Patterico's Pontifications

11/13/2006

L.A. Times Chooses Sensationalism Over Analysis in Story on LAPD Punching Video

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

[The disclaimer is on my sidebar, but for this post it probably bears repeating: on this blog I don't speak for my office. I speak as a purely private citizen, under the First Amendment. I have no idea whether the use of force discussed in this post is lawful or not. I have no inside knowledge of the matter. I know only what I read in the papers -- and (as you'll see) I have plenty of reason to doubt that.]

It is always amusing to read print journalists’ sanctimonious pontifications about how newspapers provide “substance” and “serious discussion of issues.”

Judging from the L.A. Times treatment of the latest LAPD “scandal,” this claim is nonsense. The paper isn’t interested in discussing the parameters of the proper use of force by police. Nor does the paper have any interest in placing police actions in context.

The paper is interested in sensationalizing the story, pure and simple. And I can prove it.

Before we get to the discussion, watch this 19-second video:

Don’t read any further until you have already watched the video.

Now, answer the following questions, in the comments, without looking at the video a second time. Make sure you have watched the video before you even look at the questions. I want to get your first reaction:

1) How many times did the officer strike the man?

2) Does the man appear to be cooperating, or resisting?

After you have answered the questions in the comments, you can watch the video again.

On Friday, the L.A. Times had an article about the video titled Video, arrest report at odds. The deck headline reads: “An LAPD officer says he punched William Cardenas twice. A tape that aired on YouTube shows at least six blows.” The article begins:

The LAPD officers under investigation for allegedly using excessive force while arresting a suspect in Hollywood this summer appeared to have downplayed in their arrest report how many times they hit the man.

The report, obtained by The Times on Friday, says that Officer Patrick Farrell punched William Cardenas twice because he resisted arrest. The video of the Aug. 11 arrest shows Farrell striking him at least six times in the face.

First of all, no, it doesn’t. It shows Farrell striking him five times in the face.

I have watched it literally dozens of times now, and to me, it looks like the officer punches the suspect only five times.

The first time you try to count, it looks like six. There is an initial group of punches where the officer’s fist comes down four times. With two subsequent single punches, that appears to make six.

But look at that first group of “four” punches again. Yes, the officer’s arm comes down four times in rapid succession. But pay close attention to the officer’s right hand when his fist comes down for the fourth time. The hand doesn’t hit the suspect’s face; rather, it grabs the suspect’s wrist.

From my repeated viewings of the video, it appears that there are only three punches in the initial set — which, added to the two that come later, make a total of five.

So I can’t agree with the L.A. Times that it’s a hugely damning detail that the officer who wrote the report — who is, by the way, not the same officer who administered the blows — got the number of punches wrong. After all, the folks at the L.A. Times also got the number of punches wrong, and they had the benefit of having the video available to watch as many times as they liked. To reinforce the point, let’s go to the first question I asked above. Did you all answer “five”? Any of you who didn’t — you’re all liars. After all, it’s on video.

OK, but five punches is still pretty different from two. Isn’t it damning that the police report says there were only two punches?

Let’s put this in context. These officers were not sitting around drinking iced tea and watching a video on their computers. They were in a street fight with the suspect. Here, buried at the end of the story, is the Times summary of the police account of what led up to the punches:

According to the police account, the officers were on a patrol just before 6 p.m. when they spotted Cardenas drinking beer with two friends at the corner of Fountain Avenue and Gordon Street. Schlegel recalled that Cardenas, an alleged member of a Hollywood street gang, had an outstanding felony warrant on a charge of receiving stolen property.

After pulling up in their patrol car, Farrell ordered the men to put their hands above their heads, but Cardenas ran. Schlegel caught up to him a quarter of a block away and tripped him. The officers said Cardenas then took several swings at them and resisted their efforts to control and handcuff him. According to the police report, several witnesses confirmed that Cardenas swung at the officers.

Finally, after the suspect takes several swings at them, they have him on the ground. He continues to resist.

Under these circumstances, is it unusual for the officers to misremember the number of times one of them punched the suspect? I asked David Klinger, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Missouri, a former LAPD officer, and an expert on use of force issues. He is the author of Into the Kill Zone: A Cop’s Eye View of Deadly Force, and has done a study about officer-involved shootings. He is also quoted in yesterday’s L.A. Times article — meaning the L.A. Times had every opportunity to ask him the same questions I asked him.

Prof. Klinger told me that there is nothing unusual about an officer misremembering the number of times he struck a suspect. Any time you’re in a fight, he said, it’s a tense and rapidly evolving situation. Prof. Klinger told me that, in his study on officer-involved shootings, about 1/3 of the time officers had no idea how many times they had fired their guns. For example, they might say that they had fired eight shots when in fact they had fired twelve.

Interesting, I said. I asked him: did you mention this to the L.A. Times reporter who contacted you about this incident? After all, the headline and lede of the story indicate that the main focus of the story is the discrepancy between the report and the video. What did you tell them about that? I asked.

They didn’t ask me about that, he said. I had no idea that there was a discrepancy, he told me. If they had asked me, he said, I would have told them that it is not surprising.

Prof. Klinger told me that it is clear that the suspect is resisting, and that the officer is administering the strikes to control the suspect, and not to administer street justice. For example, at the beginning of the video you hear an officer say: “Let him put your handcuffs on.” The suspect remains noncompliant throughout all 19 seconds, grabbing at the officers’ legs and arms. You hear an officer saying: “Let go of me! Let go!” Watch the video again. You’ll hear it — and it’s not the suspect saying that.

As to whether the level of force was appropriate, Prof. Klinger did not have a firm opinion. His preliminary feeling was that it was probably just fine, but to reach a definitive conclusion, he would have to know more. For example, he said, he would want to see the entire video.

As an aside, the reporters who authored the L.A. Times article have no such scruples about drawing conclusions based on 19 seconds of video. In the article, they say:

The video also seems to contradict the justification that Farrell and Officer Alexander Schlegel gave in the report for striking Cardenas. According to the arrest report, Schlegel said Farrell struck Cardenas after “the suspect continued to grab at my [Schlegel's] belt and waist.”

But the 19-second video shows that Cardenas’ hands are not near Schlegel’s waist or belt either before or after Farrell strikes him.

No, it doesn’t. The 19-second video shows only that Cardenas’s hands were not grabbing at Schlegel’s belt or waist during the five seconds immediately preceding when the officer punched the suspect. It is entirely possible that Cardenas grabbed at Schlegel’s belt and waist before the clip begins, which would mean that Officer Schlegel’s statement is entirely accurate. But for some reason, the folks who put this video on YouTube decided that they were going to let us see only 19 seconds of this incident.

Yet the authors of the L.A. Times article apparently feel completely comfortable insinuating that Schlegel is lying, based upon this one short clip. The reporters seem remarkably incurious about what is shown on the rest of the footage. What is the relationship of the person who took the video to the suspect? Do they have any reason for showing only 19 seconds of the confrontation? We aren’t told. Prof. Klinger told me that he thought a curious and unbiased reporter would want to know more about such things.

Prof. Klinger emphasized that police get disarmed in similar situations all the time. You can see from the video that the suspect has a handcuff on only one hand. Prof. Klinger said: put me down on the ground with one handcuff on and put two L.A. Times reporters on me, and let me get in a wrestling match with them. You can bet I’d be able to hurt them pretty bad.

I read Klinger a quote from the article, from attorney Connie Rice, who said: “Just looking at the tape, the first reaction is you shouldn’t have to punch someone in the face to get handcuffs on.” Prof. Klinger said that he’d like to ask any reporters or civil rights attorneys who question the officer’s conduct: What would you do to get this noncompliant felony suspect under control?

Officers are taught that a suspect with only one handcuff on can pose a real danger, Prof. Klinger said, so it may well be appropriate for an officer to strike someone in the face to get the suspect to comply. If you look at the officer, he’s not rearing back above his head to administer the punches, as you might do if you’re trying to use as much force as possible, to punish the suspect.

Prof. Klinger said that he spent about 20 minutes on the phone with the reporter who contacted him for a quote. Prof. Klinger said that he tried to emphasize that the main Supreme Court case for determining whether an officer’s actions are excessive is the U.S. Supreme Court case of Graham v. Connor. That case says that an officer’s actions must be “judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight” — with a special focus on the following factors: “the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.”

Going down the list, Prof. Klinger said, most of them favor a strong use of force. In this case, you have a felony suspect, who took swings at police officers and therefore poses some threat, who is actively resisting arrest and (according to the police reports) attempted to evade arrest by flight. Under these circumstances, administering several distraction strikes to the face would appear to be well within the range of force that would be appropriate to get a noncompliant suspect into compliance.

But what about the fact that the police officer appears to be on top of the suspect’s neck, and the suspect repeatedly says that he can’t breathe? Prof. Klinger replied that the very fact that the suspect could say that repeatedly in a clear voice is prima facie evidence that he was indeed able to breathe to some degree.

But the story says that the officer’s knee was “pressed hard against [the suspect's] neck,” I said. I don’t know how they can tell how they can tell from the video that he’s pressing it “hard,” Prof. Klinger told me. To the contrary, if the officer were trying to put maximum weight on the suspect’s neck, Prof. Klinger said that he would expect to see the officer sitting up more, with a straight line from his head to his knee. But if you look at the officer’s position, he is bent over, which is consistent with wanting to hold the noncompliant suspect still. All the suspect had to do was comply, he said, and it would have been over.

You can just hear the editors at the L.A. Times: BO-RING! I don’t want to hear about cases and factors and use of force! Get me some inflammatory quotes from civil rights attorneys!

And so we see no discussion whatsoever of 1) what principles govern the amount of force that police officers are actually allowed to use; 2) why police officers might misremember the exact number of blows administered to a suspect; or 3) any aspects of the video that tend to support rather than contradict the officers’ version.

I have to say: the very first time you look at the video, it does look bad. But I have run a post before about the dangers of making conclusive judgments about police tactics based on a single video, which may not tell the entire story. If you haven’t seen that post, it’s worth looking at. Click here to read it.

I’ll also note that a magistrate who viewed the video (did he see the whole video? we aren’t told) has found that the officers’ actions were appropriate:

Los Angeles County Superior Court Commissioner Ronald Rose found there was sufficient evidence to try Cardenas on two counts of resisting arrest. After viewing the video, Rose found “the response of officers was more than reasonable under the circumstances.”

If you’re the type who likes to make conclusive judgments about cases based on short videos, then you’ve probably convicted these officers of brutality, and nothing will change your mind. You also probably didn’t care about the context of John Kerry’s remarks.

But I think that, with the context that Prof. Klinger provides, you see that it is possible that this was an entirely proper use of force. Do I know that’s the case? Of course not. It’s impossible to know for sure without more facts. But I do insist that, unlike the L.A. Times, we get some more context before branding cops as thugs and liars.

P.S. I’ve asked Jack Dunphy whether he wants to give us his take on this use of force and this article. He said he may be able to. No promises . . . but stay tuned, just in case.

UPDATE: Ack. Dunphy writes to say that I already covered most of what he would have said. On the bright side, he will write about it for NRO.

Note that at least one commenter has said that she remembered two punches after watching the video once. Real life is not like video; you can’t replay events over and over. You often remember the important things (I punched the guy) and forget the details (I did it five times).

I’ll be writing the Readers’ Representative about the paper’s claim that there were at least six punches.

UPDATE x2: Something I just noticed: the URL for the article has the word “beating” in it.

93 Responses to “L.A. Times Chooses Sensationalism Over Analysis in Story on LAPD Punching Video”

  1. An awesome post, Patterico.

    Kudos and my thoughts exactly.

    Have the LA Times writers ever been in a fight? You ever hit a violent criminal a couple times and realize that they are still a threat?

    Particularly when you have a gun around your waist and you’re worried they’ll get it? (I don’t have any experience with the last part — but neither do the LA Times writers.)

    I don’t know whether this force is justified or not. However, they could have used a hell of a lot more force and didn’t. Their force appeared to stop once the handcuffs were on. And the man was resisting and could breath.

    A stressful situation with someone who was trying to hurt them. I say cut the officers some slack and give them a pat on the back for bringing in a violent criminal without seriously hurting him. These cops keep the streets safer. This criminal does not.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  2. Whoa, I’m a rotten witness–I only counted TWO punches, not 5 or 6!

    I also say the suspect’s arms flailing away to grab at whatever he could–clearly not cooperating. He wasn’t face down, which suggested to me he’d been uncooperative from the get-to. My preferred style for cooperation in a tussle is to pull hair, but them I was a little sister with a much-bigger brother.

    The police did nothing wrong.

    goddessoftheclassroom (57d75f)

  3. Someone with handcuffs on a single hand effectively has a short flail, and there are probably some sharp edges on the open cuff. I can see why that’s considered a dangerous moment for police.

    Robert Crawford (9eef80)

  4. The guy is obviously not cooperating, but I’ve got a question:If you’ve already got cuffs on one arm, why not just slap them on the other arm and sit on the guy or something?

    So the LA Times sees this 19-second clip (which sure looks like a beating [whether or not it was a justified beating]) and, whaddya know, calls it a beating, and Patterico goes off on the LA Times.

    Have YOU seen the whole video, P?

    Keep in mind that it was the LAPD who beat the shit out of Rodney King, and that Watts was (allegedly) motivated by police brutality; the LA Times is probably hypersensitive when it comes to this topic.

    [No, I haven't seen the whole video. That was kind of the point. Nobody has. Rodney King was another case of an incomplete video. I suggest you read "Official Negligence" by Lou Cannon to learn more about it. Are you happy to have a newspaper jump to conclusions and get facts wrong, Leviticus? -- P]

    Leviticus (43095b)

  5. but I’ve got a question:If you’ve already got cuffs on one arm, why not just slap them on the other arm and sit on the guy or something?

    Leviticus: I’d pay good money to watch you try to do what you suggest; probably also help them load you on the ambulance afterwards.

    Old Coot (caf903)

  6. Just like with the RODNEY KING verdic the liberal left-wing news media cant to trusted and that gose double for the SMELL A TIMES

    krazy kagu (24c038)

  7. it sure looked like a beating to me.
    at the beginning of the video, the suspect is under control. he’s got one cop sitting on him, his back is bent over a curb, and each cop has ahold of one arm. then the cop at his head, who was holding the suspect’s left wrist with his right hand, shifted the wrist to his left hand, presumably to free up his stronger face-punching right. after three punches to the face of a relatively defenseless man, naturally the man became a little agitated, so officer friendly tagged him two more times with a little more apparent deliberation.
    so who was this guy? supposedly, he had an outstanding warrant for receiving stolen property. remember, that’s just an accusation, not a conviction, and it isn’t a violent crime. for most of us, running away from the cops wouldn’t seem to be the best option, but we cannot account for the experiences of poor people in bad neighborhoods who do not receive the same constitutional deference from our police.
    now let me take a moment to mock anybody who would harp on the difference between five punches and six punches, while simultaneously glossing over the difference between five punches and two punches. it was an ugly video either way. these are our agents, and these actions were taken in our name.

    [Now let me mock you for totally missing the point. First, I didn't "gloss over" the difference between two punches and five; I addressed it head-on. Second, the point -- which I made clearly in the post, had you bothered to read it -- was that the LAT got the number wrong even after watching a video in the comfort of their offices. So why make a big deal out of cops misremembering the exact number, when they can't even get it right witha video on hand? Note that a commenter here remembered it as two punches, not five -- and she wasn't even under stress.

    Here's the real question, ada. The LAT told hundreds of thousands of readers it was at least 6 punches. Even you agree it was 5, not 6. Shouldn't the paper correct this? -- P]

    assistant devil's advocate (efb338)

  8. Five, I don’t know if he’s non-compliant or reacting to being tased or gassed.

    Second viewing. Still five, but I thought it was 2, grab, grab, 2, grab, 1, grab. Ineffectually non-compliant. Beginning to really not like the risk of the knee in the throat thing.

    People see what they expect or desire. There are huge amounts of research on this. Cops expect to see resistance and non-compliance, and they do. It’s really a mind reading game, and the result is that it becomes a “which authority do you believe” problem.

    htom (412a17)

  9. You can’t really tell how many of those punches make substantial contact. I don’t get sound here at work so maybe you can hear the contact, but I can tell you from experience that just because you take a pop at a relatively immobile guy, that doesn’t mean you are going to actually clock him.

    Also, there’s no follow-through on the punches, which makes me believe the cop’s trying to get the perps attention rather than injure him.

    spongeworthy (45b30e)

  10. [...] While we wait for the word from on high, his bete noire makes the case. He’s asking people to watch the video before they read his post, so let’s dispatch with that right now. Nineteen seconds, then click the link. [...]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Video: When is police brutality not police brutality? (d4224a)

  11. @patterico:
    yes, the paper should absolutely correct its account. five punches.
    the number of punches will ultimately be inconsequential relative to the totality of the force applied. it didn’t look like the suspect was a threat to escape or harm the officers.
    i’m uncomfortable watching poor people get brutalized by cops. i know firsthand that some cops will break the law in their interactions with citizens, and this knowledge informs my perspective. of course the authoritarians are still in the majority; i hope each one can come to enlightenment gradually and comfortably by reading dissenting opinions, instead of being assaulted and battered by the police.

    assistant devil's advocate (efb338)

  12. “No, I haven’t seen the whole video… Nobody has.”

    -Patterico

    Therefore their guess is as good as yours.

    Let me get this straight: you jump on the LA Times for using potentially faulty information in their analysis of a situation, but not other (governing) entities for doing the same thing with disastrous results? That makes sense.

    “So why make a big deal out of cops misremembering the exact number, when they can’t even get it right with a video on hand?”

    -Patterico

    Our point is “Who gives a fuck how many times he punched the guy?” It doesn’t really change the situation (but sure, for your sake they should run a correction, although it’s unlikely that other people really care).

    He was immobilized. It didn’t look to me like he was going anywhere. I mean, we sit here and watch the officer on the left start to RADIO BACK TO HIS STATION; he probably wouldn’t be doing that unless they had the guy under control. Then, out of the blue, the officer on the right starts to wail on the guy on the ground.

    “Leviticus: I’d pay good money to watch you try to do what you suggest; probably also help them load you on the ambulance afterwards.”

    -Old Coot

    Well, I’d definitely be willing to try it if I was ALREADY sitting on the guy’s chest and had a highly trained, muscle-bound LAPD officer holding his arms in place. Also, I’d probably make sure that the guy was cuffed before I used a FREE HAND to make a radio dispatch. Finally, if they were so worried about him going for a gun, why didn’t one of them draw on the guy? If he kept struggling after that, they’d be totally justified in using force to subdue him (insofar as that would show his utter inability to be subdued by other means).

    Leviticus (43095b)

  13. At the beginning of the video it appears that the perp has a good grip on the officers inside leg. A little too close to home. It looks like the officer is telling the guy to let go. When he doesn’t, he pops him. When you put your life on the line most actions you do at the time would seem to be appropriate.

    desert kid (6d8b1b)

  14. “it didn’t look like the suspect was a threat to escape or harm the officers.”

    Would you agree that if you saw an earlier part of the video, in which the suspect punches the officers, that perhaps he was a threat?

    Would you concur that if he was a threat and that he was trying to run from the officers initially, that if he had managed to get up, he would probably try to leave again?

    Would you agree that this encounter lasted longer than 19 seconds? So you seriously cannot decide on this video which trys to make police officers look bad?

    G (722480)

  15. Geez… I just watched the video with sound.

    The guy keeps saying “I can’t breathe”. Well, that makes sense: the cop on the right has a knee pressed into his neck. Essentially, the only thing that could be remotely construed as any type of resistance requiring immediate action is the momentary grip on the officers leg. So, essentially, the only thing that provoked the action was an asphyxiating man’s attempt to secure oxygen…wow.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  16. Even after cheating a bit (I watched the video twice before reading Pat’s article) I only remembered 4 punches. Only when I watched again and counted the punches out carefully did I get 5. I also failed to notice the kneeling officer’s body position and only recognised that the suspect was being uncooperative on the 3rd viewing.

    As Pat says, context is everything, how can one describe the suspect as being a ‘poor person’ being ‘brutalised by cops’, when one has no idea what went before. As Pat pointed out, the purveyor of this video went to lenghts to deprive the viewer of context and thus show the suspect as a ‘poor person’ and the cops as ‘brutal’ and ada fell for it, as undoubtedly did most people who only watched the video segment.

    I would’ve fallen for it too if it hadn’t been for Pat’s enlightening article on the subject.

    Aylios (c4225a)

  17. “Would you agree that if you saw an earlier part of the video, in which the suspect punches the officers, that perhaps he was a threat?”

    -G

    I would definitely agree to that. However, at the time of the beating (which it was, one way or another) the guy was immobilized. He was in no position to cause anyone harm.

    I would also agree that I can come to no foolproof conclusions without seeing the video in its totality.

    I can say that from *that* piece of footage, things look pretty bad.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  18. “the number of punches will ultimately be inconsequential relative to the totality of the force applied. it didn’t look like the suspect was a threat to escape or harm the officers.”

    by assistant devil’s advocate

    You just don’t know what you’re talking about. I mean that in as positive a way as I can frame it.

    If you take a man who is well trained in fighting, specifically in attacking the enemy’s nervous system and manipulating the enemy’s responses, that man can escape from the position and kill both officers in seconds. Few people have that level of training, but try the same thing with a special forces operator and see where it gets you.

    The right thing to do is to continue to apply force and make the man react to you. Striking him is as good a way as any and far better than applying more force to the man’s neck, for example. Striking always looks bad, but you can kill a man easier by damaging his neck. A few blows to the face to keep the upper hand in a situation and deny your opponent time to successfully attack you and seize your weapon is a logical strategy… and less likely to seriously injure your opponent than other options.

    I believe this officer acted responsibly at least so far as I can determine by watching that 19-second video clip taken wildly out of context to make the officer look as bad as possible.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  19. “Well, I’d definitely be willing to try it if I was ALREADY sitting on the guy’s chest and had a highly trained, muscle-bound LAPD officer holding his arms in place. Also, I’d probably make sure that the guy was cuffed before I used a FREE HAND to make a radio dispatch. Finally, if they were so worried about him going for a gun, why didn’t one of them draw on the guy? If he kept struggling after that, they’d be totally justified in using force to subdue him (insofar as that would show his utter inability to be subdued by other means). ”

    As opposed to a highly trained muscle bound convict? Nah, you are correct Leviticus, our police are so highly trained and full of muscles that they should never fear for their safety, or the safety of the public when they are around.
    Oh yeah, and that’d be smart, to draw the gun out, which could give easier access to the suspect. Fuck it, tired of this stupid crap. They should just use a stun gun to zap suspects into unconciousness.

    G (722480)

  20. ” Striking always looks bad, but you can kill a man easier by damaging his neck.”

    -Christoph

    …That’s true, and that’s a good point. However, like I said earlier, it sounded like the guy was already having trouble breathing, and his attempt to remove the officers leg (and, in doing so, secure oxygen) was what earned him a beating.

    “I believe this officer acted responsibly at least so far as I can determine by watching that 19-second video clip TAKEN WILDLY OUT OF CONTEXT to make the officer look as bad as possible.”

    -Christoph

    This too is true, and is the main problem in this situation.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  21. “Five or six,” was my guess–”guess” because I did not look ahead to see that I was supposed to count.

    Here’s what I got egregiously wrong: I thought the other officer was restraining his partner from striking the suspect. I’m a little sickened at the what my “eyewitness testimony” could have done to the officer’s career.

    Some additional random thoughts:

    I hope I am never restrained by the police, because I don’t think I could keep myself from resisting. I know better, but I strongly suspect I would panic, and would not be able to help my self, even if, perhaps especially if, I knew I had done nothing wrong, and the police were simply taking normal precautions. I’ve rehearsed not fighting back, just in case, but with all good will, I really don’t think I could help myself.

    Also, I’ve read many accounts of civilians who, after a self-defense shooting, are ill-treated by the police and the justice system because their initial, on-the-scene account of the incident is wildly divergent from what the physical evidence points to. Your perceptions of events, collected in the heat of the moment, are very likely to be wrong. Mossad Ayoob, former police officer and self-defense expert, strongly recommends refusing to make any statement to the police at the scene; instead, you should offer to make a statement, with counsel, after your memories have sorted themselves out into some coherence overnight.

    He specifically mentions events like this where the police themselves are unable to correctly describe their own actions.

    He also refers to the fact that in the heat of a fight, people act instinctively. This accounts for cases where people, even police officers, empty their guns into an aggressor, to the point where self-defenders are sometimes found repeatedly pulling the trigger on an empty gun, trying to make a dead attacker deader still. This can be very damaging if the case goes to trial.

    refugee (3b19bb)

  22. “Oh yeah, and that’d be smart, to draw the gun out, which could give easier access to the suspect”

    -G

    This isn’t a fucking movie, man. People don’t just grab guns out of the hands of cops. It’s not like they’re trying to secure some kind of emotionless, highly trained ninja whose going to disregard a gun staring him in the face. Gimme a break.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  23. “The guy keeps saying “I can’t breathe”. Well, that makes sense: the cop on the right has a knee pressed into his neck. Essentially, the only thing that could be remotely construed as any type of resistance requiring immediate action is the momentary grip on the officers leg. So, essentially, the only thing that provoked the action was an asphyxiating man’s attempt to secure oxygen…wow.”

    In the 19 second clip, he says “I can’t breathe something like 4 times. (or in L.A. Times World 2 times). Does that sound like a person who can’t breathe? or does it sound like somebody who THINKS he can’t breathe? Look, you must understand what the police mans job is. They aren’t there to hold your hand across the street or give you milk and cookies. Especially after they’ve been struck by the suspect. Their job is to subdue and arrest him. Not use minimum force as to make a bad situation worse. Come on, we are talking about cops here, not CareBears.

    G (722480)

  24. Actually I just watched the video for about the 5th time and realised that my initial count of 4 punches was spot on! Not only did the officer punch the suspect only 3 times on the first volley but the 2nd strike of the second volley was also intercepted by the suspect’s right hand (the handcuffed one). So that makes 4 punches that landed!

    Hey what an excellent witness I’d make :))

    The guy doesn’t exactly look like Chuck Norris, but looks can be deceiving. While he seems pretty immobilised on first (second or third) viewing this is also deceiving. If you watch the arms (his and the officers’) closely you will realise that he is actually resisting strongly with both arms. The only reason the arms don’t move much is because the officers are restraining him and seem to be expending considerable effort in doing so. My conclusion: the guy is stronger than he looks. Hence the officer starts punching him.

    Aylios (c4225a)

  25. 1) About five? Ish?
    2) He’s resisting. They’re trying to cuff him and he’s resisting his arms being brought together, with all his strength.

    Having obeyed counsel’s directives, I now return to the post …

    Anwyn (d24425)

  26. “This isn’t a fucking movie, man. People don’t just grab guns out of the hands of cops. It’s not like they’re trying to secure some kind of emotionless, highly trained ninja whose going to disregard a gun staring him in the face. Gimme a break.”

    And Cops do NOT just up and pull their guns on suspects they are struggling with to get them to comply! Anyway, I’ve seem a few police videos of people who have taken cops guns, and shot and killed the cops. I don’t know about you man, but personally I think it’d look worse if the cop pulled a gun on the suspect in this 19 second video, then say a couple smacks to the face.

    G (722480)

  27. My initial thought after watching the video only once:

    2 punches.

    I couldn’t tell if the the guy was non-compliant because of the knee on his neck and he was in distress, or if he was just generally non-compliant. What I did think was that the guy was probably a lot more non-compliant in the moments prior to being in this position (video not shown…), in order to find himself there at all.

    nailinmyeye (c1c84f)

  28. So, essentially, the only thing that provoked the action was an asphyxiating man’s attempt to secure oxygen…wow.

    First off I work in medicine and have worked both in max security prisons and with terrorist detainees who would slit my throat if given the chance. If you can say “I’m choking”, you’re not choking. This guys was not being asphyxiated.

    Lastly, I have little sympathy for anyone who just has to surrender to the cops. This guy may not have “appeared” in this limited video not to pose a threat… but you have no context to go off of. He was no threat because they were holding him down. Until the cuffs are on, you are not safe (and maybe not even then). If they had let him go, what would he have done to the cops? Would he have run? Attacked? It’s easy to second guess when it’s not your ass on the line.

    last but not least… when you’re armed, the last thing you want to do is get in a hand to hand struggle where the suspect can grab your gun. And the worst thing they could have done is to draw their weapon if they could subdue him physically. When guns come out, people get shot. Ask the criminal here if he’d rather get punched or shot?

    My only constructive critism about the actions of the cops would be they should have used some pressure points on this guy. They hurt like hell and you don’t have to hit them. The fact that the cops have to walk around continually having to balance between protecting themselves and getting sued/charged is stupid. Why would anyone want to be a cop under those circumstances? We live in a B.S. “sue happy” nation where nothing is anyone’s fault and everyone wants a free lunch. The same people who make the cops lives tough are also the first to complain if the police aren’t there. Am I senstive, yes… I think it comes from two tours in Iraq where everything we did was second guessed by people/media who were sitting on their couch thousands of miles away.

    CPT T (a65573)

  29. “People don’t just grab guns out of the hands of cops.”

    Um, yes, they do and unfortunately police officers tend to fall back on an instinctive response in this case which gets them killed (the correct solution is — literally in the physical sense — 180° different).

    Further, having a gun at that range while in physical contact with someone isn’t much of an advantage (to or against a trained person) and can actually be a disadvantage. It’s far better to focus on your job of restraining the suspect than trying to draw your gun when you’re wrestling with someone on the ground.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  30. “My only constructive critism about the actions of the cops would be they should have used some pressure points on this guy. They hurt like hell and you don’t have to hit them.”

    Very very good point, CPT. I have used the same strategy in close quarter combat situations like this.

    Leviticus, and I believe you’re well meaning, listen to CPT. He knows of what he speaks.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  31. Am I reading this right? We have a resisting suspect nearly cuffed and one of the officers is supposed to escalate the situation by withdrawing from the scrum and drawing his weapon?

    And then what? Now the guy has only one cop wrestling with him, he has a chance to turn the tables and then get shot!

    Somehow I don’t think this technique’s in the law enforcement manuals anywhere.

    spongeworthy (45b30e)

  32. Call it like you see it, but I don’t see a problem here. A guy runs from the cops and forcefully resists arrest when they catch him, well, he should expect to get scuffed up a bit. Give and take is the name of that game.

    We’re sitting at home looking at a video, and presuming to pass judgment on two cops who are involved in a physical confrontation with a felony suspect. Perhaps we’re just not in the best position to appreciate the reality of the situation, you know, up close and personal, with our own rear ends on the line.

    Anyone who’s been in tough spots before knows talking about it later just doesn’t capture the full flavor and reality of the experience, and neither does a few seconds of selected video.

    Cops are flesh and blood human beings, most have families depending on them, and cops do a tough and dangerous job for inadequate pay.

    Cops can’t be PC cardboard pacifists and do the job of keeping violent predators off the street.
    First, Cardenas ran from the cops and then he resisted arrest. He got off easy. He’s lucky the cops didn’t give him the full tune up he had coming.

    mokus (56972e)

  33. “It’s not like they’re trying to secure some kind of emotionless, highly trained ninja whose going to disregard a gun staring him in the face. Gimme a break.”

    If the person is trained and you try this strategy at 1′, you’ve just signed your own death warrant. You’ve also put yourself at an enormous tactical disadvantage.

    Do you think police officers are trained to be profoundly stupid on the theory that the other guy is too chicken to hurt the officer?

    If you put a gun in my face from a foot away you would die.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  34. The part I looked for was where the suspect allegedly grabbed Officer Farrell’s leg. It didn’t look like much, and the guy was not really in a position where he could grab the gun.

    I don’t have audio now, but I did listen last night. The officer shouts something at him (“let go”…?) and then starts punching.

    But the hand does move to, and appear to grip, Farrell’s thigh. Until that moment, both officers look relaxed (like Leviticus says, one of them is on the radio). That hand on the thigh has got to be a legitimate reason for the officer to be nervous – enough to give a brief warning, and then apply some quick dissuasive force.

    The punches look painful, but in reality it was the least severe force the officers had available to them. Compare to a real whaling on the face, an elbow, mace, club, or gun. Yep, it seems to be in the range.

    Overall, the video is a fascinating look at the ambiguities of physical force in an pursuit-arrest situation.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  35. Is this video longer than 19 seconds? If so, why didn’t the defense post the entire clip? The only reason can be that it further justifies the officers actions and is detrimental to the defense.

    sam (159d86)

  36. Lessee,
    The perp will do anything, grab anything to get away from the consequences of his illegal actions. The police officers are working in their job. The responsiblity of which (in part) is to be around to make it home at the end of the shift.
    Not to grant every advantage to someone who doesn’t want him to make it home.
    I personally am appalled at the incompetence of the the reportage at LAT over the years. But you know what we should be truly interested in? The fact that another scumbag is off of the street in Kalifornia.
    Me personally, I’d Tase the S.O.B. at the first hint of resistance. I love my family and want to see them every night.
    Unless you have ever had to actually fight someone for your safety,you need to know that “the movies’ don’t get it quite right. Almost all physical conflict is short, violent and death comes in one ‘oops’ moment of inattention or unguardedness.
    So from the cushy comfort of the LAT offices I would demand, not expect, that these reporters get it right the first time. Much like they demand the officers in LA have to get it right to keep the rest of the MSM kreeps off of their backs.

    paul from fl (001f65)

  37. For starters, allow me to add something to my original statement: One of the cops should’ve STEPPED BACK and drawn on the guy, so as to avoid any accidental death in an ensuing struggle.

    ” I think it’d look worse if the cop pulled a gun on the suspect in this 19 second video, then say a couple smacks to the face.”

    -G

    You really think that? You think that a cop pulling (pulling, not firing) a gun in this situation would’ve looked worse than a cop beating a suspect?

    The guy would’ve froze like a deer in headlights if either one of the cops had presented him with the “rhetorical question” a gun represents. Then he would’ve been handcuffed or otherwise immobilized. End of story. No controversy, nothing.

    “If you put a gun in my face from a foot away you would die.”

    -Christoph

    I MIGHT die, Christoph, MAYBE. If you were either extremely fast or extremely well trained, I MIGHT die. But a cop wouldn’t. You’d get your brains blown all over the pavement.

    Sure sounds tough, though.

    CPT T is right that pressure points would’ve been the ideal way to handle this.

    Leviticus (68eff1)

  38. What strikes me is the amount of common sense that’s written here. I reckon if an L.A. cop read this thread he might just feel the public is on his side. Unfortunately though this is a right-leaning blog, i.e. probably representing less than half the nation at the moment. Imagine the discussion about this on a liberal blog …

    depressing thought :(

    Aylios (c4225a)

  39. I saw about 5 or 6 on my only viewing, but I also noticed that the guy blocked at least one and a couple of the others were not solid hits, more like glancing blows that would just scare me more than hurt. And this guys arms were locked and fighting to keep from being cuffed, I didn’t think he looked compliant but then sit someone on my neck and I probably wouldn’t be either. It would be nice to see the video leading up to this just to see how it devolved because that tells you why things happened and if it was excessive, though from what we can see, I can easily imagine this was a clean action.

    Allen (7bbd9f)

  40. I watched this clip a few nights ago and can’t watch it on the computer that I am on. I am only responding to some of the comments. In 1971 while going through the LAPD academy, our training instructors pulled out the smallest guy in our class, took him aside and gave him some instructions. What they told him was to passively resist when an attempt to handcuff him was made. He was then seated on the gound and and the two biggest guys in the class were told to handcuff him. 15 minutes later a choke hold (since prohibitted) was applied and he was finally subdued. I have no idea how long that it would have taken had it not been for the choke hold.

    In my 30 years of Law Enforcement with 2 different departments, I have never received any training that would in any way condone drawing your weapon in any circumstance that did not invlove a life threatening situation, and that means an immediate threat.

    I saw the Officer on the radio too, but not being predisposed to condemn the Officers, and based on my experience, I came to the conclusion that he was calling for more help,a supervisor or a taser. I am positive that he was not calling it code 4 (under control), because it was obviously not a code 4 situation.

    Muscle bound Officer? I guess I didn’t watch the clip closely enough to judge the conditon of the Officers, but from what I did see, I don’t know how anyone could possibly come to that conclusion.

    Some other quick thoughts: Personally if I were to get into a fight with a felon, I believe that it might be easier to do without wearing a 20-25 belt around my waist and wearing a tailored wool uniform and protective vest. Every fight on the street is life and death, losing is not an option. Losing means the bad guy has access to your weapon. Think about that, I guarantee that every Officer on the street does.

    Labcatcher (afe438)

  41. Leviticus:

    Dude. The notion that it would have been better to draw a gun is just ludicrous. It takes at least one hand off the guy, and escalates a situation that is 85% under control, and makes it statistically WAY more probable that someone will die.

    The punches – whether 2, 4, 5, or 6 – did what they were meant to do, and no one came close to losing their life.

    And in terms of perception – those people off-camera that were yelling “what the fuck” etc. when Farrell punched the guy – you would have just heard them screaming. How do you think that would change the overall dynamic at the scene?

    biwah (2dcf66)

  42. “If you were either extremely fast or extremely well trained, I MIGHT die. But a cop wouldn’t.”

    It has nothing to do with speed, Leviticus, it is knowledge. Police officers are unfortunately very poorly educated in weopan disarmament, but that is improving.

    I would immediately comply with a police officer in almost every situation. But it’s no more difficult to take a gun from a police officer’s hands than any other and in most cases, they are trained, if they’re trained at all, to do the exact wrong thing as I mentioned to above.

    “People don’t just grab guns out of the hands of cops.”

    “Um, yes, they do and unfortunately police officers tend to fall back on an instinctive response in this case which gets them killed (the correct solution is — literally in the physical sense — 180° different).”

    The right action is the anti-common sense anti-instinctive one: Whether you’re taking a gun away from someone or protecting yourself from having it taken away, this is true. People — including most police officers who have not been properly educated — do the opposite of what they should do.

    Your statements aren’t grounded in reality, Leviticus, they’re grounded in some quasi-mystical notion that “muscle-bound” cops are, by virtue of being cops, better at applying force than criminal gang members who actually like violence.

    Police officers are brave to do their job, yes, but not immune from violent death. Your maximizing their capabilities to the point of supermen while minimizing the risk that violent felons pose is farcical.

    You inadvertently touched on the truth in another of your comments:

    “we sit here and watch the officer on the left start to RADIO BACK TO HIS STATION”

    And therein lies the real edge of police officers: their radios.

    It’s the ability to call for backup and get many officers to a scene that is their true physical advantage. In a close quarter fight, however, these advantages disappear and the officers must do what they must do to survive and subdue the suspect.

    Frankly, I want officers to have more education and better training to control perpretrators.

    You’re unrealistic and the police have to be realistic. The police aren’t “highly trained ninja” and they will do what they have to do to make it home — and get the bad guy off the streets.

    More power to them.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  43. It’s unrealistic to expect officers to risk becoming fatigued by continually struggling with this guy when they can, and did, put an end to his resisting.

    sam (159d86)

  44. “You really think that? You think that a cop pulling (pulling, not firing) a gun in this situation would’ve looked worse than a cop beating a suspect?

    The guy would’ve froze like a deer in headlights if either one of the cops had presented him with the “rhetorical question” a gun represents. Then he would’ve been handcuffed or otherwise immobilized. End of story. No controversy, nothing.”

    Yes, Cops are TRAINED to meet force with greater force. If a gun is NOT needed, don’t take it out. For a cop to pull a fire arm out in the middle of trying to handcuff somebody is extremly moronic. (Regardless if one of the cops steps back, infact, thats even dumber). You assume too much man. The guy wouldv’e froze like a deer in headlights at the sight of a gun being pointed at him, as opposed to not cooperating with the police to begin with. And no controversy? At what point does the cop have time to draw his firearm at him?

    G (722480)

  45. If you were either extremely fast or extremely well trained, I MIGHT die. But a cop wouldn’t. You’d get your brains blown all over the pavement.

    And that’s better, why again?

    biwah (2dcf66)

  46. Oh yeah, it’s better for the LAT. Almost forgot about them…

    biwah (2dcf66)

  47. 6 or 5 , what is the difference , the officer clearly has his knee directly on the suspects neck. Anyone who thinks this isn’t painful let me do it to you and see if you are “cooperative”. Ok so the policeman lied in his report, or perhaps he hasn’t got the ability to count. And unlike the report THERE IS NO GRABBING FOR HIS GUNBELT . In court the suspect shows the video and makes the policeman out to be a liar, destroys his credibility and walks free. WHY DID HE LIE ? What was the point ? The suspect is not attacking the officer, his arms before the punches are dead still, and instead of trying those cuffs on the just starts punching him in the face. Unless they come of with video showing this man doing something to inspire that attack what is there already makes the officer out to be less than credible as he cannot count nor did the grab at the gun belt happen.

    D (2ad487)

  48. …Yeah. You guys are probably right. I agree that, of all the possible forces that could’ve been used, hitting the guy was the least destructive. No weapons, no mace, no broken bones.

    I still think that, out of context, it will be hard to discern whether or not this was an instance of “police brutality”, but I have say that you guys have convinced me to give the cops the benefit of the doubt on this one.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  49. Leviticus, thanks for keeping an open mind.

    I also don’t know for sure that the officer wasn’t just mad and hitting the suspect; it’s possible.

    I believe, however, the other alternative is more likely.

    In any event, I think it should take more than a 19-second video clip of a gang member resisting arrest who has an active warrant out on him for receiving a stolen gun(!) to end an officer’s career. An investigation is appropriate; an inquisition is not.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  50. “…THERE IS NO GRABBING FOR HIS GUNBELT”

    -D

    I couldn’t see a grabbing for the gunbelt, but I do know that there are pressure points in the leg that the guy could’ve been going for (or got). That could’ve provoked the response.

    I don’t know. This situation really stinks.

    I have to agree with D that the guy sure looked passive to me before the cop on the left started wailing on him.

    I don’t know…

    Leviticus (43095b)

  51. Who took/edited the footage, by the way?

    Leviticus (43095b)

  52. I don’t know who took it but I heard that it was the defendant’s sister who posted it on the internet.

    sam (159d86)

  53. Leviticus, I appreciate your coming around. If you’re not used to seeing real live physical fighting (which I am not, at this point in my life), the video seems outrageous the first time, but I think the cops’ actions become more understandable upon analysis.

    D:

    In the first 2 seconds of the video, Cardenas’ hand does reach up and grab Farrell’s inner thigh, and only then (as far as we can see) does Farrell raise up his hand and punch Cardenas. When Cardenas moves his hand, Farrell lays off, except that the final punch, landed or not, might have been gratuitous.

    The hand moving up the leg has got to be unnerving. Whether it was a “grab” for the “gunbelt” is open to question, but when the hand is moving, what else is he supposed to do? Given the movement of that hand, how could Farrell have used less force (other than to maybe not drop that last punch)?

    biwah (2dcf66)

  54. Given the movement of that hand, how could Farrell have used less force?

    He could continue to do nothing but struggle with suspect to get him handcuffed. Or perhaps he could have just shoved his thumb up the guys arm pit, until he complied. (That hurts/tickles like crazy!)

    G (722480)

  55. Leviticus, the easy way to tell if he was passive and not resisting is to look at his position. If he’s on his stomach, he’s passive and going along with program. If he’s not on his stomach, he’s resisting,even if all he’s doing is locking up his arms.

    Labcatcher (afe438)

  56. “Or perhaps he could have just shoved his thumb up the guys arm pit, until he complied.”

    He could have, but then he’d have to deal with the left claiming he tortured the poor man.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  57. Fair enough. The LA Times has chosen a readership. I don’t read the LA Times so could please somebody tell me whether they carry of lot of ads for $500.00 car dealers which would make their readership the kind of people who buy $500.00 cars?

    nk (2e1372)

  58. “He could have, but then he’d have to deal with the left claiming he tortured the poor man.”

    Good point! I tend to agree with that too! But maybe thats cause I’m very ticklish.

    G (722480)

  59. Video: When is police brutality not police brutality?…

    Video: When is police brutality not police brutality?Allahpundit When Glenn Greenwald says so, and not a moment before. While we wait for the word from on high, his bete noire makes the case. He’s asking people to watch the video…

    Bill's Bites (72c8fd)

  60. In my misspent youth I had the opportunity to get in a few scraps – one thing I learned is that, contra Hollywood, punching someone in the face HURTS. Thus, I can’t believe that those blows were all tha hard – if they were, he would have likely hurt his hand and been unable to keep punching. Also, from the vid I’d have to say that at least a couple of the later blows pretty much glanced off.

    Finally – hand moving up thigh – I’d assume the perp was going for the package, not the gun!

    holdfast (42bed3)

  61. “Finally – hand moving up thigh – I’d assume the perp was going for the package, not the gun!”

    That thought occurred to me too.

    Because once you get that, you get an automatic reaction, space, time and now you can do damage.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  62. Let’s all goose step the drum beat of the Main Stream Media’s distortion and political brain washing campaigns. Sieg Hiel!

    Egfrow (e93ea8)

  63. Finally, if they were so worried about him going for a gun, why didn’t one of them draw on the guy?
    Comment by Leviticus — 11/13/2006 @ 9:23 am

    Leviticus, you should never pull a gun or knife on someone unless you are willing to use it.

    So let’s take this situation as an example.

    Two officers are struggling with a suspect. One officer draws his pistol and aims it at the suspect and commands him to comply.

    You are thinking that the suspect will then stop struggling and let himself be handcuffed. Which I will conceed is possible.

    It might even be probable.

    But here is the question. What if the suspect doesn’t stop struggling?

    Yeah, I know. Logically he should. But what if he doesn’t? Now instead of two officers trying to handcuff him, you now only have one. The other is busy pointing a pistol at this suspect and telling him to comply. But he isn’t. So now what is the officer going to do?

    Well, he now has the choice of either (1) re-holstering his pistol and rejoining the fight, (2) continue to point his pistol as his partner continues to try to subdue the suspect (although if two officers were having trouble, it will only get tougher when it is only one. Or (3) shoot the suspect.

    Which do you think he should do?

    Me? I say there was no reason to draw their pistol and threaten deadly force, because during that fight, it didn’t look like the officers were confronted with an immediate threat of deadly harm to themselves or an innocent bystander. Hence no need for deadly force.

    EFG (f0e683)

  64. I’ve asked Jack Dunphy whether he wants to give us his take on this use of force and this article. – Patterico

    Jack Dunphy (02/16/06): “Not a day goes by that I don’t marvel at the time and money the LAPD wastes in complying with the [U.S. civil rights] consent decree.”

    No one believes this guy’s an innocent bystander. Cardenas had a rap sheet of violent acts and a history of running from cops.

    But the key remains the official report and whether the claim that only two blows were struck is remotely sustainable. Notwithstanding the spurious notion they “misremembered” the extra blows.

    steve (a6a64b)

  65. But the key remains the official report and whether the claim that only two blows were struck is remotely sustainable. Notwithstanding the spurious notion they “misremembered” the extra blows.

    And the spurious notion that anyone could view the video and remember only two blows. Like more than one commenter above.

    Or the spurious notion that a major newspaper could criticize the cops for getting the number of blows wrong — while the paper itself gets the number of blows wrong.

    Patterico (de0616)

  66. Lots more needs to be known to determine whether the use of force was reasonable or unreasonable.

    But a couple of things seem fairly clear:
    The defendant had a warrant outstanding for his arrest. When the police approach anyone who has a warrant for their arrest that person has one obligation: Submit to the lawful authority of the police and the court. If you’re innocent – prove it in court.

    That part Commissioner Rose (who presided over this guys preliminary hearing) seemed to have exactly right: “The obligation of citizens is to stop and allow themselves to be arrested and not use force against the officers. And when a citizen chooses to use force against the officers, they are entitled to use force in return.”

    This suspect, not the police, created this situation. Its clear to me he’s still actively resisting during the video by trying to prevent the officers from bringing his hands together to be cuffed. I’d like to know more of the surrounding facts to see if the use of force was justified, but some force was clearly necessary to effect the arrest because this guy wasn’t going to go peacefully.

    C Student (c949f7)

  67. “‘Cardenas ran. Schlegel caught up to him a quarter of a block away and tripped him. The officers said Cardenas then took several swings at them and resisted their efforts to control and handcuff him. According to the police report, several witnesses confirmed that Cardenas swung at the officers.’
    Finally, after the suspect takes several swings at them, they have him on the ground. He continues to resist.”

    From this account is sounds like Cardenas started swinging AFTER he went down. The sequence of events seems to be: Cardenas runs from police. Police chase him and trip him – bringing him to the ground. As police attempt to handcuff Cardenas he takes several swings at them and resists being cuffed.

    Starts to sound like the video just prior to that 19 second clip is more and more important.

    Who knows, it might show that Cardenas didn’t resist at all. Or it might show that just prior to this 19 second clip he was fighting as hard as he could and the officers used appropriate force in response.

    C Student (c949f7)

  68. Finally – the answer to how this situation could have been resolved peacefully is already on another You Tube video:
    Chris Rocks’ “How to Not Get Your Ass Beat By the Police”

    C Student (c949f7)

  69. That was HILARIOUS, C Student.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  70. Like the LAT head-blow odometer is the central issue, here.

    For God’s sake, the suspect’s attorney excerpted the :19 he felt was inflammatory and showed his client in the best light. He might have posted all of it – and one guesses he’s withholding potentially exculpatory context. How this gives him a bigger payday or a better plea deal, I’m not sure.

    But there are at least five blows, not two. Cops shouldn’t be given a pass on false reporting. Workload and stress rationales only fool partisan junkies.

    [Shorter steve: Obviously, a cop could never explain five blows, but could easily explain two, so it's a clear lie. Police should not be given a pass on false reporting -- and who cares that several commenters here counted the same number of blows, or that studies show officers in similar situations often misremember the numbers. Meanwhile, the L.A. Times folks *should* be given a pass on false reporting, even though they don't have the excuse that they had just been through a fight with a suspect. Why? Because I like the LA Times and don't like cops! -- P]

    steve (a6a64b)

  71. “Shorter steve” is wordier than “steve.” Kool double-inverted sarcastic bifurcation, dawg.

    steve (a6a64b)

  72. I started to say: “OK, it’s not really ‘Shorter Steve.’ It’s just ‘More Accurate Steve.’”

    But that would have made it even wordier.

    Patterico (de0616)

  73. More Police Brutality Claims Against LAPD…

    Here’s the video, posted at Hot Air. Go watch it and see what all of the fuss is about. All nineteen seconds of it. Before you jump on the bandwagon and crucify these officers, consider the following: 1. The tape…

    Cop The Truth (72c8fd)

  74. [...] As promised, I wrote the Readers’ Representative about the L.A. Times’s mistake in reporting that an LAPD officer had punched a man “at least six times,” when the true number was five. She has acknowledged my e-mail and says she is checking with the reporters. No correction yet, but it appears that they may not be as confident with their numbers as they originally seemed . . . [...]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » L.A. Times Acknowledges Error in Number of Punches . . . Sort Of (421107)

  75. Yes, the whole story hasn’t been told alright but it is not the story you think.

    Ok, my last comment on this. MSNBC has a final report on this from the “victim”. First he started to run and then stopped, put down a bag that had some beer in it and the officers immediately pepper sprayed him in the face. That is why he is saying “He can’t breath”. So he not only has the officers knee on his neck he is TOTALLY BLIND AND UNABLE TO BREATH FROM THE PEPPER SPRAY! His hand is clearly not going anywhere near the officers belt and if you watch the officer he is in no way panicked or having to fight the suspect as the suspect is not struggling. . When he strikes the suspect it is with calm calculation.

    And last, the police said the victim was ” a gang member”. Not only is there no record of the but apparently the victim was never a member of any gang. He works at a moving company 5 days a week. These officers are going to lose their jobs.

    D (2ad487)

  76. I note that you did not provide a link to your assertion and nothing appears on the msnbc website.

    sam (159d86)

  77. “You are thinking that the suspect will then stop struggling and let himself be handcuffed. Which I will conceed is possible.”

    -EFG

    This was indeed my assumption, and, all in all, it is a logical one. My point was that, logically, the guy would probably cease and desist.

    However, this isn’t a logical situation, or isn’t a situation where logic is the deciding factor. If the guy hadn’t stopped, the cops really would’ve had a problem.

    If what D says about MSNBC is true, then the cops are knee-deep in shit. Like I said, without context it’s hard for me to blame the police, but
    pepper-spraying and beating a guy simply because he pissed you off is gonna get someone in trouble.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  78. This may be what D was talking about. Pretty weak, actually. His ATTORNEY claims that he’s not part of a gang. Well, no shit. Of course he’s going to say that. Also, there’s no mention of pepper-spray.

    This may sound like I’m equivocating, and I am to an extent. As much as I hate to see what LOOKS like a beating, I am (as I said before) giving the police the benefit of the doubt.

    What I can say is that if I find out that Cardenas WAS pepper-sprayed, I am going to be calling for blood. Pepper spray is totally immobilizing, and, in my opinion, makes the punches totally inexcusable.

    I haven’t seen anything along these lines yet, but…

    Leviticus (43095b)

  79. Here’s the pepper-spray.

    Well?

    Do we have any argument that pepper-spray is nasty shit? Any argument that pepper-spray makes it hard to breathe?

    Leviticus (43095b)

  80. Pepper spray is totally immobilizing, and, in my opinion, makes the punches totally inexcusable.

    You are assuming that if he was pepper sprayed, they got him full on. Sprayed or not, he does not appear immobilized to me.

    This is my favorite part from the msnbc article:

    Bratton said Cardenas is a gang member and is considered to be a “Hollywood top-10-percenter,” referring to the LAPD’s focus on the 10 percent of criminals considered statistically responsible for 50 percent of the crime committed in the city.

    I don’t believe Bratton would be calling Cardenas a gang member if he were not one and it was documented by the defendant’s admissions or photos of gang tats. Add to the fact that this guy has been identified as a 10 percenter.

    sam (159d86)

  81. “What I can say is that if I find out that Cardenas WAS pepper-sprayed, I am going to be calling for blood. Pepper spray is totally immobilizing, and, in my opinion, makes the punches totally inexcusable.”

    Leviticus, once again, you’re probably a nice guy, but you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. None. Nada.

    Unlike police officers, I’ve never been pepper sprayed, but I’ve been tear gassed (military CS gas) and it wasn’t imobilizing at all, not even when they ordered us to remove our masks in an enclosed space.

    Some people panicked and a couple ran out; it hurt, however I controlled myself and just breathed it in with my eyes open: It had dissipated somewhat and I’ve always, including since being a youth, been good at handling acute pain and making decisions during it especially, yes, in fights.

    [That's not to say that I'm immune from the natural reactions of the human nervous system when various systems are attacked: Far from it, I respond as does every other human, it's automatic. Rather, if given a chance (which, for example being struck repeatedly in the face by an alert officer may deny me!) I can fight through the pain.]

    I go completely calm (by mental training) in an emergency and handle pain simarly. However, many police officers will tell you, as will criminals if you’ll listen to them, that pepper spray only enrages some people… sure as hell don’t imobolize them, particularly in a fight on the ground where they don’t have to see too well to do a heck of a lot of damage.

    We are not only humans with the ability to think rationally including in combat, something we positively excel at, we’re mammals. Do you think the instinctive natural reaction to a bit of pain in combat for a mammal is to bet “totally imobolized”?

    No, it’s to fight. And an aggressive male with a lot of testosterone flying high on epinephrine (not to mention drugs) is not necessarily going to let pepper spray stop him.

    Can you just admit that you don’t know what you’re talking about here (at all) and instead invest some time learning?

    Christoph (9824e6)

  82. *be

    Christoph (9824e6)

  83. What I can say is that if I find out that Cardenas WAS pepper-sprayed, I am going to be calling for blood. Pepper spray is totally immobilizing, and, in my opinion, makes the punches totally inexcusable.

    Leviticus, have you ever tried to handcuff someone? I remember in Iraq we had this detainee who was about 130lbs soaking wet who had to be pepper sprayed (OC) 4 times, tased twice and it took 5 guards and 4 medics to get him down and in hand/leg irons. Even then he fought for 4 hours to hit, bite, grap anyone he could… even after restrained. As he was screaming for allah to help him kill the dirty Kufars (us non-muslims), he started to wear through the skin on his wrists. Finally we had to give him a huge dose of sedatives to calm him down and keep him from hurting himself or anyone else. Sound “cruel”… If you weren’t there… maybe, but all the alternatives (except maybe letting him go to attack us again) would have been much worse for him.

    Even a small guy can cause quite a problem if HE CHOOSES TO resist. OC/pepperspray/mace, even a taser, is not like TV (24 comes to mind) where when used the suspect just collapses and/or goes to “sleep”. Sometimes OC doesn’t work and a taser only works for a moment, then it’s right back to where you were before. You only hope that the intense pain experienced by one or more doses causes a chage of heart. Sometimes the guy just wants to fight and nothing other than physical force (or a good doctor) can get him to stop. In the moment you don’t have the benefit of hindsight. You just do what you can and hope that a. you make it through to see your family and b. you’re not second guessed and dragged through the mud by people who weren’t there and don’t understand. The one person in this video who had the choice of a “good” ending was the criminal. Instead he chose to break the law, he chose to resist and ultimately he chose the outcome.

    I’d like to close by saying everyone involved is alive and noone, including the suspect, was seriously injured. From my perspective, I call that a pretty good day. The rest is just spin by someone who a. wants to avoid jail and b. wants your tax $$$$ to pay for his free lunch.

    CPT T (a65573)

  84. From the Department of Justice:

    A 1999 study that examined 690 incidents of pepper spray use concluded that pepper spray was effective 85 percent of the time, according to the broadest definition of the term “effectiveness.” Noneof the arrestees in these incidents died in custody. Other studies have reported lower and higher effectiveness rates, but effectiveness is a subjective term and its definition varies across studies. The 1999 study found that the effectiveness rate reported by officers was significantly reduced when subjects exposed to pepper spray appeared to be on drugs (about 13 percent of the incidents).

    Numerous other references are available, particularly officer reports of pepper spray just making criminals madder. So no, Leviticus, it’s not magical instant imobolization spray.

    It works more often than not.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  85. [...] My leftist friends say I am making a huge deal out of the difference between five and six blows. No — the L.A. Times made a big deal out of the police misreporting of the number of blows. I merely noted that it was ironic that, in a story that faulted officers for getting the number of punches wrong, the L.A. Times got the number of punches wrong. [...]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » L.A. Times Issues Correction Re: Number of Punches in LAPD Video (421107)

  86. Surely you jest!

    This is the “beating” that is so controversial?

    Spare me please. The offender was obviously resisting and the officer was barely winding up to throw his punches. The officers were completely in control of themselves and using the bare amount of force they had to in order to effect an arrest.

    Sorry. There is no way of making a resistive subject arrest look “pretty” or easy. The fact is it’s difficult and ugly. It’s the violator that mnakes the situation look ugly. The violator could have placed himself into handcuffing position and obeyed the officers. He obviously did not. It would be helpful o see the entire video on tape, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

    George Denetriou (1c8e65)

  87. There is no evidence that pepper spray was used. When OC is deployed it will often effect the officers as well when in close quarters. I didn’t hear anyone coughing on this video.

    Secondly, the Department is testing tasers small enough to be worn on the gun belt but the majority of officers don’t have those yet. The tasers carried in the field are rather cumbersome and only deployed with forethought.

    Third, the Department demands that officers broadcast their location and request back-up when a situation like thise arises. For someone to use the officers broadcasting their location as a reason to say that they weren’t to concerned shows that they are speaking out of ignorance.

    AKA Gadget (5db9f3)

  88. Yes. There is a lot of that going around in commentary on this video.

    But such people could end up being jurors — whether in a criminal case, or a civil case.

    Patterico (de0616)

  89. Memo to Robert Crawford: During my training, I was shown a coroner’s photograph of a dead copper. The two halves of his head were connected only by a strip of scalp tissue. During an arrest, he had one cuff on the struggling suspect’s wrist and the other cuff had gotten knocked open. The suspect suddenly threw an uppercut punch at the officer’s head. The open cuff hooked under the copper’s jaw and the force of the blow wrought the spectacular carnage we saw in that photograph. You’re correct—it’s a dangerous world out there!

    David Gonzalez (83a8b4)

  90. Maybe someone else has already pointed this out, but the officer who reported only two punches had his head turned away talking on the radio and ONLY SAW TWO PUNCHES. Watch the video again. The officer who is sitting on the suspect’s legs is the one who reported only two punches (if I understand the article correctly). During the first volley of punches, his head is turned away talking into the radio. He only turns back in time to see the second volley of punces that contained exactly two punches.

    Cameron (405757)

  91. How a lot of good cops must feel…

    Jack Dunphy reacts to the debate over this vid……

    I don't even have to floss (fa8fba)

  92. [...] Prof. Klinger has made appearances on this blog here before, here, here, and here. He is an associate professor of criminology at the University of Missouri, a former LAPD officer, and an expert on use of force issues. He is the author of Into the Kill Zone: A Cop’s Eye View of Deadly Force, and has done federally-funded studies about officer-involved shootings and police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams. [...]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Interview with a Use-of-Force Expert Regarding the Shooting of the Woman in Atlanta (421107)

  93. Good post – if the media did their job, they’d explain this the way you did. But they don’t, so LA’s so-called civil rights goons use incidents like this to extort hundreds of millions of tax dollars each year under the pretext of civil rights. They then kick back a portion of their booty through their trial lawyers associations to the politicians who create the policies that result in incidents like these. And when something like this gets taked, the politicians quietly let the officers flap in the breeze. I retired from the LAPD the moment I completed my 20th year. If not for LA politicians, I would have stayed on the LAPD for another 15 years. I could deal with any burglar, rapist, gang, murderer… but LA’s liberal politicians are LA’s greatest menace…

    Clark Baker (6b1ecb)


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