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by Peter Moskos

September 26, 2014

S.C. State Trooper arrested for bad shooting

Here's me on Chris Hayes last night talking about the shooting of Levar Jones.

And yeah, that's my bolo tie. You got a problem with a little New Mexico sunshine on TV? Didn't think so.

Update: The officer pled guilty


Noumenon said...

Like you say, the firearms instructors can be the most paranoid conservative people, but couldn't they also hire more socially skilled people to give training in the following approach I found on Reddit?

"The trooper should have controlled the situation better from the beginning. Situations like this are so easy to avoid.

Instead of "Let me see your ID," he should open with a greeting, as if the other guy were a human being. "Hey, how are you doing this afternoon?" Make the normal smalltalk and get a feel for the situation/encounter before you start demanding ID. It's not hard. It's what thousands of officers do every day, and for good reason."

Dave- IL said...

Good job! This is one of the most obviously bad shootings I've seen of late. It should be studied for various reasons and shown in training academies. This is what happens when officer safety becomes a paranoid obsession.

Regarding the bolo, no problem from me. I will say it was a bit unexpected to see a guy who hails from Chicagoland, went to Harvard, worked in Baltimore City and currently teaches at John Jay wearing a bolo tie, but we all need variety. Hell, I just wear jeans and a t-shirt most of the time, so I give you credit for trying something new.

PCM said...

My father was an Albuquerquean. And my wife too just happens to be a proud Burquena. So I feel legit representing Duke City.

PCM said...

And having a bolo means I never have to proper tie again. I hate ties.

PCM said...

I preferred to ask for the license before making small talk. It tells you right off the bat if the person is complaint. And it lets you know who you are dealing with. It's collateral. And besides, people expect the cop to ask for your license.

Small talk can be very awkward when you know a cop may be about to give you ticket. This is business, not personal. Be professional and courteous and polite.

Too small talk can be seen as flirty. Too much of a game. Opens up windows into places I do not want to look. And of course you're not doing "great" when a cop stops you.

And do not say, "have a nice day" when walking away after you give somebody a ticket.

Also, do not shoot the person handing you his license. That's a good rule, too.

Kyle said...

How does this case compare to the cop that pulled over an elderly white man who reached in his truck to get out his cane and got shot because the cop thought it was a gun?

PCM said...

Don't know about that one. You got a link?

Found it.


But without a video I just don't know. I can tell you I, as a reasonable police officer, would not have shot Levar Jones (Mr. seat belt reaching for wallet violator). Bobby Canipe, disabled vet. I don't know. Shooting an old man reaching for his *sounds* bad. Probably is bad. I just don't know, based on the fact I wasn't there.

Gotti Rules said...

Hey Pete,
Is that your wife's good cooking or does the camera really add 10lbs.?

PCM said...

I've actually lost some weight! So I'm blaming the camera. And the wife hasn't been cooking enough... so mostly it's my food.

Anonymous said...

here's the video link of the cop shooting the vet

PCM said...

Man, that's not fun to watch. Still, thanks for the link.

Clearly in hindsight it's not a good shooting. And yet when that guy gets out of the pick-up truck and the long hard object goes up and into my face -- and keep in mind I'm watching a youtube video and I *know* it's not going to be a gun -- I still felt my ass pucker.

Would a reasonable officer have feared for his or life in that situation? Yeah, potentially, probably, I think so.

It would have been great if the cop had known it was a cane. It also would have been great if the guy hadn't gotten out of his truck and reached for his cane.

A mistake. But I think a reasonable one. I'd let that cop off.

Kyle said...

I agree. I'm wondering what the functional difference is, though. Both officers shot someone who was innocent because of the officer's thoughts about what they were doing. Is it because the second officer actually saw something (the cane)? Is it because the second victim wasn't actually listening to the officer (getting his cane when he told him to stop)?

PCM said...

The functional (and legal) difference is that this officer made a "reasonable" decision, from a police officer's perspective.

The shooting of the guy getting his ID was not "reasonable."

So yes, compliance is a contributing factor. So is the fact that it looks like the guy is bringing a gun up to aim at the officer.

But yeah, it's always a judgement call at some level. But there can still be a right and wrong.

RS said...

After the decision of the grand jury in Ferguson, Vince Warren was interviewed on Democracy Now. He said this, "I don’t think we can take away anything from this decision not to indict other than that it is now officially open season on black folks when it comes to police violence.” It's hard to have respect for someone's opinions when they are that careless with their words.