Militarization of Police

Botched Raid of Innocent Family Earns Cops Merit Badges

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Last December, I posted about a botched SWAT raid on an innocent Minnesota family.  Acting on bad information from an informant, the police threw flash grenades though the family's windows, then exchanged gunfire with Vang Khang, who mistook the police for criminal intruders.  Seven months later, no one in the police department has been held accountable for the mistakes leading up to the raid.

However, this week Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan and Mayor R.T. Rybak did give the raiding officers medals and commendations for their bravery in nearly killing Vang Khang, his wife, and their six children.

Said Chief Dolan while handing out the hardware:

"The easy decision would have been to retreat under covering fire. The team did not take the easy way out," Dolan told the crowd. "This is a perfect example of a situation that could have gone horribly wrong, but did not because of the professionalism with which it was handled."

This is really beyond outrage.  The city of Minneapolis is commending and rewarding its police officers for firing their weapons at innocent people.  A family of eight was terrorized, assaulted, and nearly killed, and it's the "perfect example" of a situation that could have gone wrong?

It's not the first time this kind of thing has happened, either.  In November 2006, a Baltimore County, Maryland police officer was given an award for shooting Cheryl Lynn Noel, a mother of two gunned down in her nightgown when she grabbed a gun after mistaking the raiding police officers for criminal intruders.  The officer then shot Noel a second time from point blank range.  That award came shortly after the Noel family filed a civil suit against Baltimore County.

UPDATE:  Listen to the 911 call from Khang's wife here.  Note how long it takes for the police to finally identify themselves.

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  1. we’re fucked

  2. Reinmoose wins the thread.

  3. There are the police…and then there are “the little people”

    Much like there is the military…and then there are “the little cowardly people”

  4. “Professionalism” now means Do what you’re told and shut up. Give me amateurs, please.

  5. This must be what Scalia meant when he talked about the “new professionalism” of law enforcement.

    I wonder, in the Baltimore case at least, did the PD think it was a good idea to do this because they could then say at the trial that the cops were given medals, so they couldn’t possibly have been acting wrongly?

  6. Wow! They don’t even PRETEND to give a damn about anyone else’s life or rights. I mean I knew they didn’t give a damn but you’d think that at least publically they’d have to pretend they did.

  7. Much like there is the military…and then there are “the little cowardly people”

    “Anyone who runs is a VC. Anyone who doesn’t run, is a *well-disciplined VC.”

    “How can you shoot women and kids?”

    “Easy, just lead them less.”

  8. Think about the message this sends: it doesn’t matter if you hit the right house, or if people are innocent; all that matters is that you do not retreat, return fire, and subdue (probably by killing) any resistance. That’s what gets you a medal and a commendation (and furthers your career).

    This is a military-type award, not a police award.

  9. Wouldn’t it be nice if the benchmark for good police work were to get people in for questioning without having to fire a shot?

    And to flip their standard logic around “If you haven’t done anything wrong, why would you assume that the men busting down the door are police?”

  10. Complaining about it here is a mostly impotent exercise. America doesn’t care.

  11. America does care.

    The mob of barbarians inside our borders whose concerns include solely their own comfort and continuing reality show entertainment may not, though.

  12. :-/ is correct. This is the fundamental problem. Most Americans seem to think that the War on (Some) Drugs (in the hands of poor, most usually brown, people) is a good thing and that the police always act for the good of society.

  13. America does care.

    The mob of barbarians inside our borders whose concerns include solely their own comfort and continuing reality show entertainment may not, though.

    I must admit, I am confused.

  14. their own comfort and continuing reality show entertainment

    OK, 99% of America doesn’t care. Better?

  15. What a joke! I am only saddened the man did not have an AK-47 with armor piercing rounds and a better aim! Those cops deserved to be shot.

    JT
    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

  16. Elemenope,

    That’s probably for the better. The world may not be ready for my dangerous “nonsense”.

  17. Thanks, I was starting to forget how much I hate cops.

  18. I mean I knew they didn’t give a damn but you’d think that at least publically they’d have to pretend they did.

    The one saving grace here is that as they grow more arrogant, they will be more and more blatant in their abuses. Once it becomes enough to register with, and begin discomforting, the middle class, police reform will become a winning platform for politicians to run on, and they will.

    One thing that is clear about the police: they are fucking stupid and clearly have lost the discretion they once had in their abuses. They really do believe they can do anything they want, and the truth is, they can only maintain their power if they do not become too arrogant. Luckily the scumbags are too dumb to resist the siren call of power.

  19. “The easy decision would have been to retreat under covering fire. The team did not take the easy way out. . . .”

    Physical courage can be a virtue, but let’s not overrate it. The 9/11 hijackers showed physical courage – the “easy decision” would have been for them not to risk their lives by doing a hijacking.

    There are some “easy decisions” which, if made, would have been better for all concerned.

  20. I don’t think Americans really know. I think they find out about one or two of these incidents, get outraged, and then assume they were in fact isolated. People aren’t used to judging trends for themselves and usually wait for some “expert” to identify an “epidemic” before concerning themselves.

  21. Makes one nostalgic for the days when “police corruption” mainly meant bribery. At least the bribe-takers had the grace not to do their corrupt stuff in public or hold news conferences about how wonderful their corruption was.

  22. The world may not be ready for my dangerous “nonsense”.

    And so who does that make me? Wesley fucking Crusher? (With all due respect to Wil Wheaton…)

  23. And so who does that make me? Wesley fucking Crusher?

    Alexander.

  24. Damn, makes me wish Khang killed them.

    (Violent resistance isn’t wrong, it’s just impractical.)

  25. And no, I’m not concerned about having my real name attached to that comment. If you found it by Googling me, I have no plans in participating in that kind of thing unless I have no other choice.

  26. Reinmoose,

    It’s not that they don’t know; it’s further that they don’t want to know. People want to believe what they want to believe.

    Remember how the absurd explanation of the 9/11 terrorists’ motives, “they hate us for our freedom”, spread like wildfire? To the point where saying that they may have been motivated by our meddlesome foreign policy became “blaming America”, even when this was said by experts with decades of experience in Mideast affairs.

  27. Alexander.

    At least I’m no Doctor Pulaski.

  28. At least I’m no Doctor Pulaski.

    At least Pulaski was on TOS, twice.

  29. If we’re to take it literally, I’m Wesley Crusher, and you’re probably Mr. Kosinski. Of course, if I had been in that episode, the fulfillment of my deepest fantasies probably wouldn’t have involved innocuous things like playing cellos, petting dogs, or having tea with my mother, so it’s better for all involved that I remain myself.

  30. This is contemptible. But I can honestly say, I’m not shocked or surprised by it. The police are nothing less than the number one organized crime syndicate in any community.

    I’m glad no one was killed. As much as I despise the police, a death would have made things much much worse.

    America doesn’t care. Or if they do, they support the police out of reflex. That is why Radley’s work is so important. It’s my hope that if he keeps up the drum beat, some more reporters might pick it up and the wind of public sentiment will change.

  31. Heh, I just found a much better episode summary by Wil himself, full of behind-the-scenes info like how much he hated the colors Wesley wore.

  32. Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan and Mayor R.T. Rybak
    If you sat these two worthless baboons down and asked them, they would undoubtedly tell you they are making Minneapolis a better and safer place to live, and are proud to be doing what they do. And they love their families.

    I wonder what it would take to get them to see how destructive and pernicious their precious war on drugs is, and how much even “normal” people hate the government and the cops, these days.

  33. Radley,

    Thanks for keeping up with this. As totally depressing as your reporting is, not because of the reporting itself but because of the subject matter, it’s hugely important to be constantly reminded of stuff like this.

  34. I wonder what it would take to get them to see how destructive and pernicious their precious war on drugs is, and how much even “normal” people hate the government and the cops, these days.

    Short of a bullet to the kneecap (which, I understand, has a spotty record of inducing transformative change), I doubt anything would work.

  35. assume they were in fact isolated

    They are isolated. That’s why they’ll keep happening. They are not frequent enough to break through the almost impenetrable noise and clutter that is American culture.

  36. I would add that events like these are competing with missing-blond and dead-baby stories on such important shows as Nancy Grace and Keith Olbermann. And the cable news networks they have only 24 hours a day of programming, after all. That’s barely enough time to repeat the missing-blond and dead-baby stories 48 times per cycle.

  37. Wanting people to listen, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention.

  38. The one saving grace here is that as they grow more arrogant, they will be more and more blatant in their abuses.

    Ah, the old “the worse, the better” cant of revolutionaries. Rarely works out for the best, as I recall.

    And the cable news networks they have only 24 hours a day of programming, after all. That’s barely enough time to repeat the missing-blond and dead-baby stories 48 times per cycle.

    It just aggravates the living fuck out of me that all of the 24-hour news channels out there can’t seem to give more than 2 minutes per story to a dozen stories a day on rapid rotation. Nothing in-depth, no follow-up, just the same shallow crap over and over. The opiate of the dumbasses.

  39. When 20 year old guys untrained in police work do this in Iraq, the national press is all over it.

  40. /sarcasm

    No doubt that Scalia, that bastion of intellectual integrity that that he is, would point out that they got awards, which is indicia of their professionalism. So you little people need to shut they fuck up.

    /sarcam

    Most people still believe that the cops are the good guys and refuse to actually engage in critical thought regarding the issue. Having done some voir dire, it is down right scarry how pavlovian most people are in regards to ever calling the cops to answer. They don’t because they can’t grasp the fundamental concept that cops could possibly be bad people.

  41. “Don’t mourn for me, boys, organize”
    – Joe Hill

    I say: don’t just fume, contribute!

    If you feel impotent rage, give that rage some potency, and fight back to keep “them” from punishing one of their victims, Ryan Frederick.

    Give to his defense fund.

    The actions of the Minneapolis authorities draws a line. It’s us against them; Ryan’s one of us.

    (And, just to be clear, I don’t mean to condone cop killing. But Ryan is suffering for the police’s mistake.)

  42. I hated the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live.

  43. slighty OT, but this thread reminds me of a question: why the disparity here on H&R between the treatment of cops and armed forces personnel?

    I see very few “I hate Marines” posts, but “f’n cops” turns up in almost every thread under a Balko post. Why is this?

  44. If I was representing the victim’s family, I would use that police chief’s line in my closing. I would remind the jury that “Obviously this was not an unfortunate, unavoidable situation. The chief of police himself admitted it would have been EASY for the officers to simply retreat, regroup, and double-check their info. He admitted it would have been easier for them NOT to shoot. Instead, their decision to do it the hard way made things difficult for everyone…”

  45. I guess this officially and finally lays to rest the “discretion is the better part of valor” proverb.

  46. Yeah, we wouldn’t have wanted them to retreat in the face of fire so the situation could possibly have been defused in a way less costly to society and individual rights. That would have been, well, unmanly and we know that’s the central value to many in law enforcement…

    Taser those who disagree!

  47. I see very few “I hate Marines” posts, but “f’n cops” turns up in almost every thread under a Balko post. Why is this?

    1. The Marines aren’t breaking into American households (we can leave Iraqi households out of the discussion for now).

    2. The Marines are literally “trained to kill” and have a clearly defined job of killing people and breaking stuff.

    3. The cops are NOT trained to kill, and have a supposedly clearly defined job of keeping the peace and using force as a last resort.

    That said, we tend to find the Marines doing a lot of cop duties in Iraq, and the cops doing a lot of Marine duties here, most of time in an effort to suppress victimless “crime”. This is bad.

  48. “hate all cops” has become the new “legalize pot” for this site, completely extracted from the context that
    1: an established police force is one of the few government functions recognized by the LP and libertarians in general.
    2: substantive solutions or at least root-issue diagnoses of the problem (including recruitment practises, mismanagement, etc) would probably be more useful and productive that more shrieking.

    And while we’re at it, why did the follow-the-fuzz-with-cameras show DEA air on G4? That network dedicates every 4/20 to jokes about weed.

  49. How do we arrange for a botched raid to end up with the death of one, and the disappearance of another, young blond woman?

    That may be the only way to make America notice.

  50. JN —

    Morals aside, Marines’ duty is primarily combat, which one generally imagines often includes killing people.

    Police are not supposed to be like Marines, insofar as their primary duties should not include combat, since they are wielding force on behalf of and against their own citizens.

    What is acceptable or expected in the course of a Marine’s duties should not generally be acceptable coming from a cop, due to the differences in role.

  51. “hate all cops” has become the new “legalize pot” for this site, completely extracted from the context that

    There may be good cops, but they’re protecting the bad, which shows that they’re not good enough.

  52. 1: an established police force is one of the few government functions recognized by the LP and libertarians in general.

    Not armed like the fucking marines it isn’t. Enforcing court orders and arbitrating on-site disputes does not require Armalites.

  53. 1: an established police force is one of the few government functions recognized by the LP and libertarians in general.

    No one is questioning whether a police force should exist. What we’re questioning is whether the existing police forces are using their power appropriately.

    That’s like saying you can’t hate George Bush because his office is authorized in Article II of the Constitution.

  54. While I don’t think that, in the big picture, the conduct of the police in question deserves a medal, especially if not balanced by the firing of whoever ordered the raid, what the Chief said was “the easy decision would have been to retreat under covering fire”, which would involve a large number of bullets fired more or less randomly through the walls, which I don’t think cops are really supposed to do. I gather that everyone involved in the incident is alive, and I think the Chief’s point was that this is because they did not overreact to being shot at. This, of course, would also have been a pretty good time to argue for not throwing grenades into houses on the basis of hearsay.

  55. Wasnowski,

    That interpretation is not warranted by the actions nor the words of the department. From the article:

    “The officers put themselves in harm’s way. They were shot at and shot and deserved to be recognized,” said Dolan in a statement defending the awards to the SWAT team.

    There was no mention of their action preventing any loss of life, just that they didn’t back down from a fight.

  56. I’m a bit too tired and discouraged this morning to properly express my continued outrage at both the police and the American public.

    Acting on bad information from an informant, the police threw flash grenades though the family’s windows, then exchanged gunfire with Vang Khang, who mistook the police for criminal intruders.

    I don’t understand why the informant didn’t get a shiny bauble as well. The heroic LEOs never could have done it without him.

  57. Nigel: agreed, but that implies there’s a BIG recruitment mechanism that requires corruptability.

    Elemenope: I’m old enough to remember the 70s when police were routinely outgunned by gangs of bank and car thieves. The cries for a better armed constablulary were deafening. When fatalities rose, calls for non-lethal weapons like tasers were reasoned and intense.
    The level of armament is not the issue.

    Occam’s: Yes, that’s my point. It’s obvious they are misusing authority. But “hate all cops” is more counter-productive than, say, “police forces are being managed like a door-to-door sales department with quotas and sink-or-swim policies” or “when did the measurment of a successful police force go from the peace and contentment of a community to the percentage of the citizenry arrest per annum?”

  58. Damn it. This makes me sick. What a way to start my morning…
    It’s bad enough that the police make this type of horrendous mistake, but to decorate the raiding officers???
    It really makes me sick.

  59. I see very few “I hate Marines” posts, but “f’n cops” turns up in almost every thread under a Balko post. Why is this?

    No one hated the cops when the police and firefighters rushed into the WTC as it was coming down.

    No one hated the cops here in Iowa when they were helping little old ladies to flee the flood waters.

    The issue is quite complex.

    The general population has a bad habit of electing do-gooders as representatives that write legislation to ban vices so we won’t hurt ourselves. These representatives constantly ramp up their rhetoric to get re-elected and then make the punishment for engaging in vices increasingly heavier.

    The police respond to this same rhetoric and ramp up their enforcement strategies until we get to the point where heavily-armed men conduct military operations against the very population they are sworn to protect.

    This problem is compounded by the fact that the very nature of police work attracts personalities that desire to impose their own will on the population.

    I’m sure that good police officers exist. I also believe that the system demands that they shut-up and play by the “rules” or get out. I’m also sure that the system steadily promotes police with the “wrong” attitude from a libertarian perspective and weeds out the good guys.

    So, I live in a place where I think I can still trust the average cop in uniform. But, I lived in greater fear of the cops than I did criminals when I lived in Phoenix.

  60. What unbelievable gall on the part of the police leadership. Why don’t you just make a fucking sign saying “Civilians Are Expendable” and post it underneath “To Serve and Protect?”

    By the way, this attention whore who keeps posting links to his keylogging website in addition to his stupid-ass comments designed to make everyone else here look bad (like “Too bad he didn’t have an AK-47 to kill all those cops!”) is a fucking douchebag and needs to go. He’s probably the latest incarnation of Cesar/Neil/Juanita/Whatever, but he’s very obviously here to say stupid shit and get attention. He needs to GTFO and b&.

    I’m serious, Radley- don’t let people come to posts of yours about botched raids and say shit like that, because the important points you’re trying to make about the needless militarization of the police and the way the these police raids often breed their own violence and tragedy by their very design are obscured when people come here and see comments like “FUCKING KILL THE PIGS!” go unchallenged.

  61. Toothbrush,
    Dolan also referred to the situation as one that could have gone horribly wrong. But why argue? It’s typical news article; nothing like the kind of information that would let you draw a firm conclusion about anything in doubt.

  62. I’m old enough to remember the 70s when police were routinely outgunned by gangs of bank and car thieves. The cries for a better armed constablulary were deafening. When fatalities rose, calls for non-lethal weapons like tasers were reasoned and intense.
    The level of armament is not the issue.

    Back when they were more poorly armed, they relied upon tactics and methods that did not include direct confrontation with force; de-escalation and negotiation, things like that.

    You are right that after a few well-publicized bank robberies, there was a clamor for SWAT units. Doesn’t make that move smart, just panicky and politically motivated.

    Nowadays, with force options from tasers and pepper spray all the way up to pump-action shotguns and semi-automatic rifles, Police rarely have to pause from using as much force as they feel like using, eschewing life-saving tactics like *talking*.

    You are wrong; the level of armament, and the changes that level has wrought, are very much the issue.

  63. Quick question:

    In the U.S., for the purpose of keeping national murder statistics, would the death of a civilian at the hands of police officers during a raid or other type of confrontation (such as the case of Cheryl Lynn Noel) be considered a homicide?
    Just wondering…

  64. In theory, the police on patrol have a much better sense of what is happening “on the street”, and how to deal with it, than grandstanding imbeciles passing laws in order to make themselves feel important. Cops are asked, by politicians, to do stupid, counterproductive things on a daily basis, and instead of refusing, or offering a better alternative, they just say, “Cool!” And jump in with all four feet. Because they want to. Because they like being able to dominate the little people, and coerce them into submission.

    Somebody in the Minneapolis Police Department must have known that tip was dubious, but they didn’t pull the emergency stop cord. The same one or more somebodies then participated in the coverup which resulted in this “award ceremony”. Because they can’t stomache the thought that the little people should be allowed to oppose them in any way, much less shoot back.

    That’s why I lump them all under the heading “Baboons With Guns”.

  65. Wasnowski,

    Something tells me “going horribly wrong” from his POV means dead cops (and of course I would agree that cops dying would be a horrible thing). The charitable interpretation you give is simply not plausible given the statements of Dolan; and you’ll forgive me for not giving the benefit of the doubt to a guy who sends guys into a family home with guns blazing on the basis of a fucking rumor.

  66. I think First Little Pig has hit on the one way to call attention to this so the public would clamor for more stringent restrictions on raids. If one blond housewife gets shot while reading to her toddlers on raid based on a shady informant tip, things would probably change.

  67. Jeff,

    substantive solutions or at least root-issue diagnoses of the problem (including recruitment practises, mismanagement, etc) would probably be more useful and productive that more shrieking.

    Ive been suggesting for years that as part of the pre-academy testing that the police depts weed out anyone who psychological testing indicates craves power.

    (I should note that I think EVERYONE craves power to a certain extent, but like with anything else, there are ranges, and the testing should be weeding out the high end of those ranges)

    Im not sure if that would leave anyone left to enter the academny or not. Anyone who cares whether or not their Authoritii is respected shouldnt be a cop.

  68. Episiarch, Elemenope, iowan:

    Thanks for the responses.

  69. I don’t understand why the informant didn’t get a shiny bauble as well. The heroic LEOs never could have done it without him.

    Ditto for Khang. Where is his medal? He didnt back down either.

  70. Elemenope: The weaponization is an effect, not a cause. A “business model” that depends on a police confescations (and an expanding realm of forfeitures) to be self-sustaining, a PR engine that stokes fear and fosters paranoia, the criminalization of just about everything, and the default expectation of honoring police as heroes are issues that would make a significanty larger impact than scaling back the firepower.

    But all of this is besides the point. My issue is that the ad hoc repetition of anti-authority rhetoric (in the actual sense of the word) accomplishes nothing. Are you serious about this issue? Start a boycott of companies that advertise on any of the COPS style shows. Start a website putting a face to the tragedies of these raids. Write copious letters to the editor and comments on the community forums question police recruitment criteria and policies. Any one of these would be more effective than the perpetual bitching about the ongoing injustice.

  71. Don’t blame me, I raided Khodos.

  72. How is starting a website or writing friggin letters to the editor that no one reads not just another form of bitching?

    It really is a conundrum as to how to address this problem. There’s not a lot of attractive options out there. People don’t want to hear about negative stuff like this, so the media doesn’t show it and the people in power definitely don’t have any reason to address it either.

  73. A “business model” that depends on a police confescations (and an expanding realm of forfeitures) to be self-sustaining, a PR engine that stokes fear and fosters paranoia, the criminalization of just about everything, and the default expectation of honoring police as heroes are issues that would make a significanty larger impact than scaling back the firepower.

    Oh, I dunno. I think that fewer dead bodies resulting from a raid would be an unvarnished good thing, and a significant enough impact for anyone unfortunate enough to be on the other side of the line when such things occur.

    Cops that are not well-armed cannot bravo their way through every situation. Not being armed like the Marines would immediately and strongly down-regulate their most abusive behaviors. Raids such as what occurred here would not even be logistically possible if SWAT forces were either non-existent or highly restricted in their use.

  74. 1: an established police force is one of the few government functions recognized by the LP and libertarians in general.

    This is very true, but police work in general is an ethically risky proposition, because by taking it on you’re putting your moral stature in the hands of the people making the laws.

    If slavery were still legal in this country, and a certain group of police officers were deputed to the task of catching fugitive slaves and whipping them, I would hate every last one of those cops. They might be nice guys, nice to their families, trying to do good, trying to help society by catching “criminals”, etc. And it would remain true that a police force is something libertarians support. But the bottom line would be that by going into the slave catching business, you give me permission to hate you.

    And right now IMO the portion of the police force enforcing our drug laws are the ethical equivalent of fugitive slave catchers.

  75. What we’re questioning is whether the existing police forces are using their power appropriately.

    As wll as disparaging all cops, good and bad. And advocating the murder of said cops.

  76. As wll as disparaging all cops, good and bad. And advocating the murder of said cops.

    Yes. Everybody here has said exactly that.

    /sarcasm

  77. “To protect and serve our own asses.”

    FTFY

    Enough about all this. What kind of share did this raid get on Cops?

  78. As well as disparaging all cops, good and bad. And advocating the murder of said cops.

    “Shepard, doesn’t the Bible say very specific things about killing?”

    “It does. It is, however, fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps.”

    A good cop would endeavor to make things right. That’s what goodness is, you see, a tendency to act in a way that bends the arc of the world towards justice, liberty, compassion, and other assorted cheesy “good things”.

    That leaves the vast majority of cops not as good, or bad, but rather simply mediocre. Keep their heads down, don’t rock the boat, 9 to 5 and they go home to the kids, mediocre cops.

    Being “good” requires confronting “evil”.

  79. advocating the murder of said cops.

    All I’m saying is that home invasion should be a dangerous business.

  80. As well as disparaging all cops, good and bad. And advocating the murder of said cops.

    Any cop who abuses his power is bad, no?

    And since basically every cop has abused their power at one point or another, that makes them all bad, no?

    Abuse of power includes:

    1. Letting another cop off the hook for something that you would never let a “civilian” off for; for instance, DUI.
    2. Having a bad day and threatening someone you’ve pulled over with bogus charges because they weren’t sufficiently “respecting” you.
    3. Taking bribes.
    4. Lying about why you pulled someone over because you didn’t have probable cause but they made you suspicious anyway.
    5. Lying to get a warrant.
    6. Skimming a little money off the drug dealer you busted because “you don’t get paid enough to risk your life”.

    The list is endless. Since the vast majority of cops have done some of these things, they’re bad.

    The power is too seductive. I can’t honestly say that I wouldn’t do things like let friends off the hook if I were a cop. To think that the average ape of a cop would have equal or more self-control than me is ludicrous.

  81. I’m old enough to remember the 70s when police were routinely outgunned by gangs of bank and car thieves.

    “Routinely” my ass. Occasionally is more like it.

    The level of armament is not the issue.

    Its definitely a symptom, and maybe even a driver as well, of the militarization of police. Which is a Very, Very Bad Thing.

    And advocating the murder of said cops.

    Self-defense is not murder. Shooting at unidentified assailants illegally assaulting you and yours is self-defense.

  82. Occasionally is more like it.

    I wouldnt go that far. I would say they were a few isolated incidents.

  83. According to Dolan, this was “a situation that could have gone horribly wrong, but did not”. What he says did not happen, that could have happened, was that the team did not retreat under covering fire.

    In other words, “retreat under covering fire” is his idea of a situation “gone horribly wrong”.

    We know it’s not the covering fire that would be objectionable, because the police did actually fire shots, so they must have advanced (or at least held their ground) under covering fire. That only leaves “retreat” as “gone horribly wrong”.

    Better, I guess, that a few innocent people get shot* than that the police look like pussies.

    *No, no one was hurt in this specific instance, but only by sheer good luck. Or bad marksmanship. Repeat this behavior, and eventually, someone will get shot.

  84. You’ve got to admire the chutzpah of handing out these medals. Hell, I think the police chief should get a medal for having the cojones to brazen this out and pretend this wasn’t a fuck-up of colossal proportions.

  85. I keep waiting for the time that I read one of these posts and don’t get violently outraged. Hasn’t happened yet.

  86. Fuck the government.

  87. every cop has abused their power at one point or another

    How do you know?

  88. “Long Beach police shoot Los Angeles police officer”

    LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles Police Department says one of its officers was shot and wounded by Long Beach police.
    LAPD Officer Sam Park says the officer was shot early Wednesday in Long Beach. The wounded officer’s name has not been released.

    The Long Beach Police Department says the 26-year-old man was shot at 12:30 a.m. after officers responded to a call of a man walking down the street with a firearm.

    The Long Beach department says the wounded officer is in stable condition and that it plans to release more information soon.

  89. If Chief Dolan became President Dolan:

    “This nation owes Lt. Calley debt of gratitude and awards him a Distinguished Service Cross in recognition of his valorous leadership of Charlie Company into My Lai. Lt. Calley did not take the easy way out when faced with 500 unarmed and defenseless Vietnamese nationals.

    My Lai was a perfect example of a situation that could have gone horribly wrong, but did not because of the professionalism with which it was handled.”

    Thank goodness the cops can’t shoot straight and the Khang’s survived. This is horrific and inexcusable.

  90. Ha-ha.

  91. As a Libertarian, I agree that keeping the peace is a legitimate function of government. As an American, however, I join many generations of my fellow Americans in resisting standing armies. Police forces, once clearly non-military in nature, have rapidly become militarized in the past several decades. They have morphed into the standing armies that our nation’s founders warned us to avoid. This situation needs to change, and the best way to facilitate that change is to end the war on drugs, which has served as the primary impetus for the militarization of domestic police.

  92. Radley — Someone really needs to look at the Minneapolis PD.

    Out here.

  93. Of course, the Lon Horiuchi Medal for bravery in the face of a woman holding a baby.

  94. The Tree of Liberty is Thirsty

  95. By presenting these officers with awards, this city has opened itself up to another lawsuit. Why? By awarding them for this behavior, it indicates that the city does in fact condone illegal behavior on the part of its police and presenting the award resulted in further mental and emotional anguish for the victims.

  96. There was a news story/article/video about a housewife teacher that called 911 after being the victim of an assault. Because she was carrying her dead sister’s ID she was tossed into a squad car and dropped off at the local police department where she was then stripped naked in a jail cell by 2-3 male officers while she screamed and cried. A female officer had taped it all and they left her there for the night.

    Article link: http://www.wkyc.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=82447

    Now you need a number to call to defend against the police.

  97. Looks like Sierra games has to redesign the gameplay in SWAT5, as SWAT4 is no longer accurate.
    Things that has to be changed:
    – No subtraction of points if you fail to identify yourself as a police officer.
    – No penalty for shooting innocent people, atleast not if they’re in their own home.
    – Extra points for beating people of any ethnic minority into a pulp.

    Sad really :-\

  98. “This is a perfect example of a situation that could have gone horribly wrong, but did not because of the professionalism with which it was handled.”

    Sieg Heil

  99. Laws are legal,childen.

  100. The fact of the matter is that the SWAT team DID act bravely. It was the decision-makers that screwed up. Backing down because some resists the police is hardly a good precedent.

    However, I would think that SWAT teams are to make every effort to indicate that they are police before they open fire. Still, maybe they did and Khang didn’t believe them. After all, a criminal can yell, “Police! Drop your weapon!” just as well as a cop can.

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