Civil Rights Open Thread Racism

The System Works


Artist – Nick Anderson

A Pattern or Practice investigation of the Cleveland police by the Department of Justice has found a pattern of abuse and excessive use of force, including incidents where officers fired their guns at victims of crimes. Here’s the official DOJ press release.

The investigation, launched in March, 2013, assessed use of force practices of the Cleveland Division of Police following a number of high profile use of force incidents and requests from the community and local government to investigate the division. The investigation concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that Cleveland police officers engage in a pattern or practice of unreasonable and in some cases unnecessary force in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

This may have been the worst incident included in the report.

The Justice Department also claimed to have identified “several cases” where “officers shot or shot at people who did not pose an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to officers or others.” For example, in 2013, the report noted that police shot at a kidnapping victim after he fled from his assailants wearing only his boxers. The sergeant said he believed the victim had a weapon because he raised his hand.

They fired at a nearly-naked kidnapping victim because he put his hands up.

In related news, the Cleveland police officer who shot Tamir Trice just 2 seconds after arriving at the scene was fired from another police department because he didn’t obey the rules, “could not follow” simple directions, and was “weepy” and terrible at using his pistol.

  • i_a_c

    “I thought he had a gun!” It works so well as an utterly unassailable defense because people will tend to give the cop the benefit of the doubt.

    The guy who was killed yesterday had a bottle of oxycontin and the cop “thought” it was a gun.

    What the fuck? I’ve never heard of any pill bottle shaped gun.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Given all the things people actually had in their hands that cops thought were guns, (pill bottles, cell phones, nothing, etc.) we really have to wonder if cops actually know what a gun truly looks like.

      Maybe that’s why they’re so fast to pull the trigger. They don’t realize that thing in their own hand is a gun.

      • i_a_c

        And bananas.

        I wish I were kidding.

        In describing his own misinterpretation of the object, Bunch wrote that “based on training and experience, I have seen handguns in many shapes and colors and perceived this to be a handgun.”

        I know that cops generally are not particularly well educated but Jesus Christ.

        • Christopher Foxx

          Now, now. Those things can be very dangerous. And not every cop can make sure they have a 16 ton weight handy.

    • Christopher Foxx

      “I thought he had a gun!”

      When, if they were telling the truth, it’s merely “He moved his hand!” The “gun” part is added afterwards, as cover.

      Folks that jumpy shouldn’t be on the police force.

      • i_a_c

        Yes, “he reached for his waistband” or some such thing that’s virtually impossible to disprove.