Debunked : SWAT Police Caught Setting Fires In Ferguson [Examining items by flashlight]

Joe

Senior Member
This was making its rounds on Twitter and needs to be debunked : The claim in the video is that swat stated a fire in the car by using a flash bang grenade . The video poster also mentions the fire in the window of the advanced Auto parts is just a reflection from across the street . The Advanced Auto Parts is burned to the ground and the video poster belives it the fault of SWAT . The vehicle is not in the photo later of the burnt Auto Parts Store . My conclusion is that it appears to be a El Camino not a car which is like a pickup truck . It has a Flat rear window and the flames are actually a reflection from a explosion across the street .
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
I can't see any explosion in the car. I see a figure shining a torch (flashlight) through a window, the sound of a small explosion, then no change in the lighting inside the car, other than that that could be explained by someone moving the torch around inside the vehicle. Surely a 'flash bang' would produce a cloud of smoke, a bright flash inside the vehicle and maybe a concussion wave that would do some damage to the guy with his hand through the window. (The author of the original video goes someway to debunking himself with the National Geographic footage on this point)

As for the intact building / burnt out building bit, there is no time reference to show when the auto parts shop was set alight, just that it must have been after the alleged SWAT arson on the car and before the helicopter shots the following day. Now riots are never static affairs, they are not WW1 style conflicts with entrenched lines and clearly marked territory, they are normally a series of flash points and running skirmishes that flare up and then fade away in seconds. I know I've been caught up in a few in my time, either as a passer-by in the wrong place at the wrong time, or as a protester where tempers have got out of hand; London race riots (1979)*, Liverpool Toxteth (1980)**, The Miners Strike, South Wales (1984)*, London poll tax riots (1989)*, Bristol Stokes croft Tescos riot (2009)**, and a few football riots over the years **

(* = as a protestor / ** = wrong place wrong time)

I've gotta go out in a moment, but later tonight or tomorrow I'll show a few examples of how in a riot an area under police control one minute can be a war zone the next.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Looks more like he's just putting something on the hood [bed] of the car. The light goes behind the door post.
 
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Jason

Senior Member
Looks more like he's just putting something on the hood of the car. Maybe even giving it a ticket. The light goes behind the door post.
The hood of the car is in the foreground. You can see the headlights and grille. He's shining the light near the trunk of the car. I think they are probably trying to get a look into the back seat of the car to see if anyone is trying to hide in the car. Obviously this car is of interest to the police officers. The light doesn't go behind the door post, instead he's just moving his torch behind the car and towards the rear window of the vehicle. That's why it looks as if the frame of light is moving behind the door post.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
My conclusion is that it appears to be a El Camino not a car which is like a pickup truck . It has a Flat rear window and the flames are actually a reflection from a explosion across the street .
I actually don't think they are flames at all, just something being illuminated by the flashlights.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The hood of the car is in the foreground.
So it is, something like this 1982 Chevy El Camino


So they are just examining something on the trunk of the car. It almost looks like they are turning some pages, or maybe opening a bag.
 

Joe

Senior Member
So it is, something like this 1982 Chevy El Camino


So they are just examining something on the trunk of the car. It almost looks like they are turning some pages, or maybe opening a bag.
that is exactly the car / pickup (It doesnt have a trunk ) . You are right it probably has a cover over the bed and they are using it as a table . Mark it as Debunked
 

Joe

Senior Member
Dutchsinse actually did a video debunking it as well . And explains the flash
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Excellent find. That's the same car. There is something red in the back, looks like a gas can. That's exactly what the cops would be examining, if there was some arson going on. So the bed was not covered, and they were looking at the stuff in the bed with their flashlights.

The car looks brown in the video because of the bright orange light coming from the next building, but it's actually blue. Here I've saturated the colors a bit to show this:



And here's the source of the light.
 

shadow01505

New Member
I actually don't think they are flames at all, just something being illuminated by the flashlights.
I just noticed, that this flame is the reflection from the explosion across the street. Its a reflection. It happens at the same time, you can see in the main video. It does appear by the way the guy on the right backs up that he starts a fire... but the flame to me just looks like a reflection.

This was making its rounds on Twitter and needs to be debunked : The claim in the video is that swat stated a fire in the car by using a flash bang grenade . The video poster also mentions the fire in the window of the advanced Auto parts is just a reflection from across the street . The Advanced Auto Parts is burned to the ground and the video poster belives it the fault of SWAT . The vehicle is not in the photo later of the burnt Auto Parts Store . My conclusion is that it appears to be a El Camino not a car which is like a pickup truck . It has a Flat rear window and the flames are actually a reflection from a explosion across the street .

 

Jason

Senior Member
I actually don't think they are flames at all, just something being illuminated by the flashlights.
Is it possible this car was an accessory to the crime, especially if they did find a gas can in the back of the car. Does anyone know the timeline of how long the bldg caught fire after the cops arrival/departure
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
Definately not a flash bang - having been around a few I can tell you that no SWAT operator is going to stand that close to one in the confined tray of a pickup, especially not leaning over it (apparently) unprotected without a flash hood at least.
I know Mick has already covered it, but have a look at this video at about 17secs in to see what the shockwave from a flashbang will do. I imagine most windows of that El Camino would be in pieces.

Slightly OT: I get a bit tired of hearing and seeing the term "militarised police" as per the video. Tactical groups like SWAT have existed for decades, wearing armour and carrying "hi power miltary rifles" (I've yet to see a low power military rifle). The gear that they wear is the most effective form of defence against the high risk threats they face. Why wouldn't they want to roll with the best protection they can get? Ok sorry done... /OT
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
Slightly OT: I get a bit tired of hearing and seeing the term "militarised police" as per the video. Tactical groups like SWAT have existed for decades, wearing armour and carrying "hi power miltary rifles" (I've yet to see a low power military rifle). The gear that they wear is the most effective form of defence against the high risk threats they face. Why wouldn't they want to roll with the best protection they can get? Ok sorry done... /OT
The point of the term isn't SWAT teams. It refers to the massive increase in the number of swat teams and their use, but more importantly to the fact that a great many departments equip regular officers the same as SWAT teams.

To illustrate, my local county sheriff in 1980 had three SWAT officers, who combined with four others from two other counties to form the actual team when it was needed, but doing most of their work as three separate units. On average, the full team was used less than once a year. Aside from each units' armored truck, all SWAT gear was reserved for these seven officers, and aside from a small surplus there was no extra.

Today, the same county has two of their own SWAT teams, which they use on average ten times a year each (frequently both at the same time). The other two departments they used to share a team with now have three SWAT teams between them. Each SWAT team has a total of five armored vehicles, four of which are combat vehicles with gun ports, battering rams, tear gas mortars, etc. All non-SWAT officers (of which there are twice as many) have access to SWAT equipment - each patrol car carries sets for three officers in the trunk. The SWAT teams share one mine resistant vehicle (which despite ripping up pavement is also used for routine patrols and traffic stops), but have their own helicopters. There are enough extra SWAT weapons that even after failing to account for fifty assault rifles there's still three guns per officer in surplus.

The violent crime rate per capita is the same as it was in 1980 but the population is down by a third. The petty crime rate is down, drug crime is down by a lot, the old gangs are gone (the final sign of a city dying is when the pimps and drug dealers relocate), and the new gangs are weak and disorganized, and more interested in causing trouble than profitable crime. They have the weapons not because they're needed, but because they're free from the military. They use them not because they're needed (they sent both SWAT teams to my house for a welfare check after I accidentally dialed 910 instead of 810 and triggered a 911 hangup alert, and they've called in those three other teams from neighboring counties and sent all five to raid a house over a prank phone call), but because having them around is expensive and they need to justify the cost.

When the media says, "police militarization," they don't mean, "SWAT teams exist," they mean, "SWAT teams have increased in number and use by an order of magnitude during a time when the situations calling for them have declined, and normal officers have gained access to SWAT equipment at a time when the threat to them by attackers is at an all time low."
 
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Whitebeard

Senior Member.
This is an interesting one, worth a watch, yes it is bias towards the protestors stand point, but has plenty of footage to show how riots are fluid affairs, and the political bias aside shows a pretty accurate portrayal of how events unfolded as far as I can remember. I was in the part of the march that was diverted from Whitehall via the Embankment and Northumberland Ave. I was unaware at the time of the first trouble in Whitehall, even the police along the route as we passed seamed to show no signs anything was amiss. The first time I became aware of the riot was shortly after I entered Trafalgar Square, when a pair of police horses galloped through the crowd and nearly ran me and two mates down. I was in the square for about three hours, trying to get the hell out of there, I had gone to protest against an unjust tax, not to fight the old bill. As is explained a few times in the video, there were periods of up to half hour of calm, then periods of massed fighting.

I ened up being pushed up The Haymarket, and managed to find a way out down some side streets and away from the trouble. All the tube stations were shut and I ended up making my way across London and saw a load of running battles, battles that were still going after I had reached paddington station and got a train back to Bristol.
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
Fair enough, Hevach. I'm interested in some of the points you made, but I'll PM as opposed to further derailing the thread OT and save having Mick slap my fingers.

Edit: I have to say though - those crime stats indicate public safety levels, not the level of threat faced by police.
 
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mazoola

Member
The point of the term isn't SWAT teams. It refers to the massive increase in the number of swat teams and their use, but more importantly to the fact that a great many departments equip regular officers the same as SWAT teams.
(I'll see if I can slip this in before the OT hammer comes down...)

A few years ago I was riding SF BART with a friend, and I noticed a recruiting poster for the BART police. Among other enticements, it mentioned the chance to join the BART SWAT team. I nudged my friend. "BART has a SWAT team?!?" I chuckled. I told that story several times over the next few days.

A week or two later, a [non-SWAT] BART cop, confused by all the weaponry hanging from his belt, reached for his taser but somehow drew his pistol and shot Oscar Grant in the back. The idea of 'BART SWAT' suddenly seemed a lot less amusing.
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
A week or two later, a [non-SWAT] BART cop, confused by all the weaponry hanging from his belt, reached for his taser but somehow drew his pistol and shot Oscar Grant in the back. The idea of 'BART SWAT' suddenly seemed a lot less amusing.
This is a case study that most trainers here are familiar with. It was not so much that he was "confused by all the weaponry" as he was only carrying standard patrol gear. The confusion was due to him wearing a taser on the same side of his belt as his firearm. This is one of the reasons that it's recommended to wear a taser as cross draw on the opposite side to the firearm, as during times of stress fine motor skills go out the window and the most often trained option - drawing a gun - will become automatic.
 
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