Apparently Tone Does Make A Difference

The following video shows a group officers stopping a person who was walking down a sidewalk with a slung rifle. The lead officer indicates that he stopped the individual because he was armed and wanted to check to see if the guy was “just exerting his Constitutional rights.”  The officer also made a general reference to active shooters, but went on to say, “I think I know what is going on here.” During the stop, the lead officer makes several references shooting the individual in the head.  His only articulation of anything criminal was a general reference to active shooters.

This incident is actually being portrayed in some circles as the officer being pro-Second Amendment. I suppose this is because the officer does make several “pro” statements, but, in my opinion, these statements are clearly overshadowed by the repeated references to shooting the individual in the head. I am further baffled by some people with whom I am acquainted who are themselves very pro-carry holding this out as a positive example of how officers should handle such situations.

I do not understand this. The lead officer stated that he stopped the guy solely for being armed, which is clearly contrary to numerous holdings by the United States Supreme Court, and made numerous references to shooting the individual in the head. This leads to the question of whether these same people would be okay with being stopped when legally carrying simply for carrying and then being threatened with being shot in the head. The Reasonable Articulable Suspicion standard for an investigative (Tier 2) stop requires specific and articulable facts when taken together and based upon the officer’s knowledge, training, and experience lead the officer to believe that criminal activity is afoot. Is it reasonable to believe that just because someone is armed that they are a mass shooter?

The officer does have an even tone, and under the circumstances of the contact, his tone could even be described as somewhat genial. The officer then sets forth to lecture the individual concerning his open carrying in such a manner as being ultimately detrimental to Second Amendment rights. With this part, I actually am in large part in agreement; however, this is simply a personal opinion.  I do understand that my personal opinion is not a valid reason to shoot people in the head, or any other part of their anatomy; thus, I can’t say such things to those who root for that bastion of evil inhabiting a football stadium in the suburbs of Dallas.

According to my philosophy professor in college, all Beagles are dogs but not all dogs are Beagles…

Compare the above video to those below where another officer pretty much says the same things except that his statements were made in the middle of a tirade. He was rightfully on the receiving end of copious amounts of outrage.

and

I guess he should have used a calm and even tone, and then everything would have been okay as he calmly states that he could murder a person and make their body disappear.

If you would like to listen to the non-emergency line call to dispatch for the first video, you can do so by clicking here.

28 comments

  1. I am still stunned that 50 years after Terry we have cops who still don’t get it. Trouble is that the other three must not get it either cause they went along with it. Really disappointing.

  2. They were baiting and belittling this guy hoping he will do something. Thus justifying this stop.. Stop him then see if he broke the law.. Remember boys and girls, “am I being detained?, am I free to go?” rinse and repeat….

  3. I was always taught that you shoot to stop the action, not shoot to kill. Death however is generally the result of a center mass shot. The officer is not a sniper waiting for the shoot command in which he is supposed to, or allowed to make a head shot. What this officer is effectively doing, is threatening the person with the rifle that if he makes a sudden move, he is going to kill him.

  4. I see nothing wrong with what the officers did.They were absolutely correct that this is how stupid laws are passed,because of knee-jerk soccer moms who fear guns. IF these two were going from say their car to their house,then this is all bullshit.But just to be walking down the street to gain attention is stupid.This IS how stupid unconstitutional laws are passed. Gotta be smart people!!

    1. Personally, I feel that more legal gun owners should walk around town with their firearms openly displayed. This action alone will, believe or not, help in reducing crime.

    2. So, we shouldn’t walk around doing something legal, because it might cause people to pass laws making it illegal? In otherwords, just give up your rights BEFORE they are taken away.

  5. If a cop repeatedly mentions shooting you in the head, are you legally permitted to shoot him in self defense?

    I’m not at all being flippant here. Depending on the circumstances, if an armed cop implies that he’s going to kill you, even in an “even tone” I don’t at all think it would be unreasonable to interpret that as an immediate threat to your life and respond with deadly force.

    Note that in this day and age, I don’t think its inappropriate for a police officer to question someone openly carrying a rifle. But simple questioning is one thing, threatening to kill the individual in question, quite a different one.

    1. Are you kidding?? The cop said “if you make a furtive move to your weapon” you might get shot in the head . . . . stopping him and talking with him to determine the absence of any threat IS NOT a valid justification for a self-defense use of deadly force. Surely you understand that

  6. I can understand as far as the officer having to do a job to make sure the guy wasn’t a threat (though I find even that questionably, but fine). He could have dispensed with that duty quickly and professionally. A lecture is not part of the official duty. If he wanted to have a debate on gun rights, guy-to-guy as he claimed, he should’ve offered to buy the guy a beer when off-work and at a bar where he doesn’t have a gun trained and ready to shoot in anyone’s head.

  7. LAST WEEK: Former Canton officer, city reach settlement
    A former Canton police officer and the city have reached a settlement, nearly two years after the officer was fired for threatening to kill a man during a traffic stop.
    The Canton Repository reports that Daniel Harless will receive $40,000 from the city, a neutral employment recommendation and a retired officer ID.[HE CAN CARRY A GUN!!!] In exchange, Harless will retire and drop all claims against the city. A 2012 dashcam cruiser video went viral that showed Harless threatening the driver, who he discovered had a gun in the car. The driver had a concealed carry permit but didn’t immediately tell Harless as required by law. An internal investigation revealed two other similar incidents and Harless was fired. He was reinstated after an arbitration ruling.

    http://www.wksu.org/news/story/37329

    1. Note the untruth in that statement: “The driver had a concealed carry permit but didn’t immediately tell Harless as required by law.” The video shows Harless repeatedly cutting the driver off when the driver tried to tell him something.

  8. I am inclined to agree with the officers. Second amendment rights notwithstanding, these guys acted stupidly with the intent to provoke a response. The officer is correct in saying that given the wrong context or location, the response they provoke might be to be shot by a CCW permit holder or police officer. It would be an improper response, but still, small solace to the dead guy or the shooter who, despite his good intent, exhibited poor training or an over reaction and as a consequence is convicted of a felony. The references made to shooting in the head were intended to make that point. I have read and am rereading Andrew Branca’s excellent book, “The Law of Self Defense” and know that the minimal level of training required in many states to obtain a CCW permit cannot even begin to educate legal gun holders on when a forceful response to an open carry or perceived brandishing of a weapon scenario is appropriate. Until these adjustments become “tribal knowledge” there will be innocent victims, They will be used by anti gun people to push for laws or a constitutional amendment that will reinforce the ignorance already ingrained by the last fifty years of their crusade. I believe that stupid deliberately provocative activities like this will undermine our second amendment rights.

    1. IM sorry but in all cases the police were overstepping their responsibility.
      In the first case in particular, the police officer threatened to shoot the man in the head 3 times.
      The man who was carrying a rifle was not breaking the law in any way.
      The man and his friend who are part of the open carry movement in Texas are trying to recondition the public and law enforcement to the sight of firearms.
      this is a lawful goal and a worthy one in my opinion.
      Its easy to say these guys are stupid but you really need to think about what you are saying.
      These men are making a sacrifice in order to reassert our lawful rights without being harassed by police and citizens who are not from Texas.
      Im only 46 but when I was a kid I rode my bike with a 20 guage over the handle bars to dove hunt each evening. Police waved and wished me luck..this was in Carrollton Texas Suburb of Dallas.
      that was not long ago..We had less violence and better police back then.
      Open carry, please keep reconditioning these young cops to understand that this is Texas and not some Northern city.

    2. When Gandhi stood quietly in front of the British troops and refused to comply there were people in the crowd who said “he was acting stupidly with the intent to provoke a response”.
      When that lone man stood in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square, there were people in the crowd who said ” he was acting stupidly with the intent to provoke a response.”
      When Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus, there were people in the crowd who said “she was acting stupidly with the intent to provoke a response.”
      All of these people potentially faced police or military violence.

      This is actually the best way to educate people and the police. He stood there quietly and waited for the cops to start to *feel* as stupid as they were *acting*. And now everyone with internet access can *see* how stupid their behavior is.

      I have seen local cops be humiliated almost to the point of tears by people exercising their rights and calmly and simply refusing to take the bait. The cops are there to make a political point. Whether the point is their individual crusade or they are “just following orders” if you don’t let them take away your rights they simply cannot, legally.

  9. Thought experiment: change the legal, constitutionally protected act to that of being black while walking through a white neighborhood. You wouldn’t have to change the dialog much at all. In how many ways does this confrontation play out differently or, alternatively, how swiftly and severely is this officer disciplined?

  10. Off Topic – I’d love to know your views on “citizen journalism” and the 1st Amendment right to “film” the police. I’m also curious as to what your agency’s policy is on this issue and whether or not training is provided to your officers.

    1. As a matter of fact, a person filmed two of our investigators today as they visited a store when a stolen credit card was used.

      While the 8th Circuit just handed down a ruling to the contrary, my personal belief and the way we treat it at our agency that simply filming us in a public place is perfectly legal.

      1. The 8th Circuit ruling isn’t applicable to Georgia. It only applies to Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The 11th Circuit Court, which includes Georgia, has held this activity to be permissible (Smith v. City of Cumming). The 8th Circuit ruling will likely be going to SCOTUS and will undoubtedly be the landmark case to clarify in all Circuits. Already, the 1st, 3rd (July 2017), 5th, 9th and 11th have all ruled contrary to the 8th Circuit. The trend is there, and the 8th Circuit ruling is an aberrant ruling, departing from the norm.

        Therefore, I believe the point here is that it is permissible in Georgia (since 2000) and remains so, despite the contrary ruling in the 8th Circuit.

        My pointed question, however, was whether or not your agency specifically instructs officers to be aware and to permit this protected activity without impediment. (“CoolBreeze” loves the camera, you know – assuming he’s still around.)

      2. I’m aware that the 8th Circuit ruling doesn’t apply in GA. We are in the 11th Circuit. I mentioned the 8th Circuit ruling because it was just handed down. As it is contrary to rulings in several other circuits, it may lead ultimately to a Supreme Court hearing on the issue.

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