If You Fight With a Cop, Why Shouldn't the Cop Shoot You?

Categories: Schutze

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In Anna Merlan's coverage of the disturbance last night at Dixon and Bourquin streets about a mile and a half southeast of Fair Park, one particular scenario leapt out. People in the crowd defended the man who was shot to death by police after a running fight with the officer who shot him. Their defense was that, as a parolee, the man probably was not armed and probably was not involved with hard drugs but only marijuana.

Merlan's report: "He had 10 years of parole," said a woman in the crowd who gave her name only as "Ebony." She said she was a first cousin of Harper's. "So he can't carry weapons. We know for a fact he was unarmed." Several people in the crowd said the house was a "weed house," and didn't sell other drugs.

There's historical context here. In 1967 when my own hometown of Detroit erupted in flames and bullets, civic leaders seriously debated whether the disturbances there should be called a riot, which was taken by many as a pejorative and dismissive white term, or an uprising, a word freighted with centuries of grievance.

That was half a century ago. I'm not saying we are done with racism now. That would be a stupid thing to say. But in Dallas the police chief is black. A whole bunch of cops are black. The elected representatives of that part of town at City Hall are black.

We may not be done with racism, but the day is long gone when you could offer any even remotely reasonable defense of a guy who fights with a cop. This isn't about the civil rights movement. This is about us, all of us, sticking badges on cops and telling them to go out and take bullets for us because we don't want to ourselves.

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I'm not calling us cowards. But c'mon. Common decency and honor says that if you put another man or woman in the position, then you have to get his back when the position turns deadly.

You've got a parolee. He's running from a drug scene. Multiple witnesses say he hit that cop. Hit him. Fought with him. Refused to surrender. Didn't stop fighting with the cop.

You got a dead man.

He was dead, in terms of his right to keep living, the instant he hit that cop. There is no right to fight with a cop. If you hit a cop and keep hitting that cop, I think it's that cop's duty to shoot you, if that's the only way to make you stop fighting.

The man was not unarmed. Let me tell you that for a fact. Even if they scour that neighborhood and never find a gun, there was a gun. There was the cop's gun. When you fight with a cop, there is always a gun.

So the guy with a record as long as his arm fights with the cop and finally wins the fight. Beats the cop down. What happens next?

It's just the two of them in some backyard. The parolee from the weed-house-not-a-real-drug-house is standing over the conked-out cop. He takes the gun. He shoots the cop. Hey, maybe there's a witness. Maybe the guy shoots the witness too.

No? Why no? How do you know that? How does the cop know that? Why is the cop supposed to take that gamble? How is it even responsible for the cop to take that gamble?

The whole idea is so tragically absurd -- that there is some proper and sportsmanlike way to get out of prison and hang around a weed-house-not-a-drug house and run from the cops and then beat on a cop, but you're "unarmed," so they're not allowed to shoot you. It's so bullshit crazy.

They're allowed to shoot you. They're supposed to shoot you. If you are not in favor of getting shot, don't beat on a cop.

Don't even argue with the cop. Do exactly what the fuck the cop tells you to do. It just doesn't go anywhere else from that.

This is not a problem specific to Dixon and Bourquin streets. It's some kind of societal stupid that we all seem to suffer from.

A month ago WFAA made a big deal out of a white motorcycle imbecile who was pulled over when the cops were policing one of those wheelie-fest freeway riots. I'm talking about those bike riots that the motorcycle imbeciles do out on the expressway so they can have fun risking the lives of children and old people.

The guy they pulled over was shown on camera trying to have some kind of imbecile version of a constitutional law debate with the cop who pulled him over, and then David Schechter, the reporter, acts like he's covering a mass atrocity in Bosnia because the cop grabs the imbecile by the head and gives him a good shove into the squad car. I watch this endless loop on television for several days, and every time they get to that part, I'm cheering for the cop: "Use your foot! Use your foot, man!"

That may or may not have been a righteous arrest. I really don't know. It sounded as if it might not have been. They busted the guy to get his hat cam for evidence. I'm very sensitive to hat-cam issues. I think maybe the Second Amendment says we have a right to wear hat-cams, or some amendment.

But you settle that shit in court. On the street, you shut the hell up, and you do exactly what that cop tells you to do. The minute you swing your damn shoulders around all tough-guy, the instant you offer physical resistance, or even if you just run your mouth loud enough, you are launching into a process that may end with your going for the cop's gun.

That's how it is. That is the assumption the cop must make. It's the assumption we as a community must make. There's no way out of it. And if you do go for the cop's gun? Well, we all hope the cop shoots you instead of you shoot the cop. Right? Right?

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224 comments
copisright
copisright

Does anyone else here wonder if Myrna.Minkoff-Katz (with the crazy responses she posts and the picture of the cat in her profile) is a cat lady? One of those people that comes on A@E with like 75 cats..to the point she added a hyphenated name to her last name "Katz." My vote is hell yes she is! Can't afford gas in her car but has 1500 cans of cat food in the pantry and cat turd smell reeks for miles and miles from that dwelling...A more relevant point to those who haven't lived here that long and might read one of her nutty posts like the one about the cops crazy chases that are going to kill someone. The Dallas PD and many other no longer do car chases unless the person they are chasing are VIOLENT FELONS as described by law. I.E. they just murdered someone, robbed a store at gunpoint, stabbed someone. As for the justice dept needing to come investigate OUR police, Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I don't know which side of Mayberry you grew up on, but I've lived in cities where there are REAL problems with the police...you are in a utopia as far as that goes. When a cop shoots a thug felon who was beating on him after chasing the guy from a drug house over 3 fences and yards in 100+ degree heat and already fighting the cop 2 other times..many police depts would of shot the thug after fight number 1! Why don't you try going to live in New Orleans, Detroit, or some city run by a Sheriff's dept who will shoot you dead as soon as you take one punch at them! Myrna.Minkoff-Katz you are clueless as to this topic obviously..go feed your 75 cats! I have ZERO issue with what this officer did, had he lost consciousness and the thug took his gun he could of ended up dead himself for doing his job! Good riddance to the thug...Saves us all some money on the rest of his parole time and future imprisonment! GOOD JOB DALLAS COPS!

populationcontrol
populationcontrol

If I had a nickel for every Black male shot for resisting arrest this year I might actually be able to buy a happy meal. Keep up the good work DPD.

sophee
sophee

I could see fighting a cop if they are trying to remove you from public areas like the Occupy movement. But fighting for the right to sell drugs and be a thug in general is not a valid reason.

luvtheblue
luvtheblue

Some of us kiss our husbands goodnight without ever knowing they might not come home protecting people who don't respect them. 

luvtheblue
luvtheblue

Really they want to talk morale? What about all those family members standing there (eyewitnesses) watching the cop get his ass beat? How is that morale? They didn't have a problem watching the cop get his ass beat did they....Oh wait, they didn't want to help the cop...why? In fear of getting shot? Yes, thats because anyone knows when you fight a cop there is a high probability you will be shot! He was shot in the hand and stomach not in the back the media will twist whatever they can to start riots to have yet another story to report about it. And people are saying it was only a weed house? ...Not a big deal? Ya, you will be asking where were the cops when your son get hooked on drugs! You will be complaining where were the cops??? They are suppose to clean up our streets! Funny people say cops don't do their job but but when they are doing their jobs and have to defend themselves to get home to their own family people still complain. You don't like cops answering a kidnapping call? Then don't call for help when your child is taken. Do it yourself...I dare you to walk the streets at night in the worst parts of town, alone, trying to help people from being murdered, raped, robbed and don't have a weapon. I dare you just to walk a bad area alone without a weapon and see how far that gets you! You have a burglar? oh well...sorry (bleep) you, don't call for help and when your husband is getting his ass beat make sure to ask the burglar to please stop and see how far that gets you!!!! If that cop didn't defend himself and he was your husband getting his ass beat....he could have been killed what would you rather tell your children (daddy defended himself trying to do the right thing and he came home to us) OR ( well sorry daddy was on his back on the ground getting beat up trying to save someone and he will never be coming home because the mean guy beat him to death). Yes, teach your children and family not to defend themselves, that's fine! All I can say is....Natural Selection!  The police already have their hands tied which leaves them in danger, which leaves families without fathers who are trying to save our streets. If we didn't have police the world would never been the same. They are hometown heros facing everydays evil, they already fight this evil with minimal pay and now they have zero respect. Lets put a gun to everyones face everyday with limited pay and no weapons and lets see how you feel. Yes Im sure there are good cops and bad cops that is found in any occupation! This cop did nothing wrong but defend himself and now all good cops are facing the heat from people who believe everything the media puts out there! Educate yourself before you speak out! Not everything the media says is true and families of victims don't ever want to say yes my family member was an idiot fighting a cop of course they will defend him and spin the truth! It's normal and its simple psychology! We need to support the cops who face death in the face everyday and try to keep our streets safe. I don't see these complainers out there trying to make this world a safer places and placing themselves in danger for others. This job is the most selfless job and I respect and support all of the men and women keeping me safe! Thank you to our HEROS!

rmpowell
rmpowell

Are y'all all stupid or something.  Do what the cop's tell you to do and everything will be cool.  If you are doing something wrong u go to jail, if not you go home.  Cop's are going to win period.  If they do something wrong and against your constitutional rights , sue them and retire.  But DO WHAT THEY TELL YOU TO DO, STUPID.    eX-COP.

billorcutt
billorcutt

Bad decision to fight with police. Sorry the guy is dead, but he chose poorly. I always told both my sons if they ever get stopped by the the law, Yes sir and No sir them and let me and our lawyer sort through the mess. 

Flabbergasted
Flabbergasted

When you hit a cop, he will shoot back. Don't want to get shot? Then don't be in a drug house, weed or not, don't  f^cking run, and don't  f&cking hit him. Cops in this city have been murdered with their own guns when they hesitate. Criminals don't play fair, so cops do what they can. This guy lost, and I am sorry for his family, but his own mother said she saw it coming. That says it all. Why was he running/? Why was he running? Why was he running?

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

THE PRESIDENT'S ANSWER IS, "BUSH DID IT".  THE BLACK FOLKS ANSWER TODAY  IS,"POLICE SHOT AN INNOCENT MAN".

 

I CALL BOTH OF THOSE BULLSHIT.

WallyMcWonderful
WallyMcWonderful

Lets not forget that these cops were responding to a call that described kidnapping in progress and it had been reported that every one in that house was armed. In hind sight it is easy to say he was "just" a drug dealer and that he was unarmed but the best information the officer had was that this guy was a violent criminal with a gun looking at a multi decade prison sentence if arrested.

Idontlivindallas
Idontlivindallas

I see nothing but gospel in this blog. Thanks for standing up for the ones that stand for us 24/7 365. It isn't that hard to find a video on the net that shows suspects either knocking out a cop or holding him down while they take his own gun and murder him with it.  Thanks Jim. 

standingbehindpd
standingbehindpd

out of control my ass! why? because they want to go home when their shift ends? why dont you that think they dont have the right to use those guns theyre issued go put a badge on,YOU go police those streets! yeah thats what i thought! awful easy to judge,and way too damned easy to throw a race card out there isnt it? even civilians have the right to defend theirselves,and hell yeah if i were being attacked i'd shoot,and if your really honest,SO WOULD YOU! 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The cops are out of control here.  It's time for the Justice Department to get in here and launch a thorough investigation of abuse of citizens by the police.

trudat
trudat

Too often, cops are "unpredictable wild animals" and what JS has written above may be somewhat pragmatic advice about how to stay safe on the streets where bad cops often run wild today.  But cops are not "God" although we do often extend god like privileges to them.  Assault on a cop is not a crime punishable by death.  It is especially not punishable by a death administered by the assaulted cop.  Cops that kill citizens who assault them are breaking the law although usually, these cops are set free or given a perfunctory slap on the wrists.  This speaks volumes about our legal and actual attitudes about cops.

 

Cops are trained (or should be) to apprehend those who break the law without killing them.  Cops who cannot bring criminals in to face justice without killing them are simply murderers and they should face the appropriate legal penalty.

 

I think and hope that JS could have done a better job at exploring the ideas broughtr forth in this article.

matlande
matlande

I think the wonderful, awesome, do no wron,g greatest person on earth cop should train a little more so he doesn't get his ass kicked to the curb and so frightened that he has to shoot first and ask questions later.  The coroner will have a full report in 6 weeks, then we will know if the crackhead was shot in the back.  I think he was, just sayin.

Kyla Bussey
Kyla Bussey

So the question is, should the police value a person's life over catching them? He wasn't armed. Remember innocent until proven guilty? This guy may have shown himself to be a criminal but what about all the "wrong door" cases? The policeman could have given up and let him go, catch him another day or even the same day down the street. Deadly force should be used only in cases of deadly threat. Letting the guy get away didn't present an immediate deadly threat, the cop just didn't want to give up. You shouldn't be able to kill someone for that reason. Those who preach about the sanctity of human life should apply that belief to every life. It's sad all around.

texpwr
texpwr

For all the debate,what's done is done,Nothing will bring Mr.Harper back.

Going forward,hopefully a grand jury will determine the officer's legal culpability rather than solely an internal police inquiry.Perhaps even more important is whether this officer needs to continue patrolling the streets in the future.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Cops ought to be held to the same legal standard as any other citizen WRT the use of deadly force.  If the cop thought he was going to be killed by the other man, yeah, shooting in self-defense is OK, even if the other guy has no gun.  Fists kill, too.  If the cop did not so think his life was in danger, it was a bad shoot. 

 

And no, the mere presence of a cop's gun is not carte blanche to shoot someone who gets into a fight with a cop.  That there is asinine (practically speaking) and creating a different standard for agents of the gov't.  IIRC, the COTUS has something to say about setting up different classes of folk.

 

Complying with cops when interacting with them is generally sound advice.  They are a volatile and dangerous set of folks.

followMARS_DFW
followMARS_DFW

     Cops are supposed to use the same level of force as used against them.  He was getting his ass kicked, for the 3rd time (so much for that police training, I mean, I've been put into a choke hold by a cop, it took 2 seconds, tops) and he said "F*** This!" and killed this man.  I don't care if his rap sheet was as long as 635, why couldn't this man get his day in court?  He may not of behaved as if he wanted it, but who wants to get caught, go to jail and end up in front of a judge?  The cops have "utility belts" like f***ing batman, and he chooses his gun?  What about pepper spray, or a taser or whatever?  Why not wait for help. 

     "Don't even argue with the cop. Do exactly what the fuck the cop tells you to do. It just doesn't go anywhere else from that."  It is ridiculous for the author to suggest that we act as if the police are our infallible overlords and we owe them our lives and freedom.  I am no one's bitch (except JP Morgan's, but that's another story) and refuse to accept that cops have the right to shoot me, just because I disagree with their twisted perception of everything.  Even if I'm fighting an officer, lethal means are not justified.

     We hold cops to a higher standard, b/c we expect them to be the good guys.  When they fail, when they abuse their authority, when they use excessive force and kill someone, we cannot put them on a pedestal, we must hold them accountable.  Otherwise we'll have another dead unarmed man in another 30-60 days, which will make us forget about James Harper, as no one is talking about John Husband III.

MisterMean
MisterMean

Reminds me of the quote by Pompey the Great (Roman General –Roman Republic):  “What!  Will you never cease prating of laws to us that have swords by our sides?”

texpwr
texpwr

Although Mr.Schutze asks a valid question,i'm not sure how it applies here or in many situations.An officer should only fire his weapon if fired upon or in defense of himself or others.This was neither.

This guy  ran from the cop.He was engaged on 3 different occasions and ran the first two times.What made the 3rd different?If the officer knew he couldn't control him by himself.why continue the chase?Or ,why not keep a visual on him until help arrived?Given the circumstances,other officers were sure to be converging on the area.

It's sad that this man was killed and while this made be justifiable,it was 100% preventable.No one can crawl inside this officer's go inside this officer's head and know what he was feeling at that moment.What we can do is find out if he deviated from protocol.

cheshyre
cheshyre

George Zimmerman wrote this piece.

scom
scom

Despite the tragic end of this unfortunate man's life, there are indeed more tragic things. Yes, its different when its personal, so I can not imagine what I would feel if my family members and friends in law enforcement - what it would be like if one of those lowlifes were to take their gun away from them and shoot them with it, shoot  to kill. May our protectors never become careless or distracted enough that this happens to them. And since this is turning into a prayer, may young people learn the lesson - respect police officers - you or your loved ones might need them someday in this big city.

scom
scom

You know they never found W.M.D.'s which Powell used to get us to invade Iraq, don't you. That is real bull shit, like 'police shot an innocent man'.

jasmbfl1
jasmbfl1

 @standingbehindpd The streets don't need to be policed, and especially not to murderously attack drug entrepreneurs. Go home, cops. You people act like cops actually stop theft and murder instead of showing up after the fact to write a report.

trudat
trudat

 @standingbehindpd

 Maybe I would...but I am not a cop...and if I was a cop, I would (or should)  know that I am not the type of gunslinger that you seem to think the police should be...serving and protecting the people and bringing criminals in to face justice is a job that requires a little more than a temper and a gun...the police are held to a higher standard...and rightfully so.

jimkirke
jimkirke

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I agree completely.  That way all of you who truly believe that will have some solid evidence to show you're wrong.  But then again, if the results of that investigation didn't go the way you think it should, you'd yell foul yet again.  

anonymous
anonymous

 @matlande I would like to see you chase a man wearing shorts and a t-shirt, while you're wearing a wool uniform and thirty-pounds of equipment, over three fences and after three physical fights in a 100 plus degree Texas summer.  There comes a point where you are just too physically exhausted to put up a fight.  Better to be tried by twelve than carried by six.

travishuse
travishuse

 @matlande No training a police officer could get can teach you how to fight better than the training you receive in prison.

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

"I think he was" - how did you come to that conclusion?  The facts will come out.  If you don't know then don't make statements about it.

anonymous
anonymous

 @texpwr All officer involved shooting deaths are referred to a grand jury.  If no charges are brought, it's because a jury of the officer's peers decided it that way.

copisright
copisright

 @roo_ster They are a volatile and dangerous set of folks?? WOW REALLY??? What a complete fool, you are. You send citizens(the police are made up of us every day people) then given the duty to solve everyone's problems, fight people who want to break the law and hurt other citizens,beat their wives and children, rape women and children and we GIVE this cops a DIFFERENT STANDARD! WE tell them to run into danger so we may run away,, we tell them to live by different standards even OFF DUTY..such as if roo_ster got a DWI who the hell would care except his mommy?? If a cop gets a DWI his/her face is blasted all over the news and he is fired..who else has that standard? YES COPS HAVE DIFFERENT STANDARDS! . This retarded talk is all good and great while holding hands at a PETA meeting that we drove to in our Prius, but take a drive through MLK/ the Grove, or any number of areas of Dallas ..deal with some of the folks we saw on the news rioting the other night on a daily basis. Maybe you will understand why these cops are a bit edgy and "volatile."

CraigT42
CraigT42

 @roo_ster 

But there is a double standard there. It is a good one and it belongs there. Yes assaulting an officer carries with it the risk of getting shot and killed. Hell, for that matter assaulting any armed individual can, and often does, result in someone getting shot.  Everyone knows this.  The police wear their guns in plain sight.

So on one side someone who used fists to attack an armed man and then gets killed is not surprising, or in most cases illegal. When you add on the additional factor of the armed man being a uniformed and identified police officer who is performing his lawful duties, and the assaulter being a felon who is fleeing a drug house where there was a reported violent kidnapping then all I am left with is gratitude that the officer was unharmed.

Reality
Reality

 @followMARS_DFW 

This is bullshit. Cops can use any force reasonable necessary to make the arrest. Cops have to fight people so much more than the average person. The golden rule of fighting is that there's always someone out there who can kick your ass. Basically, if a cop spends his career trying to fight fair, he's going to lose and it may cost him his life. That's why they're allowed to used a greater degree of force than what is being used against him. Find me the law that says they can only use the same level of force that's used against them. You can't....because your post is bullshit and based off what you believe, not what the actual laws are.

 

You talk about holding cops accountable, but you refuse to hold suspects accountable. By not fighting police and settling it in court, you hold people accountable and the truth comes out. If the cop is wrong, he gets in trouble. If the suspect is wrong, he gets in trouble. No, it's not perfect, but nothing is. Stop acting like the cops just picked on some random, innocent stranger reading the newspaper. Most of the time, the suspects have a long criminal record, were up to no good, and chose to hurt the cop. Yet, the cop is just trying to do his job. And you want to side with the bad guy????

 

travishuse
travishuse

 @followMARS_DFW Tasers take time, pepper spray takes proximity. If he really were flat on his back, with the attacker standing above him, there's not a tool he could use to gain leverage EXCEPT his firearm.

t_s_
t_s_

 @MisterMean Look where that got Pompey.  With his head detached from his head.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @texpwr That brings up another serious problem with these cops.  Their lunatic vehicle pursuits are eventually going to end up killing innocent bystanders.

travishuse
travishuse

 @texpwr "An officer should only fire his weapon if fired upon or in defense of himself or others." 

"He was engaged on 3 different occasions and ran the first two times."

 

You should note that if you rewrite the latter quote, you wind up with, "A Dallas Police Officer was assaulted three times by a multiple felon with a history of assaulting police officers. The suspect then stated, plainly to the officer, 'You're going to have to kill me,' while holding his arm near his side in a threatening manner, which is a frequent maneuver by those wishing to goad police officers into assisted suicide."

 

The easiest way this would have been prevented? Try your damndest, if you're on parole, to not be near a trap house. 

 

travishuse
travishuse

 @jasmbfl1 Are you seriously arguing that the police force should be abolished?

jasmbfl1
jasmbfl1

 @trudat Correct. Given certain people are chosen to be the footmen of "justice," they should have minimal training -- above us lowly common trash -- in dealing with unanointeds.

matlande
matlande

 @WatchingSouthDetroit 

I came to that conclusion with my brain.  It is an opinion, hence the word preceding "he was" is "think".  I don't know and I will make whatever statement I please about it.  But thanks for your opinion douchecanoe.

MisterMean
MisterMean

 @t_s_ Yes almost all of them lost their heads.   Just like the old wset.

texpwr
texpwr

 @travishuse You are inferring several things that were not known to the officer at the time in order to justify his actions.If a car won't pull over,does the cop run him off the road?Of course not.He calls for backup and continues pursuit at a distance.

I can't dispute the man was in the wrong.BUt conversely there's no way any1 should say he deserved to die.FYI saying "you're going to have to kill me" is not the same as threatening the officer's life.Not to me anyway.

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

 @matlande What was your reasoning and processing of the known facts behind your "thinking"?  Surely there was something behind the "opinion".  Or is just pulling stuff out of your ass what  is "thinking for you?

travishuse
travishuse

 @matlande "To think" infers that you utilized empirical reason. You must have some reason you thought that, explain.

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