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August 2010
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A Police Officer’s Job

The results of the inquest into the fatal shooting of Trevon Cole in Las Vegas were unsurprising.

A Clark County coroner’s inquest jury took 90 minutes Saturday to rule the fatal police shooting of an unarmed man justified, capping two days of pointed questioning and contradictory evidence in one of the more controversial officer-involved shootings in recent history.

Remember, this was the case where a warrant based on details of the wrong Trevon Cole, to search for a small amount of marijuana, ending up with Cole being shot to death while unarmed on his knees in the bathroom. The officer, Yant, has been involved in other controversial shootings. And all the evidence clearly pointed to a non-resisting suspect.

Yet, an inquest in these cases rarely finds wrong-doing by the officer. Most outside observers saw this process as a farce that needed to be completed so that the lawsuit could go forward.

Detective Yant on shooting Cole…

“Unfortunately he made an aggressive act toward me. He made me do my job,” Yant testified.

Ah, so that’s a police officer’s job.

[Thanks, Mike]

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12 comments to A Police Officer’s Job

  • Rhayader

    Hah yeah I noticed that little quip too. Made him do his job. Yikes.

    [sarcasm]
    For what it’s worth though, being near a toilet means it’s possible that (the wrong) Trevon Cole might have been trying to dispose of a small amount of recreational drugs. So, whatever, is it really so bad that he was shot?
    [/sarcasm]

  • bobreaze

    Yeh i believe these kind of cases should be handled by outside authorities. Police are similar to all other organizations they will protect their own as much as possible. So if its an internal investigation of course he will be cleared. Personally with the officers history i recomend he gets placed on desk duty indefinatley and has his gun taken. Although if justice were to be served he would be facing criminal charges for killing an unarmed man who should have been in handcuffs by then if you had already subdued him.

  • darkcycle

    No comment except to say it is both sickening and unsurprising.

  • Windy

    “Sickening and unsurprising” because it is SOP!

  • Steve in Clearwater

    “So when should we execute this warrant for a suspected pot dealer?

    “Oh, let’s do it when everything is Totally Fucking Dark”

    sigh

    SS

  • Brucem

    Based on the plethora of hero-cop tv shows that are shoved down our throats, people will think he was doing his job. Most dumb fuck Americans will think “the cop, our finest hero, a brave boy in blue, shot a suspect… so the suspect must have done something wrong. Good riddance. Now the taxpayers don’t have to lose money giving him a trial with a free lawyer … Who might have weaseled the system and gotten him off on a technicality. Our precious children are safer now that this criminal is dead.”

    The stupidity of Americans and their willingness to believe govt propaganda makes it really hard to love this country. I know how the few sane Germans who opposed the Nazi party felt. And I’ll probably end up in a Gestapo freedom prison as a result Or shot in the back by a brave, hero-cop. You know, for the children.

  • pvt pyle

    We’ll see how this plays out in the civil rights suite which will inevitably follow.

  • ezrydn

    As I remember, there’s only one group in the US that is supposed to be “trained to kill” and that’s the military. I seem to remember somewhere in the back of my mind that the police purpose is “To protect and to serve.”

    Deadly force is supposed to be the “LAST” reaction, not the “NEXT” one.

    It would seem that if they wear a face mask and carry a big gun, no one will care.

  • BruceM

    The civil rights suit won’t get past summary judgment. They never do. The cops have managed to get their powdered sugary fingers all over American civil rights law, which is a maze of complexities that’s hard for even the best lawyers to understand. Bottom line if the cop is individually/personally responsible then the police department, county, state, etc are not responsible. If the police department, county, state, etc are responsible then the police officer is not individually/personally responsible. If the cop was following official procedures or department practices, he is not responsible. If the cop was following official procedures or practices that by themselves violate civil rights, then there may be a case, but the plaintiff has the burden of proving those practices.

    Basically, the ONLY way anyone can win a civil rights lawsuit against the police is if the plaintiff can prove there was an official police department policy, signed off by the chief of police, that violates civil rights on its face. If the plaintiff can prove the police had an official policy of shooting all black people in the back, and the plaintiff was a black person shot in the back, then he MIGHT have a case – IF and ONLY IF he can prove that is the reason the police shot him in the back and no other reason. In reality if such a documented policy existed, it will be shredded, burned, and dumped into the middle of the pacific ocean… and the cops will say regardless of the alleged improper policy, we shot the plaintiff because he had a gun, or we reasonably believed the sandwich in his hand was a gun. Summary Judgment granted for Defendants police department and police officer.

    And yes, IAAL. And no, I refuse to take civil rights cases because they’re a waste of my time, they’re impossible to win, and I find them depressing. 20 years ago it was possible to win a civil rights case. But the cops complained, pointing out that when they have to pay big settlements to the victims of their abuse, it’s the taxpayers’ money that gets spent and that just means less money for law enforcement.

    It comes down to: “Yes a police officer shot a stinking smelly nigger who was lurking about at night, but the five million dollars we will have to give his black ass in compensation (which he’ll just use on crack) is five million tax dollars that would have been used to pay for more police officers. Five million of your tax dollars will either go to pay for law enforcement, as it was intended, or it will go to compensate one nigger because he made an officer shoot him 55 times in the back. How do you want your tax dollars spent?”

    There’s just no way justice will ever trump that argument.

    The solution is to create two police forces, Police A and Police B, and in addition to their law enforcement duties, they get big financial bonuses when they catch and arrest each other for breaking the law. Wouldn’t you love to see a red police car pull over a green police car for speeding? Until there is real accountability for police, they will continue to drive around in cars with “EXEMPT” written on their license plates in big letters, they will be allowed to carry guns everywhere even places where guns are clearly prohibited by big prominently-displayed signs, and they will continue to be encouraged to perjure themselves in court by proseuctors. And they’ll sleep well at night because they are sociopaths who think the means always justify the ends of “catching scumbags” (“scumbag” being official police talk for citizen).

  • bobreaze

    Well my state will be the next to ban synth. pot, I guess i should have expected it.

    http://www.wlbt.com/Global/story.asp?S=13042428

  • Duncan

    Hey Rhayader, have you ever tried to flush cannabis? I have and it just doesn’t work very well. It’s very buoyant. If we’re talking about water soluble powders it’s not too difficult to test the toilet water to prove that contraband was flushed. Which adds on a felony tampering with evidence charge.
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    Murder is a dirty business but somebody has to do it.

    In researching shoplifting enforcement because of my being accused of taking a 5 finger discount at the CVS last Friday it seems that perhaps kowtowing to the rent-a-cop was the better thing for my health rather than other options. In May a CVS manager in Chicago used a choke hold and killed an alleged thief who had stolen a tube of toothpaste while an off duty Chicago cop watched without intervening. Hasn’t using a choke hold to subdue suspects been ruled to be illegal, or is it just cops that can’t choke people to death? The Medical Examiner ruled it a homicide. The police investigated and determined it was accidental. I also verified that the rent-a-cop in my incident was in fact an off duty PG County MD cop when I went back to the store to register my displeasure with the store manager that this rent-a-cop was actually pissed off because I wasn’t actually shoplifting. Totally weird that during and immediately after the incident that I was thinking about Cheye Calvo’s dogs and the PG cop who killed the poor working stiffs that delivered his furniture. I had no substantial reason to think the guy was one of PG County’s jack booted thugs. I made sure to communicate to the store manager that I’m all for apprehending shoplifters and wasn’t particularly mad that the asshole for some reason thought me a thief. But if someone is inspected and found to be not stealing the appropriate response from the security guy is to apologize, not to tell the customer that he got ‘lucky’, while cursing under his breath because he doesn’t get to take me to prison. I was surprised to learn that the store manager was clueless about the incident near the close of business on Monday. I had thought it would be SOP to file an incident report for an incident like this. After all I might file an allegation of racism on the part of CVS and/or PG County’s jackbooted thugs because the cop was black and I’m white. What are the odds that a black or Hispanic person that was treated the same way at the hands of a white cop wouldn’t level those allegations? Then again I suppose it never crossed the rent-a-cop’s mind that I would be registering a complaint with CVS management about how fucked up it is to get pissed off because your customers aren’t shoplifting. Link to the Chicago CVS story:
    http://tinyurl.com/2an2m5g

  • Servetus

    I spent a few weeks in Vegas in the mid-70s when one of the local newspapers was doing a series on Las Vegas shootings by cops. Back then, suspicious shootings were happening about once every month.

    The news series was cut short. Apparently a resolution had been reached. Afterwards, someone told me that the number of police shootings in Las Vegas had dropped like a rock in a pond. Obviously, LV cops shoot suspects when they want to, and can stop shooting people when someone spotlights them. Itchy trigger fingers have made a comeback.

    It’s interesting that the LV cops will shoot drug addicts, or even people holding small amounts of weed if they’re black, but they don’t shoot gambling addicts. Personally, I think this discriminates. For instance, no police officer shot former Drug Czar Bill Bennett for losing millions of dollars playing the $500 slot machines.

    If civil lawsuits won’t work, the best way to put pressure on a city like Las Vegas is to attack its gambling industry. That can be achieved by educating people about what the gambling odds really mean: it means people will most likely lose their money if they play. Gambling in Vegas is no different from flushing money down the toilet, assuming the cash doesn’t float on the surface like weed.