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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Massad Ayoob


Friday, June 30th, 2017

There has been much discussion and outrage over the shooting of Philando Castile by police officer Jeronimo Yanez, particularly since the officer’s acquittal on all charges several days ago.

We humans are a tribal species.  The Black community seems to have closed ranks reflexively in favor of the African-American man who was killed; the blue community largely (but not entirely) has taken the side of the Hispanic officer who fired the fatal shots; and much of the concealed carry tribe seems to have automatically taken the side of the deceased, who had a carry permit.

Let’s set all that aside for a moment and look at the facts.

First, when you’re pulled over, it’s always possible that it’s happening because you and/or your vehicle fit the description of someone who has done A Very Bad Thing.  In this case, before the pullover Yanez broadcast over the radio that Castile and his car fit the description of a man and a vehicle wanted for armed robbery with a gun. He called for backup, which is why a second officer is present in the dashcam recording of the shooting.

If the officer has reason to consider you, the driver, impaired, you can expect him or her to be all the more cautious in dealing with you. Toxicology screen after death showed Castile to have THC in his bloodstream, and Yanez reported smelling a strong odor of marijuana when he reached the driver’s door.

Castile’s girlfriend did not turn on her famous smartphone livestream until moments after the shooting, and the patrol car camera could not “see” what Castile was doing. A bodycam might well have shown that and solved the question conclusively, but the officer wasn’t wearing one. This leaves us only the perceptions of those who survived to testify. The girlfriend said Castile wasn’t pulling a gun, and Castile was recorded saying the same with his dying breath, but the officer perceived that Castile was drawing a gun, and stated that was why he drew and fired his service pistol.

Here is the dashcam video, from CNN.  Subtitles seen on some versions don’t show it, but at approximately the 43 second point, when Officer Yanez cries “Don’t pull it out!”  Castile sounds as if he replies “I have to pull it out.” Interestingly, the subtitle on CNN, and even an official transcript, have him saying that he’s not pulling it out.  YOU listen, and YOU tell me what YOU’RE hearing.

Some skeptics have said that if Yanez thought the driver of this car might be armed and dangerous, he was negligent in not making a felony stop. He did not yet have probable cause to do so; all he had was a person and vehicle who, among many, matched the description of the robbery suspect.  What he did have was probable cause for a traffic stop, with two brake lights out, and he was proceeding from there.

People are dogging the NRA for not joining other groups who’ve made this shooting a cause célèbre. I think NRA made the right call in not doing so.  So does concealed carry and gun owners’ civil rights activist Miguel Gonzales, on his blog.

The naïve say, “If the cop wasn’t wrong, why did the city just give Castile’s mother an almost three million dollar settlement?” The cynic will answer, “Because, with a racially charged hot button issue, that’s cheaper than a major civil disturbance.”

There were two sides to this case. Having been both the citizen with a legal gun who was pulled over, and the cop doing the pullover, I’m a card carrying member of both tribes. I cannot find fault with this officer’s actions, within the totality of the circumstances.  I can and do find fault with those who ignore the totality of those circumstances.

69 Responses to “THE CASTILE SHOOTING”

  1. Gerard Says:

    I wish Castile had handled his interaction with the officer differently. In spite of this the officer is responsible for the death of a law abiding citizen. He may have been acquitted but I hope is career in LE is over.

  2. B Kimm Says:

    No one seems to mention that the question to the jury was not” was the shooting justified?” It was did the prosecutor prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was not. That is the foundation of the presumption of innocence in our judicial system. My take is that it was the result of a series of errors by both parties that led to tragedy.

  3. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    I posted off-topic on this 24 or so hours ago, so I’m going to copy-and-paste repost my post here along with Mas’ response. I’d appreciate it very much if anyone who wants to comment on this do it here, rather than at the prior posting.


    We will never know whether Philando Castile did something stupid because he was stoned, poorly trained, just stupid, or had a momentary lapse of judgment. Whatever the cause, the actions he took were enough to alarm a LEO into shooting and killing him. (And nothing I’m about to say here is intended to either justify or condemn what the LEO did in response to Castile’s action. That’s a different subject for another discussion.) For those unaware of what happened check out the Wikipedia article:

    The fact is that the risk of a legally-armed citizen being shot by a LEO in a traffic stop or other LE encounter is high enough that many concealed carry classes spend some time teaching what to do and just plain common sense suggests that an advanced degree of caution is needed on the citizen’s part in those situations.

    But as I’ve pointed out in the past,

    LEO reaction often doesn’t take into account various kinds of lack of impaired responsibility on the part of the citizens they encounter and innocent people end up dead from those encounters. It would seem that the same is true for citizens engaging in legal carry.

    So, my question is this: Would you advise impaired people not to carry? Citizens who don’t speak English well? People who cannot reply or reply quickly enough or conform their physical reactions to what a LEO might order? How about citizens who are intellectually impaired or who have a history of mental illness, but not one which makes them a danger to themselves or others? People who are legitimately on full-time prescription medications which cause them to have less than perfect judgment?

    Elderly people who simply don’t think or react as well or as quickly as they did when they were younger? (Can’t you envision a pistol-packing granny doing exactly what Philando Castile did?)

    If you’re carrying and go out to dinner not planning to drink, but change your mind about having a drink at the last minute should you go lock your gun up in your car before imbibing just on the outside chance that some incident might bring LEO’s to the restaurant and you might not act with wholly unimpaired judgment?

    If you believe in a constitutional right to self defense with a firearm, shouldn’t all those people also have a constitutional right to carry to protect themselves without having a greater risk of being shot by a LEO because they don’t react as quickly or exactly in the fashion as they may have been ordered to do? Indeed, because of their vulnerability it could be argued that they have a greater need for armed self defense than an unipaired person.


    Mas responded:

    Dave, a drink with dinner doesn’t worry me. A mentally ill person or advanced Alzheimer’s patient with a gun does. Language barrier? It’s stupid to pull out a gun in front of a cop during a traffic stop in any language. As to Philando Castile, stay tuned for my next blog entry.

  4. The Dr Says:

    A very learned man taught me that if you are stopped, keep your hands visible on the top of the steering wheel and not move them until asked. Mr. Castiile would still be alive if he did this.

  5. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    I’ve heard an enhanced-audio version of the dashcam video and I hear “I’m not pulling it out” (and I’d not seen a captioned version of that before I heard that) but I think the bigger controversy is over what Castile’s hands were doing rather than what he was saying.

    Castile had been (a) asked for his driver’s license and (b) told not to reach for or pull out his weapon. And those commands did not necessarily conflict with one another: He should reach for and pull out his ID without reaching for or pulling out his weapon. The officer did not say, “keep your hands in sight” (on “on the wheel”) or “do not reach towards your weapon”. There’s no reason to believe that Castile was not, at least in the moment immediately prior to the shooting, trying to comply with both of the officer’s commands. (And if we’re going to give the benefit of the doubt to George Zimmerman on what he thought the dispatcher was asking him to do in getting out of his truck to look for Trayvon Martin by merely asking “Did you see where he went?” I certainly don’t have any trouble giving the benefit of the doubt to Castile when faced with far more specific commands by a LEO right there in front of him.)

    As I said above, I don’t know whether Castile’s reaction was momentary confusion, impairment, insufficient training, just a twitch, or what, but it was clearly an instance of one of those differences between how LEO’s see the world and how average citizens see the world that got him killed.

  6. FatGamma Says:

    This is yet another “support the shield, the blue can do no wrong” hack piece. Philando Castile was murdered by a police officer who was scared of his own shadow. The motto of every cop in America has changed from “protect and serve” to “I’m going home at the end of my shift, no matter what”… even if they have to shoot an innocent man or two. The reasons you gave for Jeronimo Yanez not being convicted make no sense. Castile had ZERO warrants and had no reason to believe he was in any trouble. Castile volunteered that he had a carry permit and was armed. Why, then, would he draw his weapon AFTER he was flanked by two police officers? He wouldn’t. Yanez had been trained to believe literally everyone is trying to kill him and panicked.

  7. Mas Says:

    FatGamma, you might want to re-read the blog and get back to us, particularly if you can read it with an open mind this time. BTW, what makes you think he KNEW he was being flanked by a second officer?

  8. Tww Says:


    The link is about training the officer had. We hear you fight as you train quite often. Did the training come up in the trial?

  9. Mas Says:

    Tww, I certainly hope his training got in, because it’s part of the mindset element the jury must consider. Don’t know to what extent it did, though; didn’t see it in news reports, and had no personal involvement in the case.

  10. FatGamma Says:

    Mas, I read your blog post twice before responding. I followed this case from the beginning and find your opinion to be unwarranted. My original statement stands.

  11. Roger Willco Says:

    I have heard the same advice The Dr. heard. Keep your hands on the steering wheel.

    What if Castile had his weapon on his right hip, and his wallet in his right front pocket? As he goes to remove his wallet, his hand would get uncomfortably close to his weapon, and it would be blocked from the sight of Officer Yanez by Castile’s body. That would certainly scare officer Yanez, and maybe any other officer.

    What is a cop to do? Should he have asked Castile to get out of his car with his hands up, then ask him where his weapon is located? Then remove the gun from him? What did the assisting officer see and hear? Would a man who just committed armed robbery with a gun tell an officer that he had a gun and a permit for it? Maybe he would if he wanted to trick the officer into feeling at ease.

    This was an awfully difficult case. Maybe CCW carriers should not have to declare that they are carrying a gun when pulled over for traffic stops. Maybe cops should assume everyone is armed, and simply watch their hands. Maybe this was just a case where everything went wrong (Murphy’s Law) and we should not change the law or police procedures just because of this outlier case.

  12. Mas Says:

    FatGamma, you don’t get it. You wrote earlier in this thread:

    “Castile had ZERO warrants and had no reason to believe he was in any trouble. Castile volunteered that he had a carry permit and was armed. Why, then, would he draw his weapon AFTER he was flanked by two police officers? He wouldn’t.”

    You can’t know he wouldn’t. Nor could the officer. Certainly, it would not be the reasonable or prudent thing to do. But given that he was driving a car with a 4-year old child in it while under the influence of marijuana, he does not appear to have been too reasonable and prudent on the day in question. He did not know that he fit the description of an armed robber, but the officer did, and it was part of his decision-making process.

    Roger Willco, it was reported that the girlfriend testified that Castile carried his wallet in his left hip pocket; the pistol was in his right front pocket. I agree with your statement, “Maybe this was just a case where everything went wrong (Murphy’s Law) and we should not change the law or police procedures just because of this outlier case.”

  13. Patrick Henry, the 2nd Says:

    “I cannot find fault with this officer’s actions, within the totality of the circumstances.”

    I do not understand this. Regardless of what Castille did, the officer panicked. He was in the wrong. We need to hold officers to a HIGHER level of standard. In the totality of the situation, yes I find fault with his actions.

    FYI, there is no indication that he was under the influence of marijuana. Autopsy results of THC are worthless, because THC enters the blood after death, and even in live persons it does not indicate how recently it entered the body. Claiming to have smelled it is also worthless, as that is common to say but we have no ability to verify that, and cops often lie about it. So the marijuana issue is really moot to this entire discussion. It could have easily happened to someone who was not. Its just as easy to say he was impaired because a situation was happening that he had not yet processed (as is often the case when someone has done nothing wrong and yet an officer is yelling at that).

    While I think Castille may have mistakes, none of those should have lead to his death. He admitted he had a firearm and a permit, and that should have lead the cop to reduce his anxiety, not increase it.

    If I was on the jury, I would have voted to convict.

  14. TN_MAN Says:

    This case is tragic and the videos are disturbing. Nevertheless, it is unwise to “wear our emotions on our sleeve” all the time. There is too much of that going on in the media-rich world of today. People are constantly flying into various emotional states over every image, video, comment or tweet that hits the internet. Maybe we should go back to getting our news in the dry text of the daily newspaper! 🙂

    There have always been tragic and emotional events that are controversial in the news. My view is that, when these cases make it to court and the jury delivers its verdict, that is the end of it and it should be accepted. We have all seen cases like the OJ trial and the Zimmerman trial. Now we can add the Yanez / Castile trial to the list. In the end, juries delivered the verdicts in all these cases. I may (or may not) have felt good about whatever the verdict was, but, in the end, I accept it. As B Kimm pointed out (above) all these defendants are presumed innocent until they can be proved guilty. That is the way the system works and I know that, if I am ever accused of a crime, that is the way I want it to work for me!

  15. Lee Cruse Says:

    Being under the influence of an illegal drug and driving with or with out a gun is not something that should ever be considered OK.

    My problem with the officer was all of the “colorful” language and behavior after the shooting. The officer did not help his case. For me that was enough that he should have lost his job. As for the shooting, I agree with the jury that the proof of a crime just was not strong enough.

  16. Bill Says:

    From what I’ve seen and read, this sounds like a case of the cop being overzealous, but didn’t reach the level of a “beyond reasonable doubt” and thus was not guilty of a criminal offense.

    Everything seems to indicate that Yanez over-reacted and gave VERY poor instructions. He was TOLD by Castillo that Castillo was armed. So why does he not ask where the gun is? Why does he not take Castillo out of the car and do a Terry frisk if he’s worried this might be a bad guy? Why does he not give specific instructions like: “With your left hand, keeping your right hand on the steering wheel, slowly remove your wallet from your left hip pocket?”

    Judas Priest, I’ve been pulled over while armed a couple of times. Once I was given instrctions exactly like that and complied. The other, I told the cop where the gun was, and it was on the same side as my wallet and I suggested he might be more comfortable just taking the gun out of my holster, because the guy looked jumpy. (He did, no harm done, was on my way in 5 minutes.)

    I have a real problem believing Yanez did exactly what he should have done or even behaved in a professional manner in this case.

    BUT, I don’t second-guess juries. I wasn’t in the courtroom, nor did I watch it on TV. If the jury said not enough evidence to convict, I’m going with their opinion; Specifically that Yanes was not guilty of the charges brought.

    But that doesn’t give him a pass on what seems pretty obvious to me was a needless screw-up that killed a guy. I’m not one of the people that wants any cop that makes a bad judgement call on use of force in jail. But in Yanez’ case, I’d be just as happy to see him move to another career.

    As for the THC, was it shown that Castillo was likely under the influence at the time of the incident? That was not at all clear to me.

    As for the race thing? I’m not aware of any evidencve that Yanez was some secret Klan member or anything like it.

  17. Dennis Says:


    On the outside chance you are not just a cop hating troll dropping by this blog to vent your hatred, never to be heard from again, and plan on continuing to follow Mas to continue to be exposed to valuable knowledge, I will attempt to add some insight from the officer’s point of view.

    The officer had information that a robbery had occurred. He had a physical description of the suspects. Many folks don’t know, but a large percentage of major crimes are solve by lowly uniformed police officers working the beat, by following up on a crime by stopping folks fitting the description.

    He saw a couple vaguely matching that description. He didn’t immediately stop them on that description alone, rather he observed them until they committed an obvious traffic violation. This is part of his training. Why wait for a traffic violation? Because, in most jurisdictions, the officer has the discretion to either summon to appear or arrest and jail, even on misdemeanor traffic charges. Why is this important? If, after making contact with the occupants of the vehicle, you observe other factors that would lead the officer to believe that searching the car would probably bear fruits of a higher crime, he can make an arrest on the traffic violation and impound the car. This mandates an inventory of the cars contents to protect the tow company and police department from theft accusations. Any illegal contraband or evidence of a crime discovered is just as admissible in court as it would have been if searched with a warrant.

    Now, the officer approaches the vehicle. Up to this point he has a description of unknown robbery suspects and a traffic violation. When he gets in proximity of the car window, he smells burning marijuana. At this point he is aware of another crime possibly committed by one or both of the occupants (marijuana users seem to not realize that to a none user, the smell marijuana use is about as subtle as the aroma of a fresh road kill skunk). According to the followup on the marijuana part of the coming investigation, the outcome could result in an arrest for mere misdemeanor possession or maybe felony possession with intent to distribute. Whatever, the likelihood of this stop resulting in an arrest has increased greatly. He then contacts the driver.

    The driver immediately tells the officer that he is armed and has a permit. At that point, the permit carries no weight. Maybe later, when further investigation reveals that the suspicion that he could be guilty of possibly two felonies was without merit, but not at this point in time. The occupants are no different than any other possible felony suspects other than the fact that now the officer knows at least one of them is armed.

    Then it happens. It becomes a deadly force encounter. The driver makes a move for his pocket. The officer demands he not do that. In the aftermath, it devolves into an I said, he said, she said, and individual perceptions of what transpired from the survivors vantage points.

    The jury sided with Officer Yanez in this case. They saw, heard, and weighed the testimony of all witnesses. That is how our system works.

    I am not attempting to justify Officer Yanez’s actions, just trying to enlighten on his possible thought processes as he began the ill fated interaction. I hope this is helpful.

  18. cm smith Says:

    Why would Castile draw his pistol in front of two cops? My guess in this has always been that Castile and the GF were trying to provoke the cop for a Gotcha video. Thus, his words v. his action. Thus, the GF was so calm. They both had their script.

    It happened to me – minus the video, years ago, on a man with a gun call. A man known to have been in prison for manslaughter, he apparently intended to ‘punk’ me by turning and drawing … his fingers … in the universal ‘gun’ gesture. I surprised him by matching his fingers with my real pistol. (Thank you, Uncle Jeff for that article on drawing but not firing.) Years later, he thanked me for not shooting him. IIRC, Mas has documented similar stories.

  19. TW Says:

    I wasn’t going to post to this discussion since I have only been casually following this case, but I changed my mind, so here goes.

    I have been stopped by traffic cops on occasions while I am carrying (I have a lead foot). Rule of thumb when pulled over (1) Stay in the vehicle, (2) if it is night turn on inside dome lamp, (3) roll down driver’s side window, (4) put goth hands at the top of the steering wheel (all in that order). Wait for the LEO to tell me what to do next when they walk up to the window.

    If he asks for my license, then I tell him where it is located on my person and ask if I can reach for it. I give him my license and my carry permit which informs him that I may be carrying. You don’t shout out “I got a gun”. If asked, refer to your piece as a “weapon” – “gun” seems to imply an amateur or illegal relationship to the piece and makes everyone nervous. After he asks if I am carrying, I say “Yes, how do you want to proceed?”. I have had most LEO’s just simply say leave it where it is (and don’t seem concerned). I have had at least one LEO ask me to exit the vehicle and tell him where it is so he could remove it from my person. That is the procedure I will always suggest if the LEO says to hand him the firearm (it’s hard to believe he would ever ask the suspect to do such a risky thing).

    All of the above is good and proper, but I have spent a lot of time considering what I should do if stopped. Most firearm enthusiasts that carry have probably done the same. However, we also have permitted carriers that don’t live and breath guns like the rest of us. At the very least that should be included in the training required for a permit. However, the Second Amendment is a God given right and not one bestowed by the current authorities in any government. I believe that there should be training on both sides (carriers and LEOs), but the only place you can guarantee training is with the LEO. They don’t hand out badges as a God given right. Therefore, in my opinion, the burden of safety for the citizen falls on the officer as part of the job. The LEO knows that the job is dangerous going into it, and has tacitly agreed to live with that danger. If the officer doesn’t think that’s fair, then let them find another vocation. It’s tough being a cop and that’s why I don’t do it. That is my opinion.

    Mas said “First, when you’re pulled over, it’s always possible that it’s happening because you and/or your vehicle fit the description of someone who has done A Very Bad Thing.” That is true. Those of us that read this blog would agree and be aware of that. But I have to ask Mas, how many of your typical citizens that never have an interraction with LEOs would ever think of this or give it a thought when pulled over? It’s not in their DNA. This is where I believe the onus is on the LEO to realize this and not automatically believe that the citizen wouldn’t do something dumb.

    I have no opinion on this specific case, other than to state you could argue it either direction. At the very least I believe Yanez should thank his lucky stars it didn’t fall differently for him in court and should consider taking his badge off permanently. This incident will affect his policing from here on out, and could even result in the loss of his life. It could also be argued that it might make him a better cop. So YMMV.

  20. Philo Kvetch Says:

    As a life time CCW holder in Indiana I take this right very seriously. If I’m ever stopped for whatever reason I would comply with whatever the LEO asks of me. I would of course let the LEO know that I was a CCW holder and that I was carrying also. Of course as a responsible CCW holder I would never ever be toking on the chiiba. This Castile character was found to have THC in his system. That doesn’t mean he should have lost his life, and it doesn’t mean he was high at the time, but it does tell us that he was very irresponsible and should maybe have rethought the way he ran his life considering that THC tends to dull ones reactions and perceptions. As for the LEO, maybe he could have been less threatened when Castile said he had a CCW. But given the fact that the subject was fitting a description of an armed felon I can understand the Leo’s quick response. Either way one man is dead and one man’s life is in the crapper.

  21. John Mohan Says:

    For the record, as the holder of a CCW permit for many years, who has been pulled over an embarrassing number of times over those years, I have never had an issue or incident with an officer pulling me over. I’ve always kept both hands on the steering wheel, informed the officer that I have a CCW permit, and after hearing the officer ask the question that will surely follow such announcement, have always said the following words: “Yes sir, I’m carrying a pistol in a [insert present method and position of carry] and a backup pistol in a [insert present method and position of carry]. What would you like me to do now?” Never a problem. Ever.

    I feel very bad for that officer. He knows now he killed a good man – what a HORRIBLE thing to have to live with. But I would have done the EXACT same thing he did, as would any reasonable person who doesn’t have a death wish.

    Mr. Castile did not say he had a permit – he politely said he was carrying a firearm. And then, even after the officer said (politely), words to the effect of, “That’s fine, just don’t reach for it” Mr. Castile went ahead and reached for… something. While I’m sure in hindsight, knowing that Mr. Castile had a CCW permit and was not the actual armed robbery suspect, he was just reaching for his ID, the officer had no way of knowing this (unless he is telepathic). I doubt he is telepathic.

    In MY world, all CCW permits would require training that included what to do when carrying and being pulled over by the police. Lastly, perhaps if Mr. Castile did not reek of weed, he would have had the sense to tell the officer he had a CCW (not just say he had a firearm) and even more importantly, perhaps he would have had the sense to keep his hands in plain sight and do what the officer asked him to do.


    John Mohan

    P.S. Completely off subject (well, not completely but a bit) and it won’t go down in the official records because I didn’t report it, but being armed prevented me from being beaten up or killed by a younger, bigger idiot suffering from an extreme case of road rage last month. After cutting me off, and then slamming on his brakes, and then when I still didn’t rear end him, throwing his car into reverse and spinning his wheels backward until he almost rear ended me, he jumped out of his car and was about to come do “something”. I jumped out of my car, and gripped my pistol in its shoulder holster (didn’t draw it). I ordered him to step back in his car and wait as I had already called the police. He saw where my hand was (he couldn’t see the gun but apparently he was a fairly good guesser), and all of a sudden, he experienced a miraculous case of calming down, got in his car and drove away. I had the shakes for hours afterward. But I survived. And so did he. Maybe he learned a lesson that will stick. Though I doubt it, I hope so.

  22. Paul S Says:

    The first thing I do if pulled over is put on the cabin light (if dusk or later). In essentially the same instant as I stop my vehicle and out on light if needed, I pull out wallet and grab registration/insurance card. Opening window is next. All this in moments and long before an officer typically gets out of his vehicle much less approaches.

    I have never been stopped while carrying a weapon. If the occasion arises and I have to reach for something on my person, I will advise officer or what and where including weapon while hands are in the steering wheel and ask how officer would like me to proceed.

  23. Steve from MA Says:

    After going on a. Citizen ride with LEO in my town, I can tell you that when they run a plate, CCW possession and warrant status roll up very quickly on their car computer, coming on in red if positive, green if not.

  24. Dennis Says:

    Liberal Dave,

    You said, “Castile had been (a) asked for his driver’s license and (b) told not to reach for or pull out his weapon. And those commands did not necessarily conflict with one another: He should reach for and pull out his ID without reaching for or pulling out his weapon.The officer did not say, “keep your hands in sight” (on “on the wheel”) or “do not reach towards your weapon”. There’s no reason to believe that Castile was not, at least in the moment immediately prior to the shooting, trying to comply with both of the officer’s commands.”

    That statement confuses me. Watching the video, it appears to me that Castile had already handed Officer Yanez his insurance card, which he was glancing at until Castile stated “Sir, I’ve got to tell you I have a firearm on me”, with his body turned slightly towards and his face looking at the officer. The officer says “OK-OK” . Castile then, after telling the officer of the gun, turned to reach toward his lower right side saying “I’m-a- I’m-a” at which time the officer shouts don’t take it out!-don’t take it out!”. It appears that Castile continues movement with his right arm saying “I’m taking it out.” At least that is what I made out after about 10 replays of just that segment. Not once did I hear anything close to the word “not”. I would love to hear the “enhanced” audio you’ve heard , and know the source. I’ve come to doubt some of the “internet evidence” being posted on controversial cases such as this (recall the doctored media video of George Zimmerman in police custody immediately after his ordeal and the photo-shopping out of all his bleeding head injuries?) I did hear the girlfriend say “no” almost simultaneous with the shots being fired, and immediately afterwards that “he wasn’t pulling it out”.

    The fact that even with audio and video, there is confusion about the chain of events show that the jury faced a tough job.

    What was the “chain of events”? The officer approaches the driver and advises him of why he had been stopped. He asks for driver’s license and Insurance. The driver first shows proof of insurance and only then notifies the officer that he is armed. The driver did not, that I could hear, say anything about a permit. The officer responds to this new information by saying “OK-OK, don’t pull it out”. Driver continues movement towards his right side (possibly thinking in his own mind that he was only responding to the second request from the officer, that is to produce his driver’s license). The officer pulls his weapon and repeats again, now shouting, “don’t pull it out!-don’t pull it out!” starting to fire his weapon while still shouting the command. The last (third) command to “Don’t pull it out!” was a “nervous utterance” in the immediate aftermath a traumatic event (very common).

    No doubt this was a tragic event. No doubt, Mr. Castile spent his last moments alive believing he had done nothing wrong. No doubt Officer Yanez felt that in that moment in time he had no choice other than protect himself. No doubt Officer Yanez I assure you, will spend the rest of his days reliving that horrible moment.

  25. Sam Says:

    One thing that keeps getting left out is that he was carrying illegally. In MN illegal use of a controlled substance means you cannot posses a firearm (much less carry one.) Not just when impaired (which also means you can not carry), but if you are a user you can not POSSESS a firearm. What should Castile have done? He should not of had a firearm since it was illegal for him to have one.

  26. Duane Wolfe Says:

    FatGamma if you listen to the video he never told the officer he had a permit. The use of marijuana (evidenced by the THC in his system invalidated his permit. The possession of marijuana (a jar filled with it in the car) invalidated the permit. Videos made by his girlfriend show both of them smoking marijuana in the past, that invalidates the permit. The girlfriend stated that they both smoked marijuana together, lying about drug use when applying for a permit is a crime and so is lying on the application for purchase. So he was illegally carrying, an illegally purchased pistol with an invalid permit to carry. Not exactly the perfect example of a permit to carry holder.

  27. Spencer B. Says:

    It just goes to show one never knows when it’ll be that day for them. Sorry about Castile’s damn luck, really am…

    But I can’t go and disagree with the Judge on the matter. At least his Momma got paid big coin to ease the loss of her son.

    Jeronimo Yanez is no physcho killer or public threat. No, I don’t figure so but I’m not Jehovah with the reading hearts and omnipotence and all that.

    Seems the man just did what he had to in the moment. Chasing down a bank robber or facing killers isn’t exactly a relaxing good time. I do get the idea they sell about fair fight let the guy clear leather but we all know that 50’s western shit wasn’t how it went down in the 19th century, knights chivalry isn’t what happens on the street when guys choose sideways careers or are simply desperate to the point of criminality. We all want to stay alive as best we can!

    If you’re reading this and get pulled over, please just do what you can and think is best in accordance with who you are along with your training and experiences. We all have our own ways of expressing that we mean no harm and need to employ that with empathy in our dealings with others.

    Worrying about being hassled for your weedz when you’re trying to get about your biz and driving about could make one put out a nervous vibe until the cop feels that BUT is looking for A Very Bad Thing guy…. Oi Vey, a tragedy indeed.

    May it all go well with all who read this!

  28. Michael Says:

    The officer panicked. Plain and simple. The deceased was following the lawful orders to furnish his drivers license.

    This is not without precedent; an officer makes a request for a document – reg, license, and/or insurance – the officer perceives the operator furnishing a firearm, shots are fired from the officer, operator dies, officer charged (and is summarily acquitted).

    Rinse. Repeat.

    Remember the golden LE rule: They HAVE to come home safe Mas. Innocent drivers with a few brake lights out be damned.

  29. Phil Says:

    In reading all these comments, I don’t understand why, if you are pulled over, you don’t already have your DL in your hands with both hands visible before the LEO gets to your car – you know its going to be requested so why invite a misunderstanding by moving your hand to a place of concealment while the LEO is present?

  30. Dennis Says:

    My first post said-“The driver immediately tells the officer that he is armed and has a permit.”

    This was an error. Like so many, I have heard that statement repeated so many times by the media, I had assumed, without hearing the audio myself, that had to be true. Again the media has proven they are propagandist first, not purveyors of truth.

    It was not until I had heard the audio several times that I realized Castile, nor his girlfriend, ever mentioned a permit BEFORE the shooting.

    The permit played no role in this scenario, other than that Mr. Castile knew, in his mind, that his having a gun on his person was legal.

  31. MichaelJT Says:

    I agree with other Michael, up above. The cop panicked. Too many cops see the ordinary citizen as the enemy. Training or cop culture? Who knows.
    What I do know is that body cameras, with no way for the officer to shut it off or erase or tamper with any video captured, on every cop will go a long way to eliminating many problems.

    Someone once told me in reference to cops, “Half of them are Andy and half of them are Barney.” The problem is you never know who you are dealing with as they walk up to your car. I’ve dealt with both, I prefer Andy, we get along better.

    Having said that, the man who was killed by the cop handled everything wrong. Keep your hands in sight and your tongue in check. The place to argue with a cop is in court, not alongside the road. You’ll lose there every time.

  32. Steven R Says:

    I follow Mas’s logic but I doubt that in the same circumstances where Mas was the officer that it would have ended that way. On older, more experienced officer, is less likely to shoot unless the threat is real.

    I think the jury did the right thing but the officer should find another line of work. I do not want to be pulled over by someone like him. I also want cops to know that they will lose their career unless a real criminal gets killed.

  33. Chuck Says:

    The officer panicked and the driver acted foolishly. Those two events cost a man his life. But that doesn’t mean that all the fault lies on one party, they both made mistakes.

    Personally, I feel no need to inform an officer who’s stopping me for a traffic violation that I have a CCW permit or a concealed weapon. Why? I have no intention of shooting the officer and it’s only going to add stress to the encounter. It’s only if and when he asks me to exit my vehicle or asks if I have a weapon that I inform him of both. Their typical response at that point is “Don’t draw yours and I won’t draw mine”. But I’m also polite, respectful and don’t dress or act like a criminal.

    Never, ever move your hands out of the officers sight unless he specifically tells you to. If you have to reach near your gun to get something let him know that.
    In my younger days I had some “stressful” encounters, usually based on the fact that I rode Harley Davidson motorcycles and wore a black leather jacket. Still, intelligent, cautious action on my part kept me from being shot.

    Here’s an example. I once had “Get on the ground” and “Don’t move” orders at the same time. I slowly put my hands on my head and dropped to my knees and waited for them to get on the same page. It was a tense moment, but once they realized that I wasn’t a threat, and that I was 5″ taller and 40 pounds heavier than the person they were looking for, it ended well.

  34. Dennis Says:

    I hold two concealed carry licenses (Texas and Arkansas) in addition to nationwide carry as an honorably retired law enforcement officer. The instructions on interaction with law enforcement officer is not complicated or difficult to follow.

    1-keep your hands visible
    2-advise officer you have CCL
    3-wait for officer’s instructions (if he doesn’t ask to take possession of the weapon prior to asking for your drivers license/ID/permit, you ask him if he wants to see the weapon and how prior to moving your hands to retrieve those documents)
    4-comply with all instructions without argument (don’t let your ego override your judgement)

    Where did Mr. Castile make his first mistake on his CCL instructions? He did not wait for the officer’s instructions after telling the officer he had a weapon.

    Here’s my time line, using a stopwatch, from the moment Mr. Castile spoke the word “weapon” until the officer acknowledged that information by saying “Ok-Ok, DON’T PULL IT OUT”, was 3 seconds, (actually only 2 seconds before Mr. Castile started to pull whatever he was attempting to retrieve from his pocket). Mr. Castile ignored the officer’s command “Don’t pull it out then…. Don’t pull it out! Don’t pull it out!” The entire incident between “I’ve got a weapon” till the first shot was fired was around 4.5 seconds.

    Was this because the officer failed to give proper instructions to Mr. Castile or Mr. Castile’s failure to give the officer time to give instructions? Mr. Castile seemed to want to control the interaction instead of allowing the officer to control the pace.

    Now, I will describe the only time I have been stopped for a traffic violation since I’ve retired.

    I was returning home after riding my motorcycle back down to Dallas to the department firearms training center to renew my LEOSA certification (a 1,000 mile round trip). I take the back highways on such trips for the scenery and light traffic. I had set my cruise control, actually just a throttle lock, on a long straight two lane highway at the posted speed of 70mph. I topped a small rise and was descending down the slope on the other side when I noticed a car approaching me from the opposite direction. I glanced down at my spedometer and realized my speed had increased to 85mph coming down the slope, At about the same time, the approaching vehicle lights started flashing the red and blues.

    I immediately pulled to the right shoulder, stopped, and put my side stand down and waited for the state trooper to make his U-turn and pull up behind me. I stayed seated on the motorcycle until the trooper exited his car, at which point I raised my hands over my head and I told him “I’m retired law enforcement. I’ve got a pistol inside my vest pocket on the right side.”

    The trooper responded by telling me to get off my motorcycle and to walk towards him. I complied, still with my hands over my head. As I walked towards me, he asked “what department did you retire from. I replied “Dallas”. He told me to put my hands down, which I did.

    He then asked for my driver’s license. I responded by telling him that my license a badge case was in my left inside pocket opposite my pistol, did he want to retrieve it or did he want me to. I retrieved it, handed it and my LEOSA certificate. He issued the citation (actually a warning), we exchanged pleasantries and I was on my way. He never asked to see my pistol.

    Some may say that “Oh, yeah, he treated you that way cause you were police.”

    We were on a deserted stretch of highway (no other cars came by during the entire stop), I was dressed in old blue jeans, a knit shirt, and my motorcycle “road vest” covered with patches and a half-helmet, riding a full dress cruiser. I didn’t look a heck of a lot different than a motorcycle gang member. I like to think the the way I conducted myself led to the way he responded back to me. He had no way of knowing if I was being truthful about being retired law enforcement until way into the stop.

  35. Dennis Says:

    “Remember the golden LE rule: They HAVE to come home safe Mas. Innocent drivers with a few brake lights out be damned.”

    So, the whole story is “Totally innocent man murdered for no reason other than burnt out bulbs in brake lights. Officer’s only justification for brutal, unwarranted attack was his arbitrary desire to go home safe.” ?

    Wow. What a well thought out, mature analysis of this incident. Leaves out numerous important elements worthy of discussion, but, hey, why spend time to engage in intelligent back and forth when you can just invoke personal bias and not stress any brain cells.

  36. Two-gun Steve Says:

    One can imagine that a large portion of the totality of circumstances in this tragedy would be that Philando Castile was significantly apprehensive that the car was about to be searched, and that an illegal substance would be discovered. Philando was surely considering his immediate options, one of which could involve presenting his firearm, possibly with an unclear purpose that promised no real solution to his dilemma. Officer Yanez could apparently see that Philando was not in a fully cooperative state, and also that a potential threat was quickly developing. The videos don’t give enough details to supply a full answer as to the extent of threat in the situation. Also, if Philando had shot Officer Yanez, would CNN have bothered to investigate?

  37. Bob Says:

    I don’t know what he said at 43 seconds, it’s not clear enough to tell. So no-one gets to decide what he said.

  38. Wayne Says:

    “Some skeptics have said that if Yanez thought the driver of this car might be armed and dangerous, he was negligent in not making a felony stop. He did not yet have probable cause to do so”

    I’m only familiar with the laws in my state (Washington), and probable cause is not required for e felony stop, reasonable suspicion is enough. I tried looking for the laws in Minnesota and couldn’t find anything saying PC was required for a felony.

    In my mind the officer had reasonable suspicion for a felony stop and should have performed one. Just my opinion.

  39. Char Char Binks Says:

    I believe Castile said, “I’m not pulling it out.”. Still, he shouldn’t have reached for it immediately after mentioning his gun. That reasonably put Yanez in fear. I agree with Dave — Castile was stoned, stupid, or simply made a lapse in judgment.

  40. mike in SATX Says:

    Yanez didn’t employ hesitation in his encounter with Castile. He lived. Last week, 2 SAPD officers responded to suspicious person call in the middle of the day close to downtown San Antonio. Both were immediately shot by a criminal on the run. One is dead, the other is still in the hospital.

  41. Mr. Bill from Tejas Says:

    I see PSAs for seat belt usage, swimming pool safety, DWI, trimming trees around power lines, digging around gas lines, and others. I have NEVER seen a PSA on interacting with LE. Granted, the numbers may not warrant it but I’ll argue the prominence of this as a social issue overrides that. I’ll suggest this should even be taught in our schools. LEs assumption that their authority is a given doesn’t fly in the face of a social mindset that preaches hostility and mistrust towards them. Educate the public on how to act and why – it will only solidify LEs stance in cases such as this one, and it may save some lives. Citizen Police Academies are not enough. This info needs to be widely distributed through modern media formats. I predict it will stimulate discussion and educate people further.

  42. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    @Dennis: Okay, here’s what I’ve done since seeing your posting to me, above. I looked for the enhanced version I listened to and could not find it. So I took what appears, at least, to be a fairly neutral version:

    (by “neutral” I don’t mean that the person who posted to YouTube was neutral, but only that it seems to match all the other publicly-available versions).

    I extracted the audio from that video using:

    And then brought it into an audio editor (similar to Audacity) so I could trim out and just listen to the piece beginning with Castile saying that he has a firearm. At exactly 1:13.75 into the video, after saying, “I’m a, I’m a” just prior to that point in time, Castile plainly says, “I’m NOT pulling it out” with a emphasis on the word “not” occurring at 1:14.05. That emphasis is audibly clear and also shows up as a clear “blip” in the spectograph chart of the audio. I did not manipulate the audio except to trim it down to the relevant chunk.

    Having done and said all of this, however, again I think it was Castile’s movements which were more important than what he said.

    In regard to “Castile then, after telling the officer of the gun, turned to reach toward his lower right side”. The very best that I can see in the video at that point is something that might be slight side-to-side head movement, but even that is indistinct. The officer’s _testimony_ was that Castile turned and reached in that direction, but I cannot see it from the dashcam video.

  43. Roger Willco Says:

    Reading Mas’ blog, and all the comments was a real education! I agree with Mr. Bill from Tejas, the national government needs to make a Public Service Announcement on how to interact with Law Enforcement. The PSA needs to be shown on TV and everywhere else.

  44. WR Moore Says:

    A little background, I toted a gun for a paycheck for over 30 years and had LE Instructors certs.

    About descriptions-they generally aren’t accurate. I was once stopped as a suspected bank robber while in college. The description was for someone about 6 inches shorter, 40 lbs lighter and wearing a maroon sport coat. I was wearing a red wind breaker. I was kinda torqued at the time. I later learned better: I’d have stopped me too.

    The traffic stop was legit and allowed further investigation if for no other reason than to get the gent on camera and get his positive identification. Ruling a possible suspect out is a valid exercise.

    Now, the stop itself. I’ve been stopped several times. I’ve always carried my wallet on the side opposite my firearm. If I have to reach somewhere, I specify where I’m reaching and what I’m reaching for. I do so VERY SLOWLY. If the officer says something about “Don’t reach for a gun” I tell them where mine is and where the permit is.

    None of us responding saw what the officer did. I couldn’t hear what the late individual said-I did note that the media outlet posting the video posted an alleged transcript. Apparently, they have better ears than mine (not hard to do). I did note that initially, the office didn’t have his hand on his firearm. When the suspect (at that time) did something that prompted his warning about not touching his gun, his hand went to his service pistol and then moved away. Then there was a reactive draw and shots.

    I’d suggest that some who are so quick to find fault might benefit from Simunitions experience on just how quickly one can get a firearm into action.

  45. Dennis Says:

    Liberal Dave,

    You and I are old friends on this blog. We take adversarial positions. That’s what we do. We seldom end up in complete agreement on a subject, but we present both sides of an argument and leave with better understanding.

    I don’t believe I’ve ever said that Officer Yanez handled this stop correctly or that he was justified in shooting Mr. Castile. Rather, I’ve tried to relate from his point of view, events as they unfolded, his perception.

    Did Officer Yanez react too quickly? Should he have allowed Mr. Castile more time to respond to his commands? Possibly. I have had similar encounters on traffic stops that didn’t culminate in deadly force. I always felt I had a sort of sixth sense about those things, but I can also point to times I waited too long and almost died because of it. Maybe that’s why I hesitate to condemn an officer on these incredibly rapidly unfolding encounters.

    Look at what this discussion has devolved to. A debate on whether or not a single word was spoken. The word “not”, and a .3 (three tenths) of a second span of time. A word that was or was not spoken (I still have not been able to detect it being said) by one person while another person was shouting, simultaneously, commands to not pull it out (very distinct and audible).

    Some have questioned the probable cause and motivation for the stop. You and I both know the stop was legal. Officer Yanez’s demeanor and actions when first approaching the driver was textbook. What we are debating is what happened in 4.5 (four and a half) seconds after the word “weapon” was spoken. Did the officer react too quickly to a perceived threat, or did the driver force a reaction by not giving the officer time to digest the new information of the fact the he was armed before he made moves to retrieve his driver’s license, permit, weapon?

    I would personally have a very hard time, as a juror, sending a man to prison based on the facts we know. Many would say that’s because I’m ex-law enforcement, and there may be some truth in that. I also believe there is some bias against the officer because of the CCL status of Mr. Castile.

    By the way, did the enhanced audio reveal anyone mentioning a concealed carry permit prior to the shots being fired? Much of the media attention to this case, other than the white cop-black victim narrative, was the meme, not that Mr. Castile was an unarmed black man, rather that the officer knew that Mr. Castile was a legally armed black man.

    Still friends. I see no winners in this debate.

  46. Captain Bob Says:

    I often wonder why (seeing videos like this and watching “Cops” on TV), the simple word “Freeze” is no longer in vogue. It seems to me that everyone who speaks English can understand and react to this word much faster than complicated commands. Just getting a suspect to stop WHATEVER they are doing and then slowly expanding what the LEO wants him to do would make things go better.

  47. Alec Rawls Says:

    Good find Mas. Castile does seem to say “I have to pull it out,” and definitely does NOT say that he is not pulling it out.

    This fits with another key piece of evidence. The Star Tribune has a transcript of Diamond Reynold’s police interview. She said that Castile was trying to pull his WALLET out of his rear pants pocket, not his gun.

    That action would makes sense, given that Yanez had just asked Castile for his license and registration. Hence Castile’s “need” to pull the wallet out: he had been ordered to.

    Obviously he should have given precedence to officer Yanez’ later and more urgent order but people make momentary mistakes all the time. This one just happened to create a perfectly reasonable perception that he was trying to pull his gun.

    How could such a mis-transcription occur? By our often anti-police press yes, but the police and Yanez’ lawyers had every incentive to get it right. Did they just fail to go over it carefully? Together with Diamond Reynolds’ account it sure sheds a lot of light.

  48. DesEtude Says:

    As a civilian what I’m interested in learning from this incident is ‘how not to have this outcome happen to me.’ In general, when a person is stoned their judgement is effected, and they sometimes do things that are downright foolish. So lesson one, for me, is to avoid smoking marijuana and then driving around town with a firearm. Secondly, I’d prefer to have my ID available to the officer before he arrives at the window of your vehicle so there is no reaching for ID in the presence of the police. Thirdly, there is the importance of keeping the hands visible and asking the officer how he would like to proceed in pursuing the matter. Again, if one were stoned, they might not think quite so clearly.

    Castille’s death is a tragic reminder for CCW permit holders to think ahead of how we would handle a traffic stop and the importance of keeping brain cells “front and center” in such a situation.

  49. tc Says:

    IANAL, but I would advise impaired people not to carry firearms. I would also advise them against driving. Both of those things require alertness and sound judgment.

    It is not just a matter of advanced Alzheimer’s, or someone who is falling-down drunk, or high on hard drugs. A driver who has smoked a little MJ, or even taken a normal dose of OTC sinus medicine, might have slow reflexes, and might not be able to brake fast enough when some kid chases his baseball into the street. A person who has had one drink too many, and who is slightly tipsy, might have trouble following instructions. When a cop pulls him over and asks to see his DL, the driver might reach for his wallet in his hip pocket, forgetting that his holstered handgun is next to it.

    With the Castile shooting, specifically, I see no evidence of malice or intentional wrongdoing by the cop, and I believe an acquittal was the appropriate verdict in a criminal trial. Whether the cop panicked or over-reacted, or failed to follow proper procedure, and whether he needs to be in some other job, are separate issues. But, given how often cops must have to make these life-or-death decisions in a split second, I’m sometimes surprised that so-called “bad shootings” don’t happen a lot more often than they do.

  50. Dennis Says:

    Captain Bob,

    “I often wonder why (seeing videos like this and watching “Cops” on TV), the simple word “Freeze” is no longer in vogue.”

    The answer is because of standardized police training in response to complaints and demands from liberal groups who said that the command to “FREEZE!” was non-specific and could be confusing.

    As I recall, our department started mandating this command be no longer used in the mid-70’s. The training was to replace it with specific commands such as “Police Officer! Don’t move!” or “Police Officer! Drop the gun!”. When qualifying we were required to loudly voice the new and improved “appropriate” command before each course of fire. Using the word “Freeze” became as frowned on as using a racial slur.

    No telling how many innocent victims were saved because of this enlightened change. (sarcasm)

  51. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Dennis: No, there was no mention of a permit by Castile during the incident.

    Based on what I know of the law and the facts, the trial result was probably correct. But I share the concern of many that it has become far too easy for innocent people, especially but not only Black men, to be killed by the very people who are supposed to be protecting them.

  52. Dennis Says:

    Liberal Dave,

    “Based on what I know of the law and the facts, the trial result was probably correct. But I share the concern of many that it has become far too easy for innocent people, especially but not only Black men, to be killed by the very people who are supposed to be protecting them.”

    Like any sane human being, I too, detest any innocent people being killed. I also detest any guilty person not being held accountable for their actions. I also detest when someone is tried and convicted because of biased beliefs of those judging, no matter if those biases are based in facts or not, whether those biases are based on skin color or occupation.

    Many folks, like you, have the same notion/feeling, that police are, far too many times, getting away with unjustified murders/assaults. I would love to see the list of those instances. Not a list of officers that were tried and convicted in the media only to be found not culpable when the actual facts were presented to a jury, but a list of clearly guilty officers going free and unpunished.

    I’m thinking it would be a very short list. Still friends?

  53. Spencer Says:

    Often what is missing in the analyses of police/civilian shootings is an acknowledgement that quite a few of the dead civilians–most of them young men–did not seem to know how to behave when stopped by the police. In so many instances these young dudes were high on drugs (or alcohol), became defiant, didn’t follow instructions, and moved their hands in ways that suggested they had hidden weapons. Of course, not all of the recent shootings involved these behaviors, but a lot of them did. Thus, one has to wonder, why didn’t the families and friends of these hapless young guys counsel them on how to interact with the police and survive the encounter? During my childhood that information was widely discussed and generally followed by my peers.

  54. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Re “freeze”: I have no inside information on why freeze went out of use, but I wonder if Captain Bob might not have inadvertently hit the nail on the head when he said, “It seems to me that everyone who speaks English can understand and react to this word”. Freeze is a colloquialism, a word which has a meaning different than its most exact meaning. Indeed, if you look in the Collins English Dictionary:

    you’ll find a comment that the use of freeze as a command to stop moving is a “mainly US” usage, confirming it as being a US-English colloquialism not generally used even in other English-speaking countries. In light of that, a person who doesn’t speak standard American English fluently might be confused by it whereas “don’t move” or “drop the gun” are unambiguous.

    In light of this, and being a lawyer, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this change was lawyer-driven. But maybe there was some entirely different reason.

    Dennis, was this presented to you as being because of it being perceived as a racial slur or was that just the speculation among the rank and file?

  55. Dennis Says:

    Liberal Dave, that was a poor analogy on my part. I was just trying to emphasize the department’s seriousness that officers not use the “freeze” terminology in deadly force confrontations, meaning there was a possibility of censure up to firing if revealed in the internal investigation that follows such encounters. I don’t think it ever was invoked, but the brass wanted us to take it serious.

    I have to laugh that here we are, some 45 years later, discussing if the command “freeze” would not be better . How did this change originally come about? Instructors made it very clear that it was an attempt to placate the outcry of anti-police activists of the time who were trying to place blame on officers for giving non-specific, confusing commands to armed minorities in deadly force encounters.(you might check the archives of ACLU/SPLC organizations, as I recall they had input on this push) I do believe that this had also come up in wrongful death civil lawsuits that always follow deadly force encounters and the city’s attorneys were recommending the changes to counter that claim in future lawsuits.

    Also, during this period, there was a big effort being made to standardize training and education for police nationwide. The Ford Foundation spearheaded much of this effort, handing out grants to departments that implemented their ideas, and yes they were pushing liberal ideas. (sorry, I couldn’t resist that, but it’s true)

  56. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Dennis, you’re operating from a false premise when you say that I think that, “that police are, far too many times, getting away with unjustified murders/assaults”. In many if not almost all of the cases which hit the papers, I agree with the legal outcome which, in those cases where there is an acquittal or mistrial, means that the homicide was justified, at least under the criminal law (which is what we’re generally talking about here). Your statement can also be read to say that I believe that the officers are getting away with intentional murder. While that undoubtedly has happened, it’s not what has happened, in my opinion, in any of the cases which we’ve discussed here involving LEO’s, nor is it what I’ve been talking about.

    What I am talking about is a constellation of laws, attitudes, policies, and circumstances, including the ubiquity of guns in our society, which have resulted in deaths which could have been avoidable through different rules of engagement, conduct, legal presumptions, and forethought by the police. But avoidable doesn’t mean legally unjustified.

  57. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Spencer: Let me begin by saying that I’ve taught my kids how to comport themselves if stopped by the police doing exactly what they’re told and making no threatening moves. That’s also what I would do myself if stopped. On the other hand, this being a free society it absolutely galls me to treat ordinary LEO’s as if they are members of the Gestapo rather than being Officer Friendly. If I’ve done nothing wrong and am simply driving down the street minding my own business why should I be concerned that my slightest miscalculation or misstep might cause me to be abused or killed? Why should I have to treat an encounter with a LEO differently than I would an encounter with a stranger who stops me on the street to ask directions (indeed, why shouldn’t I have to treat such an encounter with a stranger with more concern than I would with someone who should be there to protect me)? And I’m White and don’t have the long, sad history that Black folks have with LEO’s. With me the grating nature of that need is mostly philosophical, with Black folks doing it has to feel much more like once again bending over like a slave for Master and, worse, teaching their kids to submit to something that feels like that kind of oppression. There’s no doubt that “the talk”, as it has come to be known, is lethally necessary, but it’s just as necessary as giving your kids vaccinations.

  58. TN_MAN Says:

    @ Liberal Dave,

    “What I am talking about is a constellation of laws, attitudes, policies, and circumstances, including the ubiquity of guns in our society, which have resulted in deaths which could have been avoidable through different rules of engagement, conduct, legal presumptions, and forethought by the police. But avoidable doesn’t mean legally unjustified.”

    Your statement (above) is an example of the classic, left-wing thought process. The following concepts form the basis for this mode of thought:

    1) All humans are good or, at least, want to do good.
    2) Therefore, when bad things happen, it cannot be the fault of the humans involved. Rather, the fault must be traced to social or environmental factors EXTERNAL to the humans involved.
    3) Therefore, the solution to the problem (as always in left-wing thinking) is to alter, update and change mankind’s society and environment so as to mitigate the source of the problem.

    Notice that, in your statement, you blame everything (laws, attitudes, polices, firearms, etc.) except the individuals involved. As I said, classic left-wing, liberal thinking.

    You need to understand that many of the commentators to this blog, including I suspect Dennis, are right-wing in their thought patterns. A right-wing individual does not begin with the assumption that “all humans are good” as you do. Rather, a right-wing individual starts with the assumption that “all humans are evil”.

    So, when a right-wing individual looks at an incident such as this one, he does not begin by asking where society failed. Rather, he asks “how did these individuals fail”? The right-wing mindset is to first place the blame on the individuals involved before seeking to identify some external source of the problem.

    The debates between you and Dennis illustrate the differences between right-wing and left-wing thought patterns. Unfortunately, many people are so wedded to their own personal worldview, whether it be to the right or the left, that they cannot see that the truth is usually in the middle. Hence, we see the left/right polarization that afflicts America today.

  59. Dennis Says:

    Liberal Dave,

    You said-” But I share the concern of many that it has become far too easy for innocent people, especially but not only Black men, to be killed by the very people who are supposed to be protecting them.”

    If I misunderstood what you meant with that statement, I apologize, but you should admit that the narrative of the left has been that there is an underlying bigotry and racism that is the major factor behind white officer/black citizen confrontations.

  60. Dennis Says:


    Yes, I consider myself “right-wing”, but I don’t see people as inherently evil, rather as individuals, capable of both good and evil. Someone who seems predisposed to commit evil deeds is capable of doing good, and the reverse is also true. I believe that everyone, including myself, struggles in varying degrees with this. I do believe that environment plays a big role in that struggle.

  61. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Dennis: While some LEO on Black confrontations may stem from intentional acts based in racism, those are probably very much in the minority today. To say that differently, I don’t think that many of the incidents today come from a knowing and intentional desire to victimize people of color. The greater problem with racism today is (and this isn’t limited to LEO’s) is unthinking, subconscious racism and institutional racism. It’s the kind that comes from an actor, in this discussion a LEO, who truly thinks that he’s color-blind but whose actions — some innate and some perhaps directed by policy, law, or culture — reflect something different.

    However, when I made that statement that you quote I was truly not thinking only of Black people, which is why I said “especially but not only Black men.” I was _also_ thinking of kids, mentally and emotionally challenged people, people of limited communications skills or abilities, and others (including CCL carriers).

  62. TN_MAN Says:

    @ Dennis,

    The mere fact that you consider the “possibility” that an individual may be evil sets your thinking apart from that of the Leftists. The far-Left political view is built upon the concept that all humans are good and (therefore) all evils in the world MUST arise from factors related to the social order and/or mankind’s external environment.

    I did not mean to imply that those with moderate right-wing views assume that all humans are totally evil all the time. I did not mean to imply that right-wingers believe that humans are INCAPABLE of doing good. Rather, that right-wingers accept the dark side of human nature. Leftists (whether they admit it or not) reject the concept of the dark side and (optimistically) want to believe in only the positive side of human nature. Thus, their determined efforts to always place the blame for evil anywhere but on the individual.

    Ultimately, the Left-wing vs. Right-wing political debate is just a variant of the old “Nature vs. Nurture” debate. See this link:

    Leftists (in effect) take the “Nurture” side of the argument. They tend to view humans as formless clay that is shaped into its final form by external environmental pressures. Therefore, they believe that the source of all problems can be traced to the negative external forces that interact with and influence mankind. Therefore, ultimately, the way to create their perfect, Utopian world is to gain total control of all political power and then re-shape the world so as to mitigate all the negative forces that they see.

    A right-wing individual is more likely to take the “Nature” side of the debate and believe that some people are simply “bad to the bone”.

    In truth, both nature and nurture act to shape the individual and to shape a society. Therefore, both the hard-Left and hard-right worldviews are oversimplified models that do not accurately reflect real-world conditions. The most accurate (and stable) political model is a moderate model that considers both the dark side of human nature AND negative external influences as possible factors. The more an individual drifts toward either a hard Left or hard Right worldview, the further he drifts from the truth.

    This is why I am distressed at the current condition of American politics which is being dominated (more and more) by hard Left and hard Right fanatics.

  63. Dennis Says:


    You are probably familiar with the “pop psychology” popular in the 1970’s, “I’m Ok, You’re Ok”, that I believe explains at least part of the liberal ideology.


  64. Dennis Says:

    Don’t know why the link didn’t paste correctly. Try this one.

  65. TN_MAN Says:

    @ Dennis,

    No, the reverse is more likely to be true. The “pop psychology” of 1970’s probably leveraged off of left-wing, liberal ideology.

    You have to understand that the Left/Right ideology split is inherent in human psychology. It is not, I am sad to say, just a manifestation of late 20th Century pop culture. If it was, we could hope that it would eventually go “out of fashion”. Such hopes are (sadly) false.

    Various forms of Left-wing and Right-wing thinking have existed for all recorded history. Note that Karl Marx was active in the 19th Century not the 20th.

    In other words, the Left/Right ideological divide is deeply rooted in certain aspects of basic human psychology. Various factors drive it but some of the more significant are:

    1) Mankind’s basic fear of death. Knowledge of our own mortality is a powerful driving force behind these political ideologies.

    2) The tendency of the human mind, when faced with complex issues, to automatically seek simplified solutions. To reach for a “Silver Bullet” solution. This is an evolutionary trait.

    3) The tendency of the human mind to want to believe in “hitting the jackpot”. To believe that a Utopian world is achievable. Note that con-men and politicians (same thing actually 🙂 ) regularly exploit this aspect of human psychology for their profit.

    So, the various forms of Left-wing ideology cannot just be put down to 1970’s pop psychology. It strikes far deeper than that!

  66. Dennis Says:


    Of course what you say is correct. I probably should have said that pop psychology being taught and espoused during that period is partly to blame for so many boomers buying into the liberal dogma.

  67. TN_MAN Says:

    @ Dennis,

    The Left has been spreading their dogma, by any means available, for many decades now. Not just in the form of 1970’s pop psychology either. Heck, the classic story of “A Christmas Carol” (written by Charles Dickens and first published in 1843) is nothing more or less than a propaganda piece for left-wing ideology. That tells you how far back the leftists have been at work with their brainwashing techniques.

    The mainstream media spreads the Leftist dogma daily in their so-called news reports. The schools and universities teach it in almost every class. The current text books are full of it. Numerous government programs are built on it with the structure and related literature all revolving around Leftist ideas. Judges sit on their benches and hand down decisions that are based upon Leftist ideology rather than on the law and the Constitution. Numerous books ranging from pop psychology to child-rearing to self-help are loaded with Leftist ideas. Hollywood regularly makes films that are nothing more or less than propaganda pieces for Left-wing liberalism.

    With such a gargantuan effort underway to brain-wash the American People into accepting the Left-wing ideology as the gospel truth, the wonder is not that so many baby-boomers have been taken in by it but that so many still have the intelligence and critical-thinking skills to reject it!

  68. Alfred L Eakin Says:

    I anxiously await your defense of Mohamed Noor.

    It is incomprehensible to me that trained professionals are held to dramatically lower standards than ordinary citizens in the use of force.

  69. Mas Says:

    And, Mr. Eakin, i just as anxiously await you developing maturity and critical thinking.

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