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Comment Archives: Stories: Opinion

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

But I don't understand your way of thinking Bruce. In 18 years as a cop I can honestly say there was only 1 cop I knew of that was a dangerous loose cannon. And said cop wound up getting arrested for a robbery years ago. While I know that numerous cops have been arrested throughout the years I've never seen that side of them at work. I'm sure someone could research all the employees at the Flyer for the past 10 years and find some that have been arrested for domestic violence, assault, theft, drug possession, and DUI. Would it be fair for me to ask you Bruce why you didn't speak up when you were working with a drunk wife beater? Cops might know who the lazy officers are or who cheats on their spouse but the vast majority are not aware of the criminal actions an officer might be doing behind the scenes. Maybe cops tend to err on the side of other cops because we have life experience. We know what it's like to try to arrest someone who is resisting. We know how a calm situation can turn into a dangerous one in an instant. I absolutely know a small percentage of cops can do bad things but I don't understand how defending yourself when a gun is pointed at you is considered the wrong and criminal. Or defending yourself when someone attacks you and try's to take your gun. Cops also know how so-called witnesses lie on cops all the time. This was proven yet again in Ferguson. How many Ferguson witnesses later recanted and said they actually didn't see the shooting! A whole lot!

But I do agree with Jeff from earlier. If you want the best of the best to be police officers you create stringent requirements for hiring (such as a college degree and/or military service) and you pay them well with excellent benefits. Memphis has lowered the criteria to the point where only a high school diploma is needed and you can get a waiver even if you have a criminal history. We haven't had a raise since Herenton and our insurance has been hiked and retiree healthcare slashed. Now pensions are axed for some. Again I ask you, with all the responsibility and danger associated with being a cop in Memphis, who will apply given the current pay and benefit package. Who will be willing to strap on a bullet proof vest everyday and kiss their families goodbye knowing that if they are killed their wife/husband will only get a paltry 401a and no healthcare? I'm afraid the people you find will have no investment in the City and they will be susceptible to corruption....

9 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Firefox on 12/19/2014 at 2:50 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

Firefox, I've done ride-alongs in my days as reporter. And as I said earlier, there's no denying it's a tough job. There's also no denying that cops screw up, and that there are people wearing blue who shouldn't be. The point of my column, which you are reinforcing with your every post, is that cops don't admit to this. The code of silence and total denial of any possibility that there are bad cops and cops who make deadly bad decisions is killing your credibility and that of your profession.

15 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by BruceVanWyngarden on 12/19/2014 at 2:17 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

Poor misinformed liberals. Jeff, you do realize the officer was not choking Garner right? You do know Garner did not die on the scene but rather an hour and a half later at the hospital. Garner had some severe medical problems that contributed to his death. And cops should give a suspect a chance to surrender while the suspect points a gun at them? Umm ok. Write that law up and send it to the state legislature. "Maybe he's pointing a gun at you because he doesn't see you". .??? That's why cops wear uniforms and drive around in marked police cars. But go ahead and sip your coffee and/or wine in your little midtown bistro while waxing philosophically about the ills of man. I bet you've never been cruising through Orange Mound, Whitehaven, North Memphis, Binghampton, Smokey City, or any of the other high crime parts of Memphis after dark. And Bruce, if you want to find out about cops, do some ride alongs. Ask to ride along with Memphis cops for a week or two. You're a journalist it's your responsibility to see issues from both sides. You would be surprised how many dislike the union, and how many cops do little things each day to help citizens. See how cops answer calls, request to go on some OCU drug/weapon searches, just talk to a cop sometime and see what it's like from the other side.

7 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by Firefox on 12/19/2014 at 1:58 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

I'd say Firefox is a part of the problem because he/she doesn't realize it is his/her job to give the perp a chance to surrender. Maybe he's pointing a gun at you because he doesn't see you. How can you know? It's your job to give them that chance. If you can't, you have zero business holding a gun and wearing a badge because you're no better (and hold yourself to no higher standard) than the worst mall guard.

CPR 101 - Ask any asthamtic about the meaning of 'can't breathe.'

While you're at it, ask any jiu-jitsu teacher - a proper chokehold doesn't cut off the air, it cuts off the blood to the brain. If your subject is gasping "I can't breathe," you're doing it wrong - wrong enough to kill him. And if you're choking him to death, he will fight back, even if he's under arrest.

Seriously, get some training.

However, Firefox is right in that cutting back on the police is a sure fire way to fill the place with the worst sorts. If we pay mall guard pay, we'll get mall guards patrolling our streets.

And that is exactly why we have these problems. The place is full of half-trained mall guards frightened witless by the idea that most cops are killed by people resisting arrest.

11 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Jeff on 12/19/2014 at 10:09 AM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

If he were a doctor, he could surgically remove your head from your ass.

8 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Clyde on 12/19/2014 at 9:57 AM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

Firefox says "Charlie - I must have missed the class on distinguishing a toy gun from a real gun in 2 seconds while it's pointed at you while I was at the academy."

Appears Firefox is part of the blue wall.

9 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Data Geek on 12/19/2014 at 9:12 AM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

Firefox, you couldn't have demonstrated the point of my column any more clearly if you'd tried. I guess I should just be grateful you're not a doctor.

12 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by BruceVanWyngarden on 12/19/2014 at 8:16 AM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

Bruce - read my first comment. I've seen the video. Yes it happened quick. But you must not assume. Like I said, I don't know if the cop saw the armed individual walking and immediately drove up to him, or, was the cop driving through the park looking for the armed individual and saw him at the last second? I've responded to countless armed party calls where the suspect was either not on the scene, or not in the same location as the caller stated. I believe the caller in the Cleveland incident said the armed individual was near the swing set area. If the cop was driving through the park headed to the swing set area he might not have seen the suspect coming out of the gazebo until the last second. What I do see in the video is a person of unknown age pointing a gun numerous times. It also appears that he pulls the gun out and is holding it with both hands when the cop car pulls up. Imagine if you can: the officers are responding to a call about a person with a gun in the park. They make it to the park and start driving towards the area the suspect was last seen. When suddenly the cop in the passenger seat yells, "There he is!". The suspect has stepped out from a gazebo and is only mere feet from the car AND he's holding a gun (a realistic looking pellet gun). The cop driver stops and both officers jump out. The cop on the passenger side had nowhere to take cover while the officer on the driver's side could use the car as cover. They were probably yelling verbal commands as the suspect raised the gun up and then it's self-defense. You can Monday morning QB this incident all day. It can also be used in training. But if the fact of the matter is the kid pointed a realistic looking gun at the officer and the officer feared for his life then deadly force is justified. Yes it happened fast but these things always happen fast.

Ideally the cops could have located the individual sooner and parked farther away and used the loudspeaker on the car to give him verbal commands to drop the gun and lay on the ground. That would have been great. But if it happened like I described above what choice did they have? Should one of the cops "taken one in the chest for the team?"

Charlie - I must have missed the class on distinguishing a toy gun from a real gun in 2 seconds while it's pointed at you while I was at the academy.

8 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Firefox on 12/18/2014 at 10:00 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

Firefox,

That is a lot of BOLD statements to make when video of the incident has been on the web for a long time. Maybe, you should educate yourself of the facts of the situation, before making statements.

http://www.vox.com/2014/11/24/7275297/tami…

The officer shot the boy within 2 SECONDS of pulling up to him in their vehicle. Don't believe me, watch the video. Tell me the moment you see the boy pointed the toy gun at the officer (his partner wasn't even out of the car when the shots were fired).

Open Carry laws don't require holstering, they require that the gun is visible hence the word "OPEN." Many gun owners use in the waistband (IWB) holsters and that passes legal muster because part of the gun is still visible to the public. Even before the video surfaced, the police said that the boy had the gun in his waistband - therefore visible to them - hence falling safely under the protections of Ohio's Open Carry laws. Then the video surfaced and most of their story fell apart like warning him three times (in apparently 2 seconds) to raise his hands.

As a side note, take a look at these kids at a recent Open Carry festival - http://i.imgur.com/3To94N8.jpg - yep, those look properly "holstered."

13 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Charlie Eppes on 12/18/2014 at 9:41 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

Firefox,
Sorry to respond backwards but your last CPR reference seems to suggest that if a person isn't complaining about not breathing because they are actually not breathing then it's ok to continue the illegal choke hold?
Anyhow, if an unarmed someone wants to attack a cop you have my permission to beat them bloody. If that doesn't work, shoot him. But shooting whoever you want because you Feel threatened, no. Maybe we need to go back to having more badass cops, I was never a fan of lowering physical standards.
And finally your firstly, " So far, in every instance of perceived "injustice" regarding a police shooting it has been found justified by a grand jury" (from the BBC)-According to Philip Stinson, a researcher at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and former police officer, 41 police officers were charged with murder or manslaughter between 2005 and 2011.- A fraction of the thousands of justified killings but certainly out of line with your estimate.
We have certainly had an escalation of gun violence across the board. Killing people with loose belts is not the answer.

10 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by CL Mullins on 12/18/2014 at 9:36 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

Firefox, just watch the video, and tell me you think any reasonable police protocol was followed in this case. The officer that did the shooting (two seconds after getting out of his car) was dismissed from another force because of mental instability at a firing range. If you can't even allow the possibility that cops can eff up, or that this is not incompetence of a high order, you're truly delusional. http://gu.com/p/43kbk/sbl

16 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by BruceVanWyngarden on 12/18/2014 at 9:22 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

CL - You just made my point. So far, in every instance of perceived "injustice" regarding a police shooting it has been found justified by a grand jury. The law is clear. Attack a police officer and try to take his gun leads a reasonable officer to fear for his life. When said individual retreats then disobeys verbal commands, makes furtive movements with his hands, and charges the officer again lethal force is justified. Maybe you want to live in a society where a person can attack a police officer and officers are required to run for their lives before defending themselves but I don't. As far as NY and Garner. I see an undersized officer using a under the arm and across the chest technique to take down a much larger sized man who WAS RESISTING ARREST. When an officer tells you that you are under arrest and to put your hands behind your back you must obey. That is not an opening for negotiations. Most officers are killed or injured by people resisting arrest. That is in our training. And also, CPR 101, when someone is saying I can't breathe. They in fact can breathe. Air is needed across the vocal chords in order to talk. The NY officers MIGHT be guilty of not providing medical assistance fast enough but they are certainly not guilty of homicide by ANY stretch of the imagination.

4 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Firefox on 12/18/2014 at 9:05 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

Firefox,
No argument in the screwing over of employees, especially if that distracts officers from their job.
Regarding use of lethal force, if the threat is honestly perceived but unjustified, then split second decisions can result in innocent deaths. Many of the police killings we protest are from threat of a perceived but not an actual gun. Or in the Staten Island case, fear of a large unarmed man.
The lack of accountability leads to lack of faith and trust.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by CL Mullins on 12/18/2014 at 8:48 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

CL - You get what you pay for. There is a tidal wave of anger rising against government workers and more importantly police officers. I do agree that officers should be held to a higher standard and receive the best training. They also put their very lives on the line for the citizens. But at the same time cities are looking at cutting costs by taking away from police officers. You are seeing it here in Memphis. On one hand you want the very best people to be officers and to hold them responsible at the highest level. On the other hand you want to cut their healthcare, kick the retirees off of healthcare coverage, cut officers off of a pension, etc... Again Memphis has a reckoning coming. In the business world you reward those workers with the most responsibility with higher wages. Officers are leaving in droves. All shifts across the city are under-manned. And with what the Council did on Tuesday, I imagine every officer with less than 7 1/2 years on is currently looking for jobs elsewhere. Officers aren't stupid and they see what's going on. They see their pay and benefits being cut while businesses are granted PILOT's left and right. But the law is the law. Officers are the very base for law and order in this country. If someone points a gun at you, you have the right to defend yourself. If an officer hesitates he might die. I for one will not hesitate an additional 2, 3, 4 seconds because CL thinks I should. There are far too many videos on the internet of officers dying who did exactly that: hesitated.

And Charlie: What does "open carry" have to do with Cleveland. Open carry means you can carry a gun around in public HOLSTERED! Not walking around a public park pointing it at every person. I doubt the kid had the gun holstered when he was shot. It's my understanding the kid pointed the gun at officers.

3 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Firefox on 12/18/2014 at 8:37 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

I'm still wondering why no one is talking about the fact that Ohio has an Open Carry Law. In fact, the city of Cleveland's ban on Open Carry was overturned by the Republican legislature. Something the NRA praised. http://www.nraila.org/news-issues/news-fro…

And before you say, "Well kids are not covered by Open Carry!" Remember that the officers after the shooting called in - "Shots fired. Male down. Black male, maybe 20." http://www.vox.com/2014/11/26/7297265/tami…

And don't even go with "Well toy guns aren't covered by Open Carry!" Because the response will be "The cops thought it was real."

19 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Charlie Eppes on 12/18/2014 at 2:54 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

Firefox,
We hold law enforcement to a higher standard than we do each other, same as we do MD's. We require they take that extra second. If they are injured or lose their life, sadly that is what they are paid to do.
Our responsibility is to ensure our police and medical teams are afforded the best training and technical support. BTW this means less money for Mesopotamia and more for Memphis.

12 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by CL Mullins on 12/18/2014 at 2:42 PM

Re: “The Rant (December 18, 2014)

Is there a FUNDRAZR for this baby that you are aware of?

Posted by Moxie Coznofski on 12/18/2014 at 1:50 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

In my darker moments I assume the Blue Wall is highest and thickest wherever people have something to hide and protect. An honest organization of any type would, in theory, want to weed out its worst members. A dishonest organization, by its very nature, can't take action against any members for fear of retaliation and exposure.

Therefore, in theory, you can spot a corrupt organization by the unity with which it protects its least deserving members.

14 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Jeff on 12/18/2014 at 1:50 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

Your call for police departments to “man up and acknowledge their bad apples” is one of the best positioned arguments on the issue I have read. Unfortunately this posture of "protect your own no matter what" permeates so many organized labor organizations, to the detriment of the reputation of the organization overall. From teachers to bus drivers to NFL players, the representing labor organizations seem to go out if their way to protect even the most obviously unqualified or, at times, criminally inclined members at the expense of the reputation and good work of its majority. There are bad people in every profession. If others in those professions would acknowledge that and help clean house, it would benefit everyone – fellow professionals and the customers of those professions alike.

12 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by rjb on 12/18/2014 at 12:40 PM

Re: “Good Cop. Bad Cop.

Any time an officer has to kill someone with his weapon it is ruled a "homicide". Duh! The medical examiner is basically saying that the person did not die from natural causes thus it is a homicide. The only difference being if someone has a heart attack or other medical emergency while in police custody. But what you are talking about is "restraint" by police. If someone points a gun at you what is the required waiting time before defending yourself? I can't say what happened in Cleveland. Should the cop have driven right up to the kid with the gun or should he have parked down the street? Did the cop know that the kid with the gun was right there or was he surprised when he saw the kid so he stopped immediately. I don't know. You know people have legs which allow them to move so when someone calls 911 to report someone with a gun in the park that person might have walked away from the park by the time a cop arrives. What I do know is if someone points a gun at you, you don't have time to assess whether the gun is real or fake, or how old the person with the gun is. A 12 year old can shoot you just as dead as a 25 year old or 70 year old.

7 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Firefox on 12/18/2014 at 12:32 PM

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