December 13, 2014 10:00 pm -

[su_right_ad]It’s described as worse than “stop and frisk.”

Just what is a jump-out? It depends who you ask. It is typically described as multiple officers patrolling in an unmarked car, who at some point see something suspicious, and jump out of the car at once on unsuspecting pedestrians, with the intent of catching them off guard. Overwhelmingly, the jump-outs that have been reported involve at least one black male. DC Ferguson describes it as a “paramilitary tactic in which unmarked police vehicles carry 3 or more officers not wearing the standard police uniform. Their objective is to stop and intimidate ordinary citizens into submitting to interrogation or an unwarranted search.”

In some of the most egregious descriptions, cops are alleged to have drawn their weapons to do so. In others, they will allegedly manhandle, shove, or slam the suspects, frisk the suspects, or aggressively question the suspects in a manner that makes it seem as if they have no choice but to answer.

“We realized that it’s pretty much our stop and frisk,” said Kenny Nero, a co-founder of DC Ferguson.

[su_thin_right_skyscraper_ad]The D.C. Police Department hardly acknowledges the term at all. When asked about jump-outs by ThinkProgress, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said, “Oh god, the fantasy jump-out squads,” explaining that “jump-outs” are a now-defunct police tactic used in the 1980s and 1990s to conduct undercover drug stings. But during a police oversight hearing following the interview, Lanier qualified her comments, acknowledging that officers do occasionally jump out of unmarked cars in drug cases, although qualifying that it’s very rare, and that she wouldn’t call it a “jump-out.”…

On multiple occasions when asked about jump-outs, Lanier emphasized that there are more than 20 different law enforcement authorities policing the city, including the capitol police, park police, metro police, and federal authorities, and that she cannot account for tactics they may use that resemble a jump-out.

Seema Sadanandan, policy and advocacy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital, has balked at Lanier’s claim that the tactics she described are “rarely used” by MPD. “The Chief’s assertions are directly contradicted by the experiences of hundreds of District residents who have interacted with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Vice Unit officers, who are often traveling in unmarked cars and utilize a ‘jump-out’ tactic to initiate the contact,” she told ThinkProgress. Sadanandan said she has heard “hundreds of anecdotal stories” over the past few years during community meetings and trainings.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

13 responses to Insidious Police Practice: The ‘Jump-Out’

  1. tiredoftea December 13th, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    But not from black helicopters, right?

    • whatthe46 December 13th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

      what happens if they “jump out” on someone who’s legally carrying and get their a&&es shot and killed? will it be a crime on part of the unsuspecting victim jumped on? hummm

      • tiredoftea December 13th, 2014 at 10:36 pm

        Yeah, there’s the big flaw in the good guy with a gun theory! We can be sure it won’t be the Kory and his gang pussies, though.

      • raincheck December 14th, 2014 at 8:08 am

        I wondered the same thing..

    • greenfloyd December 13th, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      Nah… you loose the element of surprise… 🙂 And this “jump-out” appears to be a modified version of the old gang-land tactic for snatching people off the street, often to never be heard from again. It’s a favorite among drug gangs. Or are they cops? Who knows anymore!?

      • rg9rts December 14th, 2014 at 3:39 am

        They have stealth mode now

  2. greenfloyd December 13th, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Never thought I’d see the day in America when you can no longer distinguish between cops and thugs. But here we are!

    • neworleans878 December 13th, 2014 at 11:05 pm

      Reminds me of a line in a Rolling Stones song: “Just as every cop is a criminal…”

      • greenfloyd December 14th, 2014 at 6:52 pm

        I like the way Charles Bowden put it in his book “Shadow in the City,” describing a deep-cover DEA agent after a few years in the life, “He feels closer to his prey than to cops.”

  3. neworleans878 December 13th, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Down here they’re called the “jump out boys”.

    Had the misfortune to be pulled over by them one day. Would have thought I was freakin’ Clyde Barrow.

  4. neworleans878 December 13th, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Down here they’re called the “jump out boys”.

    Had the misfortune to be pulled over by them one day. Would have thought I was freakin’ Clyde Barrow.

  5. rg9rts December 14th, 2014 at 3:38 am

    The cops version of a chinese firedrill with real consequences

  6. Budda December 14th, 2014 at 7:16 am

    I don’t believe this tactic would be used in a “Lily-White” upper class neighborhood…is that racist?