Thursday, June 17, 2010

Who The Hell Trains Cops To Work This Way?

Seattle's Finest.

I know that Cops have a tough job, Yada-yada-yada. But please, where are these mooks getting their training?
First of all, Officer Ian P. Walsh is attempting to issue a citation to a teenage girl for-- yes, jaywalking. And look how it escalates.
Sure, the girls had no right to resist the Cop, and should have shut up and taken the citation. But they're idiot teenagers, and they think the Cop is out of line. Look, I was worked over like this by a Cop when I was a teenager too.
Let's set the circumstances aside for now and look at how Walsh reacts to a little pushing and shoving: he punches the girl right in the face. He certainly knows that multiple people are recording the incident on cell phone cameras, and still reacts like he is a bully at the High School beer party.
Here is exactly where the skills of so-called "less-lethal" martial arts perform very well. If the Cop had any knowledge of Taiji push hands, Aikido, Small Circle Jijitsu or Chinese Chin na-- for craps sake, wrestling... the outcome may have been an arrest without hitting the girl. It just looks so awfully terrible.
Officer Walsh is arm grappling with the girl, yet fails to slip into any kind of arm bar or shoulder/elbow/wrist joint lock. A pain compliance hold may not look pretty to the camera's either, but it is way more professional and from the extended amount of time he is grappling with her there were plenty of opportunities.
Too many Cops are shooting marginally dangerous people with mental issues.
Too many Cops are Tasing people who are not resisting.
Too many Cops are hitting people because they can't handle a simple grappling situation.

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Erik the Strange said...

That officer is kind lousy at arrests. He is a danger to himself and others with technique like that. That teen girl gave him more troubles than he could handle.

check this one out from my hometown.

Toldain said...

Interesting that in the blogs of martial artists that teach striking arts, they felt he had no other option.

Dojo Rat said...

The Cop in the Texas video is lucky the 72 year-old Grandma didn't have a heart attack when he tased her.

Martial Development said...

Anyone who thinks they can safely grapple with two people at once, while carrying weapons on their belt and hoping to keep them, is kidding themselves.

If you disagree, please describe the specific technique you'll use against two uncooperative people, or better yet make a video.

Erik the Strange said...

Yeah Martial Development! Punch punch punch your way out of the situation. Punch what you can't control.

I think any technique that was effective could have been used. Things escalated because he could not control the situation. Even better than a effective technique would have been NO technique.

DR - ironically the Texas officer is the taser trainer. He did not receive any punishments for his actions.

Dojo Rat said...

We are talking about a "trained" officer arm-wrestling ineffectively with a teenage girl.
One girl at a time.
Are you telling me you might not have had a better solution?
His arms are all over her in slow motion ineffective grabbing. I'm sorry, but yes, I believe I could have done better.
In fact, I think I would have never let it get to that point over a stinking jaywalking violation. How about a little public relations? Probably half the reason the girls were outraged was because of the way the Cop was going heavy on them.
Sorry, but this is clearly excessive.

Sean C. Ledig said...

DR, the sad truth is that police have a lot of power in our society. As a result, the profession tends to attract a lot of low-life thugs like the one in that video who get off on being bullies.

Not all cops are like that. But even many of those who privately condemn the behavior like that seen in this video are reluctant to say or do anything against a fellow officer.

Consider the infamous Rodney King beating. To me, the tragedy of that isn't that four cops who pummelled a lone, unarmed suspect with batons. It's the 20 other officers from several agencies, present at the scene who sat and watched it happen.

Of those 20, not one testified against the other cops at the first trial and only one dared to say anything at the second trial.

Yeah, DR, like you, I've encountered my share of abuse by cops, too. I say thank God there are so many people out there with camcorders and camera phones. Now that they're under the spotlight, I hope we can clean up our police departments and get rid of the thugs-with-badges.

Sean C. Ledig said...

A major part of the problem is that most cops don't know shit about hand-to-hand combat. They know how to fire a gun, use a taser, swing a baton or "swarm" onto another suspect with other cops.

But one-on-one, they are completely lost. I definitely think Aikido or Judo/Jujitsu would be the best thing for a cop to study.

Lastly, I hope that officer is tested for drugs, particularly steroids.

Martial Development said...

Look, we're all martial artists here, so I'm asking you to name the technique that allows subduing two people at once, with less risk of injury than punching one of them.

Don't tell me that any technique would work; just describe one of them. (Or admit it doesn't exist.)

Changing the circumstances is not answering the question. Of course he could have, and should have responded differently, if he had known in advance that they would both fight him over a possible jaywalking citation. But he didn't know that, and arguably had no reason to suspect it.

Maybe he should have applied an arm bar--which you seem to believe she would not resist at risk of her own injury--while begging someone to call the cops? Oh wait, he is the cops.

I believe SOP is to slam a resisting suspect into the hood or side of the car, and cuff them quickly. If he had done that, he might have avoided the circumstances which led to the punch. But if he had done that, you'd be calling the first action excessive instead. And in that case you'd probably be right.

If anyone thinks they can handle this situation better, and they care to film a short re-enactment with their dojo pals, I will be happy to feature it on my blog. Hell, it might even go viral. But I would expect some realism in the demonstration.

Scott said...

I live in San Francisco where people regularly die and cause accidents by jaywalking. The same is true in Seattle. There is a place down here with a high school on one side of the intersection and a juvenile court on the other and bus stops on both sides. Certain times of day it gets really dangerous with saggy pants crossing in front of cars.
There are reasons for Jaywalking laws and they should be enforced in situations like that. The guy taking the video jaywalked, I hope they track him down and give him a ticket.
The question, is there a less dangerous technique, is valid. I can think of lots of techniques for taking down two at once but they all risk some injury. Grappling on cement with metal and cars and potentially multiple opponents, without injuries! Yeah, I've got a crosswalk in Paris you might want to buy.
But that isn't the point. The point is: are we going to support police officers who are doing this dangerous and often unpleasant job when they make split second decision to use force? My answer is yes, they deserve our support.

And I might add, my own experience being unjustly beaten by the police is the reason I'm so clear about this, not a justification for irrationally empathizing with the lawbreakers.

Jonathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean C. Ledig said...

Jonathan, Martial Development, Scott,

It should never have gotten that far. All I see a power-mad asshole who shouldn't be wearing a badge who's probably struggling to make his ticket quota.

A ticket for jay-walking? Give me a break!

And Sensei Strange, testify brother. The officer should have backed off, given some ground to diffuse the situation. The trouble is that there is a macho mentality with many cops (and others in our society) that giving ground is a sign of weakness.

Done properly, it can take the other guy off-balance (physically and psychologically) and given the officer a chance to re-take control of the situation.

Jonathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean C. Ledig said...

And Scott, supporting good, honest police officers who make split-second decisions does NOT mean we have to support thugs-with-badges like the one in the video.

I do not subscribe to the notion that to turn a blind eye to police abuse is supporting the police. Bad cops need to be weeded out and I think those citizens who shot video of that beating are doing a public service.

Otherwise, the next time some thug-with-a-badge is having a shitty day, he could come after one of us.

Sean C. Ledig said...

Jonathan, I didn't see that woman attack a police officer. The video started while the two were struggling.

How do we know she attacked the officer and the officer didn't provoke the situation by using excessive force in the process of making his ticket quota?

Never mind. I can see it wouldn't do any good to argue with someone who thinks "it doesn't matter" that it's a situation that should never have happened.

But I'll be interested in seeing what develops of this case in the coming days. What's this officer's history? Has he ever been accused of any malfeasance or misbehavior before?

Sean C. Ledig said...

And DR, I wanna say a big "Amen" to your last post.

Erik the Strange said...

Another thing the officer failed to do was verbally direct. Notice how he announced you are under arrest only after the cuffs were on. He was not giving her instructions, instead he was forcing a situation. I have done it, and been burned!

And to techniques, funny 2 of my guys knew I was having a bad day so they attacked when I came in the dojo for 10 minutes straight. I discovered there are about 100 different ways to tie two people up. A two person juji gatame worked the charm. A kote hineri on one and kote gaeshi on another also worked well. I could go on and on.....

I don't expect an officer to have 15 years of Aikido and Judo though, but he might want to start soon!

Journeyman said...

Maybe the revolution will be televised after all. This was for 'jay-walking'. Seriously ?

Whatever happened to proportionate response or policing by consent ? This is a naked abuse of power - tolerate it and we start on a slippery slope towards a police state.

Sadly recording it in the hope of bringing the abusers to justice probably isn't enough either - coppers close ranks and protect their own. It's tempting to say that those spectators would have been better advised to put down their cameras and intervene physically against this thug in uniform. The copper is so inept in the most basic techniques that for once the odds look like they are on the side of the people and not the forces of the state.

Unfortunately the consequences of escalation probably make this inadvisable. I don't know about the US, but in the UK, self-defence against the unreasonable use of force (by anyone including the police) is theoretically a legitimate defence. Not sure that anyone has successfully used it though.

daniele.perkele said...

I think this is one of those cases when both sides made big mistakes:
A- we assume (though we didn't see it) that the women jaywalked. It is a very minor crime, but man, jauywalking, especially whit a police officer nearby it's not that smart.
B- Presumably the officer wanted to impose them a fine. Seriously. I myself would have rebuked them and let them go.
C- Police officers should always work in pairs, and usually do. This situation clearly shows why.
D- The women did not try to resist arrest, at first, as there was no attempt to arrest anyone. They did vex the officer a lot though. A person in his wits would probably talk his way out, or accept the fine, or find a better way out than wrestling with a police officer...
E-The violence escalates as the woman in pink shirt pushes the officer. I mean, seriously, do you call that an attack?
F- ... However, that silly push did not achieve anything, or actually was taken as an attack, to which the policeman responded with another attack, an awkward punch which didn't seem to do much harm or injury. Fortunately.
G- The grapple. The officer needn't grapple with two people at a time, as the woman in pink went away (she didn't flee though, I think I've seen her standing just a few metres away). He engaged in a comic grapple and almost succeded in arm-locking himself! And what about the guy that seems to take away the other woman??

An expert martial artist could have grappled with the two at the same time. A decent officer would have handcuffed the two at the first sign of attack. Wise people would have talked with the policeman instead of trying to flee or attack him.

Charles James said...

Hi, DR: If only it were that simple. There are dynamics involved here to include physical, psychological, group dynamics, training or lack there of and many other variables that may have led to this incident.

When you make a study of the adrenaline dump caused by fear and stress, etc. along with the types of training necessary to cope/control such things along with group dynamics you begin to understand how such a travesty can occur.

This is not to say that the officer was justified because he was not but I would tend to look at the training because there are some natural and instinctive processes of mind and body that kick in and with out adequate training for reality based situations it can easily go beserk.

Our officer here in CA on the BART killing where the trial is going in LA is one such incident where inadequate training resulted in an officer inability to distinquish complex matters and in this case the worst occurred, a boy died.

There are so many variables here that it would be kind of irresponsible to make such judgments when our side or view is so distorted.

Society, media, movies, etc. all put our perceptions askew and it is going against nature and DNA to resist which most are unable to do due to ignorance.

Anyway, don't take this as a personal thing it is just a shame all the way around and there is more to this than you and I will ever know due to the media's pension for profit over facts.


Charles James said...

Martial Development: I ,personally, if I were a peace officer [note: I am a retired physec officer who worked with police at a Navy base, etc.] as soon as it esculated I would have backed off and called for back up.

We could always identify them again another day with more officers to install calm provided adequate training cause sometimes to many officers can result in rioting vs. calm.

There is no one technique in a chaotic situation where anyone comes out ahead.

Group dynamics tells me that the group would have gone to a higher level of anger and its offspring so my technique would to be de-esculate by backing off till another time.

To many times due to lack of training and a macho view or a view of power with out adequate training we tend to resist this way because it might be perceived and cowardice when in reality the results now are far worse.

Just a Thought!

Charles James said...

Ok last comment as there are to many comments that seem to be caught in a loop.

Martial Arts are not meant for self defense but for fighting. There is a difference.

Officers need the type of training that falls into another category that is not self defense nor fighting. The law says we can not go that direction.

If you think in a chaotic situation that one particular technique will work you are sadly mistaken.

To many folks I personally know have trained the way it seems most commnets point to and have run into problems, i.e. they got their clocks cleaned.

This is not dojo play, this is not fighting UFC or Judo or what ever. This is real life which is chaotic and messy and one technique is limiting where in reality the ability to achieve results takes training the mind to handle chaos.

If you are going to say you have been is street fights, etc. and know then let me say that this is what the professionals, not me necessarily, call the monkey dance and has nothing to do with violence.

Yes, this incident seems innocuous but in reality it did and could have gone further up the escalation ladder.

Get this, there is and never will be any one technique that will work every time in real life violent situations so stop fooling yourself.

I have practiced a "fighting art" for thirty-three years and I can tell you as a veteran Marine, etc. that what I practiced does not equate real life violent defense [although with proper mind and body training all MA's can be used for defense] and until we as a MA community stop judging according to our own story we put people in danger.

This officer fooled himself and now look at his future. The BART officer did the same and he will pay the ultimate price.

Off the soap box.

Martial Development said...

Charles, it first escalated when the officer asked him to stop, and she told him to fuck off.

Is there a police radio code for that? 547, officer insulted? I am not necessarily against calling for backup in that case, but I question whether there are enough cops in the city to institute such a policy.

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