Let’s take everything we can out of what have become the tipping point events of law enforcement vs. citizens. Let’s take out race, let’s take out history, let’s try to separate every element except for the facts and actual events that transpired between the police and the individual. So, here we go….
Darren Wilson was a cop, threatened by an unarmed Michael Brown. Wilson shot and killed Brown.
As a police officer, Darren Wilson is armed with training, a baton, a taser, mace, and hopefully some deescalation dialogue. The last resort is his gun, and the last result of that gun should be fatal force.
Darren Wilson did not have his taser on him. He did not wear it that day because it was “uncomfortable”.
Michael Brown was a big individual, maybe mace and a baton were inadequate to subdue him. Without the option of a taser, Wilson drew the last resort and fired 10 shots. Brown was hit 6 times, all in the upper body.
Darren Wilson was found to be acting in accordance to his position and will not be tried for any criminal action in the incident.
The prosecuting district attorney was Bob McCulloch. McCulloch’s father was a St. Louis police officer that was shot and killed by a black man in 1964. McCulloch also has a uncle, brother and cousin that all served with the St. Louis police department.
Daniel Panteleo is a cop who put Eric Garner in a choke hold and held it past the point where Garner said “I can’t breathe” until the point Garner no longer was breathing. There were three other officers present, and none of the four were under threat. Chokeholds have been banned by the NYPD since 1993.
Panteleo was not found of any wrongdoing, and will not be changed with any criminal activity.
This incident was filmed. The individual who made this film, Ramsay Orta, was brought up on criminal charges as police have alleged that Orta slipped a .25 caliber handgun into a teenage accomplices waistband. Orta claimed the charges were falsely brought up as a retaliation by the NYPD, but the court did not agree. Orta was charged with single felony counts of third-degree criminal weapon possession and criminal firearm possession.
Take just these incidents, the factual evidence, eliminate everything else, and while they are very different scenarios, neither one of them make sense. They both scream of corruption and abuse of power. No matter what the background of Brown and Garner, they were not served with the proper use of authoritative force, and the resulting lack of legal action for their deaths is insulting and unjust.
In the Brown case there is a lot of speculation due to differing eye witness reports, statements, and contradicting information. I can’t say I know Wilson was wrong. I can say I think he was. However, with what has been provided there is nothing I can accuse Wilson of “beyond a reasonable doubt”. What I can say is it makes no sense to have someone with the history of Bob McCulloch “prosecuting” Wilson. I think it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to maintain a neutral point of view when your father was stolen from you at the age of 12 in an almost exact opposite case of the one your are prosecuting against. It also makes no sense to have a D.A. that works so closely with police attempt to build a case against them.
In the Garner case, Daniel Panteleo has no business being a free man. He used illegal lethal force on a citizen not threatening anyone and there is disturbing indisputable video evidence of it.
The truth is that our police officers are necessary. They are amazing. They run into the heart of danger to protect people they don’t know. They do this while not earning a 10th the salary of almost any CEO in this country. They sacrifice, they are brave. I could not be a cop.
However, there are some people that get into law enforcement for the wrong reasons, and when these people are not held accountable for their actions, everyone suffers.
This needs to be corrected. The “blue wall of silence” is very real and it hurts cops more than it helps them.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of examples of police not testifying against each other, but I found this podcast extremely relevant and disheartening.
If you don’t get rid of the bad cops, the good cops suffer, as does every citizen in the US. There are bad people in every walk of life, but we are to assume that law enforcement officials are never bad people and never wrong? It is not possible.
A shitty cop comes into a situation with a preconceived notion not based on fact. A shitty cop has put an expectation on a person without any evidence or merit behind it. There is a huge difference between a “hunch” and a concluded thought. Good cops have a hunch based on something tangible and act on it. Shitty cops have a concluded thought based on prejudice or a non relevant previous event and act on it.
All I ask for is accountability for shitty cops, because it makes it so much easier to give the deserved thanks and adoration to the good ones.