Monday, November 23, 2009

Who watches the Watchmen's Watchmen?

Not that I don't have anything else to do on a Monday afternoon, but I've been begged to create a post on the following video. Anything to please my fans!

This is what I see:
  1. A drunken and screaming man, holding what may be a bottle in a brown paper bag, initiates a fight with another BART passenger.

  2. A police officer prevents the fight by pulling the man out of the train, to the applause of other passengers.

  3. The officer leads the man to a platform wall by incapacitating the man’s left hand—-the hand that may be holding a bottle-—and by pushing the man’s back/upper right shoulder. (You can’t see clearly from the clip; the officer may be grabbing onto the hood of the man’s coat.)

  4. The officer shoves the man into the windowed wall. Impact with the window is made with the man’s (unrestrained) right hand, not with his head. The glass shatters.

  5. It takes an additional 30 seconds for the police officer to successfully restrain the man. The police officer appears to be more injured by the broken glass than the man.
Okay. As far as I can tell, the officer does not intend or anticipate that the window will shatter. It does so because the man reaches out his arm (perhaps as an automatic response to the shove). While I don't know the applicable police procedures, I suspect that police officers are authorized to push a resisting individual against a wall to facilitate handcuffing him/her. As the video demonstrates, trying to incapacitate someone while standing in the middle of a room isn't easy.

Quite honestly, I think the most remarkable elements of this video are (1) the applause the officer receives for pulling the man out of the train; (2) the fact that platform windows are not made with shatter-proof plastic; and (3) the way the passengers walk and stand around right next to the arrested man. What's up with that?


Anonymous Hersh said...

I doubt a court would say this was an unreasonable use of force, but from the video it looks like the cop could have done his job without the violence.

What ever happened to the walk-a-beat cops that would diffuse situations with words. Not every confrontation with a drunk needs to end with a man on the ground in hand-cuffs. You can ask a guy to step off the train nicely first. If that doesn't work, then you bring the pain. Why is the judo move to the ground move number 1?

I don't doubt that the guy was annoying and needed a punch in the face. I'm just not sure its the police's job to punch faces.

11/23/2009 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Hersh said...

Also, one part was hilarious:

"Does anyone have a rag or something?"

First of all, who walks around with rags? Second, since when is it a good idea to wrap a fresh wound in a rag that someone just happened to find.

11/23/2009 4:20 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

I'm no EMT, but the idea's to put pressure to stop the bleeding. You can always treat infections. You can't exactly scoop up lost blood and "refuel."

Also, I don't think UFC fighters get this much "Monday morning quarterbacking" let alone those charged with keeping the public safe. This is definitely a "move it along, nothing to see folks" situation if ever there was one.

11/23/2009 4:24 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

If I'm bleeding like crazy in public and you happen to have a rag or something, please bring it to me. Thanks.

11/23/2009 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Hersh said...

HAHA, its not like he severed an artery. He wasn't going to bleed out there at the BART station without a rag to staunch the flow. You guys are silly.

I'm picturing Armen and Patrick, after a car accident, screaming at bystanders ... SOMEONE FETCH US SOME RAGS, STAT.

Isn't "monday morning quarterbacking" pretty much every comment on this blog about every topic?

11/23/2009 5:46 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Yeah, when I heard about this, it sounded a lot worse than it looks. The shatter aspect was clearly unintentional. It's not like he shot an unarmed man or anything.

My favorite part of the video is at 0:24, when you can hear someone say "Whoa, 5-0 says 'Freeze!'" Someone's been watching The Wire.

11/23/2009 7:23 PM  
Blogger Boomtime said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11/23/2009 7:57 PM  
Blogger Boomtime said...

Why is the judo move to the ground move number 1?

Some edits of the video show the cop standing across from the drunk on the train, calmly telling him that he needed to step off the train. I think it was only after the drunk refused to comply and taunted the cop that he was arrested.

Honestly, in my opinion, the only piece of news here is that BART's windows are made of fragile glass and should be upgraded to plexiglass of some kind.

If you want to see some truly senseless Bay Area police violence, check out this clip of the SJPD hitting and tasering a compliant Vietnamese student while he begs for for his glasses:

11/23/2009 7:57 PM  
Blogger McWho said...

For the record, Dan, alot of people who generally are not in class with you use the phrase "5-0." I heard it several times, used by suspects, while spending a semester in the USAO gang unit.

11/24/2009 1:07 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Yeah, I realized this after I posted. "5-0 said freeze" is actually a lyric from a Public Enemy song. Still funny that it appears in the video.

11/24/2009 2:52 PM  
Blogger Slam Master A said...

I saw something on the news about this either this morning or last night.

Apparently the guy was schizophrenic (sp?), and had just been released from a hospital. He was drunk on the BART, and a number of passengers called the cops because he kept trying to start fights.

BART issued a statement yesterday or today saying they were investigating, but their current stance is that the cop did nothing wrong. He is currently on leave.

11/24/2009 2:53 PM  

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