|Armand Martin, killed by APD SWAT team sniper, May 3, 2014|
Calling 911 when a loved one is having a psychological or emotional crisis is too often a death sentence.
When you call 911, certain protocols are operating, and when you call seeking assistance because a loved one is in crisis, those protocols include dispatching police or a SWAT team if your loved one is deemed to be a "threat" -- to him/herself or others -- by virtue of what you have to say to the 911 operator. For example, if you say your loved one is behaving violently or is armed, EMTs will not be dispatched until your loved one is "compliant" which often means until your loved one is dead.
"Compliant" means that either your loved one can and immediately does follow barked commands which often seem incomprehensible or contradictory even to people who are not in crisis or, failing immediate compliance to such commands, "compliant" means "neutralized," ie: severely injured enough to no longer be a "threat." Often the desired compliance is obtained through mortal injury to the subject "(as your loved one will be referred to).
Back in May, soon after one of Albuquerque's numerous protests against the epidemic of police killings in the city, Gail Martin, wife of retired Air Force Lt. Col. Armand Martin, approached a police officer in a park near her home in the nice suburb of Ventana Ranch and announce that he husband had threatened her with a gun.
That was all that was necessary to dispatch a SWAT team to the house and begin operations to force compliance from the erstwhile gunman or know the reason why.
Mrs. Martin did not seem to think her husband was a danger to her or anyone else, she just didn't want him to be waving a gun around. He suffered from depression and PTSD, in fact was retired on disability because of his condition.
The SWAT team had a crisis intervention negotiator on hand. Apparently the "negotiations" consisted of shouting over a bullhorn to Martin to come out with his hands up, and when that didn't produce compliance quickly enough, the next phase of the "negotiations" consisted of bombarding the house with flash bang and tear gas grenades. Oh, and commanding Martin to surrender forthwith. Not to forget that.
The entire neighborhood was terrorized. SWAT assigned a sniper to "neutralize the threat" -- apparently to kill Martin on sight.
Meanwhile, Martin was on the phone with 911 operators, his brother and apparently with one of the television stations in town as well, basically asking what (the fuck) was going on, why was there so much hubbub, saying he hadn't done anything wrong, and yesterday, it was revealed that said he'd taken sleeping medication to calm himself down and he just wanted to sleep. BAM! SWAT could not allow that. Oh no. He had to be forced into compliance at all costs. He could not be allowed to sleep.
His wife apparently had no idea that her pleas for assistance to help her husband would lead to this. How many wives and loved ones have thought the same? It's routine. Calls for help are answered by domestic death squads.
The standoff with Martin went on for several hours, with SWAT demanding compliance and using violence (grenades, you know?) to achieve it, Martin wondering "what the fuck," and telling his brother on the phone he was afraid the police would kill him if he came out of the house.
Guess what? That's exactly what they did.
Someone, perhaps Martin's brother, convinced him to come out of the house, and as soon as he did, a SWAT sniper named Daniel Hughes shot him. He fell. Police say he was armed, and two pistols were shown on video next to his body, but whether he shot at officers or "aimed" at them (often claimed by police as justification for killing subjects) is in dispute. Police handcuffed him and left him to bleed out on the driveway of his house for fifteen minutes or so before calling paramedics to tend to his corpse.
It was deemed a "good shoot" -- as they almost always are.
Martin's family was and is in shock. Yes, well...
Once you call or approach a police officer in cases like this, you have ordered up a death squad, whether you intend to or not. And once that death squad arrives, you have no control over what will happen next. Be prepared. They are there to kill, and if the opportunity presents itself, they will kill without a qualm for that is what they are trained and expected to do.
I pointed out that the Killer Kop Kompetition that will be held in Albuquerque this weekend simulates endless scenarios in which police are conditioned to fire their weapons to "neutralize threats." They are conditioned to see threats everywhere, and to react to them as if on automatic pilot. Oh, they get a demerit if they happen to misperceive a bystander as a threat. But I kind of doubt they are disqualified for doing so.
When someone like Armand Martin -- an armed black man -- is the the subject, there is practically no way and nothing he can do that will prevent him from being killed. He is by definition a prime target.
The family has no say in it. The subject has no say. As for the officers, they can't seem to say "no" to killing.
Once the 911-death squad is dispatched, there can be little hope that your loved one will survive the encounter.
Lesson: Don't call 911 unless you want your loved one to die.