Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Friday, September 26, 2014

All Kinds Of Wrong

I know some folks think that I am all "police can do no wrong" due to my coverage of Ferguson. Absolutely not the case. I simply know and acknowledge that there are screw ups on both sides of the blue line. I don't give either side a pass. Here's one I've been following, where everything is just wrong.
The police officer who shot dead a young black man in a Walmart store in Ohio as he held an unloaded BB rifle had less than two weeks earlier received what prosecutors called a “pep talk” on how to deal aggressively with suspected gunmen.
When I first heard this one I thought there had to be something more to the story. Living in the northeast it is not usual to see firearms in a Walmart, Kmart or whatever. But when I travel to other parts of the country such a thing is unusual. And if firearms are sold in a store you would think that citizens living there would not be alarmed to see a customer walking around with a firearm either in hand or in a cart. Therefore I surmised that this fellow must have been doing something with that gun that would provoke a customer to call the police. Alas we found out that he was not. In my opinion, this was a clearly racially motivated event...on the part of the customer who called the police.
About 80 seconds before Crawford was shot dead by the police officer, Ritchie told the dispatcher: “He just pointed it at, like, two children.” The surveillance footage shows that he in fact stood still with the rifle at his side as the children and their mother browsed further down the aisle. After another 40 seconds later, the dispatcher asked Ritchie: “You said he pointed it at a couple of kids?” Ritchie replied: “Right”.
Since the video evidence shows Richie was in fact lying about the behavior of Crawford, we can only come to the conclusion that he wanted to have a police confrontation happen. The question I have for the prosecutor is why Ritchie isn't up on charges. His deliberate lie to police lead directly to Crawford's death.

Now lets turn our attention to the police in this matter. Again, since this store was known to sell firearms, why did the police assume a man in the store with a gun was a threat? Did the police at any time think that this guy was a customer? Why did they take his word for it? As far as I know, there were no other calls from customers in the store about a man pointing gun at children or anyone else. You would think that if a person pointed a rifle at your child, in a menacing manner, not only would you do whatever you could to get out of the store, but also would be calling the police as well. The total lack of concerned calls from customers OR store employees says much about the lack of thought (at the very least) on the part of the police department

. The slide show shows the real issue of militarization of the police. It is not the machine guns, sniper rifles or the armored vehicles, it is the thought that the police are there as a domestic army. The army is not charged with law enforcement. The only purpose of an army is to kill the enemy. An army has no charge to protect the innocent. Nor does it have the burden of assuming any suspect is innocent until proven guilty by a jury of his peer. The police on the other hand are charged first and foremost with keeping the peace and apprehending suspects.

As the slide said: We must change the mindset. It is not the job of the police to "end the threat as soon as possible" unless that threat is directed at their person or at another person in the vicinity.

It is the job of the police to evaluate a situation and de-escalate it as soon as possible. The officers could have easily asked the store employees if there had been any reported incidents in the store. It's not like they would not have heard a rifle go off. They should have found the person who reported the event. They should have inquired as to whether the store sells guns to customers (hence an explanation for why this man had one in his hand).

But this is what you get when you allow a fear mentality to go unchecked. When people do not have the leadership ability to tell people to calm. The fuck. Down. Yesterday I was told that I was the recipient of Dick Cheney's heart transplant because I'm "cold." "Cold" is often what is required to make proper decisions in otherwise emotion tainted events. When people are scared, they often make bad decisions. When people are angry they often make bad decisions. If anything I'd prefer a cold policeman to one that is unable to control his or her urges. I don't want police around who see everything and everyone as a threat to their lives. I want police who react to the actual events unfolding in front of them.

If Crawford wasn't waving a gun around when police arrived. If he was on the phone as shown on the video tape, then there was no danger to react to. You do not tell police to think of "loved ones" who could be killed. You do not tell police to think of movie theater shootings and the like, because they are irrelevant to the situation they currently find themselves in.

So these officers should be held in account. The leadership that taught them to think in such a way that gets innocent store customers to get killed should be held equally to account. and Ritchie should be held for a false police report that lead to the death of a person.