Phoenix, AZ - A Phoenix, Arizona activist who has been an outspoken critic of police abuse of force, Reverend Jarrett Maupin, recently underwent a change of heart after being invited to, and taking part in, a use of force exercise with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office.
Maupin agreed to go through a force on force training segment with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. He went through three scenarios where one has to decide to shoot, or not to shoot, according to FOX 10.
This is what Maupin had to say in the aftermath of his training exercise.
"I didn't understand how important compliance was, but after going through this, yeah my attitude has changed. This is all unfolding in 10-15 seconds, people need to comply with the order of law enforcement officers for their own safety," said Maupin.
But what was billed as a change of his feelings toward police use of force, due to experiencing the alleged “real-world” scenarios police regularly face, left many feeling as if they had just watched a propaganda video meant to forward a specific police agenda with Maupin as the innocent dupe.
As you watch the videos of Maupin there are some things that are immediately apparent and call this entire endeavor into question.
My first thought was where is his backup? While certainly there will be rare instances of not waiting for backup, protocol would dictate these as abnormal circumstances from the start.
Going into potentially volatile situations without backup isn’t a very safe or intelligent move for an officer to make, especially in non-urgent interactions such as the given scenarios the activist faced.
The second thing that comes to mind is; where are his options for less than lethal force, such as a baton, pepper spray or tazer?
Officers in the street have a wide range of options at their disposal; so why was Maupin only given a gun?
In essence, they took a citizen off the street with virtually no training, offered them no backup or less-than-lethal force options with which to stop someone, but want to sell this to the public as "what officers are facing."
The more critical thinking one does about the video and the scenarios the more disillusioned one becomes at the farcical nature of this propaganda piece.
Recommended for You
In contrast to a Reverend activist off of the street, officers should have extensive training in the use of force spectrum, hand to hand combat, in addition to many other advantages their months of training should provide them, above that of a layman off the street with no training.
In an interview with The Free Thought Project, whistleblower cop Alex Salazar gives important insight into this video when he explains,
“These scenarios are designed to make any person fail and to cause them to believe there are no other options. He had no taser, baton or other less than lethal weapons. What about kicking the big guy in the nuts, waiting for backup, or tasering him.
The profession of law enforcement is difficult at times, but the excessive brainwashing on a daily basis taking place, that you may die, is too extreme and gives many the belief it is OK to use deadly force. In many of these situations, Tamir Rice or Andy Lopez comes to mind, these officer's just wanted to plain shoot and kill.”
Salazar went on to say,
“It’s a brainwashing mechanism to get you over to their side, to start thinking about killing. In what they call the ‘FATS simulator’ (firearms and training simulator), you are automatically designed to DIE... Yes it's a game and useful for training. But here they put a citizen off the street with no training and a newscaster in pre-designed scenarios, which are psychologically made to make you think and perceive things differently. It has nothing to do with training. Every recruit, I don't care if they're an ex-badass Navy Seal... everyone dies.
Think about that for a moment. There is no way to “win,” either you die or you kill. The outcome in these training exercises is always death.
Salazar made clear that the manner in which the entire training session and video was done, shows that it was simply pro-police propaganda and conditioning meant for public consumption.
“YouTube FATS training presented by the Pasadena PD, the officer's have less than lethal weapons at their disposal. They don't have to kill the people like the Phoenix channel led people to believe. There are viable alternatives. Numerous years of working undercover in South Central Los Angeles and I only had to use my 9mm once.
Most of the time I would kick the person strategically or pepper spray. There is very rarely a reason to kill, and many police officers go their entire lifetime without having to draw their weapons," said Salazar.
This entire activity is an exercise in psychological warfare as there are only two possible outcomes in these training activities given the aforementioned factors.
Outcome 1: You shoot and kill the suspect, which then shows how police violence is necessary.
Outcome 2: The suspect ends up killing you, which shows how dangerous the job of law enforcement is.
In either case it is a false dichotomy, meant to facilitate a false sympathy towards law enforcement by showing the job they do in a very misleading light given the major advantages an officer on the beat has vs. a citizen off the street participating in this exercise.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.