Killer Cops: Don’t Blame The Training

***Note: There are informational links at the end of the post.

Yesterday, former Dallas police officer and murderer Amber Guyger, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing Botham Jean, a tenant in the same apartment building she lived in, in his own apartment while he was sitting and eating ice cream.

RREQ7AGTMBAWDC4P67O2R5SMOM

What got a lot of attention was when Botham’s younger brother, during his impact statement said, amongst other things, that he didn’t want Guyger to go to jail, he forgives her, and wants her to find Christ. He was then allowed to hug Guyger.

download (1)

I’m not going to focus on that in this blog. I’m going to focus on Botham’s mother’s statement outside of the courtroom. You could feel both the grief of a mother who had lost her child through one of the stupidest incidents ever. You could also feel the fury of a person who is fed up; even more so now that the underlying racism and sociopathy of most cops had touched yet another family.

She talked about corruption in the Dallas Police Department. Having been born and raised in Dallas, I can attest to that. But then, she said something that people often say when things like this happen that I actually do not agree with. She intimated that if Guyger had been trained better (in this case, not to shoot in the chest), her son might still be alive.

That’s the part I want to talk about in this post; the notion that police officers are poorly trained and that’s why innocent people die.

Here’s a secret about The Wayward Daughter: I have a graduate degree in Forensic Psychology. I studied not only victims and defendants but police and policing as well. I studied how police are trained to trip people up in interrogation rooms. I studied how they get false confessions out of people. I studied their interrogation techniques. Not that I was ever under any other impression, but studying policing in the United States will quickly disabuse you of the Kindergarten belief that they are your friends that you can run to in times of peril for safety. 

Police officers have high rates of things like domestic violence and alcoholism. Jordan v. New London, a case that made it all the way to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, affirmed that police departments can reject candidates whose IQ is too high. Many officers are veterans, which means there is likely a high presence of PTSD. Self-destructive behavior and hypervigilance are amongst a set of symptoms of PTSD. There’s also the fact that policing, much like the military, works on its members following orders as opposed to a lot of independent thought or judgment. 

And then…these people are given a gun.

Someone who has issues with self-control, anger, substance abuse, is just bright enough to do what they’re told but not think through their actions in the moment, is skittish or quick to (over) react, or has been in a war zone, probably doesn’t need access to a weapon because they cannot be trusted to exercise their best judgment. 

What am I saying?

I believe that many, if not most, police officers are individually at least 25% sociopathic or have antisocial traits that are severe enough to disqualify them from police work. Some of them didn’t start out that way. Some of them got into the blue fraternity, finally felt their life had purpose when someone handed them a badge and a gun, and lost their fucking mind. But, I also believe many more are much more sociopathic than not. 

Add racism and implicit bias and that’s the perfect storm for cops losing their cool and people losing their life.

I don’t think all the training in the world would have saved Botham Jean. Guyger is a racist, who based on her social media, basked in having a job where she had the ability to take people’s lives and (based on what we know about police accountability), likely would never have to answer for her actions.

I’m glad the Jean family got a jury that wasn’t buying her bullshit about a mistaken apartment. 

5297442_051319-wabc-pantaleo-garner-img

But, it’s time to let go of the narrative that if cops knew better, they’d do better. Eric Garner was killed by a cop who used an illegal chokehold. Daniel Pantaleo KNEW what he was doing was improper but did it anyway. No amount of training would have kept Pantaleo from doing what he did. The same goes for Amber Guyger. 

Blaming it on training allows bad cops to get away with their bad behavior for longer. It makes people think that perhaps the training process was inadequate or maybe that officer was out sick when they were trained on how not to kill for no reason. It makes it seem like these cops don’t know what’s CLEARLY obvious to the rest of us. 

(Another thing cops are trained to do is lie). 

If I order a burger and the worker is having a bad day and throws my burger at me, they get fired. Nobody needs to train the employee to know that it’s not okay to throw a burger at someone. That’s common sense. Yet, people act like police officers are babies that don’t know better and must be walked through every scenario AFTER they kill someone and shown step-by-step how they messed up. This is worse when you think about the fact that training academies run from 6 to 12 weeks. 

giphy (10).gif

The only thing that’s going to address situations like Guyger and other murderous cops is a judicial system that is truly unbiased from the clerks through the DAs through the judges and for bad cops to be continually held accountable for their bad behavior. Police officers need to be held to the same standard as the rest of us. All of us are tired after a day at work. All of us have to deal with difficult people at work, be it the general public or co-workers. But the rest of us don’t get to use lethal force just because we’re tired, or stressed, or scared, or generally having a bad day. Policing needs a do-over. 

https://abcnews.go.com/US/court-oks-barring-high-iqs-cops/story?id=95836

https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/09/police-officers-who-hit-their-wives-or-girlfriends/380329/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sure-recovery/201803/police-and-addiction

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/10/15/police-with-military-experience-more-likely-to-shoot

https://adaa.org/sites/default/files/Henderson_100.pdf

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/03/30/when-warriors-put-on-the-badge

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/03/30/when-veterans-become-cops-some-bring-war-home/99349228/

https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=181019

Objections: Dawnta Harris’ Lawyers Should Stay Off Facebook

Believe it or not, I hardly ever write when I’m mad. Miffed? Yeah. Mildly annoyed? Maybe. But, real mad? Hardly. Well, that ends tuh-day.

This week, in Baltimore, a police officer was killed when she was run over by a 16-year-old in a car named Dawnta Harris. He was the alleged “mastermind” behind a series of burglaries with his friends. This particular incident happened after 4 arrests within a period of 6 months and multiple attempts in the days leading up to his coup de gras of killing the officer to contact him and his mother after violating the restrictions of a type of juvenile probation program Baltimore has. He was on an ankle monitor and his caseworker and others in the program tried intently to track him down once they saw that he was not following the edict to only go from home to school and back.

Now, why am I mad?

Well, before I knew anything about this incident, I was innocently strolling my Facebook timeline when I saw that someone shared a “statement” by Harris’ attorney. I read it. I was, for lack of better word, livid. I’ve posted the statement below.

Dawnta Lawyer

Reading this statement, I had more objections than Perry Mason.

First of all, I have said forever that I object to the notion that teens (the ones who don’t organize crime operations), must be reckless, deceitful, disrespectful and generally amoral. I object to this because I’ve seen so many teens show a consistent pattern of good behavior. I was one of those teens (and I’m not just saying that).

For Dawnta Harris’ attorney to chalk up his 4 arrests in the last half-year, failure to comply with the conditions of his program, and eventual murder of a police officer to him being a child who “is not perfect” is frankly offensive to so many teens out there who manage to go through the emotional, mental, and physical upheavals of adolescence WITHOUT a rap sheet.

Secondly, I object to the insinuation that this is more the system’s fuck up than Dawnta’s or his parent’s. Yeah, he should have never been out on the street in the first place. It was a complete misstep to allow someone who had his record to be integrated back into society. But, his attorney’s last statement, that implies that the environment in which he grew up caused him to make decisions that were not “advantageous” to his social welfare is laughable. Who the fuck cares what’s “advantageous” to someone who not only burglarized people’s property that they worked to acquire but killed someone’s daughter/sister/mother/ friend (even if she was a cop)?

That leads me to the third objection. Apparently, the general public is supposed to give a fuck about Dawnta being charged as an adult and being held in an adult detention center. Apparently, because he’s either Black or from Baltimore or both (first three lines of statement), “we” are supposed to embrace him even though he has proven, more than once, that he’s a danger to “us” and a bane of his own community. When the attorney asks if the public is comfortable “forsaking” him, I offer a resounding, “fuck yes!”

Let me pull over here and say that I can’t help but notice the irony of his lawyer invoking The Almighty when it clearly states in the “good book” that we all reap what we sow. Maybe his lawyer missed that part, or maybe he thinks it doesn’t apply to his client.

But I’m not done yet.

After I read that dreadful nonsense from Harris’ attorney, I broke the international rules of reading anything on the internet and perused the comments. I feel like several of them were worse. I just screenshot two.

Dawnta crazy comment

Ob-mutha-fuckin’-jection!

First of all, I’m not a cop sympathizer by any stretch but you have to be one deranged person to read the account of what happened and come up with this as your response. Cops are paid by taxpayer money and I can say for certain that Lanear, who doesn’t know the difference between “hear” and “here”, would be one of the first ones to howl if the cops took her up on her suggestion to “mind their fucking business.”

Next, Lanear, in a stunning display of contradiction, sounds a little miffed about all the cops who don’t “actually” do their job. At least she has a weak grasp on sarcasm to make up for her misunderstanding of homophones.

For the finale, Lanear asserts that (apparently), Dawnta Harris shouldn’t be held accountable for his actions because cops in general kill so many “prince” [sic] and “kings” in the Black community.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-8557-1369529788-1

Now, I don’t know who these princes and kings in the Black community are but I cannot wrap my head around someone saying that a cop should not have been doing her job as a response to a thieving recidivist killing her.

The second crazy comment…*sigh* where do I start?

Dawnta crazy comparison

I’ve chosen to ignore the Go Fund Me part because I don’t know what to say but, “damn that!”

Let’s talk about how Candice shows up in the clutch with the sound financial advice to nix the Go Fund Me campaign and just but it on the boys’ books once they are sentenced to life. Great idea, Candice. I have another idea. Donate to a victim’s assistance organization. Help someone replace the things that were stolen by Dawnta and his friends.

Mdot Innc (which I’ve decided is just a YUGE typo), comes back with the fact that George Zimmerman, an adult who murdered a child who actually did NOTHING wrong (unlike Dawnta and his homeboys) had a Go Fund Me. I love how Mdot notes that George Zimmerman was “clearly wrong” when Dawnta Harris has confessed to running over the cop. Plus, you don’t get put on an ankle monitor and a probation program because there’s confusion about whether or not you did anything wrong. It’s as if Mdot isn’t clear whether or not burglary and running over someone on purpose is a “wrong” thing to do.

For her final stroke of genius, she notes that a white kid killed a family of four (I’m thinking he’s talking about Affluenza) and got probation. Here’s what, MDot, Dawnta Harris was in a probation-style program too after 4 arrests within 6 months sooo…..I guess the “if they can do it, we should be able to do it too” defense is out the window.

To that end, it’s terrifying how people like Lanear and MDot will choose the most horrid, base, wretched behavior to declare their desire to be equal to white people. All the hardships our ancestors fought through to get us here was not so that we could comport ourselves as badly as white people and get away with it.

Here’s the biggest reason why this pissed me off:

it’s another dazzling display of how in the Black community, we willingly overlook, downplay, and even excuse Black male pathology at all stages of the game. Dawnta Harris (and probably his friends too) should not have been free to exist among us-at all. Even Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore’s state’s attorney who stuck her neck out over the Freddie Grey case, seemed very dismayed that Dawnta Harris wasn’t locked up where he should have been.

Though I have divested from everybody but Black women and (law-abiding) children, this thing where the community makes up excuses for the criminal behavior of Black males still affects me and society at large, to be quite honest. Similarly, this problem spans across all of maleness, as even the Santa Fe shooter’s father has attempted to shift the blame for his son’s murder spree on being “bullied.”

This bullshit has got to stop.

To Dawnta’s attorneys:

No it wasn’t basically a “traffic stop.”

No, he was not in “survival mode.”

No, it wasn’t an “accident.”

No, it’s not a problem if the officer showed “aggression.”

I don’t need to see the video. I have common sense.

To the rest of you dunderheads who came out of your keyboard to type some bubbameister defense of Dawnta Harris:

what if the officer he killed was your family member? Would you be so quick to engage the mental gymnastics you’re performing now to excuse his actions or would you want him and his clique under the jail? Be honest.

As for me, I’m on #TeamUnderTheJail.

In my estimation, Dawnta Harris’ lawyers are a part of the same “system” that they are blaming. The county allowed him the opportunity to further victimize those in his community by not keeping him locked up and now, his lawyers are trying to minimize the fact that this child is a serious problem and needs to be treated as such.

I understand what lawyers do and I understand it’s their job to defend their client. I think they would have been better off leaving that baloney attempt at a soliloquy about how less guilty their client really is off of Facebook.

Crime is perpetual. We know this. But if our communities keep cradling these males this way, nothing positive will ever be accomplished long-term.

2520s: The Scourge

Scourge

[skurj]

noun

1.

a whip or lash, especially for the infliction of punishment or torture.

2.

a person or thing that applies or administers punishment or severe criticism.

3.

a cause of affliction or calamity:

Disease and famine are scourges of humanity.

 

I don’t have a clever entrée for this piece so I’m just going to go for it. White people are a scourge upon humanity. I know it. You know it. They know it. As addiction science teaches us, the first step is admitting the problem. I’m naming the problem: white people.

In the last two weeks or so, those of us who read have read several accounts of white people calling the police on Black people for doing innocuous things from napping in a college common area, to barbecuing, to not waving and smiling at them (if that’s not some early 19th century “yessa’ master” racist bullshit, I don’t know what is). These incidents are not only infuriating because they are clearly raced-based, but they demonstrate that the dark underbelly of white racism is alive, well, and going nowhere. Further, white people apparently relish in it.

 

yale

Sarah Braasch: the woman who called the police on fellow Black yale classmate for sleeping in a common area.

 

Most Black people can relay at least one experience of white people being hall monitors, getting into their business, and turning a benign situation into something way more serious than it needed to be. These white people didn’t do it because they really cared, but because, just as in the days of slavery, they felt the need to flex their muscle and show the power they have as white people (this is why any white person who says they don’t understand that racism = prejudice + power is lying).

 

rape

Jemma Beale: woman who lied about 15 rapes over the course of 3 years. k

 

These days it’s worse, as, in the last 6 years or so, there has been a barrage of unjust police killings of African-Americans and even white citizens exacting their racism on Black citizens; even children like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. With the acquittal of the murderer of Trayvon Martin and the judicial system’s failure to prosecute police officers who killed people (children included) for literally doing nothing wrong at all, white people have received a contract renewal to continue terrorizing Black people at whim.

 

white guy

Ronald Ritchie: man who called the police on John Crawford and lied; leading to Crawford’s execution by police. 

 

I think we all knew that white people are crazy; and by crazy, I don’t mean mentally ill but more like a general malevolence that’s so pervasive that it’s almost undetectable. It’s a depravity so ancient that it has masks, and costumes, and is able to bend and shift better than any CGI sci-fi creature.

This wickedness walks amongst us every single day in the form of those whom we are taught to trust like teachers, firefighters, police officers, doctors and nurses, and even clergy.

But that’s not all.

This brand of atrociousness is so treacherous, scornful and arrogant that it will work its barbarity and then turn around cry that it has been harmed.

 

Crying-White-Lady-Oakland

The racist white woman who called the police on Black people barbecuing and then started crying that SHE was the one being harassed. 

 

Over the past few days, there have been think pieces written about why white people call the police on Black people for any damn reason. Some suggest that it’s white people’s fear of Black people that cause them to run to the police. Some suggest that as gentrification becomes more and more the order of the day, whites see calling the police on Blacks as a way to lower crime and protect their newly Columbused neighborhoods. There’s also been a suggestion that it’s merely a way to preserve the racial hierarchy.

First of all, why would whites fear Blacks unless whites had done something to Blacks that would merit Black people’s disdain of white people? According to white people, all their bullshit is “in the past” and we should “get over it.” So, why be afraid?

Gentrification? They could just go back to where they came from (advice they like to give Black people all the time) instead of threatening the people who were there before they even thought about coming or stay out in the first place. I mean, if the place is so crime-ridden, why’d they come? Seems like a simple enough solution to me.

As for preserving racial hierarchy…I thought racism was dead and a figment of Black people’s imagination because we don’t want to work hard and want to play the race card and blame white people for all of our problems, que no?

I have another theory. White people are just no good. En masse, collectively, in sum, no good. Their affinity for unabashedly causing problems wherever they go and then feigning ignorance, heroism, or good intention when called on it reeks of an arrogance that’s annoying at best and dangerous at worst. Their ability to lie so smoothly, without so much as a blink of their eyelash, is the stuff of any Black person’s worst nightmare.

 

caolyn-bryant

Carolyn Bryant: the woman who lied on 14-year-old Emmett Till and caused his death at the hands of a white male lynch mob.

 

What to do? They aren’t going anywhere and even though their reproductive numbers are declining, I don’t foresee them not existing any time soon.

white kid

I support what I’ve seen a few tweets propose. Black people should start randomly calling the police on white people. Little Emily standing in the booth behind you at Chili’s and staring at you? Call the police. Who knows what she’s plotting? If 12-year-old Tamir Rice can be killed by the police for playing with a toy gun after one of them called the police on him, little Emily needs to be taken in for questioning at the least. Susan holding up the line at Bath & Body Works because she can’t combine coupons? Call the police. She’s being disruptive and trying to commit coupon fraud. Chad, Jr. having a tantrum at Kroger? Call the police. He’s disturbing the peace and his parents are accessories to his crime for not putting his ass in check. White waitress at Waffle House taking too long to serve your food? Call the police. It’s attempted murder because you’re starving and she doesn’t seem to care.

Call the police and then walk away as if what you’ve done has no consequence just like they do.

the-equalizer-gif.gif

People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.” – James Baldwin