Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Taser! Taser! Taser! Opps!

The quick facts:

Protesters were back on the streets Monday night in Brooklynn Center a suburb of Minneapolis, clashing with police despite a strict curfew.

Dozens of people have been arrested in a wave of violent protest sparked by the police shooting of a black man on Sunday.

Police again fired tear gas and stun guns to break up the crowd that was defying the 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

They say rioters threw bricks and bottles, launched fireworks and other projectiles at law enforcement officers.

Police body camera footage was released of the traffic stop where the shooting happened.

Officers say they tried to arrest Daunte Wright for an outstanding warrant on weapons charges but he fought off officers and tried to get back in his car.

In the process, an officer says she mistook her handgun for a taser, shooting a single bullet at Wright.

He drove off, crashing a few miles away where he was pronounced dead at the scene.

That officer has been identified as Kim Potter. She’s a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center police department.

She's white.

Potter is on leave pending an investigation.

The quick questions:

How does a 26 year veteran of police work grab her weapon and think she's holding a Taser?

Beyond the media hype and wild speculation as to why can we discount poor training?

Why didn't the male and much bigger officer go hands on sooner?

Why is it the Black people resist?  

What part of "You have an outstanding warrant, I'm placing you under arrest, put your hands behind your back" says if you run away this becomes just a bad dream?

Why is it the Black people want to blame everyone but themselves?

The quick answers:

Tasers are often produced in bright colors, or with neon accents, to distinguish them from pistols. The Brooklyn Center Police Department manual cites the Glock 17, 19 and 26 as standard-issue for the department. All three pistol models weigh significantly more than a typical Taser. Glocks also have a trigger safety that can be felt when touching the trigger. Tasers do not. Grips on Tasers are typically different from those of firearms, as well, though they may feel similar because both are usually made of a similar type of polymer.

“If you train enough, you should be able to tell,” said Scott A. DeFoe, a retired sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department.

The police in suburban Brooklyn Center said Mr. Wright was initially stopped for driving a vehicle without current registration, and then detained after they determined that a warrant for his arrest had been issued, stemming from a missed hearing on a misdemeanor gun charge.

A clip of Officer Potter’s body camera video released by the Brooklyn Center Police Department shows the police trying to handcuff Mr. Wright before he lurches suddenly back into his car. The video then shows Officer Potter’s arm aiming a weapon as her voice shouts “Taser! Taser! Taser!” on the audio.

She fires one round, Mr. Wright groans in pain and Officer Potter can then be heard to say, “Holy shit, I just shot him.”

Brooklyn Center Police Department protocol dictates that officers wear their guns on their dominant side and Tasers on the opposite side of their bodies, to reduce the risk that they will confuse the two weapons.

In most cases in which an officer grabs a pistol instead of a Taser, the confusion occurs under particular circumstances, said Ed Obayashi, an expert in the use of police force and a California deputy sheriff with a legal practice. It can happen when officers carry both weapons on the same side of their body, he said, or when they holster their stun guns on the opposite side of their body in such a way that it is easier for them to reach across their bodies with a dominant hand and cross-draw.

In both cases, he said, the officer can become accustomed to using the same hand to draw either weapon, a habit that can make it harder to tell one from the other in high-pressure situations when muscle memory and instinct kick in.

Body-camera footage from the scene of Mr. Wright’s killing does not show how Officer Potter carried her weapons. But Deputy Obayashi said it does show her fellow officer with his gun on one side of his body and his Taser on the other side, holstered so that either weapon could easily be grabbed by his dominant hand.

The Brooklyn Police Department policy manual states that “all Taser devices shall be clearly and distinctly marked to differentiate them from the duty weapon and any other device.” The manual also says that “officers should not hold both a firearm and the Taser device at the same time.”

It appears that several aspects of how Officer Potter handled her weapons may have violated the protocol laid out in the manual, even if she had drawn her Taser and not her firearm.

The manual advises that the device should not be used against people “whose position or activity may result in collateral injury” — including people who are “operating vehicles.” Mr. Wright was sitting in the driver’s seat when Officer Potter fired, and his car traveled several blocks after he was shot.

The manual also says that “reasonable efforts should be made to target lower center mass and avoid the head, neck, chest and groin” if an officer is using a Taser. Mr. Wright died of a gunshot wound to his chest, according to the Hennepin County medical examiner.

There have been other instances of a police officer intending to deploy a Taser and discharging a firearm instead, though such errors are not common.

In 2018, a rookie Kansas police officer mistakenly shot a man who was fighting with a fellow officer. In 2019, a police officer in Pennsylvania shouted “Taser!” before shooting an unarmed man in the torso. And in 2015, a former Oklahoma reserve deputy killed an unarmed man when he mistook his handgun for a stun gun.

Greg Meyer, a retired captain in the Los Angeles Police Department and a use-of-force expert, documented nine similar instances from 2001 to 2009 in a 2012 article published in a monthly law journal produced by Americans for Effective Law Enforcement, a nonprofit.

In six of the nine cases cited in the article, the officers carried both weapons on the same, “strong-hand” side of their bodies. In the other three, however, the officers carried the weapons on opposite hips with the Taser positioned so that they could cross-draw it, the article said.

In most cases, there has been little or no jail time for officers disciplined or tried for wounding or killing someone in situations in which they said they had mistaken a gun for a Taser. In the Pennsylvania case, for example, the district attorney said the officer violated a policy requiring officers to wear their Tasers on the side opposite their firearms. Still, he said the officer “did not possess the criminal mental state required to be guilty of a crime under state law.”

One of the most widely known cases happened in 2009 in Oakland, Calif., when a white Bay Area transit officer shot and killed an unarmed Black man on New Year’s Day at the Fruitvale Station of the city’s BART line. The man, Oscar Grant III, was lying face-down when the officer shot him.

The officer who killed Mr. Grant later contended that he had meant to pull his Taser but had pulled his firearm instead. He was found not guilty on charges of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter, and convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He served 11 months in prison.

“Daunte Wright is another Oscar Grant,” an uncle of Mr. Grant, Cephus Johnson, tweeted on Monday. “We seen this before and know exactly how it will play out.”


Anonymous said...

I understand the officer resigned as did the police chief.

Too bad could have all been avoided if they'd just let the thug go. No need to arrest people just let them do what they want no arrests no crime. Right Johnny?

Make no arrests no one resists no one gets shots and crime stats are cut by 99%!

Anonymous said...

Cedar what about Demont Forte? Have you checked that video out?

Anonymous said...

Surprisingly....no riots in Charlotte yet...No CEU activation...

Anonymous said...

They gonna charge her, she'll serve no time. Involuntary manslaughter she'll cite fatigue, the demands of the job in the wake of George Floyd, no vacay due to COVID and required OT because of endless protests.

DA and Judge would be stupid not to agree with it.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the deceased was a criminal thug. Sad, but he chose that life. Sad that a cop’s life is now ruined. Sad all around, but easily avoidable if the perp had just NOT lived and died a thug life.

pworld said...

That Joshua Richardson @theJoshuaCRich is idiot no wonder he lost city council bid over 30k votes. He says some idiotic stuff on Twitter

Joshua said...

21:32, or pworld not sure which you prefer. 1. You missed the an, should be is an idiot. 2. I will admit. I am a horrible politician. Frankly, I solely ran because of a series of pure shit events that pissed me off to go for it. I was focused on bringing some order to this city, breaking down the social project that we currently call a government and putting a proper end to the woe is me apology tour the city has been on since 2011. I am not ashamed to admit I come from one of the cities shit holes. I always find it funny many of the "activists' do their best to live as far away as possible from the people they claim to love and the situations they claim to understand so well. Instead of holding people accountable for their choices we pander them and never poke at the obvious holes in their logic. A recent tweet I made called into question the number of activists I see who claim white people are the source of all their issues while engaging in romantic relationships or being funded by them. So, your scared of them all day but lose your fear when you get a boner or need a dime? A bit too convenient in my opinion. I also have had way too many friends who do a great deal of good for this city get screwed by the city and their own commanders for promotion, photo ops, and having a nice balance of color in roles. So, great we get to be a living box of Crayola with a ever increasing violence rate, ever inflating cost of living, and the city flunks at basic service like trash removal from public areas. If it makes me a idiot, I am a proud idiot. I could have played the game perfectly and used my skin tone, switched parties and did the same old blame everyone but ourselves talk to do so. When I got started, I was as stupid as the rest. One thing that broke the mold for me was when a young girl's body was dumped behind a local church. The community elders told me to quit talking about it because they did not want the area attached to crime and that would lower that property values. If you have a shed of moral fiber such a view would should sicken you, but there are many people in our local government who would let them have a voice simply due to race and age. What's worse their line of thought was backed up by their blow up doll community coordinator that despite having a massive drug problem, nightly shootings, and a dead kid in a apartment complex next door to the church we were still "low crime". Same person, chocked when asked basic questions on why officers respond to things the way they do. The BLM approach and no time for any crime policy adopted here is and will kill this city, I want to fix that. Step 1 is seeing how idiotic most of the logic and policy outlined to combat it is and how many of the people dishing it out live and operate on a fully do as I say not as I do policy. I care a lot more about what many of the people here have to say as they will actually have to deal with the shit then any dressed up doll that could not pass a 10-code quiz or even handle the most basic street nuisance. Yet, its those people writing horrid policy and making all the people who do work feel as though they are somehow to stupid to understand. If it is not clear enough, I have big problems with both the ivory towers. Once they finish of the city they will be the first ones moving on to ruin a new pasture or claim their checks for being the corona virus to quality of life. I admit, sometimes I go overboard, but like I said at the start I am a horrible politician. I do not intended to play the game as others have done. I tired to give you the best explanation I can as to why I say and do what I do. If it is still so bad, hit me up at jrichardson@charlottesolution.com when ever you have a problem with what you see or just reply to it where you find it.

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for Sgt Neal to come on here and say that the woman was a good person who cared about the community. If you pull a gun and say tazer tazer you are a fucking idiot. They do not even weigh the same wieght and you have to turn the switch on.

Just poor police tactics by a person that should do some jail time. She killed a father.

Anonymous said...

She killed the ASSUMED father! Who knows for sure?

Stop resisting this stupid shit won't happen pretty easy. Pay stupid games and you'll win stupid prizes.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of ASSUMED, what about the pledge fund?