Wednesday, November 18, 2015

MOST POLICE TRAINING IS SIMPLY LEARNING TO KILL – IT’S LEADING TO A DEADLY ‘EPIDEMIC’ Published: November 18, 2015

SOURCE: THE FREE THOUGHT PROJECT


South Carolina — The Free Thought Project has been covering the murder of 19-year-old Zachary Hammond by Officer Mark Tiller since the incident occurred on July 26th. Three weeks ago the heartbreaking dashcam video was finally released, which shows a maniacal Tiller ruthlessly take the life of this teenager over a suspected bag of weed.

According to the Post and Courier, “the Hammond case was far from unusual” in South Carolina.

A campus cop at Spartanburg Methodist College shot to death an unarmed college student driving a car—including twice in the head—after responding to a report of a vehicle break-in. Of course, the cop claims that 20-year-old Delvin Simmons was trying to run him over, but there is no bodycam or dashcam video to refute that claim.

The Post and Courier found that South Carolina is set to break its current record of police shootings, and that 1 in 4 shootings involved officers who fired at moving vehicles. Criminal justice experts say this practice is “ineffective and risky to officers and bystanders.”

The paper’s investigation, titled Shots Fired: Mining lessons from tragedy, looked into the use of deadly force by the state’s police officers and how they learn from these encounters.

What they found was that the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Criminal Justice Academy do literally nothing to learn from past mistakes. For instance, there was no evaluation of the case of Walter Scott to glean lessons in avoiding the use of deadly force, even though Officer Michael Slager was charged with murder.

“They don’t want to admit mistakes,” said Philip M. Stinson, a former police officer who is a criminologist at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. “In some agencies there is an erroneous perception that if they were to discuss and learn from mistakes, any advancement would be viewed as an admission of guilt that could result in civil liability.”

Decades-old tactics of escalation and use of deadly force are firmly entrenched in police training,

“A survey that Wexler’s group recently completed showed the continuing emphasis placed on force over persuasion. Among the 281 police agencies that responded, the average number of basic training hours devoted to firearms was 58, compared to eight hours spent on de-escalation techniques and 10 hours on communication skills.”

The paper contrasts this to typical European approaches of law enforcement that emphasize keeping their distance, buying time and de-escalating the situation.