Thursday 10 October 2013 - Filed under Uncategorized
Johnathan Carp, former combat medic in Iraq, on modern day police tactics:
The shooting on Capitol Hill of Miriam Carey, an unarmed woman who refused police commands to stop her car, was a familiar situation for any veteran of the Iraq War, with one significant difference — rather than moving through a progressive escalation of force while attempting to defuse the situation, Capitol Hill police officers went straight for their firearms and shot to kill. Since returning from my service as an Army combat medic in Baghdad six years ago, I have watched American police become more aggressively violent than my fellow soldiers and I were ever trained to be.
[. . .]
Police militarization is a hot topic lately, especially in libertarian circles, but American police are beyond anything contemplated by the American military. While abuses certainly occurred in Iraq and elsewhere, our procedures as soldiers in a war zone were designed to avoid violence and protect the lives of the Iraqis, and we understood that that meant accepting some risk ourselves as soldiers. American police today appear unwilling to accept any risk whatsoever and seem willing to kill anyone and anything that could possibly be seen as a threat; according to the chief of the D.C. police, Cathy Lanier, these police officers “did exactly what they were supposed to do.”
While Lanier’s statement may be true in terms of police policy, we cannot accept those policies. Deadly force cannot be the first and last choice for dealing with any potential threat, and police officers must be trained to strive always to protect the lives of citizens, especially of suspects. Policing is a dangerous job, but as someone who has held another dangerous job, I must say that our American police need to understand and accept the risks they take when they accept the badge and understand that they are there to protect others before themselves.
Cops use deadly force regularly for three reasons: 1) the public has not yet reached a point where the police opening fire with little regard to the safety of anyone but themselves is unacceptable. Most people seem to accept the boilerplate excuse of “OFFICER SAFETY!” as a valid excuse for any acts of violence, and few seem willing to question whether a 300 pound law enforcement officer should legitimately fear for his life because of a 12 pound terrier; 2) police departments refuse to find any fault in even the most egregious shootings perpetrated by police officers, and therefore cops are very rarely held accountable for what would be considered brutal crimes were they done by non-cops; 3) cops are cowards. Despite risk to their person being a part of their job, any risk is too much risk and so the attitude of shoot first, ask questions later has been employed.
2013-10-10 » madlibertarianguy