24 August 2014

Anatomy of a suicide by police

This video has gone viral because it happened only four miles or so where Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson MO.  This shooting however is nothing more than a textbook suicide by police.

As the video starts you see the subject pacing in front of a store after stealing some low cost items including two sodas.  As the subject filming gets closer you can see that the subject has neatly placed the two cans of soda on the curb and paces around then.  He was obvious about stealing the items because he knew that it would prompt police to respond.  Pacing next to the sodas was done so that the he would be easily identified as the suspect.  As he paces he displaces on of the principle characteristics of an armed person when he has his hand concealed in his right pocket as if he is holding something as his left arm swings naturally.

He responds to the arrival of the police by walking towards them, still with his right right hand in his pocket and tells the officers to "shoot him already" he says this because he believes in his own mind that he has acted in a way that he believes should caused the police to shoot him.  As they give there own verbal commands while drawing down on him, he again moves closer and they shoot him.

The first time I saw this video it was not clear that he had deployed a knife just before being shot, even then I said that this was a clean shooting.  His actions as the police pulled up, keeping his hand in his pocket, ignoring verbal commands, and continuing to move towards the officers makes a case for depraved indifference.  Basically that any reasonable people would conclude that if they keep their hand in their pocket after being told to show their hands and walk towards that officer would likely get them shot.  After finding out that subject did in fact produce a knife only shows his dedication to having the police kill him.  Officers are often used as a suicide method, because people are fully aware of how police will respond to a given situation.

Subsequent investigation will likely reveal that Powell had a history of drug/alcohol abuse and/or mental health issues.

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