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Hullabaloo


Thursday, January 29, 2015

 
Tactical retreat will save lives

by digby

At Salon this morning I wrote about the move to change police tactics to encourage "tactical retreat" which is an excellent idea:

In the wake of the grand jury decision not to indict the police officers who killed Eric Garner in an illegal chokehold MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed police analysts Eugene O’Donnell and Jim Cavanaugh on his show “The Last Word.” Cavanaugh made an interesting point observing that in the past police engaged in high-speed chases no matter what the crime but came to understand that the trade-off in life lost in accidents for anything less that the pursuit of violent felons was not worth it. He said:

We need to take that attitude to the street. If you would just imagine if Officer Wilson in Ferguson had just taken a step back after the confrontation with the vehicle and after Michael Brown ran away. Just after he called for backup that was 90 seconds away. Where was Michael Brown going to go? He’s going to the hospital, he’s been shot. He’s not going to Kathmandu, on an airplane. You’re going to catch him. Just take a step back. In Mr. Garner’s case, as well. When he puts his hands like this it’s like, “ok ok,” when they get on his back, take a step back. In the Cleveland case with the child, if you drive your car in like that, if you have an escaped felon with a gun you’re dead, he’s going to shoot you as soon as you drive up. What kind of tactic is that? So take a step back and be smart and we can police better than we’re doing.

That is a very common sense suggestion. Despite the fancy gear and the defensive attitude, police aren’t actually at war with the population they patrol and it makes no sense that they go from zero to 60 in the blink of an eye when they have other options. The decision to shoot Mike Brown will be a matter of debate for some time to come. But it’s the decision to get out of the car and pursue him before his backup arrived that should really be questioned.

Read on. It seems that there are plenty of cops in high places who want to do this but the cops on the street are not happy about it. It seems they feel any change in tactics will make them look weak. Oy.

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