I am so with David French on Police Shootings

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/09/police-shootings-david-french-changed-writing/

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.

The police get too much leeway. Their job is not to come home at the end of the day, their job is to serve and protect. Their job is to die, if necessary, so that citizens don’t have to.


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Author: Bryan G. Stephens

Bryan G. Stephens is a former executive on a mission to transform the workplace. He is the founder and CEO of TalkForward, a consulting and training company, utilizing Bryan’s clinical and management expertise to develop managers and teams in a corporate environment. As a licensed therapist with strong understanding of developing human potential, he is dedicated to the development of Human Capital to meet the needs of leaders, managers, and employees in the 21st Century workplace. Bryan has an Executive MBA from Kennesaw State University, Coles School of Business, and both a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

41 thoughts on “I am so with David French on Police Shootings”

  1. Its probably the only thing I am in lock step agreement with French on.

    You know what irks me so much about this latest case? The homeowner could never have defended his home against that cop.

    The police defenders fail to understand that. If she had been any other fool who entered the wrong apartment and had been shot for it, we would have shaken our heads at the tragedy of it all but ultimately backed the legal resident.

    Because it was a cop, that person had no options to defend his property or his life.

    French gets that in these bad-shoot cases. He understands the public has been effectively disarmed by cultural bias and that police are lacking a fundamental understanding of that when engaging the average citizen.

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  2. How would qualified immunity apply to shooting someone in your own apartment?   If a cop is off-duty, they are no different than another citizen.

    Here’s a question – what prevents police from just refusing to take action, Broward County style, any time there is something dangerous going on?  I mean, if you make a mistake, your life is ruined.  I get that people expect cops to allow themselves to be shot rather than shoot a protected person, but that is unrealistic.  I want police to be able to actually enforce the law.

    I do think we should qualify the immunity much more strictly.  Only on the job, while following policy – if you want to cowboy it, well, it’s all on you now.  If the policy is bad, that’s where you vote for change.

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  3. OmegaPaladin:
    How would qualified immunity apply to shooting someone in your own apartment?   If a cop is off-duty, they are no different than another citizen.

    Here’s a question – what prevents police from just refusing to take action, Broward County style, any time there is something dangerous going on?  I mean, if you make a mistake, your life is ruined.  I get that people expect cops to allow themselves to be shot rather than shoot a protected person, but that is unrealistic.  I want police to be able to actually enforce the law.

    I do think we should qualify the immunity much more strictly.  Only on the job, while following policy – if you want to cowboy it, well, it’s all on you now.  If the policy is bad, that’s where you vote for change.

    If they make a mistake, they should be subject to the same rules as the rest of us. If I make a mistake and someone days, I will go to prison. The same should be said for the police.

    You are advocating that they get different rules. Heck, I cannot even sue the police for failing to protect me! As we are now, they can kill me, say “oops” and my family just has to stuff it.

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  4. OmegaPaladin:
    I do think we should qualify the immunity much more strictly.  Only on the job, while following policy – if you want to cowboy it, well, it’s all on you now.  If the policy is bad, that’s where you vote for change.

    My issue is slightly different… we have a right to self defense – unless the one threatening our life is a cop/wearing a uniform.

    If a cop is threatening your life, simply being in posession of a gun brings in qualified immunity (reasonable fear).

    We have the right to defend, including against the government (police being the arm of government).

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  5. Bryan G. Stephens:
    Their job is to die, if necessary, so that citizens don’t have to.

    No, their job is to enforce the law. That job is inherently dangerous. But it isn’t their job to die. We should back them up in performing this job. That does not mean carte blanche, that does not mean anything will be forgiven.

  6. Bryan G. Stephens:

    OmegaPaladin:
    How would qualified immunity apply to shooting someone in your own apartment?   If a cop is off-duty, they are no different than another citizen.

    Here’s a question – what prevents police from just refusing to take action, Broward County style, any time there is something dangerous going on?  I mean, if you make a mistake, your life is ruined.  I get that people expect cops to allow themselves to be shot rather than shoot a protected person, but that is unrealistic.  I want police to be able to actually enforce the law.

    I do think we should qualify the immunity much more strictly.  Only on the job, while following policy – if you want to cowboy it, well, it’s all on you now.  If the policy is bad, that’s where you vote for change.

    If they make a mistake, they should be subject to the same rules as the rest of us. If I make a mistake and someone days, I will go to prison. The same should be said for the police.

    You are advocating that they get different rules. Heck, I cannot even sue the police for failing to protect me! As we are now, they can kill me, say “oops” and my family just has to stuff it.

    I disagree with all of that.

    First let’s distinguish between making a mistake and murder. Second let’s distinguish between someone making a mistake while performing a job they are duly authorized to perform versus someone making a mistake while doing something they had no business doing at all. Third, let’s distinguish between unfortunate circumstances, mishaps, negligence, incompetence, maliciousness, and crime outside of the performance of official duties.

    I know officers who are indeed held accountable. Officers who aren’t bad people or even bad cops. Police are held responsible, but it’s much more complex than adjudicating citizen complaints because of the extra layer added on in which these people are authorized to operate in these inherently dangerous and fluid situations.

    Again, that does not mean carte blanche and forever consequence-free. But to say that a cop can kill you and just say oops is a failure to recognize the legitimate issues and complexities involved, it’s a failure to recognize that cops don’t go around looking to kill people, they aren’t so glib when it does happen, and they do face appropriate consequences.

  7. Stina:
    Because it was a cop, that person had no options to defend his property or his life.

    That simply is not true. Cities and towns go broke paying out settlements for egregious violations, and there is definitely your day in court in any case. Most of the time that isn’t required, though. Also, cops lose their jobs and go to jail.

  8. Stina:
    We have the right to defend, including against the government (police being the arm of government).

    We have the right to speak, assemble, bear arms, be free from unreasonable searches, and not to incriminate ourselves. Resisting duly authorized civil officers is not among those rights. If the civil officer acted incorrectly then address it in the legal system. If the legal system is corrupt then run for office to effect change. If you’re prevented from running for office then start a righteous uprising. But it doesn’t start with mini uprisings against duly authorized civil officers – in a free and participatory system like ours there are civil remedies to be exercised and exhausted first otherwise it’s just anarchy.

  9. Ed G:
    Resisting duly authorized civil officers is not among those rights.

    How does a civilian distinguish between an authorized officer and an intruder with the potential of deadly harm in a cop uniform?

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  10. Ed G:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    Their job is to die, if necessary, so that citizens don’t have to.

    No, their job is to enforce the law. That job is inherently dangerous. But it isn’t their job to die. We should back them up in performing this job. That does not mean carte blanche, that does not mean anything will be forgiven.

    No, it is there job to stand between the citizens and danger. I expect them to risk their lives in their jobs. That means not setting things up to maximize risk to citizens to minimize their risks. things like no knock warrents

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  11. Ed G:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    OmegaPaladin:
    How would qualified immunity apply to shooting someone in your own apartment?   If a cop is off-duty, they are no different than another citizen.

    Here’s a question – what prevents police from just refusing to take action, Broward County style, any time there is something dangerous going on?  I mean, if you make a mistake, your life is ruined.  I get that people expect cops to allow themselves to be shot rather than shoot a protected person, but that is unrealistic.  I want police to be able to actually enforce the law.

    I do think we should qualify the immunity much more strictly.  Only on the job, while following policy – if you want to cowboy it, well, it’s all on you now.  If the policy is bad, that’s where you vote for change.

    If they make a mistake, they should be subject to the same rules as the rest of us. If I make a mistake and someone days, I will go to prison. The same should be said for the police.

    You are advocating that they get different rules. Heck, I cannot even sue the police for failing to protect me! As we are now, they can kill me, say “oops” and my family just has to stuff it.

    I disagree with all of that.

    First let’s distinguish between making a mistake and murder. Second let’s distinguish between someone making a mistake while performing a job they are duly authorized to perform versus someone making a mistake while doing something they had no business doing at all. Third, let’s distinguish between unfortunate circumstances, mishaps, negligence, incompetence, maliciousness, and crime outside of the performance of official duties.

    I know officers who are indeed held accountable. Officers who aren’t bad people or even bad cops. Police are held responsible, but it’s much more complex than adjudicating citizen complaints because of the extra layer added on in which these people are authorized to operate in these inherently dangerous and fluid situations.

    Again, that does not mean carte blanche and forever consequence-free. But to say that a cop can kill you and just say oops is a failure to recognize the legitimate issues and complexities involved, it’s a failure to recognize that cops don’t go around looking to kill people, they aren’t so glib when it does happen, and they do face appropriate consequences.

    No they do not. French, in fact, has examples in his most recent writing where Qualified Immunity has been used to end lawsuits. Jurys have not returned Guilty verdicts when it was clear the police messed up.

    I do not care it was a mistake. If you invade someone’s home and kill them in the line of duty, they are still dead.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/06/philando-castile-shooting-police-must-display-reasonable-fear/

    When I saw that palpable panic, I immediately knew why he was acquitted. The unwritten law trumped the statutes on the books. The unwritten law is simple: When an officer is afraid, he’s permitted to shoot. Juries tend to believe that proof of fear equals proof of innocence.

    In short, “Opps, I was scared, so I murdered someone”.

    Unacceptable. Unjust.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/04/stephon-clark-shooting-police-should-show-more-discipline-restraint/

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/09/amber-guyger-botham-jean-shooting-police-must-face-impartial-justice/

    https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/police-murder-daniel-shaver/

     

    Don’t you dare tell me that the Police are punished. They. ARE NOT. Police can murder, and they have murdered, at will, throughout the history of the Republic. They should be held to the highest possible standard, not have excuses for “oops”.

  12. Stina:

    Ed G:
    Resisting duly authorized civil officers is not among those rights.

    How does a civilian distinguish between an authorized officer and an intruder with the potential of deadly harm in a cop uniform?

    Simple, if you shoot the officer who has stormed your house, they will kill you, or file murder charges against you.

  13. Stina:

    Ed G:
    Resisting duly authorized civil officers is not among those rights.

    How does a civilian distinguish between an authorized officer and an intruder with the potential of deadly harm in a cop uniform?

    It’s difficult to impossible, and that’s a dangerous situation though not a common one. However, that’s why impersonating an officer is usually illegal in itself. We can’t prevent all wrongs from occurring, and sometimes the best we can do discourage ahead of time by promising to punish afterward.

  14. Bryan G. Stephens:

    Ed G:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    Their job is to die, if necessary, so that citizens don’t have to.

    No, their job is to enforce the law. That job is inherently dangerous. But it isn’t their job to die. We should back them up in performing this job. That does not mean carte blanche, that does not mean anything will be forgiven.

    No, it is there job to stand between the citizens and danger. I expect them to risk their lives in their jobs. That means not setting things up to maximize risk to citizens to minimize their risks. things like no knock warrents

    1) Again, the job is actually to enforce the law. Sometimes that involves danger. Cops do risk their lives in their job. Daily, in most cases. So they are meeting your expectation broadly speaking.

    2) No knock warrants do not inherently maximize risk to citizens and minimize risks to cops (who are also citizens in our system). That doesn’t mean that no knock warrants are always warranted, but neither are they never warranted. Such a thing shouldn’t be abused or overused.

  15. Bryan G. Stephens:

    Ed G:

    I disagree with all of that.

    First let’s distinguish between making a mistake and murder. Second let’s distinguish between someone making a mistake while performing a job they are duly authorized to perform versus someone making a mistake while doing something they had no business doing at all. Third, let’s distinguish between unfortunate circumstances, mishaps, negligence, incompetence, maliciousness, and crime outside of the performance of official duties.

    I know officers who are indeed held accountable. Officers who aren’t bad people or even bad cops. Police are held responsible, but it’s much more complex than adjudicating citizen complaints because of the extra layer added on in which these people are authorized to operate in these inherently dangerous and fluid situations.

    Again, that does not mean carte blanche and forever consequence-free. But to say that a cop can kill you and just say oops is a failure to recognize the legitimate issues and complexities involved, it’s a failure to recognize that cops don’t go around looking to kill people, they aren’t so glib when it does happen, and they do face appropriate consequences.

    No they do not. French, in fact, has examples in his most recent writing where Qualified Immunity has been used to end lawsuits. Jurys have not returned Guilty verdicts when it was clear the police messed up.

    I do not care it was a mistake. If you invade someone’s home and kill them in the line of duty, they are still dead.

    1) Yes they do. Anecdotes do not prove a universal. It’s simply a fact that police officers face criminal punishment.

    2) So juries have returned verdicts you disagree with. You say they are clearly wrong – they obviously disagreed with your assessment. Now what?

    3) Are you really arguing that killing is killing is killing is killing? That there are no important distinctions to make concerning things like motive, intent, causation, cascading effects, justification, due authority?

  16. Bryan G. Stephens:
    When I saw that palpable panic, I immediately knew why he was acquitted. The unwritten law trumped the statutes on the books. The unwritten law is simple: When an officer is afraid, he’s permitted to shoot. Juries tend to believe that proof of fear equals proof of innocence.

    In short, “Opps, I was scared, so I murdered someone”. Unacceptable. Unjust.

    Now cops can’t defend themselves if they perceive an immediate threat to their safety? Doing so is equivalent to murder?

  17. Ed G:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Ed G:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    Their job is to die, if necessary, so that citizens don’t have to.

    No, their job is to enforce the law. That job is inherently dangerous. But it isn’t their job to die. We should back them up in performing this job. That does not mean carte blanche, that does not mean anything will be forgiven.

    No, it is there job to stand between the citizens and danger. I expect them to risk their lives in their jobs. That means not setting things up to maximize risk to citizens to minimize their risks. things like no knock warrents

    1) Again, the job is actually to enforce the law. Sometimes that involves danger. Cops do risk their lives in their job. Daily, in most cases. So they are meeting your expectation broadly speaking.

    2) No knock warrants do not inherently maximize risk to citizens and minimize risks to cops (who are also citizens in our system). That doesn’t mean that no knock warrants are always warranted, but neither are they never warranted. Such a thing shouldn’t be abused or overused.

    I totally disagree on No Knock Warrents. They are designed to minimize risk for the entry team, and as such, transfer that risk to the people inside. There is no denying this. Further, if I shoot the police in the course of such an event, I will be charged, even if they make a mistake, in the off chance I don’t get killed.

  18. Ed G:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Ed G:

    I disagree with all of that.

    First let’s distinguish between making a mistake and murder. Second let’s distinguish between someone making a mistake while performing a job they are duly authorized to perform versus someone making a mistake while doing something they had no business doing at all. Third, let’s distinguish between unfortunate circumstances, mishaps, negligence, incompetence, maliciousness, and crime outside of the performance of official duties.

    I know officers who are indeed held accountable. Officers who aren’t bad people or even bad cops. Police are held responsible, but it’s much more complex than adjudicating citizen complaints because of the extra layer added on in which these people are authorized to operate in these inherently dangerous and fluid situations.

    Again, that does not mean carte blanche and forever consequence-free. But to say that a cop can kill you and just say oops is a failure to recognize the legitimate issues and complexities involved, it’s a failure to recognize that cops don’t go around looking to kill people, they aren’t so glib when it does happen, and they do face appropriate consequences.

    No they do not. French, in fact, has examples in his most recent writing where Qualified Immunity has been used to end lawsuits. Jurys have not returned Guilty verdicts when it was clear the police messed up.

    I do not care it was a mistake. If you invade someone’s home and kill them in the line of duty, they are still dead.

    1) Yes they do. Anecdotes do not prove a universal. It’s simply a fact that police officers face criminal punishment.

    2) So juries have returned verdicts you disagree with. You say they are clearly wrong – they obviously disagreed with your assessment. Now what?

    3) Are you really arguing that killing is killing is killing is killing? That there are no important distinctions to make concerning things like motive, intent, causation, cascading effects, justification, due authority?

    The crimes I linked too are all examples of cops getting away with it. They should be held to a higher standard.

    Every time a police officer kills a citizen, it is the power of the state being used to kill. That must be better monitored.

    Do you want to stand here and tell me that police have not abused that power? That racist cops have not all but executed blacks? Please.

  19. Bryan G. Stephens:
    Don’t you dare tell me that the Police are punished. They. ARE NOT. Police can murder, and they have murdered, at will, throughout the history of the Republic. They should be held to the highest possible standard, not have excuses for “oops”.

    Bryan, you’re being hysterical here. You paint the police in our country as if they were the Stasi. You claim injustices without repercussions. You’re shouting (all caps).

    Yes, some officers have done bad things (including murder) and yes some officers have not been punished for it. But let’s not be hyperbolic – it’s a small percentage and police do not murder at will.

  20. Ed G:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    When I saw that palpable panic, I immediately knew why he was acquitted. The unwritten law trumped the statutes on the books. The unwritten law is simple: When an officer is afraid, he’s permitted to shoot. Juries tend to believe that proof of fear equals proof of innocence.

    In short, “Opps, I was scared, so I murdered someone”. Unacceptable. Unjust.

    Now cops can’t defend themselves if they perceive an immediate threat to their safety? Doing so is equivalent to murder?

    They can defend themselves, but if they are wrong, there should be hell to pay. Again, I linked to clear examples of Cops being able to say they were afraid, and they were clearly in no danger.

    They were wrong, and they murdered men. Killed them with no reason. They were not punished. Cops should be held to a higher standard. Since they all consider themselves military, they should at the very least, show the restraint of people in the military.

    Cops are looking to lock people up. They already pull people over for no reason, just in the hope to pick someone up. Speeding is about revenue generation, yet we are told traffic stops are sooooo danagerous. Well don’t do them then!

    Cops are allowed to lie to you, but if you lie to them it can be used against you. They do not know the law, and they are trigger happy.

    I am not backing down. Something needs to change.

  21. Ed G:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    Don’t you dare tell me that the Police are punished. They. ARE NOT. Police can murder, and they have murdered, at will, throughout the history of the Republic. They should be held to the highest possible standard, not have excuses for “oops”.

    Bryan, you’re being hysterical here. You paint the police in our country as if they were the Stasi. You claim injustices without repercussions. You’re shouting (all caps).

    Yes, some officers have done bad things (including murder) and yes some officers have not been punished for it. But let’s not be hyperbolic – it’s a small percentage and police do not murder at will.

    Sorry, I did not realize that all caps was forbidden here. OH WAIT IT’S NOT.

    COPS are not held to the same standard as everyone else. They are more likely to get away with it. Period.

  22. Bryan G. Stephens:

    Ed G:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Ed G:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    Their job is to die, if necessary, so that citizens don’t have to.

    No, their job is to enforce the law. That job is inherently dangerous. But it isn’t their job to die. We should back them up in performing this job. That does not mean carte blanche, that does not mean anything will be forgiven.

    No, it is there job to stand between the citizens and danger. I expect them to risk their lives in their jobs. That means not setting things up to maximize risk to citizens to minimize their risks. things like no knock warrents

    1) Again, the job is actually to enforce the law. Sometimes that involves danger. Cops do risk their lives in their job. Daily, in most cases. So they are meeting your expectation broadly speaking.

    2) No knock warrants do not inherently maximize risk to citizens and minimize risks to cops (who are also citizens in our system). That doesn’t mean that no knock warrants are always warranted, but neither are they never warranted. Such a thing shouldn’t be abused or overused.

    I totally disagree on No Knock Warrents. They are designed to minimize risk for the entry team, and as such, transfer that risk to the people inside. There is no denying this.

    No denying this. Right. After all risk is zero sum, and you can’t think of any ways or circumstances in which citizen risk might actually decrease with a no knock warrant so no such circumstances exist. Not to mention the fact that  the cops are just itching to murder me at will. For no reason.

  23. And, I am on the side of David French here, someone not know for being hysterical. But hey, let’s just say there is no problem at all, and these things happen.

    I think not. If the State screws up, then it should pay, and the people making up that screw up should pay. If you think that happens, you are you of your mind.

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