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  1. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Videos of police shooting

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Carmina, Jan 6, 2009.

    The basic story is that BART police (transit police) in Oakland California were responding to a fight New Years day and one officer shoots an unarmed, prone suspect in the back fatally killing him. Sadly, police shootings are not unheard of. What struck me about this story is that 1.) the dead man was from my hometown, 2.) the shooting took place at the Fruitvale BART station where I have been numerous times myself, 3.) the whole thing was caught on multiple videos from bystanders cell phones etc.

    I don't know where exactly a conversation about this should go. The shooting itself brings up the issue of police brutality and proper use of protocol for discharging a weapon. It brings up the issue of how technology is starting to and will continue to affect the justice system.

    The videos themselves bring up a whole other set of issues. The witnesses who videoed the incident took their footage to the media instead of just turning them over to the "proper authorities." The videos are viewable on youtube (I am not posting a link because I don't want to post vid of some poor guy getting shot). Just put in BART Shooting. The videos being all over the media will make it really hard for the officer to get a fair trial. I am also disturbed by how many people want to watch a video of someone getting shot. What does this say about us as a society?

    Just some food for thought and venting some of my feelings about this. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves. Please keep it nice.
     
  2. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have no desire to see a man shot dead, so I'm saying this without having seen the video.

    From what you've said, it sounds like the police overstepping their authority. If they've shot an unarmed suspect when he's lying prone, then it's murder, pure and simple.

    As it happens, I've just completed an assignment on police weaponry and the obligation to protect life, and it's down to incidents like this that the EU has moved to outlaw such actions. The police anywhere in Europe can only use lethal force where there is no other option, and it's the only way to protect the life of others. What's the law in relation to this in the US?

    Oh, and fatally killing? Shouldn't be lightheartedo on subjects like this, but shouldn't it be fatally wounding?
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess people know that in the UK the police are not armed (well, not usually). But about 30 yrs ago my uncle and the officer he was with were subject to a brutal attack by a group of men in broad daylight. Luckily they both recovered, although they bore the physical and mental scars for the rest of their lives. We've often wondered how things would have turned out if my uncle had been armed.

    I don't want to defend this police officer if it was an over-reaction since I don't know about this particular case, but I think you have to balance the 'brutality' of the police with the danger they face and the **** they have to put up with on a daily basis.
     
  4. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I reluctantly watched the video. The quality is so poor and there are so many people moving around that I can't tell exactly what happened before the shooting. Immediately afterwards, the officer stumbles back, holsters the weapon, puts him hands over his face, steps back and then hangs his head while bracing himself with his hands on his knees. It is hard to know what is going through his head. "Oh my God, what did I do?" I can't tell if it was murder, an accidental discharge...what.

    I do find posting vids on youtube rather than turning them to the police distasteful. I can tell that right off.
     
  5. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why do you people assume everything posted on the internet is real? I live in Sacramento which is only 90 miles from Oakland and there was not one word of this shooting or video on the local news. One of our local networks is especially known for their treatment of sensationalist "news" and they did not talk about this alleged video or a murder by a BART cop. BTW - I take BART every time I go into San Francisco and the BART cops generally do a good job of keeping in safe and friendly for the population.

    If this shooting event was real, it would be murder. At the very least, it would be police incompetence resulting in a death and it would have been splashed across the wires to every major metropolitan viewing area. Remember the video beating of Rodney King?

    As far as police "brutality", cops are people too. Most do a good job. Some are not competent, and a very small number are actually bad guys who engage in criminal activity themselves...JUST LIKE THE REST OF SOCIETY! Videos that catch a few bad cops engaging in unjustified violence or criminal activity are GOOD because they help to identify and get rid of the guys who don't belong in law enforcement. But I get angry when people use such videos to disparage "cops" in general. You can bet your sweet ass on the fact that your life would be one hell of a lot less pleasant without all those good cops doing tough jobs.
     
  6. Silver Random
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    Silver Random Senior Member

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    The videos are of news footage, not the raw videos, and the station it is on looks to be a real thing, so i assume it is real...

    But i agree mostly with what you said. It annoys me when i see people complaining about "police brutality" when they see things like this, and they tar the entire police with that same stick. The very fact that "police brutality" actually makes the news when it happens is testament to them doing a good job.

    And i dont know about in this case as it sounds more like an accidental firing of a weapon, but i agree with madhoca that people are very quick to accuse the police of things, and sometimes it doesnt seem to me that people appreciate the real danger they put themselves in - especially in USA, where basically anyone can have a gun.
     
  7. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I watched several videos made by onlookers and it appears that the BART officer thought he had taken out his taser when he had actually grabbed his firearm... either way, a man on his belly with his arms behind his back shouldn't warrant the use of either one.

    The crowd were screaming at these officers before the shooting even happened. Bad deal. It's possible that the officer wouldn't have made such a mistake if he hadn't been so keyed up with a screaming mob twenty feet away.

    But like I said before, the officer should have been trained well enough to know that the situation didn't call for the use of either weapons.
     
  8. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I live in Woodland (suburb of Sacramento) and it wasn't on the local news here granted, but it was in the Bay Area news. I don't know how far a news story like this is supposed to spread to local news. It is real though. It did happen.

    I am not making any judgments on the cop or the police force in general. I am more marveling at how many videos ended up on the internet and how many people want to watch some poor kid (younger than I am, he is a kid) get killed.
     
  9. ManicParroT
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    ManicParroT Contributing Member

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    I've seen the video. The cop is way out of line at the stage where he draws a gun. The suspects lying prone, three cops are surrounding him, and he's not even struggling. This cop should be "accidentally" sent to jail for manslaughter, if he's going to go and "accidentally" shoot prone, handcuffed people.

    (Incidentally, in Greece they recently had a series of massive riots after cops shot a teenager in dubious circumstances, but in the US it doesn't look as if it'll go further than an investigation and a civil suit. Governments need to be afraid of their citizens, not the other way round.)
     

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