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Imagine you are walking down the street listening to music. Police see something about you that they don't like. They are behind you though and call on you to stop. You can't hear them. What happens next?

I've written cases in which Deaf people experience just this - the police feel disrespected and they react. Here's one recent example. Trust me, there are others.

In the comments to yesterday's diary, I heard that at least some witnesses reported Lopez, the 13-year-old boy shot by police last week, was wearing headphones. I cannot confirm this directly, but here's one link

*Additional details to this tragedy.. Andy Lopez was shot in an open field where local kids go to play and do target practice with BB guns. He also had headphones on.. He was shot as he was turning around and then shot several more times as he on the ground. Police handcuffed before giving him CPR..more details to come..*.
I am working hard, in my writing, to push the abled to care about the rights of the disabled. In my CNN piece on Ethan Saylor, I talked about the concept of being only temporarily-able bodied, a core Disability 101 concept. Unlike other kinds of identities - race, gender, sexuality - we are all nearly guaranteed a trip into disability, and perhaps back out again (pregnancy, a broken leg, a serious but curable illness). Disability waits for all of us as we age. So I concluded that essay by writing:
Disability rights are universal human rights, not abstract principles. But if it takes a personal reason to care about rights for the disabled, remember this: You might need them someday.
I was thinking about age, illness, and accident.

But now I'm thinking about headphones and ear buds, devices designed to block out the sounds of the world, rendering us unable to respond to police commands.

There's more to the Lopez case. Witnesses are coming forward to argue that the deputies' story is untrue:

Rojas and Marquez say they heard the deputies yell in english "drop the gun."

"Abrieron la puerta de cada lado y sacaron la pistola y tas, tas," Rojas said.

She says almost immediately, both deputies then opened their doors and shots were fired.

Rojas and Marquez say deputies only yelled once before opening fire.

"Imediatamente le dispararon, no le dieron oportunidad de nada," Marquez said.

She says they fired immediately and didn't give him a chance to do anything
A spokesperson says:

But the description of events these women give is different than what investigators have described.

"Both deputies exited their vehicles, but maintained cover behind their opened doors. One of the deputies shouted at the subject to put the gun down," Santa Rosa Police Department spokesperson Paul Henry said.
Of course I'm suspicious that once the deputies found out they had killed a boy with a plastic rifle they changed their story, but either way, the boy clearly had very little time to react. Maybe he was wearing headphones. Listening to music. Lost in a daydream. And then shot, cuffed, and dead.

How fast could you react? Sure, you might not get shot, but you might get tased, beaten, or pepper sprayed.

This is the cult of compliance. Police speak. You comply immediately or you are punished. And then you are blamed for not complying.
Cross-posted and edited from my blog (updates daily) How Did We Get Into This Mess?

To read more, you could 'like' my public Facebook page.

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Originally posted to Lollardfish on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 06:39 AM PDT.

Also republished by Police Accountability Group.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Huh?? not likely (10+ / 0-)

    the police shot him because that's what police in this country can do with impunity.

    But this is a nice touch:

    Police handcuffed before giving him CPR.
    considering that I've never before heard that CPR can ameliorate the effects of gunshots on the heart.

    but it makes as much sense as swabbing the skin before inserting the IV to administer drugs during lethal injection executions, you know, to be sure that everything is sterile and the person doesn't get a deadly infection or anything like that.

  •  This is the most serious issue in this country. (14+ / 0-)

    the overreach, militarization of the police is the worst problem we have, the one that will rot us from the inside out as we start to distrust the people who are supposed to be on our side.

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 06:57:54 AM PDT

    •  I see it as an over-militarization of not just the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dodgerdog1, Amber6541

      police, but the population, what with reportedly more than 300 million firearms privately owned in the United States.  I don't claim to be a firearms expert, but I would imagine the guns are more lethal than they were 20, 30 and more years ago, due to faster muzzle velocities and larger magazines.  I'd also imagine that there's more presence of other items of concern, like body armor that could protect someone who's taken the time to procure it and put it on, more lethal bullets, etc.  I say again, I'm not any kind of expert, as I avoid guns as much as I can.

      I am sure the militarized and armored police are in some ways responding to more concealed-carry laws and permits, because the situation can be lethal more quickly.  All the gun nuts (not talking all gun owners, but the ones who are owning guns so they can resist government) aren't defusing the situation either.

      If there were more gun control, as in pretty much every other country than the US, police might not have such itchy trigger fingers and might be more willing to give a person a chance to respond to a command to drop a "weapon".  But since the 2nd Amendment is considered sacred, we're not going to see both parties disarming any time soon.

      I'm not saying that it applies in this particular case, but that's just what I believe from all the stories that talk about guns being involved in a number of police interactions with citizens.

      •  I'm sure they would like you to think that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oslyn7, BlackSheep1, pitbullgirl65
        I am sure the militarized and armored police are in some ways responding to more concealed-carry laws and permits, because the situation can be lethal more quickly.
        Problem is twofold: the militarization of police goes back way over 20 years ago and no, firearms have not become more fantastically lethal than they were 20, 30 or more years ago. The AR-15-pattern rifles people get so het up about have been on the civilian market since the 1960s and the majority of design changes have been improvements in material construction and reliability.

        The "We're outgunned and constantly in danger out there" meme is a subset of the "You dumbass civilians don't understand our job and how hard it is so you should STFU and mind your own business" meme. Situations in which police have ended up "outgunned" are actually very rare while situations where the police bring overwhelming firepower to bear on minor threats are common.

        The police having twitchy trigger fingers has nothing to do with gun control or a lack thereof. Jean Charles de Menezes could tell you about that, if he hadn't been shot full of holes by the London Police, under their Operation Kratos policy.

        Authoritarians will always find a justification for their abuses.

        •  So has there not been any growth in the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Be Skeptical, Amber6541

          number of guns or the number of carry permits (I'm talking in the US, here)?  Have the types of ammo available and the magazine sizes not substantially changed?  Have the incident rates of weapons in police stops been unchanged?  I'm asking - I admit I'm not an expert and I'm willing to accept that I've been swayed by one side or the other.

          •  Absolutely there has been a growth in both the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ColoTim, Amber6541

            number of carry permits and the number of privately-owned firearms. However, going by the numbers of in-the-line-of-duty deaths provided by the Officer Down Memorial Page, the number of officers killed by gunfire per year seems to hover between 50-70 for every year from 1985 to the present day with one or two spikes up to 80 or more.

            I presume by "incident rates of weapons in police stops" you might be meaning how often cops find weapons on people they're stopping and searching. That I don't have any ready info on. But I can tell you that their job is not any more dangerous today than it was in 1985 and that's with their own numbers to back it up.

            •  I appreciate the information and the link. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Years ago I was in a quasi-law enforcement position with a federal agency but I had no law enforcement training or actual responsibility.  Yet I would be seen as a law enforcer if someone had reason to see me in that light.  Lots of mistakes have been made in those situations, but I got out of it without ever really being unsupported by real LE.  I'd feel a lot more leery about trying that these days.

  •  The culture of obedience is abusive. (7+ / 0-)

    Abused people, rather than risk additional injury through revenge, tend to pass it on. The police are subject to the culture of obedience. Passing it on is their not so subtle revenge.
    Focusing on the secondary victims, the people killed by the police does not help.
    Moreover, the culture of obedience is predicated on the belief that one person's bad experience (getting shot dead for no reason) will teach others to refrain from suspect behaviors. Given that perspective, the falling rate of serious violent crime can be ascribed to the police keeping the rabble in line.
    Also, since the ideal is that people stay in their home, work or cages on wheels, individuals on foot are perceived as a threat.

  •  no matter (6+ / 0-)

    what the circumstance, or the boy's behavior, the cops will not be disclipined or punished for this- that's the way america is.

    I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

    by old mule on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 07:20:17 AM PDT

  •  it's always possible to despise the cops (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    just a little bit more, and this story gives us a chance to do so.  What's the over/under that these cops are disciplined in any way whatsoever?  More than simply paid vacation? Getting fired? Going to jail?

  •  Erick Gelhaus has been named as the murderer (15+ / 0-)

    He is NOT whom I'd been thinking of. However, he had some priors involving beating underaged children that are known and are on-record.

    I will do what I can to find out more about the earphones situation tomorrow at the rally. I believe that it was Andy Lopez' father who first made this statement. The statement was made in Spanish. Some language barrier issues have made this hard to follow.

    The Sheriff's Office confirmed Sunday that Deputy Erick Gelhaus, 48, fired the shots. A 24-year veteran of the office, Gelhaus has been a frequent advocate in his writing for a prepared, aggressive stance in law enforcement, a profession he has described as a "calling" and likened to a "contact sport."

    In a 2008 article he wrote for S.W.A.T. Magazine about strategies for surviving an ambush in the "kill zone," Gelhaus began by describing the "nanoseconds (that) seem like minutes as you scramble to react while simultaneously thinking about your children and spouse."

    He had an exceedingly strong knowledge of guns. He, of all people, should be able to note the difference between a toy gun and a real one. Let alone a man and a 13-year old, hairless little boy.
    Gelhaus' role as a firearms instructor dates back to at least 1995. In an accident that made the news that year, he shot himself in the leg with his service handgun while holstering the gun to frisk a teen for weapons.
    One could say he'd just shot himself in the leg again. Metaphorically. Either way, he was a firearms instructor, ergo, the "toy gun" explanation is pretty silly.

    But wait, there's more on his gun expertise...

    While serving in Iraq, he reportedly supervised a heavy weapons squad and testified in court trials of insurgents.

    He also is an adjunct instructor, according to his LinkedIn profile, for Gunsite Academy, an Arizona company that teaches markmanship, gun-handling and other skills to military personnel, law enforcement and "free citizens of the U.S."

    Hm. Oh, wait...
    In his writing, he cuts an usually high profile, with a voluminous number of online posts and magazine articles. They shed some light on his worldview and outlook on law enforcement.

    He wrote for S.W.A.T. in 2008 that among the things he tells his trainees early on is that "Today is the day you may need to kill someone in order to go home."

    I hope he enjoys going home now, after killing a 13-year old little boy who was doing, literally, nothing.

    Well, he'd argued about BB guns before!

    As a prolific poster and moderator on The Firing Line, an online forum for gun enthusiasts hosted by S.W.A.T, Gelhaus, using his real name, offers his opinions on everything from weapons and technology, law enforcement and military tactics, and what it's like to work as a sheriff's deputy.


    In one revealing thread, forum members debated whether the use of force is justified if someone brandishes or fires a BB gun at another person.

    Gelhaus chimed in, writing that "It's going to come down to YOUR ability to articulate to law enforcement and very likely the Court that you were in fear of death or serious bodily injury.

    So it's not about accuracy or justice, it's about culpability. Got it.

    In 1997, he was accused of beating two minors, Karla and Israel Salazar (also Latino). As always, the jury acquitted him. No jury in Sonoma County has EVER found ANY officer guilty of ANY beating or fatality in my memory.

    I'll be seeking out more info about the headphones. Tipped & rec'd and running to class in five minutes.

    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

    by mahakali overdrive on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 09:44:04 AM PDT

    •  Gelhaus' writings, which I suspect will be removed (5+ / 0-)

      Before very long if anyone is interested enough to sift through and download these.

      For Modern Service Weapons:

      For SWAT:

      His profile on Gunsite:

      Erick Gelhaus has been a Deputy Sheriff with Sonoma County, CA. since 1989. He is currently assigned to the Patrol Division, along with being both a Senior Firearms Instructor and Armorer. Previously, he was assigned to the Gang Enforcement Team and Narcotics Investigations. Eric is an avid hunter both in North America and Africa. Eric teaches Pistol, Carbine, Shotgun and Rifle.
      Here is one forum he posted to, apparently about the BB gun issue, under his real name? I don't have time right now to go through it:

      You could say he's just kind of a gun enthusiast. As such, it's particularly bullshit that he claims to not have been able to distinguish a toy from a real gun; even I could see that in the photos. I think he was just playing permanent cops and robbers in his head.

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 10:00:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Avid Hunter in Africa" The Great White Hunter. (0+ / 0-)

        He's a piece of s**t trophy hunter.  This guy is a real class act. Did you read the part about "the Mean Gene"?
        He's a damn punk, just like Jeffery Salmon.

        "Down with sodomy, up with teabagging!" Sign @ TeaBilly rally.

        by pitbullgirl65 on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 08:39:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  As these news stories appear, time after time (7+ / 0-)

    It's beginning to feel like people are simply being used for target practice. The targeted populations are the ones viewed as "throw-aways" by our society, ensuring little or no repercussion befall their killers.

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