With roving mobs pillaging cities at will, Obama’s newest Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, has set her crime-fighting sights squarely on — the police(?!). Continuing her predecessor’s war against law enforcement, this Eric Holder in a skirt has laid the hammer down upon the heads of Cleveland’s thin blue line. CNS News reports on the latest move by Obama’s Department of Just Us to hamstring those who would protect and serve:
The Obama Justice Department intends to “transform” the Cleveland police department “into a model of community-oriented policing,” by restricting officers’ use of force to subdue suspects.
The consent decree announced on Tuesday requires Cleveland police to use “de-escalation techniques” instead of force “whenever possible and appropriate.”
And who’s to decide what’s “appropriate”? A civilian, someone with no experience in subduing dangerous suspects, will be placed at the head of the police department’s Internal Affairs division to ensure that complaints of police misconduct are “thoroughly and effectively investigated.”
Well isn’t that special? The livelihood and reputations of police officers involved in any altercation may end up being decided by someone whose understanding of law enforcement practices comes from watching Hawaii Five-0 reruns.
According to the consent agreement, the new rules are intended to ensure that officers “use techniques other than force to effect compliance with police orders whenever feasible; use force only when necessary, and in a manner that avoids unnecessary injury to officers and civilians; de-escalate the use of force at the earliest possible moment; and accurately and completely report all uses of force.”
Much of the agreement involves use-of-force policies. Here are some of the new guidelines issued to officers who sometimes must make split-second decisions in potentially life-threatening situations. The words come straight from the consent decree, except where noted.
— Officers will use de-escalation techniques whenever possible and appropriate, before resorting to force and to reduce the need for force. De-escalation techniques may include verbal persuasion and warnings and tactical deescalation techniques, such as slowing down the pace or an incident, waiting out subjects, creating distance (and thus the reactionary gap) between the officer and the threat, and requesting additional resources (e.g. specialized CIT officers or negotiators).
I just love that “creating distance” directive Cleveland PD officers must follow when faced with a mounting threat. It worked so well for those Baltimore cops being chased down the street under a barrage of boulders.
— If force becomes necessary, officers will be limited to using only the amount or force objectively reasonable(emphasis added by editor) as necessary to control the person. (Editor’s note: The words “reasonable” and/or “unreasonable” appear 49 times in the 103-page consent decree.)
— As soon as practical following a use of force, CDP will ensure that the incident is accurately and properly reported, documented, and investigated. A fundamental goal of the revised use of force policy will be to account for, review, and investigate every reportable use of force and reduce any improper uses of force.
— CDP will track and analyze officers’ uses of force to hold officers accountable for unreasonable uses of force; to guide training and policy; and to identify poor tactics and emerging trends.
The list above is just for starters. Another sections of the report lists the new rules for pulling a gun, including the following:
— Officers will not unholster and display a firearm unless the circumstances create a reasonable belief that lethal force may become necessary.
There is an old adage concerning marksmanship, “You can’t miss fast enough to win a gunfight.” It means shooting first counts for little if the shot is not placed on target. Given the overall tenor of this consent decree, I would add, “You can’t bring a weapon to bear slow enough to win a gunfight either.” Most gunfights are over in three seconds or less. Forcing officers to keep their weapons holstered until they know shooting is inevitable, cuts their time to react in half. The result could be devastating.
— Officers will not discharge a firearm from or at a moving vehicle, unless use of lethal force is justified by something other than the threat from the moving vehicle;
So, when a bad guy jumps behind the wheel, and tries to run down cops, the only thing the officers are allowed to do is “attempt to move out of the path of a moving vehicle.” Slow on your feet? Too bad. Maybe you should have chosen a kale smoothie instead of that breakfast burrito. Live (or not) and learn.
And the agreement goes on to cover the use of Tasers, pepper spray, use-of-force training requirements, and reporting requirements.
The reporting requirements put officers under a microscope for judgments they have made on the streets:
— “All officers using or observing force will report in writing, before the end of their shift, the use of force in a Use of Force Report. “The Use of Force Report will include: (l) a detailed account of the incident from the officer’s perspective; (2) the reason for the initial police presence; (3) a specific description of the acts that led to the use of force; (4) the level of resistance encountered; and (5) a complete and accurate description of every type of force used or observed.
“The use of force reporting policy will explicitly prohibit the use of conclusory statements, ‘boilerplate,’ or ‘canned’ language (e.g., “furtive movement” or ‘fighting stance’), without supporting detail.
The agreement says officers “will be subject to the disciplinary process for material omissions or misrepresentations in their Use of Force Reports,” and officers who use or observe force and fail to report it may be fired — “regardless of whether the force was reasonable.”
If there was ever an incentive for cops to abandon proactive policing, put on Sgt Schultz blinders, and drive in circles for their entire shifts, that would be it. Just ask those on the Baltimore PD.
The Obama administration and progressives will not be satisfied until all law enforcement agencies have been neutered to the level of the fictional San Angeles Police Department in Demolition Man. Does this inspire joy-joy feelings?
Book ’em, Danno.
Dennis P. O’Neil