Tag Archives: police officer

Dashcam Video Released From Philando Castile Traffic Stop…

So, the police dashcam video footage has been just released earlier today from the Philando Castile shooting in July 2016.  This video hasn’t been released until today, due to it being held back as evidence in the officer’s trial.

This is the shooting that further enraged things in the U.S. going on with the Black Lives Matter movement, due to it being another unfortunate case of a black male shot and killed by police, but was exacerbated by the fact that Castile had a permit for the legal gun in his possession, and also due to the fact that his girlfriend who was in the vehicle at the time (along with her four-year-old daughter too) actually live-streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.

The police officer in question, Jeronimo Yanez, was charged with manslaughter after the shooting occurred in the state of Minnesota last summer.  He was just acquitted of all charges just late last week.  Yet, the police department he worked for in the city of St. Anthony has now also decided to terminate him regardless of his acquittal.

Jeronimo Yanez, as the police officer, is a Latino male police officer.  Philando Castile, as the shot and killed driver, was a 32-year-old black male, who worked as an elementary-school cafeteria worker, and had a proper permit to own the firearm that was found in the vehicle with him.

Yanez’s defense pointed to the fact that Castile was high on marijuana at the time of the shooting, as to a reason why he was not listening to the officer’s commands, and that Yanez stated that Castile was going for the gun.

So, all that said, here’s the link for the video.  Mature subject matter, obviously.  Please use your discretion…

Video: Dashcam Video, full screen

CBC News: Dashcam video shows officer firing 7 shots into Philando Castile car

I gotta say…

Fuck me.  I don’t know what to say.

There’s been a lot of videos of officer-involved-shootings in the U.S. lately, and be it from the Michael Brown shooting to the Tamir Rice shooting to the Jamar Clark shooting, I’ve personally believed that the racial profiling, on the part of protesters, has slanted their view more than that of the officers involved; I myself have seen all those videos / publically-released reports now, and felt that, whether I personally agreed with them or not, or whether I would have done the same or not, that the officer’s actions could be justified.  (And grain of salt here – that’s as an outside person, seeing only what anyone else in the public can see, and trying to look at it from an informed position, but understanding that I may not have all the info, and it’s just an opinion.)

But this video…


The sheer terror.  The anger mixed with terror that the officer displayed afterwards.  I don’t know if that’s solely and only a stress reaction to the incident at hand, but it doesn’t look like racism to me.  To say this was “another” racist shooting is out of hand frankly (and yes, the cop was Latino, but it doesn’t matter that way either, in my opinion).  It’s reactionary vile of the “hands-up-don’t-shoot” variety spouted off by those that want to add fuel to the fire to anything race related in the U.S.  Take this exact same shooting, and put a white driver and a black officer with the EXACT same scenario and action run through to the exact same conclusion (just changing up the colours and roles therefore), and you won’t see people saying it’s racist.

But it does look terrifying to me.  Did the officer actually react according to his training, due to the threat to life that he perceived, and therefore did he act properly per his training?  Or did the officer overreact?  I dunno.  The biggest thing with that is whether or not the threat to life was a “reasonable belief” / reasonable threat.

Did the driver actually reach for the gun?  Even with the girlfriend sitting in the front seat, she may not have actually seen what the officer saw, nor knew what the subject was thinking / doing.  No matter what the court and jury decided (and, they decided outright that they believed the officer’s defense 10-2 at the beginnings of deliberations, and then unanimously acquitted him in the end), only Officer Yanez himself and Castilo himself truly know what happened, and what each other’s intents were.

All I know is, this video, and the anguish for all involved, is the only one in a good long time that had me have such a gut-wrenching reaction.

I honestly felt violently ill after watching this one.

I’ve had a time once that I’ve screamed at someone like that, asking them why they’ve put me (and us both) in the situation they did.  And that wasn’t even a “gun’s-out” situation.

And, it almost sounds indefensible.  Almost of the “why’d-you-make-me-do-that” rationale that spousal abusers and their ilk will use afterwards to justify their actions.

But, it can be real.

No matter what I’ve done / will do in my policing career, no matter what I’ve done / will do in my soldiering career, either at home in Canada or overseas, I do fully understand that policing in the U.S. is a completely different beast from what I do.  I’ve said to many friends and family – stereotyping as it may be – that I really don’t think I could be a street cop in U.S. cities such as Miami or New York or Los Angeles.  And that from a guy that’s stood downrange from baddies in strange overseas spots, and had a good couple of gun’s-out situations in my short-so-far policing career…I just know that what U.S. cops deal with is, well, different.  Not better or worse, but different.

This one video was just absolutely gut-wrenching to watch.

There can be both victims and perpetrators on all sides.

Why has “unarmed” seemed to become synonymous with “not deadly”?!?!

So, yet another tragic police-involved shooting incident in the U.S. of an unarmed black male…

“Tony Robinson shooting elicits Madison police chief’s sympathy”

Yes, “black lives matter”.  But, why does it always seem to be the black lives that are taken by white police officers that become an issue for the various protesters and others of the ilk of Al Sharpton, etc., etc.?

No one seems to be protesting in the streets and chanting “black lives matter”, and screaming “burn this bitch down”, when young black men kill each other – it’s not politically relevant as much, or doesn’t sell as many papers as the rascist-inflammed and twisted viewpoint that white cops are gunning down poor, innocent, harmless black “kids”.

In 15 years in the U.S., from 1999 to 2014, there were 76 black males killed in police custody or in the course of arrest…

“Unarmed People of Color Killed by Police, 1999-2014”

In fact, black males kill black males more than any other population group, and 93% of murder victims are killed by someone who shares their own race…

“Juan Williams: No. 1 cause of death for African-American males 15-34 is murder”

Somehow, the political, black rights, and social groups have banded together in recent months and years, and somehow turned this into a race-baiting issue.  Hell, if you don’t agree with them that white cops are senselessly gunning their kids down in the street, then you’re a racist. If you point out that black males are killing each other more so than at any other time or by any other group, well, you’re a racist, because you don’t see how the past treatment by the white man caused these conditions.  No self-responsibility, no self-awareness, nothing – these groups seem to aim to have others fix the problems for them, and stick their heads in the sand as to the community itself festering in these self-promulgating conditions.

There were also two police officers that were recently shot in a shootout with some subjects a month or so in New York, during the midst of all this racial unrest.  Where was the self-righteous Al Sharpton and the rest of his cronies then?  Where was the thousands and thousands of people protesting then??  Where were the signs saying “Police Lives Matter”, or simply “Lives Matter”, no black, no white????

With these recent occurrences, there seems to be this thought that “unarmed” seems to mean “non-deadly” or “non-violent”.

Let me share something…

Source: The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, A National Use of Force Framework (November 2000), 13.
Source: The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, A National Use of Force Framework (November 2000), 13.

That’s called the “Use of Force Continuum”, and it’s what myself and relatively all other police officers are trained on.  The differences in various Canadian provinces and U.S. states may be present, but overall, it’s a similar item used across policing everywhere.

The concept is that the Use of Force Continuum emphasizes that there are several degrees of responses to threats that do not involve weapons, and that weapons are only an option of last resort.  Lethal force is also only used when the officer has a perception that there is a threat of serious/grievous bodily harm or death, as illustrated by the subject, and focused as a threat to the officer or any other member of the public that the officer has a duty to protect.

Does a gun always present a threat of serious/grievous bodily harm or death?  Absolutely.  Doesn’t matter if it’s proven to be loaded or not, firing pin broken or not, etc., etc. – those are all semantics for afterwards.  Bad guy points a gun, threat is real.  Period.

Knife?  Same thing, if you’re within a certain distance.

Anything else that can be used as a weapon?  Perhaps.


Take the Michael Brown case.  It’s now known that he tried to disarm the officer, was beating him in the head, the officer felt his life was threatened, a round went off in the car, Michael ran away, the officer felt woozy and felt like he was about to lose consciousness from the beating and altercation, Michael was a giant of a man compared to the officer, and then after running away he turned and charged back at the officer.

Reasonable to believe that the officer felt his life was threatened?  Absolutely.

Just because Michael was unarmed, didn’t mean he didn’t portray a deadly threat.  Due to the circumstances around that, it was extremely likely and reasonable for the officer to believe that if Michael got back to him, the officer might lose the fight, have his weapon taken from him by Michael, and be slaughtered.

This new incident with Tony Robinson in Wisconsin.  Again, not all the facts are out yet, but since these special interest groups are rushing to judgement immediately – the officer was responding to a call of multiple occurrences involving the same subject, of a threatening manner and a battery that had occurred, busted into the subject’s apartment (lawful and required action of a police officer) after hearing an ongoing disturbance, etc.  Some media reports I’ve seen have stated that that officer was struck over the head with a pipe or other metal object, that the subject was something in the nature of 6-foot-5-inches and 220-plus-pounds (vastly different from the officer), and that the officer said the subject was trying to take his gun away from him in a struggle.

Reasonable to believe that the officer felt his life was threatened?  Absolutely.

With the above two examples, unarmed does NOT mean non-deadly.  One thing I was taught as a cop – no matter what, NO MATTER WHAT, there is ALWAYS at least one gun at any scene…mine.  If I “lose the fight”, if some guy gets the better of me, if he’s already taken the choice to fight a uniformed police officer and disregard the law to that extent, it’s more than reasonable to believe that if he knocks me out he’s going to want to get my damn gun – from that point, there’s only really one round he needs to use to take me out, and then gawd knows how many others could be killed or hurt with the remaining rounds.  The onus is on every individual police officer to always go home to our family’s, and to always protect the public safety as well, and if some subject, unarmed or not, wants to present a threat like that and have his family claim afterwards that their “poor innocent harmless child” has previously “never done no harm to anyone”, tough.

These special interest groups, these parents (and I do understand their grief and anger, no matter how ill-aimed it may be), these communities – they need to fix their own issues, fix the roots of the problems.  They need to stop blaming everyone and everything else.  They need to wake up that, yes, while everyone’s sons and daughters may be sweet, innocent, harmless little babies at one point in their life, they sometimes develop into little devils and gangbangers and deviant criminals.  If your “innocent little darling child” has an arrest record and rap sheet longer than their scholastic endeavours, there’s an issue there.  If they’re “well known to police”, generally it’s safe to say they haven’t been a complete angel, no matter the sentimental misrepresentation.

These aren’t “innocent kids” as some of them claim – these are men, old enough to vote and drive and be done school and be working.  These are sometimes giants of men, stereotypical “football players” – tall, well-built, muscular, determined men.

White, black, red, yellow – doesn’t matter.  Unarmed or not – doesn’t matter.  If a subject exhibits a threat of serious/grievous bodily harm or death, that’s when the “police challenge” is issued by the officer yelling “Police, stop!!!” or “Police, don’t move!!!” and drawing their weapon to bear.  After that – cede and obey commands, or we’ll cede you for yourself.