The (Almost) Foolproof Way to Survive a Police Encounter

In light of the recent controversy over the use of deadly force by the police, I decided to do some research.

Accurate and verifiable statistics are hard to come by, but for the year 2013 according to the FBI, there were 461 people killed by the police.  There is a website,, which reported 748 people killed by the police for the same year.

Now, it seems obvious that a website called, has a specific agenda (I am certain they would claim the FBI does as well) but assuming for arguments sake that these numbers are valid, let’s split the difference and say the police killed around 600 people.

First, that is 600 too many. However, with that said, we now turn to how and why.

There are certain conditions under which officers may use deadly force.

The officer must believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.

The use of force must be “Objectively Reasonable.”

This standard arises from a Supreme Court ruling in 1985, Tennessee v. Garner.

In almost every case, a Grand Jury reviews the use of deadly force by an officer to determine the justification.  That most Grand Juries do not indict, while frustrating to some, is a reflection that fits with the statistics.

Most Police shootings are justified.

Despite this justification, all cases involving the use of deadly force by the police are controversial.  However, the controversies and the emotions of those that disagree with the use of deadly force does not make it unjustified.

I did come across some truly stunning information, something that should give pause to everyone concerned with police use of deadly force.

Going back over the past thirty years, analyzing thousands of arrest records, there is a group of people who enjoyed a 100% survival rate in an encounter with the police.

Many of these people possessed firearms or other deadly weapons.

Many of these people had killed or gravely injured someone.

Many of these people had a history violence.

Sadly, some of these people were innocent of any crime.

There is one common thread within each of these cases.

They complied with the instructions of the officers.

They put down their weapons, they did not resort to violent confrontation, and they did not try to run.  They followed the officer’s instructions and survived the day.

For those that were innocent, most were released immediately. If not, they found an attorney, or an attorney found them, and they sued everyone.

For those that were involved in a crime, they went to court.

Nevertheless, they ALL survived.

Instead of spending millions on new, idiotic, and politically expedient federal training programs for police, just have a short lesson in all our existing schools and teach civility and respect for the law.  Oh wait, don’t we do that already?

Do you want to survive a police encounter?  The lesson here is clear, do what the officer says. Adopt a DO NOT philosophy.

Do not commit a crime, do not point weapons, do not decide to reach for your cellphone to video this perceived injustice, do not fight with the officers, just do what they say and you will survive.

Here is a good idea, let’s recycle all those idiotic T-shirts bearing the slogan, “Don’t Snitch.”  We can take out the words “Don’t Snitch,” and change it to DO NOT.

Here is an easy way to remember this advice.

Cops like DONUTS

Cops like DO NOTs.

Maybe I should print T-shirts. Order yours today at

Really? ‘Liking’ on Facebook is Now a Racist Act

I came across a headline yesterday (December 2, 2014) that caught my eye.  The headline, from, read

Internet Turns on Once Beloved ‘Ferguson Hug’ Cop

The link to the article is here. The ‘Ferguson Hug’ Cop is the one from the photo of the white Police Sergeant hugging a crying black youth.

The section that caused me a great deal of pause was the following;

“Writer Yesha Callahan questioned Sgt. Barnum’s sincerity in a piece today on The Root. “You have to wonder if this is just an act for Barnum and a way to gain notoriety. Because liking a profile photo that states ‘I am Darren Wilson’ seems to contradict his views on police officers and their relationship building with black people. Especially when you choose also to side with a police officer who killed a black man and those who support that officer,” Callahan wrote.”

Are you kidding me?  Suddenly some innocuous act on a social media board translates into an act of Racism.  Unbelievable.

The vitriolic level of the response to any support of now former Officer Darren Wilson is shocking.

The officer in the now famous picture, Sgt. Barnum, hugging the teary-eyed Devonte Hart, is a more accurate indicator of how the overwhelming majority of Police Officer interact with people of color.

But this doesn’t sit well with those that choose to perpetuate the falsehoods of the Ferguson incident.

This wasn’t a shooting of an innocent, harmless person in the act of surrendering, arms raised in compliance.

This was a terrible situation in which an officer was forced to fight for his life. There was no color line here.  It was all one of survival.

Yet, because Sgt. Barnum showed his support for Officer Wilson, after he went through the Grand Jury process that returned a No True Bill on criminal charges, despite his actions in that photo, the sincerity of his comments, he is a racist.


The line in the quote from writer Yesha Callahan that is the most troubling is the last one “Especially when you choose also to side with a police officer who killed a black man and those who support that officer,”  The “black man” conveniently leaves out certain aspects and actions that day of that ‘black man’.

This may be an unpopular concept among those violently protesting this incident, but if Mr. Brown hadn’t assaulted and robbed the store owner, had submitted to the arrest, he’d be alive today. He bears much of the responsibility here.  We need to remember that.

No don’t misunderstand me.  Racism is alive and well in this country.  On both sides of the color divide.

Many people of color find it hard to believe white people are not racist.  Many white people do, in fact, hold prejudices based on race.

These are learned behaviors.  Taught by our upbringing, but not immune to change.  The violent protests, flag burning, and looting only serve to reinforce those stereotypes, not ameliorate them.

And believing that every Police Officer is a racist is judging someone for what they are, not who they are.  No less an embracing of a false stereotype than any other held prejudice.

If change is the goal, it will only come from education and understanding.  As long as the nightly news shows people running from looted buildings carrying televisions and Nike sneakers, the stereotype will only persist and flourish.

Instead of standing in a line blocking interstate highways, stand in a line and vote. Stand up for what you believe in with thoughtfulness and reason, not violence.

And be careful what you “like” on Facebook.

Our Nation’s Priorities are a Mystery to Me

A Pennsylvania Trooper was shot and killed the other day, and another Trooper wounded. Ho Hum says the national media and most Americans.

The troopers signed up for the job.

It goes with the territory.


Where’s the nationwide outrage, the 24/7 media coverage, the moment by moment analysis of the investigation, the demand for justice and an end to such tragedies?

Ho Hum, it’s just a couple of cops that got shot.

There are no juicy racial overtones to capture the short attention span of Americans.

There’s no Rev. Sharptons or Jacksons or whoever screaming that this must change.

I don’t know the whole story yet from Ferguson; no one does because the media coverage is a sham, but I do know one thing.

If the young man in Ferguson didn’t deserve to die for making a bad choice, then those two Troopers certainly don’t deserve what has happened to them for making the courageous choice to be cops.

And it would be nice if this country showed that to the men and women that wear the badge.

There was more media coverage of the iPhone 6 than the shooting and killing of a police officer.

Ho Hum.

Where have our priorities gone?
Continue reading