Every Citizen’s right should be observed by police officers, including our Constitutional rights to life, as well as liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Body worn cameras, dash cams, and civilian witness accounts provide reasonable and – in the cases of cameras – incontrovertible observable evidence and sometimes even audio evidence, when police don’t sabotage their own gear.
However, one cop doesn’t agree.
PoliceOne.com’s former Police Chief Joel F. Shults doesn’t believe in your Constitutional rights, but rather the ‘6 invisible signs a subject is resisting an officer‘:
“He wasn’t doing anything!” is the frequent cry of bystanders and “I’m not seeing it” might be the honest opinion of a reviewing officer watching video of an arrest.
Perhaps the new cry of bystanders must be: “We are American Citizens, not British Subjects of the crown” since clearly “I can’t breathe” is insufficient for modern communication between citizens and police.
“Cop Talk” depicting people as “subjects” rather than citizens is dehumanizing. America’s unhealthy police culture is a result of the militarization, then alienation of Law Enforcement Officers from ‘civilians’ or as we used to be called, American Citizens.
Officers who violently encounter citizens increasingly seek to document similar ‘invisible signs’ in callous, bureaucratic prose which sounds reasonable, if necessary. If they run out of ideas, sometimes cops just drop everything and text their Union Reps from the crime scene to come up with a good excuse.
Shults goes on to note that no angle of attack is too obtuse:
Each of these “invisible” justifications for dealing forcefully with non-compliance should be documented, especially when the officer can truthfully document his or her additional concern for the crowd, other officers, or third parties who might be at risk from a resistive subject.
Remember that the law doesn’t require us to be right, but always requires us to be reasonable. Every aspect of the scene and the arrestee must be explained for the benefit of supervisors, prosecutors, and juries.
In today’s police culture, creative writing is rewarded with a license to kill, steal, maim, falsely arrest and disrupt the lives of the innocent. When did reasonable and full of shit became interchangeable terms.
Here are the 6 ‘invisible’ reasons cops will kill citizens, dedicated to those deprived of life by LEOs under color of law, who cannot speak any longer for themselves.
1. Any Hand Movements
Cops will kill a citizen because LEOs don’t like it when you put your hands in the air, or when you put them in your pockets, or putting them near your waist or holding a cellphone. Heck, if you’ve got hands, this puts you at grave risk of a fatal citizen encounter with law enforcement, period.
As PoliceOne explains it, after the fact, it’s reasonable for LEOs to concoct any claim related to your “Subtle Hand Movements” to justify your untimely demise. Clearly, this provides the armless with a leg up on law enforcement that would make most common criminals envious.
Police officers might kill you if, you’re a citizen exercising your 1st Amendment rights at a whisper. Threatening a police officer might run afoul of the law, clearly isn’t recommended behavior in any setting, but seriously; WHO does that? Why? What could it possibly achieve?
Furthermore, isn’t this yet another reason it’s so important that LEOs utilize modern recording technology to infuse factual evidence into this sort of sordid situation?
Whispering clearly makes for bad PR too, as does killing innocent citizens who dramatically yell that their demise is imminent 11 times is the worst PR for the department. Shults continued:
Conversely, an arrestee with a flair for the dramatic will yell for the sake of the crowd about how much pain they are in. This should not distract the officer. A witness who hears an officer saying, “Okay, then we need to get you to the ER right away” is better than a witness who hears an officer saying, “Stop faking or I’ll give you something to yell about.”
I do appreciate Chief Shults’ instruction to his prospective LEO authors to stay distraction free and order the ambulance.
3. Being Nervous
Citizens regularly feel nervous around their Law Enforcement officers. Why is that wrong? Is that guilt, officer? Is that just human nature? Let’s be real.
Police misbehavior triggers nervousness in average citizens around the country, because some cops kill citizens, administer extra-legal beatings and other injustices documented on video.
Police shoot at police sometimes too.
A citizen vs. police encounter isn’t like playing baseball, a consensual encounter played out with a sea of witnesses and an umpire, typically video taped from 10 angles. Also, sports metaphors are lame writing.
If any sign of non-compliance is a crime, then why don’t LEOs rely on recording gear to tell this story in support of the facts?
Encouraging LEOs to seize the first visible sign of “Tightening Muscles” to escalate situations, rather than note those signs as a cue to De-escalate citizen encounters in the name of “law enforcement” is needlessly creates high risk police force encounters across America.
4. Changes in Breathing
Watch out! Police will kill you for breathing.
Don’t stop or start doing this threatening inhaling or exhaling activity suddenly, in front of your local Law Enforcement Officers.
They may fear for their lives.
5. Being Legally Recorded by Citizens Exercising their 1st Amendment Rights
Oh No, Witnesses! Don’t be the next LAPD officer famous on YouTube for beating some homeless guy, hurry up and blast him. He’s breathing.
Clearly, Chief Shults acknowledges that policing is something one should assume is always done in public, where witnesses may be present. Shouldn’t their presence indicate a safer situation, with independent evidence potentially being created on cellphones?
Hurrying to make the arrest increases the likelihood of a cop killing you for some ‘invisible’ reason and they’ll blame us, your friends, neighbors, bystanders, citizen journalists and/or anyone else nearby for “reasonably” forcing them, the armed police with radios, backup and unlimited firepower, to hurry up and gain compliance.
6. Known History
Breath deeply now, most sinister reason a cop might kill you, is that “police intelligence” could label you a “resistant” threat.
Information you have from dispatch or previous contacts can give an officer a heads-up that resistance is likely or that weapons have been involved.
Consider the drastic implications for someone like PINAC’s Jeff Gray who has a history of false arrests, regularly documented in the pages of this website and on his YouTube account HonorYourOath. Jeff’s been arrested numerous times illegally, charges dropped endlessly. However, he has a history of being claimed to resist arrest. I won’t even get started with the 2nd amendment rights implications of that statement, plainly it’s prejudicial.
It’s Easter Sunday, but let me leave you with a helpful Christmas Carol if you want to avoid the 6 invisible reasons cops might kill a citizen.
Ya better not whisper,
you better not cry,
you better not breathe,
I’m telling you why:
Local police are coming to town.