Militarization of Police

Update in Chesapeake

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Supporters of Ryan Frederick play to rally on Feb. 23 outside the Chesapeake Correctional Center where he's being held.

There's also now a fund for his legal defense, though you have to wade through some MySpace crap to get to it. Looks like they've raised about $1,000 so far.

Also, something raised on a local libertarian blog that I hadn't noticed:

Most damningly, the inventory reports that 3 shell casing were recovered, 2 .380 ACP casings and one .223 casing. Frederick had a .380 pistol, but no AR-15 or other rifle to account for the .223. Police often carry such rifles in SWAT type actions.

The police have made no statement admitting that one of their officers fired a shot, nor has any explanation for that rifle casing been offered. It would be no surprise, and no indication of additional wrongdoing, if one of the officers fired his weapon in the course of the incident, so why let these weeks go by with that casing unexplained? The result is that something that might well be entirely reasonable takes a on sinister appearance. Further, posts on the Virginian Pilot blogs pointing out that irregularity have been quickly removed, adding to the appearance of a cover-up and eroding our trust in the Pilot as well.

If there is nothing wrong about that .223 round, then doggedly refusing to address its existence creates the impression that there is. Who fired that shot, and where did it go?

Odd too that the Pilot would remove those posts. I think the paper's coverage thus far has been pretty good.

Prior posts on the Frederick case here.

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  1. If Shivers had made it thru that door, then Frederick would be dead now.

  2. Where was the casing? A .223 (probably actually a 5.56 NATO, almost identical but with higher pressures for military use) will go right through walls that are not brick/concrete and doors. If it was outside the house, somebody was shooting blindly into the house. If inside, it means somebody (Shivers?) got off a shot inside against Frederick’s pistol.

    If somebody was crawling through my door panel with a way more powerful and accurate gun than mine…

  3. Where was the casing?

    Excellent question. If it was outside, then we may very well have a cop who fired blindly into the house, which will do wonders to undermine the police case and bolster Frederick’s.

    I doubt seriously that the guy crawling through the busted door panel got a shot off with a rifle. Hard to get a rifle shot off when you’re halfway through a busted door, and it seems like Frederick would have said something by now about the intruder shooting at him.

  4. I simply can’t fathom the mindset that would enable an otherwise sane person to think “Since I have been given authority, ANYTHING I do or say must automatically be right.”

    The only time I ever had a job which gave me authority over others was when I was teaching. Naturally I made a few mistakes from time to time–say, marking a test question wrong when it was actually right–but when the student called me on it I always said “Oh” and made the correction. I just can’t imagine how twisted I’d’ve had to make my thought processes, to say “NO! Since I’m the one with the authority here, I am ALWAYS RIGHT and anyone who disagrees with me is ALWAYS WRONG.”

    And the stakes were much lower when I played the authority game–there was no way anybody could lose their freedom or their life if I screwed up.

  5. I had to apologize to someone one time, but she never forgave or forgot.

  6. I don’t think it’s a matter of being “given authority” but of “I am permitted to violate (some) laws.” Which mutates rapidly into “I am permitted to violate (all) laws.”

  7. The existence of the shell gives Frederick a possible defense of saying that the cops shot at him first. I don’t know what Frederick is on the record saying. My guess is that the cops withheld this evidence to make sure that Frederick didn’t claim that he was shot at first. If you know there is a cop shell out there, you can say they fired first. But if Frederick already gave a statement and didn’t mention the cops firing first, then he can’t say they did now. My hope is that he lawyered up and now he is free to say that he fired only after the cops fired. In a chaotic scene like that, it will be very difficult to establish beyond a resonable doubt who fired first.

  8. Let us not forget, John, that “reasonable doubt” is much different in a jury trial where “dead cop” is on the table.

  9. I simply can’t fathom the mindset that would enable an otherwise sane person to think “Since I have been given authority, ANYTHING I do or say must automatically be right.”

    That’s because you’re looking at it backwards. The person who feels that “anything I do or say is automatically right” seeks out authority to validate that position.

  10. I had to apologize to someone one time, but she never forgave or forgot.

    She may have if you’d gotten her chocolates made with natural cane sugar.

  11. I simply can’t fathom the mindset that would enable an otherwise sane person to think “Since I have been given authority, ANYTHING I do or say must automatically be right.”

    I think it goes deeper than authority. The cops are the biggest street gang in any city. They have the same gang mentality. If you’re not a cop, then you’re not a person. At the very least you are not to be trusted. And anyone who doesn’t roll over and submit needs to be taught a lesson.

  12. re Jennifer @ 10:14am:

    Years ago, I taught Adult Voc Ed and occassionally during post-test critiques, a student would point out a bad test question. Usually it was a multiple choice question in which one of the distractors also correctly answered the question. Obviously, in multiple choice questions, there should only be one correct choice. It was amusing to listen to the staff members and our supervisors twist logic in their attempts to defend-at-all-costs their precious question. If the question’s bad, it’s bad — regardless of who points it out. But the staff had to win at all costs.

  13. I’m sure this has been discussed in other threads, but I haven’t seen it. Could kicking a hole in a door and then crawling through it possibly be correct police procedure? It seems like an invitation to get shot in the back of the head while you’re prone on the floor and unable to fire back.

    I’d think they would want to make sure that the whole door is open before entering the house.

  14. Could kicking a hole in a door and then crawling through it possibly be correct police procedure? It seems like an invitation to get shot in the back of the head while you’re prone on the floor and unable to fire back.

    For that matter, what is the likelihood crawling through a hole in a door with a loaded wepon might result in the weapon discharging unintentionally, and killing you? Where’s the autopsy?

  15. That’s because you’re looking at it backwards. The person who feels that “anything I do or say is automatically right” seeks out authority to validate that position.

    Point taken. Goddamnit.

  16. Where’s the autopsy?

    Dude, Frederick said he shot Shivers. I don’t believe anything the cops say either but I think you’re getting a little out there.

  17. Crawling through a door would obscure your badge and the big “POLICE” written across the front of the officer’s vest. That’s assuming they were properly dressed as immediately identifiable police officers, which apparently wasn’t the case in e.g. Cory Maye’s case.

    Also, a .380 ACP should be easily stopped by any level II ballistic vest, let alone the level III or IV stuff SWAT teams generally wear. Ditto for a ballistic helmet. Depending on the armor level, their armor might not stop a 5.56 round.

  18. Even though we know who fired the shot, an autopsy might shine more light on the angle that the bullet entered, which is relevant to the exact circumstances of the shooting.

  19. “NO! Since I’m the one with the authority here, I am ALWAYS RIGHT and anyone who disagrees with me is ALWAYS WRONG.”

    This statement right here describes many of the people charged with my “education” in the public schools. I hope the students regarded you as a beneficent addition to the faculty, Jennifer; lots of teachers ARE authoritarians.

    Regarding Radley’s post, this is suspicious and disturbing information. If the cops fired first, or fired at all, they should already have stated that. Their silence fuels suspicion among the non Kool-Aid drinking public who don’t automagically believe the police.

  20. Frederick said he shot Shivers. I don’t believe anything the cops say either but I think you’re getting a little out there.

    Frederick shot *at* Shivers!

    Sorry, I’ll stop.
    Leg-pulling is one of my little self-indulgences.

  21. Why is this being categorized as a SWAT raid? There were ONLY two officers present, Shivers and his partner. That ain’t no SWAT team. That’s a couple of maverick cops out to get credit for a big bust all for themselves.

  22. Even though we know who fired the shot, an autopsy might shine more light on the angle that the bullet entered, which is relevant to the exact circumstances of the shooting.

    There has been a lot of speculation about what Frederick has admitted. IIRC, the early press accounts, which were not Frederick interviews, said something to the affect that he pulled the trigger and can’t remember what happened after that. Or maybe the memory lapse was characterized as being before he pulled the trigger. Some comments:

    1. It is not clear that Frederick was the source of this characterization at all.

    2. Even if he was the source, it is not clear that it was “translated” correctly into the news account.

    3. ven if the statement was in a statement to police, there are plenty of grounds for challenging its admissibility.

    4. If Frederick’s memory was fading at that time, by his own admission, and I might add, understandably due to surprise, fear and stress, then his testimony wouldn’t seem that reliable anyway.

    5. If the police fired a shot and failed to mention that in contemporaneous reports, then that pretty strongly impeaches them on any and all aspects of the raid. Police are supposed to say when they fire their guns.

    6. Frederick’s lawyer better be demanding to know what bullet was plucked from the corpse. The initial story was that Kathryn Johnston hit police, too. In the fullness of time, they figure out that her bullet went into the ceiling and that the police had shot each other. Even if there is only a 1% chance that that happened here, Frederick’s lawyer owes it to him to follow up on this chance.

  23. Oh, yeah, it looks like the Pilot is letting comments about the .223 casing in now:

    http://hamptonroads.com/2008/02/frederick-supporters-plan-rally-outside-chesapake-jail

  24. I am one hundred per cent certain that the police report is/ will be correct and even-handed in every respect. And now, I’m going to go buy a saddle for my pony.

  25. I wonder why the television was taken in the 2nd search. Might it have a .223 bullet in it? And the door as well. How many bullet holes, if any? If so, which direction were they going? I’m curious about the angle of the bullet track in the officer and if the fatal round was recovered.

    The police are acting furtively, as if they have something to hide. The over-the-top 1D murder charge alone looks more like an attempt to intimidate Mr. Frederick into a quick guilty plea to a lesser charge, avoiding a public trial. Bringing in the “special” prosecutor who tried the DC snipers could be another attempt to overwhelm Mr. Frederick. The big mystery about the misdemeanor amount of contraband seized and the not-so-sly incriminating spin on the other seized items doesn’t smell too good either.

  26. Mr. Frederick surrendered as soon as he knew the police were outside. Still police surrounded the house for more than an hour, convinced that someone else was inside. Why did they think that? Was their rat supposed to be there? Is their rat in custody?

  27. I think a lot of interesting facts are going to be coming out over the next few months, e.g.:

    1. What angle was the bullet that killed the cop traveling in?

    2. Where was the cop’s shell casing found?

    3. How big was the hole in the door, and was he indeed climbing through it?

    4. Why were there only 2 cops on a raid considered so potentially dangerous that they needed a no-knock warrant and riot gear?

    I’m sure there’s more, but those are the obvious ones.

  28. I linked to Chesapeake’s protest in the middle of yesterday’s blog, http://www.commoninterest.info/2008/02/13/congressman-barr-as-lp-candidate/. I’d be honored if Reason readers clicked on my blog and left a “comment,” if for no other reason than to keep this issue alive.

    Growing up in Suffolk, the city next to the site of this government atrocity, I hope libertarians and classical liberals descend on Tidewater to make sure that my neck of the woods doesn’t let the tyrants run amok among th citizens. I used to work with Radley at Cato, and a little but currently as well on the issue of the harassment of pain doctors and pain patients, and no one can argue what a leader Radley is in the fight to restore Law Enforcement to its proper, limited role.

    Blessings.

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