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[flagged] Teen shot herself with gunshot through mouth while hands cuffed behind back (abcnews4.com)
88 points by wallace_f 34 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 67 comments



According to this and many, many similar kinds of stories, it appears that American police officers sometimes commit murder and seem to get away with it. Is there really nothing that can be done about that?

If they're not prosecuted because of an unhealthy relationship between police and prosecutors, why is that relationship not changed? Why are prosecutors and police departments not held accountable for this?

Why aren't state and federal governments calling for better laws to protect the people from crooked cops?

Why are these officers not fired, at least?

And why are US police officers not better trained and selected?

Surely there must we ways to address this. Why is that not happening? Is American society really fine with their police murdering people?


> Is American society really fine with their police murdering people?

I think the only possible answer is "yes"?

It's not even a US-specific phenomenon; lots of people around the world want "something to be done" about crime, and are happy to assume that if the police are after someone "that person must have done something wrong" and therefore "deserved" whatever happened to them.

It's just that most of the first world has managed to build little non-authoritarian enclaves where the police are subject to the law too, and enough of the public accept the idea that all life is valuable.


>if the police are after someone "that person must have done something wrong" and therefore "deserved" whatever happened to them

This, to me, is one of the primary tenants of what is evil about naziism, or tyranny, or whatever you call it.

You can see it alive today. Lookup police cam, or "karma justice" kind videos on YT and see people in the comments cheering on the beutality or deaths of people whom they know next to nothing about.

A civil and just society would see the human in everybody, and try to afford everyone natural rights. Not a judge, jury and executioner in the form of a uniformed enforcer on streets.


>>if the police are after someone "that person must have done something wrong" and therefore "deserved" whatever happened to them

> This, to me, is one of the primary tenants of what is evil about naziism, or tyranny, or whatever you call it.

Indeed, this is what Arendt meant by "the banality of evil". It's what people are cautioning about when they tell us that by far the smallest, most vulnerable, most heavily-oppressed minority of them all is the individual.


There have been plenty of (questionable) psychological and sociological experiments that have shown that most people are perfectly capable of evil in the right (or wrong, I suppose) circumstances.

That means the only way to prevent evil is to shape the circumstances in such a way that encourage people to do the right thing, and discourages evil.

So with police, you can't merely trust them that they will always do the right thing and not mistreat or murder suspects, you have to train them, hold them accountable, and create a culture where bad behaviour is simply not acceptable.

My impression of the US police (from reading these kind of stories, as a foreigner, not having any first-hand experience with it) is that US police frequently fails on some, and sometimes on all three of these issues.


> This, to me, is one of the primary tenants of what is evil about naziism, or tyranny, or whatever you call it.

One of the biggest disservice that has been made towards humanity is the fabrication of this notion that evil totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany or Communist Russia are exceptional events created by exceptional individuals who are extraoedinarily evil up to a supernatural/cartoonish level. This fabricated sense of exceptionalisn leads people to believe that thesr massive levels of cruelty are impossible to reproduce, thus there is no likelihood that our little world could ever descend into that state of affairs, even when we repeatedly see cases where police forces assassinate citizens with complete impunity.


> lots of people around the world want "something to be done" about crime

I do too, but executing potentially innocent people on the spot is not "doing something about crime", it's crime. That innocent could be you (unless you're rich and/or white I guess?).

> most of the first world has managed to build little non-authoritarian enclaves where the police are subject to the law too, and enough of the public accept the idea that all life is valuable.

But why not the US? Surely when you see the ideas behind the US Constitution, Americans should be completely on board with this. They should be leading the charge.


I think the big issue is that every 2 bit cop and traffic officer has constant access to weapons despite 90% of interactions not requiring them. And do not use them as a last resort.

When I visit Europe or South America the only places that I saw officers with guns were in international traffic hubs, important government offices, or Army troops making patrols. Police officers usually only had access to batons, tasers, or pepper spray.

However we live in a society that has been flooded by ubiquitous access to guns that inevitably spillover to criminals and people are fine with police brutality because it only happens to marginalized groups with little influence over their lives.


Dutch police officers have access to guns, but they're only allowed to use them when absolutely necessary, and are trained in de-escalating potential conflict situations. I sometimes get the impression that American police officers are more likely to be trained in escalating situations in order to justify the use of a weapon.


Police are useful for suppressing labor and equality movements. Also, there are areas of concentrated poverty in the United States with high crime. There, a lot of people make their money by selling drugs, and police are expected to use violence to stop this. If the police forces main goal in these areas is NOT to persecute and sabotage these POC communities, that is what they effectively do . [O]

That is why the handful of people that control the media push a pro-police message so hard. They do not want the public to turn against their keepers.

They have a rich and powerful police union that lobbies to make sure the laws favor the police. They have the backing of the ultra-wealthy class to keep people in line. If you try to peacefully protest, they will just mace you and the media will say it is your fault.

The police themselves tend to be good chaps but they do not get nearly enough training, and any training they do get pushes then towards considering the line of duty a combat zone, even though police officer is not even in the top 10 moat dangerous jobs. Also they tend to be not brilliant. They want obedience not critical thinkers. You can fail a police IQ test if you score too high. [1]

Finally, while most cops are good people, if you are a sadist becoming a police officer is a good career because it lets you sate your lust for power and there is very little chance you will be punished for it.

- 0: check out "the new jim crow"

- 1: https://www.quora.com/Is-it-true-that-in-the-U-S-people-can-...


Here's recent news on NYPD admitting to fake charges against Eric Garner, a young man who was strangled to death while saying "I can't breathe."

https://apnews.com/ce589240fb884eceab7eaba2bfdff9e2


It kind of reminds me of the Russian case a few years ago (e.g. https://life.ru/t/%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B8...) where a witness detained for questioning somehow managed to hang himself in an isolation cell - despite being an amputee with no arms.

There used to be a saying "only in Russia..." but it's apparently not valid anymore.


Reminds me of the Russian engineer, Korolev. One of the greatest minds in history was thrown in the gulags, beaten and tortured because a group of his peers got jealous and falsely accused him.

Of course we say "doesn't happen here," then again groupthink also killed everyone aboard Challenger, we ended up riding Russian rockets to space while our generation's greatest rocket engineer was tinkering in his garage until Musk hired him.

People and history have an easy way of putting other people down, including exceptionally gifted and valuable people. That's a danger I think we take for granted.


In Russia, people also kill themselves with dozens of AK bullets...in the back.

All you need is one person signing /stopping any meaningful investigation and you get these results.


There was a joke sometime ago about serial suicider in Poland after several politicians committed suicide.


In particular, one of those was a prominent politician from the party Samoobrona ("self defense"), which led to joking that "he hanged himself in self-defense".


My favourite necrologue was: "defendant felt on an axe, and like that 4 times over"


The latest Last Week Tonight where they highlight sometimes there is a coziness of coroners/medical examiners with police really makes this look even worse.


The good news is that plenty of lawyers and medical examiners will take this case and likely find the truth. That's the difference with Russia, China and quite a few other countries.


Not sure how that is the response to a post pointing out one of the many systemic faults in American policing tbh. There might be a difference in motives and with gun laws American police might even be in a unique position but from an outside perspective all this "bad apple" narrative seems pretty drawn out.

A government not acknowledging failures in training, procedure and accountability doesn't seem that much better than one that outright fosters that state in their executive branch.


The medical examiner doesn't make the call, right? They will say that the victim died by a gunshot wound to the head, but they won't rule whether it's suicide or not.


According to [0]:

In the United States, decisions about whether deaths are listed as suicides on death certificates are usually made by a coroner or medical examiner.

[0] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/3204347/


Does that make sense? In many cases, whether something is a suicide or not depends on non-medical evidence.


I read somewhere that at some point the prevailing culture in American Police forces changed from putting public safety first to putting police safety first.

Not just in America, in the UK the Health and Safety culture has resulted in drownings where rescue personnel refused to enter ponds to assist victims. And currently an enquiry into the London Bridge attack has heard of how paramedics, thinking of their own safety, refused to help patients for up to 90 minutes after the attackers had been killed.

The US police increasingly resemble a paramilitary type operation with swat teams and armoured vehicles, all predicated on the protection of officers.

It was probably inevitable in a country where even automatic assault weapons are freely available.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48281463

this is a mistruth, 3 men didn't receive care instantly as the area they were in was deemed "Hot"

"The inquest has heard that the scene of the attack was deemed a "hot zone" under London Ambulance Service (LAS) protocol, which prevents paramedics from entering for their own safety."

""For our own safety we couldn't go forward," he told the Old Bailey, which is hearing the inquests into the deaths of the eight people killed in the attack at London Bridge and Borough Market."


Sorry if I reported it incorrectly. The point remains however that the ambulance services protocols put the safety of their staff over those of injured members of the public. I think I heard of heated exchanges between police officers demanding paramedics to attend to people and they refusing to do so. Is that not correct?


i cannot comment on that, as a first aid guy, i can refuse treatment to anyone. i'm not sure if it's the same with paramedics.

but, of course "ambulance services protocols put the safety of their staff over those of injured members of the public." doing the maths, if those paramedics were shot while doing work, now you just have even more people injured and require more medics.

police can be armed, with direct contact to support, medics aren't.

the ethics, and legal standing around paramedics refusing to treat wounded civi or other are buried deep within code.


I do have a bit of a problem with this. If I were ever trapped in a building on fire I would hope it happened in somewhere like New York where the fire department would put themselves in harm's way to rescue me. In London, and I could be wrong, I believe that they would wait until it was safe to enter and by then I'd probably be dead.


there is a very real difference between a terror attack, and a normal call out.

the reason why the area was delegated hot was because of reports of gun fire/ramming.

sadly, your logic isn't correct, we still have firefighters burn to death while trying to rescue civis.

--https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jul/04/grenfell-tow...

"A firefighter at Grenfell Tower prepared to die when his oxygen almost ran out during the attempted rescue of a 12-year old girl because the fire lift failed, the public inquiry has heard."

many people died in this event, not because of firefighters on the ground, but because of leadership/command/govt.


I never understood why the murder of a police officer was viewed by some as significantly worse than other murders. In my mind, both are equally horrible.

@barking, your comment made something click. For police, the protection of police officers is by far their highest duty, and then much lower is the protection of the public. From this first principle, I can now see why it follows that the murder of a police officer is viewed as much more important, and why so many more police resources are used to solve that crime.


Automatic assault weapons are not freely available. You need a class 3 FFL license to possess fully automatic weapons and private ownership of any fully automatic firearm made after 1986 is banned.


Fair enough, everything is relative. Where I live I'd have difficulty getting a shotgun licence (pretty much the only allowed firearm) as I'd have a hard time making a case for needing one (not being a farmer).


We heard the same type of explanations of people dying in police custody here in South Africa .. people jumping from the police headquarters building while under interrogation.

It is all this first responder hero worship in the US.

Cops are just public servants no better or worse than the folks at the local Dept of Motor Vehicles.


There is a german word for this: "erselbstmordet". I hope there is nobody in sight who believes this bullshit. Still, makes you wonder about the state of the "free world" if the press actually publishes such articles without accusing the police of outright lying. Oh, what a bummer, the bodycam was accidentally turned off, sure.


“Reports say one officer was wearing a body camera at the time of the stop but it was knocked off during the struggle with Medlin and turned off when it hit the ground. It was off during the shooting and did not capture the teen's death. After Medlin was detained, the camera was reattached and turned back on to record, police said but the Chesapeake Police Department declined to release the body camera footage.”

If I had a nickel for every time police bodycams just happened to be off or malfunctioning whenever somebody gets killed under highly dubious circumstances, I wouldn’t need to raise venture capital. The PD declining to release footage from after is the icing on the cake. This is just ridiculous.


Police commit 8% of US homicides. The problem is clearly not the police, or the Drug War, but guns. Well, maybe the police could use some more sensitivity training.


This is the craziest I’ve seen all weeks and I’ve seen so many crazy stories regarding law enforcement already this week.

Officer’s son shoots man in back of head, lies and tampers with evidence and isn't charged with murder: https://www.news4jax.com/news/fdle-arrests-baker-county-man-...

Corrections officers neglect prisoner who dies, one goes back to work: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/05/21/j...


> Reports say one officer was wearing a body camera at the time of the stop but it was knocked off during the struggle with Medlin and turned off when it hit the ground. It was off during the shooting and did not capture the teen's death. After Medlin was detained, the camera was reattached and turned back on to record, police said but the Chesapeake Police Department declined to release the body camera footage.

It is insane how often body cameras are 'knocked' or 'dropped' in these cases. Is the tech seriously that poor? This is not even the most ridiculous case; there have been times when five body cameras were all said to have malfunctioned at once, or even seven dashboard cameras. [1] [2, for non-paywall version]

How these forces are allowed to get away with this is ridiculous.

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2018/06/28/...

[2] https://outline.com/sMHgWL


Oh yea. Its absurd. Police departments probably pay hundreds of dollars on a 'camera' that can so easily 'fall off' and get 'turned off'.

When GoPro is sitting over going "hey guys we had a guy free fall 12,500 feet with one of our cameras on and it was fine"

Murder is murder and any time something like this happens and the camera was 'turned off' the cops should be charged with murder.

But hey even if the cameras were on would it matter? In Vallejo 6 cops shot a man 25 times who had fallen asleep in his car at a taco bell drive through. Dude was asleep, was surrounded, and shot 25 times. Best part? One of the officers was already being investigated for what you ask? Why possible excessive force that resulted in a death.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/07/vallejo-poli...


Should the footage should be streamed to a set of some independent civil rights orgs, like the IJ or ACLU.


Yeah they should stop what they're doing and get that sorted first, or be charged with hiding evidence. I mean what's the punishment for when a police officer doesn't have their badge or gun on them? Doesn't read people their rights?


Could any medical/topology expert explain if it's even possible?


I think so. You can lie on your back (or squat) and slide your hands behind your thighs. Hold the gun upside down in your hands, and pull the trigger with your thumb.

But it seems unlikely. Even more suspicious when body cams got turned off.


Agreed, it'd be very difficult to aim squarely at your mouth


Not saying it's what actually happened, but it's possible. It's not even difficult. You can try it right now with a pen. Put your hands behind your back and see if you can point the pen at your mouth. I'm hella inflexible, and I can do it.


If gun is ready to fire, with toes it is possible, but not plausible.


I wonder if it's possible to deduct the position of the gun from ballistics examination.

It's inconvenient to put a gun in someone's mouth the way they'd hold it to kill themselves.


How do you even hold a gun to your mouth after having contoured handcuffed hands from you back into the front of your face?


wow, generally the suicidal thoughts don't hit immediately at the point of arrest because you are really amped up on all the adrenaline especially if you've been fighting the cop.

And generally it's men who shoot themselves, but I guess she was just looking inside that car for some way, anyway to kill herself quickly and found an unattended gun. And luckily for her, I guess, she had the energy to actually pull it off - what with all the contorting that was required .


Are you honestly saying that you believe someone who was handcuffed with their hands behind their back was able to shoot themselves through the mouth from the front? I've got a bridge to sell you if you are.


it was sarcasm meant to indicate that aside from the difficulty of doing this handcuffed there are also a few other things that would normally be considered unusual for a suicide.


I read sarcasm


One look at the front page of r/td and you'll understand why I would think he's completely serious.


[flagged]


There are people who literally believe in completely insane things like q, pizzagate, etc. When I read things like that from people who genuinely believe it it makes me believe that the poster I responded to could honestly believe this was suicide as well.

jtbayly 34 days ago [flagged]

There are people who believe we are living in a simulator, too. Liberal people. Liberal rich people. No less insane.


There was no reason to bring up Trump or his supporters. It just derails the conversation. You're continuing to derail by going into more detail on your hatred of Trump supporters. I suspect you do this often on other sites. Don't do it here.


Even if for the sake of argument this person committed suicide with a gun in the back of the car, the officer involved should be fired for negligence.


how can you look at this and rule it a suicide, what level of insanity is that.


Just police kind of thinking.


Magic bullet theory I guess.


Is abcnews4 a reliable / trustworthy source of news?


It’s the local tv news station.


I'd love to see a police reconstruction of the act.


We all know this isn't getting investigated correctly, if at all.


So, flagged now. :-/


I'm not advocating that there is not police brutality nor abusive usage of force when dealing with situations. There definitely is and is unlikely to change in the perceivable future.

It seems to me that the best course of action when being approached by law enforcement is to immediately go into SUPER compliant state and SUPER static state. Meaning, don't do any action unless told so by the law officer. Don't move around like you normally would, anything you assume to be benign might not be as far as they are concerned, be patient, let it unfold as fast and as slow as they so choose. If their actions were wrong then courts are the route, but LATER, once you are out of the predicament.


Lot's of conspiracy theorist style comments being made so lets look at this objectively:

1, "inside the car where she was a passenger, "contorted" her body and shot herself through the mouth" So she was able to get her hand cuffed arms in front of herself which would allow for control of a weapon.

2, Where did the weapon come from? Maybe it was in the patrol car, maybe she had it on her person.

Anyway flagged as irrelevant to HN.




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