In the one-minute clip released Monday by the Kern County Detention Officers Association, shows Youngblood saying “There’s a good reason for that: millions and millions of dollars.” In addressing inmate costs, Youngblood asks the audience: “Which way do you think is better financially? To cripple them or kill them, for the county?” An audience member says”Kill them” and Youngblood says “Absolutely, because if we cripple them we get to take care of them for life, and that cost goes way up.”
The video is from a 2006 meeting with Youngblood during his successful first campaign and Youngblood insists that he was merely explaining (after the beating death of an inmate in 2005) about the relative costs of bad deputies. He insisted that he never suggested that deputies should shoot to kill. While he regrets the way he said it, he said that he was making a comment on the costs of police abuse not endorsing such abuse.
I have watched the video and he does start the exchange by highlight the costs of “a bad shooting.” However, it is bizarre that he would then turn to a discussion of the relative costs of killing or crippling and noting that “if they’re crippled, we get to take care of them for life. And that cost goes way up.”
Notably, Youngblood may have become precisely one of those litigation costs that he was bewailing. Even if he was not encouraging the use of lethal force, his words will likely be introduced at every future police shooting trial. City officials would well ask “Which way do you think is better financially? To cripple him politically or kill him politically, for the county?”