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I am in the process of editing tomorrow's installment of The Chauncey DeVega Show which features guest Ali Abunimah. He is a founding member of The Electronic Intifada, a human rights activist, author, and expert on issues related to Gaza and Palestine. He is a great conversation partner and one of the special guests for this, our fundraising month here at ChaunceyDevega.com and WARN.
In recent months, we have spent a good amount of time discussing police thuggery and abuse in the United States. Ali reminds us that the global colorline is real, and the times of trouble and tumult along the colorline (and against the poor and marginalized) here in the United States are part of a wider phenomenon.
America's police are highly (and increasingly) militarized. As I discussed with journalist Nick Chiles, another great guest on the podcast, the training and recruitment of America's police is directly related to their thuggish and violent behavior towards black and brown people.
Contemporary police training is certainly part of a broader problem where they see innocent people as enemies to be subjugated:
However, it is not enough to change the operations and incentive structure of these departments— police cultures are also in need of substantial reform. Routine situations have a tendency to escalate in large part because police are indoctrinated with a “warrior” ethos which encourages a forceful and overwhelming response to the slightest sign of non-compliance. The idea is, quite literally, to dominate those they come in contact with in order to maintain control of situations. Officers are told that their very lives, and those of their colleagues, are dependent upon this swift, unrelenting retribution. As a result, as we have seen, police are 28 times more likely to kill a civilian than vice-versa.The recent and highly discussed pool party white on black thug cop episode in McKinney, Texas is a direct function of police authoritarianism and racism.
But, how do we factor in the individual temperament of a given cop relative to how they will respond to a given scenario?
Eric Casebolt, the officer who assaulted a young black teenage girl and then pointed his gun at her peers is supposedly a tough, bad man with a highly lethal skill set.
Casebolt has worked for Executive Self-defense and Fitness, a private security contracting firm. They list his skill sets as:
Eric Casebolt is an instructor trainee at Executive Self-defense and Fitness, LLC and has been a Police Officer since 2000. During his career in Law Enforcement, he has received in-depth training on impact weapon deployment and expandable baton, firearms, electronic control devices (ECDs), ground fighting, Positive Assertive Control Tactics-Dynamic Threat Response (PACT-DTR), handcuffing, joint locks and pressure point compliance, armed and un-armed self-defense. He has a strong working knowledge of human behavior, indicators of deception, criminal behavior, the development of situational awareness, and experience in the use of all levels of force.
He is a certified Advanced Texas Police Officer, an Instructor in Police Vehicle Operations, a Field Training Officer, and a certified SWAT operator. He has trained in several different disciplines of martial arts, but now exclusively trains in Krav Maga combat arts, Arnis, and ground fighting.Eric Casebolt is a wannabe Navy SEAL or Delta operator, but is apparently in fear for his life from young black kids in bathing suits.
We have a nice range of smart and informed readers here at WARN from a range of professional backgrounds.
Casebolt's resume looks bloated and unbelievable to my semi-trained eyes. I do not want to accuse Eric Casebolt of "bovin scatology" in his martial prowess, but his tactical decision-making as demonstrated by his behavior that faithful day raises many questions about his competencies.
First, what do you make of Casebolt's supposed training and ability? Two, Casebolt has resigned under pressure--but keeps his pension and other benefits--are you happy with that outcome? What should come next?
These discussions of police thuggery remind me of a friend of my father who served with the Connecticut State Police for many years before he retired as a senior commander.
I was in elementary school and asked him if he ever shot anyone--don't all young boys ask questions like that? He smiled and explained that a good trooper can get lots done with body language, eye contact, and how they use their voice.
If a trooper has to physically touch someone or use their weapon they have likely done something wrong along the way. In several decades of service he only pulled out his gun on three or four occasions--he had to use it once to kill a man. My father's friend said he regretted having to use his weapon that way.
Makes one wonder where such level-headed and responsible cops have disappeared to.