Police Abuse

Police in Palm Beach Shot, Paralyzed an Unarmed Man After Encounter Based on Riding His Bike the Wrong Way

The insane array of petty reasons cops have to try to stop us lead once again to shooting of unarmed man.

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Yes, it happens all the time: recently surfaced is a September 2013 video of Palm Beach police chasing Dontrell Stephens on a bike.

Wptv

When he gets off the bike and apparently starts making a cell phone call, he gets shot down by Deputy Adams Lin.

Stephens was unarmed. He's still alive, but paralyzed from the waist down now.

The aftermath of this police attack on Dontrell Stephens, in a version of the story reported by ABC 15 in Arizona:

For approximately four seconds Stephens is out of frame only to be seen again when being shot four times.

Stephens, who is black and has a criminal record for possessing cocaine, is seen running from the bullets then dropping to the ground…..

A short time later, an admittedly shaken Deputy Lin is heard talking to another deputy. 

"He starts backing away," Lin explains. "I said, 'Get on the ground, get on the ground."

Then, the other deputy is heard saying, "I got your back man.  I got your back.  Hey, you hear me?"

Deputy Lin responds, "Yeah, I know." 

Oh, most officers know that full well.

At the time, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said this in defense of the shooting:

"Stop what you're doing and comply with us," he told reporters.  "There's nothing in the rules of engagement that says we have to put our lives in jeopardy to wait to find out what this is to get killed."

Read that one over and think about it.

Lin was cleared to return to work four days later.  Months later, investigators from the State Attorney's Office and PBSO ruled the shooting justified.

Stephens' is now suing the sheriff and the deputy and his attorney insists Lin lied about the circumstances. While the police car radio in the dash video is loud, I can hear later things Lin says but could not hear any commands to Stephens:

West Palm Beach attorney Jack Scarola…says he discovered issues with the deputy's statements after requesting and viewing all the video and audio recordings from the incident.

"There are no records of any commands ever made to Dontrell Stephens," explained Scarola.

"The deputy's recorded statements following the shooting were absolutely false.  Internal affairs completely ignored that evidence," he said.   

The raw video:

Some other of far, far too many Reason clips on police shootings.

I stress this a lot, because it always seems important. We have far too many stupid reasons for police/citizen interactions to happen to begin with. What was the reason for Lin's near-fatal encounter with Stephens?

According to the local Palm Beach Post, Stephens was riding his bike the wrong way. What that even means is by no means clear from the video, but it's bullshit. From tickets to court date to shootings, the petty reasons cops have to try to detain/talk to us need to be way curtailed.

It darkly amuses me that a often a majority of news reports on such incidents don't bother to mention whatever reason/excuse there was for the awful police/citizen encounters to have happened at all, as if it's natural that if a cop sees us moving through the world he can start an interaction with us, one in which if we alarm him in any way he can just shoot us. After all, as Sheriff Bradshaw says, why should a cop who has chosen to bother you "have to put our lives in jeopardy to wait to find out what this is"?

See me writing on Tampa police abusive use of bike law to harass, though luckily not shoot, citizens.

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  1. Is anyone really surprised by this anymore?you’re more likely to get killed by a cop than a terrorist in America.

    1. That’s been true for every year of the last 100 outside of 2001.

      1. And I bet it was close in 2001.

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  2. Stephens, who is black and has a criminal record for possessing cocaine, is seen running from the bullets then dropping to the ground…

    Seriously? Fuck you ABC 15.

    1. +1. Those assholes at our 4th Estate are presuming guilt.

    2. You bolded the wrong part. You’re supposed to bold the valid reason he was shot: ‘running from the bullets’.

      1. Bullets are like dogs. Be dominant and don’t show fear – and for god’s sake don’t run or they *will* chase you.

      2. Read the Palm Beach Post version. They are the guys wgo broke the story, and they arent knuckle dragging tayvay “reporters” but actual journalists.

  3. It darkly amuses me that a often a majority of news reports on such incidents don’t bother to mention whatever reason/excuse there was for the awful police/citizen encounters to have happened at all, as if it’s natural that if a cop sees us moving through the world he can start an interaction with us, one in which if we alarm him in any way he can just shoot us.

    It’s even more amusing to me when they do mention the reason and it’s “resisting arrest”.

    1. And it’s amazing to me just how little it takes to alarm a police officer nowadays. Policing doesn’t seem like a good career choice for the easily alarmed.

  4. In the short term, I can see Police feeling so unappreciated by the public that they start under policing or, fingers crossed, going on strike.

    1. You can say that again.

    2. We can only hope.

  5. In the short term, I can see Police feeling so unappreciated by the public that they start under policing or, fingers crossed, going on strike.

  6. “rules of engagement “

    ROE…typically used to describe the parameters guiding behavior of an *army* in a foreign land.

    Rules of Engagement (ROE) are rules or directives to military forces (including individuals) that define the circumstances, conditions, degree, and manner in which force, or actions which might be construed as provocative, may be applied.[1] They provide authorization for and/or limits on, among other things, the use of force and the employment of certain specific capabilities. In some nations, ROE have the status of guidance to military forces, while in other nations, ROE are lawful commands. Rules of Engagement do not normally dictate how a result is to be achieved but will indicate what measures may be unacceptable.[2]

    While ROE are used in both domestic and international operations by most militaries, in the United States, ROE are not used for domestic operations. Instead, use of force by US forces in such situations is governed by Rules for the Use of Force (RUF).”

    The irony – actual ‘ROE/RUF‘ for military personnel are in fact significantly more restrictive than the officer seems aware. see rules 4. 4.1 of the latter link re: RUF for “Military Civil Disturbance “

    1. It’s so easy to mistake Palm Beach for the Korengal Valley.

      1. Wouldn’t it be more likely to resemble Tel Aviv?

    2. Actually, the RUF for the military is the *same* as that for civilian police. RUF and ROE are seperate things (or at least RUF is a special case of ROE only applicable in peacetime areas).

      The difference is the military has a brand to protect, and is perfectly willing to let you die to prevent a black mark in the public eye. As such they zealously apply the literal definition of the RUF and you typically have an uphill battle to justify your use of deadly force after the fact.

      Keep in mind that this is *seperate* from the military’s typical ROE limits – those are more liberal. The military isn’t going to let you die in an actual war and will give you a lot of leeway in your interpretation of ROE.

      The key difference between the military’s RUF and civilian police’s UoF guidelines is that the civilian police will have almost no post-action scrutiny while the military will be all over the scene looking for an excuse to fuck you over.

      As such, while MP can be some rough fuckers, its almost unheard of for them to actually kill someone *at all* while doing police duties (they do deploy as second-line infantry where they operate under ROE and do infantry stuff instead of policing).

      1. When I was in the Marines I did some cross training on how to help respond to riots.

        One of the things they stressed was how fucked you’d be if you had to use a firearm. Sure if your life was really in danger use your firearm, but realize that you’d be in for a bureaucratic shit storm afterwards.

        It wasn’t uncommon at all to have run ins with the PMO (USMC version of MP’s) but it was always pretty much fists and nightsticks. I never even heard of a PMO who drew a weapon.

  7. Who do I have to shoot in the back to get a hat tip around here?

    1. Probably me.

      https://reason.com/blog/2015/04…..nt_5254395

  8. This is a bona fide attempted murder and the cop should be in a jail cell.

    1. THIS^ How is this ANY different from the Scott shooting in NC?!?!? There is video of the UNARMED guy RUNNING AWAY and the officer just plugs him. End of story. NO FUCKING CHARGES AT ALL?!?!

  9. The east coast of Florida has become a colony of New York. I’m not surprised that their policing habits have followed

  10. So how many of these incidents are showing up in the news now?Each day,week,month and year?Seems every day.Cams and the internet are the bane of bad cops,and their blue buddies who helpt hem

  11. That cop should be stretching a rope

  12. We have far too many stupid reasons for police/citizen interactions to happen to begin with.

    But that’s just because of those mean old politicians who pass laws over the protests of honest, sincere, hard working cops. It’s not as if those cops enjoy fucking with people.

  13. Deputy Adams Lin

    I hate last names standing in for first names.

  14. That kid has no one but himself to blame.
    His failure to comply makes whatever level of force is required to assuage the deputy’s deeply injured ego justified.

    1. The anger welled up inside of me like the Yellowstone Caldera at the exact moment my brain processed the first sentence in your comment.
      Alas, again…the joke is on me. I can always blame a lack of caffeine for my slow processing.
      Sheesh, you’d think after lurking around here for a couple years, while posting the occasional bon mot, that I’d have a better grasp on the biting sarcasm and dark cynicism which permeates this hallowed site.

      1. Take away the sarcasm and cynicism and this place would be pretty hollowed out.

      2. If you aren’t cynical, you aren’t paying attention.

        If you don’t vent your pain and anger, via sarcasm or whatever, you’re probably doing psychic damage to yourself.

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    Visit this website ?????????? http://www.jobsfish.com

    1. Tell her not to run away from the bullets!

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