A Bakersfield Cop With An Itchy Trigger Finger Shot And Killed An Unarmed Man Holding A Crucifix

Submitted by: normalfreak2 4 months ago News & Politics

Francisco Serna, a 73-year-old who was struggling with dementia, was shot and killed this past Monday when Reagan Selman (a 26-year-old rookie who was promoted from from trainee to cop this past February) fired seven shots into Serna for allegedly failing to take his hands out of his jacket pocket.

Selman, a former US Marine, obviously threatened by the old man, didn't pause to confirm that what Serna was holding was a crucifix. It didn't help that Selman responded to a call that alleged that a man was holding a revolver -- he went into the scenario with an "armed man" embedded in his military brain.

The radio call brought seven cops to the scene, but Selman was the only one who opened fire just 20 to 30 seconds after a bystander allegedly yelled "That's him!" Serna was pronounced dead in the driveway on the same block of his home.

If you go by The Guardian, this is no surprise. Bakersfield, California has the most fatal police shootings per capita in the United States. In 2015, 14 people were killed by Bako's finest, which has a population of about 875,000 in its encompassing Kern County. To put it into perspective, New York City’s five boroughs has 10 times the population, but there were only 10 fatal police shootings. Serna is the fifth person to be killed by police in the Bakersfield area in 2016 -- that doesn't sound like a lot until you realize how small Bakersfield is.

And Selman? Don't worry about him -- he's on paid administrative leave while his department investigates the case -- early Christmas vacation!
There are 39 comments:
Male 356
I hate religion and every idiot that comes with it. I still don't shoot the idiots.
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Male 286
We're the richest country on the goddamn planet and yet we still "need" to cut funding to properly train the people we trust to protect us.
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Male 1,332
This is unfortunate for both the officer and the old man.  Once you people are actually in a situation like this and survive it, I'll consider your keyboard warrior opinion valid.

I'm not a cop.  I have friends and family who are that convey many lessons but that doesn't mean I understand what they deal with on a daily basis.

I am a firearms instructor.  I teach people how to avoid and get out of bad situations. I also teach them how to be effective when they can't get out.  

When faced with a mentally unstable person, reported to be armed, erring on the side of survival is the better mistake to make.


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Male 20,061
When do long-range tasers come into play in situations like this?
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Male 1,332
When the officer facing the threat decides it is an appropriate counter-measure.  

Remember, police are people too.  They're just as prone to mistakes as we are, only we get the advantage of looking at the situation after it happens - they have to make the decisions in real time.
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Male 356
insaneai Yes, and if did the exact same thing we'd be in jail.

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Male 2,110
Alas, I don't see these fatal shootings by American police being curbed in my lifetime. You've got a nation awash in handguns and police with a military-style accept-zero-risk mindset.
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Male 37,277
You have a nation awash with Black Lives matter fanatics who think nothing of murdering cops. THAT is the problem.
Millions upon millions of Americans own guns and simply are zero threat to the police. Small groups of people, easily identified, are active threats. This man was obviously NOT in those groups, and it looks like the cop did the wrong thing.
But to blame it on guns is just idiocy. You want un-armed cops? That's how you get cops killed...
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Male 6,437
Bingo little squirrel.  There has to a fundamental rethinking of policing.  Problem is also they aren't paid enough and I believe it has to be taught that they are signing up to be in dangerous work that will risk their lives.  They need to be willing to take risks.  I want the pay to be good enough that people are willing to take that risk without killing needlessly. 
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Male 522
I think the problem is more that they are trained that they are signing up for dangerous work.  Cops get shot just pulling someone over for a traffic violation all the time.  Last year, one of my employees brother, who happened to be Chief of Police in a small town(Elmendorf), pulled over a young driver for speeding and was then shot and killed upon walking up to the vehicle.  This was done with an illegally owned firearm BTW, so gun laws wouldn't have made a difference.  

Officers know this.  They know that their life is constantly in danger, so they respond this way sometimes.  
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Male 6,437
Waldo863 The overall statistics don't even put police in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/08/22/americas-10-deadliest-jobs-2/#6184051d5095

I think reality has to set in that statistically speaking, there are more dangerous jobs available.  Statistics shouldn't be ignored because they generally show trends based on Observational facts and aren't governed by emotion.  Does it suck for one of your employee's brothers, absolutely and I'm sympathetic to him, but law and rules and the way cops operate shouldn't be based on that and other statistically improbably incidents.  

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Male 522
Yeah, when you look at police officers as a whole, it's not really that dangerous.  A good chunk of those police officer jobs are desk jobs with no chance of getting shot and killed.  The guys out in the street though, take a risk every time they confront someone.  At least that is how they are trained.
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Male 6,437
Now I did read into this a bit and it appears this gentleman has been out before holding his hands in his pockets, so possibly his family may be partially to blame for letting him out.  What is the difference between someone that is mentally unstable/handicapped if they are 20 years old or 70 years old.  If people have mental conditions is the proper response to shoot a non complying person?
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Male 37,277
No, the proper method of 'dealing' with the mentally ill or disabled is to attack, mock and ridicule them. Deny them their rights and demand they be censored. Just like you and your ilk do here on IAB you fucking asshole.

On Topic: This looks like a very bad cop, similar to the one in Toronto (who was convicted of a crime, thankfully) who repeatedly shot a guy on a bus. If there were several other cops around, and no actual threats (other than refusing to show his hands, which is very minor really) were seen? There's no reason to unload a gun into him like that.
Different from the guy in the car recently, who had a gun and was acting strangely, agitated, and seems to have had a death wish from the start.
Every shooting by police needs close scrutiny, something many police forces have simply NOT done until very recently. Every cop should have a camera on them all day long, this would ensure far better accountability AND weed out false accusations they constantly face. Like that black female jogger...
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Male 6,437
Wait a second that's a hefty charge you are levying at me.  I've never demanded your rights or for you to be censored.  I've only argued against the posting of "fake/sensationalized" news that you are prone to posting.  It's divisive, it's dangerous, and it's what helps to lead to control people like you to fight for agendas against your own self interests.
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Male 37,277
You've done both and you know it. Why you continue to lie and pretend otherwise is none of my concern, it does not change the facts.
Your 'facts' are my 'false news' and my 'facts' are your 'false news' Ok? Why are YOUR facts absolute yet MY facts are worthless? You want to talk about being 'divisive'? What's more divisive than that? Saying EVERY FACT I have ever presented is false is fucking division to the Nth degree.
Even when I point out how YOUR facts prove MY side? You still refuse to admit it. And yes, I've done that dozens of times. 
And when I show dictionary definitions and/or unimpeachable sources? You simply change the subject, move the goalposts or pretend you were talking about something else. Every single time.
Or flat out 'double down' on the insults to (again) distract from the topic.
And look how YOU deal with actual facts below: you are a congenital liar, just like your Queen. 
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Male 6,437
Incorrect, If facts are facts I accept them, regardless if I agree with them.  I'm consistent on this.  Show me where I haven't been consistent on this.  I've stated and shown multiple times I don't care which side is saying something, but the facts better back it up otherwise it's just bullshit.
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Male 2,424
 quote NF2 on global warming......"Until we as a species are willing to silence and shut down the deniers on global issues inaction will continue. "   So yes...nf2...you just in this very quote a few threads down have just demanded 5cats and others like him be censored...even more actually.  You would also have guns eradicated from society if you could have your way.  
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Male 6,437
Oh I'll fix that, I meant shut them down with facts.  You know provable things.  I think at some point facts have to win out over ignorance and agendas.
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Male 37,277
Why are your facts 'indisputable facts' when they are bullshit in my books? Have you zero ability to be objective?
Obviously the answer is yes: you cannot be both objective AND obey the DNC without question. One excludes the other.
I look at your facts and often they prove MY point, but you flat-out refuse to even discuss this possibility when I tell you that, you always change the subject.
And the way you've attacked me for being disabled, and supported those who also attacked me is utterly inexcusable. That's the reason you are dead to me. 
I often give people more chances, like when IAB changes formats :-) But you have proven yourself, yet again, to be shameless, worthless and a deliberate liar. Bye again!
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Male 6,437
Why are your facts 'indisputable facts' when they are bullshit in my books? Have you zero ability to be objective? 

Just because something is "bullshit" to you because you don't like the outcome doesn't make them "bullshit"  You never question the method, you stick to attacking the source.  Because X is biased I can't trust that.  If the method is true, then regardless if you agree or disagree with the people conducting it your opinion should be swayed.  

Every time we've had a scientific disagreement on AGW for instance I've gone out of my way to show the studies with peer reviews.  You can't ARGUE the methods ever, you always bring up something unrelated like, "They were tampering with the numbers" when it was clear they weren't, but that never enters your mind nor your argument.  I can have meaningful conversations with Richanddead.  He's a smart guy and well he's changed my mind on a few things.  You are a partisan, clear and simple.  You only want to see the world Black or White, instead of the 50 million shades of gray in between.

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Male 356
normalfreak2 "Alternate facts" , not "Indisputable" . Damn Trump-speak...
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Male 3,293
You know NF2 is nuts right? He really believes he is right all the time.
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Male 37,277
trimble: It is something he accuses me of constantly, it's commonly called 'projection' eh? :-p He is the biggest projectionist I've ever come across.
Notice how, when PROVEN WRONG he simply changes the answer RETROACTIVELY and thus he's right after all! NO apology, NO admission of error. He simply 'fixes' what he said (again, retroactively) and that's all there is to it, for him.
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Male 6,437
I don't claim to be right.  I do claim to know what I read though and I do trust what I read after I verify facts with quantifiable observations/experiences.
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Male 37,277
Like how raping children is "OK" if it's culturally allowed locally? Like that NF2?
That's your "...claim to know what I read though and I do trust what I read after I verify facts with quantifiable observations/experiences." Is it? You verified that children being raped is ok? This is a fact for you?

Specifically: how it would be OK for Bill Clinton to knowingly have sex with a minor overseas, on a private 'sex island' owned by his close friend, even though there's a host of specific US laws forbidding exactly that? Because it's a Clinton, that's ok! You said. 
Without knowing sweet fuck all about it, you came up with that...
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Male 6,437
What a ludicrous response.  Your argument is flawed as you are trying to equate me to something I never said.  Hey if there is proof Bill had sex with a minor, go to town.  But nothing you have posted or I have found ever makes that abundantly clear or can be proven without a doubt.  I hear and read a lot of hyperbole and opinion on the matter and projecting.
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Male 522
If you fear that they are armed, which in this case, the officer was told he was armed, and you don't see their hands?  I can't say that I would not have shot first and asked questions later.  The man was not complying with an officer's order and the officer had every reason to believe the guy was armed.  It sucks, but it happens.  This is one of those cases where I don't totally blame the guy.  Sometimes, bad things just happen.
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Male 1,410
Wait. So if I'm a cop, I reasonably think a person is armed, and that person doesn't comply with my order, I have the right to shoot them, no questions asked? Well, gosh, who needs police training?! Who needs communication skills? Who needs to learn how to deescalate a situation? All I need to do is learn how to shoot a gun, and I can be an effective police officer!!! smh
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Male 522
It really comes down to a case by case basis.  By asking the man to put his hands up, was that not a form of deescalation?  He needed to make sure the man was not armed and dangerous before he could really do anything.  The man then did pull his hands out of his pocket, with something that looked like a gun.  You are faced with a split second decision, wait and find out if it is a gun and possibly end up dead, or shoot.  I know which option I would take.
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Male 114
30 seconds after identifying the guy......what chance did he have to comply with anything?
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Male 522
Do me a favor.  Put your hands in your pocket, then see how long it takes you to put them up in the air.  Even moving slowly and counting quickly, 2-3 seconds.  So, if 3 seconds is enough time to put your hands in the air, he had 10 times the amount of time he needed to comply.
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Male 2,110
Demanding that someone put their hands up is not a form of deescalation; it's a form of escalation, in fact, because it establishes an adversarial relationship. (That said, the benefits of some forms of escalation are worth the costs, and this is usually the case when a police officer commands a suspect to put his hands up.)
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Male 522
Well, seeing his hands and knowing he doesn't have a gun sure deescalates the perceived threat to my life,
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Male 37,277
This is true, and I agree it may well turn out he was justified in the shooting, but it sure looks bad. If his fellow officers disagree with him? He's in a lot of trouble.
But it seems to be a case of a suspect doing what the cops tell him to do, and getting shot for it! That's intolerable.

Show me your hands!
(takes hands out of pockets)
Bang bang bang... (x7)
Nope, not what is supposed to happen, given the age of the suspect and the presence of back-up close by.
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Male 37,277
The embedding is still confusing, hard to tell who is replying to what eh? :-p
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Male 522
Actually, upon re-reading the article, it does not appear as though he took his hands out of his pocket.  So here's a guy with a gun shaped object in his pocket that may already be pointed at the officer, walking towards him.

As for the guy that said 30 seconds is not enough time to comply, do me a favor and put your hands in your pocket and see how long it takes to get your hands in the air.  Did it take longer than 3 seconds??  Nope, so therefore, 30 seconds is 10 times the amount of time really needed to comply.  He had more than enough time.

You'll undoubtedly bring up the fact that that is not enough time for a mentally handicapped person to comply.  While that is true, they had no way of knowing he was suffering from dementia. 

In reality, this is his neighbors fault. They called the police and the husband had said he was brandishing a gun, which is not even what his wife told him.  She just said she saw something that might be a gun.  Also, how in the damn world did she not know that this was the guy that lived across the street from her?  Why was she being so damn paranoid she had to run inside and have her husband call the cops, on her own fucking neighbor.  I don't know about you, but I know my neighbors.  I know the old man across the street that has dementia.  I know if I see him out and about, to escort him home or at least call his son.  Not call the cops cause I think he's gonna kill me.
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Male 2,110
Now, now. Deescalation is a technique virtually unknown to American police officers. That's bleeding-heart wussy-style policing, done by them other countries.

In all seriousness, American police don't make much use of deescalation techniques because they model their behavior on techniques used by the U.S. military--and soldiers don't deescalate.

A few intellectuals (Chomsky et al.) have made the observation that one of the problems empires have always faced is that as they expand their power and influence, they inevitably begin to treat their own citizens the way they treat foreign populations in areas they are occupying. The empire's standards of civility at home deteriorate and the political system itself moves from one of negotiation and compromise to a winner-takes-all, slash-and-burn mindset. Worth thinking about.
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Male 2,110
~Squrlz looks around, confused~ Where's Waldo?
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