“Officers had no choice, Chief says” regarding shooting and killing of “Cops” sound mixer and robber armed with a pellet gun that looked and sounded like a real weapon and who shot at police in an apparent hostage situation in a Wendy’s restaurant

See the front page of today’s Omaha World-Herald for this tragic story.  Why would any law enforcement agency allow officers to be followed around by a reality show, particularly during highly dangerous hostage situation involving an armed assailant? Truly, we have enough “reality” as it is!

By the way, here’s the theme song from “Cops”:

Bad boys, whatcha want
Watcha want, whatcha gonna do?
When sheriff John Brown come for you
Tell me whatcha wanna do, whatcha gonna do?

Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

When you were eight and you had bad traits
You go to school and learn the golden rule
So why are you acting like a bloody fool?
If you get hot, you must get cool

Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

You chuck it on that one
You chuck it on this one
You chuck it on your mother
And you chuck it on your father

You chuck it on your brother
And you chuck it on your sister
You chuck it on that one
And you chuck it on me

Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Nobody now give you no break
Police now give you no break
Not soldier man give you no break
Not even you idren now give you no breaks

Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Why did you have to act so mean?
Don’t you know you’re human being?
Born of a mother with the love of a father
Reflections come and reflections go
I know sometimes you wanna let go
I know sometimes you want to let go

Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

You’re too bad, you’re too rude
You’re too bad, you’re too rude

Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

You chuck it on that one
You chuck it on this one
You chuck it on your mother
And you chuck it on your father

You chuck it on your brother
And you chuck it on your sister
You chuck it on that one
And you chuck it on me

Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

(Credit: Songwriters Lewis, Ian Munty, “Bad Boys (theme From ‘cops’)” is track #1 on the album Blazzin’ Fire: Classic Cuts. See here.)

RGK

12 responses

  1. This is an extreme example of the truism that coverage of an event changes the event. And it raises the question of why we have “reality” shows that purport to cover real events. Bad enough that we have unreality shows like Big Brother and Survivor. I realize that the First Amendment prevents us from forbidding them, but that doesn’t mean we have to have them inflicted on us.

  2. This reminds me of a an LSD and psylocibin mushroom case tried before Judge Ronald Longstaff about 20 years ago. One of the defendants, Robert Riley, aka Mushroom Bob, was arrested in a San Francisco Bay area park after having been stung by the police. He was tackled from his bicycle, handcuffed, and then the Cops show folks began their questioning of him for the show. The government wanted to introduce the video interview as evidence in the Des Moines, Iowa federal drug trial. Bob’s lawyer objected and argued it was involuntary and coercively obtained, possibly without Miranda warnings being given first. Judge Longstaff thought it was outrageous and wouldn’t allow the evidence and that ended the involvement of the cops show in our case. Unfortunately, Mushroom Bob, a devout follower of the Grateful Dead and LSD advocate, was convicted and sentenced to life without parole. Judge Longstaff explained how excessive he felt the sentence was, and Mushroom Bob has since become one of the symbols of the unjustness of mandatory minimum sentences in drug cases. My most memorable moment of Bob was when he testified about his lifestyle choice which consisted of following the Grateful Dead on tour across the United Stes in a VW van adorned with slogans and symbols. When asked what he would say if asked what time it was, Bob replied, “The time is now.”

  3. Dean,

    Representing people in trials provide lawyers with an endless supply of fascinating stories. Thanks for sharing this one.

    All the best.

    RGK

  4. Donna,

    The Urban dictionary advises: “The best way to get rid of an earworm is to replace it with another. Be prepared to become a jukebox.”

    Your welcome by the way. All the best.

    RGK

  5. Jon,

    I agree. I would love to here a Chief of Police decline an invitation to participate in the program by saying something simple like: “Our police department will not participate in ‘Cops’ because the program is tasteless and it panders to the baser instincts of its viewers. Our officers are better than that.”

    All the best.

    RGK

  6. This is regretable and sad event, of course, but why vilify ‘Cops’? I have found the show to put police officers in a very good light, humanize them, and make me appreciate the difficulty of their job and the grace with which they do it. I do not practice criminal law, so this is my only view into their world. In fact, the behind-the-scene view provided by Cops is not disimilar to the behind-the-scene view your blog provides. Obviously, there is no risk of physcial harm with your blogging, but the otherwise unseen world is part of the appeal of this blog and ‘Cops.’

  7. “Cops” (the show) gets in the way of, and distorts the work of cops (the law enforcement officers). Whether it shows the police in a favorable light or not, it distorts. Unless the show pays a fee–which would raise ethical and legal issues–it also costs the taxpayers money, at least in the time that departments spend in interacting with the show’s staff.

  8. Mark,

    You may be right. All I can say is that Cops offends me because I think it profits from the underbelly of our country (not the police, the “perps”). For the same reason I won’t watch the beheading of the journalist in Iraq, I won’t watch Cops.

    All the best.

  9. Jon: You state, “This is an extreme example of the truism that coverage of an event changes the event”. Where, oh where, is there proof that the presence of the TV camera “changed the event”? Upon the appearance of the cops (without the TV people) I believe it is reasonable to conclude that the robber still would have pointed and shot the “toy” gun and he still would have ended up dead. I doubt, and I am aware of no evidence, that the robber was playing to the camera.

    However, if you propose that the event obviously includes the unfortunate death of the TV sound man, then yes, the event was “changed”. I do not believe this is a case that furnishes ammunition (pun intended) to vilify the police department involved or this particular TV show. I join in your distaste for those other mindless “unreality” shows.

  10. I have no idea if ‘Cops’ pays a fee or not, but the favorable light “distortion” is likely what most police departments are after by agreeing to do the show, and likely worth, at least in the police department’s opinion, the resources expended in cooperating with the show. Unless you mean “distorts” in a different sense, I think all media coverage–reality shows, newspapers, etc.–will distort the event that is covered in someway. I tried a case once that obtained some media coverage and I was amazed (and appalled) at how it was portrayed. Since then, I have assumed some bias in all coverage. If the show is interesting, I will accept the fact that I am being manipulated in some way. I guess ‘Cops’ accomplished its mission with me.

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