CRJ509 – Psychopathology of Criminal Behavior
The following story is a fictional account of an incident that occurred leading up to the mythical Democratic-Republican National Convention (DRNC) event in Miami, Florida. The story is loosely based on an amalgamation of real life occurrences during the Free Trade Area of the Americas conference in Miami, Florida in 2003. The names of all the characters in the story are fictional.
Prior to being promoted to the rank of Police Major and being assigned to the Special Patrol Bureau, Louis Warren had served as a lieutenant in the Tactical Operations Section, and later as the captain of the Section. In both of these capacities, Warren had been involved as the Special Response Team (SRT) commander in over 300 hostage and barricaded subject incidents over a ten year time span. During this time, Warren had developed a very close working relationship with Dr. Robert Tessman, one of two fulltime staff psychologists who worked for the Department’s Psychological Services Section. Together, they had handled hundreds of SRT call outs in which Warren served as the Tactical Commander, and Tessman served as the lead hostage negotiator. In MDPD, as in many other large police departments, all hostage and barricaded subject calls required the response of a Hostage Negotiation Team comprised of the lead negotiator (a staff psychologist), and six or seven trained hostage negotiators who were sworn police officers from various districts and bureaus throughout the Department. There were two hostage negotiation teams… one assigned to the north end, and the other to the south side of the county.
After handling several hundred hostage and barricaded subject calls over the years, Warren and Tessman had developed a very close working relationship. They had developed a great deal of respect and admiration for one another. Warren would rely heavily on Dr. Tessman’s advice during SRT call outs. Tessman and his team of negotiators would gather information about the subject (or subjects) who had barricaded themselves inside a residence or a building… and were usually armed… and sometimes holding hostages. Based on the information gathered from family members, witnesses, co-workers, or sometimes from the subjects themselves, Dr. Tessman would provide Warren with a profile on the subject’s mindset. Tessman would take into consideration any medications that the subject was on (or usually had stopped taking), as well as a number of other factors to make his determination about the subject’s mindset and intentions.
During these SRT call outs, Tessman would let Warren know whether the situation was a likely “suicide by cop” scenario, or whether the subject was likely to give himself up with or without a fight. In many ways, Tessman’s assessment was a guess… but it was a very educated guess… and as Warren had found out over the years… a very reliable one. Warren would use Tessman’s assessments to decide whether and when to use chemical agents to get the barricaded subjects to surrender… or to use explosive breaching techniques… or less-lethal or lethal munitions… or when to go slow, and when to go fast. In all their call outs together, Warren did not remember a time where Dr. Tessman’s assessment of the subject’s mindset had not been accurate.
Preparation for the DRNC
Leading up to the DRNC, Major Warren had been very concerned about the violent protestors called “Black Bloc” protestors, who had disrupted the World Trade Organization (WTO) conference in Seattle, Washington, in 1999, and again in Quebec City, Canada; Cancun, Mexico; Genoa, Italy; and for the FTAA Conference in Miami-Dade in 2003. Warren himself had confronted these violent protestors during that one-week event. He knew the type of damage and injuries that they could cause to his front-line Mobile Field Force officers, and to the city as well.
The term “Black Bloc” does not pertain to any protest group in particular. Black Bloc is a term used to describe the violent tactics of certain radical protest groups. Groups that utilize Black Bloc tactics include Anarchist, Communist, and other far-left, and far-right organizations. Many of these groups themselves describe their tactics as “direct action” against the authorities. Some of these groups claim that their “direct actions” are intended to be non-violent actions. An example of the supposed non-violent tactics can be seen by visiting the Ruckus Society web site at http://www.ruckus.org/
However, some of these protest groups make no attempt to disguise their violent tactics. These are the groups that caused Major Warren to worry the most, leading up to the DRNC event in August. Because of his concern about the Black Bloc protest groups, Major Warren turned to an old friend for advice. Warren picked up the phone and dialed the number for MDPD Psych Services Section.
Dr. Tessman answered the phone, “Psychological Services Section, this is Dr. Tessman.”
“Hi Rob… this is Lou Warren… how are you doing?”
“Hey Major… it’s great to hear from you… how are you?”
“I’m fine Rob… I’m calling you in regard to the Democratic-Republican National Convention that’s coming up in August.”
Dr. Tessman inquired, “Oh yeah? It’s funny that you should call me, because I have been giving some thought to calling you on this too.”
“Really? What about?”
“Well… when I heard that you had been appointed to be the overall commander and planner for this event, I thought that you may need a little help from me like in the old days. I’ve been reading a lot about these violent Anarchist and Black Bloc groups that our Intelligence Bureau folks have been telling us are coming for the convention. I thought that maybe I could help you on this.”
“Rob… you are amazing! That’s exactly what I was calling you about. Geez… you always seem to be a step ahead of me. That’s why I prize your opinion so much. You and I have been through a lot of hairy situations in the past.”
“Yes we have… and it’s been a heck of a ride… that’s for sure!”
“OK… let’s get to business. I already have a few ideas of my own, but I’d like to hear your opinions. Just like you used to advise me on hostage calls… I need your take on how these violent protestors act and react.”
“Lou… I can take a stab at it… but you need to realize that it’s not going to be as easy as it was during an SRT call out. These Black Bloc protestors are not just one person we’re talking about… it’s a large group of people… and not all of them are the same. We’re not talking about a large monolithic group that thinks and acts the same way.
“Rob… I understand… and I don’t expect you to be as precise as you were when we were dealing with hostage calls, but anything that you can give me will be greatly appreciated. I want to hear your take on these people… how they’ll react to our field forces… whether we should take a passive approach, or a hardline approach. Should we meet with these people ahead of time, or just ignore them?”
“OK… I’ve already started doing some preliminary background work on it.”
“I’m not surprised!”
“OK… I’ll get a full report on my assessment and recommendations to you by the end of the week. Is that OK with you?”
“Rob… yes it is OK with me. You have no idea how appreciative I am. I hold your opinions in such high regard. I wouldn’t go to anyone else for this other than you.”
“Gee… I hope I don’t let you down.”
“I don’t think you will,” said Major Warren.
For the purpose of this assignment, you are playing the role of Dr. Robert Tessman, the lead staff psychologist in the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Psychological Services Section. Your task is to prepare an essay, not to exceed 1,500 words to explain your recommended course of action in regard to Major Warren’s inquiry. In your essay, address the following:
· What advice do you give Major Warren for dealing with the violent Black Bloc protestors? Support your recommendations with cited sources and with a well-reasoned argument.
· What sources should you be researching as part of a literature review on the matter? List as many as you can think of, and explain how and why these sources would be helpful for formulating a “behavioral profile” of the Black Bloc protestors.
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