Why America loves a police car pursue – Big black cock News

Why America loves a police car pursue

Share this with Facebook

  • Share this with Twitter

  • Share this with Messenger

  • Share this with Messenger

  • Share this with

    These are outward links and will open in a fresh window

    Share this with Facebook

  • Share this with Messenger

  • Share this with Messenger

  • Share this with Twitter

  • Share this with Pinterest

  • Share this with WhatsApp

  • Share this with LinkedIn

    These are outer links and will open in a fresh window

    Close share panel

    When a violent criminal attempts to avoid arrest by getting in a car and driving off, any police officer will leap behind the wheel and give pursue. But in few countries does the pursuit end up on live TV as often – or for as long – as in the US.

    “Woah! Look at that! Extre-e-emely dangerous driving. I have never seen a pursuit as crazy as this.”

    The TV news commentator could scarcely disguise his excitement as cameras tailed a runaway driver screeching across Los Angeles on Monday – smashing into vehicles and swerving through oncoming traffic.

    “Woah! He’s got a weapon! He’s just carjacked that vehicle. Live on television. Amazing.”

    Even in LA – the car pursue capital of America – this was an epic. During twenty five minutes of panting rolling coverage, viewers witnessed the “maniac” driver crash six times and force a horrified youthfull woman out of her vehicle at gunpoint.

    At no point did the cameras stop rolling.

    Pictures of office workers huddled round televisions were collective on Instagram and Twitter – including one memorable picture of an entire newsroom transfixed by the drama.

    “It’s a cultural phenomenon. We can’t take our eyes of this immoral behaviour!” says Dan Neil, automotive columnist at the Wall Street Journal.

    “We all know the outcome – he’s going to get caught. The odds are a million to one. And yet still, everyone gathers round the TV. We want to see the finale… the coup de grace.”

    Live TV police pursuits had a big following even before the OJ Simpson pursue in June one thousand nine hundred ninety four brought the phenomenon to global attention.

    Some ninety five million Americans tuned in to see the NFL legend being leisurely driven down the Santa Monica freeway, tailed by more than a dozen highway patrol and police squad cars (see top picture).

    But in latest years, news networks have ramped up their coverage – converting what was once a local news item into a showpiece event. National cable networks interrupt scheduled programming in order to suggest live, blow-by-blow commentary from rival helicopters.

    Pursue fans receive phone alerts and go after dedicated Twitter feeds pointing them to the best news channel to catch the act.

    Famous televised pursues include a stolen timber lorry which ignited in flames, and a school bus hijacking in Miami where the suspect was killed in a shootout.

    The morality of showcasing this on TV – and the danger of glorifying carjackers – has long been debated. In Los Angeles, police authorities recently urged TV networks to curb their coverage – comparing it to a “bloodsport”.

    Deaths during police pursues

    • 322 people died in the US during police pursuits in 2013
    • 208 occupants of the pursued vehicle
    • 105 occupants of other vehicles
    • 8 bystanders
    • 1 pursuing police officer
    • 29 deaths were in California. Only Texas had more (46)
    • 2007 was the peak year for pursuit-related deaths (425)

    But on Monday the local Fox, CBS and NBC stations all screened the pursue.

    “If they wrestled with their conscience, clearly the conscience lost,” says Dan Neil.

    “Recall – newsgathering operations here are funded by ratings. That’s why you spend $10m (£6.5m) on a helicopter.”

    During the LA pursue we hear the studio newscasters condemn the “maniac” driver, while doing their best to build strain and keep audiences glued to the screen: “What could he be running away from? Could it be more than life in prison he is facing?”

    Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute, who was in the studio chair for the OJ Simpson pursue and many others, acknowledges that car pursues are fascinating, drawing viewers “like moths to a flame”, but he points out that “something awful” is most likely going to happen.

    “And when it does, it’s going to be visual and graphic.”

    Tompkins has written ethical guidelines for studio news editors on whether or not to cover a pursue live. One question they need to ask, he says, is whether the pursue is newsworthy – in essence, whether telling the public about the pursue makes them safer.

    “For local channels, I can understand it. But when national cable networks run a pursue that isn’t newsworthy. I think that’s much stiffer to defend,” he says.

    The next question is, if you’re going to go live on a car pursue “are you ready to air the worst possible outcome?”

    He cites the tragic scene where Fox News displayed a man fatally shooting himself in the head after a high-speed pursue ending in the Arizona desert. The channel was showcasing the pursue with a five-second delay for safety – but somehow failed to cut away before the suicide.

    It is not only at the end of the pursue that someone may die. Every year more than three hundred people die during police pursuits in the US – including bystanders, other drivers and even TV journalists.

    In two thousand seven two helicopters wielded by rival networks collided in mid-air while covering a car pursue – killing all four people on board.

    If a TV station stays with a pursue long enough, the odds are they will end up demonstrating something horrific. But slew of channels demonstrate them, and slew of viewers witness.

    The essential appeal is voyeurism says Dan Neil.

    “We love the chance to pull up a chair and witness the troubles of someone else from a safe distance. And the car pursue couldn’t be more ideal theatre.

    “The view from the helicopter is godlike. It is very provocative to look down on the fatalistic beings below and leave behind there are people involved.

    “I mean – the poor lunatic is out of his mind. But we’ve managed to make entertainment out of him – sport even. I dare say that somebody’s even betting on it somewhere.”

    This same helicopter view is familiar to players of the original Grand Theft Auto – the frantically popular movie game which prizes players for carjacking and murders. But Neil thinks many viewers are cheering for the other side – the cops.

    “It appeals to the American sense of rough justice,” he says. “There’s a moment when everyone wants the bad guys to get their comeuppance.”

    But while the police accuse news networks of sensationalising pursuits, are the officers themselves ever at fault – for initiating unnecessary car pursues?

    The PIT manoeuvre

    • A famous feature of pursuits, the precision immobilisation mechanism is used by police to make the target vehicle spin out of control and stop, permitting an arrest to be made
    • The pursuing vehicle gently bumps the rear corner of the moving target – similar to a “bump and run” formerly used in stock car racing
    • Fans of car pursues have elevated the PIT to cult status, sharing movies of “textbook” examples.

    “Oh every day” says Prof Geoffrey Alpert, at the University of South Carolina, who collects data on pursuits.

    “Every day there are these futile pursues across America. I’m talking about pursuits for minor offences. Running a crimson light. I don’t believe these pursues are necessary or reasonable.”

    Approximately 40% of pursuits end in a crash, he says. And almost every day in the US there is a death relating to a police pursuit.

    “The myth in police pursuit is, ‘If he’s running he must have something to hide.’ We call it ‘the dead assets in the trunk myth’,” says Alpert.

    “The other myth is, ‘If we don’t pursue this man, that’s going to encourage everybody else to run.’ That’s what cops tell me in training.”

    In fact, despite the city’s reputation for dramatic car pursues, police in LA now have a policy to pursue “only for violent crimes”.

    In this latest televised pursue, Alpert says, the police had no choice.

    “He was utterly violent. You witnessed the trauma on that youthfull woman’s face afterwards. He’s not the kind of fellow you want let free.”

    Alpert says some people regard police pursues as “like Nascar – hundreds of thousands of people see it waiting for the next crash”.

    But it is news, so far as he is worried.

    “This has been with us in America since the Wild West. A boy robs the bank and runs away on his pony. So the sheriff gets on his pony and pursues him. That’s the way it’s always been.”

    Related movie:

    Leave a Reply