On Saturday, The Washington Post claimed we have a problem in this country wherein cops shoot unarmed people in the back and face no ramifications or very minor ones at the most.
The Washington Post did not mention that a person can be armed, and therefore a lethal threat, without a gun. Instead they cited examples of high speed chases at speeds of “nearly 100 miles per hour” and other instances where a vehicle is clearly a weapon, lamenting the fact that a police officer or officers shot and killed unarmed people “in the back” in the various examples. (Alleged carjackers can be charged with “armed assault” for unlawfully occupying a vehicle.)
What wouldThe Washington Post have reported if the police officers had driven 130 miles per hour in an attempt to get ahead of the car to shoot from the front, but had run over and killed five pedestrians at an intersection in the process? Or had run a light and hit a church van full of vacation Bible school children, killing them all?
Then, would the argument be that police had no business driving that fast when they could have just shot from behind?
My point is, these are but a fraction of the things officers have to consider when someone speeds off instead of pulling over they see police lights in their rear view mirror. Every move made by police is increasingly in the public eye — thanks to hucksters, spinsters, and race-baiters and The Washington Post — and this only adds one more thing to already outrageous checklist police officers run through their minds when a car speeds off or when the next Ferguson-like scenario arises and someone reaches into an officer’s car and tries to take his or her gun away.
The Washington Post joined with Bowling Green University to look at 54 incidents in which a police officer was charged for a fatal shooting “while on duty” during the past decade. And althoughThe Washington Post admits that these 54 are but a fraction of the “thousands of fatal police shootings” during that time, they highlight these 54 because they are the ones in which The Washington Post believes they can show how officers got it wrong.
In examining “the most extreme instances” in these 54 out of thousands, The Washington Post reports that “when [officers] are convicted or plead guilty, they’ve tended to get little time behind bars.” They mention names like strong-arm robbery suspect Michael Brown and career criminal Eric Garner without mentioning that the “hand up, don’t shoot” propaganda pushed in the wake of Brown’s death was false. They also fail to mention that a jury did not hold officers wrong in Garner’s death.
Instead they said the death of Brown raised “concerns about racism in policing.” They then presented a chart to show the majority of officers in the 54 incidents were white, while the majority of unarmed victims were black.
The Washington Post did not present a similar chart showing crimes by race or which races tend to perpetrate certain crimes — including violent crime — or by what percentage. Thus they offered no explanation for why police of any color might be in contact with certain people on a regular basis because said people are more frequently involved in criminal activity. Black Americans like Brown and Garner, for example, committed 52.9 percent of all homicides and 59.9 percent of felony murders from 1980 to 2008, according to a study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that tracked crime rates, despite making up only 13.2 percent of the total U.S. population.
Towards the end of the report,The Washington Post relays this story from September 2013:
It was well after midnight when Jonathan Ferrell, 24, a former Florida A&M football defensive back, crashed his Toyota Camry, rolling it into a ditch, according to the police report. Dazed, he kicked out the rear window, crawled from the vehicle and made his way to a nearby house to seek helps.
But when he started banging on the door, the woman who lived there panicked and called 911. The officers who responded to the call told investigators that they believed that Ferrell was a threat, records show. When Ferrell, who was black, did not follow their orders to get on the ground, Kerrick, who is white, shot him 10 times, police officials said.
The Washington Post ends their report with the following quote from the mother football player, who also happens to be the mother of a police officer: “Society has put it into their heads that the officer is always right. That has to change.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.