Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who shot Philando Castile in his car in Minnesota weeks ago, took a training course called “The Bulletproof Warrior” less than two years ago.
The evidence suggests that this course, and courses similar to it, offered by a private company called Calibre Press, are even worse than Urban Shield – the organized para-military and terror response training put on for police by the Alameda Sheriff’s Department – if that’s imaginable.
The New York Times quotes Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, as saying that courses like those offered by Calibre “reinforce the thinking that everyone is out to get the police… if you hesitate, you could lose your life.”
Michael Becar, the leader of an international police training association says“seminars like those offered by Calibre and other firms foster a sense of paranoia among officers.”
The course Yanez took is now called “BulletProof,” (according to the Star-Tribune, “Calibre recently changed the name of its Bulletproof Warrior course after complaints from police departments about the implication of the word ‘warrior.'”) and it’s coming to San Jose this August 17th and 18th.
The Times describes the course as having charts and graphs on “Combat Efficiency” and “Perceptual Distortions in Combat” and says that it suggests that “the will to survive is all too often trained out of the psyches of our police officers.”
It’s militarized policing on the individual level, drilled into the attendees as they are shown videos of police being shot – but if they are shown videos such as Oscar Grant, Walter Scott, and Mario Woods being executed as well, no one is volunteering that information.
We know that police should be being trained to de-escalate; we know that paranioa leads directly to officers shooting at people because they think that toy trucks and cell phones look like handguns. Calibre and the mentality it pushes are indirectly responsible for the deaths of hundreds, likely thousands over the years.
Urban Shield could – at least theoretically – be shut down by the will of the people, because it is sponsored, financed and organized by various levels of government. Not so with Calibre trainings. They are privately run, and while some police officers go with the assent of their agencies and may get reimbursement, some simply pay the $200 fee and go to them on their own.
Still, the one coming up in San Jose is “Hosted” by and at the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Deptartment in San Jose. It should not be so hosted, and we should demand such. Hell, it deserves to be shut down.
Calling Stop Urban Shield, APTP, AROC, Black Lives Matter activists and all those fighting against police repression – those who recognize that police terror is directly related to police militarization. What begins with a lecture ends with Philandro Castile bleeding out on the sidewalk, and too many of us watching the video over and over and wondering ‘why?’