The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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Some thoughts on the video

Posted by ALmod on May 20, 2009

By now, if you’ve not been living in a cave, you’ve probably seen the following video:

Speaking as the daughter of a retired cop, I always have to say something when this sort of thing happens, so here goes.

Before I start, I want to say that nothing excuses this behavior, and I am in no way justifying it.  If anyone is going to be outraged by this, it will be cops.  Why?  Well, believe it or not, most cops just want to do their job.  They want to protect and serve, and when these things happen, it undermines their ability to do so.  They meet with more hostility.  They meet with more restrictions.  It makes them less safe.

Also, I’d like to offer a quick apology to my father, should he happen to read this.  He always felt like the term “cop” was a slur or insult and therefore disrespectful.  He used to always correct me by saying “police officer.”  However, with more modern usage, I think it’s save to say that the term is no longer derrogatory, and gosh darn it, it’s just easier to say.

My first reaction upon seeing this was that these cops were acting like scared animals, and they had every reason to be scared.  Here’s a guy who just tried to run over and kill another officer who was laying down a spike strip, so he’s proven that he’s potentially dangerous.  As part of a drug bust, you have no idea what this guy is on.  Here in Alabama, most folks do carry guns and knives– as if that’s the only thing that might be used to harm another person.  Exactly six seconds pass between the time he is ejected from his vehicle and the time the officers get there– hardly time for them to determine if he’s unconscious.  I’d imagine that they’re exploring the mental scenario that he’s lying there waiting for an opportunity, with adrenaline or drugs pumping so that even if he’s injured he’s still a threat.  In this case, they want to subdue him as quickly as possible while he might be “stunned.”

Scared animals.  At the same time, we do hold those who hold positions of authority to higher standards, and for good reason.  They are paid and trained to act like something other than scared animals (though my thoughts on proper pay for any job that requires you to constantly put your life on the line are for another discussion).

My second thought was (sarcastically, of course), “Gee, I guess it’s a good thing Birmingham took the tasers away from them.  Someone could have been seriously hurt.”  Honestly, this was during the whole debate over whether or not they should have tasers, and the whole time, I was arguing that if you don’t give them tasers, cops would actually have to resort to more violent methods that were more dangerous to both parties and more likely to cause more harm.  No, a taser is not completely harmless and should not be used so flippantly.  However, if given a choice between a gun, a billy club, and a taser…  I’d probably go with the taser.

But on to the reactions of others…

Mayor Larry P. Langford likened the beating to the police violence that occurred in the city during the civil rights movement.

No…  It’s nothing like that, though you can color me un-shocked that Langford would have drawn the connection.  It cheapens what the civil rights protesters had to go through to make the comparison, as far as I’m concerned.  First off, the police violence during that period was under a white mayor and a white police chief who acted against people who were committing no crime and simply protesting– peacefully, at that.  Women and children were included.  This was police chasing down a criminal who’d already tried to kill one of them.  They were led by a black police chief and a black mayor, one of the officers participating in the beating was black (according to CNN), and this guy would have likely gotten the same treatment had he been white.  To compare this incident to the Civil Rights Movement would be to insinuate that there was some form of discrimination involved, and there is no evidence of that here.

Roper said he was “shocked” to learn of the video and that it had been around for so long without his knowledge.

…which makes him either a liar or an idiot.  Either situation makes him unfit for the position he holds.  I remember well when this happened.  There were several departments involved in the arrest– including Hoover.  It would have been darn near impossible for him to be unaware.

And finally, from Fox News:

Crew, who did not represent Warren in the criminal case, said he fled in the van because he was confronted by a man who never identified himself as an officer, was not in uniform and drove after him in an unmarked car. She said he had not been accused of any crime when the pursuit began.

I have to call bulls**t, here.  Even if Warren didn’t initially know that he was being confronted by a police officer, then the several other police vehicles that joined the chase from Hoover to Trussville and back should have probably been a clue, at which point he should have pulled over.

I’ve failed to pull over for an unmarked car, myself.  But when the marked car started following, it was easy enough for me to pull over.  There was no high speed chase, and while the cop who did get me to pull over (for speeding) informed me that I should have pulled over for the unmarked car, I was approached no differently than any other speeder.

Again, there’s nothing that excuses the behavior of the officers who participated in this beating, but I figure enough folks are covering that side of the story.

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3 Responses to “Some thoughts on the video”

  1. The GTL™ said

    WOW. I’d heard about this on Paul Feinbaum but didn’t see the vid till I found you here, JB. Great commentary and thanks for sharing the vid. You compared these LEO’s to animals and that was a great comparison — PACK animals who agressively just jump in and do whatever the Alpha Male does. We military are prone to that behavior as well unfortunately…

    Thanks for sharing, my friend 🙂

  2. AWRMTC said

    Unreal. I admit, police brutality is unacceptable. But come on! Imagine you’re part of any team, any club, anything at all, and some nut job try’s to kill one of your team mates. What are you going to do??? It would be nothing short of a miracle if that person was able to walk after the rest of your “pack” was done with him. These police officers handled the situation the same way as anyone would have, the only problem was, they all wanted to “handle” it. If it was just one officer jumping on the guy and throwing a few blows to make sure he wasn’t getting up, this wouldn’t have even been an issue. But since 5 guys decided they’d make sure they guy who just tried to kill a “team mate” didn’t get up again its police brutality? Whaaa?? Rodney King was police brutality. How can anyone compare this to that? I’m shocked that 5 people were terminated after this.

    I ask the person responsible for terminating the police officers this. Did you just want them them to walk up to the guy and ask him to put his hands behind his head?? The guys just tried to run someone over!!! Sorry, not the right move. If criminals know they are allowed to try to kill police officers, and they are only allowed to ask them questions, then you have a huge problem.

    Its a sad day when murderous criminals have the advantage over police officers because of political activist making it impossible for them to do their job. Here’s a thought. Every COP in the nation decides their going to quit because their asked to up hold the law hopping on one foot and a hand tied behind their back. They can always go work at Costco and make more money, so its not the paycheck that keeps them there. What would those activist be saying then, when some thug is beating them senseless in a back alley? “Its alright criminal, I fight for your rights”! give me a break.

    Let Police Officers do their jobs.

  3. ALmod said

    AWRMTC, that’s pretty much what I just said in my post. Yes, it would be expected if any normal person was in that situation to let their emotions get the better of them and do just what these officers did. And that’s what I attempted to convey was that these officers weren’t savages that were looking to be bullies as so many people would like to portray them. They’re human beings, and they were acting out of fear and emotion after a dangerous chase that had left one of their fellow officers injured.

    At the same time, we do expect a higher level of restraint from our authority figured– police officers included– than we would expect from the average citizen. That’s not saying that we expect them to not be able to do their jobs. It’s merely saying that they’re expected to be able to control their emotions in such a situation and focus on subduing him without unnecessarily doing harm. It would have been perfectly acceptable (in my eyes) to see a “football pile” on top of that guy after what happened, but the beating and kicking was a bit much.

    Again, I’m the daughter of a retired cop. My dad married a woman whose father was a cop and was killed in the line of duty. I’m all for giving police officers the tools they need to do their jobs. But situations like this actually make their jobs harder. While they’re genuinely trying to protect and serve, they’re going to be met with harsher regulations and more hostility from criminals as a result of people seeing this video.

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