Tag Archives: Use of Force

Addressing Police Tactics at the Charlottesville Protests

On August 18, 2017; A. Benjamin Mannes appeared on an in-depth report about the Charlottesville Protests on the One America News Network. Mannes was asked to comment because of his experience as a special event security consultant and member of the DC Metropolitan Police Department’s famed Civil Disturbance Unit; who are widely considered the national benchmark on policing special events, riots, and protests.  As you can see in the report, Mannes refrains from the side-taking and blame which is common in discussion about the Charlottesville protests; but focuses on the tactics (or lack thereof) of the Charlottsville and Virginia State Police in securing & controlling the event and how they measured up with both best-practices and inter-agency training.

Please watch the report below:

The Hill: Jeff Sessions is right to roll back Justice Department consent decrees

On Monday, April 3, 2017,  ordered a review of the many controversial and highly politicized consent decrees issued by the US Department of Justice over the last decade, and why so many in the criminal justice community want to see them gone.  This was the subject of my April 5, 2017 column in The Hill, which can be read by clicking here.

 

The Hill: Why facts matter in police shootings

My latest piece in The Hill looks at the differences between the two lives lost in Los Angeles County this week.

As quoted:
“Black Lives Matter” vs. “All Lives Matter” is, in my opinion a false dichotomy. As someone who grew up in both New York and Los Angeles during the crack explosion, I was taught that “No Lives Matter,” until you make a name for yourself and define how your life matters to those around you.”

PLEASE READ THE FULL ARTICLE AND SHARE IT TO GET THE FULL STORY IN THE PUBLIC CONSCIOUSNESS.

The Hill: Not all police profiling is race-based or wrong headed

This piece in The Hill explores the use of behavioral recognition, commonly labeled as profiling…and why it’s still a valuable tool in law enforcement and security.

The full article can be read by clicking here.

The Hill: Due Process includes law enforcement officers

This column in The Hill focuses on public demand in our current, corrosive political climate for the premature release of evidence or legal action before the completion of an investigation.  The piece examines the constitutional right to due process, which is vital to public safety and criminal justice in America. Everyone should be reminded that regardless of their political beliefs, all Americans are protected by the constitution…and a riot is no excuse for the violation of those rights.

The full piece can be read by clicking here.

Lessons from Charlotte: When a protest is just a riot

This week, an non-permitted demonstration in Downtown Charlotte escalated into a mass of property damage and the murder of a protester by another protester in the crowd. The media reported this by labeling it as a “Violent Protest”.  Similar labels were attached to riots in Baltimore, Ferguson and Milwaukee; but when there’s clear evidence of multiple crimes being committed during a “protest”, it’s officially defined a riot.

On September 23, 2016, my latest piece was published in The Hill that analyzes the events in Charlotte and defines this issue more clearly.  To read the full story,click here.

John Cardillo & Ben Mannes discuss tactics and the Tulsa shooting

Ben Mannes appeared again on The John Cardillo Show, which airs weekday mornings on WBIZ 880AM in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, to discuss the latest controversial police shooting of an unarmed suspect. The shooting of Terrence Crutcher, an unarmed black suspect with PCP in his vehicle by Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby was, in my opinion about poor tactics and/or training, not her justification to use deadly force.

In watching the video, it was clear that Crutcher should have complied and was being given clear and lawful orders, ignoring them by walking back to his vehicle (albeit with his hands up).  Tactically, I believed this to call for nonlethal/less-lethal force such as a taser, takedown, or impact weapon. Had Officer Shelby and her backup officers bridged the distance and attempted a less lethal intervention method he got to his driver’s door, Crutcher would be alive and in custody now.

On an important note, had Crutcher listened and lawfully complied with Shelby (which is hard to do on PCP), and the officers on the scene not been afraid to go ‘old school’ and put hands on him; Crutcher would be alive today.

John Cardillo Show: Crime & Corruption

Ben Mannes was a three-segment guest on the John Cardillo show, mornings on 880 WBIZ Miami/Ft. Lauderdale.  John is a former NYPD officer and radio personality specializing in political commentary.  Ben and John talk about Ben’s latest articles in The Hill, BLM and Public Corruption for 25 minutes.

Phone interviews are hard, but I will stop in and do the show live on my next trip to South Florida.

St. Louis Post Dispatch: What’s missing from Justice Department’s Police Investigations

The St. Louis Post Dispatch republished my Hill commentary on the DOJ Investigation in Baltimore.

Their coverage can be viewed by clicking here.

Rules to the game: Cops, criminals and the complexity of urban policing

As published this morning in The Hill:

Last weekend violent riots broke out in Milwaukee, WI, following the police shooting of 23-year old Sylville Smith, who was armed with a stolen semiautomatic handgun during a foot pursuit. Civil protests turning violent is unfortunately becoming a new norm in the divide between the African American community and the police agencies serving them, with similar protests in Ferguson, MO and Dallas, TX resulting in the unfortunate loss of life and property.  However, when looking back on the adversarial relationship between criminals and law enforcement; this new norm has not traditionally been “part of the game”.

“The game” is street vernacular in abbreviation for the “crime game” or “drug game” that encompasses the criminal activities conducted professionally in the community. Those employed in “the game” are commonly referred to as “players”.  Now, your more experienced players know that if you’re committing a criminal act and the police arrest you, chase you, or use force to apprehend you; then that’s part of “the game” and the police are doing their job in coming after you.  Examples of this are evident in the unexpected “business” relationships that arise between those in “the game” and law enforcement officers.

Outside Baltimore, MD, the name Melvin Williams may not ring a bell. Most of us remember Williams as the actor who played the neighborhood Church Deacon on the venerable HBO crime drama, “The Wire”.  However, Williams real fame is from his stint as “little Melvin” Williams, the West Baltimore drug kingpin that The Wire’s ‘Avon Barksdale’ character was actually based on.  The little known truth behind how Williams ended up inspiring the character as the drug kingpin who was the focus of seasons 1-3 of The Wire as well as how he came to be a player on the show in seasons three and four was that he was friends with Ed Burns, the show’s co-creator who was himself the Baltimore City Police Detective that helped put Williams away in 1984. In 2003, Williams was released from prison and reconnected with Burns, who put him on the show.

Also of mention is Frank Lucas, the heroin kingpin arrested by New Jersey Narcotics Task Force Detective Richie Roberts in the 1970s, inspiring the 2007 film “American Gangster”. What’s little known to the public is that while working with Roberts up to and through his 1975 conviction, Lucas and Roberts became close friends and stayed in touch through Lucas’ prison sentences from ’75-’81 and ’84-’91 and stayed friends since; to includes Roberts being godfather to Lucas’ son, Ray.  Also from New Jersey, Joey “Coco” Diaz, an actor and comedian who in the late 1980s was imprisoned for an armed drug kidnapping, stated on his podcast “The Church of What’s Happening Now” that “even though he was a career criminal he never resented the police, they had a job to do and it was understood”.

The truth is, any criminal or urban law enforcement officer will tell you, the streets are a workplace.  Law enforcement officers and members of the community make up a workplace in where no roles are 100% clear, considering the criminals are often victimizing members of the same community that they live, and good citizens in that community often know them, their relatives, and often times the law enforcement officers that come to arrest them.

So if we’re to believe the rhetoric in the media that pushes a “racially-driven, killer cop” narrative, despite all officially-collected data pointing to the opposite, then how can community policing examples dating back over forty-five years with famed examples like Williams/Burns and Lucas/Roberts exist?  The truth is that even a career criminal will you that you can’t run from the police and not expect to be chased and tackled. If you point a firearm at a police officer, then a career criminal expects that they will be fired upon.  If you’re known to the police and have multiple priors at a certain location, then you know that they can’t just walk away when you physically resist arrest.  These are long standing rules and are common-place to anyone in “the game”, so what brings upon this change in our public narrative that has people protesting, rioting, and assassinating law enforcement officers in the name of armed, potentially deadly suspects like Sylville Smith or Alton Sterling?

If nothing else has been learned from the civil-rights era riots of Watts, Newark, Detroit, the 1992 LA riots, and last year’s riot in Baltimore; it takes generations, if ever, for a community to recover from the damage inflicted in this unrest. However, it seems that the narrative behind these riots is changing, and a belief that law enforcement should simply allow a myriad of dangerous criminal behavior to exist persists in those who are taking to the streets in the protests that are too often becoming riots.  If more people took a note from the precarious “business” relationship between law enforcement and those in “the game” on the streets of urban America, maybe there wouldn’t be such outrage over the inevitable outcome of an incredibly bad choice to raise a weapon at a police officer.

A. Benjamin Mannes (@PublicSafetySME) is a national subject matter expert in public safety. He serves as a member of the Peirce College Criminal Justice Studies Advisory Board in Philadelphia and is a Governor on the Executive Board of InfraGard, the FBI-coordinated public-private partnership for critical infrastructure protection.