Results 1 to 12 of 12
12-29-2015, 10:57 #1Lieutenant
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
Is there a magic bullet to reduce police misconduct?
Imagine if the first bullet in a cop's chamber were a blank bullet. Would this approach save lives?
What if a police department adopted this approach as standard procedure. Or, better yet, if legislation mandated this requirement for state and local police departments. Would it help save lives?
Police in Britain, Ireland, Norway, Iceland and New Zealand typically do not carry weapons at all when they are patrolling the streets. Surely, crimes in those countries are no less threatening than what we experience in the U.S.
The idea is not to ban guns from the police departments here. Rather, it is to require that the first bullet in the chamber not be a live bullet.
Nonbelievers will say the hazards of entering a violent situation require an immediate and forceful response. True. They will say police officers often must make split-second decisions. True again. And they will say that "the bad guys" carry guns. True once more. However, we must allow police the opportunity to assess a situation and decide if a nonlethal approach is preferable. The knowledge that the first bullet in the chamber is a blank could provide that opportunity. If a police officer needs a live round, the second bullet stands ready.
The benefit of this approach outweighs the burden. The list of lives lost as a result of police conduct, or misconduct, is too great to ignore.
For example, Rumain Brisbon was shot by police in Phoenix after police misidentified his medicine bottle for a gun. He left behind four children. Akai Gurley was shot in a public housing stairwell by a police officer in New York. Gurley did not pose a threat, and in a statement New York police Commissioner William Bratton called him "a total innocent." Or take the case of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was shot by the police in Cleveland. Tamir was holding a BB gun. Advance warning most likely would have prevented his death. Unfortunately, there are many other victims, most notably, 18-year-old Michael Brown who was shot by police in Ferguson, Mo., because he looked "like a demon."
Which brings me to the shooting death by a Chicago police officer of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, captured on a police video that was released to the public Tuesday because of a judge's order. There are many questions concerning the events leading to his death on Oct. 20, 2014, as well as the events that followed.
McDonald's death is a tragedy on many levels. First, it highlights the failure of the Chicago Police Department to respond to a conflict situation in a professional and humane manner. There was simply no reason for the police officer, Jason Van Dyke, to shoot.
The video shows McDonald walking away from not one police officer, but several. McDonald did not have a gun in his hand. Rather, he had knife with a 3-inch blade. A police Taser or a police dog might have been an appropriate response in this case. Our police need to be fully trained to de-escalate situations, not escalate them.
Second, McDonald's death highlights the need for transparency and accountability. Why did it take a judge's order to prompt Mayor Rahm Emanuel, State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and police Superintendent Garry McCarthy into action? No doubt Cook County Circuit Judge Franklin Valderrama carefully weighed the decision to release the video. His decision carries on the tradition of transparency made famous by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis' statement, "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants"
Finally, McDonald's death highlights a breach of the public trust by our political leadership. Why did Alvarez wait so long to charge Van Dyke? Her obligation is to protect the citizens of Cook County, not the Chicago Police Department. Why did Emanuel fail to insist on transparency in the midst of his mayoral campaign last spring? This failure calls into question his priorities for Chicagoans. And why is McCarthy still leading the Chicago Police Department when his policies continue to be a complete and utter failure?
There is something troubling about charging Van Dyke with first-degree murder. The charge may pacify the masses into the false belief that he will face the scales of justice. The danger, however, is that the scales have been tipped by overcharging Van Dyke. For a first-degree murder conviction, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Van Dyke intended to kill or do great bodily harm to McDonald. This sets up a perfect defense for Van Dyke, namely that he did not intend to kill or do great bodily harm. If just one juror accepts this defense, Van Dyke will be found not guilty and walk free.
An independent federal investigation is needed — and should be led by an investigator who is free from political influence and who has the power to investigate the mayor's office, the state's attorney's office and the police department.
Caught in the middle of all of these cases involving police conduct are the decent officers from all walks of life who put their lives on the line to earn an honest living.
But Chicago will not begin to heal until there is accountability and transparency. If there is to be a silver lining in the death of Laquan McDonald, let it be shown through the power of the people who seek change and justice for all.
Arthur Acevedo is an associate professor at John Marshall Law School.
Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune
12-29-2015, 11:28 #2Rookie
- Join Date
- Jul 2011
Is There A Magic Bullet To Reduce Police Misconduct?
12-29-2015, 11:32 #3Lieutenant
- Join Date
- Nov 2010
More disappointing drivel from an academician. This is pure politics from someone who knows, as a professor, his words will be taken as legal analysis. Brown was not shot because he "looked like a demon." He was shot because he assaulted the officer, fought for his gun, and continued to fight even once the firearm discharged, representing a threat to the officer and others. He references the kid shot with the BB gun without mentioning how difficult it is to discern a real gun from a toy when the business end is pointed at you. He discusses the decision on release of a video as if there is some existing standard for when and how such things are to be released when there is simply no such thing. He fails to mention the single perfect antidote to every last police use of force incident: first, don't commit crimes, and second, comply with police commands instantly and clearly.
12-29-2015, 12:37 #4
Is there a magic bullet to decrease thumb-sucking opinion pieces based on either right or left wing idiocy? Apparently not these days, both are prone to fantasies about fighting for your life.ret.
12-29-2015, 17:02 #5
Obviously someone who has never strapped on a badge and gun and patrolled crime ridden neighborhoods.
Also, apparently, Professor Acevedo has never spent significant time in those countries he mentioned. I wonder if anyone told him about the Royal Irish Constabulary which was armed while "serving" in the United Kingdom [I practically choked on referring to Ulster as part of the UK].ESFLEA
Life is what happens while you're planning other things.
12-30-2015, 11:03 #6
On BIG's death bed he's going to want the 30 seconds it him took to read that drivel back.It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both. - Niccolo Machiavelli
Most people respect the badge, everybody respects the gun.
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. - Colonel Jessup
12-30-2015, 15:54 #7Sergeant
- Join Date
- Jul 2000
- Western Hemisphere
The Brits are phasing in sidearms, submachine guns & long guns for carry. They've been armed in and around their major airports for more than ten years now. They carry Glock handguns as a sidearm, H&K MP5 sub-guns and/or G3 machine guns. One would think such an educated person would have conducted the proper research before spewing inaccurate information. And he can keep the blank bullet for HIS gun. I hereby declare these highly educated, no common sense having, non-policing morons as suffering from "Cephalo-Megal-Academiosis" (CMA)...Stay safe!
12-30-2015, 16:21 #8Chief
- Join Date
- Mar 2004
is there a magic bullet to get my life back after reading that
12-31-2015, 02:29 #9Rookie
- Join Date
- Nov 2014
04-14-2017, 07:47 #10
What about the latest beatings administered by police in Sacramento, CA, and Lawrenceville, Georgia? It appears that in the first case, the jaywalker should not have provoked the officer the way he did. But, to get pummeled for jaywalking is excessive. In the second case, the police were clearly at fault and it was good that they were fired. Nevertheless, it is disturbing to think how often cops got away with this type of behavior before the advent of cell phones. If these videos can help mitigate such abuse, then that is a positive. As we can see in the United flight case, there are already changes underway with United's policies.
04-14-2017, 19:17 #11
There has also been extensive studies done regarding body cams, one put out via FLEOA recently shows how often the suspect drops out of the cameras view during a physical altercation where valuable evidence supporting the need for self defense by the officer is lost. Another part of the study, which ties into the first, examines camera angles and how the viewer's perception of the incident may be very different from the officer's during the ordeal. A juror viewing such a video is going to rely heavily on what they see and not so much on what they may hear as an explanation from the officer which could have serious implications. This is also true when presenting general items of evidence and its starting to become a case of "if its not on video it didn't happen" which is a very dangerous precedent to set.
I'm all for reduction in Police brutality but unlike the media portrays, it is not an epidemic and far from it. Police misconduct cases are fare down from the past decades and smart phones with great cameras are still relatively new. Only several hundred police related justifiable shootings nationwide for an entire year is damn good considering the thousands of shooting in Chicago alone. The camera may be useful at times but its far from a panacea.
04-15-2017, 11:32 #12