Experts in use of force shocked by video of Oakland police shooting photographer

A story in the San Jose Mercury News today on the video we published yesterday here on Boing Boing, which shows an Oakland Police officer shooting a photographer with a projectile, for no apparent reason.

Geoffrey Alpert, a University of South Carolina criminal justice professor who's an expert in police decision-making and use of force, said the video left him "astonished, amazed and embarrassed."

"Unless there's something we don't know, that's one of the most outrageous uses of a firearm that I've ever seen," he said. "Unless there's a threat that you can't see in the video, that just looks like absolute punishment, which is the worst type of excessive force."

Read the rest here.


    1. The belief in Rule by Law is pretty strong in most people who have benefited from it’s impact. What motivates someone to join the police force? The ones I know who have think they are doing a public service. They want to serve and protect. Now, once a person is inside the force, perhaps the culture of said force, as well as daily immersion into the lower tiers of Maslow’s Hierarchy can really wear a person down.

      People who feel that their life path involves getting in harm’s way (cue the patriotic shaving aid music and explosions behind our approaching heros) think they are protecting something. It takes a lot of abuse from above to change the mind of someone who has made such a life decision. Pragmatists always throw out the question “What could we realistically do better?” as a defence against major systemic change.

      The challenge is that change, by definition, is chaotic. People who join police forces really hate chaos, and would do a lot of things to prevent chaos from becoming the norm. Society, comfortable, bourgeois western first world society, would have to be in pretty serious danger of demonstrable evil for the rank and file to rebel against the chain of command.

      Are we there yet? Can first world people see that the evils incurred by the Powers that Be, Business as Usual, finally outweigh the benefits that our technologically mediated civilization sustains, barely, for 70% of the world’s population? And, what if what comes next is worse than what we currently have?

      That, I believe, is what keeps the police from swapping sides, if that is the correct way of looking at this. After all, we are all on this little blue dot of a spaceship, together.

  1. Right. So the experts simply confirm what we all knew on the face of it, and in our gut. 

    So do the “authorities” wake up, reverse the way they are treating the protesters, and facilitate them in bringing their grievances to the table for reforms. Or do we continue our descent into a third world state where we now witness the same atrocities in our own cities that in the past we’ve condemned in the capitals of brutal dictators. Hmmm?

  2. And still no ID of the cops who shot Scott Olsen and then threw a grenade into those trying to save his life?

    Every discharge of a firearm by a cop “in the line of duty” should be subject to documentation even if it’s legal and rational. Check the fucking weapons back in at the end of every shift, and if it’s been discharged, that has to be recorded and explained. How can that possibly be considered an unreasonable thing to require?

    How did we come to take for granted that a cop can do these things anonymously?

      1. They certainly know what it’s like to have cops completely hostile to the populace.  We’re going to have to come to terms soon with that sorrowful fact ourselves it seems.

        1. Huh? What do you mean? There’s never been any major hatred of Irish cops in Ireland, they’re just… I dunno, more approachable? realise that they’re part of the same community?
          Hell, most cops here don’t even carry guns.
          It was only a year or two ago that they started wearing stab jackets and the like.

          1. You’re talking about the republic. I’d bet by your qualifier “Irish” police, you know what I meant.

            I was talking about Northern Ireland. You’d have to concede that police-citizen relations there haven’t always been warm.

            Indeed, a family member just spent a half a year in Derry working with reconciliation efforts. I’m shocked at how hostile things remain.

      2. In Ireland a Guarda (cop) has to file a report every time he draws his batton

        Meanwhile Dirty Harry doesn’t even have to keep track of how many bullets he’s fired out of that big-ass hand cannon. He’s always like, “Was it six shots or only five?”

    1. In my department, every single use of force, regardless if it is taking someone to the ground even lightly or using a firearm, is documented thoroughly.

  3. Who knows, maybe the commentator was right.  The Camera man could have been threatening the cop with his middle finger… after all, we can’t see the camera man.  He could have been provoking the cop by rolling his eyes or sticking out his tongue at the same time.

    Or, the cop might have suspected that the camera man was a violent criminal who was just waiting to attack a child or something…

    there has to be a million logical explanations for the cops behavior.  The cop was obviously defending himself and kittens (and possibly puppies).  There is no way that it was just some sort of Jack Booted Thug behavior.

    1. The videographer went on Keith Olbermann’s show and said his other hand was held up in a peace sign, to indicate he had no violent intentions.

  4. At the risk of sounding redundant, of course they’re punishing protesters.  They’d rather be off eating a doughnut or sleeping in a warm bed than standing around all night in heavy,  sweaty riot gear. 

    With regards to the videographer  asking repeatedly, “Is this okay?”  He got an answer.

  5. Pfft!  One expert?  There were plenty of experts here posting earlier justifying the cop’s actions.  Who am I supposed to believe?

      1. Seriously?  Did I need to add a sarcasm tag?  I was talking about internet ‘experts’, i.e. blowhards and trolls who were pushing the ‘but we couldn’t see behind the camera’ line or ‘he deserved it for being there’.  The chances of it not being a duck when it waddles and quacks so convincingly are pretty slim.  Unless it is fabricated (doubtful), what we see on the video from the officer is indefensible 

      2. I’m a cop, and I think ALL officers better damned will be experts on the use of force, and would be surprised if they aren’t *(after all, it will get them suspended, fired, sued, or imprisoned if they screw it up), and I will tell you that while the letter of the orders of using rubber bullets on the protesters might have allowed for that shot, it was an assholish thing for that cop to do at LEAST.

  6.  The police are probably going to have a merry Christmas with the overtime pay.

    Seriously, we need to make “Is this OK? Is this OK? BANG!” into an internet meme on the level of “Don’t taze me bro.”

  7. What makes the cop think it’s OK is that he’s sent out with a prank weapon (they aren’t REAL bullets, of course!), a pack of comrades set against a common enemy, and a grand sense of authority. Even the nicest person will crack under those conditions. Very Stanford Prison Experiment.

  8. I wonder if Oakland has a lot of these incidences. I know that the *rumor* is that the Chicago Police Department was going to end up under a Federal consent decree (i.e. Fed oversight of operations) if they had not hired an FBI guy as superintendent. That guy crushed morale, but seriously focused on brutality issues.

  9. Today there was an ACLU request for information on police behavior. It would be interesting to see if the police have information on known Black Bloc participants? That might tell us something interesting. Of course the police will not release info like “Officer Issac Mark Friendly is working undercover as part of  Black Bloc.”  But wouldn’t it be interesting to know more about them? Agent provocateurs come in many shapes.

    1. Wait. Is it agent provocateurs, or agents provocateur? I feel like agents provocateur is probably right, but since there are ALWAYS people on here who want to talk about them, I feel like this needs to be cleared up.

      1. It’s agent provocateurs.  The word agent is modifying provocateurs in this instance, so the plural goes on what is being modified, not what is modifying.  If you removed the modifier, you would get “these guys are provocateurs,”  rather than “these guys are agents,” since they are provocaterus before they are agents.
        I hope that came out in a way that’s understandable ><

        P.S.:  I hate constantly getting errors trying to reply.

          1. You’re correct.  Both “agent” and “provocateur” get an “s” in the plural.  “Agent” because it is the noun, and “provocateur” because in French the adjective must agree with the the noun in number.

          2. I was actually going to suggest that earlier as well, but was having problems enough just trying to get the reply to post.  That said, I was taking the “agent” part as similar to when someone would say baseball player(s),  as you wouldn’t add an s to the baseball after adding it to players, but yea, the generally accepting pluralization is s on both of em (it’s listed on the Merriam-Webster site’s definition so it supports the wiki).
            Gotta love the English language and loan words right?
            Anyway, it seems to me the only black block at those protests are the police -_-
            ugh, having troubles replying again…

  10. I don’t agree with the behavior of the Police at any of these Occupy sites by ANY stretch, but, keep in mind that they (the Police) are fearful of dealing with a London scale riot situation, or something akin to the days of riots that followed the Rodney King verdict in 1992. 

    While it may look like complete overkill from here, what we internet observers here on Boing Boing are missing is the palpable tension on the ground in these situations, and the thin line of control that the Police and other law enforcement professionals are trying desperately to keep. 

    If these protesters for a MOMENT thought that the Police would NOT deal with them with (just about) deadly force, they would surely storm the streets and riot on a scale just as large as Egypt and Lybia. I do not think that anyone wants that. I believe that is why they are being so aggressive. 

    I do not agree with any of the aggression, on either side, but I personally would rather someone shot in a situation like this than having a 3rd world scale riot erupt in Oakland causing damage to business and property. Damage that would be done to not the 1%’s equity, but to the 99%’s. It is truly horrible, but how else are they going to maintain control and instill fear in people so they don’t burn the city down?

      1. That shot wasn’t fired in fear.  I guaran-damn-tee the order to fire was something along the lines of:

        “I double dog dare you do peg that hippy in the balls.”

    1. “…I personally would rather someone shot in a situation like this than having a 3rd world scale riot erupt in Oakland causing damage to business and property. ”

      Clearly, those are the only two choices.

      Also, what’s your verb?  Did you mean you would rather “see”, “have”, “request”, “enjoy seeing”, or “suggest dodging to” ‘someone shot’?

    2. Consider that the police presence is actually escalating the situation. There have been weeks of peaceful protest, before the police barricades and riot gear appeared. And no riots like the ones you imagine. This is different than the Rodney King situation, and the police are the ones forcing the confrontation.

    3. “…If these protesters for a MOMENT thought that the Police would NOT deal with them with (just about) deadly force, they would surely storm the streets and riot on a scale just as large as Egypt and Lybia. I do not think that anyone wants that. I believe that is why they are being so aggressive. ”

      Are you serious?  Without the threat of violence, violence will ensue?    Nice logic there. 

    4. …keep in mind that they (the Police) are fearful of dealing with a London scale riot situation, or something akin to the days of riots that followed the Rodney King verdict in 1992.

      I seem to recall that the riots following the Rodney King beating verdict were IN RESPONSE TO a thuggish and unaccountable police force. Using disproportionate violence doesn’t prevent riots, it creates them.

    5. Did you stop to think that one of the best ways to provoke a riot is by shooting a peaceful observer? And while you say you do not agree with the aggression on either side, you do seem to exhibit a preference for aggression on the side of the police.

      And think about it: Who shot first in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Libya, in Syria? It’s *always* the fucking cops.

      OK. Now I’m getting mad. I better stop.


    6. Police is not a proper noun.

      It is truly horrible, but how else are they going to maintain control and instill fear in people so they don’t burn the city down?

      No one is burning anything down! No one is rioting! No one (aside from the police) are shooting anyone! SHOOTING into a crowd, or shooting *non-violent, non-armed* protestors doesn’t prevent violence; it IS violence, and it creates more violence. It is the stepping-stone to a riot; not a prevention.

      As yadayada said above, the police are starting the violence, not the non-violent, non-armed protestors.

    7. There are a few slim possibilities of this being an accident. It’s possible the weapon discharged accidentally; it did seem to come from nowhere, and the police didn’t seem to be gearing up to begin doing anything. It’s also possible that there was a large crowd that had already been ordered to disperse behind the cameraman. There was very little crowd noise in the background of the shot, though, and while a few people seemed to be shouting provocatively it would almost certainly be improper to begin by shooting a rubber bullet without first clearly ordering the people to leave the area and attempting to escort them out by hand.

      It’s possible the video came from the last few seconds of a long and uneasy standoff, which could potentially explain the shot as a case of nerves and fatigue–this would still be highly improper, and the officer who took the shot should be disciplined and compensate the injured for any medical expenses. It’s also possible the officer somehow believed he was entitled to open fire, in which case immediate dismissal would be the idea. Finally, and in this situation perhaps most likely, this officer was just a prick who was tired of dealing with protesters all day and didn’t appreciate the cameraman’s attitude and just shot the guy. In that case, someone get this cameraman a great lawyer–or if you are one go pro bono for him–and get after this cop.

      1. There are a few slim possibilities of this being an accident. It’s possible the weapon discharged accidentally; 

        One of the first things I learned about guns is that you don’t point them at people, even if you think it is unloaded. Even if your are right, it would be negligent stupidity.

      2. [It’s possible the weapon discharged accidentally; it did seem to come from nowhere]
        You can clearly (relatively :) ) see the officer target the ‘offender’ and discharge the weapon. He is in the front row to the right of screen.

        It looks as if he has acted under the direction of his ranking officer, who follows the cameraman (behind the second row) and appears to speak into his radio just before the incident.

      1. I was trying to figure out why what he said bothered me so much, and I think you nailed it.

        If these protesters for a MOMENT thought that the Police would NOT deal with them with (just about) deadly force, they would surely storm the streets and riot on a scale just as large as Egypt and Lybia.

        And if this was truly the case, considering we have protests like this ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, wouldn’t we have had an actual riot by now?

        And yet … we are only having police officers shooting into non-violent, non-armed crowds.

    8. This is what I’ve been waiting for. When the police violence began I suspected that OWS participants would be labeled as criminal instead of protestor. Now we see the language of control changing assembly in to riot. This subversion of the truth will be used to justify increasingly aggressive police actions in order to quell these ‘riots’.
      The next step is for the media to begin identifying OWS activities as riots. When that happens the public will turn on OWS and we will see real injustice.

  11. He was dressed provocatively.
    He had something (A gun?) in his hand.
    He was somewhere he should not have been.
    He made a threatening gesture, with the (gun?) in his hand.
    He said “OK”, which was the Magic Word last night.

    Leave your badge and gun on the desk. You’re done.

  12. Speaking of Black Bloc, I’m more than a little concerned people aren’t calling them on some of their recent actions.  Frankly, all that’s seemed to have stopped them attacking their fellow protestors with the same vehemence as the polices was the lack of similar weapons.

    1. Just because you haven’t seen them calling out the Black Bloc, doesn’t mean they’re not:

      Hey, Black Bloc jerks: you’re part of the reason we can’t have a nice free democracy. Go away; no one likes you.

      1. I’ll skip the insults and just ask: do you even know what a black bloc is?

        It’s a way of protesting in the face of police violence and police retaliation. Covering faces, wearing similar nondescript clothing, etc. helps protect against gas and helps protect against police surveillance of protests/police harassment of known activists. Linking arms helps protect against police snatch-and-grab attacks. At times, the police will grab random protesters, beat, kick, and pepper spray them, in front of the rest, and then drop them.

        1. oooops! I’m the one who accidentally liked your comment whilst trying to reply. :3
          you appear to have answered a question other than the misunderstood theatrics you lead with, so I’ll boil it down for you.
          Where, in a peaceful protest, do you see a place for an organised group of destructive and violent pricks?
          I see them on the other side of the protest.

        2. You mean you wanted to insult me, but stuck only with condescension, or are you objecting to me calling the people in the video jerks? Watch the video. They’re jerks.

          What you describe may very well be what the black bloc is supposed to be. Works great in theory. In practice, what we see are people like the idiots in the video I linked to using anonymity to generally just wreck stuff up. It’s not productive, it turns public opinion against people with legitimate grievances, and gives overzealous cops the excuse they’re looking for to use excessive force.

          I’m very familiar with these people walking around with black flags. I live in Toronto, about three blocks away from where the G20 cordon was, and lived in London when they had the G20 there. In both cases, these people messed with property and threatened the safety of people completely unrelated to the events. They also stole all the media attention away from the legitimate protests and became the face of protest for people who weren’t there.

          I’m no apologist for the police. What is shown in the video above is unconscionable. There is no excuse for it. The fact that whoever is responsible will probably have a paid vacation instead of jail time is even worse. I can believe that, and believe that black hooded “anarchists” wrecking up the joint are bad at the same time.

  13. He was carrying a camera, which the pigs (not all police: the pigs, mind you) think is a deadly weapon. And they’re right: it shoots to kill, never misses and it never will. My camera kills fascists, sweeps away regimes, and destroys the illicit secrecies of the powerful. I’m surprised they haven’t shot more of us.

    Fight the power.

  14. I am in no way surprised. 

    Could he be identified in the wall of uniforms? NO.* 

    Was somebody going to get killed? Not likely.

    Hence he kew that there would be no repercussions from his taking a shot.

    The police are the thugs we hire in the hopes that they’ll be more effective at suppressing the thugs we can’t hire than the threat of a lawsuit will be.

    That’s not casting aspersions on the character of the cops, they’re people just like everybody else, just saying who and what their role is in our society.

    The cop who pulled the trigger is probably a bully.

    Classically he (its most probably a he,) would be a “recreational drunk” and a loner who’s driven all of the people he actually liked away and was just acting out his frustration at life with a rubber bullet.

    *) The role of a uniform is to prevent that sort of individualization. If the Occupy<where ever> protestors want to absolutely terrify the police, who see themselves as defenders, let then show up in uniforms, anything which will erase all of their individuality, and then see what happens.

      1. You’re tedious. We’re not talking about some idiotic sci-fi show.

        If the cop had RELLY BEEN SURE instead of just a bully, there’d be a reporter dead right now.

        Excessive force only applies to when its being done to you.

        He could always justify it to the bosses later, after all, only the living talk.

  15. If noone came forward as to this and the other shootings the entire Oakland PD should be held accountable not only during ellections, but also in a court of law. I’m glad I don’t live in Oakland anymore, at least until there is someone to protect the citizens from the Police.

  16. Could someone summarize the Current TV video for the benefit of those who can’t watch the whole thing?  Any new information presented?

  17. Aside from the occasional rock or roman candle being tossed toward a bunch of men dressed in full riot-gear, has there been any actual reports of violence from the protesters against the officers?  Actual weapons?  Guns?  Baseball bats?  Anything?

    1. Well, dude, I’d be pissed if someone threw a rock at me. That’s violent right there. The protesters need to not do that sort of thing. Or the yelling and threatening.  It’s not really helping, it’s antagonizing and annoying. If you really want to be effective, do as someone suggest above: show up in uniforms. Be *very* orderly. Close ranks. Show no fear, and be willing to accept injury. Repeat. Show that you won’t be afraid or intimidated, and have the will and numbers to beat the attrition. Look at it from the officers point of view: there is an large angry group of tool using apes in front of you ullulating and attempting to get into your personal space (striking distance). You’d be on edge. One deals with that stress in a variety of ways, including fear, anger, etc… which can lead to increased tendencies to violence. So, don’t taunt the cops. It’s a bad idea.

      That said, I’m curious as to why the protesters aren’t wearing more in the way of PPE? Goggles, gas masks, vests/ pads/ impact guards? If I were facing a reasonable chance of catching a bean bag round, I’d be calling Museum Replicas and asking how much for the full plate. =)

      1. One deals with that stress in a variety of ways, including fear, anger, etc… which can lead to increased tendencies to violence. So, don’t taunt the cops. It’s a bad idea.

        Or, you know, we could screen people before we let them become cops so that the ones that react to stress by shooting people get weeded out. Just a thought.

        1. I agree. Better screening and training would be great. Not everyone who is a cop should be at the riot line. Just like not every cop should be doing forensic accounting, and not every cop should do sex abuse cases. Different people have different strengths and weaknesses, and the force should  account for that.
           The shooter here should be held accountable for his actions. Panicked or not.
          I think, naively perhaps, that if the bad actors from both camps could let the majority of the protesters and the majority of the police just talk, things would be fine. But then some folks have to get all Whargarble and others have to get all shooty.

  18. occamvanrijn and RJ Valeo,

    You really should have perused the Comment Policy before you started making shit up to support your defense of the police.

    I wish you well in all your future endeavors.

  19. No surfer wants to be hit by a shark. But if he/she is, and pray Thor it’s relatively minor like a board chomp, they’re set with a great story, lots of press, wide-eyed fawning and cred forever. Not a bad trade-off for a moment of wtf. The troops are all hot and rallied and the cop was stupid, but angrywhitekid is doing ok. Just sayin’.

  20. “an organised group of destructive and violent pricks”

    What? You say you’re replying to my comment, but I can see no relationship to my comment or to black blocs either/

    1. bah humbug!
      I was drawing attention to your continued forbadance of the illicit tactics employed under the black flag.
      Are we to understand that your stance is that ALL acts of violence seen to be committed by black blocs are acts of deliberate, obfuscationary sabotage committed by elements within the state seeking to undermine the angelic black image?
      what are you saying?
      edit: apparently I’ve made that word up but I’m sticking to it!

        1. I’m asking if you are srsly saying that ‘true’ black blocks are not responsible for acts of destructive violence?
          I’m pissed off at the destructive actions of organised segments of actively violent protesters.
          I’m even angrier at the police and other state officials acting as agents provacateur whilst disguised as black block’ers.
          However, I am surprised by the sentiment that you offered in reply to sincare where you list a number of reasons why protestors would want to collectively defend themselves.
          In completely dismissing the original complaint you would appear to be complicit in the perpetuation of destructive and violent acts by your excusal of those actions through an example of the need for some kind of collectivism whilst ignoring the violence itself.

          1. “In completely dismissing the original complaint you would appear to be
            complicit in the perpetuation of destructive and violent acts by your
            excusal of those actions through an example of the need for some kind of
            collectivism whilst ignoring the violence itself”

            I was just explaining why people might use back bloc tactics. A lot of people seem to think that Teh Black Block [sic] is an organization, and not realize that a black bloc is a tactic, and one which I think is better-suited to non-violence than to any kind of violence.

            And I was responding to Sincarne’s comments and broad-brush insults. Not to the video link – it’s a pain to try to get online video to work, so naturally, I assume that if people think part of the video is important, they will describe it in their comments.

      1. Because


         fits into a personal heroic narrative better than

        ‘The protest movements for progressive causes have attracted a really substantial amount of jackasses over the past three or so decades who have succeeded in alienating the mainstream. There is a sizable overlap between these jackasses and people who like to employ black bloc tactics. Said Jackasses, as suggested by recent missives, are beginning to attach themselve to OWS movements and will do their level best to alienate the mainstream from a mainstream protest movement that has mainstream support.  Because they are jackasses. Said Jackasses also include a substantial amount of keyboard revolutionaries so you’re going to see that first sentiment advocated a fuck of a lot.’

  21. It looks like the cop was aiming for his nuts, upper inner thigh. They hit that homeless guy in the nuts the same night.  Add jockstraps and cups to needed list.

  22. Honestly, I appreciate the sentiment and de facto support. But I think I can safely speak for most of us here when I say that I didn’t need an expert opinion to realize that shooting people is abuse.

  23. Some of us can’t use online video, or can only use it with difficulty. So please, just realize that some of us will respond to what’s written instead of what’s not seen.

    1. If a post or comment is referring to a video and you can’t view the video, it might be best not to comment on it, since if you can’t view it and the post or comment refers to the video … you clearly don’t have the full story, and it’s always wise to with hold from commenting on something you don’t have the full story to.

      …Holy awkward sentence I just created! Too lazy to clean it up.

      1. I don’t think that’s reasonable. It basically means that those of us who don’t have online video shouldn’t try to contribute. I think it would be better if, when people choose to link to videos, they take the simple courtesy of describing what seems important to them about that video, so that more people can contribute.

        1. Now I’m mostly running into this sort of trouble because I’ve stopped using Facebook and because Youtube expects ridiculously fast connections. My issues are pretty minor issues. I’d rather focus on more important issues, like disability issues, when it comes to accessibility.

          But it’s not that long ago that people were captioning pictures, audio, and videos for the blind and deaf. Not sure of all the details, but I thought that was established practice online.

  24. Here’s an idea. Find the ID of one of the cops and start the accusations there.  Why not, the cops do it all the time. Might force the real guy to come out (or I might just live in TV world).

    1. That’s a very good idea. This law: and some of this precedent might kick start the action:

      Just start suing the police and see who floats to the top . . .

  25. I agree!  There was no reason at all for that round to be fired.
    Film me?  Bang.   Punishment. 
    Arrogant malice.

  26. Is no one else concerned that the (aimed) round dinged him high and inside on the thigh?  (See the photo in the article at the top, after the break.)  I’m guessing about a palm-width higher and there would be another person in the ICU. 
    Ah. Upon re-read I see ‘K’ said something akin to this 3 hours ago.

  27. It doesn’t really “show” the photographer being shot. I have no doubt that he was shot, but the video does not literally show it.

  28. When I was a kid I got to be good friends with an Oakland cop while he was dealing with some of the city-wide protests that broke out during the US’s initial invasion and bombing of Afghanistan in late 2001. He was my eskrima instructor and ex-military and was certainly no stranger to tense situations.

    I recall several occasions during those weeks where he had stormed into the school after his shift, all pent-up frustration. He only spoke about his job long enough to say that he hated it and on a few occasions to bark expletive-laced invective about the protesters he dealt with, but after sparring he would always relax back into the chill dude that I knew him as. I can’t imagine him firing a non-lethal round at an unarmed civilian out of spite or frustration, but then I only knew the part of him that was allowed to act like a civilian. I don’t know if he’s still on the force, but I hope he wasn’t one of the faceless officers in that video or any of the others of its ilk that I have seen recently.  

    It may be easy to criticize police forces and it is certainly vital that we do so, but any criticism becomes useless if it is adopted with an us vs. them mentality. It worries me to see and hear so much of what seems like reactionary vitriol being heaped upon police forces – there is a difference between voicing outrage and perpetuating the us vs. them narratives that only serve to commodify conflict. I recognize that those narratives are pushed by the other side as well, and I am not apologizing for anyone – I am suggesting that reconciliation is a worthy goal.

    Does the existence of lawful officers diminish the harm done by this cop (or the many others like him/her)? No. Is job-related stress an excuse for criminal behavior? No. Is it useful to contemplate the plight of the police officer in the face of senseless brutality? If we want to make sense of it, yes.

  29. Soon people might decide to shoot back with more than a camera. If I was a cop I would be worried that my fellow officers were painting a target on my back through actions like these.

  30. Well good morning! Being able to use aggressive violence without carrying any responsibility has been pretty much the definition of police for like two centuries

    1. It doesn’t seem pre-planned, but they sure do look complicit. No one is calling him out, the CO is not pulling him back, everyone seems to be acting like someone farted in Church. 

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