Why I Changed the Way I Write about Police Shootings

Most cops do what’s right. Many cops are extraordinarily brave. But I also think the best evidence indicates that race is more of a factor in modern policing than I wanted to believe. I also think a pro-police bias has infected our criminal-justice system — including the way juries decide cases — and that pro-police bias has helped bad cops walk free. Moreover, there are legal doctrines that need to be reformed or abolished (such as qualified immunity, but that explanation requires a whole separate piece). And there should be a culture change in the way officers are taught to perceive risk, a culture change that thoughtful veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars could help initiate..

Riots are vicious and wrong. Cop-killers are depraved. We should defend, not disrupt, the nuclear family. We should tell the truth even when the truth hurts our own side. Racism still plagues our land, and race too often plays a pernicious role in American policing. It is not “open season” on black men, yet too many bad cops go free, and too many black men die at the hands of the state. Our laws and culture grant the men in blue too much latitude and too many privileges. All of these things can be true at the same time. All of them are true at the same time. It’s the immense and monumental American challenge that we must deal with them all at once.

The Worst Police Shooting Yet

First, police sources are reportedly indicating that Guyger may actually try to raise the fact that Jean didn’t obey her commands as a defense. It’s not a defense. The moment she opened the door to an apartment that wasn’t her own, she wasn’t operating as a police officer clothed with the authority of the law. She was instead a criminal. She was breaking into another person’s home. She was an armed home invader, and the person clothed with the authority of law to defend himself was Botham Shem Jean.

.. when all the available evidence indicates that a cop acted outside of her lawful authority, she should receive none of the courtesies and advantages so often extended to members of law enforcement. She’s a citizen, like any other, and it is hard to imagine — again — that if the roles had been reversed Jean would have enjoyed several days of relative freedom before he was arrested and booked. He’d have been in handcuffs that night, and rightfully so.
..  Juries credit officers for their fear without properly determining whether that fear was “reasonable.” And thus we’ve seen the sad spectacle of a mistrial after a cop shot an unarmed, running man in the back; the acquittal of the Minnesota cop who shot Philando Castile as Castile was doing his best to comply with the cop’s panicked, conflicting demands; and the acquittal of the cop who shot a sobbing Daniel Shaver as he crawled on his hands and knees, begging for his life.
.. Indeed, the justice system is often so stacked in officers’ favor that they enjoy qualified immunity, a judge-made rule that blocks even civil lawsuits against those who make dangerous and deadly mistakes.
.. We ask police officers to be brave. We ask officers to face a much higher degree of danger than civilians. We ask them to show restraint even in the face of provocations and tense confrontations. There are countless among them who do all we ask, and more. But we also ask something else: that police officers be subject to the very laws they’re sworn to enforce.

Dallas Police Officer Kills Her Neighbor in His Apartment, Saying She Mistook It for Her Own

A Dallas police officer fatally shot a neighbor inside the man’s apartment late Thursday night, claiming that she mistook his apartment for her own and believed he was an intruder, the police said.

After completing her shift on Thursday, the officer went to her apartment building across the street from the Dallas Police Department’s headquarters shortly before 10 p.m. But the officer, who was still in police uniform, did not go to her own unit and instead tried to enter the residence of a neighbor, Botham Shem Jean. She then shot him, the authorities said.

.. So getting this straight, you “accidentally” walk into someone else’s apt (how do you get in?) shoot them dead, realize then it wasn’t your apt, be like “oh my bad”? Y’all had identical furniture & family photos?

Video Shows Police Officer Firing Stun Gun at Unarmed Man Sitting on Curb

“Legs straight out or you’re getting tased,” the police officer can be heard saying on video, talking to an unarmed black man sitting on a curb.

The man appears to begin following the officer’s directions, then folds his legs up again. The officer fires his stun gun. The man writhes in pain, then is handcuffed by officers while lying on his stomach.

That encounter, captured by a bystander on a cellphone video Thursday morning in Lancaster, Pa., and then widely shared after being posted to Facebook, quickly led to a public outcry, including from the town’s mayor, who said an investigation would be conducted.

.. Nationwide, African-American people are far more likely than white people and other groups to be subjected to use of force by the police

.. Tasers, said Mr. Alpert, the criminologist, are often used by the police more freely than firearms when officers are seeking to get someone to comply with orders. But, Mr. Alpert said, Tasers themselves can be deadly.

.. when officers responded to reports that a man was attacking a group of people, they found Mr. Williams demanding his Social Security card from a woman.

.. The Police Bureau said in its report that directing suspects to straighten their legs helps prevent them from running away or fighting with police. “Noncompliance is often a precursor to someone that is preparing to flee or fight,” the report states.