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by Peter Moskos

June 16, 2010

Seattle officer not aggressive enough

This Seattle officer wasn't too aggressive. He was not aggressive enough. The officer says, "Stop resisting." The suspect says, "Get the fuck off of me." In this case, the officer is the correct and legal one. And he is lucky he didn't get jumped, beaten, or killed.

That woman needed be controlled. At some point (after the punch) I would have maced her, thrown her to the ground, and cuffed her. At least that's what I like to think I would have done.

And where the hell is the backup?

The story from KOMO News.

All for jaywalking. Designing urban space for cars and then ticketing people for jaywalking may be the only thing more idiotic than the war on drugs.


Richard P. said...

Mr. Moskos,

I completely agree about the ticketing people for being bipeds. In fact, it should be unconstitutional! But alas, "reasonable" people follow the rules, and so those rules are correct. If we were more civilized, we would follow in the European's footsteps and give the right away to pedestrians.

PCM said...

I do not follow those rules.
I will follow the orders a human police officer. But, when I am no threat to others, I will not and should not obey a traffic signal over my common sense and convenience.

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

Policeman was in a use of force situation in the middle of a potentially hostile crowd. However, because numerous people started filming the crowd chose not to attack the policeman. Good work by police in regulating his own use of force, and especially good work by camerapeople providing the surveillance that saved this officer from a horribe beat down by the crowd.

Even the policeman had followed Professor Moskos' plan, I still think the crowd would not have attacked because of all the filming. It is difficult for a policeman to know whether his greatest danger is from the crowd or the arrestee, but the danger from the crowd probably goes up as more aggressive tactics on the arrestee are utilized. Tough to say what the optimum approach is.

Guy with the gun like object at 1'48" (at least in the versh of the vid I saw) is interesting. Good job by the camerperson getting him in frame.

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

PS: I hope the policeman was made to write his report b4 watching the video.

PCM said...

Mr Tziabtaz, is everything all right? Any recent head trauma? Any recent kool-aid?

I had a shot of booze all lined up here ready to chug...

PCM said...

And I don't know what that is. It does kind of look like a gun but I think it is. There's something blue and white on it. I think it's a plastic bag.

I'm glad you're not a police officer or else you might have shot him! And then you'd have to answer for it and lie to yourself (have a drink on me).

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

Maybe you don't know me as well as you think you do. I mean, I thought the Abbotsford one was excessive force (and it looks like his department may agree) and you didn't, but you thought the Rodney tape was clearly in excessive force and I thought it was borderline. We agree the Officer Pogan was excessive in his force. I am not sure we are calibrated too differently as far as how much force is reasonable.

My proposal for changing the law of excessive force: limit damages to compensatory (no punitive) if the police admit excessive force and apologize within, say, 30 days.

My top three police problem issues are:

3. Misuse of discretion in ticketing / frisking.

2. Unsafe driving.

1. Honesty problems.

I am not sure excessive force would even make my top 5.

IrishPirate said...

Jaywalking tickets are an affront to my feet.

As for this incident "where's the backup" is a legitimate question.

Apparently these two female paragons of virtue are not strangers to the criminal justice system. They deserved to be arrested just for acting like idiots. Narcissism is an annoying thing.

Now I don't agree with jaywalking ticketing generally, but once the cop stopped them their best option is just to STFU and take the stupid ticket.

This is America, not freaking Canada. Jaywalking should generally be ignored.

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

One time I called police because I saw a man holding a woman at gunpoint. The police took longer than this vid to get there.

One time I called police because someone was trying to break into my apartment in the middle of the night. Police took 90 minutes to get there.

As far as response times go, welcome to Planet Earth, guys. They get there when they can. Last thing you want to do is take out a few pedestrians on a jaywalking call gone bad.

College Cop said...

"All for jaywalking. Designing urban space for cars and then ticketing people for jaywalking may be the only thing more idiotic than the war on drugs."

The school district asked for the police presance in this situation, because kids were crossing a 6 line road instead of using the pedestrian bridge that goes over the road. Seattle is one of the more pedestrian friendly places I've ever been to.

I'm sory but I don't have any sympathy for people who would rather risk causing a traffic accident than to use the constructed safer walkway.

sparkcheck said...

These two suspects should have been Tasered.

PCM said...

And I give small credit the guy with them who tried (a bit) not once but twice to keep one woman away.

Anonymous said...

The cop should be arrested. Not for the punch, but for the theft (jaywalking ticket). Everything else stems from that, thus the girls justifiable resistance.

The Ontario courts have ruled that using force to repel an unlawful arrest is justifiable.

“Unarmed and faced with an armed police officer, Mr. Alexander acted in self-defence in tearing the board off the fence and he was legally justified in doing so,” wrote Ontario Superior Court Justice Alison Harvison Young.



PCM said...

Theft? Canada? What are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

I mean that the I find the girls resistance justifiable. Bullshit traffic and jaywalking tickets are issued with the sole purpose of raising money from the public. I consider these cops no better than highwaymen. People have a right to defend themselves from robbers.

The article refers to an Ontario case where the police illegaly searched a guy's car and found drugs/money. He ran and fought off the cop with a fence post. He was cought a year latter and acquitted on all charges, including resisting arrest/assult.

The same principle would apply if I were on the girl's jury - the cop had no business messing with them for crossing the road and all subsequent violence was his fault.

PCM said...

So you're an anarchist.

We live in a democracy. We have laws. If you don't like those laws, advocate for change. It's kind of a majority wins thing, with rich people having more votes.

I hate the war on drugs and any ticket given to a pedestrian. I'm not going to pick a fight with a cop over it.

Canadian courts have no authority here (I want to assume you know that). And be careful as to which country you pick and choose your legal justification from. Somebody else on your jury may invoke Somali legal precedent and shoot you.

winston smith said...

Look at this cop:

"For the second year in a row, officer Michael Thompson of Traffic Services has topped the "sunshine list" of constables earning more than $100,000. He was paid $161,892 in 2009."


A disgusting parisite and petty tyrant. Therfore, I do side with anyone, ghetto trash or not, opposing this type of legally sactioned piracy. Without realixing it, these girls are great defenders of liberty.

PCM said...

I still fail to see what Canadan law enforcement has to do with any of this.

But while we're here, I should point out that Officer Thomspson is doing his job. It's not his fault that the system demands he go to court when he does. Them's the rules.

I'm all for talking police officers out of the traffic enforcement business. But that's not going to happen anytime soon.

If you don't like it, change the rules. We can argue about whether it's piracy or not, but there's no doubt it's legal. And seems strange, to say the least, to blame officer for playing by the rules.

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

The attitudes about pedestrians are markedly different up in Canada. You will get a good chewing out if they feel you are getting to close to them in a crosswalk. They also tend to have more crosswalks not at intersections (which are surprisingly hard to notice if you are a US driver). They also set the crosswalk lights to give the pedestrians longer. These subtle differences add up to give pedestrians an attitude you don't see in the US. I think that is perhaps part of what you are seeing from anon.

What I did not see in Canada was much blatant jaywalking. Especially not the kind where people walked out from between parked cars sort of daring you to hit them a-la Bonfire Of The Vanities.

If this had been Canada, they would not have put the pedestrian overpass in, but simply put a crosswalk across the road and allowed pedestrians to use a button to stop traffic by throwing up a set of six flashing amber lights (for a relatively long time). Then, if cars still got to close, the Canadian police would go after the drivers.

I will not say whether I think the us OR cdn attitude is the better one, but they are different. The Seattle jaywalkers would be having a field day stopping traffic on that street if this were Canada, and the policeman would have been stopping people in cars for getting too close to the peds. A similar confrontation may well have happened, but with a driver being the one detained and not a ped.

The people who would walk in front of your car in Canada (not in a crosswalk, I mean) were road maintenance workers. I know a couple were killed during my time in Toronto and I had a couple scares myself. As a visiting USian, it was one of those things that would have been bad form to comment upon at the time, but now that I am back in the USA, I can say: bad, bad, bad.

PCM said...

As a pedestrian, I don't want to walk over an overpass. They're insulting, take too much work, and take waaay too much time. Cars should drive slower.

Personally, I'm very happy with the "system" (or lack thereof) in New York City. Pedestrians jaywalk. It's expected. Cops don't ticket. Cars expect people. But if you get hit, well, it's on you.

My only complaint is that when cars *are* at fault, it's still on the pedestrian or bike.

Anonymous said...

Citizens: there is no bargaining. In these situations, the police control the street. Some random woman and her friends do not. Here is how it works with me and the other cops I know:

Only as a courtesy and to let you blow off steam and let your friends know you're not a patsy to the Man, you have about five seconds to complain and wriggle as I try to cuff you. If you don't submit to my clear verbal orders and use of open-hand control after that, the amount I force I use will rapidly escalate.

If two angry people of any gender wrestle with me because I'm trying to do my job, then we're going to have a fight. A fight involves punches to the face, takedowns, mace, a stick, etc. It should also involved other cops. A throng of cops will descend on you. You will definitely lose the fight you've started.

The end result is that you will still go to jail, and you will really think twice about pulling that type of dangerous nonsense again.

That officer showed incredible restraint. He put himself in danger the way he acted. The message he sent--apart from that well-deserved punch in the face to the woman in the pink--is that it might be worth your time to endanger a cop's safety by resisting him.

For all Peter and I disagree about, he knows this too because he's walked the walk in this regard. Good call, Peter.

PCM said...

Very well said.

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

It should be pointed out that it is lawful to use force against a policeman who is using excessive force.

There was no excessive force on this video that this thread is about. However, if he had started clubbing her to death, a bystander could have put one in his dome and it would have been legal. The right to resist excessive force is Constitutionally protected.

This is probably part of the reason (besides the cameras) that the policeman was so judicious with his force in this video. He did not want to get a stomping, and then have a court turn around and say, "yeah, they get to do that because you were out of line." A word to the wise policeman out there.

Anonymous said...

Aside from the retarded comments being made in the background, reminiscent of the Baltimore Lexington Market video, the thing that pisses me off the most is how long it took that officer to finally get that girl under control. I understand she was squirming all over the place, but he seriously upped his chances of dying by inadvertently allowing a larger crowd to gather. Did you see how close some of those guys got to his gun? Unacceptable!

That said, I will admit that I've made the same mistake myself on two fronts. (1) not being aggressive enough with a woman simply b/c I was dealing with a woman, and (2) approaching a crowd with the intent of enforcing a petty law on at least one member, only to have it end in an overblown confrontation in which I was seriously outnumbered and without backup.

I hope this cop thinks long and hard about the lessons learned from this, because he might not be so lucky if there is a "next time". And I hope others out there can learn from his mistake without having to make it themselves.

All the jibber-jabber in the background means nothing. It's not up to those people to analyze his discretionary use of force and physically get in the way of his arrest. That's what review boards, courts, and lawsuits are for. And as for "Big Pink", she needs to realize that if you come at a cop like a man would, you get treated like a man would. That's the way it works. No crying allowed when you don't get your way.