Saturday, December 29, 2018

Retired Cop Sows Confusion as to Police Use-of-Force Practices and the Rodney King Case

By Nicholas Stix

What is something police officers are taught that they will never use?
By James Filippello, Police Lieutenant, Retired

Answered Dec 4 · Upvoted by Bruce Farmer, 39 yrs as a front- line, supervisor, manager and instructor in Federal law enfor

The symbolic Baton

I went through the police academy when the PR-24 Side Handle Baton was the gold standard in police work. We spend countless hours learning how to block with it, how to spin it for strikes and even how to complete takedowns.

The training continued in our department with at least 4 hours mandated several times per year. Then something interesting happened five thousand miles away which would cause the retirement of the police tool.

The incident was the beating of Rodney King. After a police pursuit, video evidence showed police officers repeatedly beating this man with the PR-24 side handle baton. During the 1992 riots following the initial acquittal of the officers in the video, something unexpected happened.

A 2-minute video of the graphic beating of Rodney King incident. this [sic] Demonstrated the improper and extremely excessive use of the PR-24.

[N.S.: That videotape was shown every night at the beginning of the TV news all across the country, on local and national newscasts for one year BEFORE the trial James Filipello referred to. It didn’t suddenly emerge after the four LAPD officers were acquitted in the state trial. There was a huge controversy over this, with the MSM acting as if the white Simi Valley jurors who acquitted the cops were racists, when in fact, the jurors had seen the undoctored tape, and also heard the testimony as to King’s repeated assaults on the officers, before George Halliday started filming.]

I started leaving my PR-24 side handle baton in my car and not carrying it on calls. To me, it became a symbol of police brutality and everything I didn’t like about police work. My sergeant questioned me about leaving the Baton in the car. I was technically out of uniform. I said that I think people now see that long Polycarbonate baton and it reminds them of the worst a police officer can be.

Over time more officers quietly refused to carry the PR-24 batons until the brass noticed. We were initially ordered to carry them, but we conveniently forget and left them in our cars a lot. After about a year, the brass came to the correct conclusion that a PR-24 in an officers [sic] hand would escalate many situations. People started yelling “Rodney King, and police brutality!” [sic; improper use of quotation marks]

The brass finally replaced the side-handled baton with a small collapsible baton which could be worn in a pouch or holder, out of sight unless needed. This move worked.

The new batons would be opened by sharply snapping them downward to extend the two smaller segments of the weapon. Unlike the PR-24s which were made of a polycarbonate material, the expandable batons were steel. This deployment would make a distinctive noise as identifiable as racking the action on a shotgun. Many times just snapping them open was enough to convince people that the time for resistance was over.

[N.S.: But the steel batons, which have the same ability to break bones as the PR-24, only succeeded at convincing suspects to submit, if they were sometimes used.]

Instead of learning spin techniques and blocks we concentrated on the areas of the body which could be struck and the possible consequences of each body area. Officers studied a diagram of the human body which was broken down into three areas.

The RED areas could cause severe injury or death and included mainly the area of the head neck spine, and solar plexus.
The YELLOW areas would also likely cause non-lethal injury and consisted of all the bony joints and areas of the body, except the spine, and neck.
The GREEN areas would be expected to cause pain and bruising and included the thickly muscled areas of the body, and some soft tissue areas. The legs, and arms, except the joints, and upper back were green areas.

Personally, my Expandable baton saw as much action as my PR-24. I pulled it out maybe twice in crowd control situations but never hit anyone with either device.
I learned that in most cases police officers carried a much more effective weapon on their person at all times and that was their brain.
The ability to assess a situation and effectively communicate and reason with people was far more effective. It may be easier to swing a metal rod, forcing compliance, but it’s far better to reason with people and solve the problem. Beating people with metal rod should never be who we are, or what we should aspire to become!

Credits for photographs and video:
RODNEY KING BEATING VIDEO. Footage Screener ©George Holliday. Youtube
32.2k Views · View Upvoters · View Sharers

By Nicholas Stix

“A 2-minute video of the graphic beating of Rodney King incident. this [sic] Demonstrated the improper and extremely excessive use of the PR-24.”…

“Beating people with metal rod should never be who we are, or what we should aspire to become!”

You condemn beating resisting suspects with the PR-24, or with any “metal rod,” yet you shower a steel rod with praise. How do you manage to square that particular circle?

You also assert that the George Holliday video was found after the LAPD officers were acquitted in the Simi Valley state trial. In fact, the video surfaced one year before the state acquittal, and was shown at the beginning of the local and national news every single night for a year. In New York City, I saw it hundreds of times.

The four LAPD officers who arrested Rodney King were not guilty of any crimes. The crimes were committed by King.

The George Holliday video had been edited, so that the public, which saw it hundreds of times, would have no idea that King, who was jailhouse buff (6’2” 220), and in a state of extreme intoxication, had charged the officers, in resisting arrest. The media also refrained from talking about King’s violence before Holiday’s camera was running.

Besides Rodney King, there were at least three culpable figures. Female CHP Officer Melanie Singer, attempted to singlehandedly arrest and handcuff the suspect, while holding her handcuffs in one hand and her gun in the other, thereby endangering the lives of the other six officers at the crime scene, including her husband/partner, Timothy Singer, and one other CHP officer.

On top of almost getting a lot of people killed, Officer Singer became the prosecution’s star trial witness.

There was the KTLA editor or producer who doctored the George Holliday videotape, to make it look as though the officers were sadists.

Finally, there was President George H.W. Bush, who while watching the 1992 L.A. riot on TV, called up the DOJ, and ordered it to railroad the four LAPD cops in an unconstitutional, federal civil rights trial.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Beating people with metal rod should never be who we are, or what we should aspire to become!"

If King had not been an ass of assess then nothing would have ever happened to the man. Just comply with orders and you will cuffed and taken away. As were the two other culprits in the company of Rodney at the time. From the time Rodney crashed the vehicle until the time he was cuffed and led away was THREE AND ONE-HALF HOURS!! Every effort under the sun was made to get the man to comply but he just did not do so. Rodney also executed several times the Folsom Roll. The bad guy on the ground rolls into the feet of the cop, knocks the cop off his feet, struggles to get the gun away from the cop and then kills the cop.

The judge himself also said ONLY the last nineteen seconds of the soc-called beating were in violation of law. Rodney never once struck in the head. Force when used not excessive but rather lacking in excessiveness.