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Does Fear of Black Men Satisfy the “Objective Reasonableness” Standard?


Does Fear of Black Men Satisfy the “Objective Reasonableness” Standard?

Brian Purnell

Another video. Another police shooting. Another Black person body dead on an American road.

Every person is innocent until proven guilty.

That is true for Betty Shelby, the police officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 16, 2016.

It also should have been true for Terence Crutcher.

So what did Crutcher do to justify a death sentence?


Individuals who are so timorous and easily freaked out that they have to spasmodically resort to shooting people who are...standing with their arms up, lying on the ground with their hands up, holding a little 3' knife, holding a toy gun in a Walmart while talking to one's wife, playing with a water pistol in a park, trying to show their driver's license etc, ...need to find a simpler job that has zero risk elements. Maybe...digging ditches or washing people's laundry or something. They certainly don't belong on a police force.


Feel free to fire.
"The protection that unions have secured has helped create what Samuel Walker, an emeritus professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and an expert on police accountability, calls a “culture of impunity.”"

Tulsa, Oklahoma police release videos of slaying of unarmed man


► What kind of penalty would keep the public off our case?


This is the problem with the continued militarization of the police. They are trained at military facilities by instructors who place them in split-second situations where the first shot wins. While that may happen occasionally, it is far more common for incidents like the one in question to occur. But the police officer has been honed into a military like tool where, just as in the military, the slightest movement by a suspect is interpreted as a potential life-death situation or where non compliant subjects are considered threats to be immediately eliminated. The military operates in areas where high alert is needed to survive and even there, children, old people and other non-combatants are the collateral damage of this hair-trigger training. The officer was most likely reacting as a reflection of the military style training she has received. It appears she has been a cop for at least 9 years without incident. Perhaps she spent the weekend before at a military base for a training exercise. Either way, the bums who have turned our police force into a quasi-army need to stand trial with her and perhaps bear a majority of the blame. How can one be run through an urban obstacle course where pop-up targets require a half second in which to fire (there are no pop-ups, contrary to the movies, of civilians and children) or be counted "dead", and not be effected in a negative way? I've been around a long time and I can assure you the police were not trained this way in the 50's and 60's. When I went to college we were taught there is a reason the military is not used as police during the times they are not needed elsewhere. Throw in a little racial profiling (like the comment by the guy in the helicopter) and it is no wonder things have deteriorated to the present state. Its going to get a lot worse before it gets better. It might also be noted the officer was in route to a domestic disturbance call when she happened on the scene. Domestic disturbance is the most dangerous situation a cop can face (the majority of cops killed are on D.D. calls). I'm sure her adrenalin was already off the charts. I must agree, though, people like this need to find another job.


I'm sure the same dynamic exists between black cops and white men. What if the cop views all white men as potentially dangerous right-wing extremist gun nuts? We don't know, and we don't talk about those cases. On the other hand, an online frenzy begins when it's reported that a black man was shot by police, only to later find out that the cop was black, too. We can examine how differently police act in high income neighborhoods vs. low income neighborhoods. Poor black people tend to live in high-population black communities, while poor white people tend to be scattered in the vast spaces between cities (less likely to be targets).

The broader issue: Since the late 1960s, our middle class have demanded Law and Order -- at any cost. No excuses! In the process, we militarized police, turning police departments into police forces. The inevitable happened.


Remember Tamir Rice!


The question to ask is if this was a white man in a suit with his car broken down on the road would he have been approached by Police with Guns drawn and would he have been shot had he walked away hands in air?

Would he have been described as one bad looking Dude.?

If the answer is no than the response was not objective and was based on the victims appearance.

That same question has to be asked after every such instance such as when a boy is playing with a toy gun in a park and is shot in 1.7 seconds and when a man carrying a gun he intends to buy in a store where he pulled it off a shelf is shot.

If the Police response is affected by Color of the persons skin then it very likely there some amount of Racism involved. If this same thing happens over and over again and is not addressed than it more than a little likely it is institutionalised.

That the police officer in question genuinely "thought" his or her life in danger does not mean there no racism involved.


How can you determine that "there is no murder element in her intent"?


I was responding to your direct assertion that "there is no murder element in her intent".




It seems police turn their territories into a 'Black People Free Fire Zone'. We'll get no sympathy when it's our tun.