ONCE UPON A TIME …
In August of 2014, a man by the name of Michael Brown was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson Missouri. Brown had just been involved in an unarmed robbery of a store clerk and subsequently came into contact with Wilson shortly after the incident.
An altercation ensued between Brown and Wilson. Brown was subsequently shot and killed in the foray.
Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson stated that Brown had gotten on his knees, held his hands in the air and said “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting.” What would follow next, was a media firestorm, founded on the false narrative “hands up don’t shoot.”
As a ballistics expert, crime scene investigation instructor and a law enforcement officer of 17 years, I was interested to see if Wilson had made an extremely erroneous judgement call or if the media was fanning the flames of discontent.
I have always been the first to admit that police officers are people too and as a result, they make mistakes. Wasn’t it Alexander Pope who said “to err is human”? As such, law enforcement is not exempt from this proverbial statement.
However, during the course of my career, I have also come to know many people that work within the media. One of the favorite phrases of my acquaintances in the media is “if it bleeds it leads.” This is the theory that people will be more likely to turn to the tv when there is a “juicy” story as opposed to when there is something mundane, which doesn’t pique their interest.
There is a reason that drama sells so well in Hollywood. This is also what drives ratings.
I waited patiently for the facts of the case to come out. I wanted to see the autopsy report on Brown with my own eyes and prayed for the opportunity to study the wound ballistics.
I often tell people I teach in crime scene school, “evidence doesn’t lie.” After several months of waiting, my wish came true. I was finally able to access some of the crime scene photos from Ferguson, along with the autopsy diagrams that Dr. Michael Baden had completed and even the grand jury transcripts.
Upon reviewing the photos, drawings and reports, I knew immediately that Brown’s hands were not up when he was shot.
I knew immediately that Brown had reached into Wilson’s vehicle and attempted to take his gun.
I knew immediately that Wilson had been assaulted.
And I knew immediately that the mantra “hands up don’t shoot” was a lie.
The evidence didn’t lie because it couldn’t.
SOME PEOPLE LOVE TO GOSSIP
Over the next three years I watched the media continue to play a narrative that police somehow had “open season” on African Americans in this country. I watched as they manipulated stories to further their ratings agenda.
Stories I knew weren’t true because I had inside access to some of them.
I then watched as five officers were ambushed and murdered in Dallas, by an individual who was driven by this false narrative. Five Officers in a string of many others that would be killed for this “cause.”
I was angered about the loss of my brothers and sisters in blue. Brothers and sisters who were both white AND black. Killed for a “cause” that did not appear to be founded on facts.
I watched as the “media elite” and pro athletes began to take up the “cause” and waited for the next media trigger phrase of “cop kills unarmed black man.”
I watched as pro athletes kneeled during the national anthem and actors, actresses, singers and the like, condemned the police. I watched as our own President disarmed officers, stating that they were “too militaristic” and turned a blind eye to the weekly killing of officers in his nation.
And all the while, I remained silent.
Finally, my patience reached its breaking point.
THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL’S BACK
I read a story, where several members of the NFL were requesting that the NFL back them in their movement. Initially the letter sounded promising.
Members were stating that they wanted to work with law enforcement and community organizers to have a more positive impact in the community.
However, midway through the letter, there was a sudden turn.
The letter stated that police have shot over 300 men and women in this country, like Jordan Edwards, Alton Sterling and Trayvon Martin.
This statement was then followed by the allegation that “unarmed black people are five times as likely to be shot and killed as unarmed white people.” Again, the false narrative had reared its ugly head.
I needed to only look at the cases cited, to see that this movement was grossly uninformed.
Jordan Edwards, an African American teen, was in fact shot when he was unarmed. However, he was shot as a result of a grossly erroneous judgement call on the part of the officer that fired into the moving car, which was occupied by 3 other teens.
By all accounts, none of them appear to have posed a threat to the officer or anyone else for that matter.
What bothered me most about Edwards being lumped in this group was that there is probably not an officer on this planet, which would condone this shooting or would attempt to justify the officer’s actions. In addition, the officer that fired the fatal shots, has been criminally charged.
Remember what I said at the beginning of this article about “to err is human.” This is that case. What’s more important to take away from this particular shooting, is that there is no evidence that the shooting was in any way, shape or form, racially motivated.
Yet the media and now the NFL have turned it into that.
Alton Sterling is a name that has been cited multiple times, through the cries of the media and groups like BLM. What people fail to mention is that officers were sent to make contact with Sterling because he was reportedly armed.
When officers arrived at the scene, Sterling fought with them and he did in fact attempt to access a weapon. The incident is on video and one of the officers can be heard yelling that Sterling has a gun.
Sterling is subsequently shot and killed.
Yet the media has martyred him and he has been skillfully placed in the annals of history as an “unarmed black man” that was “murdered by the police.”
Again, another false narrative.
However, the final straw in this letter to the NFL was the mention of Trayvon Martin.
I have heard his name lumped into the “unarmed black man killed by police” mantra for the last few years.
Here’s the rub. Trayvon Martin wasn’t killed by the police!!!!! Trayvon Martin was killed by a Hispanic community watch member named George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman was not a police officer, he was not an off duty police officer, and he was not a retired or reserve police officer. He was a CIVILIAN!!!!
Yet the drums of discontent continue to beat on an on.
Finally, I was rocked, by the patently obtuse statement that “unarmed black people are five times as likely to be shot and killed as unarmed white people.”
Put aside the excellent and scholarly work, to the contrary, which has been done by Heather MacDonald. One needs only look at Obama’s own DOJ statistics to discover that this statement is patently false.
Not to mention studies by Washington State University, the University of Toledo, and Harvard University Professor Roland Fryer (who happens to be black) which show that this statement is completely inaccurate.
I would be foolish to say that racism does not happen in our country.
Is there racism in the United States, yes … is there racism EVERYWHERE … yes.
But the idea that there is this rampant “systemic racism” in the U.S., especially perpetrated by law enforcement, is so tired and played out.
In 2012, nearly 66 MILLION people voted a black man into the highest and most powerful office in the land. There are only approximately 37 million African Americans in this country, many of whom didn’t or couldn’t vote in that election.
This means that, on the conservative side, 40 million (non-black) people voted Obama into office.
So what about the other 60 million who voted in that election? Are they all racist by proxy? Or could it possibly be that many of them, just didn’t agree with Obama’s politics?
Much the same reason that the same people didn’t vote for Gore or Sanders, who are both WHITE. In addition, many of those people (me inclusive) supported another black candidate, Dr. Ben Carson.
So, to my fellow officers, former and current military and people who just love this great country: if you continue to watch these overpaid entertainers, you are nothing more than complicit in the perpetuation of this false narrative (in my opinion).
When the NFL wants to address facts, like the constant, epidemic and senseless killing of young African American men by OTHER African American men … then I will be first in line to show my support.
Until then, I will be resolved to not contribute my time, my money or my energy to the NFL or any of the stations that continue to divide this country with their rhetoric.
I can be reached by email at: joeb@CopBlue.com
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