Kansas City PD Presentation Says Every Shooting Investigation Is Handled The Same Way... Unless It Involves A Cop

from the no-bias-here-if-you-don't-count-the-bias-towards-cops dept

The Kansas City Police Department has managed to turn a few heads -- and not in the good way -- with an internal PowerPoint that may as well have been titled "So, You've Killed Someone." The document was obtained during discovery in a wrongful death suit against the KCPD. Back in 2019, Officer Dylan Pifer shot and killed Terrance Bridges, claiming he thought Bridges was trying to pull a gun from his sweatshirt pocket. No gun was found on Bridges.

The presentation [PDF] obtained from Bridges' family's lawyer by the Kansas City Star advises cops of two things: police shootings should be handled like routine criminal investigations to eliminate claims of bias. And police shootings should be handled nothing like routine criminal investigations because they involve cops.

The opening slide makes it clear what the priority is in investigations of shootings by cops: preserving the narrative. It even has the number one next to it.

Upon completion of this block of instruction, the participants will, with the use of handouts and notes, be able to:

1. Identify the best defense again [sic] claims of bias or favoritism in the investigations of officer involved shootings.

You know what's not a top priority? Preserving evidence. That comes behind officer safety.

Supervisors should consider the preservation of evidence as secondary to the safety of the public and department personnel.

The presentation points out that shootings are controversial and claims "police critics" will often claim investigations -- which routinely clear officers of wrongdoing -- are "biased and that police receive special treatment." So, the best defense is a good offense:

The best defense to these claims is CONSISTENCY in how we conduct ALL criminal investigations.

[...]

The best way to do this is to treat the investigation into officer involved shootings LIKE EVERY OTHER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION.

All well and good, except the presentation spends most of its running time explaining how this sort of investigation won't be treated like a regular criminal investigation.

Does this look like the sort of thing cops offer to non-cops involved in shootings?

Don’t engage the member in detailed conversation about the incident, but you are encouraged to talk with them like you would on any other day.

Make sure that all requests (bathroom, food, drinks, cigarettes) by the involved members are met as soon as possible.

Forget about preserving evidence:

If their recording system is active, have the member mute the mike and mute yours. They will be making calls to FOP [Fraternal Order of Police] and spouses and family. They may be in an excited state and hyperverbal.

And start hiding stuff from journalists:

Park somewhere that responding media will not be able to film the involved member.

But that of course only means the involved cop. The non-cop will have any and all possibly incriminating information immediately forwarded to local media, along with any mugshots the PD happens to have on hand. Information about the involved officer will be much slower in arriving. Much slower than even the involved officer's statement to investigators:

Generally, the member will be permitted up to forty-eight (48) hours to complete such statement

The presentation then spends a bit of time bemoaning the public's confidence in law enforcement, which isn't at an all-time high. It blames the media (again) for misrepresenting shootings by officers and, again, stresses doing everything by the book to combat this perception. But the book for officers is very different from the book for citizens. And until law enforcement agencies are willing to change that, the rest of what bothers the presenter about public perception isn't going to change.

And this is about the worst possible way you could end an instructive presentation on handling shootings by officers:

There is nothing wrong with being glad to be alive and being okay that you were the winner in a competition in which the winning prize was your life.

Law enforcement isn't a competition with winners and losers. It's a job, an important one, but one that has apparently been handed to people who believe members of the public are enemy combatants and that shootings are just games to be won.

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Filed Under: investigations, kansas city, police, police shootings


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 3:41pm

    There is nothing wrong with being glad to be alive and being okay that you were the winner in a competition in which the winning prize was your life.

    And here I thought I’d seen every kind of grotesque thinking from police officers and the departments/unions/“blue lives matter” chodes that protect them. How do they keep finding new ways to go even lower than the lowest low?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pixelation, 15 Mar 2021 @ 4:02pm

      Re:

      Apparently, it's a kill or be killed world for these officers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2021 @ 4:05pm

      Re:

      How do they keep finding new ways to go even lower than the lowest low?

      Because digging deep holes is a good way of hiding things.

      .if you do not let people peer into the hole).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2021 @ 4:45pm

      Re:

      There is nothing wrong with being glad to be alive and being okay that you were the winner in a competition in which the winning prize was your life.

      It's too bad that the competition they're talking about is entirely fictional. The REAL competition is to recognize when someone else's life is the one on the line, with the prize awarded only if everyone comes out alive.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 4:01pm

    Apparently even they don't listen to themselves

    The best defense to these claims is CONSISTENCY in how we conduct ALL criminal investigations.

    [...]

    The best way to do this is to treat the investigation into officer involved shootings LIKE EVERY OTHER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION.

    '... which is why we absolutely do not do that.'

    They're right in that treating shootings by police and by members of the public equally would be the best counter to claims of bias(even better if any investigations were by third-parties rather than in-house so there wouldn't be such a massive conflict of interest), but since that's not what happens... well, enjoy those well earned accusations of bias, you've no-one but yourselves to blame for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2021 @ 4:35pm

    They may be in an excited state and hyperverbal.

    What a novel way to say, "they might say incriminating shit while the mike is running."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 5:03pm

      Re:

      No worries, I'm sure they extend that same courtesy to shooters without a badge as well, carefully making sure that any incriminating statements aren't recorded by turning off any mics in the area.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 6:14pm

    Gee you mean in the nation where all men are created equal the 2 tiers of justice are alive and well?

    I look forward to some defense attorney using this document to get statements & recordings suppressed. If its SOP for cops, its good enough for us little people... and the moment they claim its unfair or different... ask them why.
    I mean imagine if when a cop was involved in killing someone, his discipline records managed to get leaked to the press (like magically happens to the victims. I am reminded of the 98 yr old lady (iirc) they had nothing on so they managed to leak that her 3rd cousin was a guy who had done something bad once.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 6:53pm

      Re:

      Given how vehemently they fight against even a general release of disciplinary records I imagine they'd have people blowing out their lungs screaming about the 'injustice' if such a thing happened to a cop accused of wrongdoing, and all completely without the self-awareness or honesty of how hypocritical such a position was.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2021 @ 7:39pm

    we forgot what the truth is......dept.

    got to love the double speak.... the peasants get one version while they keep there version to them selves! then when asked about there policy,,,, we get the version to placate the sheeple!
    just look at any blue lies mafia shooting where they neglect to collect evidence that would incriminate themselves or turn off bodycams, destroy, erase, loose videos on purpose. if there is a 3rd party camera.....well,,,,,11 out of 10 times it is completely destroyed with no evidence left that can be used!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Narcissus (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 6:58am

    I have trouble parsing this

    Supervisors should consider the preservation of evidence as secondary to the safety of the public and department personnel

    This is a strange sentence... I can read this to mean that if the safety (indemnity?) of colleagues is at stake it is also allowed to destroy evidence?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TripMN, 16 Mar 2021 @ 7:40am

      Re: I have trouble parsing this

      I'm pretty sure that is exactly how its meant to be read. If you think your colleague or the department's name will be hurt by doing your job well, please half-ass it in the name of keeping us from looking bad. No need to destroy evidence, just don't collect it or mess up the chain of custody. Sloppy police work leads to acquittals, which is exactly what they are looking for.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Walid Damouny (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 7:40pm

    Standardized training is necessary

    The real problem is the lack of standardized training allows randos to push non-sense as sensible. You have people who should NOT be creating training material because they don't know what society has chosen to be the rules, be in power and guide the masses in how to behave. Imagine going to a doctor who learns on the job and the chief doctor instructed the newcomer to discard some evidence to protect other doctors. That's what's happening here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tanner Andrews (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 7:43pm

    Sounds Like

    Supervisors should consider the preservation of evidence as secondary to the safety of the public and department personnel.

    That sounds like a spoliation instruction coming up. The family of the deceased is going to make sure the jury hears this bit loud and clear, and the judge is likely to instruct the jury that if the party who should have preserved the evidence did not, then it ought to be presumed that the lost evidence would have been unfavorable.

    The neat thing would be if this also fell into the hands of the public defenders in that town. Every cop who testifies may be subject to inquiry as to his training, and as to whether he followed that training, and whether this was in his training.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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