At Commenter “JP’s” suggestion we’ve cobbled together these two comments from “Not a native” which we think clearly state the case.
I agree that the split second decision Linwood made isn’t what we should be debating nor second guessing. The confrontation was set up by the police, they sent the patrol car past to ‘force’ McClain into the house, but that didn’t work and they escalated their intimidation. But McClain was doing nothing wrong other than making the police feel uncomfortable. To me, it’s a kind of paramilitary mentality, absolute control of the ‘theater’ is necessary to ensure force protection. It’s just a wrong tactic in an urban area. If the situation becomes too dangerous, the police should back down rather than increasing the pressure and inciting a more violent outcome.
Mills made some heartfelt statements about how police feel obligated to intervene when something is amiss and even said it’s their sworn duty to do so. I think it’s those statements of his that need to be discussed, not simply accepted as a given. There are many ways to conceptualize police work; absolute control at all times just isn’t a good premise, IMO. It shouldn’t be us against them. If it becomes that there’s no safety for the public or the police.
Of course police deserve reasonable safety on the job. That why they get special training and equipment that other public employees don’t get. And they are given weapons that are illegal for the general public. But having said that their first priority should be to protect the lives of citizens and put themselves into harm’s way to do that. And police are compensated to do that and given large amounts of discretionary power as well as personal stature within their communities. The police’s role is very different from the military whose first priority is always ‘force protection’ in order to retain ability to achieve a tactical objective, even if collateral causalities are likely.
The police are hired to maintain order, not to take possession of the streets eliminating any possible disruptive citizen interactions. In this situation if the person McClain argued with had asked the police to intervene, they would have an obligation to respond to maintain order. But that didn’t happen, that person didn’t feel the argument rose to a level requiring police protection. As it did happen, the police, on their own initiative and without any reasonable suspicion of illegal activity, endeavored to control who is on the street and who isn’t. If the person they were seeking was a danger to the community, the police could have evacuated nearby residents to protect them. But that wasn’t their thought. If they say they were worried about McClain having a gun, that’s ridiculous because he would still have the gun after going inside his house. The Mills statement that McClain ‘puffed up’ was therefore suspicious is prejudicial and indicates to me Mills is simply trying to justify excessive police use of force.
What happened here is the police set up an operation and when it didn’t go as they wanted they tried to force it to happen their way regardless. They were more committed to their arrest objective than to protecting the lives of citizens in the vicinity. That’s the essence of a military mentality. A successful mission is more important than collateral casualties. Submitted by “Not a native”