Former LAPD officer Sunil Dutta, a professor of homeland security at Colorado Tech University, argues on The Washington Post that it is not the police officer, but the people they stop, who are ultimately responsible for how an encounter with law enforcement turns out.
Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?
Meanwhile, Ryan Devereaux, of The Intercept, recalls his encounter with the Ferguson PD, where he was shot with rubber bullets and arrested, despite identifying himself as a journalist, with his hands raised in the air.
[...] With their high-powered lights scanning the neighborhood, the only option we had was to announce ourselves as members of the press and hope they wouldn’t shoot. We stepped out of the shadows, our hands in the air, and began yelling, “Press!” and “Journalists!” and “We’re media!” over and over. An officer on top of the vehicle turned his light on us. After a pause, he beckoned us forward. We continued walking, our hands still in the air, still shouting that we were journalists.
With rifles trained on us, we turned right on Highmunt Dr., in the direction of W. Florissant and toward another police vehicle, which had more guns pointed at us. As we made our way forward, I heard a pop and felt a stinging in my lower back. I jumped up instinctively, and realized that the officers behind us, the ones who had asked us to move forward, had shot us with what I believe were rubber bullets. I was hit once and Hermsmeier was hit twice.
The shooting left a mean bruise, but all the guns trained on us provided an ample distraction from the sting. We were frightened. [...]
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