Life in the White Lane

The following excerpt is part of a recent article published in our local newspaper. I have made several modifications to the original for easier reading and I have also removed identifiable names and locations.

Sheriff deputies contacted a male at his residence for multiple felony warrants. They parked near a woodshop on the property where they could hear loud music and a power tool being used. One of the deputies looked through a gap in the wall and spotted a male working on something and called to him.

The man saw the deputy, reached for his waistband, then stood up and walked to the corner of the shop. The deputy drew his Taser and told the man to hold up his hands. Instead, the man suddenly reached to the side and grabbed a firearm. (The deputy initially believed the firearm was a scoped rifle, but later discovered the gun was a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun that had been shortened.)

The deputy sprinted away, running about 200 feet away to a wood shed and ducked behind a truck. During that time, the man managed to crawl up into a narrow loft area. Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the scene and began to negotiate with the man, eventually sending a police robot into the shop to observe the area.

Shortly before 3 p.m., police threw a flashbang and a canister of tear gas into the shop in an attempt to flush the man out. When he didn’t respond, police threw a second round of gas into the shop, which sent the man running out of the building.

Police shouted at him to stop, but when he didn’t, a police K-9 was sent after him.

Police caught up to the man and placed him in handcuffs. During a body search, they found the man was wearing a pouch containing about nine 12-gauge shotgun shells. The shotgun was loaded with four additional rounds.

The man was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, third-degree escape, resisting arrest, menacing, being a felon in possession of a firearm and multiple arrest warrants. He was lodged at the local jail.

What do you think? Did the actions of the deputies fit the crime? Can you think of any circumstances where they might have handled things differently? Do you feel the charges were appropriate?

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Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

43 thoughts on “Life in the White Lane

  1. Without knowing the backstory I would be remiss to say how else this could or should have gone down. Cops always work on fear first these days, but who can blame them. Sending one cop to arrest a known criminal, which it sounds like this person was, was just stupid.
    Did they have just cause? Only they know.
    But having a loaded sawed-off shotgun ready-to-hand was just as stupid in my mind. That this situation did not escalate to gunfire was a lucky outcome. I cannot take either side as it stands. Both were wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes you were correct in your assumption.

      And this is the point of the post in case there might be someone that didn’t “get it.” There is no way this man would have still been alive had he been of a “darker” color. Instead of pulling out his taser, the deputy would have pulled out his gun … and when the perp “grabbed the firearm,” he would have been shot. End of story.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. I have no idea what might have happened.
    I am surprised that the heat was so patient. Normally, you draw down on the man and you’re going down dead. Maybe he was somebody’s kinfolk. I have seen cops be much more aggressive with unarmed drunks, black or white.
    So did the cop who saw the gun figure he would outrun the bullet? As far as the charges, those are what was filed by the police, not the DA. They may not be the same.
    Also, why did they wait until that time to serve the warrants?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Although it’s a popular belief that police shoot black people dead, I’m pretty sure (I don’t have the stats handy) whites are actually shot and killed by police in the US at a higher rate (vs population) compared to their black brethren.

    Also, from anecdotes I hear from various relatives throughout the States and police officers themselves, I do think trying to arrest a felon or suspected felon without resorting to gun play (and without deadly force) is the norm if other reasonable means (ie tasers) are available. (I also suspect the amount of paperwork and having to undergo a grueling inquiry for drawing and discharging one’s firearm plays a greater role here than many may realize).

    I suspect we find it easier to go along with the story of white police officers killing blacks during some arrest process because of video these days and so we think we can trust our eyes that confirm our imported beliefs. It’s much harder to actually find out what is the norm and THEN formulate a belief. And what is true is that rates of gun violence – especially involving gun deaths between blacks (in both the US and Canada) – is significantly higher than by any other ‘identifiable’ group. The conclusion I draw is that the reasons for this fact do not lie with racism… especially when one considers the very high rate (by comparison to whites) of blacks working as police officers.

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    • I won’t argue your points. But the fact remains, blacks most definitely get the short end of the stick in many, many arrests. Perhaps the publicity makes it seem more frequent than it actually is, but it shouldn’t be happening at all. Bigotry is a sickness that affects too many people in this country and sadly, law enforcement officers are not immune. What makes it even more disturbing is they are the ones who can claim self-defense as their motive … and get away with it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • If it’s statistics you want, have a look at https://thesocietypages.org/toolbox/police-killing-of-blacks/. You will see that blacks are indeed more likely to be killed by police than are other groups. Even more telling is the statistics related to unarmed blacks killed by police. In the first half of 2018, 38% of all those killed by police were black, yet blacks make up only 13% of the population.

      Racism doesn’t necessarily lie with individuals. Organisations, social structures, and even policing practices can be racist and those carrying out those practices might not even be aware that they are racist in nature.

      Personally, I think the number of people, regardless of ethnicity, killed by police in the US is absolutely appalling. If this is what happens when a police force is armed, then I never want to see the day when NZ police are routinely armed.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for this, Barry. I know this is the kind of comparative data many groups use to show disparity of results and therefore inequality (when they really mean inequity). The assumption here and rarely challenged is that the disparity of results demonstrates bias and prejudice. This is what is not true, which is why such studies that demonstrate disparity for such conclusions should be immediately red-flagged: using disparity of results to indicate prejudice is a fallacy and we should avoid falling for it when encountered.

        I read a report around the middle of 2019 and recalled it to be related to the FBI database being collected for national statistics on the use of force by police. I recall the major difference in this database was that national and state averages factored in the number of encounters (by race of both officers and the subjects) and not just the bulk of results that seem to indicate a skewed response. The results I took note of was that it demonstrated two interesting things: the first was that the number of times use of force was required plummeted per encounter for Blacks, and the second was that each racial group of police officers was more likely to use deadly force against the same group to which the officer belonged (which I thought was very interesting).

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        • tildeb, it seems to be really important to you that when you comment on various and sundry subjects that the information you offer is “correct.” But sometimes, “just the facts, ma’m” (shades of Dragnet’s Sgt. Joe Friday), isn’t the point of the discussion. For example, I wrote this post to illustrate more of a societal issue than a factual one.

          This isn’t to say your contributions aren’t welcome — but sometimes the “scholarly perspective” isn’t what is required or needed. 🙃

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          • Ideally, can you imagine a world where an armed suspect is arrested without incident?

            Probably. I know it happens all the time in my neck of the woods.

            But can you imagine a world where talking about such an event doesn’t automatically insert a racial card or some other group label?

            I can only imagine it because in almost every case the publicity (including in my neck of the woods) includes a racial consideration (usually included by well meaning people talking about some event or issue who say they wish to reduce racism). The racial component could be about Whites and Blacks but also includes references to Asian, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Arab… as if the racial component either played a rather significant role or ‘naturally’ influenced the result in some way.

            So my comment wasn’t intended to argue about what the ‘surprise’ factor you call a ‘societal issue’ but to see this ‘societal issue’ as an inserted element… an element that I think is the very foundation necessary for the continuation of racism, namely, to elevate and/or include race as an important factor in human interactions.

            So my question is, Is it even possible, then, to move beyond racism (presuming all of us agree it is a ‘bad’ thing on which to base public policies and privileges in real life treatment) and consider all ‘societal issues’ as issues between real people, real individuals, in real life (hence, my reference to facts rather than a group label as needing to play a more important role)?

            I hope you can see where I’m going with this. To get rid of racism, then, means we have to dis-empower race altogether, and that means removing race as a meaningful category to describe the actions and treatment between individuals who constitute some tiny fraction of its makeup.

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            • Your idealist approach is wonderful … let’s see if you can figure out a way to make it work.

              As always, I appreciate your input even though I do think you tend to be a bit (over) analytical about issues. 😉

              Happy New Year! Make the most of it!

              Liked by 1 person

            • I try to do that everyday, eliminate group identity I may hold in my head from being applied to every single person I come in contact with. That’s all I can do… but I urge others to do the same if they wish to eliminate as much group discrimination and bigotry as they possibly can. I really don;t think it’s asking all that much but it does take a conscious effort.

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  4. There is a large amount of built in fear these days, as a police officer. Policeman friend of mine, now deceased, said everytime he pulled a car over for a traffic violation he held his breath. He never knew if he was going to be seeing a license or a gun in the face. They live with that.
    I also feel sorry for blacks who have to deal with overly aggressive police, even as kids. And yes, those videos show how over the top it can be. It may be a lot less frequent than it seems, but it stays with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What is a K-9, that was sent after him? Here in Finland the K-9 is understood as a self-propelled field artillery unit, but I expect that is not what was sent after him…

    We have more guns per capita, than the US, but because our society is fairly egalitarian and because we have strict laws about who can buy a gun, we actually do not have much gun related crime. Also, our prison system is fairly rehabilitating. On the other hand, one Russian dude once said that no wonder Finland has a low rate of crime, because you actually had to work hard to find someone to mug, if you wanted to rob anyone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • K9 is a play on the language and in the US is the canine division. I think ‘self propelled field artillery unit’ covers that nicely, when you think about it. Most larger police forces now have dogs used for sniffing out drugs, bodies, guns, explosives, and/or trapped people.
      Sadly, here in the US we are still burdened with the idea that guns will protect us. From something. Im not sure what happens when the other guy has your gun, though.

      Liked by 1 person

          • “Factually” speaking, you’re probably correct, but I didn’t write the post to have an academic discussion. I wrote it to illustrate a situation that could very well have had a different ending had the individual been a different color.

            IMO, the “white prejudice” is alive and well in this country and is becoming worse under the current administration. If you don’t agree with that, that’s your prerogative.

            Liked by 1 person

            • “… illustrate a situation that could very well have had a different ending had the individual been a different color.”

              Yes… in the sense that if the person were White, they may very well have been shot. But I think you mean the opposite… as if not shooting the Black person was atypical. And it’s not. That’s the important part I’m trying to point out. And it’s the part you want to suggest is ‘just a fact’ so to speak… hinting that we can safely ignore it and go along with the belief about Blacks getting shot more often by police (the belief that I think needs challenging BECAUSE it does not reflect reality)… a belief you have (and many others share) that you then assume makes this example rather unusual. It’s not.

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            • Good grief Tildeb! Do you just like to argue? I have tried to make myself clear in several comments. I’ll try again.

              No, I’m not stating any of this as “fact.” I’m aware that statistics show that blacks are not shot any more often than whites. I’m also fully aware that the news media is more inclined to point out occasions when a black person is shot, which greatly influences public opinion.

              Nevertheless, I do feel (i.e., my opinion) that a black person would be more inclined to be shot by the police in similar circumstances, simply because too many people (law enforcement included) are prejudiced against blacks. It’s a historical thing.

              Liked by 2 people

            • Except if you’re black and unarmed you’re three times more likely to be shot that if you’re white and unarmed.

              What I find peculiar is that no federal agency is permitted to collect statistics on police shootings nationwide.

              Liked by 2 people

      • @Judyt54. Thanks. I get it now. We have police dogs in Finland too.

        In Finland you can not get a gun permit if you ask it for personal protection. A person who thinks they need a gun for personal safety is generally considered to be a bit out of mental balance and if they are detected by the officials they are rapidly directed to have some form of medical treatment.

        Most guns we have are either for hunting, reservist practice, or collector items. Then there are of course the pure target practice guns and a bunch of inherited illegal guns from our past wars. (There was a widespread secret program to hide military weapons right after the WWII, organized by a bunch of officers and veterans, who feared Finland would be invaded by the Soviet Union again even after the peace treaty with the Allied forces.) So a machine gun is not at all as rare even though it is likely to be totally illegal.

        We have a very professional police force we can and do rely on to protect us. Our police must pass through a three year long high standard school. Finnish police is always armed unlike for example in the UK, but this is more due to the fact, that many of our police force have to take care of geographically vast scarcely populated areas where people generally do own hunting weapons. They rarely kill anybody even if they have to discharge their weapons, because they are trained to be good shots and prefer to aim at non-vital bodyparts. That way the suspect, they shoot at will most often survive, and gets their punishment. It is a good method to set an example, that does not encourage anybody to attempt a suicide by proxy, wich is not a small thing, if you compare it to the fact that the Finnish young men especially are fairly liable to commit a suicide.

        The Finns are eager to kill each other too, but we mostly do it with knives, axes and bare fists, rather than with guns even by people, that do have guns.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Police in Aotearoa are not routinely armed. They have weapons locked in the boot (trunk) of their vehicles which can be accessed with permission of a supervisor. However, they are trained to shoot kill if the need to use deadly force ever arises, which, fortunately is extremely rare.

          Guns are not currently licensed in NZ, but that’s likely to change in the near future, so no-one knows how many or what types of guns there are. The recent buy-back of military style semi-automatics has seen around 50,000 guns and parts being turned in. But nobody knows how many might still be in circulation.

          To own guns, you must have a firearms licence (renewable every 10 years), and here too, wanting to keep a gum for protection is the most sure way of having a licence refused or revoked. Besides, regulations requiring the secure storage and transport of guns make their use for self protection impractical, if not impossible. Most guns here are used for pest control and to a lesser extent hunting as a sport.

          Americans kill each other at about four times the rate of Finns and about eight times the rate of Kiwis.

          Liked by 2 people

          • @Barry. Thanks for the statistics. “Pest control?” Here in Finland most of the hunting is for the moose, wich only actual natural predators the wolves have grown scarce during the past two centuries. We have almost ten times the amount of bears in comparrison to wolves, though naturally the numbers should be opposite.

            Of course many moose hunters complain, that the growing number of wolves today is a problem, because wolves eat the hunter’s dogs…

            The moose are a bit of a problem, because people run their cars into moose crossing roads constantly, so the hunting (and subsequently owning a gun) is not only for sport, but also for the common good.

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            • Before the arrival of human beings in the 13th century there were no land mammals in NZ apart from 3 species of bat. All the niches typically occupied by mammals in other parts of the world were occupied by birds here. The lack of mammal predators, meant that most NZ birds have a very low rate of reproduction, and many have evolved to become flightless or to nest on the ground.

              The Māori brought with them the Polynesian rat and the dog, and some bird, reptile and invertebrate species went into slow decline. When Europeans started to settle here in the 19th century they brought many more mammals including deer, cats, possums, European rat, stoats, weasels, rabbits, hedgehogs, just to mention a few. What followed has been an extinction event that is still going on.

              Most of the mammals had no natural enemies here, so their populations expanded rapidly. Attempts at controlling rabbits by introducing weasels and stoats didn’t work because those animals found our native birds made an easier meal. Consequently, many native bird species have become extinct and most of the rest are endangered. Possums not only eat smaller birds and insects, they can also destroy forests by eating trees to death and prevent forest regeneration by eating flowers and immature fruit.

              Any non-domestic mammal is considered a pest here. In forested areas, control is by aerial dropping of 1080 poison (NZ consumes 80% of the world’s production), but on farmland and residential areas, either trapping or shooting is the usual means of control.

              Like

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