Going back to Rodney King, since the use of the chokehold as a control method had been banned, the option left to the officers was the baton, which as Group 3 pointed out, the officers thought they were acting in accordance with law in using. In the trial, the judge found that only the last 6 baton strikes were illegal.
Had the officers been able to use the chokehold, would the encounter have been less brutal? After the King incident, LAPD reconsidered the issue, "considering reviving a form of the chokehold--effectively banned nine years ago--as a safer tool than the baton in subduing combative suspects in non-life-threatening situations" (Rohrlich, 1991, para. 1).
The problem, of course, is that EVERY use of force method presents risks of injury and death. People have died in baton beatings, they have died from chokeholds, people have died from Tasers, they have died from rubber rounds, and they have died from pepper spray. There is no such thing as a 100% non-lethal option. And yet, police must use force in the performance of their duty. Ergo, there will always be deaths resulting from the "non-lethal" subdual of suspects.
This does not make it moral or legal to use excessive force, however, what a cop in extemis and an ambulance-chasing lawyer would consider "objective reasonableness" are always going to be very different things.
But how prevalent is that as a percentage of arrest related deaths? if you look at the vast majority of publicized cases, the subject is resisting arrest during the incident. Any use of force can result in death; use of pepper spray can cause respitory problems, using a chokehold on a resisting suspect can result in an air cutoff as opposed to a blood cut-off, etc etc.
How about pursuits? A panicked driver fleeing arrest is speeding and looking at the emergency lights in his mirror and plows into a tree. Is this this police's fault?
This is a personal opinion, but if someone is resisting arrest, and he gets killed, I don't really care. I watched the video of some idiot getting shot last week during the floods; the deputies were yelling at him to get out of floodwaters, and he tried to tackle the deputy. I have no sorrow for him. People put themselves and the policeman in danger, and then expect miracles from policemen who may be weaker than the subject, exhausted from the many hours of overtime police in budget crushed jurisdictions are expected to work, or surprised from a sudden attack, and then expect that policeman to make some Hollywood martial art move or the Vulcan nerve pinch and make a clean subdual. That is not realistic.
Do we want to lower arrest related deaths? Minimize law enforcement contacts. End the War on Drugs. Do away with the 175,000 regulations and petty ticketing. Stop arresting people for not mowing their lawns ( I quit using Reddit after a 4 day argument in which people though it was just grand to put people in jail for an unmowed lawn). Worry about mala in se crime and public safety.
Do we want less conflict between the black community and police? Go back to ending the Drug War, which causes of 60% of street contacts between police and black men (unsourced, I have to look this up)
Not criminals, just belligerent drunks. However, if the idiot that got peppersprayed had asthma, he could have died.
Use of force has potentially lethal consequences. Stupid people will instigate use of force incidents in numbers that will make future deaths a statistic certainty.
This is a nation-wide affair; "rank-and-file brethren in police departments nationwide, says police feel under siege and demoralized by the bias against them" (Bello, 2014, para. 4). Policemen understand thst there is a "select group out there now who are making us out to be the bad guys"
(Bello, 2014, para. 11).
Bello quotes a police union leader who says that this bias is preventing police from doing their job; "
"The biggest fear now is that police may become so afraid of getting in trouble that they won't take risks when answering calls" (2014, para. 21).
This result of this hesitance is higher crime rates. In Baltimore, where the union admits that the police are "under siege" (CNN, 2015, 2:10), the police are afraid of getting arrested for performing their duty. As a result, "Arrests have dropped sharply" and the city has had a record amount of murders (PoliceOne. 2015, para. 3,1). This is a pattern repeated in New York, Ferguson, and every other city in which this anti-police propaganda has been employed.
CNN. (2015, May 28). Baltimore union: 'Police are under siege'. Retrieved June 7, 2015 from
PoliceOne. (2015, May 31). Baltimore sees its 40th homicide in May, a record month.
Retrieved June 7, 2015 from http://www.policeone.com/patrol-issues/articles/8559540-Baltimore-sees-its-40th-homicide-in-May-a-record-month/
Schabner, D. (2014, December 27). Hundreds turn their back on de Blasio at NYPD Officer's funeral. ABC News. Retrieved June 7, 2015 from http://abcnews.go.com/US/nypd-officers-turn-back-de-blasio-cops-funeral/story?id=27851746
At the following link, at approximately 25% down the page, there is a frame by frame breakdown of the video at the time the officer drew his gun. Two people approached him rapidly and one mimed drawing a gun on the officer, at which point the officer drew his gun.
"Despite the disturbing allegations, sources say there is currently no evidence that the men were involved in improper shootings or other misconduct"
I think this comes down to cultural and personal expectations of police work. The majority of cops join up to fight crime. That is going to reflect in those officers' attitude to the use of force ( and this goes back to the Hobbesian part of the we/they viewpoint in the other discussion). Taking criminals off the street is a "win" in that viewpoint. In addition, the proper use of lethal force is about as intense and objective test of professionalism in police work as there can be. I can see a policeman being proud of having successfully resolved that situation, even if most cops would rather not take life.
On the other hand, I understand that there is a mentality that police should resolve enforcement situations with the least amount of force as possible, and preferably none. The people that have this mentality would be horrified of the first mentality.
When examples of officers that subscribe to the first mentality are brought to public attention, there are going to be more people that hold the second mentality, and there will be a public outcry.