?

Log in

The violence inherent in the system - Office of Naval Contemplation

Nov. 21st, 2011

01:02 pm - The violence inherent in the system

Previous Entry Share Next Entry

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:rustycoon
Date:November 22nd, 2011 01:34 am (UTC)

Re: The missing piece:

(Link)
Yeah, I'll confess: When I heard about Oakland I rolled my eyes and asked "Okay, and what did the protesters do?"

I'll grant that not all police departments, and not all officers, and not even all events to a given officer are incorrect uses of force.

But, for example, setting off flash bang grenades next to a guy whose skull you just caved in with a tear gas canister so as to prevent him from receiving medical care isn't cool.

The majority of stories hitting the news, however, are not of police acting gradually to make an arrest, they are of rapid escalation to the infliction of harm (and risk of death, remember you take your victim as you find him) upon legally innocent individuals. It is, therefore, incumbent upon you to be very specific as to what you mean by 'force' here. :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:maniakes
Date:November 22nd, 2011 02:21 am (UTC)

Re: The missing piece:

(Link)
It is, therefore, incumbent upon you to be very specific as to what you mean by 'force' here. :)

That's the principle I was trying to illustrate with the speeding hypothetical.

But if you want specific, sure. Specifically, if protesters are violating park use rules, blocking traffic, or otherwise making an unlawful nuisance of themselves, I consider reasonable use of force by the police to run along the following lines:

1. Inform the protesters what they're doing wrong and ask them to stop.

2. If they don't stop, caution them that they'll be arrested if they don't stop.

3. If they still don't stop, approach individual protesters and warn them clearly, unambiguously, and personally they'll be arrested if they don't leave.

4. If the warning is refused or ignored, inform them that they're under arrest and ask them to come along quietly.

5. If they refuse to come along quietly, use just enough force to restrain and arrest them without putting the arresting officer in unreasonable danger. Usually, this will mean wrestling them out of the crowd and to the ground and cuffing them, but if they actively fight back rather than just passively resisting, it can be reasonable for the police to use more violent tools within their force continuum to overcome resistance and make the arrest.

6. In the case of large-scale organized violence (directed at the police or at bystanders -- a true riot), even more aggressive tools can be reasonable and necessary to protect life and property. The focus should be not on punishment and retaliation, but on interrupting an imminent threat of injury and destruction of property. Wherever possible, police should make every effort to identify individuals who are actively committing acts of violence and arrest and charge them.

7. Anyone who is arrested in steps 4-6 should be taken to an appropriate location (probably the local police station), identified, charged with an appropriate infraction (blocking an intersection, failure to move along, etc) or misdemeanor (disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, etc), given information on where and how to show up and contest the charges (including contact info for the public defender's office, when applicable), and either released on their own recognizance or allowed to make bail according to usual procedures for the charge being made.

The precise judgment of when to deploy which weapons within the force continuum in steps 5-6 is something I'm fairly fuzzy on: I know a moderate amount about police tactics and the tools within the force continuum, but not enough to proscribe with confidence an exact set of guidelines for which weapons and tactics to use under what conditions.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:rustycoon
Date:November 22nd, 2011 02:45 am (UTC)

Re: The missing piece:

(Link)
you and I are close enough, here, that I don't feel a need to yell at you for being Wrong on The Internet(tm). ;)

I'm pretty generous with leeway when it comes to #5 and #6. But I have yet to see numbers 1-4 being consistently used in the areas where there has been so much youtube footage coming out of.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:maniakes
Date:November 22nd, 2011 03:06 am (UTC)

Re: The missing piece:

(Link)
I've seen a number of videos of the earlier stages of the list in a variety of incidents. In most of these videos, only steps 1-2 or 1-3 occur. In the videos I've seen of steps 5-6 occurring, they almost always start in media res, without context of what happened before. In any given incident, given the information I have available to me, it's plausible that steps 1-4 happened off-camera and only the "good bits" were recorded and uploaded, but it's also plausible that the police unreasonably skipped significant portions of steps 1-4.

If the former is the case, it's an argument for the police to set up their own cameras and make their own record of the entire event in context (they way most police departments now do for traffic stops with their dashboard cameras). If the latter is the case, it's a sign of something seriously wrong with either the way the police procedures are written or they way some individual officers are carrying them out (or failing to carry them out).
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:rustycoon
Date:November 22nd, 2011 03:32 am (UTC)

Re: The missing piece:

(Link)
It's also just a fact (and this is why I choose to blame departments, rather than officers) that riot/crowd management training in this country is for shit.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)