard.




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  133. DrDaveT says:

    @Mikey:

    I don’t believe the police response here was even remotely close to meeting the “reasonable person” standard.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that I thought you did. I saw after I’d posted that it could be read that way. I wasn’t ranting at you; I was ranting at the Jenoses and JKBs of the world who would have a totally different opinion about this case if it had been a little blonde girl — and don’t see a problem with that.




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  134. An Interested Party says:

    speaking of screwing up an entire race of people, what have liberals (via the democrat party) actually done for blacks since the 60’s? i mean aside from destroying them as a group?

    I love it when conservatives make this argument…how is it that black people consistently support a political party that has “destroyed” them? You must think they are pretty stupid, eh? Meanwhile, all the GOP seems to want to do for black people is to make it as hard as possible for them to vote…




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  135. dazedandconfused says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Not “an active shooter” — as you yourself say, there was no reports of shots fired, so at best they had a report of a person with a gun — and as has been repeatedly noted, having a gun out in public is not a crime in Ohio.

    You misunderstood me. I wrote about the story changing between the call and what the dispatcher told the police, which was in the first part of the conversation with DaveT. That’s what the reports say happened. The police in the car thought they were going to an active shooter scene.




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  136. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Seriously Jenos, why don’t you go away for a while, get informed, and try to improve your attitude to the point where you can make a positive contribution to a discussion among adults on an important topic?

    Your voice of calm reason would hold a smidgen more weight if the vast majority of our interactions did NOT commence with you making some crass and/or vile personal insult to me. The two most recent examples are from this thread — “Ah, Jenos has no problem with yet another black child who was going about his lawful business being shot dead.” — and the Bill Clinton thread — “Shorter Jenos – “I can’t get laid, so I will project my anger on Bill Clinton”… “

    I don’t happen to mind the insults; I consider the source, and remind myself “anjin’s just being his usual asshole self, trying to divert me from the topic again.” But it really makes your “voice of calm reason” hypocrisy stand out in such stark relief.

    But on the topic, someone with a bit of actual knowledge of the general subject matter has a somewhat different take on the matter. Mr. Owens notes that young Mr. Rice’s age was not immediately apparent to the police officer, but what was apparent was an adult-sized figure (5’7″ tall, 200 lbs weight) pulling what very much looked like a real gun.

    Owens notes that the three elements most often cited — Rice’s age, the communication between the 911 dispatcher and the officers, and how much (or little) time passed between the cruiser stopping and the officer firing are all, in his own words, “red herrings.” They are not only irrelevant, but the continued emphasis on those elements is fundamentally dishonest.




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  137. Jenos Idanian says:

    And on the subject of racism, might I offer a few suggestions to show that you take racism seriously?

    1) Don’t use racism as your default explanation for everything when race might be a factor.

    2) Don’t use accusations of racism to try to shut up people who disagree with you.

    3) Don’t see racism in every single possible instance and insist that it’s the only possible explanation.

    Theodore Dalrymple could very well have been talking about the commentariat here:

    There is no racist like an antiracist: That is because he is obsessed by race, whose actual existence as often as not he denies. He looks at the world through race-tinted spectacles, interprets every event or social phenomenon as a manifestation of racism either implicit or explicit, and in general has the soul of a born inquisitor.




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  138. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Mr. Owens notes that young Mr. Rice’s age was not immediately apparent to the police officer,

    That was not Mr. Rice’s fault.

    but what was apparent was an adult-sized figure (5’7″ tall, 200 lbs weight) pulling what very much looked like a real gun.

    …which could have been perfectly legal for him to do, had he been an actual adult with an actual gun in the State of Ohio. I’m sure that was mentioned, oh, 9 or 10 times up above.

    Does Mr. Rice’s large size for his age also explain why the cops gut-shot him and then watched him bleed out without offering medical assistance? Do you not feel that their actions after the shooting might provide incite into their attitudes prior to the shooting?

    Unless you can seriously claim that this would have played out the same way had Mr. Rice been a white girl, you have no basis for whining about people rubbing your nose in the stinking racism implicit in the events.




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  139. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    but what was apparent was an adult-sized figure (5’7″ tall, 200 lbs weight) pulling what very much looked like a real gun.

    Once again, Ohio is an open-carry state, so being an adult with a gun out in public is not even cause for the police to detain someone, much less drive right up to them and shoot them in less than two seconds.




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  140. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    but what was apparent was an adult-sized figure (5’7″ tall, 200 lbs weight) pulling what very much looked like a real gun.

    Yes, I’d forgotten the Ohio statute that it’s perfectly legal for the police to execute any adult-sized people.




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  141. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Mr. Owens notes that young Mr. Rice’s age was not immediately apparent to the police officer,

    Oh, if only there had been some way for the police to determine young Tamir’s age! Like, for example, pulling up a distance from him and talking to him…..

    Note, also, how this creep refers to a twelve-year old boy as “Mr. Rice” instead of Tamir in an effort to make him seem older than he was.




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  142. Rafer Janders says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    The police in the car thought they were going to an active shooter scene.

    No, they didn’t. At worst, they thought they were going to a scene where someone had a gun out and was pointing it at people, but not shooting. There were never any reports of gunshots, it was never relayed to the officers that anyone was actually shooting. All they thought was that someone was allegedly brandishing a weapon at people, but when they arrived on the scene Tamir was alone and the toy was in his waistband.




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  143. Tyrell says:

    There needs to be development and use of new technology that would make control and intervention safer and more effective. Special devices that emit strong light rays or sound frequencies that can safely immobilize a person, special netting that can be launched from a safe distance, and a device that can immobilize a gun.




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  144. gVOR08 says:

    @Tyrell: Yeah. Like tasers. Emmanuel says he’s going to get the Chicago cops more tasers. That means the Chicago cops will torture people with tasers if there might be too many cameras around to shoot them.

    Is this like the conservative response to AGW after denial plays out? We should wait for a technical solution mañana rather than do something today?




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  145. @Jenos Idanian:

    The problem is that race is rather incontrovertibly a variable here.

    Interestingly, the issue you keep harping on age how old Tamir Rice appeared to be and how it may have figured into the shooting, links up to social science research on race that I noted above.

    If, in fact, people are prone to assume that blacks are older than whites, and if such assumptions lead to actions (as you yourself are arguing in this thread) then that is a clear illustration of how assumptions linked to* race lead to dire outcomes.

    Racism is not just (or even mostly) people going around in hoods or people using racial epithets. It is about how perceptions of race are embedded in the society and how they influence actions, typically to the detriment of those in given racial categories.

    Indeed, well beyond the one study linked above, the social science is pretty overwhelming that whites tend to find black threatening, even when there is no rational basis for being scared.

    (*edited for clarity)




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  146. Pch101 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Ohio is an open-carry state, so being an adult with a gun out in public is not even cause for the police to detain someone, much less drive right up to them and shoot them in less than two seconds.

    To be fair, it’s probably quite illegal in Ohio to brandish a gun. It’s legal to carry a gun, but not at all legal to point it at people or wave it around in public or otherwise use it to intimidate. The open carry argument isn’t a particularly good one.

    But in any case, you’re wasting your breath. The conservative movement in today’s America is a movement of denial: climate change doesn’t exist, racism doesn’t exist, blah blah blah doesn’t exist. Their method of dealing with things that they dislike is to pretend that it isn’t there.

    It’s also a movement that simultaneously claims to care about freedom while having no regard for due process when they believe that criminals (read: minorities) would benefit from it. They want to believe racist thoughts while simultaneously avoiding the label of being racist, which only fuels the feedback loop of cognitive dissonance that encourages them to make arguments that make no sense at all.




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  147. Rafer Janders says:

    @Pch101:

    To be fair, it’s probably quite illegal in Ohio to brandish a gun. It’s legal to carry a gun, but not at all legal to point it at people or wave it around in public or otherwise use it to intimidate. The open carry argument isn’t a particularly good one.

    True, it’s illegal to brandish one, but (a) when the police drove up to Tamir, the toy (not a real gun) was in his waistband, not in his hands and was not being pointed or waved around or used to intimidate, and (b) even if someone is brandishing a gun, the correct response is to talk to him first, not immediate execution.




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  148. Pch101 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    I’m certainly not defending what the cops did, but they did have reason to believe that Rice may have been brandishing at one point. As the cops had heard that it may have happened but didn’t witness it themselves, that would have provided them with the legal justification (called “reasonable suspicion”, which is a notch below “probable cause”) to briefly detain and question Rice as part of their initial investigation.

    Of course, the cops shot first and asked questions later. There was no investigation. If Rice had been a 50-year old white guy with an pro-NRA baseball cap and anti-Obama t-shirt, then you know that the right-wing outrage machine would be in high gear railing against this outrageous police attack against gun rights, but hey, he was just a negro.




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  149. gVOR08 says:

    @Pch101: I’ve said for a long time that conservatism is largely a game of make believe. Lets pretend W Bush was presidential, let’s pretend giving money to rich people helps the country, let’s pretend poor people caused the ’08 financial crisis, let’s pretend racism ended when Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act, let’s pretend Benghazi was somehow Hillary’s fault, let’s pretend Trump is telling hard truths, let’s pretend Obama is divisive, and on, and on.




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  150. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The problem is that race is rather incontrovertibly a variable here.

    “Incontrovertibly” is a very strong term. I don’t think that it applies here.

    Is there an admission on the part of the officer? Does he have a history of racial animus? Does the city have a policy that says that shooting blacks is more OK than shooting whites?

    What I suspect you’re basing that on is statistics. Let me extrapolate what I believe bases your use of the term:

    Statistically, police are more likely to shoot blacks than whites in similar circumstances. And that increased likelihood is well outside the margin of error, and indicative of a real problem. Given that evidence, you are applying the general to the specific, and saying that even in the absence of some concrete proof, this cop was acting in a racially-motivated manner when he shot this kid.

    I’ve always understood that you can’t apply statistics to individual cases with any degree of certitude. For example, the (now-debunked) myth that 1 in 4 women in college will be sexually assaulted during their college career. Does that mean that if you ask four female recent college graduates which one of them was raped, you will get one affirmative answer?

    As I said, I take racism seriously. And I will not dilute its seriousness by using it as a go-to explanation; I expect actual proof before I will levy that judgment.




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  151. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    And on the subject of racism, might I offer a few suggestions to show that you take racism seriously?

    Why don’t you take racism seriously before lecturing others? Your only response to racism is to ignore or dismiss it, and ridicule those concerned about it, so forgive us if we do not consider you a thoughtful authority on the subject.




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  152. Rafer Janders says:

    @Pch101:

    As the cops had heard that it may have happened but didn’t witness it themselves, that would have provided them with the legal justification (called “reasonable suspicion”, which is a notch below “probable cause”) to briefly detain and question Rice as part of their initial investigation.

    Oh, absolutely. They had grounds for a brief reasonable detention, but no more than that.




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  153. bill says:

    @DrDaveT: well, let’s see!

    Who sides with hedge fund managers, CEOs, and market manipulators? Like hillary’s son in law? that says enough right there. you can toss in the vast support she gets from wall st. at any time.
    Who sides with murdering cops? liberals think it’s fine to murder cops, just ask tarantino……
    Who sides with overreacting cowardly anti-libertarians? what does that even mean?!
    Who sides with “don’t tax, spend anyway” policy-makers? we have enough tax revenue, we spend too much.
    Who sides with promoters of ever greater wealth inequality? that’s a myth, this is America, where anyone can be successful……if they try and try……get it?
    Who sides with the ostrich-head-in-the-sand approach to climate change? awesome, the agw thing, is that still a thing?
    Who sides with suppressing research on the public health impact of gun laws? it’s all available on google- gun deaths are down by nearly 50% since the early 1990’s. it’s not that hard to find real facts online.
    Who sides with maximizing the number of unwanted an unaffordable children in the US? vs. just killing them due to being irresponsible with their bodies? it’s not like getting pregnant is the worst thing that can happen due to unprotected sex….
    Who sides with enshrining racism and sexism, rather than fighting them? it’s America, racism is over- we elected a black president and women have more rights here than anywhere in the world. why else does everyone want to live here?! nice try though, textbook liberalism




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  154. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    As I said, I take racism seriously.

    Sure you do. That’s why you think it only exists when it is official policy or a direct confession of racism by an individual. Nonsense.

    You also continue to ignore the research that shows police consistently overestimate the age of black youths, despite the fact that Steven has pointed this out and reminded you of it in the comment to which you just responded. I guess because it isn’t official policy, that sort of racism isn’t real. It gets people killed, but it isn’t real.

    You do not take racism seriously. To you it is clearly nothing but a joke.




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  155. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Does the city have a policy that says that shooting blacks is more OK than shooting whites?

    Um, in practice, yeah, absolutely. Just because a policy isn’t written down in an official document doesn’t mean that it doesn’t dictate actual practice.




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  156. gVOR08 says:

    @Jenos Idanian: For the sake of discussion let’s take your argument at face value. At best your conclusion is that we do not have legal proof of racism although you concede a high probability of racism. Which gets you where? We’re a blog comment thread, not a court of law. Nice straw grasp.




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  157. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’ve always understood that you can’t apply statistics to individual cases with any degree of certitude.

    Hilarious. I see that this moron’s grasp of math is as tenuous as his grasp of…well, everything else.




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  158. David M says:

    It’s kind of weird that someone would end up vociferously defending the actions of both George Zimmerman and Officer Loehmann. I wonder what the similarity between the cases could be, that would cause someone to be OK with the minors being killed.




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  159. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Does the city have a policy that says that shooting blacks is more OK than shooting whites?

    During Jim Crow, there were no laws on the books saying African Americans couldn’t vote, or could be murdered for interacting with White women. Therefore, racism did not exist. QED, libtards!




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  160. humanoid.panda says:

    And of course, we have this:
    http://gawker.com/white-militiamen-are-trying-to-provoke-a-war-with-the-f-1750471652

    A genuine terrorist groups bragging about having snipers ready to fire on law enforcement, aiming at the overthrow of the American government, an order of magnitude larger than anything ISIS can ever produce in this country in terms of organization, and with contacts with the mainstream political world (Rand Paul, a US Senator, was openly supportive of Bundy). And yet, they are all alive, and free, and Tamir Rice is dead, and people on the internet are saying he was a clear and present threat.




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  161. gVOR08 says:

    @David M: @humanoid.panda: But, but… didn’t that all end when the Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act?




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  162. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    you making some crass and/or vile personal insult to me. The two most recent examples are from this thread — “Ah, Jenos has no problem with yet another black child who was going about his lawful business being shot dead.” — and the Bill Clinton thread — “Shorter Jenos – “I can’t get laid, so I will project my anger on Bill Clinton”…

    Well, have you said anything that would lead us to think that you have a problem with the Tamir Rice shooting? Perhaps you could point it out. Everything you have said leads me to believe that you think Rice was at fault and the cops acted properly, except perhaps from driving up a tad too closely to him. You seem far more outraged that commentators on OTB are discussing racism that you are by the fact of the shooting death of a 12 year old boy who was playing in the park. So, I have not insulted you, just made an observation, and an accurate one at that.

    As for my other comment, I guess you don’t realize that your repeated use of an expression like “lady parts” is kind of a tell 🙂




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  163. anjin-san says:

    @mantis:

    You do not take racism seriously.

    Worse than that, he perpetuates it. Think back, if it’s not too painful to do so, to Jenos’ comments on Treyvon Martin. According to him, Martin was enraged because he felt that George Zimmermann had “dissed” him. Enraged to the point were he morphed from a kid on a candy run into a homicidal maniac who actually taunted Zimmermann about his impending death as he bashed his skull in. There was also his ongoing insistence that Martin was some sort of physical prodigy who could easily overpower a grown man. And let’s not forget his linking to a fake Treyvon Martin “Thug Life” page.

    How many thousands of words did Jenos devote to perpetuating racist myths about black males? Martin’s inner murderer was just waiting to come out if he was “dissed” – he had amazing physical attributes that a non-black male could not compete with. He was a thug.




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  164. An Interested Party says:

    Who sides with enshrining racism and sexism, rather than fighting them? it’s America, racism is over- we elected a black president and women have more rights here than anywhere in the world.

    Still waiting for an explanation as to why black people overwhelmingly support a political party that has “destroyed” them…




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  165. @Jenos Idanian:

    The problem is that race is rather incontrovertibly a variable here.

    “Incontrovertibly” is a very strong term. I don’t think that it applies here.

    A young unarmed black male was killed by the police while doing nothing wrong. Yes, rather by definition “race is rather incontrovertibly a variable here.” The fact that you don’t understand this is the problem.

    This is not to say that the police officer is a member of the KKK or drops n-bombs. But, again, as I noted, the age study is relevant as are the reams of social science on this topic.

    The fact of the matter is that the odds Tamor Rice would be dead now would be lessened had he been white means that yes “race is rather incontrovertibly a variable here.”

    Racism is far more complex than the following cartoon you are presenting:

    Is there an admission on the part of the officer? Does he have a history of racial animus? Does the city have a policy that says that shooting blacks is more OK than shooting whites?

    If it was that easy then yes, racism is dead. But, of course, that is an absurd position.

    @mantis: is correct: “you think it only exists when it is official policy or a direct confession of racism by an individual. Nonsense.”

    Nonsense, indeed.

    (It is why you can do the mocking business I noted earlier–you don’t understand what you are talking about).




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  166. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tyrell: Like tasers and bean bags? You’re right; if only law enforcement agencies had such equipment…




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  167. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: You’re right, I’ve reconsidered. There may not be any evidence that this cop in question is a racist and was motivated by racism, but statistically it’s a pretty good bet, and even if he isn’t one, he looks a lot like those who are, so we should make an example of him, pour encourager les autres.

    The biggest problem with racism is that it sees people as what they are, not who they are. It devalues their individuality and instead assigns them traits based on shallow stereotypes and prejudices. So the best way to deal with institutionalized racism in law enforcement is to just treat all cops as guilty until proven innocent. All them blue suits are all alike, anyway.

    Can I get a “Hands up, don’t shoot” from the choir?




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  168. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian: This isn’t a guy who was “innocent until proven guilty.” This is a guy who shot a child for playing in a park within seconds, violating standard police procedure, lied about it, didn’t provide any medical care to the dying kid, and then tackled and handcuffed his 14 year old sister!




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  169. @Jenos Idanian:

    is to just treat all cops as guilty until proven innocent

    How about an actual process to determine guilt or innocence? Such a concept, I know. One of the problems in these cases (time after time) is that there is no trial.




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  170. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Your obsession with making sure no one is ever called a racist now involves excusing police officers for killing a 12 year old child. I’m not why that sentence doesn’t cause you to think what that says about your values.




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  171. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @David M: Because Jenos lives in a logic- and values-free universe. Sorta like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.




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  172. dazedandconfused says:
  173. Tyrell says:

    One idea to change the system would be to de-centralize the police and turn the whole thing over to the various neighborhoods and districts. The departments would then be independent and would not have to answer to a bunch of bureaucrats and big city political machines. They would recruit officers from their own areas and develop policies and procedures that would best fit and work the in their area. This is one way to change things from the ground up.
    We see and hear a lot of protests and dissatisfaction from people. That is fine, but at some point protest must turn into realistic, constructive, and workable changes. That is how progress is made.




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  174. Tony W says:

    @Tyrell: Decentralization and local politics is a big part of how we got into this mess. If anything we need more centralization and accountability and uniformity of procedure – not less.

    Of course a federalized police force also wouldn’t be so susceptible to the kind of racial hijinks we’ve seen since Reconstruction. It’s also a non-starter for exactly that reason.




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  175. Pch101 says:

    @Tyrell:

    Yeah, because small town cops are widely regarded for their professionalism *cough*.




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  176. Pch101 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Jenos made it quite clear on this thread that he didn’t understand statistics. At all.

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/facts-donald-trump-dont-need-no-stinkin-facts/

    He also inadvertently revealed the mindset of the hard right. Even though blacks are the most likely members of American society to be victimized by homicide, Jenos believes that the priority should be on targeting blacks instead of protecting them. In his world, whites are crime victims, blacks are crime perpetrators.




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  177. Jenos Idanian says:

    To those who brought up the “open carry” law in regards to this case, I actually read an expert on guns and gun laws, and he brought up some very good points.

    The first was that “open carry” means that one can openly carry a handgun in a holster or other manner that is readily visible to the public. It does NOT mean one can carry a handgun tucked into one’s waistband, occasionally flashing it or pointing it at other people — both of which Tamir Rice is seen doing on video. That falls under “carrying a concealed weapon” and “brandishing a firearm.”

    @Steven L. Taylor: How about an actual process to determine guilt or innocence? Such a concept, I know. One of the problems in these cases (time after time) is that there is no trial.

    Such as, say, an investigation by the County Prosecutor, who then determines if it should go to a grand jury? There was. Yes, there were issues with how the investigation was conducted, but the evidence they presented was pretty damned clear. And while the cop had issues with his generally, in this particular case he was determined to have acted appropriately.




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  178. Pch101 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    It does NOT mean one can carry a handgun tucked into one’s waistband, occasionally flashing it or pointing it at other people — both of which Tamir Rice is seen doing on video.

    Er, Tamir Rice didn’t have a handgun.




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  179. Grewgills says:

    Jenos, are there any set of circumstances where a white cop* shoots a black man or minor and the da fails to gain an indictment where you would not defend the da and the cop?
    Are there any cases where you will concede racial bias absent a specific declaration of racist intent by a perpetrator(s)?

    * or any white or apparently white person




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  180. @Jenos Idanian: The funny thing about this protracted discussion, to go along with my recollections of the protracted discussion of Trayvon Martin’s shooting, is that which you got all offended by above seems perfectly fair, to wit this from anjin-san:

    Jenos has no problem with yet another black child who was going about his lawful business being shot dead.

    All you seem to do every time one of these events happens (and there are a large number of said events) is defend the shooter.




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  181. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Grewgills: Jenos, are there any set of circumstances where a white cop* shoots a black man or minor and the da fails to gain an indictment where you would not defend the da and the cop?

    I’ve brought up this case several times. I’ve also spoken out about the shootings of Walter Scott and John Crawford III. (I don’t want to trigger Moderation through excess links, so feel free to Google up the particulars of those cases.)

    Can you cite cases where a white police officer (or other white person) shot a black person or a minor where you thought it was justified?




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  182. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I don’t choose the cases, sir — you and your peers do. And in the three cases most often cited — Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and now Tamir Rice — my opinion coincides with the determination of the legal authorities, who present the evidence that led them to their conclusions.

    And in each case, the regular commentariat all focus on the races involved, as if that is the most important factor. “Hands up, don’t shoot” has been proven to be a complete fabrication, let it’s still used as a rallying cry. Some of the most damning evidence in the Martin case was blatantly fabricated — the edited 911 call where Martin’s race is mentioned, the photos showing the injuries Martin inflicted. And here, there is a whole diversion about “open carry” laws that do not apply at all to Tamir Rice’s conduct.

    If you selected cases that were more “black and white” about being “Black and White.” then I wouldn’t feel obliged to point out that there are far more relevant facts in the situation than the relative melanin levels of the principals involved. And if the people arguing the “racist” angle would stop lying, I would stop correcting them.




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  183. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    but the evidence they presented was pretty damned clear

    It was. A young child was playing with a toy in the park. The 911 call was cause for concern and caution, but not more. The cops drove up much to close to Rice and came out with guns blazing. They assaulted his sister, who is also a child. They made no effort to give Rice medical aid as he bled out.

    Pretty damn clear indeed.




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  184. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Hands up, don’t shoot

    Has anyone mentioned “Hand up, don’t shoot” on this thread other than you?




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  185. Pch101 says:

    @anjin-san:

    Has anyone mentioned “Hand up, don’t shoot” on this thread other than you?

    Poor Jenos doesn’t have a good argument, so a strawman will have to do.




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  186. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: A young child was playing with a toy in the park.

    Inconvenient facts: it was a 5’7″, 200-lb. child playing with a toy gun that had been altered to look like a real gun walking around with the toy gun tucked in his waistband, whose idea of “playing with” was to flash it and aim it at people. And when the police pulled up, he went to pull the gun out of his waistband (where it was concealed by his hoodie).

    But all that is apparently trumped by his age and race, which are FAR MORE IMPORTANT than the above, because anjin-san won’t discuss them. Instead, he wants to focus on the age and race angles.

    You’re a responsible gun-owner, anjin. Don’t you think it was irresponsible of Tamir RIce’s parents to let him have a toy gun which had the “hey, I’m a toy! I’m not a real gun!” orange tip removed? To not tell him that it was irresponsible (if not downright dangerous) to act like it’s a real gun around other people who don’t know it’s a toy?




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  187. anjin-san says:

    @anjin-san

    @ Jenos – please show me where I mentioned Tamir Rices race in my summary of events above.




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  188. anjin-san says:

    @ jenos

    Do you know for a fact that Rices parents “let him have” a modified tou gun, or that they never told him there were rules about toy guns? Please produce credible cites.




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  189. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Sorry, anjin, in the spirit of reciprocity, I’m adopting your beloved tactic of always asking questions, and not answering any.

    Now for that, I will cheerfully provide cites — your own comments. I dunno if I’d consider them “credible,” but you ought to accept them.




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  190. anjin-san says:

    So after all this talk, let’s summarize:

    Jenos has no problem with yet another black child who was going about his lawful business being shot dead.




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  191. Pch101 says:

    @anjin-san:

    Protecting white people who carry guns from black kids who aren’t carrying guns is the sort of argument that get heads nodding down at the klavern. Not that Jenos is a racist or anything…




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  192. DrDaveT says:

    @Tyrell:

    One idea to change the system would be to de-centralize the police and turn the whole thing over to the various neighborhoods and districts.

    Stepping away from the main themes of this thread for a moment, I want to focus on this.

    This is a recurring theme of the right: that everything is managed better (less corruptly, more intelligently, more reasonably, with more nuance, with more accountability, etc.) at the local level. The federal government is inept and/or corrupt and/or pursuing some weird un-American agenda, preventing local folks everywhere from doing the right thing.

    This is… so far wrong that I’m having trouble finding the words to express how wrong it is. All of the evidence we have indicates that the exact opposite is true, everywhere, without fail.

    That said, local corruption tends to invariably favor the local elite. In most of the nation (and without exception outside of large cities) that elite is white and male, and treats other white males better than it treats non-whites and women. As a result, interference by higher levels of government tends to make things worse for white males, who were benefiting indirectly (or not so indirectly) from the local machine.

    So, for the posters who keep asking why poor white males tend to side with Republicans, here’s an actual argument that doesn’t require active racism or sexism on the part of those poor white males. It only requires ignorance and/or indifference; America has lots of both.




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  193. anjin-san says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I remember years ago I happened to overhear a lunch meeting of the local PD “citizens review committee” (which consisted entirely of police and city government insiders). The subject of discussion was complaints that the police department was using seized drug money to pay off lawsuits against the department, something that is actually illegal in California.

    The general tenor of the meeting was “who the f**k do these people think they are telling us how to conduct our business?” Mind you these are – supposedly – public servants. They are cops, and they are breaking the law, and they are furious that anybody questions their actions. And this is in Marin County, with an affluent, educated and generally well informed population. If there was any respect for the law, the taxpayers/voters, or the public good, I could not detect it. All in all, a stunning display of arrogance and entitlement.

    It was a pretty sobering thing to hear, and my confidence in cops has not been the same since.




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  194. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Not what I said at all, anjin. Not even close.

    I find myself wondering about what you spend more time doing: misinterpreting what other people say, or complaining about other people misinterpreting what you refuse to say? Seems like a pretty even split…




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  195. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: No offense taken. And don’t worry, I didn’t believe those rumors about you and anjin. I’m sure those sheep were all of age and consenting…




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  196. anjin-san says:

    @Pch101

    I see Jenos decided to let his creep flag fly.

    Must be because he had the flu for Christmas…




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  197. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    Of the three you mentioned only in the case of John Crawford case was there not an indictment. That one, at least, fit the parameters I asked for. It is refreshing that in at least one case you can see that an unindicted police shooting of a black man was a miscarriage of justice. Do you think race played a role in that case? Did the police or prosecutors act in bad faith, or do you place most of the blame on the 911 caller?

    The police shootings of black (white or any other ethnicity) that I find justified tend not to get national press coverage. Where I live we have a lower gun death rate than France. Strict gun laws and the least porous border of any state will help with that. There were very few officer involved shootings or deaths here. I think we are near the bottom in the nation for that as well (maybe 4 last year). All of them are splashed all over the news for days and none in my memory over the past five years here have been racially motivated.




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  198. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Grewgills: This is, theoretically, a dialogue, not a cross examination. I answered your question, in a way you acknowledge was responsive, and asked you a question in return. You came back with more questions.

    You wanna have a dialogue, or you wanna be another anjin? I gotta tell you, putting up with one is already more than enough.

    If you’d like an alternate question, then why hasn’t there been similar outrage over the shooting of Andrew Thomas? A completely unjustified shooting by a police officer. Is it because it very well could have been inadvertent to the point the cop himself didn’t even know he’d pull the trigger? Is the fact that Thomas was a drunk driver make him less sympathetic a victim?

    Or was Thomas’ skin color the aspect that means his death at the hands of a cop isn’t as outrageous?




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  199. Pch101 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Improving the quality of your comebacks must not be on your list of new year’s resolutions.




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  200. Grewgills says:

    Jenos, there has been a lot of protest over Thomas, but the fact that his actions killed his wife* has made him a less sympathetic figure. Him being a drunk driver also doesn’t help. That doesn’t make the shooting justified, but it makes him less sympathetic than a kid playing in a park.

    I answered your question, in a way you acknowledge was responsive

    You did pad your answer with two irrelevant cases.

    and asked you a question in return. You came back with more questions.

    You wanna have a dialogue…

    I answered your question and posed questions that your answer raised in response. That is rather the definition of dialogue.

    * Why did you leave out that particular?




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  201. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian: @Grewgills:
    The fact that the officer in the Thomas case is now going to be charged is also pertinent information that you left out.




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  202. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: Demonstrate you’re worth any more effort, and I’ll reconsider.




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  203. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Grewgills: I was not aware that Officer Feaster has been charged, and a casual search didn’t turn up news of that. Throw me a link?

    As far as other details I omitted… I didn’t think them relevant. The guy was climbing out of a wrecked car, and the cop shot him. His hands were visible, he had no weapons, and was not acting or speaking in a threatening manner, and the cop shot him anyway. I don’t see any relevance in the other details.

    Unlike the Ferguson case, where Brown’s actions were clearly and obviously and blatantly a direct threat to the cop’s safety. But Brown’s shooting sparked a major movement, while Thomas’ death… not so much.




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  204. Pch101 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    So now it’s my fault that you’re an idiot?




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  205. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    He led a high speed police chase, rolled his car and that led directly to the death of his wife. Do you really not see that his actions killing his wife makes him a less sympathetic figure?
    That doesn’t make the cop right, but it does go a long way to explaining why fewer people are lining up to protest for him, though quite a few have protested.
    Additionally there isn’t an apparent pattern of behavior with the police in general or in his area preferentially targeting people like him for increased scrutiny or violence.
    If you can’t figure out why all of that would lead to less wide spread protests then there isn’t much I can do for you.
    I’m in a rush now, but there are several accounts from about a week ago indicating that he DA is going to seek an indictment now that Thomas died. I believe the charge will be negligent manslaughter. I don’t think there will be any difficulty in getting the indictment.

    Unlike the Ferguson case…

    Brown’s actions at the time he was shot were not “clearly and obviously and blatantly a direct threat to the cop’s safety” and certainly not his life. Additionally, as the justice department investigation showed, there was a clear pattern of biased scrutiny and enforcement against African American residents of Ferguson. If you can’t understand why that pattern matters, then again there isn’t much I can do to help you.

    Now back to the questions you ignored:
    Do you think race played a role in the Crawford case? Did the police or prosecutors act in bad faith, or do you place most of the blame on the 911 caller?




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  206. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: Your stupidity is not your fault. Your ignorance and senseless belligerence, however, is.




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  207. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: But let’s cut through the asinine insults. I drew a parallel — one that a lot of others have. You reject it. You wanna give a few reasons why you reject it, or just show how stupid you are?




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  208. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Grewgills: Thomas was in no way, shape, or form posing any kind of a threat to the cop or anyone else at the point he was shot. The argument you are making sounds like the cop’s shooting him was a form of vigilante justice, and I sincerely hope you are not trying to make that case.

    For Brown, he had attacked and attempted to kill the cop, then fled, then had turned and was charging back at the cop. (See the autopsy report — except for the contact wound to his hand, all his wounds were to the front.) The cop also was firing while retreating from Brown. (See the pattern of shell casings leading from the cruiser back away from Brown.)

    I put blame on the 911 caller in Crawford because he lied to make the cops think there was a serious danger at the scene. He, essentially, did the same as a lot of anti-gun nuts are saying people should do in response to open carry — call the cops and say there’s someone here with a gun and I feel threatened.

    Now you want some blunt truth on the Tamir Rice case? His death was a tragedy. It didn’t need to happen, and it never should have happened. He made a series of very bad choices that led to his death, and his parents (or whoever was legally responsible for him) should be punished for letting that happen.

    His bad decisions?

    1) Playing with a toy gun that had the orange tip removed.

    2) Going around outside and treating that very real-looking gun like a real gun.

    3) Repeatedly flashing that very real-looking gun at strangers.

    4) Repeatedly pointing that very real-looking gun at strangers.

    5) Trying to pull that very real-looking gun when confronted by the police. (In the video footage, the gun is in his waistband when the cops pull up, but was on the ground next to him after the shooting. It didn’t just fly there on its own.)

    And here’s one more very ugly truth: the NRA has a very, very good gun safety program for kids. Had Tamir Rice been allowed to attend their training, he would have been told just how bad those choices were, and what the possible consequences might be. But letting the NRA have access to children? Never gonna happen in the Democrat-owned enclaves like Cleveland, Chicago, DC… places that need that sort of program more than anywhere else.




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  209. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Grewgills:

    The fact that the officer in the Thomas case is now going to be charged is also pertinent information that you left out.

    ’m in a rush now, but there are several accounts from about a week ago indicating that he DA is going to seek an indictment now that Thomas died. I believe the charge will be negligent manslaughter. I don’t think there will be any difficulty in getting the indictment.

    Local tradition around here says that I should point out the contradiction between your first statement — “will be charged” — and your followup saying “indicating” and call you a liar, reprobate, serial litterer, and kicker of puppies. But I don’t like those traditions, and instead say “thank you” for the update, and hope that the rumors that the cop will be charged will turn out to be true.




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  210. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    You asked why there weren’t any protests for Thomas’ shooting. I pointed out that
    1) there were and continue to be protests and
    2) pointed out why Thomas was less sympathetic (his actions directly led to his wife’s death

    The argument you are making sounds like the cop’s shooting him was a form of vigilante justice

    Do you seriously believe that was the argument I was making or were you just looking for a diversion?

    For Brown, he had attacked and attempted to kill the cop,

    That is a ridiculous exaggeration. The cop had a red mark on his face that might have come from a punch. There wasn’t even any raised bruising. To say that was any real threat to life requires an amazing amount of dishonesty or ignorance.

    then fled, then had turned and was charging back at the cop. (See the autopsy report — except for the contact wound to his hand, all his wounds were to the front.) The cop also was firing while retreating from Brown. (See the pattern of shell casings leading from the cruiser back away from Brown.)

    By all accounts he was over 20 feet away, the cop had pursued and was still between Brown and the car.

    I put blame on the 911 caller in Crawford

    So, you don’t think their was malfeasance on the part of the cops or prosecutors?

    @Jenos Idanian:
    Going to be charged and DA will be seeking indictment aren’t appreciably different statements. Nice try at a diversion though.




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  211. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Grewgills: It seems that every time I try to be amiable with you, you double down on the assholishness. Should I just forgo the attempts at civility in the future?

    Brown attacked a cop and went for his gun. When that failed, he fled, then turned back and ran back towards the cop. You think he was going back to apologize?

    And yeah, I misrecalled the finer details of the Brown case. The cop chased after Brown after Brown attacked and attempted to kill him, but was backing away when Brown turned and charged.

    And while I agree that Mr. Thomas was a thoroughly unsympathetic character, he was shot when he was absolutely no threat to anyone. He was struggling to climb out of a wrecked car when the cop shot him for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

    And even if it was an accident, the cop then tried to cover it up. He sure as hell should be charged.




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  212. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    It seems that every time I try to be amiable with you, you double down on the assholishness. Should I just forgo the attempts at civility in the future?

    If you forego the ridiculous exaggerations, I won’t be harsh calling you on them.

    after Brown attacked and attempted to kill him

    It’s this type of wild exaggeration that gets you called out. The cop lied about several particulars. The only person saying Brown tried to grab the gun was the cop. I see no reason to take his word. What we have actual evidence of is some redness on the side of the cop’s face with no raised bruising. The cop stated that he was hit with such force that he feared another blow could incapacitate or kill him. Given his appearance afterward this is a gross exaggeration on par with “Brown tried to kill him.”

    And while I agree that Mr. Thomas was a thoroughly unsympathetic character, he was shot when he was absolutely no threat to anyone.

    I don’t disagree that the cop that shot Thomas deserves to be charged and should be charged with more than negligent manslaughter.
    The thing is, you didn’t ask if I thought he should be charged. You asked why there weren’t protests and implied that it was because he was white (because people only care about black people getting killed?). I answered pointing out that there were/are protests and explained why they probably weren’t as high profile as some other cases. You responded by implying I was defending the cop when any reasonable reading of what I wrote doesn’t give even the vaguest impression that that was the case. You then accuse me of being the asshole.
    You still haven’t answered if you think race was a factor in the Crawford case or if you think the police or prosecutors act in bad faith in that case.




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  213. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Grewgills: The evidence is irrefutable that Brown attacked the cop and struggled for his gun. Brown’s hand wound was a contact wound, the cruiser had tons of powder residue all over the interior, the bullet was lodged in the cruiser’s interior, and Brown’s DNA was on the gun. There is no other plausible explanation for all that physical evidence.

    And let me reiterate, one more time before I call it a night: the Ferguson shooting was the ustified shooting of a bad person, and it sparked a whole series of riots, for which little was done to the rioters. The Paradise shooting was the totally unjustified shooting of a bad person, that has not sparked any large-scale public protest about the cop killing someone. I have several theories as to the discrepancy, but the one that seems most likely is that the people who got so upset about Brown’s death bought in to the “yet another racist cop kills an innocent black man” story so hard that they have to do all they can to keep the narrative going.

    The drunk driver in Paradise is a far, far better example of the police killing someone unnecessarily, and then trying like hell to cover it up. But because the dead guy was white, he doesn’t fit the “racist cops” angle, so it’s discarded. Which leaves the unfortunate impression that they only care when cops kill blacks, whether or not it’s justified, and don’t care as much when cops unjustly kill whites.

    Or, in simpler words, “Black Lives Matter.” Other lives… not so much.

    I shouldn’t have to spell this out, but you seem to want to take things personally, so I will: I am not ascribing this to you, personally. I am ascribing it to the movement in general, and I could also hang it on a few around here. If you want to embrace it, do so freely and of your own volition — I am not hanging it on you.




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  214. anjin-san says:

    @Grewgills:

    What we have actual evidence of is some redness on the side of the cop’s face with no raised bruising.

    And this is after he claims he suffered blows to the face that were of such force that he claimed to have feared that another would kill him. The only way someone is going to swallow that story is if they really, really just want to believe Wilson, or they know absolutely nothing about the reality of street fighting.




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  215. Grewgills says:

    the Ferguson shooting was the ustified shooting of a bad person, and it sparked a whole series of riots, for which little was done to the rioters

    The DA in Ferguson did not follow common procedure. The way he presented the case to the grand jury indicates he did not want an indictment. If there had been a trial we could have learned whether or not the shooting was justified, a mistake but one that didn’t rise to the level of criminal, or a criminal act. As it stands we can’t get a real determination. From the evidence I have seen when Brown was actually shot and killed, it looks like Wilson chose to pursue Brown alone on foot against proper procedure and gunned Brown down at a distance of 20′ or more after suffering a wound so minor that there was no raised bruising.
    This acted as a spark that ignited protests after years of police abuse that came to light because of that protesting. It wasn’t just that there was a shooting. It was the shooting and apparent blue line defending Wilson after years of discriminatory scrutiny and enforcement of the African American community in Ferguson.
    That the shooting of Thomas wasn’t justified isn’t what is being argued here. We agree that the shooting was unjustified. The argument is over the level of protest over the killing of Thomas vice the killing of Rice (and now Brown). The pertinent points that you continue to downplay are that 1) Thomas’ reckless behavior killing his (ex?)wife made him a less sympathetic figure to unite around and 2) there isn’t a history of discriminatory scrutiny and enforcement against people of Thomas’ ethnicity in Paradise CA. Both of those things matter no matter how much you think they shouldn’t. No matter how strongly you wish these incidents would be flattened out to only look at a single incident, context matters.
    You are very enamored of the job the police and da did in Ferguson in determining that officer Wilson’s actions were justified. Why aren’t you similarly impressed with the findings of the justice department with regard to law enforcement in Ferguson? You choosing to see this as some sort of ‘reverse racism’ illustrates a willful ignoring of context.
    Do you really not see that there is a history of discriminatory behavior by the police that continues to this day? Can you not see that that discriminatory behavior has created the tinder that these sparks ignite? To use that analogy further: In Ferguson there was a massive amount kindling waiting for even the smallest of sparks. In Paradise there was a relative dearth of kindling, so even a large spark wasn’t likely to light it. No matter the relative wrongness of the law enforcement action in any single specific instance, when people respond context matters.
    For more TL/DR clarification that context matters. If Anjin were to make a petty error of fact in an argument with you, you would respond differently than if I made that same error, and differently again if it were Pinky. Your history of dealing with commenters, or even categories of commenters, colors your response to the exact same specific ‘injustice’. That is because it isn’t just that single ‘injustice’ you are responding to. You are responding to that injustice in the context of a pattern of behavior.




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  216. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: The only way someone is going to swallow that story is if they really, really just want to believe Wilson, or they know absolutely nothing about the reality of street fighting.

    Once again, anjin, your argument fails because you elide (that’s fancy speak for “lying by omission”) over a crucial fact and misrepresent (that’s fancy speak for “lying by commission”) the facts of the matter.

    It wasn’t a “street fight.” The cop was sitting, seat-belted, into his vehicle while Brown was attacking him through the open window. Brown was punching the cop in the head and grabbing for his gun. Only you — or another complete idiot — would not consider the cop’s life to be in imminent danger.

    Speaking of complete idiots… didn’t you argue that the cop should have used his pepper spray to protect himself? That he should spray Brown in the face while Brown had his upper body shoved through the vehicle’s window, inches away from the cop’s own face? In a very confined space? Where the spray would incapacitate both Brown and the cop?

    Oh, yes, you did argue that, didn’t you?

    Oh, look… one of the few times you said something of substance, and it was both incredibly stupid and it’s come back to bite you on the ass. No wonder you normally avoid saying things of substance.




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  217. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    It wasn’t a “street fight.” The cop was sitting, seat-belted, into his vehicle while Brown was attacking him through the open window.

    Yes, that’s a “street fight.” Duh.

    Street fighting is hand-to-hand combat in public places, between individuals or groups of people.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_fighting

    Brown was punching the cop in the head and grabbing for his gun.

    In his grand jury testimony, Wilson said he was being punched in the face, not the head. When yo have to lie to support your argument, you are making a lousy argument.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/11/25/why-darren-wilson-said-he-killed-michael-brown/




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  218. anjin-san says:
  219. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: jIn his grand jury testimony, Wilson said he was being punched in the face, not the head.

    Oh, look, the guy who turns into a whiny little bitch when someone calls him on semantics wants to draw a distinction between “punched in the head” and “punched in the face.” “Face” is a part of the head.

    And you’re still not defending your argument that the Ferguson cop should have used his pepper spray inside his cruiser? Instead, you’re pretending you never said it? Oh, I am shocked.

    Finally, about the “minor in possession of a gun” thing. Yes, a minor can possess certain firearms. More specifically, rifles and long guns — utterly irrelevant to this case. Minors with handguns? Not allowed.

    Further, no one is legally entitled to carry a handgun in their waistband, covered by a shirt, occasionally flashing it or pointing it at other people. That is not within the legal definition of “open carry.” So we can drop that myth in the making.




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  220. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    wants to draw a distinction between “punched in the head” and “punched in the face.” “Face” is a part of the head.

    It’s actually a very important distinction when you are discussing fighting. Blows to the face tend to cause visible damage. Wilson said he was struck in the face multiple times with life-threatning force. Such titanic blows to the face would leave him looking like he had been hit by a truck and in almost certain need of emergency medical treatment. As it was, he looked like he had perhaps been licked by a rambunctious puppy. He himself said he was hit several times in the face. It’s a transparent lie.

    A punch to other parts of the head will tend not to leave any visible marks, especially on someone with a full head of hair. Punching someone in the skull is actually an excellent way to break your hand.

    It’s not wonder you empathize so with George Zimmermann. You both sound like mama’s boys who’s only experience with fights is running away from them. You both think you know something, but in reality have no clue how clueless you are.




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