LESC LINKS June 24th 2010

JUSTIFIED: Are You Serious? The Balancing Act of Persuasion, and Reasonable Force

Seattle police say they'll review police tactics and training after an officer was shown on video punching a young woman in the face. Everyone reading this article should take a look at this video before continuing. It’s provided at the link above.

This incident has been in the news all week and has been called a vicious assault even by media outlets that are very pro-police, including one of my favorite commentators Bill O’Reilly, who also stated accurately that “police are trained to show restraint.” My respectful reply to Mr. O’s opinion, vicious assault it is not and restraint the officer did show.

This incident and the punch thrown may be ugly and it goes against normally teaching in society when it comes to a man hitting woman and it is indeed not where we in policing want to see circumstances escalate to. But it is in my view in this situation a reasonable use of force.

A punch is part of an officers reasonable response options and can be used in an effort to gain and maintain control of assaultive people. This situation was indeed escalating from uncooperative person(s) to an assaultive person(s) and it needed to be stopped before it escalated to a real vicious assault leading to more serious injuries or innocents hurt.

My writing here is to focus on the balancing act of persuasion and force, how difficult it can be and the gap between police who on occasion have to use force and those who view, are affected by or report on its use. There are also lessons to be learned for all cops who deal with conflict and violence. My viewpoint on this is coming from viewing the video and reading news reports. I do not know the background of the officer involved so, I am making my opinion here based on the available information. Continue reading


Seattle teen apologizes for shoving cop who punched her

SEATTLE — A Seattle teen shown on video shoving a police officer who then punched her in the face has apologized to the officer in a private meeting.

Seattle police say Officer Ian Walsh accepted the apology yesterday.

Separately, the King County prosecutor charged the 17-year-old girl as a juvenile with third-degree assault, which is punishable by a maximum 30 days in detention.

The incident happened Monday as the teen was intervening in a friend's arrest for jaywalking.

James Kelley of the Urban League of Seattle says he requested yesterday's meeting between the teen and the officer at a community center to help calm the situation.

Police meantime, say the department's civilian-led Office of Professional Accountability is investigating the 39-year-old officer's actions.Continue reading

This is the young woman punched by the officer defending himself  in  the article I wrote above JUSTIFIED: Are You Serious? The Balancing Act of Persuasion, and Reasonable Force Personally I think its great they sat down and talked. We need more of this in policing. Maybe then some people will get a better idea of what it is we do and why we do it!  Physical conflict and violence resolved in the aftermath via the mental and moral dimensions. ~Fred


Lots of security incidents at military bases, but no connection seen

The lockdown Monday morning of a Naval Air Engineering Station in Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the latest in a number of security incidents at the gates of U.S. military bases across the country.

While the incidents have been close together, the FBI, local police and the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigative Command (CID), have found no connection and no link to terrorism.

Monday's incident involved a delivery truck driver who told a guard at the gate at Lakehurst that he had a legal firearm. That happened just as there were false reports of gunshots near another gate of the same base. The base was locked down for an hour and after an investigation, the driver was allowed to leave.Continue reading


Video: Apparent SBC resolved without injury

A man claiming he had a bomb in a box at Los Angeles International Airport was hit with a TASER and quickly subdued by Los Angeles Airport Police. Video of police detaining the man can be seen below. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, investigators say the suspect may have been trying to commit suicide by cop.

The incident took place after the suspect snatched a box from an unidentified passenger at the check-in counter and then began screaming that the package contained a bomb. The terminal was evacuated for about 20 minutes while officers and police dogs checked the package, which did not contain explosives. Continue reading

How would you handle this? ~Fred

Our Most Vulnerable Targets, Revisited

by Jenni Hesterman

In his new book Willful Neglect: The Dangerous Illusion of Homeland Security former CIA official and counterterror expert Charles Faddis outlines some terrorist targets that he finds particularly dangerous and if properly hit, would cause catastrophic damage.  Those include bio and chem plants, dams and transportation systems. When asked, he cites that terrorist targeting of our passenger rail system (as in the Madrid bombings) as his biggest fear.
Of course I agree that we must protect our vital infrastructures and attacks on these facilities would result in numerous casualties. Indeed, we've spent billions shoring them up and installing layers of security at our key facilities and transportation hubs since 9/11.
But almost 9 years into this fight, I think it is time to look at our vulnerabilities through a different lens.
One of our weaknesses is that we just don't think like the enemy. For example, we would never specifically and willfully target a crowded church on Sunday. A building with a large daycare center, or a hospital filled with wounded soldiers. Continue reading

An excellent article Jenni Hesterman who does some great work informing us on the threats we may face. Think Soft Targets!!! ~Fred


When is using a TASER Reasonable Force?

“Ask, tell, make” has been used by instructors as a guideline to explain the concept of when to use force. That phrase is frequently followed by the phrase “use only the minimum force necessary to affect the arrest” when explaining how much force should be used. Neither of these often repeated phrases is a complete answer, but they have been used so often some officers have accepted them as a basis for when and how much force to use. When to use force and how much force to use is always going to be controversial. Where TASERs fit into this equation is perhaps even more controversial. Every street cop worth his salt “knows” force is used when required by the situation to overcome resistance. So what constitutes resistance? Is verbal non-compliance enough to justify an officer using force? How about using a TASER under those circumstances? The simple answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no. Continue reading