25 votes

Officer Kim Potter fatally shot Daunte Wright, police said. She’s a 26-year vet, served as union president.

37 comments

  1. [5]
    pallas
    (edited )
    Link
    I worry that this case may be being widely considered in entirely the wrong way, looking at the wrong possibilities, and judging the wrong groups. I don't think Daune Wright should have been shot...
    • Exemplary

    I worry that this case may be being widely considered in entirely the wrong way, looking at the wrong possibilities, and judging the wrong groups. I don't think Daune Wright should have been shot (or, I think, tased), and I think that something is very wrong. But I'm not convinced that the taser-and-gun confusion is illegitimate, or that Kim Potter should be punished.

    I recall an opinion piece, years ago, that compared the investigation of police violence to investigations of aviation accidents. It pointed out that aviation safety has an emphasis on keeping the same thing from happening again, and finding and blaming causes, not just judging the guilt or innocence of parties involved. I think this comparison is useful. In many cases, aviation accident investigations have involved disputes over whether the pilots were solely to blame, requiring little or no wider changes to how we fly, or whether there were more systemic considerations, even when pilot error was involved. Blaming the pilots, who have often died, can be easier, allows companies to avoid risk and liability, and allows people to keep doing what they are familiar with. But in many notable cases, tragedies that could have been attributed solely to pilot error were found to involve problems of design, construction, culture, and human behaviour, sometimes in surprising ways.

    When the 737 MAX crashes happened, Boeing's "the pilots didn't follow the right procedures" argument became ridiculed, because it became clear that, while it is technically true that they didn't follow the right procedures, expecting them to be able to, or to remember to quickly enough, was completely ridiculous. When the pilot in Air France 447 flew the plane in completely the wrong way, the focus was largely not on them being a bad person, but on why they would become so disoriented. When catastrophes in the 1970s occurred when experienced pilots made mistakes and others were reluctant to challenge them, or crews became disoriented and worked together ineffectively, rather than just blame the individuals for their mistakes, or the experienced pilots for being intimidating, or others for failing to confront them, aviation completely reevaluated the way that crews work, and developed concepts like crew resource management. All of these involved actions, by individuals, that killed hundreds of people. Yet investigations tried to come up with ways, not to find someone to punish, but to find out why those individuals acted the way they did, and how people could be made safer in the future.

    In fact, even in cases of actual malice, like the 9/11 hijackings or Germanwings 9525, investigations strongly considered how to prevent malicious actors from causing future tragedies, and made significant changes, rather than just blaming the tragedy on malice and being satisfied with condemning the perpetrators. Another hijacker could not repeat 9/11 today, because cockpit security has completely changed. Another Chauvin could simply strangle another Floyd in exactly the same way, however; and while I think Chauvin is likely guilty and likely should be punished, that punishment won't change the problem. I think most of us accept that a punitive justice system is ineffective: why would we expect it to be effective for police?

    So consider this alternative. What if Potter's explanation is entirely honest, and she is actually an experienced, skilled officer who honestly made a mistake? That would suggest a very different, and probably more distressing, possibility: that, when trained to escalate and treat all interactions as time-critical and life-threatening, under such high stress, there is a small, but significant, probability that even an experienced and adept officer will confuse a taser and a gun. The questions over how much they weigh, what colour they are, how their triggers feel, and so on, might not actually matter at all: it could be that the disorientation and stress of the situation completely erases differences that seem obvious when considered out of that context. There are many examples of pilots doing things that, in hindsight to the outside observer, seem completely ridiculous: stress, fatigue, disorientation, and crisis can completely change perceptions, decision-making, and behaviour. Aviation regulation, and safety regulation more generally, has responded to this not by expecting people to be better, or even expecting them to be trained to be better, but by developing processes that accommodate human imperfection.

    I would think that a safety-oriented approach to this incident would proceed very differently. The officer involved said she confused her gun and her taser, and the video doesn't immediately contradict this. So, immediately, suspend the practice of carrying a gun and taser simultaneously, nationwide, until this possibility can be ruled out or safe practices can be developed to prevent another accident. Compared to FAA actions, such a response would be completely reasonable. Do investigations of how officers recognize differences in equipment during split-second high-stress actions, and of the situations they are trained to treat in this way. Investigate whether changes to devices or practices can make this difference more apparent: maybe the design of tasers needs to be moved to seem nothing like a gun at all, even a toy gun. Or maybe, in instant decisions, there is simply too much similarity between two handheld projectile weapons to completely prevent confusion, and they should never be carried by the same person. Maybe training and actions also need to be completely reconsidered: what was the point in trying to tase a fleeing driver in the first place, instead of pursuing them or just tracking them until they stopped driving? Maybe procedures and training need to be fundamentally changed.

    This is hindered, of course, by the atrocious lack of regulatory oversight of policing in the US. The FAA, before having its reputation tarnished by recent corruption, was well-known for actions like suspecting the possibility of a rare fault in unusual circumstances, and grounding entire fleets of planes as a response, or requiring that every plane be inspected or modified. The response to communication confusions in the Tenerife disaster led to requirements around the world that standardized phrases be used, forcing people to change how they spoke. Yet the US, unlike most countries, seems to have essentially no control of this sort over police departments.

    Secondly, it's hindered by, I expect, a breakdown of confidence and expectation amongst the public in the US for any meaningful change. It seems unlikely that any systemic change will actually happen. But it's quite possible that the officer could go to prison. The latter probably won't make anyone safer, but at least it can be seen as something.

    And lastly, it's likely hindered by entrenched interests. A systemic, safety-oriented response to the problem would likely involve significant changes to practices and purchases. Making it so that every officer had a gun or a taser, instead of a gun and a taser, might cut taser purchases in half! Seeing this as a failing of an individual officer hurts a few individual officers. Seeing it as a failing of practices hurts the revenues of a few companies. And when the choice is between individuals and revenues, we know what is more valued.

    20 votes
    1. [4]
      Flashynuff
      Link Parent
      You are absolutely right that simply punishing individual officers will do nothing to stop this from happening again. Not only do officers rarely see punishment in the first place, but it also...

      You are absolutely right that simply punishing individual officers will do nothing to stop this from happening again. Not only do officers rarely see punishment in the first place, but it also relies on the same flawed view of retributive justice that plagues the rest of the system.

      I think if we want to go with a systemic approach to make sure this doesn't happen again, the only thing that would accomplish that is getting rid of the police entirely. The US police & penal system has consistently shown that it does nothing to reduce harm or increase public safety -- in fact, it INCREASES harm and DECREASES public safety.

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        nukeman
        Link Parent
        I mean this as a sincere response, but what do you propose to replace the American system of policing? Would you look toward European models (e.g., Peelian policing) or something else? Most...

        I mean this as a sincere response, but what do you propose to replace the American system of policing? Would you look toward European models (e.g., Peelian policing) or something else? Most importantly (Because perception matters!), how would you sell this to a likely skeptical public?

        7 votes
        1. [2]
          Flashynuff
          Link Parent
          I think we should replace policing - all policing - with collective care and community programs that remove the need for policing in the first place. I couldn't tell you exactly what that looks...

          I think we should replace policing - all policing - with collective care and community programs that remove the need for policing in the first place. I couldn't tell you exactly what that looks like because it's going to be different for every community, but here are some experiments whose successes could be replicated and improved on.

          I think the best way to "sell" it is to focus on the immense and undeniable harm policing inflicts to everyone even remotely caught up in it. If someone was hurting a lot of people, and you said "hey stop hurting those people", would you find "but what would I replace hurting these people with" to be an acceptable response? Wouldn't it make more sense to demand that person stop hurting people before talking about what comes next?

          Mariame Kaba has a lot of very good writing that answers a lot of your questions (or if she doesn't, she explains why not.) I'd be happy to link you some in the morning, or you could also check through my posts for a recent interview I posted of hers.

          3 votes
          1. Diff
            Link Parent
            Yeah, but at the same time that explicitly says that the current system cannot exist in a fashion that does not cause harm and that alone is going to be a lot for some people to accept, especially...

            Yeah, but at the same time that explicitly says that the current system cannot exist in a fashion that does not cause harm and that alone is going to be a lot for some people to accept, especially people who've never felt that harm personally.

            3 votes
      2. Removed by admin: 4 comments by 2 users
        Link Parent
  2. [9]
    dubteedub
    Link
    I really just hate every single thing I learn about this story. So a 26-year veteran of the force somehow could not tell a difference between a tazer and a glock? They gun and tazer are located on...

    I really just hate every single thing I learn about this story.

    So a 26-year veteran of the force somehow could not tell a difference between a tazer and a glock? They gun and tazer are located on completely different sides of the belt on a uniform for that reason. the officer would have had to turn off the safety on the glock before firing. The glock's weight is several times more than a tazer and Not to mention that the BRIGHT ASS COLORS that distinguish the tazer.

    So the initial stop was because the tags on the car were expired, but there is a several months backlog in the local DMV for expired tag renewals that the chief of police said he was aware of and that the police officers were aware of.

    Beyond that, the officers also said they had cause to pull Daunte Wright over because of an air freshener hanging from his mirror? REALLY? Don't cops have literally anything better to do than that? Especially in the middle of a pandemic?

    Now of course because she is the freaking President of the police union the entire force is going to circle the wagons and protect this officer because of course they do. They even put up their white supremacist gang flag outside the station already.

    24 votes
    1. [3]
      spit-evil-olive-tips
      Link Parent
      small, nitpicky correction - Glocks don't have a safety that can be "turned off", instead it's built-in to the trigger such that pulling the trigger is all it takes to disarm the internal...

      the officer would have had to turn off the safety on the glock before firing

      small, nitpicky correction - Glocks don't have a safety that can be "turned off", instead it's built-in to the trigger such that pulling the trigger is all it takes to disarm the internal safeties.

      in the mindset of the police this is actually something of a "feature", in the sense that if you're trying to shoot someone in a hurry, an external safety is something that can potentially slow you down. that plus Glock's (well-deserved) reputation for reliability is a big part of why so many police departments adopted it.

      obviously this isn't an excuse or justification or even a mitigating factor in any way. just wanted to mention it for your edification, because so many people like to use "ha! typical librul, you got some obscure detail of firearm operation wrong, therefore your entire argument is invalid" as a bad-faith dismissal.

      17 votes
      1. [2]
        dubteedub
        Link Parent
        That is interesting. The NYT article I linked above had this to say about the safety. I have not shot a Glock myself, but it sounds like the safety at least is something that the officer would...

        That is interesting. The NYT article I linked above had this to say about the safety.

        Tasers are often produced in bright colors, or with neon accents, to distinguish them from pistols. The Brooklyn Center Police Department manual cites the Glock 17, 19 and 26 as standard-issue for the department. All three pistol models weigh significantly more than a typical Taser. Glocks also have a trigger safety that can be felt when touching the trigger. Tasers do not. Grips on Tasers are typically different from those of firearms, as well, though they may feel similar because both are usually made of a similar type of polymer.

        I have not shot a Glock myself, but it sounds like the safety at least is something that the officer would need to be aware of when holding the weapon.

        8 votes
        1. spit-evil-olive-tips
          Link Parent
          I have a Springfield XD which has a very similar design, including the trigger safety (it's in some ways a Croatian knock-off of the Austrian-designed Glock). You can definitely feel the trigger...

          I have a Springfield XD which has a very similar design, including the trigger safety (it's in some ways a Croatian knock-off of the Austrian-designed Glock). You can definitely feel the trigger safety compared to a firearm with a "traditional" trigger, but it's a relatively minor difference. The selling point of a trigger safety is that you can "just" pull the trigger and not think about any other buttons or switches.

          All the other differences between a Glock and a Taser (weight and grip shape would be the most obvious ones in my mind, even ignoring holster placement) are much larger. By the time her finger is inside the trigger guard and on the trigger, she's already fucked up.

          And of course there's no reason to even taze someone for expired tags in the first place.

          15 votes
    2. [2]
      dubteedub
      Link Parent
      Interesting update that I was not aware of: Brooklyn Center fires city manager, gives mayor control of the police department following fatal shooting I know it is going to be difficult to fire the...

      Interesting update that I was not aware of:

      In the span of just a couple of hours Monday evening, a Minneapolis suburb appears to have fundamentally refashioned its leadership after a local police officer shot and killed an unarmed Black man during a traffic stop the day before.

      Brooklyn Center, Minn., which erupted in protest Sunday as word of 20-year-old Daunte Wright’s death spread, now has a new city manager and — at least temporarily — a new de facto leader of the police department after a city council vote that granted the mayor “command authority” over the agency.

      The overhaul is likely to give Mayor Mike Elliott the power to fire the police chief and police officers, one legal expert told The Washington Post.

      I know it is going to be difficult to fire the officer Potter, especially given her position in the police union, but hopefully this makes it a little easier.

      Personally, I think officer Potter should be arrested for manslaughter. You shouldn't be able to to just accidentally murder someone and then go on living your life.

      12 votes
      1. dubteedub
        Link Parent
        Officer Kim Potter has now resigned after being suspended pending an investigation. Officer Kim Potter resigns: 26-vet and former union president fatally shot Daunte Wright, police said According...

        Officer Kim Potter has now resigned after being suspended pending an investigation.

        According to the Star Tribune, potential criminal charges are expected to be drafted today or tomorrow.

        Washington County Attorney Pete Orput promised a "thorough yet expedited" review of the case with the hope that the office can have criminal charges drafted Tuesday or Wednesday.

        8 votes
    3. [3]
      elcuello
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I can't read the article and have only seen headlines of this story and of course this part is discussed heavily and memed the fuck out everywhere...I just can't shake the feeling that this is...

      So a 26-year veteran of the force somehow could not tell a difference between a tazer and a glock? They gun and tazer are located on completely different sides of the belt on a uniform for that reason. the officer would have had to turn off the safety on the glock before firing. The glock's weight is several times more than a tazer and Not to mention that the BRIGHT ASS COLORS that distinguish the tazer.

      I can't read the article and have only seen headlines of this story and of course this part is discussed heavily and memed the fuck out everywhere...I just can't shake the feeling that this is completely bullshit and not the real reason but because it's so infuriating it's a great way to keep us occupied until they have found a better defense. The fact that people are discussing facts about weight, which side of the uniform the gun is on, the safety and colors of the two is seems utterly ridiculous because she didn't make that mistake at all.

      EDIT: Well, I was wrong

      1. [2]
        dubteedub
        Link Parent
        Here is an archive of the WaPo article in the OP if you want to read it - https://archive.is/bsjCM Here is the body camera video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgAUrDTUk4Q You can hear her...

        Here is an archive of the WaPo article in the OP if you want to read it - https://archive.is/bsjCM

        Here is the body camera video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgAUrDTUk4Q

        You can hear her scream out loud "ILL TAZE YOU", then she pulls out her pistol and screams again "ILL TAZE YOU", then "TAZER TAZER TAZER," then she shoots him in the chest point blank and says "holy shit I just shot him."

        The whole "I thought it was a tazer I swear" defense is a common one for cops after they execute citizens.

        Officer Potter has now been charged with second-degree manslaughter, but given the track record of lack of police accountability for the many past instances of this exact behavior, I am not keeping my hopes up.

        6 votes
        1. elcuello
          Link Parent
          Well shit...that's just...disheartening and frightening. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

          Well shit...that's just...disheartening and frightening. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

          3 votes
  3. [14]
    Amarok
    Link
    Perhaps it's time we deprive officers of their guns, except for the heavy hitters in SWAT. If they haven't got the guns, it'll be just a little bit harder to murder people by accident at a traffic...

    Perhaps it's time we deprive officers of their guns, except for the heavy hitters in SWAT.

    If they haven't got the guns, it'll be just a little bit harder to murder people by accident at a traffic stop.

    20 votes
    1. AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      Agreed. I understand the need for an armed police force, but every beat cop shouldn't be armed. Facts are, 73% of police have never fired their gun while on duty (not including practice/gun range)...

      Agreed. I understand the need for an armed police force, but every beat cop shouldn't be armed.

      Facts are, 73% of police have never fired their gun while on duty (not including practice/gun range) and those that have are progun (less gun control). If near-as-makes-no-difference 3/4 of police never use their gun, why do they need to carry it? If a multi-decade veteran can't figure out the difference between a gun and a tazer while attempting to stop an unarmed man from driving away, why do they need to carry a gun?

      I'm more and more convinced that police need state level licensing and have to carry private insurance. I generally despise insurance, but they tend to be pretty good at determining risk thanks to their army of actuaries. If you can't pass state licensure and can't get an insurance agency to cover your potential murder spree, then you can't be a cop. Plain and simple. Before a cop pulls their gun they should have to think "Can I afford the premium increase if I do this?"

      Doctors have to be licensed and carry malpractice insurance. Auctioneers, building inspectors, social workers, commercial fishermen, dental hygienists, pipefitters, plumbers, real estate agents, bus drivers all require licenses. Hell my freaking barber is required to have a license and insurance.

      There are at least 48 major occupations that require licensing in 30 or more states, nearly none of these professions are capable of killing someone should they "make a mistake."

      Want the most extreme example from that list?

      Milk Sampler

      This is someone who literally collects milk samples from farms, puts the sample into a bottle, and transports it to a lab to be analyzed... and only six states don't require Milk Samplers to have a license.

      16 votes
    2. bloup
      Link Parent
      I don't really understand why road lifeguards ever needed guns anyway.

      I don't really understand why road lifeguards ever needed guns anyway.

      7 votes
    3. callmedante
      Link Parent
      That was one of my favorite details of Watchmen. Seems like an idea worth trying at the very least.

      That was one of my favorite details of Watchmen. Seems like an idea worth trying at the very least.

      4 votes
    4. [10]
      Ellimist
      Link Parent
      Gonna be "that guy" here but if my dad, a 25 year police officer, wasn't allowed to carry a gun, he'd likely be dead. He was working a part time for a local Walmart in a rougher part of town when...
      • Exemplary

      Gonna be "that guy" here but if my dad, a 25 year police officer, wasn't allowed to carry a gun, he'd likely be dead.

      He was working a part time for a local Walmart in a rougher part of town when a suspect tried leaving the store with a handful of items. One of those items was a crowbar. When my dad went to stop the suspect, the suspect came at my dad with the crowbar. Dad went for the tazer, had no effect. Guy was hopped up on something. Dad went to his service pistol. One shot. Right through the heart.

      If he didn't have his gun, my dad likely would've been seriously injured or killed by a druggie with a crowbar.

      I don't disagree things gotta change. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't glad my stepmother was able to call me and say "Your father was in a shooting. He's ok but he did end up killing someone. Just wanted you to hear it from us first in case it hits the news"

      15 votes
      1. [2]
        Flashynuff
        Link Parent
        First, I'm very glad that your dad's alive and well. That must have been scary to think about what else could have happened. I think that your story shows how important it is to make sure our...

        First, I'm very glad that your dad's alive and well. That must have been scary to think about what else could have happened.

        I think that your story shows how important it is to make sure our analyses of things like policing and the criminal 'justice' system are done at a systemic level rather than an individual. For your story, that might look like asking "why is this person needing to shoplift in the first place"? Is it because that person likes shoplifting and attacking people with crowbars, or is it because they don't have everything they need to survive? Would your father have been in that situation if our society had provided those things to that person?

        10 votes
        1. Ellimist
          Link Parent
          I would agree wholeheartedly. From what I know of the man my dad killed, what little my dad spoke of after a few too many drinks, the man was largely a career criminal by the time he was killed. A...

          I would agree wholeheartedly.

          From what I know of the man my dad killed, what little my dad spoke of after a few too many drinks, the man was largely a career criminal by the time he was killed. A long criminal history, thefts, burglaries, drug use. He apparently had a warrant issued for robbery in another city just the day before after he assaulted an elderly woman and stole her car. None of these things my dad knew at the time of the shooting so I don't think they factored into my dads approach of the situation. Bear in mind, I'm not saying any of these things justify his death.

          But I believe it's important to put more context to the situation. Why did he turn to this life? Was it purely out of necessity? Survival? Addiction? Enjoyment? I don't know. I agree with you that if we did a better job, as a society, taking care of folks, perhaps there'd be less people who turn to crime. That number will never be zero. No matter how generous a society is there will always be those who seek to take advantage whether it be for need or greed. But a more generous society would likely see that number greatly reduced.

          I've lost faith that such a thing will happen in the USA though. Too many people in too many positions of power and importance are too set on maintaining the status quo. Tom Cotton saying that America has an "under incarceration problem" was just mind blowing to me. Imagine that....the country that jails more people than any other country, especially black people, was somehow "under incarcerating". Considering Cotton is fairly popular Republican, I can only assume his viewpoint is probably shared by many within the Republican party and those that follow their ideals.

          I understand that this likely makes me sound like a hypocrite given the defense of my father and the fact that I work for a police department as a 911 dispatcher but I'm not blind to the facts of how police departments have largely acted. I genuinely believe that the role of police is to be one of service to the public. I want to see police return to that role. To stop actual criminals and to stop killing people because of perceived threats that end up not having existed in the first place.

          4 votes
      2. [7]
        AugustusFerdinand
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Why does a company that has over half a trillion dollars in revenue each year and insurance against every possible form of loss, have a police officer there to stop a guy stealing merchandise that...

        Why does a company that has over half a trillion dollars in revenue each year and insurance against every possible form of loss, have a police officer there to stop a guy stealing merchandise that amounts to less than they waste in electricity by leaving the lights on after hours?

        In half of the country there is a duty to retreat prior to using force to defend oneself, the same should apply to police. If your father wasn't allowed to carry a gun he likely wouldn't have engaged the suspect in the manner he did, wouldn't have been threatened with the crowbar, would have training in methods other than firearms (lethal and less than), and wouldn't have shot the guy.

        Prior to my current career I was in mental health. I've subdued more unstable, armed and unarmed, individuals in that time than most police will experience in their lives. None died.

        11 votes
        1. [2]
          Deimos
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Please don't use phrasing that's intended to mock the person you're replying to and be condescending, especially when they're sharing a personal, sensitive story. That's a rude thing to do, and...

          Please don't use phrasing that's intended to mock the person you're replying to and be condescending, especially when they're sharing a personal, sensitive story. That's a rude thing to do, and there's no possible way it could lead to any kind of productive conversation. Talk with people, don't just use them as excuses to soapbox.

          15 votes
          1. AugustusFerdinand
            Link Parent
            Potentially offending phrasing removed should you wish to restore the conversation as I believe the point made to be pertinent.

            Potentially offending phrasing removed should you wish to restore the conversation as I believe the point made to be pertinent.

            3 votes
        2. [2]
          Nivlak
          Link Parent
          This is very intriguing. Can you give a short rundown of a situation in where you subdued an armed individual?

          This is very intriguing. Can you give a short rundown of a situation in where you subdued an armed individual?

          3 votes
          1. AugustusFerdinand
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Sure, I worked in both private and state run facilities, a relatively short run (6 months) in the former, several years in the latter. Private always left a bad taste in my mouth as treatment was...

            Sure, I worked in both private and state run facilities, a relatively short run (6 months) in the former, several years in the latter. Private always left a bad taste in my mouth as treatment was rushed and time limited to what insurance would pay for, patients were mostly substance abuse cases which worked well with insurance considering they typically only paid for 7-14 days and that's just enough time to dry someone out.

            State gets those without insurance, indigent populations, homeless, and the like. People with no means to get treatment and therefore have longstanding untreated and overall unaddressed mental health issues, compounded by general health problems, and frequently substance abuse as well. Sad to say, but the state run facilities are more interesting due to the varied patient population so all of the entertaining stories are from there.

            Anyway...

            All patients get an initial evaluation at admission by a physician to get overall mental state, general health, etc. With indigent populations generally being sent to have a shower prior to being sent to their room. The shower is monitored by a same-sex staff member with any potentially dangerous or valuable belongings being catalogued and stored for the patient, the clothes they arrived in being taken to be washed, and patient clothing provided if they don't have anything clean. The shower is also the first step in treatment. Pretty much everyone loves a nice hot shower, they're given their own soap, shampoo, hair brush, time to themselves, so on and so forth.

            It's also when contraband tends to appear. The patients aren't prisoners (largely, but there was a criminal ward), so they aren't searched directly, just asked to empty pockets, forfeit bags, etc. Doesn't mean they don't try to sneak things in. Common items are cigarettes, lighters, pipes, drugs and drug paraphernalia, or valued things and are usually hidden in hair, bras, shoes, under breasts, in folds of skin, or armpits. All pretty easy to discover as they'll strip for a shower, raise their arms, bend over to clean themselves (no shelves in shower, so soap and shampoo bottles sit on floor, there's a curtain but it only goes from about neck height to knee so the patients lower leg and head can be seen), or if there's something in their hair they don't want to get wet they'll decline to wash it and so will prompt inspection.

            Women in particular have one more hiding spot than men, I'm sure you can see where this is going.

            During this patient's shower she elected to extract a pocket knife and threaten the attendant with it, while naked and wet from the shower. Attendant stayed facing the patient, backed out of the shower room, and announced there was a weapon on the ward and patient was hostile. Four of us plus the psych nurse bolt down the hallway. The nurse is there to attempt to talk the patient down and keep their focus, everyone else to keep the patient from harming themselves or others. You stay two steps, about 6 feet, away from the patient and each other, this keeps you out of their reach, and is enough space that you can quickly act, but the patient doesn't feel trapped as it looks like they have gaps to run. In reality you can close the gap between yourself and the patient or yourself and another staff member quickly so that they are effectively contained. Everyone watches the patient to anticipate their movement and watches each other to know what they intend to do based on position.

            Most people hold a knife in their fist with the blade pointing upward, you subdue by getting behind them and wrapping your arms around their upper arms to pin their elbows against their torso. You lower your head to be behind their back, between shoulder blades, if possible as it limits rearward head butting and gives you leverage to keep your lower body away from them should they turn the knife to face backwards or kick. Correctly done and the patient now has a range of motion that's limited to a 90 degree sweep from the horizontal position straight out to vertical straight down, can't really twist their arm to cross their body, making them unable to use the knife against anyone.

            The first person that is behind the patient with the opportunity to wrap does so, if the nurse hasn't been able to talk them down, the person to their right inherits the task of going for the weapon by grabbing the patient's lower arm with both hands and pinning their wrist, the next person to the right is on legs duty to prevent kicking, running, and assist in takedown as needed, last person is on head/fall duty to prevent the patient from hitting their head on the ground should they be taken down, they grab the other arm/wrist with one hand and leave the other free to cushion the head as any takedown will be in their direction to prevent anyone falling on the knife if it hasn't been secured. Order of people is reversed if the patient is left handed (and therefore holding the weapon in their left hand).

            In this case I was the person behind and made first contact, wrapped, waited for word the knife was secured, then lift and fall to the left.; held on until the patient is restrained. All happens within a few seconds, but no one is hurt, no one is dead, and no one is in any danger any longer. Then you go to individual offices to fill out incident forms (to keep people from falsely corroborating stories should something have gone wrong), go take a break to cool down, pop a couple of naproxen because you're going to be sore from the fall in the morning, and hope the patient doesn't say anything the next day that can be construed as if they were violated, because if they do it is, rightfully, taken seriously and everyone involved will be questioned by patient protections in minute detail to find out if you or anyone else involved somehow managed to sexually assault an armed patient in the middle of the ward with others watching.

            I've been all four roles in a takedown, legs are worst because you can and will be kicked, but everyone knows their job, knows the patient is unwell and doesn't mean to harm you or anything they say, they aren't a combatant, an enemy, or anything other than someone that needs your help.

            10 votes
        3. [2]
          Ellimist
          Link Parent
          Apologies on the delay for the response. I work nights and thus, my days tend to get a little blurry. To your point about Walmart....I don't know. I would assume them being so tightfisted about...

          Apologies on the delay for the response. I work nights and thus, my days tend to get a little blurry.

          To your point about Walmart....I don't know. I would assume them being so tightfisted about theft is a key reason they have half a trillion in revenue. When I worked at Sam's Club during high school, they put a tremendous amount of importance and work literature on "reducing shrink" or what product was lost due to damage or theft to the point that it actually affected the employee bonus structure. Too much shrink and our yearly bonus check would either be reduced or eliminated entirely. Shitty as that is, it certainly kept most of the employees vigilant especially when it was getting close to bonus check time.

          Regarding the duty to retreat, you may have a point but my dad was doing the job he was hired to do. Stop and/or prevent thefts and other crimes from occurring on Walmart grounds. Walmart certainly cared enough to hire him to stop or prevent those sorts of things from happening. Could my dad have simply let the guy go? Sure. Then he would've been fired from Walmart from doing so. As far as my dad was concerned, his Walmart part time was a usually easy gig that helped him feed and cloth four growing boys. Certainly not something he expected to find himself in that sort of situation.

          Perhaps it's just how I'm interpreting your response and you're not actually meaning it this way but why is it all on my dad? Why does the man that came at my dad with a crowbar over such a paltry amount bear no responsibility? I never knew the amount but in all likelihood, the man would've gotten a ticket at most. My father chose to stop a thief but that thief chose to attack my dad. The man didn't run away. It wasn't a peaceful situation that went bad. He didn't come at my dad unarmed. As soon as my dad attempted to stop him, he came at my dad with a crowbar, a tool that can absolutely be a deadly weapon. My dad didn't immediately draw his gun and only went to the gun after the peaceful/non lethal efforts were exhausted. In order to "retreat" was my dad supposed to turn tail and run?

          For what it's worth, after the shooting, my dad quit Walmart so that he'd never be in that situation again. The investigation cleared him of any wrong doing. A Walmart full of customers, employees, and cameras helped make sure the investigation had a clear picture of what happened. It still eats at my dad. He knows the man's name. His date of birth. What the time of death was. He had a copy of the CD that had the camera footage home and spent hours watching it over and over trying to figure out what he could have done differently. I snuck it out of his room and watched it because I had to know the truth myself. He got off the streets as soon as he was able(he now works as a detective covering thefts/criminal mischiefs/hate crimes) but unfortunately turned to alcohol to help him cope rather than seeking legitimate therapy and is now a full blown alcoholic. He is a stubborn old fool, if I'm being honest.

          Regarding your career in mental health, I read your response to the other Tilderino. I'm probably going to sound more antagonistic than I mean to but do you have any other examples that would be more comparable to the situation my dad found himself in? Otherwise, it's somewhat disingenuous to compare that situation with my dads. Five on one, in an enclosed shower room, presumably with no other patients around so far less risk of innocents being harmed as opposed to my dad who was by himself and had to act with the welfare of the Walmart customers and employees in mind? Sure both situations were involving armed individuals but you had a significant advantage in numbers, more available strategies to deal with such situations, and a staff trained to deal with that exact sort of situation. It's 100% fair to question the police's overall ability, or inability, to handle mental health subjects but that's not the situation my dad was in. He had no way to know what the mans mental state was prior to contacting him.

          2 votes
          1. AugustusFerdinand
            Link Parent
            My comment wasn't meant for it to be on your father, it and the example given about subduing a patient, is about how policing is done in countries where the police are not armed. The way police...

            Perhaps it's just how I'm interpreting your response and you're not actually meaning it this way but why is it all on my dad?

            I'm probably going to sound more antagonistic than I mean to but do you have any other examples that would be more comparable to the situation my dad found himself in?

            Sure both situations were involving armed individuals but you had a significant advantage in numbers, more available strategies to deal with such situations, and a staff trained to deal with that exact sort of situation.

            My comment wasn't meant for it to be on your father, it and the example given about subduing a patient, is about how policing is done in countries where the police are not armed.

            The way police approach a suspect is done differently when the rank-and-file police don't carry a firearm. The way they defuse a situation is done differently. And yes, if need be and they do "turn tail and run" to call in backup/armed response as needed. There is no glory or honor lost by doing so, there were no threats to others in this situation that called for immediate action, a one-on-one encounter resulted in a loss of life for one person and, from your description, a loss of being from another.

            I'm not faulting your father for what happened. He did what he felt was necessary at the time with the tools provided. My point is that the tools provided have proven to be ineffective. The strategies need to change and new tools need to be available while old ones are taken away. The new tools being, at the very least, power in numbers and training to deal with armed individuals that does not involve shooting them.

            5 votes
  4. [2]
    kfwyre
    Link
    I wish I had something more to say, but I'm always left speechless and heartbroken the moment there's a new name in the news -- a new life lost to the same old problems we're refusing to deal with...

    I wish I had something more to say, but I'm always left speechless and heartbroken the moment there's a new name in the news -- a new life lost to the same old problems we're refusing to deal with as a country.

    Oscar Grant's death, very similar to Wright's, was twelve years ago. Twelve years.

    9 votes
  5. [4]
    gpl
    Link
    Honestly, why are police even involved in traffic violations in the first place? I am not a fan of red light cameras for obvious reasons, but their kill count is 0, and also the certainty of being...

    Honestly, why are police even involved in traffic violations in the first place? I am not a fan of red light cameras for obvious reasons, but their kill count is 0, and also the certainty of being caught violating traffic statutes by an automated system must be more of a deterrence than the slight possibility of being pulled over by a cop. I can see the argument for like a wild or erratic driver, but it feels like speeding tickets and stickers should be handled by an envelope in the mail.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      spit-evil-olive-tips
      Link Parent
      If the actual goal was enforcement of traffic laws, cameras and other automated systems would work fine. But it's not. Traffic laws are just the fig leaf of justification they use. In NYC, where...

      If the actual goal was enforcement of traffic laws, cameras and other automated systems would work fine. But it's not. Traffic laws are just the fig leaf of justification they use.

      In NYC, where most people don't drive cars, they had to invent a different fig leaf, and thus stop and frisk was born.

      The real goal is to keep the lower classes in line.

      There's an excellent podcast series from last year called Behind the Police that went into lots of detail on this. The history of "law enforcement" in the United States in inextricably tied to slave patrols and union busting.

      The modern "war on drugs" works the same way. Joe Kennedy III, back when there was speculation that he might run for President in 2020, accidentally said the quiet part loud about this (emphasis added):

      EZRA KLEIN: I don't feel comfortable saying let’s legalize heroin. That’s not where I am on this. But certainly on something like marijuana I feel comfortable saying, well, we legalized that, we’ve legalized that in my home state, we’ve legalized that in D.C., and there doesn’t seem to be terrible problems. You have a different mind on this. I’m curious, given your concern about the consequences of the illicit trade, how you think about the question of keeping [pot] illicit or beginning to open that up a little bit, so at least what is happening is under the law, you can regulate it, you can watch it, you can keep some control over it.

      JOE KENNEDY III: So this one, um, this one’s a tough one for me. My views are not do not exactly line up with my own state and it’s something I’m struggling with. I think, look, there’s—when it comes to legalization of marijuana, if that’s something that society has decided that we want to do, fine. I think we’ve got to be really careful about what exactly that means and how we do it. So, we decriminalized it when I was in the court system, when I was trying cases, or shortly thereafter, if I remember the years right, in Massachusetts. When we decriminalized it it actually had a pretty big consequence for the way that Massachusetts prosecutors went about trying cases in terms of—because an odor of marijuana was, at last initially, because marijuana was an illegal substance, if you smelled it in a car, you could search a car. When it became decriminalized you couldn’t do that. So that was the way that we hadn’t—the base case that prosecutors used to search cars for under cover contraband, guns, knives, a whole bunch of other stuff, all of that got thrown out the window. That’s not to say that’s right or wrong, but that is to say that when that went through a public referendum, which is how that law was passed, I don't think anybody had much though to you’re actually gonna change one of the foundational principles for law enforcement that we use in our court system. There is no reliable, at least in Massachusetts, to see if someone is under the influence of marijuana. Presumably with more widespread usage of marijuana, that is a threat that’s going to go up. I think it’s worth us understanding, well, do we have the tools that are necessary in order to keep the community safe as we actually try to go through and make this a substance that is far more widespread. It’s something that, um, while there’s the casual marijuana user isn’t something I have a whole lot of concerns about there is evidence and data about youth, teens, adolescents getting access to marijuana…

      Former assistant district attorney, involved in prosecuting criminal cases, describing "I smell pot, I'm going to search your car" as a foundational principle of law enforcement.

      19 votes
      1. SheepWolf
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Speaking of the war on drugs, Nixon, and his aide, John Erlichman, I remember a quote: I wanted to make sure that was real and historically accepted so I checked r/AskHistorians and in this...

        Speaking of the war on drugs, Nixon, and his aide, John Erlichman, I remember a quote:

        “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

        I wanted to make sure that was real and historically accepted so I checked r/AskHistorians and in this question the top comment also points to a Lee Atwater (Republican strategist and white house advisor) quote from the 1980's:

        Y'all don't quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying, "N····r, n····r, n····r". By 1968 you can't say "n····r"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this", is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "N·····r, n·····r". So, any way you look at it, race is coming on the backbone.

        Second highest (parent?) comment goes more into the history and background of the time as well.

        4 votes
    2. EgoEimi
      Link Parent
      Many people oppose automated systems because they fear a surveillance state. Personally I'm in favor of putting cameras that automatically detect speeding or erratic driving everywhere to ticket...

      Many people oppose automated systems because they fear a surveillance state.

      Personally I'm in favor of putting cameras that automatically detect speeding or erratic driving everywhere to ticket speeders or dispatch police to stop erratic drivers. Over 30k Americans die year after year after year after year, and we keep calling them "accidents". I've known multiple people who died in car "accidents". It's insane and horrifying that most of our public urban space is dedicated to these moving death machines that we entrust to strangers to not kill us with. Sometimes I feel like I'm on crazy pills.

      Appoint me benevolent dictator and I will implement:

      • Short term: automated traffic cameras everywhere, guerrilla traffic calming
      • Medium term: gradually redesign every street to calm traffic and introduce bicycle infrastructure (Dutch intersections!)
      • Long term: create public transit and bicycle super corridors, ubiquitous bicycle infrastructure, deep integration between all transportation modes
      • Very long term: add self-driving cars into the mix
      2 votes
  6. SheepWolf
    (edited )
    Link
    I don't think they deserve their own posts but wanted to share. Here is some satire from "America's Finest News Source." Minnesota Police Say Officer Accidentally Discharged Weapon After Being...
    4 votes
  7. [2]
    randulo
    Link
    Related to police incidents and retraining, you may be interested in the (non-paywalled) podcast episode from Sam Harris: https://samharris.org/podcasts/246-police-training-police-misconduct/ "In...

    Related to police incidents and retraining, you may be interested in the (non-paywalled) podcast episode from Sam Harris:
    https://samharris.org/podcasts/246-police-training-police-misconduct/
    "In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Rener Gracie about police procedure and about the special relevance of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for safely controlling resisting suspects."
    I haven't listened to it yet, but I find the concept solid: educate officers, teaching better physical control and confidence, and recruit better candidates.

    In other words, less tanks, more training.

    1 vote
    1. dubteedub
      Link Parent
      Considering Sam Harris' history of defending Charles Murray and racist psuedo-science, i'm going to pass on getting his take on Black Lives Matter and policing.

      Considering Sam Harris' history of defending Charles Murray and racist psuedo-science, i'm going to pass on getting his take on Black Lives Matter and policing.

      2 votes