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The Law Enforcement Officer Thread.:

 326 Sandor, Wed, 19th Sep '12 2:40:06 PM from London/Cambridge
I cannot. I really cannot. Not in today's world. I know it is traditional, and all that, but I tend to see traditions, or some of them, as something that I cannot defend.

Carrying is entirely unnecessary in the overwhelming majority of cases, and would only cause problems, not save lives.

Lets be realistic here, two P Cs (nice use of the paternalistic W prefix, which it should be noted was dropped by a service that adores tradition like no other, which should tell you how patronising it is) were ambushed with guns and explosives on a routine operation. They were not going to be able to defend themselves armed or not.

And only a tiny number of officers are lost to armed attacks, or in situations where firearms would have helped. When we need an armed response we have it available - and with far better training then a random bobbie.

It isn't worth sacrificing the peel principles, and all the problems that would come with a routinely armed force, for a measure that is going to be of marginal to no effect.
"When you cut your finger, I do not bleed." Response of a man who lived on the outskirts of a concentration camp.
 327 The Handle, Thu, 27th Sep '12 7:23:38 AM from Location, Location, Loca

I've been tasked by my college's newspaper to discuss the behavior of policemen in the protests that took place in Madrid since September the 25th. I thought I'd ask you for your opinions. First of all, a disclaimer: I'm not assuming all police forces behave the same or are moved by the same... gears. But, well, security jobs resemble each other, and pitfalls and temptations abound, and there are common mistakes and misunderstandings. So, as I want to write a fair, thought-provoking article, rather than just a partisan piece of redundant trash to please my audience, I would like you to help me with this.

Here's a video summary of a few recent incidents:

Now, there's plenty of provocation, and, I think, uncalled-for verbal abuse ("Murderers!" "Hired thugs!" "Fascists" and so on) on the part of some of the protesters. But there's also a lot of kettling and lack of composure on the part of the police force, a lot of undirected, unjustified violence that seems a lot like bullying; for instance, what's the point of descending on a train station, and shooting and beating at the travelers? Or, when someone politely and non-threateningly asks you for your police ID, how is beating him up as an answer justifiable?

Then there's the matter of the undercover policemen among the crowd. One of them got caught getting beat up by his own "comrades". This really doesn't look good: either the uniformed agents beat up on innocent people, or the undercover cop has been provoking them and thus failing at his alleged role of protecting the protesters. You can't blame some people from jumping to conclusions and figuring that a lot of the hooded men challenging and provoking the police and egging and encouraging the violence in other protesters are in fact undercover cops who are doing this deliberately and under orders.

And, finally, there's the behavior towards journalists. The journalist who filmed the video featured here got his microphone torn off the camera and got pushed into a corner and forced to stop recording. I haven't checked, but that's probably against the local Constitution. Am I wrong in understanding that, if you're going to do things that look bad on camera and there's someone filming, you should either refrain from doing them, or go ahead, if you must, and explain later? What about needlessly damaging private property?

In summary, is this as bad practice as it looks, or is there something going on here that someone who's never worked in security wouldn't normally be expected to understand.

edited 27th Sep '12 7:25:15 AM by TheHandle

I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 328 Barkey, Thu, 27th Sep '12 10:33:50 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
Now I did notice a few actions in the video that were minor infractions(Smacking a guy on the ass with a baton as he's walking away, it wasn't a hard hit or anything, but it wasn't necessary)

But more or less, I saw a lot of justified use of force. They weren't very organized, but they were also scared, full of adrenaline, and angry, something that training can only curb so much.

I want to talk about the use of the shotguns, because that was the most overt use of force that I saw. Now the instances where I got to actually see what provoked the officers into using them were all justified. You throw a chair at an officer, you're probably getting a beanbag to the ribs. That is acceptable use of force in pretty much any department I can think of.

I just saw a large lack of organization and formations, but they might have been spread thin on numbers to where they couldn't really do all that. There were a ton of people out in those crowds.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 329 The Handle, Thu, 27th Sep '12 12:27:09 PM from Location, Location, Loca
How much time between the last time someone throws a chair and the situation unescalating enough that the shotguns are sheathed? I'd like you to go in more detail, when you have the time. My audience is not sympathetic to the law-enforcement side of the conflict; the currently circulating version of events is:

During the #S25 (Sept/25/2012) Madrid protest, thousands (possibly 10, 000+) gathered to protest outside the Parliament building demanding the resignation of the Spanish government. Police began baton rushing the crowd while agent provocateurs began inciting violence. Soon after police started randomly beating people and all hell broke loose. Shortly after they began firing rubber bullets into the crowds.

People think it's all the police being evil. It'll be hard to make them consider an alternative.

And yeah, this is Arab Spring level protesting going on. People are miserable in Spain, I can tell you that. They're calling for the government to resign. Here's some more behavior I might have some trouble explaining.

edited 27th Sep '12 12:35:37 PM by TheHandle

I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 330 Barkey, Thu, 27th Sep '12 12:32:49 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
You don't sling the shotgun, you keep it at the ready in case you need it until you leave. It's out there as a deterrent even if there isn't a risk of it being used.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 331 The Handle, Thu, 27th Sep '12 12:39:49 PM from Location, Location, Loca
Isn't it a bit impractical to have the baton in one hand and the shotgun in another?

You really need to tell me about this usage of Agents Provocateurs. It's certainly not endemic to Spain... and what's the point? Isn't a cop's job to protect the peace? Isn't their natural inclination to give themselves as little trouble as possible? Why do extra work to create extra work, and dangerous at that?
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 332 Barkey, Thu, 27th Sep '12 12:46:27 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
You should never carry a baton and a shotgun. The doctrine I've been taught is that you're given your gear, and that's what you have. If you're a shield guy, you get a shield. Baton guys get batons, lethal or non lethal firearms receive those. The only exception is the occasional sidearm in a holster.

As to the title of that video, I didn't see them particularly targeting those girls for a "beating". Honestly, the swinging of batons into a crowd that is already starting to move in the direction you want was unnecessary and didn't help, but I didn't see a "beating" at any point.

As for agents in the crowd, that doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If I had cops in the crowd, I'd have them there to try and empathize and calm people down.

A political organization or government may use agents provocateurs against political opponents. The provocateurs try to incite the opponent to do counter-productive or ineffective acts to foster public disdain—or provide a pretext for aggression against the opponent (see Red-baiting).

That's the wikipedia explanation for it.

Honestly, at the last part of that video there, those cops were in a bad position. If that mob would have really gotten pissed, they could have just devoured those 16 or so cops so fast, like an ocean just washing over them. No shields or guns in sight either, that was not a smart place for them to be. That could have been part of the excessive swinging, being scared as fuck of what could happen, and trying to force distance from the crowd.

edited 27th Sep '12 12:50:15 PM by Barkey

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 333 The Handle, Thu, 27th Sep '12 1:00:49 PM from Location, Location, Loca
About the video's title, as I've told you, the protesters get a little melodramatic. Remember that old man in the train station sort-of-like shielding a teenager while screaming "VERGÜENZA!" (FOR SHAME!) at the top of his lungs, over and over and over again, as if that was going to achieve anything? Or that woman from the crowd inside that restaurant, screaming "ASESINOS!" (MURDERERS!) at the cops?

I suppose it's perspective bias. People were very scared, and they haven't been trained to handle this kind of (mostly) non-violent protest, it's all very improvised. Some of them do show better strategic thinking than others: cameras focused on the violent bits, but most of them were using sit-in tactics and staying put, or managing the space between them and the cops in such a way that the cops wouldn't get the necessary space to charge. All in all, certainly not a situation of trust.

As for the agents provocateur, I just wonder why any sensible cops would go along with such an asinine approach to managing public discontent. Did someone tell them it was for the greater good, somehow?

It was like this all Monday... many charges... by night, I suppose they'd be rather wound up...

Francesco Cossiga, former head of secret services and Head of state of Italy, advised the 2008 minister in charge of the police, on how to deal with the protests from teachers and students:[8]

" He should do what I did when I was Minister of the Interior. [...] infiltrate the movement with agents provocateurs inclined to do anything [...] And after that, with the strength of the gained population consent, [...] beat them for blood and beat for blood also those teachers that incite them. Especially the teachers. Not the elderly, of course, but the girl teachers yes."

Italian politicians. Keeping the good traditions.

edited 27th Sep '12 1:12:30 PM by TheHandle

I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 334 De Marquis, Thu, 27th Sep '12 1:25:36 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
I think you have an impossible task, Handle. Frankly, the whole point of political protest is to threaten the ruling administration with disorder and bad publicity. The mission of the cops is to prevent any violation of the law. Pretty much these two goals are incompatible (even a perfectly peaceful protest is going to be guilty of trespassing and disorderly conduct, if nothing else).

While a violent confrontation between the two isn't necessarily inevitable, there's obviously a very high potential for it. The protesters have little obvious reason to appreciate the role of the police, and the reverse is likely also true. An objective observer might conclude that there is an appropriate level of force that the police should use, but I have to think that the protesters themselves are very unlikely to agree.

Any objective observer would, I think, agree that the use of "agent provocatuers" is highly unethical.

That said, there are well established guidelines for non-violent protest, and attacking the police isn't a part of them. From that perspective, any resulting violence is more the Spanish protesters' fault for lack of collective discipline, than the fault of the police for trying to antagonize them.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 335 The Handle, Thu, 27th Sep '12 1:35:00 PM from Location, Location, Loca
[up]I'll definitely be translating that for the newspaper (EDIT: upon closer inspection, these notes are a little too abridged... know anything more detailed? Is there an example of The Wiki Rule?). I don't think I can rightly be accused of partisanship if I simply recommend protesting tactics for the sake of public safety and comfort.

even a perfectly peaceful protest is going to be guilty of trespassing and disorderly conduct, if nothing else

That's highly unfortunate. I suppose we can't all get along, can we?

edited 27th Sep '12 1:37:03 PM by TheHandle

I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 336 Barkey, Thu, 27th Sep '12 1:56:02 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
A lot of it depends on the attitude of the protestors and the culture of the community. We had Occupy Protests in my city that were fairly large, but there was no violence. We're a laid back county with a well trained police department that is largely LAPD veterans who wanted to transfer somewhere better and don't shock or panic easily.

I was at a few of them for a bit(not as a cop) and they were peaceful. Cops were passing out water and essentially just standing around making sure things didn't get out of hand, and a few were just freely talking with the protestors.

That's because of the culture of the community that I live in. There were a few violently obnoxious hippies(it's a beach city, after all) but more or less we're a pretty civic minded populace, so when one of those guys would pipe up at the cops and start trying to start shit, there would be like 5 of us confronting that person and telling them to shut the fuck up. So the result was lots of all day protests that involved impromptu concerts downtown, pamphlets and public conversation to educate people on the topics being discussed, and peaceful cooperation with the cops and nonviolent dispersion of the crowd when it got late.

The thing is, cops are supposed to escalate or de-escalate in relation to the actions of the people they deal with. If someone attacks a cop by throwing a chair at them or something, the police respond in kind with a means of violence available to them to discourage that person and set an example that you shouldn't throw chairs at cops.

I understand that the objectives of both sides collide, but protestors often have a really unreasonable expectancy of the police to just agree with them and lay down their equipment and join them. That isn't happening. A protest that is temporary is not worth giving up a job that pays well and has benefits, especially when if you are blacklisted from being a cop, your skills don't give you any livable alternatives past rent-a-cop security guard roles, which is not a career to retire on. The level of risk to officers is really high in that regard.

edited 27th Sep '12 1:59:00 PM by Barkey

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 337 The Handle, Thu, 27th Sep '12 2:00:17 PM from Location, Location, Loca
Then again, they weren't in front of Congress at DC, demanding that the President be impeached. Still, that's what I would call exemplary cooperation of civil powers.

edited 27th Sep '12 2:01:03 PM by TheHandle

I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 338 De Marquis, Thu, 27th Sep '12 2:11:24 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
@Handle (335): Sure, here are a few:

http://www.colorado.edu/conflict/peace/treatment/nonviolc.htm

http://www.peacemagazine.org/index.php?id=2083 (Gene Sharp's list- it has a long-term strategic slant to it)

http://www.midnightspecial.net/files/nonviolentstreettactics.pdf (notice that these guys include "property destruction" as a non-violent tactic- not all non-violent theorists agree)

http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/Blog/nonviolence-vs-diversity-of-tactics-the-case-/blog/12075/ (generally making the case for non-violent over violent protest tactics)

"I suppose we can't all get along, can we?" No, sadly, not so long as the regime in question is perpetuating some form of injustice.

edited 27th Sep '12 2:11:44 PM by DeMarquis

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 339 The Handle, Thu, 27th Sep '12 2:19:39 PM from Location, Location, Loca
Well it would be nice if they stopped doing that without tens of thousands of warm bodies implicitly threatening to do something nasty.
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 340 De Marquis, Thu, 27th Sep '12 2:21:07 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Sure, and it would be nice if they acted like statesmen out of a sincere desire to benefit mankind. Until then, we organize.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 341 Barkey, Wed, 10th Oct '12 9:27:30 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
Interesting thing that some of my friends have been circulating on facebook:

Well, Mr. Citizen, it seems you've figured me out. I fit neatly into the category where you've placed me.

I'm stereotyped, standardized, characterized, classified, grouped, and always typical. Unfortunately, the reverse is true. I can never figure you out.

From birth, you teach your children that I'm the boogeyman, then you're shocked when they identify/associate with my traditional enemy... the criminal! You accuse me of coddling criminals...until I catch your kids doing wrong.

You may take an hour for lunch and several coffee breaks each day, but point me out as a loafer for having one cup between calls. You pride yourself on your manners, but think nothing of disrupting my meals with your troubles.

You raise Cain, and sometimes resort to violence, with the guy who cuts you off in traffic, but let me catch you doing the same thing and I'm picking on you. You know all the traffic laws...but somehow you've never gotten a single ticket you deserve.

You shout "FOUL" if you observe me driving fast to a call, but raise the roof if I take more than ten seconds to respond to your complaint.

You call it part of my job if someone strikes me, but call it police brutality if I strike back. You wouldn't think of telling your dentist how to pull a tooth or your doctor how to take out an appendix, yet you are always willing to give me pointers on the law.

You talk to me in a manner that would get you a bloody nose from anyone else, but expect me to take it without batting an eye.

You yell that something's got to be done to fight crime, but you can't be bothered to get involved. You say you have no use for me at all, but of course it's OK if I change a flat for your wife, deliver your child in the back of the patrol car, or perhaps save your son's life with mouth to mouth breathing, or work many hours overtime looking for your lost daughter.

So Mr. Citizen, you can stand there on your soapbox and rant and rave about the way I do my work, calling me every name in the book, but never stop to think that your property, family, or maybe even your life depends on me or one of my buddies.

Yes, Mr. Citizen, it's me the cop!
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 342 Gabrael, Wed, 10th Oct '12 9:50:46 AM Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
A Polar Bear Named Gabrael
[up] just plain beautiful! [awesome]

edited 10th Oct '12 9:51:46 AM by Gabrael

 343 The Handle, Wed, 10th Oct '12 10:41:51 AM from Location, Location, Loca
[up][up]Sounds like strawmanning. I've never heard anyone talk about copes that way. Then again, where I come from, cops literally steal from you, they're just that corrupt; they're simply the foremost organized gang in the the country, and other gangs aren't allowed to function independently, and are crushed if they get uppity.
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 344 Barkey, Wed, 10th Oct '12 12:38:01 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
^

I've heard that line of thinking. A lot. The stuff in what I posted, that is.

Cops around here are generally pretty good people, but it's the subjects brought up in that pseudo poem that make them into the aggressive people that they are.

edited 10th Oct '12 12:39:07 PM by Barkey

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 345 Tuefel Hunden IV, Wed, 10th Oct '12 12:48:02 PM from Wandering. Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchmen of the Apocalypse
Those are actually pretty common complaints you will hear about police. Heard variations one every last one of them. A buddy of mine got caught doing 45 in a 10 zone. He bitched for a month how the cops were assholes. We told him he was a pussy.
"Who watches the watchmen?"
 346 The Handle, Wed, 10th Oct '12 1:24:43 PM from Location, Location, Loca
Well that's just irresponsible. I myself am always unfailingly polite and cooperative to cops, but since it's usually them that initiate the interaction, I tend to find that they're very rough as a matter of principle; I'm guilty of being yet another ungrateful asshole until I prove them otherwise.

The clean cops of the country I live in, that is. The corrupt cops from the country I'm from are very polite if they think you have the money to bribe them or the connections to make them pay for any misbehaviour.

Nevertheless, regarding those complaints, I still think there's some self-serving bias (selecting the events and organizing them in the narrative that paints you in the most favourable light, and genuinely forgetting evidence to the contrary, which happens a lot and is perfectly natural) and some selection bias (the citizens usually only get to meet cops when the cops are punishing them or coercing them one way or another, the cops only get to interact as such with people who're doing stuff that warrants their attention).

So cops think citizens suck, and act jerky to them on first contact, citizens think cops suck and do the same, both have their beliefs confirmed upon contact, which strengthens the cycle, and thus we have a Cirlce of Jerk.
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 347 Tuefel Hunden IV, Thu, 25th Oct '12 5:22:39 PM from Wandering. Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchmen of the Apocalypse
Would be Cannibal Cop Caught That is kind of scary. I am glad they caught him before something happened.

The more I think it on it the more it seems the NYPD has gotten caught being overly reckless or abusive. This just takes the cake though.
"Who watches the watchmen?"
 348 The Handle, Thu, 25th Oct '12 5:48:11 PM from Location, Location, Loca
The NYPD is huge, and Big Applesauce is a City of Weirdos, so a few bad apples are only to be expected.

edited 25th Oct '12 5:48:23 PM by TheHandle

I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 349 Tuefel Hunden IV, Thu, 25th Oct '12 6:15:25 PM from Wandering. Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchmen of the Apocalypse
Except the NYPD has a very widespread and ugly record. Ranging from reckless behaviour, illegal searches, abuse of detained individuals, illegal observation in other states, illegal profiling, questionable use of lethal force, etc. They have a well documented track record of exentsive bad apples and force wide corruption.

I am glad that guys like in the article are a rarity though. I had to refrain from saying I would have believe this out of Florida. :P

edited 25th Oct '12 6:18:53 PM by TuefelHundenIV

"Who watches the watchmen?"
 350 Barkey, Thu, 25th Oct '12 7:49:29 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
New York is a crazy and shitty state, that's my take on it.

You know, because of the gun laws and stuff.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
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