In a rather quixotic effort to heal severely wounded relations between police and civilians, political officials have recently decided to endorse to the new “#8CANTWAIT” campaign. This is a form of community activism that aims to “demilitarize” police, dramatically reduce jail and prison populations, totally defund police departments, and much more. Yes, you read that correctly; take away essential equipment for our officers on the streets, let the bad guys out loose, and cut off the only lifeline for law-abiding citizens. If that doesn’t sound quite good enough to butter your biscuit, these leftist radicals have also developed an 8-point plan to “reduce police killings and save lives”.
It is important to note that although the following “policies” seem totally asinine (because they are), they are 100% real and are already being implemented in some areas, up to and including Houston, TX.
1. Ban Chokeholds & Strangleholds
“Allowing officers to choke or strangle civilians results in the unnecessary death or serious injury of civilians. Both chokeholds and all other neck restraints must be banned in all cases.” – 8 Can’t Wait Official
Imagine that… If only police departments had thought of this sooner… Oh, wait…
Back in the 1980’s, the Los Angeles Police Department had banned the use of chokehold restraining techniques following a string of choking-related deaths. Soon after, every police department began to follow suit. By the 1990’s just about every department in the country had banned the use of these idiotic techniques due to the inhumane nature and the severe liability concerns.
In dissecting the more current example of the George Floyd case, the issue is not related to a policy set forth by the Minneapolis Police Department. The force used against Mr. Floyd was unnecessary, inexcusable, and prohibited.
In other words, this was a human error, not a policy error.
2. Require De-escalation
“Require officers to de-escalate situations, where possible, by communicating with subjects, maintaining distance, and otherwise eliminating the need to use force.” – 8 Can’t Wait Official
Many states require de-escalation training for law enforcement, and that trend has been increasing every year since 2010, however, this policy implementation references an officer’s legal obligation to de-escalate. While these activists are tendentious in their efforts here, Supreme Court caselaw outweighs their passion.
Recently, in the 2017 Supreme Court case of Roell V Hamilton, the court ruled in favor of the officers stating, “Officers are not prohibited from using force on a person in crisis.” Specifically, the court noted, “No caselaw prohibits officers from using any physical force against a person first attempting alternative de-escalation techniques…“
More notably, the case of Graham V Connor created what is known today as the “Objective Reasonableness Standard”, which dictates that officers are not required to use or even consider using the least intrusive force available if the force used was objectively reasonable. Uniquely, objective reasonableness does not require any specific culpable mental state from the person causing risk.
3. Require warning before shooting
“Require officers to give a verbal warning in all situations before using deadly force.” – 8 Can’t Wait Official
Pick your jaw up off the floor and quit laughing… Believe it or not, this is real… It took me a long time to wrap my mind around this concept enough to even entertain it with an intelligent response, but here goes…
Let’s ignore the obvious stupidity in this lib-logic “policy” and jump to a much more reliable source of wisdom; the United States Constitution.
The fourth amendment to the USC uses the objective reasonableness standard (mentioned in the last section) to relieve officers of the legal obligation to give a warning before shooting.
This means that an officer is NOT required by law to give a verbal warning before resorting to deadly force (in most cases).
Think about it; if a man was charging you with a knife, should you have to give him a warning before defending yourself? By that point, it’s too late, you’re more than likely dead.
This is a stupid suggestion and I honestly refuse to entertain it further; my apologies.
4. Requires exhaust all alternatives before shooting
“Require officers to exhaust all other alternatives, including non-force and less lethal force options, prior to resorting to deadly force.” – 8 Can’t Wait Official
Please excuse the broken record as we revert back to the permissions granted to police officers within the fourth amendment of the United States Constitution.
In reference to the objective reasonableness standard set forth by Graham V Connor, if an officer believes a person’s actions place them or someone else in the immediate vicinity in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death, the officer can reasonably exercise the use of deadly force.
The fourth amendment allows officers, in these specific instances, to jump to deadly force without exhausting all less-than-lethal options.
Ultimately, it doesn’t make sense to combat a lethal risk with a less-than-lethal response.
5. Duty to intervene
“Require officers to intervene and stop excessive force used by other officers and report these incidents immediately to a supervisor.” – 8 Can’t Wait Official
Again, we find that caselaw has already been provided in this matter.
Diving into the 1996 case of Jones V City of Hartford, the courts ruled that, “Police officers have an affirmative duty to intercede on behalf of a citizen whose constitutional rights are being violated in their presence by other officers.” Officers who fail to intervene may be liable for the harm caused by their colleagues.
This case law became quickly established more than two decades prior to the #8CAN’TWAIT campaign. Every single police officer in the United States is made aware (in early phases of training) that they have a legal obligation to intervene when civil rights are being violated in their presence. This caselaw does not discriminate against rank, sex, gender, religion, etc.
Unfortunately, in the George Floyd incident, what we saw was again a human error, not a legislative one. This policy also already exists just about everywhere.
6. Ban shooting at moving vehicles
“Ban officers from shooting at moving vehicles in all cases, which is regarded as a particularly dangerous and ineffective tactic. While some departments may they restrict shooting at vehicles to particular situations, these loopholes allow for police to continue killing in situations that are all too common. 62 people were killed by police last year in these situations. This must be categorically banned.” – 8 Can’t Wait Official
My primary concern with this principle is in the policy language itself. This language definitively prohibits an action which will inevitably result in an officer violating the policy under more than reasonable circumstances. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at a real-world example:
An officer is dispatched to reports of a male assaulting his girlfriend. Upon the officer’s arrival to the scene, he observes the described male suspect striking the female with a glass bottle on her head. The suspect then gets in his motor vehicle which is parked in the driveway facing towards the street and turns on the ignition. The officer stands in front of the motor vehicle and places the suspect at gunpoint, giving him multiple loud verbal commands to turn off the vehicle, to which he does not comply. At that time, the suspect puts the vehicle in drive and begins to accelerate towards the officer in an attempt to flee the scene. The officer reasonably discharges his weapon to eliminate the lethal threat posed at his life, as he does not have time or room to reposition himself before the vehicle inevitably strikes him.
This is a dumbed-down example of what could easily be a justified shooting, however, considering the language of the policy itself, this officer has just committed a violation. Is it fair to expect law enforcement officers to operate under these impossible circumstances? Certainly not.
7. Require use of force continuum
“Establish a Force Continuum that restricts the most severe types of force to the most extreme situations and creates clear policy restrictions on the use of each police weapon and tactic.” – 8 Can’t Wait Official
Like many of these policy ideas, this already exists everywhere. The first known versions of a use of force diagram were developed in the 1980’s-1990’s. They all started off as a very linear “stair-step” approach to use of force, and have evolved today into more of what people would call a “continuum”. The difference is that police, as a whole, have taken away the necessity to progress in a linear fashion from one force option to the next. The continuum approach allows officers to jump between options as reasonably necessary, dependent on the totality of the circumstances.
An example use of force continuum consists of the following:
- Officer Presence
- Verbal Commands
- Empty-hand Techniques
- Hard-control Techniques
- Less-than-lethal Weapons (tasers, batons, OC spray, etc.)
- Deadly Force
This (or a close variant) is taught extensively in every police academy in the United States.
8. Require Comprehensive Reporting
“Require officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force against civilians. Comprehensive reporting includes requiring officers to report whenever they point a firearm at someone, in addition to all other types of force.” – 8 Can’t Wait Official
Much like with policy #6, there are some vital language errors here which will inevitably cause an officer to fail in his/her actions. For example, “… each time they use force or threaten to use force”; what does that mean exactly? If an officer temporarily places someone under a lawful detention (not arrest) during an investigation, does he then have to go generate a police report for that action?
Taking this mess one step further, if we refer back to the examples of force options I provided under policy #7, the first one is “officer presence”.
“…in addition to all other types of force.”
If officer presence is technically considered to be a type of force, is the officer now required to generate a report for every single citizen interaction on their shift? Even the peaceful ones? What about when he talks to the barista at Starbucks to get his morning cup of coffee? I mean, that is technically officer presence.
Yes, this is all a reach, but a point needs to be proven. Language is dangerous. More so, sloppy language is dangerous. When we allow policies like these to be implemented without a care in the world, we in turn give up our freedom as Americans. Once those freedoms are relinquished, it takes a march through Hell to get them back.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know. Let’s have a discussion. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any direct questions.