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'Siri I'm getting pulled over': New shortcut can automatically record the police (businessinsider.com)
566 points by cascom 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 339 comments



I wonder what's the difference between countries that makes the police behave so differently as to citizens having to come up with video surveillance to back up their case?

In Scandinavia you'd have to be genuinely paranoid to not trust the police. The presence of police generally has an aura of safety: actually, with the reductions in force we've been quite unhappy to not see officers patrolling in the city centre in the evenings as much as before.

I'll have to assume that most cops in the US must be friendly and considerate but there seems to exist a minority (hopefully?) that seems to suggest it might be safer to hang out with criminals rather than be confronted by the police.

It's somehow mind-boggling but there must be a path of history and reason why the behaviour of the police forces have diverged so much between countries.


Very good observation & totally agreed.

In Germany, police is generally perceived as trustworthy, your "friend and helper" as the slogan goes.

I was surprised by the antagonism and belligerence in the US.

A few observations:

* guns certainly play a big role, and the risk of escalation.

* I wonder whether silly laws also play a role. For example: a 20 year old drinking alcohol, having a cold beer while watching a sunset on the beach, prostitution are all illegal if I'm not mistaken (or smoking a joint, depending on the state). So, in the US, the police might often be the killjoy. In Germany, those things are either officially legal, or in a gray area that the police ignores. So when the police comes on the scene, it's generally an actual crime or problem, and everyone is eager to help and cooperate and fix whatever real problem there is. In short, police have a relatively positive image.

* My experience with the police in the US was much worse when I was on a bike than when I was in a nice BMW. The issues of power differential, authority, lawyers, confrontation seem to loom much larger in the US than I've perceived them in Germany.

* With all these factors, employment with the police might seem a less attractive choice of work in the US than in northern Europe, so people with few other choices (or a penchant for exercising authority) might end up there more frequently than in other countries. This, in turn, could result in a downward cycle and a "besieged" mentality.

At any rate, I'd much rather interact with police in Europe or Asia than the US.


All of these are definitely part of it, but we need to look more deeply at the economic realities of policing in the US to understand some of this. Read this article: https://harvardlawreview.org/2015/04/policing-and-profit/

Police in many municipalities are not fully funded via taxes. Instead their revenues are maintained via tickets, fines, and property seizures. There are recent cases that have gone to the supreme court related to some of these issues: https://newrepublic.com/article/148013/will-supreme-court-re..., I don't believe this case has been heard yet.

The point is, the police in the US have an economic necessity to pay their own salaries by fighting "crime". This incentivizes them in seizing property, prior to any conviction in court. Often the property is seized from people without the means to fight to get it back, and/or it's not worth the fight. This tactic of ticketing, fining and seizing property to pay for the police force, IMO, is the root cause of the issues between minorities and low income people and the police. In effect, the police need crime and will find crime, because they need to in order to earn their salaries.


> Instead their revenues are maintained via tickets, fines, and property seizures.

How can this be anything but a case of extreme moral hazard? They sound indistinguishable from the mob.


Americans hate to pay taxes. The "law abiding citizens" don't have to worry about these extra fines, as long as they go out of their way to avoid the police. Then they can convince themselves that it's only the "bad guys" that are being fined, and as a result they deserve the treatment.


I really don't understand why you're getting hit on this one.

There is a common perception in America that criminals are morally bad people who must be punished, instead of a perception that they're desperate or broken people who need assistance or reform of behavior. There is a private prison sector that is literally allowed to use prisoners for manual slave labor. We have one of the largest prison populations in the world even when adjusted for our large population.

There are a ton of factors that play into why there is a mistrust of the police (on both side of the political spectrum) but there is also a common air of ambivalence about how we treat people once they're marked criminals. You see it every time a large media stir comes up because of a high profile police shooting. "Well, he was no angel. That thug had a criminal record, so the cop probably..." as if it's impossible that the victim could have been a criminal AND the cop used unneeded lethal force.

Your point is a little blunt and lacks nuance, but it's sentiment seems in line with what many prison reform advocates perceive as being the prevailing culture in the US towards criminals and prisoners.


Going back to OP saying the police should be courteous and polite, I agree with him/her.

In Australia the police always niceley greeted you and generally polite, in US, it’s the other way, I’ve rarely met a polite one, most are brash and treat you like a criminal from the get go.

The US police system for some reason I don’t understand doesn’t embrace politeness as a value (may be it makes the police look weak?) I don’t know.

But yeah, you want to stay away from the US cops if you can.


I generally adopt an NWA mentality the second any cop comes into view. When they get their collective shit together I'll be more helpful.


And private prison companies lobby state governments to make sentencing more strict, and ask to keep them 90% full.

https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_1272143


Thanks, ppseafield, bluejekyll, very pertinent points. The different economic arrangements certainly shed more light on this. Interesting how fundamental policy decisions trickle down to really affect the behaviour on the street. And, lamentably, you probably have path dependency in there such that it's not easy to reverse these policy decisions.

Goes to show how important public policy is.


You're right on the money- it's a big problem that a lot of inertia will need to be overcome to solve.


Thanks for that first link, very enlightening. I had no idea. The sort of model I might read about in some dystopian novel and dismiss as thoroughly unbelievable if it weren't set in the most broken banana republic.

Somehow, perhaps with the best of intentions, you've ended up with a system perfectly designed for abuse and corruption.

Having read that it even puts some of the more extreme GDPR assumptions and discussions into a somewhat different light.

Is either party ever likely to have chance to fix it, and maybe distance police from proceeds of fines etc?


I think this comment and the parent nailed it. The reasons for the differences are that in the US:

- The law/lawmakers and the public have differing views on what should be illegal

- The police are incentivized to find crimes, and the public is aware of this


> Police in many municipalities...

That's another thing. In Australia the police are state-based organisations. Which makes sense because criminal law is also a state responsibility (i.e. not federal). The idea of police reporting to the local municipal council is really weird.


I agree with the sentiment, the United States is somewhat uptight especially when it comes to telling other people how to live their lives. Certainly this is a contributing factor.

Minorities are also treated with extra scrutiny almost everywhere.

Policing also varies greatly from locality to locality.

I’ve know probably five police officers and all are great people and join the police to help, but I hate to say it many of them have anger or control issues.

Personally I had an issue where I needed an ambulance to my house and trip to the ER. The police showed up along with the ambulance and an officer was in my house and looking around the house with a snooping eye. Even when there to help they are looking for signs of a crime.


There is a book on this. Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces. From what I've read, it's less about guns and more about certain historic precedents, training and organizational incentives.


This is very similar in France (as a rule, I am not taking into account some complicated areas).

My children see the police as strongly positive figures.

When I bike and do do some slightly illegal stuff (not crossing on a red light, rather avoiding some cars by slowly biking on a desert pavement) they would usually either stare to make their point (and I hop back on the road) or just ignore it. This is some kind of an unspoken agreement which has its limits.

I had a case where they stopped me because they saw that I drove through a red light after waiting on the green one. What happened is that there was an old man slowly crossing on his red light (a desert small city on a Sunday afternoon, there was just us), I patiently waited and did not realize that the light changed right when I drove off (onto a roundabout, still deserted). They jokingly congratulated me for not driving over the pedestrian but would have gone full throttle should that have been a true danger and deliberate rules breaking (or a dangerous error).


Regarding Germany, I have a similar feeling. Granted, I'm not a citizen (just 4+ yrs expat), but usually when someone complains about police, they were/are up to no good.

I just wish Berlin police would focus more on vandalism and awful parking in the city.


Uh. German (Bavarian) traffic police is well known for harassing Czech drivers. Exactly the sort of thing you might want this shortcut for.


From my perspective - as an European living in the US - the biggest difference is: guns. The likelihood that a routine traffic stop will result in a gun fight is near zero in Europe, in the US it’s... probably slightly above zero. So approaching people and cars is done with extremely high tension and high possibility for escalation.


Even when guns are involved (e.g. suspect holding a gun or a knife), European police is usually able to defuse the situation better and not shoot to kill. Even if their lives are in danger, that's part of their job.

US police is conditioned to react like unprofessional cowards and shoot first, ask questions later, even if the suspect is a kid playing in a playground, an old woman holding a knife 30 feet away, or an unarmed homeless person (I'm not making these cases up either).


I can confirm that an unarmed homeless person was shot and killed by police in front of my apartment building about 10 years ago.

He had autism and had run away from his family. He was sleeping under someone’s balcony, police came to remove him, ended up killing him.

This was in Hollywood. Los Angeles, off Sunset Blvd.

Edit: I believe this [0] is the case. Looks like those officers sued for being put on desk duty afterward and initially were rewarded $4M. That’s after the police settled with the mother of the man killed for less than $1M.

0 - http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-verdict-lapd-ove...


Example Two:

A caretaker, and the escaped autistic man he was trying to bring back with him to their facility, was confronted by a police officer. The caretaker, immediately realizing the danger of interacting with an American police officer, lays on the ground, puts his hands in the air, and then repeatedly states the man infront of him was 'autistic' and 'holding a toy train'.

While the caretaker was lying on the ground, on his back, with his hands in the air, the cop fires 3 rounds at the pair, striking the caretaker in the leg.

The caretaker, understandably confused and upset, asks "why did you shoot me?". The officer's response, "I don't know."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwHJL5X97Do

Or, refer the case where a Dallas Police woman broke into somebody else's apartment, and then proceeded to execute the man she encountered inside

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/14/us/botham-jean-dallas-sho...

Or refer to Daniel Shaver being executed at point blank range while crying on his hands and knees to "please not shoot".

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/12/0...

In all of these cases, the person shot was completely and obviously innocent of any sort of crime. The standard penalty for this type of officer behavior is: paid vacation, perhaps firing the officer if the murder is especially egregious.


Exactly. I've read a story about a US police officer (a former marine) who managed to defuse an armed situation, and got reprimanded or fired for it.

So not only are (at least some) US police officers insufficiently trained to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations, they are actively punished when they do de-escalate. They are expected to shoot people.

Equally bizarre is that law enforcement experts warn people not to talk to the police without a lawyer. Not even as a witness or to help them. The American attitude towards police and police work is utterly alien to me.


> Exactly. I've read a story about a US police officer (a former marine) who managed to defuse an armed situation, and got reprimanded or fired for it.

Citation needed. I can't think of any peaceful fix that would get a reprimand unless other stuff fucked up badly behind the scenes.



Wow, what a travesty. Thanks for posting that


Is it really strange? Has anything killed more people than authoritarian power structures?


It is strange that the US military in Iraq/Afghanistan has stricter use-of-force rules than American cops do.


Well, bad use of force in a foreign land and in a war situation can have bad repercussions (diplomatic but also making enemies out of friendlier locals, etc), so army guys have to be more careful and professional about it. You don't mess with such things.

While cops can kill citizens with relative impunity (especially black ones).


You would think, though, that killing your own citizens is even worse. And yet they're getting away with it. I'm absolutely baffled that this is allowed to go on in the US. Any other country would revolt over this.


> Even when guns are involved (e.g. suspect holding a gun or a knife), European police is usually able to defuse the situation better and not shoot to kill.

As a counterexample, Eric Torrell was recently shot to death by Swedish police [0] (link is Swedish). He was 20 years old with Downs syndrome and carrying a toy gun.

[0] https://www.expressen.se/tagg/person/eric-torell/


This was news all over Scandinavia and debated up and down and the police actions were condemned from everyone.

It was an extremely troublesome case even here in Norway. It rocked the very principals that our societies are based on. So yes, it can happen (it has happened once) but it's not institutionalised.

I suspect this case will also be used in training in the future as an example of what not to do.


The fact that it is news at all, and that people widely condemn it, says a lot. In the US, these sort of situations seem to be terrifyingly common. In Netherland, police do carry guns, but they are very rarely used. And even more rarely fired.


In Australia it was a national news story that someone pulled out a gun in a pizza takeaway place. No one was hurt but just pulling out a gun was shocking enough to be big news.


Meanwhile in America 2-3 people are shot and killed by police per day.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shoo...


Yes, it happens. But much less frequently, and is not the "default mode" in such situations.


What's your source on this? My impression, without having any particular evidence, but as a Swedish citizen, is that they follow a similar policy as American police if their own safety is at risk. The main difference is that there are less weapons in Scandinavia.


>What's your source on this?

Statistics of police shootings.

>follow a similar policy as American police if their own safety is at risk

Doesn't take guns or actual risk. US cops thing their safety is "at risk" from a middle aged middle class black man sitting in a car with his kids beside them. Or an unarmed homeless person getting too rowdy.


>>What's your source on this? >Statistics of police shootings.

Do you have any stats specifically on cases like this where the person killed was neither armed nor dangerous? Interested but haven't been able to find any.


Swedish police fires a gun, on average, about 30 times per year, with about half of those being "for effect" as opposed to being shot with the intent to kill.

The united states doesn't track the number of times police shoot a gun, only the number of times police murder somebody. That number is over 1,000 people per year.[0]

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_firearm_use_by_country


I agree with the premise of all what you and others are saying, but for the sake of fairness we should not eliminate the size of the population from the equation


Population doesn't change it much.

The LAPD put over 100 rounds in one incident into two innocent women's truck when they were out delivering newspapers. The truck looked nothing like the suspect's vehicle. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/no-charges-8-lapd-s...

> When one of the women threw a newspaper onto the pavement in the early-morning hours, an officer believing the sound was a gunshot opened fire. Officers unable to see clearly into the truck sprayed it with 103 rounds, and hit seven nearby homes and nine other vehicles with gunshots and shotgun pellets.

That's more rounds than Germany uses in most years for its entire 80M population, and more than the UK discharged in what looks like the last decade or so. In one shooting, in one city, against people who'd done nothing wrong.


I totally agree that the US is way more violent, was just pointing out something


So:

30 guns fired / 10.10^6 people vs 1 000 police murders / 325.10^6 people.

3.10^-6 guns fired per capita vs 3.10^-6 murders per capita.

Couldn't find the Swedish police murders stats. I'd estimate on their police murders per capita to be 2 or 3 orders of magnitude less than the USA.


On the other hand Chicago had nearly 2 murders/day last year [0]. and 3/4 were from a gun, I certainly wouldn't wanna be the cop who has to walk those streets without one.

[0]http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago...


Percentages don't look good either. In fact they are an order of magnitude worse than the 1:1 ratio for most EU countries...


I totally agree that the US is way more violent, was just pointing out something


Some of the stuff I read from that is just chilling.

I can't remember the report anymore, but I remember this one incident where parents called the police for help to deal with their mentally unstable son, around 18 years, having a rage fit.

The responding officers managed to cuff the kid and get him to the ground, when one of the police officers just went "I've had enough of this", pulled his gun out, and shoot the cuffed kid on the ground in the back, literally executing the kid while his parents were standing like 5 feet away from it.

The kid ended up dying, can't remember if the officer got any real punishment, but I'm pretty sure his parents will never ever call the police for "help".


1) No obviously the US police does not work like that (mostly)

2) Think that doesn't happen in the EU ? Think again:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/05/18/562151/Belgian-pol...

Please note that "police chase" here means that they ordered the van to stop and it calmly kept driving, less than 40km/h on an empty road. No police officer was in danger at any point, nor was anyone else.

So they shot "for the tires" (that wasn't their initial story, but oh well) ... through the backdoor ... and right through a 3 year old Kurdish girl. That girl is now dead.

Then they captured them and refused to bring these people to the hospital. Whether there was anything that could be done for the girl at this point is an open question, but the police did not make such a determination. They just refused medical care, pretending it was an escape attempt.

So just stop it. Police "gung-ho" attitudes are not a US problem. The whole appeal of working for the police obviously includes the power you get over others. Another attraction is the many movies about the police. And there's very few "let's get the legal details right" movies about police, isn't there ? This attracts exactly the sort of people that do shoot to kill in situations that absolutely don't justify it.

And it's not limited to the US.

What IS different however, is that the odds of anyone actually successfully mounting a legal challenge to such an officer afterwards are WAY higher in the US. There's more procedures, less immunity, and generally the system is much more aware of the fact that it makes mistakes in the US.

Does that make it better ? Don't know. At that point the damage is done, of course. Still, it's better than nothing I guess.


> At that point the damage is done, of course.

What an odd way to put it, you make it sound like "It's all a thing of the past", after you went through so much effort to explain how nothing was supposedly wrong in the first place.

I really don't get why some US Americans insist on this "not being a problem at all", even when literally all metrics point to exactly that: It being a rather big problem.

I mean, don't you even realize how macabre it is to point out "They have more chance of mounting a legal challenge in the US!"? Granted: If they have the money to hire a good lawyer and their case gets them anything.

But having the chance to get some money is rarely a good replacement for losing a family member in often completely preventable incidents.


> I mean, don't you even realize how macabre it is to point out "They have more chance of mounting a legal challenge in the US!"? Granted: If they have the money to hire a good lawyer and their case gets them anything.

Compared to absolutely nothing at all in the EU ? That's what I'm pointing out. It's not a good solution, imho, but it's better than anything the EU countries provide for sure.

It means police at least have to be aware that if they use these tactics against the wrong person, they could get seriously convicted for that. In the EU, what is there for them to fear ? I mean if it ends up on national TV then they have a problem. Otherwise ...


>So just stop it. Police "gung-ho" attitudes are not a US problem.

They are not a US-only occurrence. But they very much are a US problem (and a relative rarity elsewhere).

>And it's not limited to the US.

No, like incarceration is not limited to the US. But the US has 25% of the world's prison population for just 4% of its total population.

Something occurring elsewhere doesn't mean anything. Most things will happen elsewhere too, even mass shootings.

But some places are the undisputed capitals of those things, by a far margin, and instead of putting one's head in the sand, people should acknowledge the problem.

>What IS different however, is that the odds of anyone actually successfully mounting a legal challenge to such an officer afterwards are WAY higher in the US.

LOL.


>What IS different however, is that the odds of anyone actually successfully mounting a legal challenge to such an officer afterwards are WAY higher in the US. There's more procedures, less immunity, and generally the system is much more aware of the fact that it makes mistakes in the US.

That is a truly extraordinary claim. The idea that "law enforcement gets away with everything" is a true meme (not the funny, internet kind), the default expectation in the US among its inhabitants, a stereotype that foreigners have of us, and unfortunately our reality. This is a fact that law enforcement officials both recognize and abuse. I want to say that the template of "cop does [horrible thing] while 3 independent sources record it, and [is given paid vacation/was relocated/had his case dismissed by the DA]" is so pervasive that you might be able to get a matching news story like that every week here. And god help anyone who did not have a recording of their encounter.


> That is a truly extraordinary claim. The idea that "law enforcement gets away with everything" is a true meme

Really ? And not in the EU ? Because there recently was a reality series about the Dutch police on TV. Which included one particularly bad scene in Rotterdam. It looked like some obviously North Africans saw the police and turned around (but was it actually that they saw the police ? And was it really that they were criminals because ... read on). The police pursued them, tackled them and, frankly, violently forced them to confess to possession of stolen goods. They had zero proof, or even justification beyond that some goods were stolen (in a neighbourhood of tens of thousands of people).

Are you going to claim that wasn't just outright racism ? And whilst on some level I might agree with the assessment that odds were perhaps good those youth did steal (in general I mean, they're not known for respect of property law is what I mean. Nothing whatsoever against those individuals), but I find the odds of them having stolen specific the goods the police accused them off ... generously (for the police) ASSUMING these kids were indeed thieves, it seems to me that those odds could not possibly have been more than 5%. Not that the police clarify what specific goods they were looking for/accusing them of, nor where they were stolen from, and they were asking people they had just tackled and left tied up on the pavement for several minutes and beat several times. Hell, I doubt the police even knew for sure something had been stolen in the first place (because reporting stolen goods in the center of Rotterdam ... why would you bother ?)

Next time you hear about youth riots in Western European cities you might want to remember that this sort of thing is what the police constantly subjects these kids to.

This was put, with their full permission, on TV, as an example of what they do, intermingled with a sort of recruiting effort. And I'm just sitting there ... FUCK YOU RACIST ASSHOLES. But seriously, this behavior is what they're proud off, or at least what they want to show off.

And let's not kid ourselves here: police in Rotterdam are better behaved than, for example, police in Paris suburbs, if even 5% of the stories are true. So it gets worse, much worse than this in the EU.


I do not see any part of my comment that you could be replying to, and would think that you meant to reply elsewhere were it not for the quoted text (which again, does not appear to be the subject of your comment).


Police "gung-ho" attitudes are not a US problem.

While that story is a tragedy, the US police kills about 1200 persons/year - or about 40 adjusting for the size of the population of Belgium. A single case doesn't not make the attitudes equivalent.


That's true. Now go on the "open bedrijvendag" to a police station and get a tour of their armory. They'll gladly provide it and after that tour I guarantee you there will be zero doubt left in your mind about their attitude towards weapons.

Plus it'll be fun. They may even let you fire a few of the weapons.

Thinking about what that means for their attitude in the street ... not so much fun.


How many MRAPs do they have?


They have fully automatic weapons. Enough to furnish every agent with one. Those squads are equipped with weapons that have one use only : to rapidly kill large numbers of people.

Why ? Because the agents think they're cool.

Ok, apparently MRAPs are armored vehicles. Yes they do have armored vehicles. That specific one ? Probably not, but the same general idea ? Yes. They often use them for riots and protests and such.

There was something on the news about buying new ones that are more bomb resistant.


Perhaps the idea that police should protect themselves flipped the default priority for some/many/most(?) police in the US to protect themselves first, do their job second. This set of priorities then mutates into the perverse behavior we see now where their own safety stand far away and above the responsibility of doing their job.


You're confusing anecdotes for data and extrapolating a few bad cases to malign hundreds of thousands of people.


Here's an interesting summary of some (imperfect) data: https://www.vox.com/cards/police-brutality-shootings-us/us-p....

It's not right to characterize all US officers as horrible people but there's definitely something wrong here that seems to be distinctly American.


Glad to hear your data, because every statistic on police homicides by country tells the same story.


Your response is typical hand-waving when caught out pretending a couple of articles of anecdotes are data.


And what you are doing if not handwaving? I'm all for breaking HN-stereotypes, please show us some statistic in which US police does not look like a bunch of murderers.


You made the allegation, you prove it.


You have got to be kidding me, this whole discussion (under the article) is citing several stats in which is US at best tied for the most awful police force.

For a guy pulling the handwaving argument you don't seem to try too hard.


As someone who has multiple police in his family and witnessed their training, I am fairly certain you are over generalizing and have no idea what you're talking about.


Yeah, it's not like statistics totally back this up.

Or that, "someone who has multiple police in his family" could be biased.


Statistics absolutely say that encounters with police in the US are statistically far more dangerous than other developed countries. As far as I know, statistics do not say US police are generally murderous cowards or that an officer in the US is more likely to be morally bankrupt - you are saying that.

Given that police in the US are more likely to encounter dangerous situations than other developed countries [0], it seems plausible that officers in the US enter interactions with a higher level of fear are more likely to do something stupid as a result. Apparently whatever screening and training they get isn't enough because these are the people who are supposed to be able to handle these exact situations.

[0] https://www.vox.com/cards/police-brutality-shootings-us/us-p...


> in the US it’s... probably slightly above zero

A good friend was an LAPD beat cop, then detective for 30 years.

Every single day he was on duty he took out his loaded firearm, pointed it directly in someones face and had his finger on the trigger, for fear they might pull a gun or do something else to harm him. Police friends of his were shot and killed.

He shot and killed two people on duty, and discharged his firearm many, many times.

He absolutely said "It's a war out there, and we want to come home alive"


Every single day he was on duty he took out his loaded firearm, pointed it directly in someones face and had his finger on the trigger, for fear they might pull a gun or do something else to harm him.

I understand (although do not have evidence to hand) a number of LAPD beat cops manage to go quite a long time between instances of having to draw a firearm and point it at someone's face. If this officer was doing it every day, was he simply the world's unluckiest police officer, or was he the kind of police officer who makes situations more violent rather than less? I understand that typical US police training (if there is such a think in a nation with such a large range of police forces) does contain rather less "how to make situations less violent" training than their counterparts in other countries.


> I understand (although do not have evidence to hand) a number of LAPD beat cops manage to go quite a long time between instances of having to draw a firearm and point it at someone's face

You're absolutely going to need a citation for that. I don't believe US cops have to even report instances of upholstering their sidearm - It's such a common occurrence. Discharging a firearm is a different story.

Of course, my friend was a cop in the late 70s, 80s and 90s, and did all kinds of things that would land him in very deep water today. i.e. to disperse an angry crowd you just rack a round in a shotgun. He said it works extremely well without even firing it.


Drawing firearms doesn't seem to be habitually recorded in the statistics, and even if it were, I suspect that thence pointing it at someone's face would still not be recorded.

Here are a number of LEOs discussing how frequently they draw their weapon, but again nothing about actually pointing it at someone: https://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=432377 Other such discussion seem to indicate similarly; that even drawing is not common.

On such forums, detectives seem to indicate that they have even less need to draw firearms.

The 2016 LAPD review use-of-force review indicates that in 2016 there were 40 officer-involved-shooting. I understand the LAPD employs on the order of 9000 to 10000 police officers, so on the order of 95% or more of those police officers didn't shoot at anyone. However, it looks like they don't record drawing a firearm or pointing firearms at people's faces.

I suspect citations for your hypothesis - that LAPD beat cops draw and point their weapons every day - will be similarly hard to come by, but if you have some, please do present them.


Why would a cop drawn their weapon and then not point it at someone? That doesn't make any sense.

You're right I don't have hard citations, only first-hand evidence from someone with 30 years actually doing it.


A pre-drawn handgun reduces the "get stabbed before I can react" range dramatically. The general rule of thumb is you need a knife threat to start at least 21 feet away to draw, aim and fire(See - Tueller Drill). When already at the low-ready that range drops down to ~10-14 feet, if I recall.

So if you might need to defend yourself, but you want to avoid escalating the situation by aiming a gun at someone, it makes sense.


Because pointing a gun at someone is a very dangerous thing to do. It massively escalates the situation. At that point, if they or anyone else in the situation thinks they can shoot first, it becomes a real option and is also the only way to definitely protect yourself from the gun-pointer. Even if it's not a real option, people under that kind of sudden pressure don't think straight. A police-officer who habitually points a gun at people in situations that don't justify it is a danger to themself and everyone around them; the unlucky person staring down the barrel, other police-officers and unlucky bystanders in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Once a gun is pointed at a person, there are no more steps of escalation, no more ways to express how much you want them to do something; the only next step is to pull the trigger. The situation has suddenly become extremely dangerous and very volatile.


That comment is certainly hyperbole, but there are neighborhoods in any city that are far more violent by nature than others, and it stands to reason that one may have to respond that way more often in those areas.

Police in the US are trained heavily in de-escalation, but sometimes overwhelming show of force lets everybody go home alive (yes, the offender as well), rather than allowing a situation to escalate to a point where deadly force has to be used.


> sometimes overwhelming show of force lets everybody go home alive (yes, the offender as well), rather than allowing a situation to escalate to a point where deadly force has to be used.

Maybe sometimes, but I suspect in the vast majority of cases, a show of force is what causes the situation to escalate to the point where deadly force has to be used.

Who are you more likely to shoot? A policeman pointing a loaded gun at you, or one with gun holstered talking calmly (but maybe firmly) to you. Pulling a gun out automatically leads to a "shoot first or risk getting shot" situation.


Contrary to popular belief, westerns are not documentaries, and it's not common for people who are already under the gun to try to quick-draw and outshoot someone.


I understand that deescalation training is not common [0].

[0] https://www.apmreports.org/story/2017/05/05/police-de-escala...


When talking about gun safety you often hear "never point a gun at anything you do not want to shoot". Maybe pointing a loaded gun in people's faces is a good way to keep yourself safe, but it's also kind of dangerous for the people whose faces are in the crosshairs.


Such men lack moral fibre


Actually he is one of the best humans I have ever met. Extremely kind and generous. He was just looking out for himself.


I’ve also read somewhere that US firearms training focuses a lot on conditioning users to actually use the weapon. Apparently, someone in the US Army found that soldiers rarely fired in the general direction of the enemy, so they developed programs to train away the taboo around shooting at other humans. I guess this percolated out of the military and now you have lots of police officers that are very skilled at killing, but not so as de-escalating and so on...


Police use of force training is really nothing like military combat training.


Correct. The police are less beholden to strict rules of engagement.


Of course it isn’t, who ever said that. I’m saying that in the use of firearms, a whole lot of effort is put into conditioning it into a fully thoughtless routine of acquire and fire. Pair that to neglecting other forms of de-escalation training and a fair amount of prejudice (if not outright racism) and you have a problem


No US police academy conditions recruits to a fully thoughtless routine of acquire and fire. And firearms training isn't even a huge part of the curriculum.


The Italian police often carry guns but you don't get the same issues.


Just ask anyone who witnessed what happened in Genoa during the 2001 G8 summit or the family of other Italian Police victims, or other less known episodes.

Warning: Articles contain some graphic but necessary images.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_Raid_on_Armando_Diaz

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federico_Aldrovandi

https://italychronicles.com/the-shocking-case-of-stefano-cuc...

...etc.

As in many other countries, the real problem is not guns (clarification: I'm against guns) but selection; someone letting his political views or the level of testosterone screw up his personal control during service should never ever be given an uniform, let alone a gun, period. And I'm 100% sure if we publicly screened every cop after service for drugs or steroids use, the scandal would explode within days. Cops are violent because corrupt powers need them as such: once they get a minor punishment or are acquitted after an unprovoked beating/killing, they can become a paramilitary force in the hands of the same politicians who helped them, both during service and after they retire. As usual, it's all about corruption.


Well, not zero killings but the fact you have to go back 17 years for your examples illustrates the US is a tad worse. I tried to find some stats but couldn't for Italy.


Have you ever been arrested?

I used to trust the police. Then I got arrested. Nothing came of it, but I was shocked at how much the police liad to me to try and catch me out and then how I spent 6 hours incarcerated for simply driving a red car.

Do not trust the police after the age of 18. They are not your friends and trusting them is extremely dangerous if they've decided you're guilty of something.

Always ask for a lawyer, never co-operate.


And most important: Never consent to any searches of anything.

Too many people just consent because "They have nothing to hide/Don't want to look guilty" and many police officers take that as a challenge to actually find something, no matter how small.

Not consenting to the search puts the burden of proof on the police, they gotta have a cause/reason to search your car. Sure, they can also manufacture that, usually by calling in a K9 unit. These dogs are so well trained, they can give a signal when their handler orders it, the dogs signal is then used as a cause to search you and the car.

But that's a lot of time and effort, not every police officer wants to go through just for a little power trip.

That's why not consenting to the search is so important and can spare you a lot of trouble, there's absolutely nothing wrong with doing it.


I think the difference is that in the US the police is trained for 30 weeks (I think) in escalating situations and using violence to solve their problems while here in Norway the police education is a full three year bachelors degree with emphasis on de-escalation of situations and how violence is only a very last resort.

There is also an independent "police" that will investigate cases brought against police officers that overstep their authority.


I think it's not exactly that American police are trained to escalate, but that the culture is highly authoritarian, which changes their meaning of "escalation". Anything short of instantaneous and absolute deference and obedience is viewed as a threat. If that standard exceeds your ability to comply (e.g. deaf/hard-of-hearing, serious mental illness, dementia, traumatic brain injury), then your existence is implicitly threatening to them.


>In Scandinavia you'd have to be genuinely paranoid to not trust the police.

I had the cops bring in a shrink to "observe" an interview.

Right after the interview, they had that same shrink who I'd never met before commit me into a month-long involuntary psychiatric evaluation because I had followed my lawyers advice and refused to answer the questions I was asked.

This sounds like something that might happen in China or maybe Russia, but no. This all happened in Finland.

The system assumes that government officials can do no wrong, so there doesn't exist any effective way to seek legal remedy.


It's trending in Scandinavia too.

> In Scandinavia you'd have to be genuinely paranoid to not trust the police

In Denmark, a case[1] where police forcefully escorted photographers and journalists away that were following immigrants that were walking a highway as they entered Denmark a couple of years ago, has just been settled, and the behaviour of the police were indeed unlawful.

And it's not just a fluke. It seems to be an increasing trend, unfortunately. Not blindly trusting officials is probably pretty smart.

[1]: https://politiken.dk/kultur/medier/art6740480/Politiet-måtte...


>In Denmark, a case[1] where police forcefully escorted photographers and journalists away that were following immigrants that were walking a highway as they entered Denmark a couple of years ago, has just been settled, and the behaviour of the police were indeed unlawful.

If that's the worse one came up with, and if it was even settled in court, then it's nowhere near close to the way the US is.


You can walk on a highway in Denmark? If that's not the case, the cops may have arrested/forcefully moved the wrong person.


You can't, but the immigrants did, and so did police too to follow them, and of course photographers and journalist documented it, in which case the police forcefully removed the journalists and the photographers.

At this point, this particular highway was closed off from traffic because of the immigrants and police, if I recall correctly.

In any case, I'm no expert on the matter, but the actions of the police that day were deemed unlawful by the court.


Why not immediately send a bus to pick up the immigrants and get them off the highway?


Dunno, ask the ones in charge. But as I understand the matter, they wanted them to turn around and leave Denmark again.


The great divergence, IMO, is called Robert Peel, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peelian_principles

Police forces existed before the emergence of the peelian principles, and they aren't universally accepted. For example, one of the peelian principles is to refrain from the use of physical force as much as possible, and some police forces appear to flaunt physical force, for example by publishing PR blahblah about new water cannon and other military-style gear instead of downplaying such equipment.


Any hypothesis that only a minority of police are bad would have to explain why the good police who outnumber them don't do anything to make the public safer/protect the reputation of the police and law enforcement order generally/explain the higher arrest count of and use of violence against Blacks, etc.


I’ve heard it claimed of a cop pulls over a colleague’s family member for speeding and doesn’t let them off after seeing who it is, he can expect social sanctions like his locker being messed with.

If the culture allows that over a mere speeding fine, imagine the sanction for getting a colleague jail time.

OTOH if you play along, you get special treatment for your loved ones. And everyone is doing it...


>OTOH if you play along, you get special treatment for your loved ones. And everyone is doing it...

In fact they're even official about it:

https://www.newsweek.com/why-are-cops-issuing-get-out-jail-f...

https://nypost.com/2018/01/21/police-union-slashes-number-of...


>I'll have to assume that most cops in the US must be friendly and considerate

Its not just the attitudes of individual cops. Its the authoritarian disposition of legal authorities on every level, local, state and federal. The goal of the authorities in the United States is not public welfare and safety, its the imposition of order. Offensive, abusive behavior by police towards citizens is common, for which police face no sanction. Prosecutors regularly withhold evidence, suborn perjury (so much so that a term for rampant police perjury has been coined: 'testilying'), and break the law in a variety of ways, none of which is ever punished. The only people in the United States who "trust" the police (or the authorities in general) are those who are lucky enough to be blissfully ignorant (something that quickly changes once they are on the wrong end of a police interaction).

All this isn't to say there aren't "good" cops, who sincerely want to better society and help people out, but the system itself is rotten to the core.


I guess the philosophy and incentives must be different. I'm not that up on US cops as I'm a brit.

In the UK we had "Sir Robert Peel’s Nine Principles of Policing" with things like "Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police" https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/nyregion/sir-robert-peels...

which seemed to work well and they were thought some of the best in the world. These days they have a lot of politically correct form filling and bureaucracy which means you don't get hassled much but they also aren't around much in terms of catching criminals.


The situation in the US is very unique. You will be hard pressed to find any country with this level of paranoia and fear with police stops, acts of excessive violence including completely unnecessary killings, and requirement for complete 'submission' by the police. It's like a police state, but for minorities.

Its tragic the loss of life in this vulgar way can be hand waved away in a civilized country. It's a double dehumanization of victims, one to allow this callous behavior by the police and the second to justify it and let it stand. Often juries release brazen case of murders and elected justice officials support the police by default so its not just the police but the entire justice system that enables this cycle of murder, terrorism and violence.

What is also unique is the support and justification for this kind of policing by many who do not experience the same behavior from the police and infact can count on them to 'protect' and defend.

This is intimately linked to privilege and racism and how the police have been used systematically to harass and terrorize minorities right from enforcing segregation, laws like jaywalking against mostly black people, suppressing the civil rights movement, the drug war, demonization of blacks by administrations like Reagan who ran systematic advertising campaigns linking black populations to crack. [1] [2]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Jim_Crow

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/us/new-jim-crow-book-ban-...


Historically they've been:

- racist: for one example, black and white people smoke marijuana at the same rate but black people are far more likely to be arrested for it

- irresponsible: just recently an officer broke into the wrong apartment during a raid and killed an innocent man. Rather than apologize, her department then tried to discredit the man

- unaccountable: many officers found to have committed misconduct simply find work in nearby departments. Within the last few years a video surfaced where an officer played a twisted Simon-Says game with a potential suspect (asking him to both put his hands on his head and then crawl). The officer shot and killed the suspect, but the judge withheld that video evidence from the trial so the officer was found not guilty.

- violent: many, many, many instances where officers shoot fleeing suspects in the back, choke suspects who are not resisting, beat suspects, etc. The officer in the previous example was found to have etched "You're dead fucker" into his gun - they glorify violence and are eager for "action".

They are becoming more militarized. They are not prepared for mental health situations - in many cases it is not a good idea to call police if a loved one is threatening suicide. They shoot first and ask questions later (exacerbated by gun laws in this country, but that's a different issue.)

These things, to my knowledge, do not happen this often in other developed countries. Police in America do not have a good reputation - the phrase "All Cops Are Bastards" was coined here. I have trouble agreeing with that phrase - I do believe most officers do their work out of a sense of duty and public service - but I understand why people feel that way. Even if they started today, it will take the police in this country decades to undo the decades they've spent building up an awful image.


Cops here don't act like part of the community. I guess the general feel is that even if you're not doing something wrong, if you see a cop you're likely to get anxious because all of a sudden you're wondering if they're going to hassle you just because, hassle you due to a minor thing that's going to get blown out of proportion, or if you're lucky they'll just leave.

They're not my peers, they're a force of power and intimidation and an interaction with them feels more like a confrontation waiting to happen than anything else, even if you're not even doing anything wrong.


The police in some countries are very corrupt. When they pull you over, they won't give you a fine. They will just ask for money, otherwise they will drag you to the police station for whatever reason. It happens in Eastern Europe and other poor countries.

In some countries, the police is feared because they abuse their power, like the police in India with their colonial attitude: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Common-people-are-...


You've received a lot of responses, but I'm shocked that nobody has told you most US cops are assholes.

Most of the times I've interacted with cops, they were not smiling. Sometimes they were not evil, but most of the times they are asking questions to see if they can arrest you for something.

For example, one time a cop came up to me while I was taking a nap in my car. He asked me questions for 5 minutes straight to see if I could admit to any equipment failures on my car, or if I was drunk (despite not operating the vehicle).

In the US, you must exercise extreme caution around cops, at all times, period.


Good observations. A few data points (from a white citizen of the US). 20 years ago I saw a police officer as a friend. If I was lost, I would ask one for directions, help, etc. Now I generally prefer to ask a sane-looking stranger. I saw other folks, including military officers, express similar feelings.

I think that composition of the police has changed. Before, it was mostly local boys who joined police after school. They view random strangers as mostly friendly and have a "do not bug them unless they need help" mind set. Nowadays, there are strong preferences for recruiting vets, which often means time in a combat zone area with distinctly unfriendly locals (and possibly PTSD). They see random strangers as potential threats and this can affect all interactions.

Independently, when you are pulled over, especially on a highway, it is usually a local cop who is encouraged by his town to write tickets that help local budget. They are likely completely professional and probably even friendly, but by default we are at the opposite sides in this interaction. Extra information on my side does not hurt.


I don't know, it seems like Norway at least has its problems:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_misconduct#Norway


> According to a 2012 official report, 18 police officers have lost their jobs as result of misconduct since 2005

No country is perfect, and I'm not Norwegian, but the number of incidents is quite low.


And if the officers guilty of misconduct lose their job, it's a sign that there is a system to deal with them and that it works (at least for those cases).


For sake of comparison, Norway has about 5.23 million people compared to 325 in the US.

Scaled up, it'd be like having 1,116 officers lose their jobs due to misconduct between 2005 and 2012.

Visibility to the issue in the US was substantially different in that time period than now, but I think the population helps put an absolute number into perspective.


In the US there are many groups that feel safe around the police as well — to the point where using white people to shield black folk from cops isn't unusual.

In Scandinavia, the state was involved in forced sterilisations. I truly doubt everyone shares your view of the trustworthiness of their cops.

The biggest difference is that the "high profile" thing happens less: cops have less guns. So people don't get shot as much, they're just harassed, beaten up and arrested for little reason. Yay Europe, I guess.


For me it depends greatly on the department/agency. If I am around Palo Alto or Mountain View or Bellevue or Redmond or WA State Patrol or CHP, I feel safer (unless they are there due to some specific situation, in which case my goal is to get out of the area, but I’d still want them there.). There are a lot of departments where enough (10%?) of the officers are incompetent or malicious, so I’d rarely want them to be around.


It depends heavily on the neighborhood. I don't know if you have anything quite like the inner city slums of the NYC housing projects or the the bad areas of Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, etc. in the Scandinavian cities you have in mind. They aren't places seen by most tourists.


From the other responses here, I like the 'its the guns' answer the best, as it has likely led to police treating every interaction as a possible life and death scenario. This is likely to be it.

But, there's a possible other culprit too, that I never noticed before the recent divisions in the populace due to politics, and that is the politization of policing. Now, I could be conflating cause and effect here, but wouldn't it be interesting if the reason we are culturally nervous of the police is that we have been told to be that way by mainstream influences. Just a thought, and I'm happy to have it all backwards.


I think the biggest diference here is the society in US is more heterogenous, divided and the levels of inequality is high than in Scandinavia. The white Americans that live in rich neighborhoods would feel safer with police presence but an afro American will be viewed as a threat an enemy by the policial forces so is natural this part of population feel unsafe.

basically class struggle


Part of it is training but part of it is also what police officers face. In my country the odds a police officer will pull over someone for speeding who has a gun in the car is 1:10000. In the US in some parts I wouldn't be surprised if it's more than 1:10.

If you then look at inequality, mental health issues, crime rates etc... which are largely a function of socioeconomics, man I wouldn't want to be a police officer in the US, either.

It's not necessarily the case that I love the police officers in my country (north-west europe), either. They lie, they don't enjoy it when you verbally challenge their power with an argument, they're fallible.

For example at one point I saw an officer harassing some homeless guy, asking for ID etc. I know they're not looking to help them get shelter, but just looking to get them out of the park because people complain. So what they do is they ask for ID, they obviously don't have one, so they put 'em in a police van, hold them at the police office overnight and then release them outside the city centre the next morning. If they do it often enough, they stay out of the nice city centre where the rich folks live. So I talked to the officer about it, but you immediately get told to stay out unless I wanted a problem: i.e. arresting for obstruction of justice, held and later released. There's very little you can do in this situation, either you shut up or you have to call work and say you've been arrested and can't come in etc. It's not the end of the world but it's an effective deterrent in many cases for having small injustices go unchecked.

Same with racial profiling, happens all the time as well. And every single time I've reported a theft, they did absolutely nothing about it. Even if I gave evidence of the crime and the person's identity etc. Lack of resources... It's understandable to some extent, but frustrating too. It almost invites you to get your own revenge if I didn't know better.

So I don't love the police, either. Police officers are not all that different from most people in their human flaws, except that they're typically relatively lowly-educated (and in the US, lowly trained), combined with far reaching powers and an institution that backs them, it can be problematic in any country.

But police violence is very rare, police drawing guns is rare, let alone shooting them. People in all countries have issues with their police (like they have issues with bad teachers, bad doctors, bad judges, bad politicians, bad hairdressers and bad chefs!), but within OECD countries it's basically only the US that has this level of (lethal) violence. Guns play a large role, as do socioeconomics. But there also has to be strong institutional oversight, it seems the police is institutionally far more inoculated from the consequences of their actions in the US than elsewhere.

Where I'm from, every damaging use of a gun by a police officer will get an automatic investigation, not internally but by an independent national research team that falls under the national prosecutor.


It's the difference living in a homogenous culture vs a diverse one like the US.

Plus the fact that due to the gun love culture police never know who's going to have a gun and so their behavior goes from helping people to protecting themselves.

It's a pernicious attitude that has sad to say destroyed the good will that people should have for their police.


Many American police have authority complexes and take any indignation as a front to their existence. There's also the whole 'not held accountable for their crimes' aspect which I suspect contributes to the lack of trust between law enforcement and other civilians.


may have something to do with the way population interacts with the police

like i feel totally safe around the cops, but at the same time i realize the "am i being detained" attitute would put me on a fasttrack to the realm of phony assault charges, no matter which country.


My interactions with police in emergencies have generally been good. When I am looking for a police officer, it’s great to find one. I noticed that the same officers will act differently to various people depending on the situation and how they perceive (stereotype) that person or the company they keep. The issue with them looking for evidence of a crime or trying to trap you with your own seemingly innocent words is true. Basically some officers are very suspicious all the time. It can be opportunistic, like to confiscate property and arrest someone for marijuana when they arrive for something else - or rooted in a genuine desire to solve crime, like finding someone held captive when they show up for something else.

Interactions with police in the US depend on a lot of different things. Police officers are individuals, and the majority of my contacts with the majority of them have been satisfactory and what one would expect. The United States is a far larger than Scandinavia in every way and has more cultural variation, even within single ethnic groups. Police in New Mexico are fairly different to Chicago, or Texas. For that matter you’d probably very meet different officers with different attitudes in rural Oregon vs Portland.

I had a lot of negative interactions with police involving cannabis when I was young. That has largely faded with the relaxation of cannabis policies in the US, though laws and attitudes vary widely depending on your region or state. I refuse to even drive through states like Utah, which as one of the strictest states in the US borders Colorado, one of the most relaxed cannabis-wise.

I recently purchased a vehicle and went traveling, so I had an out of state temp license plate in various states. I was stopped by police 3 times in 2 weeks, including twice well after midnight. The main interest they had was whether I had been drinking. This fulfills a serious public safety role, but with the low levels set legally for blood alcohol content, could have put me in serious legal jeopardy when I was not truly impaired. A 3 am traffic stop could go wrong in many other ways, and an officers are generally on edge at night. The risk and severity of being arrested, searched or physically mistreated is magnified by factors like being a minority for that area, having a criminal record, apparent low income or social class (old or beat up car, shoddy clothes), or exhibiting something that personally offends an officer like the wrong sports or political sticker. I would actually drive a car with a lot more personality if I didn’t have to worry about this. Some people I know with Grateful Dead type stickers have been seemingly profiled by police for it.


I always thought it was due to misguided police training that conditions them to escalate situations to quickly.


it starts recording using the iPhone's front-facing camera. Once you've stopped recording, it can text or email the video to a different predetermined contact and save it to Dropbox.

Too bad it seems to record locally first -- it'd be nice if it could stream the recording online, in case the phone is seized or powered off before it can save the recording.

Maybe it could have a checkpoint feature where it sends the current recording to the cloud while continuing to record, maybe triggered by a keyword or a cough or something.


There is an aclu app called mobile justice that does this. There appears to be a different one for each state. I was previously under the impression that it uploads the video if you shake your phone, but I found some articles that suggest it transmits while you’re recording.

>The app features a large red “Record” button in the middle of the screen. When it’s pressed, the video is recorded on the phone and a duplicate copy is transmitted simultaneously to the ACLU server.


I have an app from the ACLU of New Jersey app (I live in Texas)...I still have it but I get a warning that it may not work with this version of Android everytime I open it. I'm not sure if the video are getting sent anywhere?

This area looks disorganized...can we put a few smart developers together to donate their time to something like this?


Be the change you want to see in the world.


Only available in the US. I am really surprised that such obvious use case is not covered by tens of apps already. I would certainly pay few bucks for such app if the servers were out of reach from corrupt poluce departments and governments.


Aside from the US, the kinds of places where you'd want and be able to use this aren't the kinds of places that have fast enough internet for it to be possible.


I live in western Europe and would like to be able to use this, or something like it. My mobile connection is fast enough for sure (LTE/4G pretty much city-wide). If anyone knows of any reliable alternatives please let me know. Thanks.

edit: Some people down in other comments mentioned doing a private YouTube Live and then later downloading your own video. It's not ideal and I haven't checked if it's really viable. Another user mentioned Bambuser, but I'm not familiar with it yet, don't know if it's viable either.


You'd be surprised how much of the world has fast mobile internet.


In a dense city environment, it would be neat if it could share the video with nearby peers via bluetooth or something similar.


ACLU = American Civil Liberties Union.

I'm not disagreeing, necessarily. But it's in the name.


I think by "duplicate copy transmitted simultaneously" they mean at the same time your local copy is saved, when the recording stops. The Mobile Justice CA app says "As soon as you stop recording , the video will be automatically sent..."


> maybe triggered by a keyword or a cough or something.

Sounds complicated. Why not upload every 30sec chunk?


The shortcut app is a single thread. Send a message to an existing application (capable of receiving a message), wait for a response, send a message to the next application in the script and so on.

There's no logic, no timer.

The script is:

* Send message to {contact} with text (some templating done with location)

* Take video (Front)

* Save to photo album

The camera app has two messages you can send to it: take photo and take video. That's it.


I bet someone could make an app that streams video to a cloud-based recording endpoint and is exposed to shortcuts.


Does YouTube allow unlisted/private live streams? That would be an easy hack to achieve something like this.


It does, yes.


You’d have to rely on Google to not remove those videos.

An app should upload it to multiple services, including Twitter, Vimeo, Reddit, Dropbox etc.


You can download the original source video from YouTube later. I know it's not optimal but we're talking workarounds here.


> You can download the original source video from YouTube later

Unless you're in a jail cell, of course.

I figure we should be thinking of the worst-case here. If your salvation is locked up in a silo somewhere, that's a real downside.


> Unless you're in a jail cell, of course.

Or dead.


Sure, you'd still rather the video get out even if you've been wrongfully killed.


>Too bad it seems to record locally first -- it'd be nice if it could stream the recording online, in case the phone is seized or powered off before it can save the recording.

Facebook's live feature is worth a mention here, not only it's well tuned for the purpose; it also blasts notifications to your contacts.


It might just be me, but notifying all my friends & family that I’m being arrested and sending them a live, unedited video of the incident would be horrifying.


There was/is an app called bambuser that did precisely this


Hashes should be standard for this kind of situation. Sending a hash every few seconds ensures that the audio/video 1) was created and 2) can't be forged. If a device "disappears" or is damaged we won't know for certain if it was to destroy evidence or not, but an officer with too many issues can be investigated or fired. Hashes can also be made public without privacy issues, to increase trust that the police are not editing the video.


BT sync to vehicle memory could workaround


Note that this shortcut was built by someone who is a lawyer and had only minor experience with "scripts for macOS in the past". It's great to see Apple building technologies for this audience on the iPhone like they have with Automator on macOS.


In the early days of personal computing, things like AppleScript, HyperCard, and Basic, were used by the typical computer user. Computer users were rather self-selected, had invested a lot of money to own a computer, and generally bought into the promise of computing as a “bicycle for the mind.” The iPhone opened the floodgates, bringing TONS of people to computing for the first time, and it resulted in a shift from computing as a creation medium, to one of consumption. It’s interesting to see it start to come full circle. It’s taken about a decade, but something that used to be mainstream in computing (programming your machine to do something interesting interesting / useful) is on the cusp of becoming mainstream once more.


The iPhone definitely did not definitely did not bring tons of people to computing for the first time. By the time the iPhone came out PCs and laptops were pretty much in every home anyway. Let me put it this way, I live in a third world country(Lebanon), and the first time we had a computer at home was in 1996(11 years before the iPhone), and by that point most of my friends in school already had a PC at home. We were not wealthy by any measure(more like lower to middle class at the time).

The iPhone did many things, but that is not one of them. No, what brought computing to the masses was Windows and cheap computers(around the time of the 486~pentium era). While I agree that nowadays it's common for a child's first interaction with computers to be a smartphone, this was definitely not the case when the iPhone was first introduced in 2007 and access to computers was already quite common and cheap everywhere around the world


Access != adoption.

Even if every house had a PC, it doesn’t mean everyone in that house used it.

Today it’s not uncommon for every person in the house to have their own smartphone. And they use them on levels rivaling television at its peak — hours and hours a day. And it includes the grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles who wouldn’t even touch the PC.

The iPhone and the smartphone era it ushered in a seismic shift in society, is that not obvious? Something like 2 billion smartphone users globally today, roughly a decade from the iPhone introduction. In the late 90s PC users measured in the millions.


> In the late 90s PC users measured in the millions.

In the late 1990s, internet users (which, as the smartphone revolution hadn't happened, were largely a subset of PC users) were in the hundreds of millions and doubling roughly annually, though that slowed dramatically around 2000, but still was rapid enough to reach over a billion before the iPhone was introduced.

The smartphone revolution did a lot, but even so your are way overstating it.


I just don't think you can equate internet access with the relationship people have today with technology. Addressing several comments here, but frequency matters – it's a lot different to have a computer in every home that family members use to varying degrees, vs a smartphone in the hands of billions of people who are glued to them on a daily basis at levels that rival Television at its peak.


Kids used their PCs to write homework assignments. Parents used it to print out directions from map quest.

The iPhone likely dramatically increased the frequency of use but PC penetration was near universal by the late 2000s.

FWIW my grandpa and most others at the retirement home use a dumb phone.


The iPhone is responsible for many things but "bringing tons of people to computing for the first time" is probably not one of them.

The vast majority of iPhone users have a computer, it was even more prevalent in 2007 when the first iPhone came out, and was a luxury gadget that was mostly purchased by technology minded and wealthy people - a group who were vastly more likely to own home computers.


I see plenty of young people with iPhones who aren’t wealthy and because I work in education, I can tell you many of them don’t have computers at home. If there’s a computer at home, it may not have broadband. The iPhone is their computer.

If a kid needs a traditional computer after school lets out and they live in an urban area, they go to a library or to a community center.

I was surprised to see Mac Pros at the main branch of the Boston Public Library this summer for young people to use for media production, for example.


"Young poor people" buying 1000$ phones is a strictly American phenomenon.


I'm from Spain and I can 100% confirm it is not only in America.


You’re right about that. Because as long as you have income and your credit isn’t terrible and you pay your monthly bill, you can get an expensive cell phone.


In 2015 roughly 85% of households had a laptop or PC[1]. iPhone's marketshare in the U.S. is roughly 40%[2]. Even if you assume that all those without a computer at home have an iPhone at home, that still means that 62.5% of iPhone users have a computer at home, and that's just unthinkable.

It should be obvious that the vast majority have iPhone users have computers at home and it's most likely was even more pronounced in 2007.

Also, broadband is irrelevant to the discussion.

[1]-https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publicatio... [2]-https://www.macrumors.com/2017/04/20/iphone-ownership-all-ti...


You’re comparing household statistics to individuals.

Plus, totally anecdotal, but even if every house in the 90s had a PC (and it was really more like 40% around 1997), they weren’t used anywhere remotely like the TV in the household was. Like, a couple of teenagers maybe spent all day on it, and everyone had the tech savvy aunt or uncle, but it just was nothing like today where it’s typical to see grandma and grandpa FaceTiming.


I am, but that hardly makes a difference. Assuming households residents amount are spread randomly between household with computers and households without then the ratio holds for individuals(the assumption is probably slightly off, since there is likely a correlation between poverty and having a computer and poverty and number of children, but I doubt it's very big and besides the same correlation most likely holds between poverty and having iPhones)

And the iPhone was released in 2007, not 1997.


Remember, that old Windows XP desktop in the guest bedroom that nobody really uses anymore counts as having a PC at home, even if for all intents and purposes, it’s not used for anything except for the occasional game of Solitaire.


Outside of certain demographics you just don’t see people staring into their computers in line at the bakery, on the subway platform, at dinner, at the grocery store. Television remained a dominant media deep into the penetration of the personal computer with people spending hours and hours watching every day. Again, outside certain demographics, this just wasn’t the experience of most people with respect to computers. For me and my friends, yes - we spend all day on our computers. Most didn’t. Today, people are glued to their smartphones.

I’m not saying that literally everyone owns an iPhone, either. What I am saying is that smartphone adoption hit an inflection point with the iPhone - heading upwards into the stratosphere. When you look at the concepts people had for what an Apple phone might look like pre-iphone, no one was prepared for what was coming.


what is the hypercard of the iphone


Html5


More accountability for police can't hurt. In other private professions bad accountability results in loss of job, so I don't think many can complain about this.

A cool feature, maybe given attention due to the hot political climate around cop shootings. But useful nonetheless.


I think all police should wear body cameras. Police misconduct declines. Civilian misconduct declines. Cameras are a potential source of powerful evidence. Everyone wins.


Police DO wear body cameras! For example, there was a shooting in Albuquerque, with five police officers present, and all five officers were wearing cameras.

Unfortunately, all five cameras malfunctioned at exactly the same time and none of them captured footage of the shooting [1].

What a crazy, unlikely circumstance.

[1]: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180624/18081640105/anoth...


It seems only reasonable that in such cases not only are the police guilty by default of whatever they're accused of, they're also guilty of destroying evidence and should be charged accordingly.


While I agree there was probably not malfunction of five cameras simultaneously the presumption of innocence is too important to our society to undermine it in any situation, even this one. We must find the evidence that the cameras were sabotaged or otherwise lost their data. No issue is worth undermining our basic principles.


Only if you can prove the malfeasance.


When all five body cameras "happened" to fail at the same time I don't think anyone can really doubt the malfeasance.


Yeah, but who did it? All five of them, one of them, another cop not at the scene but with access to the system? Contractors with system access? It's not enough to be sure that a crime happened. Which isn't to say there shouldn't be an investigation or measures taken to make it harder to happen.

And to be more careful, what's the failure rate on those cameras and how many incidents happen a year where it would look suspicious if all cameras fail? If the numbers are high enough we might just have selection bias.


The officers should be on the hook for their video feed.


"can really doubt" doesn't work in court, though. Innocent until proven guilty and all that - if there's no actual evidence of tampering you'd struggle to win a conviction.


While likely that is the case, unless there are ways to detect tampering built into the camera, it can't be proved in a court


And when that black guy that was just gunned down "happened" to have a knife in his pocket when searched there's no doubt that he was only seconds away from using it to attack the police?


Sounds like there should be a rule: If your camera isn't recording, you aren't on duty.


Yeah I'm calling this badge-equivalence. The camera (with active indicator light) is the badge. If you don't have a badge you're not a police officer. If you don't have a camera you're not a police officer. The only thing that curbs my enthusiasm for this is the privacy rights of other parties. Not sure how to deal with that but I don't think it should derail the whole thing.


There’s a trial going on right now where a police officer shot an unarmed teenager 16 times and it was recorded on a dash cam and the police officer is saying it didn’t happen the way the footage clearly shows it did: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2015/nov/24/chicag...

There have been other shooting of unarmed black boys and men that have been recorded on video and the cops isn’t held accountable.

Hopefully, that’s starting to change, but having a shooting on video is no guarantee that anyone will be held accountable.


He was not unarmed, he was carrying a knife. Toxicology reports showed traces of PCP in his system. Furthermore the police were responding to reports of someone breaking into vehicles and brandishing a knife.

That said, the police did not act reasonably and then attempted to cover it up.


But it's a good start - at least now everyone can see clear proof that the officer is lying. Even if he isn't charged, everyone knows there's a miscarriage of justice going on. In the past his version would be the accepted one and that would be it, no one would even write an article about it.


Police misconduct declines.

Except when they try to fake video evidence:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/us/baltimore-police-video...

He was only caught because he forgot that the previous 30 seconds prior to pressing "record" are buffered and will be included in the video.


Me too, but I wish that data was tightly controlled by a federal regulator, and deleted after N days.

At the moment, most of it’s controlled by Tazer, who have an interest in keeping cops happy.


From what I understand at the moment the problem is that many police precincts in the US cannot afford them (since they don't get enough funding -- you need to hire people to sort through the footage as well as licensing the hardware and software from Tazer and so on).

Quite a few cops who participated in trials of body cameras were super positive about them (and wished they could keep them) since it also protects them in cases where they are wrongly accused of some sort of malpractice. But in many cases they are too expensive to be able to roll out country-wide and few people want to pay more taxes.


> From what I understand at the moment the problem is that many police precincts in the US cannot afford them (since they don't get enough funding -- you need to hire people to sort through the footage as well as licensing the hardware and software from Tazer and so on).

This has little to do with taxes and more to do with priorities. Thanks to civil asset forfeiture the money is absolutely there for many police forces, but they would need to prioritize this over the acquisition of armored tanks and other militarization programs.


Great, then sell (or don't initially waste money on) the SWAT team's LAV and cell phone jamming gear to fund the body cameras.


Check out a youtube channel called "PoliceActivity".


Genuine question: is getting pulled over in the US really that hazardous that people have to record it in case things go wrong?


Generally not. Unfortunately civil forfeiture is a thing. There are many stories, frankly 1 is more than enough, where people are driving with cash because either they, or their business partner, prefers/only-can-take cash. The police say you are a criminal intent on an illicit transaction. They seize your money. They hold the money on separate charges than you. If you lack the wherewithal to sue for your money back, you forfeit it. The money is then spend on things like guns, tanks, and margarita machines.

While this single link does not argue for all the expenditures, it does show the corruption in the system. https://www.forbes.com/sites/instituteforjustice/2014/06/05/...


>> Genuine question: is getting pulled over in the US really that hazardous that people have to record it in case things go wrong?

> Generally not. Unfortunately civil forfeiture is a thing. There are many stories, frankly 1 is more than enough, where people are driving with cash...

Right now, I think people are more concerned with getting shot or roughed up by the police than with getting their money stolen by them.


As someone who is from a western European country, this sounds completely messed up.

If you are scared of law enforcement (first not to get shot, but also to not have your stuff stolen), how can you ever live comfortably?


I live in a pretty gentrified and wealthy area and when police show up it looks likes when a shark is moving near fish. The place usually heavily depopulates just by seeing them. I don't mean when they show up to an event either. I've seen them casually walking down the street and there's just a wave of everyone coincidentally realizing they have other places to be.

The only regular exception I see to this is when there are large crowds like concerts or public events where the cops are standing guard. Even then there's a relatively large space between the cops and the crowd.

I guess the answer is that you live comfortably until you see cops


That's all sorts of insane. I have a few really fun photos of police officers in London during Pride this year — rainbows painted on their arms and/or faces, posing for photos with visitors, etc. That's very much my expectation for how police should act.


There's still places that happens in the US. There's outlier cops who still get to know their community, people who think cops can do no wrong even when watching a video of a cop murdering someone, or if you're in a small town and socially accepted.

On the whole though it seems that trust in police has gone down since the 90s. Look at popular cop procedurals from then like Law and Order. I watched a few episodes and youd see little things that showed the cultural view at the time. For instance in one episode, they portrayed a new detective as a bad partner and hopelessly naive because he wanted a warrant before breaking open someone's car so that the evidence was admissable. The episode painted it as him getting in the way of catching that criminal because the cops just _knew_ he was at fault and they were cops so of course they were doing the right thing.

Every episode I saw had large violations of rights bit portrayed the cops as the good guys and I don't think you'd see that sort of portrayal on any modern US media


> I live in a pretty gentrified and wealthy area and when police show up it looks likes when a shark is moving near fish. The place usually heavily depopulates just by seeing them. I don't mean when they show up to an event either. I've seen them casually walking down the street and there's just a wave of everyone coincidentally realizing they have other places to be.

There's also the fact that being near police means you're more likely to get into trouble, even if you're just a normal person doing normal things. Sort of like how everyone who drives regularly commits minor ticket-worthy infractions, even if you're a good driver. It's super-uncomfortable to have a police car behind you, because you know everything you're doing is probably getting analyzed for opportunities to punish you.


Well, for some perspective, it's not just the police in the USA that shoot people is it:

https://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/03/americas/us-gun-statistic...

"The US has one of the highest rates of death by firearm in the developed world, according to World Health Organization data. Our calculations based on OECD data from 2010 show that Americans are 51 times more likely to be killed by gunfire than people in the United Kingdom."

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/10/06/5558618...

"The U.S. gun violence death rate is also higher than nearly all countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including many that are among the world's poorest."


The numbers are less exceptional when suicide is factored out. Where other people eat pills, Americans eat a gun.


Does the NRA have a mailing list where these kinds of "arguments" are promoted?

Not being facetious here, I'm merely asking because 1-2 weeks ago somebody else made exactly the same point in another US gun-violence discussion I participated in.

And just like you, he didn't support his claim with any numbers.

But even at first glance, this argument does not check out at all. It basically argues that all the extra gun violence in the US is the result of people buying guns only for the purpose of committing suicide.

Yeah, no, not buying that. Suicide is an issue, but it's not that big of an issue that it alone accounts for the massive gun violence outlier the US represents among developed countries.

Especially in the context of prescription meds also being way more easily and readily available in the US (opiate crisis) than many other places, I find it hard to believe that all US Americans simply prefer firearms to pills for their "suicidal needs".


The rule of thumb is that about two-thirds of gun-related deaths in the US are suicides, another third are murders, and a small percentage are accidental. There are still more murders than there ought to be, but the statistics that make the US look like Pablo Escobar Columbia typically are counting people offing themselves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_Sta...


> but the statistics that make the US look like Pablo Escobar Columbia typically are counting people offing themselves.

I don't see a problem with that as long as the statistics for all the countries are handled that way, the datasets still remain comparable.

Or are you suggesting other countries don't account for the suicides, yet that's the only real difference?

What about the argument that people killing themselves with firearms, due to easier access to them, might have gotten proper help elsewhere and survived? In that context, even these suicide deaths can be considered victims of the failed firearms regulation.

A loaded firearm is quite a low barrier of entry for any person in emotional distress. Most other methods of suicide require at least some level of research, planning and preparation and often still fail.


Restricting firearms because people might hurt themselves and restricting them because they might hurt others are two very different things, and it is important to point out that the number include voluntary self harm.

Also, the method of suicide people use tends to be highly cultural, even with gender differences. In France, the methods of suicide primarily used by men - guns and hanging - tends to be much more deadly than the ones used by women - medication overdose, causing women to have a higher rate of suicide but men representing the majority of deaths.


> Restricting firearms because people might hurt themselves and restricting them because they might hurt others are two very different things

The regulation resulting from the needs for these kinds of restrictions is exactly the same.

Firearm permits often have mandatory hours of safety training attached, that's also to protect people from themselves and drive home the point that this is a dangerous device they own and handle.

The same applies to drivers licenses, these have mandatory training requirements not just to protect other people on the street, but also the person driving the car and getting the permit.

In that context, it is completely irrelevant why you regulate something when both are valid reasons for regulating something, protecting people from themselves, by requiring them to show they are actually able and reliable to handle a dangerous device, and protecting others from people who handle their dangerous devices irresponsibly by requiring at least a basic amount of training and competency.


Do you have statistics for this? My feeling is that Americans would eat a gun much more frequently than others eat pills: easy, fast and non-revocable.


Unfortunately the statistics are extremely complicated (ie it's well and truly apples to oranges with no end to the confounding variables), and the subject is so politicized that even academics can't seem to be relied on (Motivated numeracy and enlightened self-government, https://doi.org/10.1017/bpp.2016.2). Regarding the linked study, note that even they couldn't manage not to be biased - they're supposedly running a neutral psychology study, yet they only manage to pick a single politically polarizing topic to test!

From a quick look at Wikipedia (not exactly the gold standard of research, but hey) the US has a truly astounding suicide-by-firearm rate compared to the UK (7.1 vs 0.15), but if we only compare homicide-by-firearm it's actually even worse than before (4.86 vs 0.06 -> ~80x higher, but it's unreliable because we're dividing by such a small number). But then our income inequality is at least a bit higher than the UK (41% vs 34% Gini coefficient), we certainly have substantially worse social safety nets across the board, and we have serious systemic socioeconomic issues in a downright embarrassing number of locations.

But to me at least, by far the most important factor is one I can't easily turn up reliable statistics on - gangs, cartels, and other organized crime. Having lived in some questionable areas, I've seen first hand that in many cases criminal groups will engage in conflict with one another and not intentionally target innocent bystanders. I used to live in an area where there were nightly shootings (!!!) that I could hear from my house, but it was a seemingly mutual exchange of gunfire. I have no idea how you're supposed to account for that sort of thing in an analysis, but it seems clear to me that it must be accounted for if you're going to attempt to claim that it's reasonably unbiased.


Its so frustrating when science become politicized. Every "statistics on guns" report is either "America is less safe than Somalia" or "America gun owners are the safest people in the world". It's infuriating how politics an run math and science


If you're talking about suicide rates in general, numbers can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_r...

TL;DR. The US seems to be slightly above the average EU suicide rate, but below several individual European countries.


The US spans a continent and is hard to easily generalize. Local and state laws are highly variable and complicate the equation. Based on where you live geographically and your ethnicity, you may have pleasant or completely horrible experiences. Since each state is almost like a european country in many regards, laws governing police can change just by crossing state lines.

The vast majority of "bad cop" stories come from the corrupt good old southern boys or inner city issues. Your average American isn't terribly worried about getting shot or money being confiscated.


If this is so, then your media is doing huge damage to American society by reporting it the way it does. There's a difference between "some policemen in some specific states/cities tend to behave badly" vs. "police in general is your enemy", and the latter seems to be the common narrative.


It's a bit of both. While there are certainly jurisdictions that are quite well behaved, there are also serious systemic problems. The aforementioned civil forfeiture is legal everywhere, so even if some departments don't engage in it there's still a very serious problem. As for other bad behavior? Income inequality, poverty, a lack of social programs, and other socioeconomic issues lead to (IMHO) fairly predictable systemic problems in the affected areas.


  your media is doing huge damage to American society by reporting it the way it does
Absolutely. The concept is referred to as "if it bleeds, it leads" (in terms of coverage). Media routinely will repeat news hourly of a 3-person shooting 2 blocks away from a school out of state yet completely ignore a 20-homicide-attempt weekend in Chicago, because that's how the narrative goes.


As someone from an Eastern European country, this sounds completely messed up. I've been stopped many times by police in Poland, had many interactions with them outside of car context, and I've never had a single unpleasant interaction. The worst one I had was when the officer started asking me questions before introducing himself by full name and rank - and I refused to answer anything until he did. He grumbled a bit but he did produce the ID and badge - then I answered his questions and he let me go. But at no point ever I was worried about my safety.


Poland is a largely white homogeneous country.

In the US, different people have different experiences with police.

Blacks and Latinos in particular are disproportionately high recipients of negative police interactions, caused by a history mutual distrust between members of those groups and police.


In general in the USA, if you're white (or Asian in some communities) and middle class or above, you generally have nothing to fear in a traffic stop -- and you're more likely to vote... so the candidates you elect aren't worried so much about what happens to those other people.


I don't think civil forfeiture is what people concerned to record police encounters have in mind. That is, I don't expect that video evidence is likely to decide such cases. What, exactly, would you be looking for? In the example you mention, where a sum of cash is seized on the presumption that it's drug money or whatever, the point of dispute (i.e. whether this is a reasonable presumption) will not be settled by video.


Genuine answer: it depends on the color of your skin.

Cops generally have a lot of leeway in how they handle a situation and current training focuses on protecting the officer at all costs. This means the public is viewed as the enemy.

Post 9/11 the US police departments have been militarized with surplus equipment and trained like soldiers. While I still think most cops are "good" the fact is that the "bad" ones can ruin your life in an instant and you will have no recourse. The only safe interaction with US police is the absolute minimum required by law.

You cannot assume a police officer will help you and they should be avoided as much as possible.


Is it true that the US police is by law not required to help you, even in situations like when you are being attacked by psycho knife man and they stand right next to you?


A police officers job is to enforce the law, and nothing else.


Yes.


Wait what?

US police don't actually have to lift a finger in the case of a crime being committed in front of them?

How is that a thing?


They have no mandate to stop crimes from occurring, only to apprehend suspects after a crime has been committed.


They don't actually have an obligation to do much of anything after a crime, either.


> Post 9/11 the US police departments have been militarized with surplus equipment and trained like soldiers.

Both parts of that were true for quite a long time before 9/11. Big accelerations in militarization of police were political/race conflicts in the 1950s-60s, the drug war in the 1980s, and the aftermath of the 1997 North Hollywood shootout.


> the public is viewed as the enemy.

Is that really true? Sure we see the extreme examples here in the UK media of some shooting, or extreme overreaction with a dozen cars for just one guy, but are they really representative of day to day policing?

UK police are unarmed and a traffic stop normally little more than pretending to be polite with a polite but overly sarcastic guy in a hat, then maybe getting a ticket. If you decide to drive off the game changes a bit.

Does an average Joe really think an innocent US traffic stop may turn out so bad?


in driver's education they taught me to keep both hands visible at all times, ask for permission to get items from the glovebox, and to be aware that the cop has a hand on their gun at all times.

this was 15 years ago, long before things got as bad as they are now.

during a traffic stop or any other close encounter with the police, your life is at risk in america. ten times more so if you are black or look poor.


I've been pulled over maybe 5 times over the years (headlight out, expired license plate sticker) and I have yet to have a bad experience with them. They have always been friendly and I've never actually gotten a ticket, even on a time where I didn't have up to date proof of insurance in my car.

People just don't usually write about the 99.9% of occurrences when nothing eventful happens. And many of the people who do have issues with the police provoked them by intentionally being difficult and/or rude.


If someone profiles you as a threat, you cannot generally redeem yourself by your subsequent behavior. Confirmation bias is very powerful. I was stopped once and before I had a chance to say or do anything, the officer decided that I was too quiet and therefore "nervous" and things cascaded from there. But it's not as though I changed my personality in order to avoid being treated badly. What I did do was grow out of being a skinny young male and driving across the country. You can't grow out of some visible categories though.


I'm sure the 99% of interactions are perfectly fine but the number of bad interactions in the US seems way way above any other western country.

There are numerous news stories about Australians gettting shot by police while traveling to America but virtually none from within Australia. Last police shooting I remember in Australia was when the person was running at the police with a knife.


I genuinely wonder if the US has more violent criminals or something. Perhaps worse mental health or drug rehab services. Unfortunately it’s such a politicized issue I don’t hope to get good answers in the near term.


The other thing that makes me wonder is the fact that police officers are rarely teamed up in the US. A lone cop is bound to be more nervous and ready to reach for a weapon than when he is covered by a partner standing 5m behind with a hand on his gun holster (which is e.g. German procedure).


This seems like an interesting prospect. I wish the U.S. kept better data so we could more easily see if there is a correlation.


> I genuinely wonder if the US has more violent criminals or something.

Well, there are many people on this thread who tell you that since they have never had a problem, the problem must not exist.


Where are these people? I'm only seeing "I've never had a problem", not "...therefore the problem must not exist".


You have guns, which leads to the police having military equipment and being more violent. The Swiss also have guns but I haven't seen a lot of news news about mass shootings or police abuse in Switzerland.


Americans love bringing up Switzerland, but the US has way more guns than everywhere else. Way more (per person). Nobody in Switzerland would say "OK, Fred does seem to be a violent nutjob who beats his wife, but we can't very well stop Fred having a gun" but in the US taking away Fred's gun is genuinely considered a contentious idea.

Also, as you'd expect given it has all these guns, Switzerland sees a higher rate of gun deaths than most European countries. If your goal is "lets have fewer gun deaths" the lesson is still "have fewer guns" not "copy Swiss culture".


> Nobody in Switzerland would say "OK, Fred does seem to be a violent nutjob who beats his wife, but we can't very well stop Fred having a gun" but in the US taking away Fred's gun is genuinely considered a contentious idea.

This surprises me. I have quite a few family members who are card-carrying NRA members and they all seem to support restrictions for violent offenders and mentally ill.

I don't doubt that reduced access to guns would reduce gun deaths, but if there is a cultural element--for example, if inner-city cultures are more violent (this is an example; no idea what percentage of gun deaths are attributable to inner-city violence), perhaps we should tackle that problem instead of taking guns away from responsible gun owners.


That would be ironic.


Part of it may be simply that USA as a country has 20 times more people average country in EU. More people means more policemen, means more occurrences of police misbehaviour. Unfortunately, reporting is not weighed by population.


The Guardian and Washington Post databases do list per million statistics by State.

It's also very easy to calculate the number yourself: 3 to 6+ per million in the US (depends on source) and you'll have a hard time finding a Western European country with even 1 per million.

Stats from Belgium would be interesting but I couldn't find any.

Also consider that England and Wales has a higher number of police per capita (~302) than the US (~284).

"In the first 24 days of 2015, police in the US [population 316 million] fatally shot more people than police did in England and Wales [population 56.9 million], combined, over the past 24 years."

The whole US justice and law enforcement system has serious issues. Look at the incarceration rate compared to the rest of the world, it's absurd.


What? We are talking percentages here, so number of people has no impact.

Density could be a factor, but then you need to explain, on top, why Europe, being much more dense than the USA, has fewer relative police incidents.


  There are numerous news stories about Australians gettting shot by police while traveling to America
Name any three.


Can you point me to the law or the part of the constitution which allows for summary execution without a trial for rudeness to law enforcement officers? I'm not aware of such, and to me it seems to run counter to the principles embodied in the constitution.


I wasn't saying that the rudeness leads to and justifies officers acting illegally. I'm saying the rudeness leads to officers acting in ways that people tend to complain about (and you hear about).

I certainly wasn't trying to imply that being rude justifies an officer pulling a gun or anything like that.


I get that it can seem unreasonable that people expect police to behave legally even in the presence of difficult or rude people. After all, very few of us enjoy dealing with difficult or rude people. Maybe very few of us are qualified to be police officers.


It's an extremely divisive issue.

Traffic stops are more hazardous for the police in the US compared to other countries where guns are not as common. Interactions are thus more tense.

But where it really gets divisive is about racial disparities in policing including who gets pulled over how often. There have been many protests movements about this going back many decades, and of course they are still active today. Some people, however, do not believe that those protest movements have a basis.


  racial disparities in policing including who gets pulled over how often
But, there isn't a racial disparity when you adjust for cause of stop. Generally, stops are initiated from activity observed from behind , where ethnicity of the driver can't be seen.


> Traffic stops are more hazardous for the police in the US compared to other countries where guns are not as common.

I’m curious, do you have data that support that assertion?

A quick search shows less than 50 police officer killed per year by gunfire in the US: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36748136

This article claims “10 to 15” officers in the UK are shot and killed per year. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-19634164

Given that the population of the UK is 65 million, that’s one shooting death per 4.3 to 6.5 million citizens. The US population is 325 million, which comes out to one death per 6.5 million citizens.

That doesn’t break down by type of interaction, but if your assertion were true I’d expect to see a more apparent difference.


You're misreading. England is 0.7 per year from shooting:

The organisation said 256, including PC Bone and PC Hughes, have been shot since 1945. That's roughly 3 a year, and includes Northern Ireland during the Troubles which is 80% of the total. England: 51 shot and 19 stabbed in total since 1945. So roughly one death a year since 1945 from shooting or stabbing.

The 10 to 15 a year is police killed in the line of duty by all means, including traffic accidents.


The 2017 figures have one stabbed (the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge) and one intentionally hit by a car during a chase.

The others are traffic accidents not during a chase, or falling ill.

http://www.policememorial.org.uk/rollofhonour.php#


Not at all, in my opinion.

While it is true that there are poorly-trained and malicious cops in the USA (and anywhere in the world), the reports that go viral are very much in the minority. That doesn't diminish how tragic they are, however.

It really upsets me that people in our country grow up thinking that law enforcement officers may not be the people to go to when they need assistance. It is an issue that permeates into various others—for example, in light of the Kavanaugh circus, who would go to law enforcement to report sexual assault if they feel (or have been told they will be) discriminated against?

A very sad state of affairs...and it can't be solved with dynamic programming. :(


I’ve been pulled over four times in my driving history. All my interactions with the cops were pleasant and professional.


Only issue I've had was when I was about to cross the US to Canada border on the way to Vancouver. I remembered I'd left my ID in the trunk and pulled over about a mile south of the crossing to get it.

Turns out there was an unmarked police car there waiting for people to pull over and ditch their stash or whatever.

Cop was extremely rude and so sure I was hiding something he started pulling on the dash of my rental car to see if I had something hidden inside it. I was worried he'd damage the vehicle and I'd lose my insurance. So something like this would have been handy at the time.


I've been pulled over once (surrounded by 6 cop cars at a later date because I think they were bored). I was told by mother to let the office leave first. I sat. I waited as a white man in my white Honda Civic with a parking permit to a known-in-that-area Christian University. The office loaded a shotgun (that was fun to watch), then came to my car to ask if I was planning anything. I explained the situation. He told me to leave.


I've been pulled over twice by cops. Once I was screamed at for driving a quarter mile up to stop under a light instead of the unlit part of the highway. The other time I was talking to one officer when I heard a click and found that his partner had opened my door and was going through my glove compartment.

No system is going to be perfect, but the problem is that when blatant abuses or violation of the law happen like in my case, the best course of action is to do just suck it up. If you take action against the police you are at best going to get money, but no action against the police. On top of that now you are a known "agitator" and have to be worried about every cop in that area being against you at worst or ignoring any calls for help at best


Are you by chance a white male?


A thousand people a year are killed by police in the US every single year. That's killed, not just shot at or brutalized. Most homicides are committed by people who know one another, however about 1 in 3 homicides involving strangers are committed by the police.

There have been numerous incidents where police killed unarmed citizens due to the flimsiest of reasons. Which can range from failing to follow poorly worded instructions precisely to running away. Even full, immediate compliance is sometimes not enough and can get people shot or killed.


Yes, it’s called Driving While Black:

> https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_while_black


No. People seem to think it is because of what they've seen online. There are plenty of interactions with police that are friendly or otherwise fine. And this is coming from someone who has had plenty of interactions with them that were ultimately negative for myself.


The presence of issues is not the main problem. Even the best system is going to have bad actors slip in on occasion or mistakes happen. The problem is that even when an officer makes an egregious and documented violation of the law, on purpose, there is no expectation any more that they will face the same punishment that the rest of the population would face.

It's a complete breakdown of the rule of law and leads to more and more disregard for the law, which is only going to be met with more authoritarian responses unless the police decide to actually apply the law to themselves as well.


I love the number of white people chiming in, so damn sure others' perceptions must be overblown.


The media tends to focus on the most extreme misconduct resulting in death, but grossly unprofessional behavior, excessive force, etc. are far more common and attract far less attention.

I was shocked at how many people are charged with resisting arrest or assault on an officer. Are that many people really resisting and assaulting the officers? Maybe, maybe not.


It’s not necessarily about danger, but it could help legally depending on what’s going on.


Yes, In general, in my opinion, dealing with the police in most situation is, at least in the us, is a dangerous preposition.

edit: in my experience


This is meant as constructive feedback: You're not thinking clearly if you believe that. Take some time to consider how many people get pulled over every day. Think critically about the odds.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that what you see on the news or social media is normal.


They didn't say that something goes badly wrong most of the time, just that it's usually dangerous. Likewise, most of us would agree that policing is a dangerous job, even though in the vast majority of cases a police officer comes home unscathed at the end of the day.


He said in his experience.

Then you tell him he's not thinking clearly or critically.

Could you be more any more patronising and dismissive?


They edited the post after my response.

What I responded to was different.

So I see how it appears that way.


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