'No More Hesitation'
William Norman Grigg
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You know the
score… You’re not a cop, you’re little people!
Captain Harry Bryant to retired "Blade Runner" Rick Deckard,
who was reluctant to resume his career as a state-licensed killer.
hesitation Little boy with real gun
advertised purpose in
visiting Minneapolis on February 4 was to combat the scourge of
gun violence. The substantive purpose of his visit was to promote
a state monopoly on gun violence, exercised by people who are trained
and authorized to kill pregnant women, children, and the elderly.
It would take
about fifteen minutes – assuming that the traffic is favorable –
to drive from the Special
Operations Center in downtown Minneapolis, the site of Obama’s
photo op with hundreds of area police, to the home office of Law
Enforcement Targets, Inc., in nearby Blaine. The company, a contractor
for the Department of Homeland Security, produces training targets
that are "designed to give officers the experience of dealing
with deadly force shooting scenarios with subjects that are not
the norm during training," according to its promotional literature.
Among the training
targets are images depicting "non-traditional threats,"
such as pregnant women, children, and grandmotherly women – in other
words, "Little People" – carrying guns.
marketing team explains
that the "non-traditional targets " were created at
the request of police officers and trainers, who are seeking
to dis-inhibit the killing instincts of police "when deadly
force is required on subjects with atypical age, frailty or condition….
This hesitation time may be only seconds but that is not acceptable
when officers are losing their lives in these same situations….
If that hesitation time can be cut down due to range experience,
the officer and the community are better served."
That is to
say, it can condition them to overcome the natural and indispensable
reluctance to kill the innocent and helpless. This is summarized
in the company’s sales slogan: "No more hesitation."
A few years
ago, the media experienced a brief but acute spasm of indignation
over the fact that pictures
of Obama were being used as targets at arcade games. This was
done to capitalize on a commendable impulse – unfettered contempt
for a corrupt official who kills and impoverishes others under the
color of "authority" – that had curdled into simple rancor.
The paying customers at that shooting gallery, however, had not
been indoctrinated in the belief that they had social license to
engage in discretionary killing, nor were they being conditioned
to kill others without hesitation.
Law Enforcement Targets, Inc., its training materials are used by
several federal agencies, every branch of the military, and "thousands
of law enforcement agencies at the municipal, county, and state
levels." Its materials were almost certainly used to train
some of the officers assembled at the Special Operations Center
for Obama’s February 4 photo-op. It’s likely that company officials
had been invited, as well.
That fact didn’t
perturb the Secret Service as it made security arrangements for
the photo-op. However, the presidential security detail should have
taken alarm over the fact that the assembly included the hyper-violent
men who shot and killed Obama – not the politician, the six-month-old
Pitbull puppy – three years ago.
On July 9,
2009, a ten-officer Minneapolis SWAT team attacked the home of Darrell
and Cymonne Williams. The no-knock raid – which violated the terms
of the search warrant – was staged to arrest Cymonne’s adult son,
Tierre Caldwell, who was a suspect in a shooting. At the time of
the raid the police knew that Caldwell lived at a different address.
drawn and wearing standard Stormtrooper attire, the police broke
down the front door and barged into the home. Reacting to the commotion,
Obama (the puppy) barged downstairs with Cymonne following behind
him. Before she could clearly see the intruders, they had already
shot and killed the dog. She retreated back up the stairs in terror,
passing her alarmed husband, who had settled down for an afternoon
nap after finishing work. Darrell was clad only in his underwear
when he confronted the invaders.
the hell are you doing in my house?" he demanded. One of the
officers yelled at him to get down. With his hands raised, Darrell
reiterated his question. By way of reply, Sgt. Mark Sletta committed
an act of aggravated assault by hitting Darrel in the face with
the butt of his assault rifle. As the victim hit the floor, Officer
Mark Durand kicked him repeatedly in the torso while two others
zip-cuffed him. Two other officers pitched in by stomping on the
prone and helpless man. The intruders briefly searched the home
and, failing to find the subject of the arrest warrant, left with
neither an explanation nor an apology.
was taken to the hospital to be treated for severe trauma to his
right eye, bruised ribs, and other injuries. The criminal violence
inflicted on him by the armed tax-feeders who invaded his home caused
Darrell to miss eight days of productive work.
After the Williams
family filed a lawsuit against the department, the perpetrators
invoked the familiar claim of "qualified immunity." The
US District Court for Minnesota, examining the incident with
solicitous care for the privileges of the state’s punitive priesthood,
ruled that the sacred imperative of "officer safety" justified
the killing of Obama (the dog), the use of a rifle to attack Darrell
Williams, and the act of stomping on his head once he was prone,
handcuffed, and bleeding.
not clear to the rational mind, the same court that approved of
those acts of violence and property destruction said that Officer
Durand’s act of kicking Williams in the ribs was not covered
by "qualified immunity." It’s possible that this was done
to provide the family with a single actionale claim. This, in turn,
gave the city an opportunity to negotiate a paltry civil settlement
in order to make the case go away. The Williams family eventually
received $75,000 from the City of Minneapolis.
taxpayers were forced to underwrite a much bigger settlement with
Russell, a young woman who suffered third- and fourth-degree
burns to her legs during a SWAT raid on her boyfriend’s apartment.
16, 2010, Russell and her boyfriend were eating a late dinner when
a SWAT team broke down the door to the apartment. One of the raiders
looked into Russell’s eyes before throwing a flash-bang grenade
directly at her.
the ground!" grunted one of the stormtroopers as more than
a dozen others swarmed into the room. While she was being zip-cuffed,
Williams complained that her legs were "on fire." Her
legs were covered with shrapnel from the flash-bang grenade, which
burns at a temperature of 3,800-4,200 degrees. The skin on both
of her calves had been eaten away.
The raid was
staged in pursuit of a drug dealer who didn’t live at the address,
and who wasn’t known by either Williams or her boyfriend. The city
paid off the victim with a huge subsidized settlement, but the criminals
who left her mangled were never punished.
long and painful skin-graft treatments in which flesh was removed
from her scalp in order to reconstruct her legs. She is still undergoing
therapy to recover from her injuries.
City Council shelled out $1 million in plundered wealth to settle
Russell’s lawsuit – and most of that sum will probably be devoured
by medical expenses. One of her assailants, former Minneapolis Police
Sgt. David Clifford – has
subsequently been charged with first-degree assault for an unprovoked
attack on a 40-year-old man named Brian Vander Lee at a bar last
a father of four who is employed in the productive sector, was talking
on a cell phone when Clifford accosted him and then hit him with
a punch to the head that knocked him to the ground. As a result
of falling head-first onto a concrete surface, the victim suffered
head trauma so intense that it required two brain surgeries and
40 hours on life support.
The bold and
valiant SWAT operator who sucker-punched the unarmed and puzzled
victim, and then ran away, insisted
that he acted in "self-defense" – but don’t they always?
He remains on paid administrative leave pending his trial in April.
In 2011, Minneapolis
tax victims underwrote $4.7 million in legal settlements to
"Little People" who suffered criminal violence at the
hands of the municipality’s punitive caste – and to the survivors
of people who were killed by them. City Attorney Susan Segal breezily
dismisses that figure, and the carnage that produced it, as the
kind of overhead that comes from doing a brisk business in official
Police have more than a million contacts with people every year,
and our officers are constantly in harm’s way," Segal sniffed.
She apparently believes that the danger comes from the police coming
into contact with the public they supposedly serve, when clearly
the police themselves are the most prolific practitioners of violence.
In 2007, a
$4.5 million settlement was paid to a single victim – the late Duy
Ngo. Mr. Ngo was a Vietnamese refugee who enlisted in the Army
the summer of his senior year in High School and became a police
officer a few years later. In 2003, while working undercover with
the Metro Gang Strike Force, Ngo was
shot by a fellow officer.
who was sitting in an unmarked police vehicle in an area frequently
by drug dealers, was shot by a would-be carjacker. His bullet-resistant
vest saved Ngo’s life during the initial shooting. After calling
for assistance, Ngo pursued the attacker, but lost him within a
few blocks. Seeking to catch his breath, and dealing with abdominal
pain from the point-blank shots fired into his vest, Ngo slumped
to his knees at an intersection, then waved his hands feebly when
a police car pulled up. A few seconds later, Officer Charles Storlie
emerged from the car and immediately opened up on Ngo with his MP5
semi-automatic machine gun. Ngo survived the second shooting, but
was left permanently disabled.
than his physical injuries was the sense of disillusionment that
descended on Ngo as he found himself being treated as one of the
he had served ventilated rumors that Ngo, an Army reservist, had
staged the initial shooting in an attempt to avoid deployment to
Iraq. When Storlie visited Ngo in the hospital, the shooter informed
the victim that although he regretted Ngo’s condition, he believed
that he had done the right thing in the circumstances by shooting
him – and that he would do exactly the same thing in the future
in similar situations.
gentlemen: Behold a police officer who meets Law Enforcement Training,
Inc.’s "No Hesitation" standard.
underwent twenty-six surgeries. The department, employing every
dilatory tactic it had perfected in dealing with excessive force
complaints filed by Mundanes, dragged out the official inquiry through
four years and the administrations of three police chiefs. In 2007,
the city approved a $4.7 million civil
settlement to Ngo.
was a staggering amount of money," observed Mayor R.T. Rybak.
"But it’s staggering how much officers put their lives on the
deployed the appropriate cliché without considering the context:
Ngo, once again, was shot to pieces by another police officer –
that is, someone who represents the most dangerous element in the
saved him from the first shooting. In the second shooting, his body
was mangled but his life was spared because of the characteristically
poor marksmanship of a police officer. But the wounds – and the
concentrated viciousness of the bureaucracy that employed him –
did eventually prove fatal: He
committed suicide in June 2010.
By that time,
Ngo – who remained on the force – was confined to clerical duties.
That means that he was a Cop In Name Only, a status just above that
of the Little People. And in the eyes of the Exalted Purveyors of
Officially Sanctioned Violence, such creatures are useful for little
more than target practice.
Norman Grigg [send him mail]
publishes the Pro
Libertate blog and hosts the Pro
Libertate radio program.
© 2013 William Norman Grigg
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