Police Take Down Belligerent White Guy with Gun

by digby

Well, no actually. In fact, this story is about an armed, belligerent jay-walker cursing police and daring them to shoot him. And guess what? They didn’t. In fact, they were patient and respectful and used psychology to talk him down.

Of course, he was a middle aged white man. And an open carry advocate.

***

Oh, and what do you suppose happened to this fine fellow? Was he tasered or wrestled to the ground in a choke hold once they disarmed him? Did they handcuff him and and arrest him and throw him in the back of the police car? These are all the common responses to confrontations like this one where cops routinely get a little street justice for wasting their time and showing them disrespect. None of those things happened.

***
So, let’s ask ourselves how that confrontation would have likely gone if Mr Houseman had been a drunk, belligerent, armed African American man, shall we? I’d like to think those police would have taken the same approach. And maybe these particular cops would have.  They seem quite sensible.  But from what we’ve heard the last few weeks, most police department’s protocol is to treat civilians as if they are all potential members of a guerrilla army. Armed citizens who curse and threaten them (even with knives and screwdrivers, much less guns)  are dispatched with alacrity — police look at situations like this as kill or be killed. Especially, though not exclusively, if they’re black.

These police seemed to see this man as a citizen not an enemy and saw their job as trying to keep the peace and ensure public safety, not fight a war. It makes a big difference.

*And yes, obviously not all situations like this can be handled this way. Good cops have a lot of tools in their tool box besides sheer dominance and violence and they should be trained and enabled to use them all.

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