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Trigger-Happy Peace Officers Plague Harris County Texas

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posted on May, 8 2006 @ 07:20 PM
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It's well understood that the job of the police is to uphold the law, and protect the safety of citizens. We give them guns to that end. But what happens when their guns are used improperly, against unarmed innocents? Well, the answer is, unfortunately, nothing. The sheriff's deparment doesn't dispute the figures, but they have made assurances that police officers will not be charged retroactively.
 



www.chron.com
Harris County sheriff's deputies have shot 22 shoplifters, speeders, innocent people and others since 1999 by firing on vehicles in violation of the deputies' own training, a Houston Chronicle investigation has found.

Deputies killed six and wounded 16 others. Two were fleeing from a violent crime. Six were teenagers. Nineteen were unarmed.

In at least seven cases, the deputies deliberately placed themselves in danger by stepping in front of a suspect's car or truck and then firing in self-defense -- a tactic considered foolish and dangerous by police agencies nationwide. In seven more cases, officers approached a vehicle on foot, but it is unclear whether they intentionally put themselves in the drivers' paths.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


I'm sure the fact that officers can kill and wound people with impunity, despite the existence of laws to the contrary, is a comfort to noone.

Maybe it's not that important, unless you're a little kid sitting in the back seat of the car when daddy tries to run over a policeman. Or maybe you just stole a twinkie and are coming out of the parking lot when some action hero in a blue uniform leaps in front of your station wagon, assumes the A stance, and discharges a bunch of rounds into your windshield.

This isn't just a problem with Texas, though they do have it bad. The police have too often been allowed to forget why they exist. They exist, not to hurt people, but to help people. The gun isn't a punishment tool, it's a self defense weapon to assist the officers in doing their job without losing their life. Some guy shoots at you, shoot back, fine. Otherwise keep it holstered, please, for all our sakes.




posted on May, 8 2006 @ 08:57 PM
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If the aim of the modern day police departments is to instill fear, they are gaining ground. They swagger. They workout and bulk up. They intimidate. They seem to think they are above it all.
Not all,but too many. And it seems that number is growing.

I have had experiences where police either overreact and use unnecessary force.
And I have seen where the police basically say they can or will not protect me and mine.



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 01:35 AM
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I live in Harris County. The Chronicle has done other investigations on police officers here. One concluded that 1/3rd of police shootings involve unarmed suspects. That's pretty striking, but the big story is that officer shootings go relatively unpunished. Citing self defense while jumping in front of a fleeing vehicle is unacceptable.



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 01:56 AM
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The thing I'm finding hardest to reconcile is, where on earth did they receive their training? Fort Rambo? What can they possibly hope to achieve by endangering themselves as well as innocent people? This is not a warzone, the rules of engagement are based on the goal of preserving peace and detaining law-breakers.

It's not like that's what they get paid for, gunning people down, leaping in front of speeding cars, it's not as if they get paid enough to do something so crazy.

And they're doing it of their own volition, apparently!

Super-cop syndrome..or something...

Just the other day a rent-a-cop shot a kid outside a mall somewhere in Florida. The crime? Playing loud music and loitering in an idling vehicle. :shk:

Too much power, not enough responsibility, bad combination...



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 03:09 AM
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I blame it on modern medical science. Not enough darwinism in your country.


Joking aside, this is alarmingly bad statistics. I would, however, like to point a few things out:

1. Two were fleeing from a violent crime. Six were teenagers. Nineteen were unarmed.

Two were fleeing a violent crime? I can believe shooting them. Six being teenagers? Immaterial. A Windsor officer was just killed last week by a teenager with a Glock. Unarmed? How are the officers supposed to know this, magic? Suspect going for his belt, with half a second to choose between a suspect potentially drawing a weapon...I'd err on the side of caution. Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.

2. A vehicle is a weapon. Period. Does this count into the statistics? What about suspects who throw weapons while fleeing?

3. In at least seven cases, the deputies deliberately placed themselves in danger by stepping in front of a suspect's car or truck and then firing in self-defense...In seven more cases, officers approached a vehicle on foot, but it is unclear whether they intentionally put themselves in the drivers' paths.

Seven cases of stupidity. The other seven, maybe. Like I said, a car is a weapon. A truck is a weapon. Bulletproof vests don't stop an SUV. Also, rent-a-cops AREN'T cops, please draw the distinction before you malign officers.

All this makes me question whether this is a smear job. How bad is the Harris County crime rate? Don't you have an IA unit investigating all this?

DTOM- the purpose of a police force is not to protect- they are not legally obliged to do so. They can, and should, but sometimes it is simply not possible. That said, the police's primary function is to prevent crime, and to solve it after the fact.

DE



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 04:35 PM
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I blame it on modern medical science. Not enough darwinism in your country.


Hah! Not likely...

Did you see that story from the other day, the two guys who got in a fist fight in a speeding car on I270? They crashed the car, then both pulled out pistols and shot each other to death.




Two were fleeing a violent crime? I can believe shooting them.


That can be reasonable, yeah. If shooting the rapist prevents another rape, that's fine. But, the cops also are in no position to decide guilt. They're simply the gatekeepers to the system, ideally they'd be impartial.



2. A vehicle is a weapon. Period. Does this count into the statistics? What about suspects who throw weapons while fleeing?


I assume that most were in a vehicle, but the problem is not self defense. That's clear-cut. The problem is cops firing on fleeing suspects, of firing on suspects who just tried to run them over. Once the car is past the officer, they can't reasonably claim self defense. Some of those fellas were shot in the back and side...



Also, rent-a-cops AREN'T cops, please draw the distinction before you malign officers.


I realize that rent-a-cops aren't cops, but in some places they are armed, and serve precisely the same function. So my intent was not to malign officers, but to raise awareness of the fact that private sector security is also involved in these unlawful killings.

Honestly, the bad cops make life a lot harder for the good cops. And the bad cops create such an environment of mistrust and fear that it puts the lives of good cops in danger. Not to mention the lives of the citizens...

There's no reason to protect them from justice. This country isn't that hard-up for cops that we need to hire and employ everyone who shows up for the interview. Fire the whackjobs, and keep the sensible ones. We definitely need more good cops.



All this makes me question whether this is a smear job. How bad is the Harris County crime rate? Don't you have an IA unit investigating all this?


It's pretty bad. They have to have an IA, don't they? This is the result of a media investigation, the findings of which have not been disputed by the cops or their bosses. I assume that they've got an IA division, one that's just not doing a very good job.



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 10:05 PM
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Originally posted by WyrdeOne
Some of those fellas were shot in the back and side...


Unless either of us is a ballistics expert, I can't really call that. Side is fair game. Back I can understand at times (eg, guy is not listening to cops, going for his belt, or maybe he twists funny).


There's no reason to protect them from justice. This country isn't that hard-up for cops that we need to hire and employ everyone who shows up for the interview. Fire the whackjobs, and keep the sensible ones. We definitely need more good cops.


Considering the amount of murders in Detroit, I'd say you need every cop you can get. Bad ones- to hell with them. But people use this as an excuse to paint eveyr cop in a bad light, adn that's what really bothers me.

DE



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