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Steve Lunetta: How to deal with police per Earl

Posted: August 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

“I just don’t get it!” Being on the receiving end of many of my Uncle Earl’s tirades, I am now familiar with the lead-in to one of his standard diatribes.

“Why am I never considered as one of the 51 Most Influential People in the Santa Clarita Valley? Marsha McLean, Joe Messina, Tom Campbell, Buck McKeon — they are all pikers compared to me!”

My uncle can get very full of himself. “Earl, the fact that I mention you in the column occasionally does not make you influential or any form of celebrity.”

“My boy, you don’t understand. My opinions have shaped City Council decisions and congressional legislation. I have no doubt that the movers and shakers of this town move and shake after reading my opinions.”

I am never really sure if Earl is talking tongue-in-cheek or not.

“OK, Unk. I will submit your candidacy for one of the ‘Top 51 Most Influential’ slots for The Signal. But don’t get your hopes up. I assume that saner heads will prevail.”

I tried to let him down gently. I also lied.

“For example, let’s look at this latest mess in St. Louis. People could really benefit from my opinions and suggestions. Here is one: When a police officer gives you an order, do it.” Earl started with a piece of common sense.

He continued, “Regardless of whether or not a police officer is correct, you do what he says! It seems like one of the things that young people have lost today is respect for authority.

“By not obeying a law enforcement official, they are spitting on authority. That does not sit well with most cops.”

I interjected: “And I suppose this is worse in some communities where police are considered hostile or the enemy.”

“Well, that is something that may need to change.” Earl was on his roll.

“But so what? Trust is a two-way street. If cops feel unsafe in the community in which they serve, there will be a tendency to overreact to assure their own safety. It’s common sense. Anyone, regardless of race, would do the same.”

“So, you are saying the officer in Ferguson overreacted to the situation?” His attitude concerned me.

“Steven, I am not saying that at all. From all accounts that have been verifiable through forensic evidence — and not the silly ‘eye witness’ accounts that are at odds with all the facts — it sounds like the officer was reacting appropriately to defend himself from an aggressive attack.”

He went on. “Further, some folks are criticizing the chief of police of Ferguson for releasing the video tape of this Brown kid robbing the convenience store of some cigars.”

I interjected: “The robbery really had nothing to do with the subsequent police action.”

“My boy, that is where you are wrong! Initial reports state that the young man was walking down the center of the street when the altercation began with the officer.

“Rather odd behavior considering there was a sidewalk nearby. Coupled with the video of the strong-armed robbery, the pattern seems like a person under the influence of some drug.”

“You can’t say that, Earl.” I intoned. “The toxicology reports have not been issued yet.”

“Still, rather strange, don’t you think? The police are not going to release the results because it is part of an on-going investigation and could have HIPAA consequences.

“The family will not release the results of their independent testing because they do not want to impugn their son’s reputation.”

“You have a point, Unk. But what about the fact that the young man was unarmed?”

He retorted: “Immaterial. If the officer felt threatened, he had a right to defend himself. From the video and descriptions of the kid, he was something like 6 foot 4, 290 pounds, and very aggressive. It has also been reported that the officer’s eye socket was already broken from a previous blow from this ‘kid.’ The officer, rightly so, was stopping an aggressive attack.”

“I suppose anyone might react the same way if confronted by an attacker,” I conceded.

“Now, sure, there are more facts that need to be obtained to understand exactly what happened. But here is the easiest way to avoid an altercation with a cop: do what he/she says.”

Sage words from Uncle Earl and worth sharing with our children today.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Placerita Canyon and grieves for the senseless loss of this young man’s life. He can be reached at slunetta63@yahoo.com.

Comments

ricketzz: Posted: August 28, 2014 9:33 a.m.

It's the cop's street and if they want to kill you they will. Cops should wear cameras. If truck drivers have to live with GPS cops should have to live with cameras. They need to be drug tested for stimulants and steroids, too.


stevehw: Posted: August 28, 2014 10:15 a.m.

Spoken like a true authoritarian follower.


philellis: Posted: August 28, 2014 11:04 a.m.

I think that "practical" or "pragmatic" would be better descriptives of Earl's advice.


tech: Posted: August 28, 2014 11:08 a.m.

Like dash cams in Russia, when you have segments of society and government authorities who have questionable veracity, objective proof that can be reviewed by neutral 3rd parties is required.

Cameras with audio are likely the answer. Care should be taken to protect the privacy of citizens to prevent abuse of due process. Law enforcement personnel are employees of the respective agencies citizens authorize to enforce the rule of law and consequently have a lower expectation of privacy while conducting official duties.


chefgirl358: Posted: August 28, 2014 12:33 p.m.

Ricketzz, they ARE randomly drug tested. Contrary to your ridiculous conspiracy theories, cops don't just run around deciding to kill people premeditatively and 99.9% of them are not on drugs. There are a handful of bad eggs in ANY job, theirs just happens to be one that gets more attention when they do something stupid or egregious.


Nitsho: Posted: August 28, 2014 2:17 p.m.

I'm liking this new and improved Steve....

stevehw:
Posted: August 28, 2014
7:15 a.m.
Spoken like a true authoritarian follower.


BINGO BINGO BINGO


Lotus8: Posted: August 28, 2014 4:36 p.m.

More than simply doing what a cop asks you to do, how about this. Don't do anything to make a cop feel unsafe. Don't move quickly, answer questions asked in a simple and direct manner (if you choose to speak), don't try to argue with the cop (save it for the judge), and use a soft tone in your voice. The minute the cop feels that he/she isn't in control of the situation, you are treading into dangerous territory and are at the mercy of this cop's prior experiences and biases, his/her inadequate training, psychological issues perhaps from growing up with an abusive parent, or things of that nature.

Just tone things down and comply with the cops and almost all of these situations could be avoided. Are there examples of rogue cops? Is there such a thing as DWB? Yes and yes. But when a cop pulls you over, detains you or otherwise wants to talk with you, you should only be thinking about two things. Your own safety and being helpful if you can. Keep your eye on the prize and you'll come out on the safe end of things almost every time.

It is sad how the media and race hustling reverends are using the people of Ferguson to further their own bottom lines. Eventually the attention will fade and the residents of Ferguson will be left with a burnt out town with no shops, no jobs and no future. All for what? You think this demonstration is going to change anything? Suckers. Look at the much bigger riots in LA that have happened. Is anything really different as a result other than a community left in tatters? Nope. --edited.


Unreal: Posted: August 28, 2014 5:19 p.m.

Tech said "Cameras with audio are likely the answer."

I totally agree this would help and should be in place ASAP in all police depts. Everyone the civilian and the cop would behave better.

So far I am on the officers side in this shooting. If someone is coming at me after breaking bones in my face, (or as Zimmerman pounding my head into the ground) they have a right to shoot to protect themselves, cop or civilian.


I know kids can have attitudes but my kids know were taught to be as respectful as they can with the officers and it has always worked out for them. Even the ones who start out as asses tend to be nicer once they see how you are acting.

Maybe we need "I stand with Earl" bumper stickers in SCV:)


Indy: Posted: August 28, 2014 9:46 p.m.

Unreal wrote: Tech said "Cameras with audio are likely the answer."

I totally agree this would help and should be in place ASAP in all police depts. Everyone the civilian and the cop would behave better.

Indy: Couldn’t agree more . . .

Unreal wrote: So far I am on the officers side in this shooting. If someone is coming at me after breaking bones in my face, (or as Zimmerman pounding my head into the ground) they have a right to shoot to protect themselves, cop or civilian.

Indy: Apples and oranges with Zimmerman, a ‘self-proclaimed’ neighborhood watcher not a police officer. I’m also not sure of the training Zimmerman had in ‘confronting’ a person whom Zimmerman had no knowledge of a crime . . . yet was following this kid after the police ‘TOLD HIM NOT TO’.

I’d personally be suing this clown for his entire life if that was my son he murdered.

Unreal wrote: I know kids can have attitudes but my kids know were taught to be as respectful as they can with the officers and it has always worked out for them. Even the ones who start out as asses tend to be nicer once they see how you are acting.

Indy: It’s hard for the white folks here to grasp what black folks have to deal with with the police.

I just saw today an arrested person where the filming showed a police officer with the subject held in cuffs and detained by two other police officers to which the third started just ‘choking’ the person!!!!

We’ll see as the evidence comes forth in the grand jury who is telling us the correct stories in the case.

For my take, firing 6 or more rounds at a person in the middle of the street shouldn’t be the first ‘choice’ for police.

They haven’t been granted ‘judge/jury’ power to decide who lives and die . . . . without a trial.

And using ‘military tactics’ on civilians seems to hard a protocol where once you start firing, you ‘empty the clip’ into the ‘suspect’.

My encounters with police through my lifetime have been fairly tame but I’m white . . . others I’ve known who are black have been accosted many times without provocation . . . just being in the wrong place or driving an expensive car where the officer thought the car was ‘too rich’ for the ‘black guy’ driving it. One of the managers I was acquinited with who was black had this happen to him with this son in the car . . . where the officer had the manager ‘up over the hood’ cuffed before realizing this person was a professional and indeed owned the car.

The camera thing should solve most of these incidents and we should get statistics as to who is being pulled over and why . . .


Indy: Posted: August 28, 2014 9:50 p.m.

Lotus8 wrote: More than simply doing what a cop asks you to do, how about this. Don't do anything to make a cop feel unsafe. Don't move quickly, answer questions asked in a simple and direct manner (if you choose to speak), don't try to argue with the cop (save it for the judge), and use a soft tone in your voice. The minute the cop feels that he/she isn't in control of the situation, you are treading into dangerous territory and are at the mercy of this cop's prior experiences and biases, his/her inadequate training, psychological issues perhaps from growing up with an abusive parent, or things of that nature.

Indy: I think this is a fair assessment . . . the only think I would add is that the police who pull over black people far more often . . . well, if you personally were being pulled over for ‘nothing’ multiple times . . . then you might have a different attitude . . .

I do agree that the police have to deal with a lot of very bad folks . . . perhaps there needs to be some ‘cooling’ off period for police including counseling so they can keep their job in perspective.

But as you noted, a police officer’s experience with people they come into contact ‘conditions’ them as well for ‘copping the attitude’ early especially with a person of color.


ricketzz: Posted: August 29, 2014 10:10 a.m.

Cops shoot disabled people all the time. They mistake us for people on PCP and fill us full of holes. They scream at us and say "stop resisting" as they are snuffing us out, while we are frozen and unable to process all the new stimuli.

If you want someone killed, call the cops on them.


projalice11: Posted: August 29, 2014 1:34 p.m.

"Labor Day Gas Prices Lowest Since 2010"

The police won't have to feel as guilty about using so much gasoline when they are on a chase of a suspect in another car **

Hopefully that will please Uncle Earl **


stevehw: Posted: August 29, 2014 3:27 p.m.

" If someone is coming at me after breaking bones in my face,"

Didn't happen in the Ferguson incident. Another Faux News lie.


tech: Posted: August 29, 2014 5:41 p.m.

"Labor Day Gas Prices Lowest Since 2010" - projalice11

Off topic and a rather low bar, eh? Please update the victims of the CA "Cap & Trade" tax on 1/1/2015, won't you?


CaptGene: Posted: August 29, 2014 5:44 p.m.

Is Fox making up the story steve? Do you have proof? From what I read Fox cited an "anonymous source". CNN says it's not true, and CNN cites...an "anonymous source".

So please prove that Fox made it up. Thanks.


CaptGene: Posted: August 29, 2014 5:51 p.m.

Gas prices are still about double what they were before the Prince of Putts took office.


tech: Posted: August 29, 2014 6:07 p.m.

"Didn't happen in the Ferguson incident. Another Faux News lie." - stevehw

Stay off the "Faux News" crazy train, Steve. That's the Indy and ricketzz Express. You're more rational than that and other news outlets reported with both versions citing unofficial sources.

Example:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/08/21/darren-wilson-had-an-eye-bone-fracture-after-scuffle-with-michael-brown-family-friend-says/

I advise awaiting official releases of information from credible sources.


stevehw: Posted: August 29, 2014 7:14 p.m.

OK, I'll wait for official releases of information from credible sources.

Shouldn't those asserting that the cop suffered fractured eyesockets and such do the same? Like, say, Fox News and Unreal?


tech: Posted: August 29, 2014 9:08 p.m.

Of course. Oh, you left out the WaPo from my prior post.

Why be logically inconsistent based on political ideology with regard to facts, eh?


stevehw: Posted: August 29, 2014 11:06 p.m.

I see...so now "family friends" are "official releases" from "credible sources".

Talk about being logically inconsistent.


therightstuff: Posted: August 29, 2014 11:39 p.m.

"""Shouldn't those asserting that the cop suffered fractured eyesockets and such do the same? Like, say, Fox News and Unreal?"""

The New York Times also reported facial injuries to Officer Wilson:

"Ferguson police officials have said Mr. Brown and a friend were walking in the street when Officer Wilson stopped them. In an ensuing struggle, they said, Officer Wilson was hit in the face and Mr. Brown tried to take his gun, which discharged. Later, Officer Wilson shot Mr. Brown six times as the two men faced each other."

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/23/us/ferguson-mo-key-factor-in-police-shootings-reasonable-fear.html?_r=0

Kinda flies in the face of the Fox News boogie man for the far-left. The same guys who are demanding accuracy have ZERO problem when their president gives information so flawed that he gets awarded LIE OF THE YEAR.

Talk about being logically inconsistent. Where does the hypocrisy end?


tech: Posted: August 29, 2014 11:50 p.m.

Don't you complain when people put words in your mouth, Steve? I'm rarely imprecise in my choice of words and I stated nothing of the sort.

Here's a portion of what I wrote for your convenience: "…other news outlets reported with both versions citing unofficial sources."

Note the use of "unofficial" in that phrase. Both versions, i.e. fracture/no fracture cite unofficial sources.

Logically consistent, wouldn't you agree?


CaptGene: Posted: August 30, 2014 12:06 a.m.

Exactlt how big IS that chip on your shoulder steve?


ricketzz: Posted: August 30, 2014 9:55 a.m.

When there is breaking news you are advised to watch a good movie or 2 on Netflix and do your best to not get absorbed. Look around the world for something else happening that is more important. It's usually not that difficult.

You can get PTSD from watching too much Disaster Porn.


tech: Posted: August 30, 2014 10:57 a.m.

Obama has taken your advice, ricketzz. Golf, anyone?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/president-obama-needs-to-focus-on-how-the-united-states-can-meet-global-challenges/2014/08/29/11ec9e5e-2f90-11e4-bb9b-997ae96fad33_story.html

Tell me again who was "Jayvee".

"Masterful!" - Indy


stevehw: Posted: August 30, 2014 11:28 a.m.

tech...I wasn't talking about you...I was talking about Unreal. With no "official sources", and the only source for this "smashed bones" story being an anonymous FOAF of the officer, he says:

"So far *****I am on the officers side in this shooting*****. If someone is coming at me after breaking bones in my face...they have a right to shoot to protect themselves..."


You said I should wait for official information from credible sources. I agree...so should those who want to believe that this "broken bone" happened, when it appears that story was false (note there is video of the officer walking around for several hours after the shooting...I find it hard to believe that if his facial bones had been fractured a) he would be calmly walking around the body of the person he just killed, and b) the Ferguson PD would not have stated as such early on...but we'll have to wait and see what the facts are, won't we?).


stevehw: Posted: August 30, 2014 11:35 a.m.

trs...the article also said:

"Mr. Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, has said that Officer Wilson grabbed Mr. Brown by the throat and said “I’m gonna shoot you” as he tried to drag him into the squad car. He and Mr. Brown fled after the gun discharged, Mr. Johnson said, and Officer Wilson, in pursuit, shot Mr. Brown as he stood with his hands up in surrender."

Given the article was about police use of force in general, I'm not sure it's one I'd cite to make a claim either way (particularly given that it was written over a week ago).

Again, if the officer had had facial fractures, I am *quite* certain the Ferguson PD would have made big to-do about it.


tech: Posted: August 30, 2014 12:25 p.m.

My wife is a medical professional in the dental field with decades of experience. You'd be shocked at what people can tolerate, Steve.

When millions of dollars are at stake, counsel advises accordingly. Bandying hypotheticals absent credible objective medical and forensic facts isn't productive.

National media has objectives beyond the search for truth. Police agencies protect their own. Racial grievance hustlers work the political angle for financial gain and to maintain relevancy. Families of the deceased have a single perspective in seeking justice for their loved one and in some cases, a payday at taxpayer expense without regard to culpability.

I do think our community discussion about militarization of local police agencies and the use of lethal force against non-violent offenders has been a useful exercise, however. To my mind, our society is losing rational perspective in the balance between liberty and security. Attention must be paid.


stevehw: Posted: August 30, 2014 12:35 p.m.

"My wife is a medical professional in the dental field with decades of experience. You'd be shocked at what people can tolerate, Steve."

Probably not. I've been around the block a few times, myself. But...it sure seems from the tone of this that you're coming down on the side of assuming that the story of broken bones was true? Why?

And yes, the discussion about the militarization of police in this country has been very good. Unfortunately, as I said earlier...nothing is going to change. On top of that, you've got guys like Lunetta here who think the proper behavior is just to do whatever the cops tell you, don't question their actions, don't assert your rights, just be a compliant little sheep and go along to get along. Cops are always right, you know...they never, ever do anything wrong or illegal or violate anyone's rights who just does whatever they say.


tech: Posted: August 30, 2014 1:29 p.m.

You perceive bias where none exists, Steve. I don't find leaks by police sources or statements by friends of parties involved credible. The only individuals that know exactly what occurred are those who directly witnessed the lethal force incident and actions leading up to it. It will take the due process of witness testimony, absent the deceased Mr. Brown, plus ballistics, autopsy reports, police radio traffic and other forensics to piece together what occurred. I'll withhold judgement until those facts are fully revealed.

I do have a position on police tactics if the officer was indeed assaulted by Mr. Brown. Officer Wilson should have stayed in his vehicle and called for backup. Brown wasn't armed and didn't appear to be a threat to other citizens based on event hearsay. Other than that, I don't have an opinion.


tech: Posted: August 30, 2014 1:56 p.m.

I believe you're familiar with my opinion regarding DUI checkpoints, Steve.

Regarding interaction with police forces, I'll relay an anecdote. A couple of years ago, my oldest son (in his 20s) was visiting San Diego with 2 of his friends. On the return drive, he stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint near Las Pulgas and thought he was waved on. He was subsequently shouted at and directed to pull over into a search area. After verbal intimidation he consented to an officer and canine vehicle search thinking he and his friends had nothing to hide. After wasting everyone's time and finding nothing, they were dismissed and sent on their way, fuming at the abusive treatment.

Subsequently, we had a discussion about reasonable cause and warrantless searches. Each of my family members now has a wallet card with the following details:

• "Turn off ignition. Hands on steering wheel at 10 & 2 position. Turn on interior light if dark. Ask permission before retrieving info from glove box, purse or wallet."
• "Keep calm and non-confrontational, even if provoked."
• "I don't consent to searches."
• "Am I being detained or am I free to go?"
• "Beyond providing my driver's license, registration and insurance information, I wish to contact my attorney and have him present prior to answering any questions."
• Family attorney contact information.

I have family that are in law enforcement and most of their colleagues are decent folks. However, they are focused on performing what they perceive to be their duty and are not your friends. Well informed care must be exercised to maintain your Constitutional rights. --edited.


CaptGene: Posted: August 30, 2014 2:57 p.m.

The difference between the statements made by steve and unreal hang on a single word: "if". Unreal offers his comment preceded with a conditional clause. Imagine replacing the "If" in "If someone is coming at me after breaking bones in my face" with "In the event that". That is not a statement of fact, but simply an expalnation of what one would do in the event the situation described existed.

Contrast that with steve's declarative statement which begins with: "Didn't happen...". When asked for facts to back it up, steve is suddenly mute. Go figure.


stevehw: Posted: August 30, 2014 4:00 p.m.

CG...he's not using "if" as in "if this actually happened". Reread what he said. He's on the cop's side, because "if someone did *to me* what I believe this guy did to the cop, then..."

tech...I agree with everything you wrote there. Sorry if I perceived a bias where none existed. And good for you on educating your family on their rights and how to exercise them. It takes quite a bit of guts to stand up to an officer being verbally abusive (or worse) and refuse to kowtow to them (politely, but firmly) and not answer their questions. It's too bad more innocent people don't learn to do that, instead just being compliant little sheep like Lunetta.

Good on ya! I'll have a nice Montecristo tonight in your honor! :)


therightstuff: Posted: August 30, 2014 4:15 p.m.

Steve, I was only citing another source - and a quite liberal one - that suggested there was an attack and there were facial injuries. You only cited Fox News but there were others.

I see Fox News quoted constantly on these threads. Funny how MSNBC is hardly ever mentioned. Is that outfit still on the air?


CaptGene: Posted: August 30, 2014 4:42 p.m.

Nice try steve, the post is what it is, "if" means what it means no matter how inconvenient that is for you.

I can't believe I have to do this, but here's what "if" means, according to Merriam-Webster:

"—used to talk about the result or effect of something that may happen or be true

—used to discuss the imaginary result or effect of something that did not happen or that is or was not true

—used to say that something must happen before another thing can happen"

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/if

And still no proof of your statement that it "didn't happen".


tech: Posted: August 30, 2014 5:34 p.m.

I just received a cigar order yesterday, Steve. I have some nice CAO, Rocky Patel or H. Upmann options for this evening when it cools down. Decisions, decisions…

Cheers! :-)


tech: Posted: August 30, 2014 7:03 p.m.

The state has a monopoly on legal force that in theory is granted by citizens. As a counterpoint, here's another claw in the long arm of the state.

The Forfeiture Machine Turns Cops into Robbers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6MT_YLO5yg


martian: Posted: August 31, 2014 2:32 a.m.

Demonstrations bring out the worst in people and venting frustrations should be held in a sports arena away from businesses and everyone should be checked for weapons while entering.. If this is done, the cops have a better hand on crowd control.


ricketzz: Posted: August 31, 2014 10:19 a.m.

The officer was not transported, was he?


ronos: Posted: September 1, 2014 11:04 a.m.

" Steve Lunetta ... grieves for the senseless loss of this young man’s life "
By suggesting the young man was Angry On Drugs and Attacking a Cop based on unverified evidence. Lunetta clearly could care less about the life of this young black man, as he could care less about "silly" eyewitnesses.


tech: Posted: September 7, 2014 4:24 p.m.

More examples of the potential for abuse via checkpoints and routine traffic stops.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2014/09/06/stop-and-seize/


ricketzz: Posted: September 8, 2014 10:21 a.m.

The Aristocrats fear the seething masses of the lower classes; the cops work for the Ruling Class. They are not going to back off. They want us all to "Obey".


tech: Posted: September 8, 2014 2:33 p.m.

Heh, heh. The "seething masses".

Will you be passing out protest signs and organizing a march demanding "social justice" (and free stuff)?


ricketzz: Posted: September 9, 2014 3:31 p.m.

I just said I was against handouts to the able bodied. Are there more than one of you? Rebellion is a young man's game. I am chaff. Expect us.


tech: Posted: September 10, 2014 12:58 a.m.

"I just said I was against handouts to the able bodied." - ricketzz

"Find jobs or make work* for all able bodied people." - ricketzz

*make-work |ˈmeɪk ˌwərk| adjective
denoting an activity that serves mainly to keep someone busy and is of little value in itself: a make-work scheme for lawyers.
noun
work or activity of little value that serves to keep someone busy.

Who will fund "make work", ricketzz?



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