UPDATE: Another day, another police shooting

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On Tuesday morning, 32-year-old Nathan Giffin allegedly robbed the Vermont State Employees Credit Union in Montpelier.

Shortly thereafter, purportedly for "making threats," he was mowed down by eight state troopers and one police officer:

Numerous law enforcement agencies responded and surrounded Giffin.

State police say officers shot him after he refused their orders to drop his handgun and made threatening statements toward law enforcement including suicidal statements.

Video from local television station WCAX shows, however, that Giffin was pointing his "handgun" at the ground when he was shot.

Oh, and about that "handgun?" It was a BB gun.

Giffin was clearly a troubled young man, whose known cocaine and heroin addictions likely fueled several crimes of desperation, including this one.

We're also learning more about who Nathan Giffin was. Our Tyler Dumont spoke with multiple people who knew Giffin. Among them, a police sergeant who interviewed Giffin less than a month ago. He says Giffin told him about some personal struggles and wanting to improve his life ...

Chamberlain interviewed Giffin when he was a suspect in burglaries at a Walmart and Toys R Us. His affidavit from the case shows Giffin revealed a cocaine and heroin addiction, something he reportedly wanted to change, telling police he tried to get into rehab but the wait list was too long.

"He expressed some unhappiness that he was 32 years old and still leading a life of crime, and still using drugs, and just wasn't happy with where his life was going," Chamberlain said.

Now, he will never have the chance to turn his life around.

"We're all heartbroken," Cordes said. "Obviously, a lot happened between high school and now, but the person that we knew was a lovely guy."

(Above quote from the previously linked Burlington Free Press article about the BB gun).

Not to worry, however. All nine officers have been placed on administrative leave -- presumably so they can get their stories straight:

No laws or statewide policies in Vermont govern when to interview law enforcement officers who have discharged their weapons in the line of duty. Individual departments decide.

Vermont State Police policy requires that troopers submit a written report within 24 hours of using lethal force and go on paid leave for at least three days. The policy provides no guidance on the timing of interviews ...

"Whenever feasible, officers should have some recovery time before providing a full formal statement," [the International Association of Chiefs of Police] 2013 policy paper states. "An officer's memory will often benefit from at least one sleep cycle prior to being interviewed, leading to more coherent and accurate statements."

While on leave, the state troopers' actions will be investigated by ... the Vermont State Police.

No, Virginia, you can't make this shit up.

No justice, no peace.

UPDATE (Friday 1/19): Surprise, surprise, surprise. This isn't the first rodeo for two of the troopers involved in Giffin's shooting.

Two of the troopers identified also fired shots in a standoff last summer that left a Poultney man dead. Michael Battles was also wielding a BB gun. The officers were put on administrative leave and were eventually cleared after an investigation by the Vermont attorney general’s office and the Rutland County state’s attorney’s office.

The two troopers involved in both shootings were Sgt. Lyle Decker, based at the St. Johnsbury state police barracks and hired July 12, 2004, and Trooper Christopher Brown, of the Middlesex state police barracks, hired Jan. 16, 2012. Both are members of the state police tactical unit.

According to another article linked to the above, Battles had allegedly been involved in a domestic assault and, during his standoff with five state troopers, similarly made suicidal references. But I'm sure the arrival of a state police "tactical vehicle" helped re-instate a sense of calm. /s

I'm guilty of over-using the phrase, "I just can't even." But I just can't even.

What's the over/under on these troopers once again being cleared of any wrongdoing by the complicit AG's office?

Never mind. Don't answer that.

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edg's picture

Young man holding BB gun: "I'm going to kill myself."

Cops surrounding him: "We'll do it for you." Pow! Bam! Rat-a-tat-tat!

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14 users have voted.
earthling1's picture

Doncha know?

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8 users have voted.

Suicide by cop is one of the multiple ways our youth seem to be taking an exit with.
Rohnert Park police: Officers shot at armed 21-year-old man 11 times following standoff

They didn't kill him like he wanted though. Too bad the Mental Health system already sucks, bigly. It is the same everywhere for a lot of people. The mental health workers are exhausted just the same.

Five Rohnert Park police officers are believed to have fired 11 shots Sunday at a 21-year old man who caused an hourlong standoff after firing a handgun in front of the police station and repeatedly asking to be killed.
...
About 10:40 p.m., Rohnert Park Sgt. Kelly Koffler and several officers heard gunshots being fired outside their building near Rohnert Park Expressway and State Farm Drive, the Sheriff’s Office said. When Koffler exited the building, he encountered a man later identified as Frati, who was holding a handgun and a bottle of beer, according to Sheriff’s detectives.

I used to call RP rodent puke, it is where I fit in with the ownership society back in the 90s. See how far the Ds have progressed? Now a drunk kid goes to the police station and fires off a few rounds, because the economy is great! Yeah, I am not voting for any more of that. Good luck declining the neoliberal class with more voting.

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7 users have voted.
Eagles92's picture

@eyo Yes, it does suck bigly. It's been a huge problem in Vermont since the state closed its hospital and pushed all treatment out into the communities ... none of which had or have the resources. People who desperately want, and need, help can't get it:


Cheryl Hanna's suicide confirms mental health problems in Vermont

Driver sought medical help before wrong-way I-89 crash

And the results are almost always disastrous.

Of course, the cops are far too happy to contribute to the "solution."

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7 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@Eagles92

Of course, the cops are far too happy to contribute to the "solution."

You omitted the word "final".

Bad

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3 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

So a cop is involved in a shooting and they need "at least one sleep cycle" to give accurate testimony. But anyone else who is alleged to be involved with anything at all, and to get accurate testimony, we must interview them by badgering, repeatedly asking the same question, and trying to wear them down with extended interrogation sessions. Fucking pigs. Anyone who chooses that profession willingly has lost my respect, regardless of how well they do or don't behave.

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9 users have voted.
Daenerys's picture

@rachael7 wants to be a cop. I really, really hope he changes his mind.

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5 users have voted.

This shit is bananas.

snoopydawg's picture

They look more like military troops than regular cops. I wonder how many of them were trained by the Israeli military. I'd like to know who made the decision to let cops get away with murder?

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6 users have voted.

Self-censorship actually silences exponentially more anti-establishment opinions. For every one voice you crack down on overtly, a thousand more silence themselves out of self-preservation

Mark from Queens's picture

If I get going I don't think I'd stop for a good long while. So I won't start, because I'm too tired.

Saw this also on Twitter today, and it made my blood boil:

I think there's plenty of evidence for a radical approach, in which we as a society should seriously consider to Abolish The Police. May sound hyperbolic to some but I think there's a good case to be made. Heard a great panel at the Left Forum a few years ago by a professor who specializes in law enforcement and police reform, named Alex Vitale. Just wrote a book called "The End of Policing," in which he makes the case for it. Very thorough and sharp.

Here's a really worthwhile panel discussion for its release at the Verso Books office, with activists and journalists:

and another one, when he was on On Contact with Chris Hedges:

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4 users have voted.

(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

Eagles92's picture

@Mark from Queens Hope to watch them today.

Abolish the Presidency. Abolish the police. These things might actually help.

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3 users have voted.

@Eagles92

Police are supposed to act to protect the public interest, but that requires government doing the same.

Replace the psychopaths and self-interests infiltrating and corrupting governance at all levels with actual sane, informed and caring human beings concerned with the welfare of the people and country, as per the Oath they must uphold, as well as swear to do so (no crossed pinkies) in order to qualify to hold public office, so that abuses are not tolerated and nobody is permitted to declare themselves 'above the law' to abuse their office with impunity, and the problem is solved.

Brain scans can detect the lack of empathy which defines the psychopath and could be used to keep these out of positions of power over others. they should be - as should a record demonstrating an abusive tendency.

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3 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Eagles92

Abolish the Presidency. Abolish the police. These things might actually help.

And how would you supply the necessary functions the police were created for?

Police authorities exist today because we weren't doing so well with their predecessors, bands of roaming vigilantes.

Our objections arise because altogether too often, today's police have become the vigilantes.

So how do we address this? I respectfully submit that "more vigilantes" isn't the solution.

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3 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Eagles92's picture

@thanatokephaloides Nor might I ever.

I haven't had a chance to view the videos MfQ posted yet, though. Perhaps they offer some good suggestions?

I agree that roaming mobs of vigilantes isn't the answer. At the very least, we have to return to a model of community policing whose automatic default is to de-escalate, not escalate.

(Yeah, I know ...)

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4 users have voted.

..."Whenever feasible, officers should have some recovery time before providing a full formal statement," [the International Association of Chiefs of Police] 2013 policy paper states. "An officer's memory will often benefit from at least one sleep cycle prior to being interviewed, leading to more coherent and accurate statements." ...

And that's why witnesses are always given a few days to recover, prior to being asked about what they've seen. Oh, wait...

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5 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.