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by Peter Moskos

July 30, 2008

So wrong?

There's another video of excessive NYPD use of force.

This has nothing to do about bicyclists. But it is the NYPD. And brutality. And it probably won't turn out well for the officer.

At least neither of the cases directly involve race. The bike case was white on white. This is black on black (and yes, there would be a different reaction from the press and public if a white officer had been beating the black guy).

The academy does not teach the baton to be used as a compliance tool like this. That's how they're going to get the officer. In cases like this, I was taught to mace the guy, but never did (and is mace really better than hitting him?). It's another point in favor of my lost cause: the straight baton. You can use it for leverage to force an arm.

So here, even though I think the cop did the wrong thing, I can't help but stick up for him a little bit. Not in beating the guy. But you try and force a man's hands behind his back. It's not as easy as you think it is! Why doesn't he just do what the officers say?

The right thing to do is wait for backup. Two officers may not be able to get the arms behind the back. But four officers can!

Assuming there was a good reason to arrest this guy (and naturally I do... but that the cop in me. I wasn't there. And the Post raises the question), well, you gotta put your hands behind your back. You're under arrest. You don't have a choice.

And you know what really doesn't help matters? The girl in background yelling and egging everybody on. As an officer trying to control a situation, the last thing you want is to worry about is that the woman yelling "fight" is going to join the fray. It makes want to end things faster.


Anonymous said...

So what do you suggest doing if you see your friend getting beaten by a police officer with a baton? Just stand and watch, and hope that someone happens to be videotaping it so that you can complain later?

PCM said...

Basically.... yeah.

And this girl with the voice in this video was so friend. Friends don't yell "fight fight" like a gradeschooler.

If you are legally right, then by all means record the scene. But that is a fight for later.

In this case, where this guy wouldn't put his hands behind his back, you couldn't go wrong with sayings things like, "do what they say!" And "put your hands behind your back!" And "stop being stupid!"

He was under arrest and police are allowed to use force.

Even if you're legally right, resisting will not help you.

Whatever you do, do not join the fray! Especially from behind. That might get you shot. And it would probably be justified.

And then later, when your friend gets out of jail, sit down and watch Chris Rock's "How not to get your ass kicked by police." It's good advice.

Anonymous said...

I actually couldn't hear what she was yelling in the video. Obviously yelling "fight! fight!" is idiotic, but yelling at the police officer seems like something a lot of people might do if they thought someone was being excessively beaten. I'm not sure what I would do myself, but yelling seems like a pretty natural reaction (yelling something other than "Fight, fight," that is.

PCM said...

If you really did see police brutality (and not just police using necessary force), you could try yelling something like this: "Officer, stop! They're recording you! It's not worth it! Think about your pension!"

Anonymous said...

I think the person is yelling "wait, wait" not "fight, fight". Turn it up and listen to it closely. Not one thing about this is justefied except probably the initial cause for arrest.

Anonymous said...

I watched the video again, and I think "anonymous" is correct. She is yelling "Wait! Wait!" and "why are you hitting him? Why are you hitting him?" Then she urges someone (the guy taking the video, presumably) to "Take a picture of his leg! Take a picture of his leg!"

PCM said...


Certainly the, "Take a picture of his leg" was clear. And I'll be damned if he didn't have a huge ol' bump of a swelling there.

I'm telling you, expandable batons are not good. What good is a tool if you hit a guy, what, 10 times, and it still doesn't make him do what you want?