Friday, April 16, 2021

Death and Confusion

Or confusion and death, as the case may be.

This isn't news, however it's a starting point.  On April 11th, 2021, Daunte Demetrius Wright was pulled over for a moving violation - expired plates and an object dangling from his rear-view mirror (an air freshener, not that it matters).  Both of these are illegal in the State of Minnesota.  The arresting officers ran his license and discovered that Daunte Demetrius Wright had a warrant out for his arrest.  They (being three police officers, one young male, one elderly looking male, and one middle aged female) put the perpetrator under arrest.  Not wanting to go to jail, Daunte resisted the arrest and got loose, then got into the driver's cabin of his car.  Officer Kimberly Potter shot him - one shot, one discharge from her sidearm.  Daunte managed to drive about 500 yards or so before his car crashed.  Not surprising as he'd bled out and was DRT.

Now the fun starts.

Let's talk about the warrant first, which is carefully not being discussed at length in commercial media. 

If you believe the Washington Times - Reliable Reporting. The Right Opinion., then
Daunte Wright Had Open Warrant for Choking, Threatening to Shoot Woman for $820

.  From the article:
The 20-year-old Wright had an open warrant for a Dec. 1, 2019, attack in which he allegedly tried to rob a female acquaintance by brandishing a handgun and threatening to shoot her, choking her twice and reaching into her bra to grab $820 as she screamed, according to court documents.

Applying Occam's Razor, I would be so bold as to venture that the unnamed adult female with a fistful of money crowding out her natural assets may have been engaged in some sort of criminal activity, such as prostitution (kind of unlikely, as that's a lot of blow jobs) or maybe recreational substance retail sales.  Seeing the opportunity for some easy money, our budding genius tries to rob her, threatens her with a gun, chokes her, and gets busted for it.  Then he probably cut a deal and got kicked to the curb.

So this unfortunate martyr (Daunte - guys in the back, try and keep up) knew he was on thin ice, knew he'd go back into the sneezer, and knew that being in the hoosegow was no fun at all.  The cops knew this as well.

Watch the video.  The cops fat fingered the arrest.  Daunte is out of the car, has his feet under him, and isn't in cuffs.  The open car door beckons him, so he tries to take off and gets back into the car.  There's a struggle involving two cops, the third being engaged keeping an eye on the passenger - which is a smart move, because you never know when something is going to go sideways on you.

Under Arrest!

Rather than pulling her baton and delivering a solid blow to Daunte's knee, Officer Potter pulls her service pistol and wades into the fray.  What she doesn't do is draw and fire; she draws and wades into the fray, coming within arm's reach of the criminal while waving her pistol around.  This includes covering her partner several times with a loaded gun, something that I, personally, would have a major problem with.  If you believe other people who have evaluated this video, she has her pistol in hand for 9 (nine) seconds and change.

Officer Potter has plenty of time to realize that she's pulled the wrong appliance.  Moreover, she carries her taser on her left side and her sidearm on her right, which is good sense.  Normally she'd use her left hand to draw her taser; she used her right hand and drew her sidearm, then somehow in the intervening time between the draw and the shoot, she claims that she doesn't realize that she's holding her pistol, not her taser.

I'm not buying it, but due to a post on F**kbook by Sollecks, I have a better understanding of how this could happen and a little more sympathy for Officer Potter.

The article is worth reading.  It's from Force Science Institute, entitled Unintended: A Theory of Taser / Weapon Confusion by Force Science, whomever that may be.  The article isn't an easy read for everyone.  I'd presume that those familiar with the subject will read and comprehend it in a few minutes, while the rest of us might spend 20 or so minutes on it.  For those people who are just learning to think without moving their lips - good luck.

What it says is that if you're going to pack heat, practice pulling your gat every single day until that time comes when you don't have to think about it.  The same thing is true with other activities, such as:

Martial Arts.  Many years back I studied shuri-ryu karate (brought to the United States by Robert Trias).  The point of the fighting style is to make your movements - punch, block, kick, throws, etc. - automatic, leaving your mind to focus on your surroundings and your immediate opponent.  I studied for a few years, got to fifth kyu, then was implicated in a plot to overthrow the sensei.  I was excommunicated and was forced to flee the country under threat of death by - well, I'm not allowed to tell.  My co-conspirators were not so fortunate.

What I learned is not to be distracted by trying to concentrate on just how this attack is going to work.  Rather than get clocked while you're busy thinking, put your attack and defense on automatic pilot and focus on your attacker.  You'll stand a better chance of winning - and remember, everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face.

Shooting.  I shoot pretty well.  I offer some evidence of that on my blog.  However-comma the first time I shot in competition I couldn't hit a thing.  Steel plates balanced on a rail, each the size of a large dinner plate, and at 25 paces all they did was sit there on that rail while I wasted perfectly good ammunition trying to hit something.  I'd lost my concentration, which I expect is likely in a stress situation.  Later I managed to regain it and did pretty well, finishing in the middle of the pack.  Remember: focus.  Don't get rattled.

Ballroom Dancing.  I used to teach ballroom dancing, and I did pretty well with it.  One of my students reached second in the nation in her class, and that's good.  My students enjoyed their lessons, and they could dance.  Main Lady and I used to get applause from the crowd when we went out dancing.  That said, I'll never forget my first competition.  I got so nervous I swear my eyes crossed and they had to give me a tranquilizer before I could walk out onto the floor.  As soon as the music started, everything fell into place and we won that one - the reason being that I'd rehearsed until I could dance the routine anywhere, with anyone watching.  So practice, practice, practice - until it becomes natural.

Given all that, I think it's possible that Officer Kimberly Potter really did get her appliances mixed up, but she shouldn't have.  Yeah, I know, that's easy to say.  It's still true, though.  Taking all this back a few steps, from the comfort of my armchair I think that the police should have closed the car door as soon as they had the Daunte outside the car, then have him assume the position, then put the cuffs on him.  Do the same with the passenger, then get it sorted out.  But that didn't happen.

Daunte, trying to make a break for it, gets into the driver's seat.  Crack him a nice one across the knee or the shoulder.  Don't - do not! - pop him in the head, because you'll likely cause noticeable brain damage (I know, I know.  Note that I said noticeable.) or kill him, and the mess will start up.  No one had a baton or blackjack out.

Instead of shooting Daunte, put one into each tire.  That'll make him easier to catch once he tries to run for it.  That didn't happen either, but it could have.

In the luxury of time, quiet surroundings, and advice from various sycophants, brown-noses, attorneys and political advisers, the Brooklyn Center City Council voted to fire the city manager, Curt Boganey, who controls the police force.  Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot got to play hatchet man.  He then appointed Reggie Edwards as Acting City Manager.  

Probably on the advice of Curt Boganey, Officer Kimberly Potter resigned, as did Police Chief Tim Gannon.  Both will keep their pension and other benefits, which they wouldn't have been able to do if they were fired.

My opinion on this entire business is a bit cold, and surprises even me, but here it is:

This is a sorry place to work when your employer won't support you.  The mayor and city council should have supported the police force until the final verdict was in.  For them to weasel out of this by throwing their employees to the sharks is wrong, and reveals them for the spineless jellyfish that they are.

I wouldn't fire Officer Kimberly Potter, or even demote her.  She'd be in the doghouse, but she'd still be a cop.  My reasoning is that you don't dismiss 26 years of experience over one isolated, politically charged event.  It's wrong, and I don't condone it.

The truth is that Daunte Demetrius Wright is a criminal.  I'm not going to miss him, and I don't think many people are.  Daunte didn't get himself shot over a moving violation.  He got shot for being a violent criminal, and frankly, we're well rid of yet another violent criminal.

It's now time for happy hour.  Thanks to you all for reading.


CWMartin said...

Interesting and valid take. Like the article I saw from the taser company, which outlined all the levels of training available, I find it inexcusable that a cop with that many years on the force - be it her fault or her boss's- failed to have the proper training level needed. Sounds like more lazy policing at that station.

Old NFO said...

The FSI article does a good job of explaining the 'potential' for accidents. Training is a bit part of it too. In the fight/flight scenario, one tends to 'default' to memory training, which was drawing the weapon (a practiced skill), vs. the the Taser (once a month, maybe).

Mad Jack said...

CW: Thanks. I think you're right about this.

NFO: I think you're right, and that she was much more upset and excited than she'll admit.

I'd like to think that the taser and the pistol get equal time on the practice range, along with communication skills (deescalating a volatile situation), first-aid skills, and the myriad other things a cop should know. But the smart money isn't playing those numbers.