Three Things on Police Use of Force – Marc MacYoung


Three things

FirstMa’am could you put the knife down… 
(We’ll come back to this)

Second — look at the title of this clip. That’s designed to trigger your monkey brain. Specifically your judgmental and emotional HOW TERRIBLE! reaction. Look at it again 87 y,o. WOMAN BEATEN …POLICE! 

Let’s start on this with you know what a beating really is. That ain’t it! It was a takedown and a restraint.. The female cop did NOT go all Rodney King on her ass.

But after reading that video title, the cop is automatically in the wrong.
She’s now wrong for having attacked that sweet little old woman. That defenseless old woman … with a knife… that something was going on…. that there was filming… and the cops were called.

Third — There are two ‘bad’ uses of force
Excessive — which is either brutality or shooting when you don’t have to
Unnecessary — which while technically legal is PR nightmare

Believe it or not, both are actually rare. The first, excessive, especially so. I say this because there are literally millions of encounters with police every day that NOBODY DIES, nobody gets a Rodney King done on their ass.

Surprise, surprise, surprise Sgt Carter.

Unnecessary uses are a pain in the ass. They’re a problem because while they can be legally justified on the force continuum, they look seriously bad. Yeah, tasering an out of control 12 y,o. kid looks bad. So does punching a crazy woman you just tackled to keep her from walking out onto the freeway. So too does taking down an 87 y.o. woman with a cane and a knife that’s walking at you

Realistically they could have been resolved in another way — IF the officer were allowed/allowed him/herself additional time. Take a good look at that last sentence it’s important. But before we go there, let’s look at something else that’s going on.

Again, even though both are rare, we think they are happening all the time. Because of instant social media, cell phone cameras, current attitudes, world wide acess and availability heuristic there’s the idea that the cops are out beating and huntin’ down innocent people in the street.. It’s called availability bias. ( ). And it gets us all.

Add to the fact that there are a lot of people who simply think that no matter what a cop does IT IS WRONG! The goal post moves every five seconds. For example, there have recently been two posts on my wall about cops who took down someone with a knife. This in outrage about cops shooting a dude with a knife in St. Louis. The point for posting these take downs from other countries is to show that the cops DIDN’T HAVE to shoot the guy in St. Louis. SEE?! Here’s video proof!

Except, with this video, there’s proof that American cops don’t shoot everyone with a knife — and motherfuckers are STILL not happy. 

They’re still pissed. Now it’s those evil oppressive pigs threw Rodney King’s grandmother the same beating they did on him. It doesn’t matter that they didn’t shoot her, the cops are STILL wrong for what they did.


Could the officer in question handled the situation better? Yeah, probably. 

But that’s neither an absolute or a condemnation. The filming starts only moments before the cop car rolls up. So we don’t know what the situation was. Remember the cop was rolling up on a situation she did NOT know what was going on. That is a big, ass issue.

See, something that is pounded into cops heads is ‘control the situation.’ And if you’re going to bitch about what cops do, you better FULLY understand the significance of this issue — because yes it’s the source of a lot of unnecessary use of force incidents, but it’s also a huge safety issue for EVERYONE in the area (Here’s another fuckin’ cream filled sugar glazed jolly — If you’re a cop and don’t control it and someone else gets hurt, you, the department and the city are fucked — usually to the tune of millions.)

Cop rolls up on a call and here’s someone with a knife. Yeah, it’s an old woman, but does she have dementia? Unknown at this time. Is the woman cooperating? (Ma’am could you put the knife down) No. Nor is she stopping. (Yeah, it’s a cane assisted, but granny is still advancing) Damn it!

Right there is where the officer could have tried to find other options. Step away and keep everyone else back. Wait for more back up. Lock the cop car and follow the old lady keeping people away (oh yeah, important to lock the car so it doesn’t get ripped off, including the weapons — never thought of that did you?) All of these are indeed possible solutions other than going hands on. 

At the same time there’s that doctrine of ‘control the situation’ buzzing around in her head. There’s all the officer safety training she’s had — training that tells her a demented person with a knife IS dangerous. There’s that experience where she’s seen all kinds of people — of all ages, of all races, of all social levels — misbehaving. And then there’s the pressure from the department to expedite the resolution of situations so you can get back out there on patrol (that’s another thing you need to consider when looking at what policing has become.)

So in just a few seconds, she has to make a force decision. A decision that is way more complicated than just ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ But has a shitload of variables. Variables that the people who say ‘cops = wrong’ have no clue about. 

Was her use of force ‘wrong?’ Well first it depends on what standards you’re using. Legally? No. Within court tested departmental policies? Again, no. Within ‘cops are oppressive pigs out to brutalize and keep us down’ ideology? YES!

Sheeeeeeit, let’s even allow for judgmental, emotional and biased standards. Was it ideal use of force? Well, no. Could she have done other options? Well yes. Would it have worked? Well maybe. Would we have been more emotionally comfortable had she done so? Hell, yeah.

But when you allow for shades of grey, life is no longer as simplistic, easy and convenient as it is when you’re emotionally outraged at the cops beating an 87 yo. woman — is it?


This is a beating
This is a beating…/16/shocking-video-shows-teens-beating/




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