Friday, August 05, 2016

Peaceful Isn't Cops' Priority. Compliance Is.

So, more on the killing of Korryn Gaines by Baltimore County, Maryland police. In my last post I covered the double standard vis a vis cops and secrecy. To wit, if you or I act in advance to conceal actions from public view and those actions culminate in someone's death, the concealment will be treated as evidence of intent and we will almost certainly go to prison. Costumed government employees who have shiny badges, on the other hand, will be allowed to "investigate" themselves, declare that they've determined they did nothing wrong, and move on to the next violent encounter.

My friend David Klaus forwarded me this piece from Time, which includes more verbiage from Baltimore County police chief James Johnson. Quoth Johnson:

For hours, we pleaded with her to end this peacefully.

This implies that the standard of operational success, from the vantage point of the Baltimore County Police Department, was a peaceful end to the encounter.

But a peaceful end to the encounter was available to them at any time. All they had to do to achieve that was get in their cars and drive away.

No, I'm not saying that is what I would expect them to do. I'm just pointing out that a peaceful end to the encounter wasn't the priority. The apprehension of Korryn Gaines was.

How high a priority, and how far a priority from peacefully ending the encounter?

High enough and far enough that if apprehending her proved impossible, they were willing to execute her rather than leave her alone.

And yes, it was an execution. We don't know exactly what happened because the police department acted to ensure that the public couldn't see what happened, which is damning in itself. But even the official police account states that it was a police officer who fired first and that Gaines only returned fire in (not the terms the police use, of course) defense of herself and her five-year-old son.

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