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  1. #1
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    Default Justified killing - the Exposure Factor

    I've been thinking about something the last few days and perhaps the tribe can provide some input and suggestions.

    Let me start with an assertion:

    If an officer is responding to a shooting, his past experience with or knowledge of the shooter affects his presumptions, his mindset, and therefore his approach to the initial investigation at the scene (who is victim and who is suspect, etc...), whether this is intentional / conscious or not.

    To clearly demonstrate, consider the following two extreme examples, and ask yourself what presumptions an officer would have walking into the following calls:

    Joe Smith has shot someone, and Joe Smith is known to the officer to be a scumbag.

    Joe Smith has shot someone and Joe Smith is a fellow officer, off duty.

    What are the responding officer’s expectations and presumptions? What's going through his head as he drives? And how does the lens of this prior experience color the ensuing initial investigation?

    In which case will the officer be thinking: “Shit. I hope Joe’s ok. I wonder if his kids are with him. Do I have his wife’s number in case she needs to be called?”?

    And in which case will the officer be thinking: “probably a drug deal gone bad. Or maybe Joe was robbing people at the park like last time. Here we go again.”?

    ----

    Now, I started with extreme examples because they are useful for fleshing out / demonstrating an idea. But like anything else, there is a spectrum. Considering the same situation, how do the following prior exposures affect the officer?

    - A known competent and active firearms instructor
    - A reserve officer
    - A well known judge
    - A known competent and active training partner, fellow class attendee, or Jiu Jitsu sparring partner
    - An unknown
    - A known goof off, blow hard, or “commando” at the range
    - A known badge heavy security guard

    So here’s a second assertion: The more personal and positive an officer’s past experience with or knowledge of a shooter (the more an “us” you are), the more he is predisposed to consider the shooter a victim before even being presented with evidence. The more impersonal and / or negative an officer’s past experience with or knowledge of a shooter (the more a “them” you are), the more he is predisposed to consider the shooter a suspect before even being presented with evidence.

    ---

    Now, we already know that there are other factors that influence how the initial investigation goes. One is shooter articulation and effective statements. Combined I'll call those the Articulation Factor. Another is shooter appearance and conduct. Ill call that the Conduct Factor. And I think this, officer past experience / knowledge of you, is another one. I'll call this the Exposure Factor.

    What I don’t know is what magnitude they all have.

    It may be that the magnitude of the Articulation Factor and / or Conduct Factor are so great that the Exposure Factor is not significant, but I don't think that's always the case: Joe the Scumbag, even if he is justified, and articulates well, and maybe is cleaned up well, is going to have a harder time during the initial investigation than Joe the Cop or Joe the Jiu Jitsu partner because of the Experience Factor. That doesn't mean that he will end up guilty where one of the others would be innocent, but it might mean that he will end up as a suspect, in front of a grand jury, or even at trial while the others would not.

    I think that can be used to our advantage. I'm not suggesting going and marrying into your local patrol officer's family just so you can get close to him; but it may be worthwhile to deliberately increase your exposure to them in some ways, whether that be through training classes with them, just eating at the same places occasionally and getting to know them, or other things.

    ---

    So I’d like to make a third assertion: The Exposure Factor is of significant magnitude to make it worthwhile to foster relationships with the officers that patrol your community so that you are not an unknown, and at least to some extent increase positive exposure so that you are considered a competent person.

    ---

    So So let me wrap up with three questions:

    1. Do you think my assertions are correct or incorrect? Why?

    2. What are the magnitudes of the two factors? Articulation and Exposure? Are there others?

    3. If the Exposure Factor is significant, should we increase Positive Exposure? And how?

  2. #2
    I would argue your assertions, to include implicit and explicit biases, are certainly ones to consider but actually significantly negated in real world events. There are some factors to consider that may help you determine for yourself the presence and significance of your assertions:

    1. Homicide detectives are typically senior, experienced and professional law enforcement officers and filter their investigation through filters of extensive training, experience, and wisdom. They are cognizant of command and prosecutorial oversight.
    2. Murder investigations are by their vary nature highly procedural, methodical, documented and contain built in checks and balances.
    3. Murder investigations are conducted by collecting information, vetting it into intelligence, and applying institutional knowledge and tradecraft to produce fact-based reports as free of implicit and explicit biases as possible. Investigations are reviewed on-scene and live by prosecutorial elements, and the initial report and supplements are reviewed by first-line and command rank supervisors who are independent, experienced professionals. Investigations are constantly reviewed, re-reviewed and cross-checked with independent analyses conducted by Crime Scene, the Medical Examiner, and the investigators themselves.
    4. The prosecutorial review itself is extensive even after the case is submitted. The case, as reviewed by the agency prior to submission, will often times include review by the Case Agent, Detective Sergeant, Bureau Lieutenant and Division Captain. Once it is submitted it will see additional review by the assigned, on-call attorney from the shoot team that responded, the Charging Bureau Chief, and the Violent Crimes Bureau attorneys.

    As you can see, there are many checks and balances. What I've described is the 50,000 foot view of a murder investigation and I would recommend you take the KWTL class.

    You also should consider that the assertions you make are independent of factors governing the case such as Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause. These are critical topics that each and every one of use at WT need to be intimately familiar with. There is no way around it - you need to know the rules by which the game runs.

    Initially my response was going to be the following: "Homicide detectives follow the evidence." This is true, but there is more to it in reality.

    Were it me I wouldn't worry about the assertions. I'm not saying they're not to be considered, but I would dismiss them for the reasons we've seen here:

    1. Evidence leads investigations.
    2. Vetted intelligence, corroborated by physical and testimonial evidence, creates non-bias reports.
    3. Reports and evidence are subject to agency and prosecutorial review by independent and experiences professionals.

    If you haven't taken KWTL I'd recommend it. For all of you not familiar with Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause I recommend you fix this as fast as possible. If you want to be successful you need to know the rules by which those who can dry dock your ship operate.

    I guess the ultra-short answer is all your assertions are negated by the investigation machine so I wouldn’t consider them. Take KWTL and be ahead of the game.

    For what it is worth.

    J
    Last edited by JonathanNobody; 01-11-2020 at 01:35 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for taking the time to provide a detailed response, and I would indeed love to take a KWTL class. It's on my list, and I hope to train more this year, and hopefully with SI. We will see what I can pull off.

    But to your point, I understand you and see what you're saying from my limited exposure to standards of proof: ultimately the investigative process eliminates any advantage being a "good known" contact may provide during the investigation itself.

    However, I'm specifically interested in the initial contact following a shooting. If my OP came off as saying "can my familiarity with an officer prevent him from following SOP / finding probable cause when it exists" that's not quite what I meant, and I'm sorry if I was imprecise (on top of long winded haha).

    So just like we have discussed in the past, where we are interested in being put in the "victim" category, could being a "known good" to officers prior to a shoot help that happen?

    I guess, let me take a step back.

    We know that officers don't treat everyone the same. If the shooter is a "known bad guy" they will not be treated the same, and assumptions will not be the same, as if the shooter is a known fellow LEO.

    We know that we can influence how the initial on-scene investigating officer treats us - evidence aside. We have talked about that a lot here with respect to ensuring that we are properly perceived as a victim not a suspect, and recorded as such, right?

    One tool we have discussed is articulation and microstatements. Another we have discussed is using our conduct and appearance to communicate that we are a "good guy".

    We know that being perceived as a "good guy" can bring advantages during the initial contact. From Gabe:

    My comments - As a private citizen you may not have much control over (being given a decompression period following shooting). An officer is known to his agency and there is a presumption of right actions (whether they exist or not). An unknown party has no such presumptions. The more you are seen as a "good guy", I expect the more you may be accorded the same courtesy as an officer. And "MAY" is the operative word...you have to roll with what you are presented.

    Another from later on in the same thread:

    You are an unknown and will not be afforded the same luxuries that a police officer takes advantage of when tje shooting takes place during work hours and is investigated by his own agency.

    Dont give sufficient info to qualify as a victim and yoy automatically become a suspect...with all the courtesies afforded a suspect.

    http://www.warriortalk.com/showthrea...ght=appearance

    Gabe talks about being categorized as "one of them" - an ODO - with respect to not being shot by responding officers in an Active Shooter situation here: https://gabesuarez.com/dont-get-shot-by-the-police

    If appearance can help us be perceived as a "known good", why couldn't prior relationship / contact with the responding officers?

    Being afforded a decompression period following a shooting and a presumption of right actions are significant advantages in my book. A "known bad" shooter almost certainly won't get that. An "unknown" shooter...Probably not? But the more you are seen as a "good guy" (an "us" not a "them"), is an officer more predisposed to presume your actions were right, give you decompression space, and treat you as a victim (again, before we even get to examining evidence)?
    Last edited by apamburn; 01-11-2020 at 06:16 PM.

  4. #4
    Perhaps I’m the wrong person to answer your question. I’m ex-Patrol first responder, ex-Homicide, and now have a different supervisory role and I’m not aware of ever having a “known good” predisposition in any of my roles unless the shooter was a LEO and in uniform. Even then, with that shooter in uniform and all, unless he was on my squad it wouldn’t change how we processed the event or treated them.

    Don’t know what to say... I’ve seen all sorts of shooters and they’re professionally processed. Hanging around LEOs, having exposure to them in advance, and building a relationship.... I don’t see that changing anything. If you’re not wearing a uniform when I come up or have a badge on, you’re one of “them.” I don’t think any pre-event exposure can change that.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanNobody View Post
    Perhaps I’m the wrong person to answer your question. I’m ex-Patrol first responder, ex-Homicide, and now have a different supervisory role and I’m not aware of ever having a “known good” predisposition in any of my roles unless the shooter was a LEO and in uniform. Even then, with that shooter in uniform and all, unless he was on my squad it wouldn’t change how we processed the event or treated them.

    Don’t know what to say... I’ve seen all sorts of shooters and they’re professionally processed. Hanging around LEOs, having exposure to them in advance, and building a relationship.... I don’t see that changing anything. If you’re not wearing a uniform when I come up or have a badge on, you’re one of “them.” I don’t think any pre-event exposure can change that.
    That's exactly what I'm asking and that's as straightforward of an answer as I could ask for, from someone I consider an authority on the subject.

    As always thanks for your time and explanations.

  6. #6
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    I've done fewer than Jonathan, but I've been on both ends. I agree; you need the class.

    It's a homicide investigation. No patrol cop, supervisor or investigator wants to be the guy who fucks up one of those. You need decompression? You can do that within the boundaries of the system (my assumption in all of this is that you're factually justified).

    We just had a drug dealer whack two dweebs who were doing a home invasion on her. She skated on the homicides,but got hooked (not the same day) on the sales charges. Why? Because she was justified and conducted herself like an exemplar in KWTL.

    You don't have to be the Chair of the 100 Club. It's sufficient to be an articulate taxpayer. And be justified. If you're caught with a dismembered hooker, not even a side gig as the police chaplain is going to help you.
    __________

    "To spit on your hands and lower the pike; to stand fast over the body of Leonidas the King; to be rear guard at Kunu-Ri; to stand and be still to the Birkenhead Drill; these are not rational acts. They are often merely necessary." Pournelle

  7. #7
    Apamburn,

    I want to make sure I understand and I have my moments where I'm dense. You're talking about relationship with LE/LEOs to build contacts, etc. prior to the event, correct? If that's the case I don't think it matters. The simple truth is if you aren't "us" your're "them."

    Now, and I want to be really clear on this, your self-selection as a victim and start of "pre-disposing" LEOs to seeing you as a victim begins with your 911 call and initial statements. You won't be treated any different on-scene, but that doesn't matter. The initial contact and investigative detention phase is just something you're going to endure.

    A pause, or a break, or a chance to catch your breath and gather your thoughts, is something we will give to all parties regardless. Please remember that if I rush or allow negative interruptions into my investigation it lessens the quality of the investigation and that's something I really need to avoid.

    Regardless of how I see you, or am pre-disposed to seeing you, I'll follow protocols and treat you professionally. To do otherwise damages my credibility and brings doubt into the investigation.

    I hope this helps. Please take KWTL.

    The issue of "special" or "different" treatment between citizen and LEOs really isn't an issue. There could be an entire KWTL taught on the subject for LEOs alone and yes, there is different treatment for them as the situation and logistics are incredibly different. Maybe some day KWTL will morph into a KWTL - LEO Class.

    J

  8. #8
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    Hey Sam, my question was definitely based on assumption of an actually justified event, thanks for pointing that out because I don't think I explicitly said so.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanNobody View Post
    Apamburn,

    I want to make sure I understand and I have my moments where I'm dense. You're talking about relationship with LE/LEOs to build contacts, etc. prior to the event, correct? If that's the case I don't think it matters. The simple truth is if you aren't "us" your're "them."

    yes, such that I wouldn't be an unknown, I'd be a person they do know, to include my disposition, perhaps background, etc...doesn't sound like that would matter too much though.

    Now, and I want to be really clear on this, your self-selection as a victim and start of "pre-disposing" LEOs to seeing you as a victim begins with your 911 call and initial statements. You won't be treated any different on-scene, but that doesn't matter. The initial contact and investigative detention phase is just something you're going to endure.

    understood

    A pause, or a break, or a chance to catch your breath and gather your thoughts, is something we will give to all parties regardless. Please remember that if I rush or allow negative interruptions into my investigation it lessens the quality of the investigation and that's something I really need to avoid.

    Regardless of how I see you, or am pre-disposed to seeing you, I'll follow protocols and treat you professionally. To do otherwise damages my credibility and brings doubt into the investigation.

    I hope this helps. Please take KWTL.

    The issue of "special" or "different" treatment between citizen and LEOs really isn't an issue. There could be an entire KWTL taught on the subject for LEOs alone and yes, there is different treatment for them as the situation and logistics are incredibly different. Maybe some day KWTL will morph into a KWTL - LEO Class.

    J

  9. #9
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    Mine - with the understanding that my own background is not as lengthy as either Jonathan nor Sam. Fifteen years total...Gan Investigator, Gang Homicides, some OIS assistance investigations and of course...as a shooter.

    Quote Originally Posted by apamburn View Post

    So just like we have discussed in the past, where we are interested in being put in the "victim" category, could being a "known good" to officers prior to a shoot help that happen?

    No...I don't think so. The only presumption of righteousness that will ever be present is if you are a current Law Enforcement Officer...to a degree, maybe..if you are a retired LEO. But only in considerations during the initial contact. For example...it would be assumed that an LEO is not a threat, not a flight risk, and probably is telling the truth. But the investigation will still run in the same way as if Joe Schmucatelly the barber shot a carjacker in the parking lot. The police will know if the shooter is a thug or not...but as J pointed out...even a thug will often be justified.


    We know that officers don't treat everyone the same. If the shooter is a "known bad guy" they will not be treated the same, and assumptions will not be the same, as if the shooter is a known fellow LEO.

    Actually, other than I expressed above, yes...they will be treated the same in the investigation. The known bad guy may remain handcuffed in the back of the car longer, but we want him to tell us what happened...and he won't do that if he is treated like a suspect from the beginning. Again the LEO is offered the presumption of righteousness because je is ostensibly a known element...bt nobody else is.


    We know that we can influence how the initial on-scene investigating officer treats us - evidence aside. We have talked about that a lot here with respect to ensuring that we are properly perceived as a victim not a suspect, and recorded as such, right?

    But other than being reasonably cooperative, and acting like a victim, there isn't much you can do to affect that. They may be nicer to you if they know you, but all the steps will be taken no matter who you are.

    One tool we have discussed is articulation and microstatements. Another we have discussed is using our conduct and appearance to communicate that we are a "good guy".

    We know that being perceived as a "good guy" can bring advantages during the initial contact. From Gabe:

    My comments - As a private citizen you may not have much control over (being given a decompression period following shooting). An officer is known to his agency and there is a presumption of right actions (whether they exist or not). An unknown party has no such presumptions. The more you are seen as a "good guy", I expect the more you may be accorded the same courtesy as an officer. And "MAY" is the operative word...you have to roll with what you are presented.

    Another from later on in the same thread:

    You are an unknown and will not be afforded the same luxuries that a police officer takes advantage of when tje shooting takes place during work hours and is investigated by his own agency.

    Dont give sufficient info to qualify as a victim and yoy automatically become a suspect...with all the courtesies afforded a suspect.

    http://www.warriortalk.com/showthrea...ght=appearance

    Gabe talks about being categorized as "one of them" - an ODO - with respect to not being shot by responding officers in an Active Shooter situation here: https://gabesuarez.com/dont-get-shot-by-the-police

    If appearance can help us be perceived as a "known good", why couldn't prior relationship / contact with the responding officers?

    Well...unless you are retired and have no life other than to hang out with police, of whom you will never be accepted as one of them, I don't know what yu can do. You might elect to get hired as a reserve officer...or do some sort of benefit work, but I honestly don't know if the squeeze will be worth the juice. You are not a cop, and unless you are, no matter how nice you are to them...you will always be an outsider. It is the same as if you were hanging around with SF guys...or SEALs. They might appreciate anything you do for them...but you are and will never be one of them. Then is the issue of the number of officrs in an agency. Of the 200, or 2,000, or 10,000...how many know you? You can spend the equivalent of a firty hour week making friends with them and still not know all of them.

    Being afforded a decompression period following a shooting and a presumption of right actions are significant advantages in my book. A "known bad" shooter almost certainly won't get that. An "unknown" shooter...Probably not? But the more you are seen as a "good guy" (an "us" not a "them"), is an officer more predisposed to presume your actions were right, give you decompression space, and treat you as a victim (again, before we even get to examining evidence)?

    You will not be given the opportunity, like an LEO would, to go home...collect his thoughts, and make a statement three or four days later with their attorney. You can wish that all you want, but it will not happen unless you can pull a police ID out of your wallet when the first officer rolls up. It may not be fair, but it is reality In the KWTL program, we show you how to compel a time out, but not before you give a statement about what happened to guide the investigation..
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

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