Police Abuse

The Cops Who Drew Guns and Forced an Innocent Family To Lie on the Pavement Were Dismayed by the Angry Response

After gratuitously terrifying a 6-year-old girl, the officers blamed her mother, who also had done nothing illegal.


After police in Aurora, Colorado, mistook a blue SUV with Colorado plates for a stolen yellow motorcycle with Montana plates, they pulled up behind the parked car, ordered the driver and the passengers out at gunpoint, and forced them to lie facedown on the pavement. Neither the driver, Brittney Gilliam, nor her passengers—four girls ranging in age from 6 to 17—had done anything wrong. But the terrified, wailing girls were still detained for about 10 minutes, with two of them in handcuffs, until after the cops realized their mistake.

The 2020 incident, much of which was recorded by a bystander, provoked international outrage at the gratuitous trauma inflicted on Gilliam and the girls. But newly released internal reports and body camera videos suggest that the cops at the scene were more upset by Gilliam's anger and onlookers' criticism. The evidence, which Chicago defense attorney Mike Buresh obtained under Colorado's Criminal Justice Records Act, reveals a chasm between ordinary people who are appalled by police abuse and cops who think they are simply doing their jobs.

'This Is a Stolen Vehicle'

On a Sunday morning last August, Gilliam, a 29-year-old food service worker at the Denver County Jail, drove her sister's 2009 Dodge Journey to a nail salon. She was accompanied by her 6-year-old daughter, Gilliam's 17-year-old sister, and two nieces, ages 12 and 14. They planned to have their nails done and get ice cream afterward. But when they arrived at the nail salon, they found it was closed. Gilliam and the girls were sitting in the parked SUV as she used her smartphone to find an open salon when a police car pulled up behind them and two officers, Darian Dasko and Madisen Moen, got out with their guns drawn.

The officers ordered Gilliam and the girls to put their hands out the windows, which they did. Dasko told Gilliam to put her keys on the roof of the car. Dasko's body camera, which began recording at 10:54 a.m., captured this exchange while Gilliam was still sitting in the driver's seat:

Gilliam: What's the reason for this stop?

Dasko: This is a stolen vehicle.

Gilliam: This is a stolen vehicle?

Dasko: Yes.

Gilliam: My sister's car is a stolen vehicle?

Dasko: It's a stolen vehicle.

Gilliam: I'm going to prove your ass wrong. This was a stolen vehicle a long time ago…

Dasko: It's a stolen vehicle.

Contrary to Dasko's mantra, it was not a stolen vehicle. As he later acknowledged, police records indicated that the SUV was reported stolen on February 2, 2020, and recovered three days later. Yet a license plate reader had erroneously flagged the car as stolen, and the record Dasko initially received included a photo matching the car Gilliam was driving. Dasko said he checked with a dispatcher to confirm that the car was stolen, and he was told it was.

It turned out that hit was actually for a stolen motorcycle registered in Montana. If Dasko had run the plate number through the National Crime Information Center's database, he would have discovered the error, and this whole encounter could have been avoided. But he did not do that.

Dasko nevertheless was immediately on notice that something was amiss with his information. He disregarded Gilliam when she repeatedly told him the car was her sister's, even when she offered to prove it by showing him the registration. Instead, Dasko and Moen, a trainee he was supervising, proceeded to treat Gilliam and the girls like dangerous criminals.

'We Never Put Any Underaged Children in Handcuffs'

According to a state lawsuit that Gilliam filed in January, the cops patted down everyone, including the 6-year-old. With guns drawn, they made everyone lie on the pavement. They handcuffed Gilliam, the 12-year-old, and the 17-year-old. The complaint says "Defendant Officer 4 tried to handcuff six-year-old L.T. [Gilliam's daughter], but the handcuffs were too big to fit around her wrists."

Exactly who was handcuffed, and how those individuals should be described, became a point of contention. "They put handcuffs on the babies," a male bystander can be heard saying in Dasko's video. "That's not true," an angry female officer replies. "That's a lie. No handcuffs went on that child…There were no handcuffs on the small child." That much is true, but it elides the question of whether the cops tried to cuff her, as the lawsuit alleges.

Although Moen's body camera video should cast light on that issue, 10 crucial minutes are missing from the version released by the district attorney's office. Buresh has asked the office to explain the legal justification for that redaction but has not heard back yet. [Update: In a March 25 email to Buresh, Chief Deputy District Attorney Ann Tomsic said "all redactions to body worn camera footage were done to protect the identity of minor children." Tomsic said that decision is authorized by a provision of Colorado's public records law that allows agencies to withhold material when releasing it is "contrary to the public interest."]

In his video, Dasko tells a sergeant: "No little, underaged kids were put in handcuffs. There was a little tyke…and she just sat there with her sister [actually, her cousin]. We never put any underaged children in handcuffs. All were proned out here, besides the driver, [who] was over here because she was uncooperative." Dasko seems unfazed by the impact that being "proned out," with or without handcuffs, might have on a little girl. Furthermore, the bystander video confirms that the 12-year-old and the 17-year-old were handcuffed. Dasko's definition of "underaged children" evidently excludes anyone past puberty.

According to a report from Officer Travis Hanson, the 14-year-old, whom he describes as "the third woman with the small child," would have been handcuffed too, but he decided that was unwise, because "a large crowd [had] developed, was extremely agitated, and [was] encroaching on our position." In other words, the problem with handcuffing an innocent 14-year-old girl was not that it was patently wrong but that witnesses might perceive it that way.

Dasko likewise tries to minimize the threat of deadly force against the girls. "At no time did any Officer on scene run up to the juvenile female or child and point their duty weapon in their face," he writes. Yes, the officers pulled out their guns and forced a 6-year-old to lie on the ground. But they did not point their guns in her face, which to Dasko's mind apparently makes it OK.

'Gilliam Began Screaming and Yelling'

Unsurprisingly, the girls were terrified by this sudden and inexplicable use of force. They can be heard crying and whimpering in the bystander video. "I want my mother!" the 6-year-old says. "Can I have my sister next to me?" one of her cousins asks. "Can I help my sister?"

Dasko and Moen blame Gilliam for upsetting the children. "Gilliam began screaming and yelling more," Dasko says in his report, "which made the younger child cry." Moen concurs that the girls' emotional state was Gilliam's fault. Gilliam "began to scream and yell to the occupants on the passenger side making them visually upset," she writes. "The passengers began to scream and cry."

Although Dasko describes Gilliam as "uncooperative," which he says was the reason he separated her from the girls and placed her in the back of his patrol car, she actually followed all of his instructions. But she also repeatedly and profanely objected to the way Dasko was treating her, which seems to be what bothered him.

Gilliam "was verbally aggressive yelling and cussing," Dasko complains. And even when he finally took off her handcuffs—which he did not do until six minutes after he learned that the car was not stolen—she was not properly grateful. "As I was releasing Gilliam from hand-cuffs, I tried to explain our mistake," he says. "Gilliam was very hostile towards Officers and stated she wanted to check on her kids."

Other officers were likewise irked by Gilliam's attitude. "Brittney kept yelling and scream[ing] at us," Officer Devin Drexel writes. "When she would ask a question for us to answer, she would shout over us when we attempted to speak to her."

When Sgt. Edward Lopez approached Gilliam to explain what had happened, Sgt. David Wells says, "Gilliam would yell and talk over SGT Lopez and would not allow him to speak."

Lopez himself was annoyed. "As I approached her," he writes, "she looked at me and stated 'you're a Sergeant,' and began shouting at me, informing me that the officers pointed guns at her and her children, saying she was in a stolen car. I attempted to explain the circumstances to her several times however she continued to interrupt me, not allowing me to give her an explanation."

These officers seemed to think the problem was Gilliam's rudeness rather than the shocking incident that provoked it. Lt. John Tollakson took a different view. "She was upset that police pointed guns at them and specifically the children and that they were handcuffed," he notes. Tollakson "agreed with her being upset about this instance (I would have been upset too) and apologized to her for this incident/inconvenience."

Tollakson's impression of Gilliam was different from his colleagues', possibly because more time had elapsed or because he treated her more respectfully. "We shook hands at the conclusion of our time together," he writes. "I would also note that while she was visibly upset, she and I spoke with each other civilly and in conversational tones."

Yet even Tollakson implies that the officers' handling of the encounter was justified in the circumstances. After all, they did what they were trained to do during a "high-risk vehicle stop," a label that automatically applied in this case, since they mistakenly thought the car was stolen. "It is not uncommon for persons in stolen cars to be armed," Tollakson says, "and it was also not uncommon for suspects to be teenagers to include females."

'They Had Guns on Kids!'

The bystanders who witnessed the encounter or its aftermath saw things differently. "They had guns on kids!" Jennifer Wurtz says in the video she recorded. "That little girl did not need to have her face in the concrete." Another woman agrees that "you shouldn't do that to a baby." A man declares, "This is some bullshit." Another bystander notes that "the car's not even stolen." A woman says "these babies are traumatized" and wonders, "How can they trust police officers?"

Although those seem like pretty cogent points, the cops were upset by the criticism. "A group of irrational people began yelling at us and recording," Officer Kristi Mason complains in her report. "I had to tell one irrational white female several times to step back and record from a distance."

If Mason is referring to Wurtz, that characterization is inconsistent with Wurtz's recording. Wurtz repeatedly expresses her concerns about the incident, insists on her right to record it, and offers to talk to the children because "they're obviously scared." But she remains calm throughout. "At some point," she says to one of the cops, "when you see little kids screaming and crying with their faces in the concrete, your partner has to go, 'OK, let's get 'em up.' It took far too long."

From Hanson's perspective, however, Wurtz was "interfering with our investigation." While "you have every right to record," he says, "I'm going to give you a lawful order to step away at least 25 feet."

The cops were clearly unnerved by the fact that they were being recorded. "Just be advised," someone says over the radio in Dasko's video. "We have a lot of people out here recording." Talking on his cellphone with a sergeant, Dasko says, "Oh, it's a disaster. We've got people recording, people yelling here." Just to be clear: The "disaster" was not the erroneous detention of an innocent family; it was the people "recording" it and "yelling" about it. In their written reports, Dasko, Mason, Wells, Drexel, Tollakson, Officer Steven Garcia, Officer Michael Enriquez, and Officer Jonathan Kwon likewise note that bystanders were using their cellphones to record what was happening.

All that attention explains why so many officers ultimately converged on the scene. By one bystander's count, there were eventually nine patrol cars in the parking lot. "Due to a hostile crowd closing in recording Officers screaming and yelling obscenities a request for more Officers was made and supervisors to respond," writes Dasko, who says "there were police agitators on scene."

Wells also was disturbed by the onlookers. "I observed numerous parties near the scene, yelling at officers and stating they were recording on Facebook Live," he says. "The parties were making anti-police statements and yelling about 'babies being handcuffed and guns pointed at them.'" Lopez likewise "observed several parties shouting at the officers already on scene and pointing their cell phones at the officers." Enriquez "observed several citizens recording Officers on scene" and "making it known they dislike Aurora PD." Drexel says "the bystanders made it known they dislike the Aurora PD by making anti-police statements." Garcia says "there were 15-20 people on scene antagonizing officers."

The reports leave the impression that the police were facing an incipient riot, requiring a large number of officers to "keep the peace." The body camera videos paint a less alarming picture. Yes, some bystanders raised their voices, and some of them cursed. But I did not hear any blanket condemnations of the police, let alone any threats of violence. The cops' fixation on disapproving bystanders armed with nothing but cellphones is of a piece with their emphasis on Gilliam's ire. In both cases, they are deflecting attention from what police did by focusing on the disagreeable response it provoked.

'This Was a Horrible Mistake'

Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson

A few days after the incident, Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson apologized to Gilliam and her family, offering to pay for the girls' psychotherapy bills. "This was a horrible mistake and one that I hope we can at least correct for the kids," she said. "We must allow our officers to have discretion and to deviate from this process when different scenarios present themselves. I have already directed my team to look at new practices and training." Yet five months later, the Aurora Sentinel reported that "a spokesperson for Aurora police said there have not been any specific changes to the department's high-risk stop policies in recent months."

Gilliam, who argues that the Aurora Police Department (APD) has a history of racially biased law enforcement, was not impressed by Wilson's apology. "If it was a white family," she told The Denver Post, "it never would have happened."

A few weeks before Gilliam filed her lawsuit, Chief Deputy District Attorney Clinton McKinzie announced that his office would not be filing criminal charges against Dasko or Moen. "Despite the disturbing fact that terrified children were ordered out of a vehicle at gunpoint and placed face-down on the ground, our conclusion is that there is not evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the APD officers involved unlawfully, intentionally, knowingly, or negligently violated any Colorado criminal law," McKinzie said in a January 8 letter to Wilson. "What happened to the innocent occupants is unacceptable and preventable, but that alone is an insufficient basis to affix criminal culpability to the two officers involved in the initial contact."

In reaching that conclusion, the district attorney's office consulted with Paul Taylor, a former police officer and an assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Colorado Denver. "Given the information they were relying on and the training they had received, the officers involved in this incident were reasonable, prudent and safe in their choice and use of tactics, weapons and restraints," Taylor said. "All of the officers involved in the incident acted in a professional, safe and respectful manner in all their interactions with the driver and the other occupants of the vehicle during the encounter."

It is true that Dasko was generally calm during his encounter with Gilliam. Whether his treatment of her was "respectful" is another matter. He ignored her truthful assurances that the car was not stolen, refused to look at evidence to that effect, and stubbornly insisted that she was lying, all because of a stupid and easily avoidable mistake. He threatened her with a gun, barked orders at her, forced her to kneel and then lie on the pavement, frisked her, clapped her in handcuffs, and imprisoned her in the back of his patrol car. Meanwhile, his colleagues were subjecting her daughter, sister, and nieces to similar treatment—all for no legitimate reason.

'Don't Tell Me OK!'

In contrast with Dasko, Gilliam was loud, profane, and angry, much to the dismay of the officers who were victimizing her and her family:

Gilliam: You've got my fucking kids on the fucking floor! Kids!

Dasko: OK. We'll deal with that.

Gilliam: Don't tell me "OK"! Who the fuck are you? Kids! Do you see how you're scaring kids?

Dasko: OK. We'll deal with it…because we don't know what's inside the vehicle and what's going on. We'll find out. OK? We'll find out.

As Dasko says that, he is clapping the cuffs on Gilliam, figuring he would arrest her first and "find out" whether she was actually guilty of anything later. Of course Gilliam was mad, because this was a maddening situation, made all the more maddening by Dasko's blithe manner.

In the body camera videos, Dasko repeatedly explains what happened to sympathetic colleagues, blaming the dispatcher for his blunder. He also complains that he tried to apologize to Gilliam, but "she doesn't want to talk to us."

After Ronald Gilliam, Brittney's father, arrives, Dasko finds him calmer and more receptive. "I'd like to apologize," Dasko says. "It was a mistake on our end." Gilliam tries to explain the gravity of the situation: "These are young kids…You know what's going on now. Everything police do is going to get scrutinized." And when that happens, cops are sure to complain about the scrutiny rather than wonder whether the problem might be their own attitudes and practices.

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  1. Qualified Immunity

    1. Not in Colorado, the state legislature voided qualified immunity under state law last summer.

      “In order to bypass this “unlawful shield,” the Colorado law creates a new “civil action for deprivation of rights,” which will allow Coloradans to sue officers for damages in state court, if those officers violate the Colorado Constitution’s Bill of Rights or “fail to intervene” when those rights are violated.”

      So I think they are going to get paid, and probably the City or their insurance company will want to settle this before it gets in front of a jury. The people who were filming this and yelling at the cops are the jury pool.

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  2. Wow! That’s terrifying. It’s a good thing the cops have qualified immunity to protect them from all the frivolous lawsuits that would come from the civilians that don’t want them to just go home safe every night.

    1. Since the cops didnt personally make the mistake, it is a good thing. Gilliam and family are however free to sue the City and the State and whoever maintains the interstate database

      1. Read it again, maybe this act of nonfeasance will be evident to you.

        If Dasko had run the plate number through the National Crime Information Center’s database, he would have discovered the error, and this whole encounter could have been avoided.

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  3. Rehash of a story you already posted.

    1. No. This includes new video evidence from body cameras, and new details that have not been reported before.

  4. Among the officers’ other shortcomings, they apparently haven’t had any training in dealing with drama queens… 🙂

    1. Assuming by “queen” you mean the police chief.

  5. Guilty of being Black in Colorado. Nothing to see here. Move along.

    1. I guess the remedy would be to ignore all stolen vehicle reports from now on. Hooray

      1. Alao, when a license tag reader flagged the van, there was no way to tell who was driving. genius

      2. The remedy would be for you to get bent.

        1. You want Libertarians to ever be taken seriously? The first few comments here are why that can never happen. Just the emotional reaction, lack of real world knowledge, and lack of critical thinking of 8 year olds

          1. So, for Libertarians to ever be taken seriously, they should meekly submit to assertions of state authority. Got it.

            1. Libertarians must stop being libertarians if they want to be taken seriously.

              1. History suggests that this is true. Also see: Ron Paul running for pres as (R).

      3. No, the remedy would be to:
        a. Do your jobs and confirm the report before you initiate the stop in the first place. A blue SUV with Colorado plates is pretty easily distinguishable from a yellow motorcycle with Montana plates.
        b. Ditch the assumption that all allegedly stolen vehicle reports are automatically high-risk incidents. While it is true that some vehicle thieves are armed, it is not true that teenagers with young children in the car are in the same risk category.
        c. Regardless of the above, again DO YOUR JOBS. When the alleged thief offers to show you proof of ownership, at least look at it.
        d. Treat the people you’re confronting with respect and you might be surprised how much respect you get in return. Treat them with hostility, suspicion and contempt and they will return those reactions.
        e. Stop lying on police reports. Bystander video and even your own body cameras make it easy to tell when you’re lying. The excessively defensive reactions make it all too easy to discredit your reports in other situations.

        1. Well said!

          I had a momentary giggle at thinking that the cop could probably have gotten a lot more respect from the mother and the crowd if he had kneeled down in front of her, gotten down on both knees, and made a sincere apology. He should have offered to treat them all to ice cream, or admitted he had screwed up rather than just blame the dispatcher. The manner of an apology is far more important than the words.

        2. Well, according to the above article, it said that the initial hit was some outdated file from when the car had previously been stolen from her sister by someone else, and was later recovered. Shouldn’t have been in the system anymore, but something or someone screwed up. So the initial picture that came back was of a blue SUV because it WAS that SUV. I think that they could go ahead and initiate a stop.

          Once the stop is made – they would have had time to double-check at that point, find the error, and when he approached the SUV, it could have been to say:

          “Ma’am, the reason that I stopped you today is because a license plate scanner indicated that your vehicle was reported stolen. We’ve run the plates again and have determined that the initial ‘hit’ was in error. I’m sorry to have bothered you and your family. You are free to go.”

          1. If the system is unreliable, perhaps relying on it to initiate violence is not the best way to go.

            1. But what’s the fun in that?

            2. The ‘system’ should never be an excuse to initiate violence.

          2. 100000000000000000000000%

          3. Guilty of being Black in Colorado. Nothing to see here. Move along.

            Oh fuck off. I live in Aurora. The city is ran by Democrats, and a large percentage of the population, politicians, and police force are black. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

            1. From Wikipedia: ” Non-Hispanic Whites were 47.3% of the population in 2010,[31] compared to 85.1% in 1980.[32] Aurora is a center of Colorado’s refugee population. There are about 30,000 Ethiopians and Eritreans living in the Denver-Aurora area. There is also a sizable population of Nepalese refugees.[33][34]”

              Problems we brought upon ourselves.

        3. Even if it is high risk, there are plenty of better initial ways of assessing the situation and reducing any risk short of pulling people out of the vehicle at gunpoint.

          How hard would it have been to have the mom exit the vehicle with registration to show them. Hell, in this day and age they could have just asked her to send a copy via her cell to theirs.

          Hot heads looking for adrenalin fixes.

          And, when are we going to demand that except perhaps during actual fire fights, the cops stop this yelling and cussing at people which only inflames the situation and confuses everyone.

        4. Cops should have to carry liability insurance that is not protected by qualified immunity. This would help defray the cost of police fuck ups to the taxpayers.also weed out bad cops. Who would rapidly become uninsurable after multiple claims. Also preventing them from getting hired at another department for the same reason.

      4. Get it right or pay up. Whoever it was that made the mistake it wasn’t the family, and they will be compensated for the mistake.

        Just saying it was a computer error and nobody was at fault doesn’t cut it, if the city is chose to use that software, then they are responsible. Maybe they can recover some cash from the vendor.

        1. “Get it right or pay up. Whoever it was that made the mistake it wasn’t the family, and they will be compensated for the mistake.”

          I can get behind some of this. Money often equals pain, and pain is the only way some groups learn (doctors, airlines, auto manufacturers, and so on.) Granted, it’s not coming out of the police’s coffers, but somebody at City Hall—in theory—isn’t going to be happy cutting checks. (But see, Chicago P.D…)

          Not all police mistakes should involve checkcutting, though. Likely though, this one should. What a mistake.

      5. The Remedy would be conducting a no knock raid on the cops house with a “sorry, we had the wrong address,” then record the cop bursting into little bitch tears and squeeeeeel like a pig about how his rights were violated.

        Until that happens, the police will continue to believe it is the public that needs to be reformed.

      6. I guess the remedy would be to realize that it’s possible for the same tag number to be issued by different states, check the NCIC database as indicated in the article, see that it was a different state, and that the stolen vehicle was a MOTORCYCLE, not a VAN.

        The remedy is to realize that in an investigation, it’s better to use the computer first, and your gun later.

    2. If they were any other race this wouldn’t be a story. They’d receive an apology just like in this case and they’d rightfully be expected to get over it since there was no violence and no harm to people or property and it was over in about 30 minutes.

      1. Right, because it was an honest mistake and cops are allowed to make honest mistakes, and heaven knows they sure have a lot of practice at making honest mistakes and have gotten pretty good at it by now.

        Too bad cops don’t realize they’ve been making all those honest mistakes. Most people, when they make honest mistakes, have the humbleness necessary to make the concomitant honest apologies. Too bad cops don’t know how to make honest apologies for their numerous honest mistakes.

        1. No one is “allowed” to make mistakes. They happen though. People are expected to apologize. That happened here. They apologized.

          1. Other people in other professions face real and serious career consequences even for “honest” mistakes. Why should the police be immune from such?

            What do you think happens to doctors who make the honest mistake of performing the wrong surgery on the wrong patient?

            1. Whoever was supposed to update the database of stolen cars should get punished? Maybe.

              1. Database has nothing to do with holding children face down on the pavement at gunpoint.

                Between your blase take on children having deadly force a mere 4.5lbs of pressure away, and your assertion that this is only a story because some of the occupants are black, I’m starting to paint a picture of your “logic” here, and it is not flattering.

                1. Teenagers are harmless?

                  They said they would reevaluate their procedures. There’s no other remedy except simply letting stolen vehicle suspects go.

                  If citizens can have weapons, cops can. I already said they shouldn’t be so casual with their guns. But everyone in this case was kept safe. That’s what we should all demand in all the other cases where cops hurt suspects.

                  No one will listen to you on any of these cases if you engage in phony drama in cases like this where no harm was done.

                  1. Who said teenagers are harmless? Hmm, nope, don’t see it.

                    Perhaps I was talking about the fucking 6-year-old, dude.

                    Try to address this honestly, or not at all.

                    1. If the cops are on video menacing the 6-year-old, then they should face punishment (be fired from the police force) and Aurora Colorado should settle and write a big check.

                      Did they threaten the six-year-old? The story doesn’t say they did.

                    2. The cops implicitly threaten anyone who they are detaining.

                    3. Yeah, but “implicit” authority isn’t as scary to a six-year-old. If they intentionally terrorized the six-year-old, then explain how you know that happened.

                      It’s unreasonable to demand no mistakes ever happen.

                    4. “It’s unreasonable to demand no mistakes ever happen.”

                      What’s unreasonable is demanding that cops be free of any consequences when mistakes do happen.

          2. Now they can apologize with a big fat check, I think that’s a more meaningful apology. Much better than ‘we are sorry we screwed up, but it was mostly your fault’

            1. There were no damages. There’s no basis for a big fat check. A small, nominal check maybe.

              1. You want to get this in front of a jury to see what they think?

                1. Sure. How much phony drama do you think an Aurora Colorado jury will swallow?

                  1. Racist and dumb. These traits often go together.

                    1. They were arrested, Ben. Or “detained” if you are up on your sovereign citizen training films. They were held at gunpoint, cuffed, and not allowed to leave.

                      Or perhaps you were trying to call it the more correct term “state sponsored kidnapping”?

                    2. Yeah, like I said, not arrested.

                    3. Ben, they were absolutely arrested by the legal definition of the word. They were not transported, they were not booked, but yes, they most certainly were arrested. I avoid insulting people here, but I cant help it here: You’re a real knob job, Ben.

                  2. I don’t have a ‘blue sheet’ from there in front of me, to guide me as to the going rate for a judgment, for being falsely arrested and having cops try to handcuff your kids, but…I am guessing that with these facts, an Aurora jury would award more than the City Manager/Mayor wants to pay.

                    It just looks bad on video. Even if the victims could be more sympathetic.

                    1. They weren’t arrested.

                      Sympathy for the victims is irrelevant. Victims suffered zero loss and are owed a sincere apology for an honest mistake, which they received.

                  3. $10k per TT per second they were under assault.

          3. That apology was in name only. Sincere apologies require sincerity, and anyone, apparently but you, can easily judge the cops’ sincerity from all their comments blaming Mrs Gilliam for escalating a non-event into a PR disaster.

    3. I’m not so sure there was a racial element to the stop and reaction.

      My brother who is a middle aged white cis-male with standard pronouns was stopped, handcuffed, detained 2 hours in the back of a patrol car on the basis that his truck matched a vaque description of a vehicle they were looking for. No licence plate match, no make model year, just a red compact pickup truck with a passenger side white door was their “probable cause”. Two days earlier on a freeway miles away someone had fired at another car in a road rage incident, and that was the only description they had. My brother had driven into town that day on union business, he was the union president in a tri-state area so he had out of state plates and he lived at least 4 hours drive away, for some reason it took them two hours to decide they had the wrong guy.

      At least they didn’t make him lie down on the asphalt while they decided what to do with him.

      1. “At least they didn’t make him lie down on the asphalt while they decided what to do with him.”

        White privilege.

      2. I was a passenger in a car pulled over in New Mexico in August, and the driver was a foriegn national, so it took like an hour to run his name, and of course we had to turn the truck off so no a/c. We did get an apology and bo charges for the pot (they saw someone puffing on a joint going through the one intersection in miles).

  6. None of this has anything to do with Qualified Immunity, and, yes, Ms Gilliam shares some amount of the blame.

    You unwashed commentariat cant be crusaders for QI reform if you dont understand the fvcking basics

    Qualified Immunity exists to prevent suing State Agents personally for carrying out the duties of their job, unleas they knowingly illegally violate your rights. This was a vehicle that had been relorted stolen and was reported to the officers as such. There is no lawsuit against them for following procedure under QI. However, the city is liable for damages. As it should be. The officers didnt personally fvck up the computer system.

    Any reasonable person who wants to get out of the situation is not going to start the interaction the way she did, nor continuously escalate it. She poured gasoline on a fire.

    1. Any reasonable person who wants to get out of the situation is not going to start the interaction the way she did, nor continuously escalate it.

      Translation: meekly submit to assertions of authority, and all will be well.

      On the level, do you really think there is nothing to see here? Nothing to object to?

    2. No the vehicle reported stolen was a motorcycle from Montana.

    3. No. Congress passed a law specifically allowing citizens to sue police and SCOTUS invented QI. This was illegal and we the people needed to take direct action against SCOTUS to reverse it.

      Since we did not, we deal with tyrants in blue. Since the courts will not impose the law, it is our duty.

      We should hunt these men to the ends of the earth and impose justice upon them as per the law.

      Police are a progressive, commie institution. The sheriff is American law enforcement. We need to exterminate the institution of police and impose our Constitution upon this illegitimate government.

      1. All correct, except that police are a fascist, racist institution that directly descended from slave patrols.


        1. LOL

          Any more woke jokes?

          1. De doesn’t understand that the “progressives” are and were the racist fascist.

    4. Since Gilliam told them right up front it wasn’t stolen and she wasn’t taking off anywhere, a more refined approach to executing their mission was required. Even if she was insolent and rude.

      Who wouldn’t be if you were just out minding your own business and cops pull up and come after you with guns drawn. Why would you even trust that were cops or that they weren’t about to blow you away? A uniform doesn’t provide license for whatever they feel like doing.

      If any of us went after a vehicle with guns drawn, what would have happened?

    5. I’ve been wrongly pulled over before. It happens. I don’t tend to mouth off, but if I did, that’s no excuse for not doing your job as a LEO. Be a professional or at least semi-competent. Christ.

      QI should be abolished with a vengeance. Or, rather, it should be amended such than anyone acting outside their obvious authority can’t be immune. Don’t like who the college chancellor hired as AD? Tough luck, that’s what chancellors do as part of their job. Can’t sue. Fine. Narc cop raids your apartment – guns blazing – because he had the wrong street and wrong zip code? hmm.

      He thought he was raiding the right house with the proper authority. Sure, he might have been in the wrong county. He didn’t bother to do his paperwork, but lots of government weasels don’t do theirs, either. QI, right??

  7. In other news, this area is experiencing a pandemic (a real one!) of car thefts. It’s become a huge problem.

    Mistakes in the database are another problem, but it’s not reasonable to expect police to assume that the database is wrong. Would this experience have been scandalous if it was correct?

    1. The database wasn’t just wrong, the cops didn’t consult what was in it to find they had mistaken an SUV for a motorcycle of a different color.

      1. Think about what you’re saying.

        You’re looking for stolen vehicles, and you find a plate alerts as a stolen vehicle. Why should you expect to have to check any further?

        The article’s “gotcha” is silly when you think about it.

        1. Because if you don’t check any further you have illegally stopped an American citizen and for that you can and should be shot.

          So check, piggies. Check or get justifiably and righteously shot.

        2. I think you should double check before pointing guns at kids. Call me crazy.

        3. You really think this bad data was the only time that database has had any errors?!? More likely it is full of errors and a common occurrence. Any thinking person would see an SUV full of kids and double check the database. Any smart cop would take Mrs Gilliam up on her statement and check the registration himself.

          These cops were neither smart nor thinkers.

          1. “These cops were neither smart nor thinkers.”

            The problem here is that neither are cop-defenders.

        4. It’s hardly unreasonable to realize that more than one state can issue the same tag number, and therefore to check the database that includes the specific information on the state in which the license was issued and the make and model of the vehicle that was stolen before drawing a gun. If you are a professional who works with database sources, you need to know what is contained in the databases you use.

    2. Yes, this experience would have been scandalous even if it was correct, because the children were not handled appropriately and they escalated the situation by approaching with guns drawn despite the presence of children.

      Many people do not react calmly with guns pointed at them. For their own benefit it would be nice if they did, but police should know they won’t do this and avoid the altercation at that time especially when children are involved.

      1. As I said, there is an epidemic of brazen vehicle thievery in this area. You do not have a basis for being certain that police should expect compliance from car thieves.

        “Avoid the altercation at that time” – are you serious? So… have a kid with you and you can commit crimes without consequences?

        We’re talking about vehicle thieves. They are hard to catch, and there usually isn’t a second chance.

        1. Libertarians for breaking a few (black, probably their fault somehow) eggs to make a few omelettes!

        2. Define “epidemic”. You keep using that word. I do not think you know what it means.

    3. That part of town has a lot more to deal with than car thefts. It’s been a shithole for decades.

    4. Maybe. Just because the car came up stolen doesn’t mean that the occupants stole it or knew of it’s origins. That’s very important.

      If my mother commits murder at her house and sells it, does that give the state a right to surround it with a SWAT team and detain everyone inside because it was reported that the house was a crime scene.

    5. In other news, this area is experiencing a pandemic (a real one!) of car thefts. It’s become a huge problem

      My mom lives in Aurora, also, and just had her car stolen. Her husband was warming it up behind the back door and somebody just jumped in and drove off. Across the street from my place is a charger I keep forgetting to report; it’s been in the same parking spot in a strip mall for months with a broken driver’s side window. Aurora isn’t Chicago’s south side, but it ain’t Castle Rock, either.

  8. The police need to get their shit together and stop making these mistakes and immediately let everyone loose the second they find out they were wrong. Act like a person when you goof up, not an authority figure. And stop waving guns around casually.

    But if all police “wrongdoing” incidents were as bad as this one, then things would be pretty great and police would have a lot less trouble. No one was hurt. No one was arrested on some phony charge. No one was taken to the station. No shots were fired. No property damage. It’s a lot better than we’ve all come to expect from these types of incidents.

    Sincere apologies and vows to do better should be an adequate remedy. Sounds like that happened. No reason to be vindictive about it — if you don’t want vindictive police, don’t be vindictive to police when they say their sorry and no harm was done.

    And give us all a break on the “psychotherapy”. Just get over it. It was a mistake and they apologized and will try to do better. No additional ongoing drama needed. You’re not going to win a big lawsuit payout when no one was hurt and the whole thing ended in about a half hour. If you decide not to get over it, you’re just hurting yourself.

    1. The apologies were not sincere, because sincere requires admitting you made a mistake, and they never did. They blamed it on the database and dispatcher, and still don’t believe that trying to handcuff a six year old kid was wrong, or that refusing to look at the car registration was wrong.

      1. How do they look at the car registration? Let the stolen vehicle suspects fish around for it? Because stolen vehicle suspects never keep weapons where they say they have paperwork? Or did you want them to search the car without a warrant?

        1. It was an illegal stop. The had no right to make a stop at all much less demand registration.

          The officer should have been shot.

          1. LOL. Are you posting purely to discredit Libertarianism, Jeb? It’s at least funnier to read than Larkenson’s rampant racist language.

            ‘Shoot the cop’…giggle. Where do you come up with this shit?

            1. Declaration of Independence makes it my duty.

              The Harding St Massacre among so many others demonstrates that all the requirements are in place for any reasonable person to determine that the US Federal government is illegitimate and tyrannical.

              If you see a cop committing a felony, it is our duty to stop him. He is armed and will kill you if you try, so be deliberate, do not hesitate.

              We have nothing left to lose.

        2. Jesus Christ you are pathetic! You look yourself! Why do you see such a stark world of either cops doing everything at gunpoint or getting shot? There’s plenty of room in between for just a little thought.

          1. I already said they shouldn’t be waving guns around so casually — because that’s how suspects are hurt in other cases.

            Why should they risk the suspects having a weapon in the glove box? To save ten minutes of double-checking databases?

            I’d rather they kept everyone safe rather than risking that the suspects will have a weapon in the glove box. Everyone was kept safe in this case.

            Bitching when there’s no harm makes it harder to get something changed when the cops actually hurt people.

        3. I think in Colorado they can search the car without a warrant as soon as they place you under arrest (which they did despite your protests- they were under arrest they weren’t charged). So, as soon as they arrested the driver one of those lazy fucks you see milling around getting paid to look scary could have actually opened the glove box and looked at the registration instead of calling for backup to protect them from a crowd of citizens criticizing their terrorizing of an innocent (if shockingly vulgar) family.

    2. “You’re not going to win a big lawsuit payout when no one was hurt and the whole thing ended in about a half hour.”

      Sorry Ben, you’re wrong, they will settle this for at least 6 figures because they don’t want to get this in front of a jury.

      1. What injury or damage will the jury award be based on? Sad feels? That’s not worth 6 figures.

        1. Reckless endangerment of children.

          If I pointed a gun at your kids, you would certainly sue me and demand criminal charges, no?

          then why are you excusing the exact same behavior from agents of the state?

          1. Phony drama.

            1. Answer the question, Ben.

              “If I pointed a gun at your kids, you would certainly sue me and demand criminal charges, no?

              then why are you excusing the exact same behavior from agents of the state?”

              1. Did that happen or you making that part up?

          2. Meh. Ben’s got a point. A stolen vehicle stop is automatically classed a high risk encounter. Armed car thief’s have been stopped with minors in the stolen car. Making anybody who hasn’t physically resisted lay on the ground is obscene, let alone a six year old, but the cops did orginally think they were dealing with a stolen vehicle.

      2. The idiots below all miss the civil rights race based argument. They’ll pay. And, they’ll pay dearly.

        Whether any real racial bias was involved or not.

        The world is very black and white these days.

    3. This isn’t a mistake. It is an effort to instill terror and force people to be compliant with this illegitimate, Commie government and the commie thugs in blue.

      This is tyranny. No one is coming to save us. It’s up to us to impose the Constitution.

      If you are thinking about voting, you are already in line for a cattle car.

      1. So we have a violent revolution every single time we need to change our political leadership? No thanks.

        1. Not at all.

          We have laws in place to prevent the need for violent transfer of power.

          Those laws are not being upheld. When the laws the people consent to are not being upheld we the people have a duty to impose them.

          This has been coming for 100 years. This is not new.

          It is time.

          1. Yeah. I smell an eff bee eye trying to sucker some dumb ass in to doing something or saying something. Entrapment is the cause of almost all terrorism convictions in the US for a decade or more.

            1. It can never be illegal to talk about the law or imposing the law.

              My speech is very cautious.

              I am not talking about killing anyone, only imposing the law as it is written or exterminating anti-American, progressive, Communist, institutions such as the FBI and police, not killing people.

    4. The police need to get their shit together and stop making these mistakes and immediately let everyone loose the second they find out they were wrong. Act like a person when you goof up, not an authority figure. And stop waving guns around casually.

      Agree on the above. It’s a wrongful deprivation of their liberty, though, and there ought to be some sanction, somewhere, for the screwup. Even if, in a perfect world, a sincere apology would be sufficient.

      1. I wish every “police abuse” story on Reason was like this one, where no one was hurt and no property was damaged and no one was arrested and the whole thing was over in 30 minutes.

        1. So if they raped your kid for only 10 minutes you would be ok with it?

          Eat .30 copsucker.

          1. That really isn’t anywhere close to equivalent.

            1. It is very equivalent.

              The terror inflicted upon this family and those children will last forever, just like a rape.

              These cops have violated federal laws title 18 sections 241 and 242 and should be convicted and treated like rapists for the rest of their lives for this.

              1. These cops have violated federal laws title 18 sections 241 and 242 and should be convicted and treated like rapists for the rest of their lives for this.

                Do you always trivialize rape like this, or it this just a one-off?

                1. Rape isn’t a sex crime. Rape is a violent crime.

                  What we saw in Aurora was a violent crime perped by the worst gang in the USA. It was intended to create terror exactly the same way rape is used to create terror.

                  I am not trivializing rape. I just understand cops for what they are.

  9. Police need to realize that, even if it is a completely honest mistake, people are going to be pissed the fuck off when something like this happens to them. As soon as they realized the mistake, they should have let her go and profusely apologized and calmly taken any verbal abuse she threw at them. They may not have done anything wrong personally, but neither did she and she had every justification to be angry.

  10. The cop complained that “I attempted to explain the circumstances to her several times however she continued to interrupt me, not allowing me to give her an explanation.”

    Which is pretty rich when they wouldn’t allow the mother to show them the car registration to prove the car wasn’t stolen.

    1. Cop wasn’t claiming to be a victim or playing it up for sympathy. He was reporting what happened from his perspective. What’s he supposed to do? Lie and say she didn’t interrupt? File an incomplete report?

      They thought the car was stolen. They should let suspects fish around in the glove box? Can you think of anything wrong with letting apprehended suspects in a “stolen” car go get things from the glove box or under the seats?

      They goofed up and apologized.

      Outrage is best saved for times when there’s actual damage or malice, not deployed for genuine mistakes where no one was hurt. No one will listen if you’re completely unreasonable.

      1. They could have checked the registration themselves. No need to let the possible criminal fish around in there.

        You say, “No one will listen if you’re completely unreasonable.” as if that excuses the cops bad behavior because Mrs Gilliam was unreasonable, from the cops’ viewpoint.

        How about you consider the initial stop from Mrs Gilliam’s viewpoint? The cops were completely unreasonable in no checking the registration. (They were also completely unreasonable in not checking their database more thoroughly, but Mrs Gilliam didn’t know that yet.)

        Nope, you go straight to sucking up to the cops and disbelieving the victims. Good job, buddy,

        1. I’m saying you shouldn’t be unreasonable. Save the outrage for when someone is hurt or suffers a loss or when cops are being assholes.

          You want cops to search cars without a warrant? Cop asks to look in my glove box, I say no.

          I’m extremely critical of cops when they’re needlessly violent or when they don’t treat citizens respectfully or when they hurt people or cause damage they could have avoided. None of that happened here.

          1. This was needlessly violent and these cops should be convicted under BOTH title 18 section 241 and 242 of the US federal code for conspiracy and deprivation of rights under the color of law.

            50 years minimum and $250,000 each for each person they assaulted with terror enhancements for children.

          2. Lol, now you are concerned with warrants? Where was the arrest warrant, in that case, shit house lawyer?

            1. He’s a copsucker. Can’t see any other viewpoint. Probably Dunphy II.

              1. Oh yeah, that’s apparent.

                I can’t help but try to help someone find their way to logic. Drag it out, step by step, until you can explain every link in a chain of causation, without resorting to unspecified “they” and “them” doing things for unspecified motives.

                If everyone would simply do this exercise rather than downloading the latest Q nonsense (or the federalist for that matter) to their brains, we would all be much better off.

              2. I’m the exact opposite actually.

                These cops followed the rules and didn’t hurt anyone.

                The phony drama makes it harder to get anything done when cops break the rules and hurt people.

                1. The rules say to never double check the database? The rules say to never check the registration? The rules say to point guns at 6 year olds?

                  Stop it. Just say you love cops and would gladly bend over and spread em, if asked. It would make a hell of a lot more sense than your current position.

                  1. Can’t argue with someone making shit up.

      2. The cops were outside the vehicle with guns drawn. They could have retreated a few steps to a defensive position, allowed her to fish that registration out and have her leave it somewhere outside the vehicle if they were that worried about the “risks”.

        I’d have offered to share a copy via cell phone actually. I would not have wanted to expose my body for them to target. When someone pulls a gun on you, it’s pretty damn serious. Ask me how I know.

  11. In 1957 I was in my best friend’s family station wagon, a green Mercury, being driven by his dad from Arcadia through South Pasadena to Pasadena when we were pulled over. We were made to get out of the car – his dad, mom, sister, me and him and stand facing the car with our hands on the roof.
    My friend is Black and I am white.
    There apparently was a BOLO for a white Plymouth sedan reported stolen by a white guy outside a bar. The officer bothering everyone was probably in his twenties – everyone looks old to a kid – and told my friend’s father that ‘people like him shouldn’t be in South Pasadena after dark. He had no business being there.’
    Minutes later another cop came by. It was the first cop’s sergeant. The sergeant yelled at the cop saying ‘Are you an idiot? This car is white and not a station wagon’ and sent him on his way.
    The sergeant stayed and apologized to everyone for the first cop being a racist fool. The sergeant was also white and in his fifties.
    Even then some cops were fools and some nice.

  12. Can we please focus on the real victims here, the armed fuckups?

  13. But surely we should encourage cops to talk to people about things that aren’t even crimes!

    What could go wrong?

  14. >>a license plate reader had erroneously flagged the car

    fucking toasters are gonna be the death of humanity

    1. Except in reality, like in this case, where the only consequences were someone’s feelings.

      In the fantasy world you’re afraid of, everyone in this story died.

      1. a license plate reader led to guns drawn on citizens.

        1. And not fired. And no one hurt. And no damages to anyone or any thing.

          Tell the police to keep the guns out of citizens’ faces. License plate reading is first amendment protected.

          1. >>Tell the police to keep the guns out of citizens’ faces

            verdicts can be deterrent. I haven’t seen much else that is.

            1. Not sure what that has to do with license plate readers.

          2. I can see someone arguing that police officers will sometimes inadvertently hurt innocent people and that’s a necessary tradeoff, even if I disagree in this case that it was worth it.

            But it’s disingenuous to claim no one was hurt. If an armed person other than a police officer had ordered people onto the ground, handcuffed them, and kept them that way for half and hour, you’d have no problem seeing that it was not a victimless crime and people were harmed.

            You’re also ignoring some details; for example, the theft was five months old. In that time period a stolen vehicle has likely been flipped and one can’t assume that the person in the driver’s seat is the armed perp still making a getaway dash.

          3. The problem is your ‘no damages’ statement.

            These people were held at gunpoint and for longer than the US Constitution allows police to hold ANYONE without cause.

            The damages here are in excess of the value of any of those officers future lives. They have assaulted our Constitution and should pay the price of a long prison term and fines in excess of their livelihoods as per federal law.

            1. agreed.

  15. They all should be summarily fired and banned from working in law enforcement for life.

  16. reminding us again that indeed MOST cops are dicks who will LIE LIKE RUGS


  18. “there were 15-20 people on scene antagonizing officers.”


  19. So the main needed fact is missing. This was Aurora, Colorado, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic killing everyone on the planet, and I see people WITHOUT MASKS(!!!) lying around on the pavement. Where is the outrage? Why weren’t these scofflaws jailed?
    And just for the record, the license plate reader did not make any mistakes, the clerks did. Quit abusing the wonderful machines that make our lives much safer.

  20. “Nothing is so contagious as example; and we never do any great good or evil which does not produce its like.” ~ Francois de la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)
    Remember that when you decide “society” is swirling down the toilet.

  21. “If it was a white family,” “it never would have happened.”

    The behavior of the authorities (cops and the clerks responsible for the vehicle information) was bad enough without making assumptions about white people and the kid-glove treatment they supposedly get all the time.

    I could easily see the authorities treating a white family like this, but really, I don’t have the burden of proof.

    They’d be well advised to focus on what actually happened, not what might have happened in the parallel universe where they’re white and coddled by officialdom.

    1. Try this: If you’re pulled over, just flash your White Privilege Card and I’m sure they’ll just let you go on your way, as is your right as a white person. /sarc

    2. I’ve seen plenty of white people manhandled by the cops.

    3. This is the intended result of the years-long campaign to reintroduce racism to america. By telling people that they are under constant attack because of their race, every conflict suddenly takes a new tone.

      By coincidence, I experienced exactly this situation yesterday We were at a local water park that has a very diverse racial and ethnic makeup in both its clientele and staff. For safety reasons, one ride had an 800lb limit for the 4 riders combined and a 250 lb limit per person. A group in front of us had 4 hefty folks, all looking to be north of 200lbs. The staff asked them to step on the scale, explaining the weight limit.

      They refused. Loudly. And being african american and living in the era of micro agressions and systemic racism, they went on the counter offensive against the teenage employee whose job is to prevent them from getting injured or killed. So they immediately called her a racist and began yelling that a white lady didn’t get pulled out to be weighed (never mind that although overweight, she was clearly under 200 lbs and she was only riding with her 70 lb elementary school aged kid, not a group of 4 heavy adults.)

      This is the intended result. This group of african americans is now sure that they were racially profiled and discriminated against, despite being clearly well in excess of the 800 lb safety limit. And because they loudly disrupted the ride, refusing to allow operation to continue and attacked everyone within earshot for being racist, now a bunch of people have a view of african americans acting and thinking a certain way.

      Well done, progressive anti-racists. You have successfully chipped away at our society, making things a little worse each day.

  22. The purpose of government is to preserve our right to defend ourselves. Government has no right or duty to defend us, only our rights.

    Anything else is tyranny and should result in the destruction of such government.

    This basic stuff every American understands and celebrates on the 4th of July every year.

    The concept of police is anti-American at the root. Exterminate it.

  23. “Order derived through submission and maintained by terror is not much of a safe guaranty; yet that is the only “order” that governments have ever maintained.” ~ Emma Goldman

    These despicable incidents are part of the essential purpose of the police. The random oppression is a feature not a bug.

  24. If a car has a woman driving and a six year old in the back seat, I have a huge amount of trouble imagining the state of mind of a policeman who would draw his gun almost immediately. Are they so on edge and trigger happy that they must do this? Show me a single case where a woman with a small child in the car has reached under the seat and killed a policeman.

  25. Perhaps the City needs to have a referendum about whether or not these Officers should be employed by the City!!!

  26. This article is a good example of why it is so difficult to make any progress on these issues.

    Let me see if I have this straight.

    1. A family was detained at gunpoint by police
    2. There was lots of screaming and yelling and anger.
    3. They were held for 10 minutes.
    4. They were released and police oppologized
    5. International outrage ensued.

    Now, let’s do the narrative from the point of view of the police officers:

    1. They are driving through a parking lot.
    2. Their system alerts them to a stolen vehicle.
    3. They verify the status of the vehicle as stolen with dispatch.
    4. They find it occupied.
    5. Following procedure for a stolen vehicle stop, they draw their weapons and detain everyone in the vehicle.
    6. The driver is hostile and loudly protests that the car is not stolen.
    7. While dealing with angry people they are detaining and a growing crowd of onlookers, they determine that the system flagged the car as stolen erroneously and apologize to the family for the error.

    There is no great expose here. You did not uncover callous and uncaring jackbooted thugs. It took 10 minutes to investigate and discover that the system had been wrong. The chief complaint seems to be that you would rather they had checked other data sources in the first 30 seconds after the alert and found the one source that would have corrected the error.

    That seems rather silly, doesn’t it? They got an alert, double checked with the folks back at HQ and then detained the people in the car to further investigate. Within 10 minutes they discovered the error. Absent the histrionics, perhaps that would have taken half the time.

    Having guns pointed at you is never cool…. But but what would you have them do? Be psychic? Just know a priori that their license database was going to be wrong in this instance and begin a thorough debugging of the data?

    Of course the family did nothing wrong. They are just sitting in the car. This explains their surprise and hostile response. But it does not negate the facts known to the officers at the time.

    This whole thing is stupid. Two groups of people had vastly different sets of information at the beginning of an encounter. It took 10 minutes for this information to be reconciled. There was anger and hostility due to the conflicting information. Nobody acted unreasonably, even if cutting loose with a profane tirade qualifies as acting unwisely, particularly when the other side of the conflict is heavily armed.

    Presenting these scenarios as if police should operate as if they have perfect knowledge of what the citizens are experiencing is stupid and counterproductive. It is the mirror image of the police position that refuses to acknowledge that people interacting with the police often have no knowledge of why they are suddenly being thrust into a violent and dangerous situation, and pretending that they are criminals for acting reasonably from within their own experience. (As in late night raids where people are roused from sleep and grab a gun to defend themselves).

    1. At step 6 the officer has a duty to look at the paper registration, realize his mistake and back off.

      He did not perform this duty and as a result he violated the US Constitution and federal law. At that point he and all the police with him became felons and we have a duty to deal with them as such.

      1. Uh….. They detained the occupants and then did precisely that. 10 minutes and out the door.

        I suppose your counterexample is “show me your registration.”. But the vehicle was already determined to be stolen.

        So let’s have you be the cop. And instead of a nice family you have a criminal who doesn’t want to be arrested for stealing the car.

        What do you suppose happens. “Yeah, you got me. I stole it.”?

        Or he hands you the registration with a cock and bull story about his girlfriend’s car. You begin walking back to your car and he shoots you in the back.


        You cannot assume “it wasn’t actually stolen” as a fact known to the police or even a default assumption at that point.

        What do you suppose the percentage of false positives on this is? 10%? 5%? 1%?

        Treating potentially dangerous situations as if they are innocuous so that you don’t offend 1 in 100 such stops is a good way to increase violence, not decrease it.

        This is not the 3 am no knock raid based on an informant saying he thought he saw a pot plant.

        This is the perfect example why we have to be more cognizant of everyone’s knowledge and state of mind. We cannot win important reforms if we champion the wrong causes and the wrong examples.

        Micheal Brown was the wrong case to champion. Police are not going to support reforms based on a lie. Nor are they going to support reforms based on a routine misunderstanding simply because someone screamed and yelled on a video.

        Instead of supporting reforms, they will dismiss everything as the fever dreams of a bunch of dishonest lunatics who hate police as a matter of course.

        At the moment of “hands up, don’t shoot”, reform was in the air and progress was being made. Then BLM was created to champion a lie. And reform died for years.

        Another moment is upon us, and the left is working hard to make real reforms impossible b the last thing we need is libertarians pulling in the same direction. If we do… It will be another decade before we get another shot.

        1. Couple of things. First I would never be a police officer. I can be a sheriff but never a police officer.

          I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. To also swear an oath to the government would be to forsake my oath to the Constitution. Police swear an oath to the law of whatever government is currently paying the bills.

          Second. My IQ is above the maximum for most police departments in the US.

          That said, I have been an infantry soldier on the ground in occupied territory.

          You say the car had been determined to be stolen. This is not true. The computer popped the license but no due diligence was performed. Had I not performed such due diligence in theatre (or in my current finance job) I would have been arrested and removed.

          I killed people over our Constitution. I did so not because I hate anyone, but because I love Americans. It is my duty to take a bullet before I allow an American to take a bullet. I would MUCH rather be shot than kill an innocent American.

          This is war. In war, laws are meaningless. It is clear after the rioting in Kenosha and Washington DC that the laws are not being applied evenly. This is war.

          Police reform is meaningless until we reestablish the rule of law.

          That cannot happen with the Police in the way.

          We need to impose the law in the most peaceful manner the government will allow.

  27. The King’s Men prefer docile sheep.

  28. And yet in Rochester NY..a German American Mentally disabled man is doused with gas and set on fire by two African Americans…he burns to death…no media coverage..nothing from Sullum or the “left libertarians” at Reason….

  29. i registered an account just to post this. In my part of the country, the local police from the Jefferson Parish Sherriff’s Office killed an autistic boy. Unfortunately, no one was on hand to get video or take pictures. There were witnesses though. If any of you Reason editors or writers see this comment, I hope you will consider looking into what happened here and give it some national exposure.

    There are a lot of good police. That was goes without saying. There are also a lot of poorly trained police. And, let’s face it, there is also a sizable minority who aren’t just badly trained but thugs who are in the job because they want an outlet for their sadistic impulses. This country needs police reform. What kind of a human being pulls guns on klds?


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