On Tuesday, the police in Berkeley, Missouri (a town tellingly dubbed “Near Ferguson” by the media) held a press conference to deliver an update on their investigation into the death of 18-year-old Antonio Martin. Martin, like the posthumously famous 18-year-old Michael Brown, died after attacking a police officer. The difference is that Martin used a gun, as multiple sources confirmed to the police, supporting what surveillance camera video from the scene of the shooting already told us. Fox News in St. Louis reports (emphasis added):
An independent investigation performed by St. Louis County Police confirmed that Martin pulled a gun on the officer who was responding to the call for shoplifting.
During the conference, Police Chief Frank McCall also confirmed that the individual who was with Martin at the time confirmed the same. He told police that he fled for fear of his life because he didn’t know if he would be shot. According to McCall, several witnesses were interviewed.
Those witnesses also confirmed that Martin was armed and did attempt to fire his weapon at the officer.
Authorities say the Berkeley police officer feared for his life and as a result fired three shots at Martin.
CBS News adds that police chief Frank McCall said the officer avoided taking a bullet because Martin neglected to release the safety on his weapon, which was recovered at the scene with a live cartridge in the chamber. If Martin had gotten the safety off in time, said McCall, “we may be talking about two deaths instead of one.” Another crucial tidbit from the press conference — alluded to in a timeline provided by Fox News in St. Louis, forthrightly reported by the Washington Post, and omitted completely from every other media account I’ve read this afternoon — is that the officer encountered Martin while responding to a shoplifting call from the convenience store where the shooting occurred, and Martin matched the description of the suspect.
Not even the testimony of Martin’s companion was enough to satisfy the War on Cops crowd, which also wasn’t much impressed with grand jury testimony in the deaths of Michael Brown or Eric Garner. There’s already been trouble because of the Martin shooting, including an arrest for arson and burglary perpetrated against the gas station across the street from where the shooting occurred. (“Looting for social justice” enthusiasts are notoriously carefree about choosing their targets.) No sooner had the latest press conference concluded than social media was filled with posts from the Ferguson Mob, claiming it was all a trick to frame Martin and get the cop off the hook for gunning him down. It looks like he’ll slip into the same mythology snowball as the Mike “Gentle Giant” Brown, Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin, whose spirit hangs over these proceedings even though he was not killed by a police officer. (Eh, it was a “White Hispanic” neighborhood watch guy, a wannabe cop. Close enough.)
This is a dangerous mythology. Two police officers are dead in New York City. Officers have come under fire in suspiciously similar circumstances elsewhere in recent days. CNN reports on attacks in Los Angeles and Pasco County, Florida:
Two Los Angeles police officers were shot at Sunday night while they drove their patrol car in the southern part of the city, police said. The officers returned fire, authorities said, and no one was injured.
One suspect was arrested and two weapons, including a rifle, were recovered. Another remains at large, prompting a manhunt that lasted for hours and involved about 100 officers, LAPD Capt. Lillian Carranza said.
Police warned residents to stay indoors in part of South Central Los Angeles. On Monday, police reopened access to streets inside a six-block perimeter they set up overnight.
LAPD Detective Megan Aguilar told CNN that investigators have “nothing to indicate that there’s a nexus” between the shooting and recent nationwide protests against police brutality that have fueled animosity toward police.
And there was a second incident over the weekend in which police were fired at, this one in Florida on Sunday morning.
Someone fired three bullets at two deputies with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office as they sat in their patrol car.
“Both deputies reported hearing the whizzing sound of each projectile as they flew by,” the sheriff’s office said. “Deputies did not see the suspect or the vehicle from which the shots were fired.”
We seem to have a trend here: I’d go so far as to call it a “narrative.” Police officers are denounced as racist killers, an invading army occupying black neighborhoods. From New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, through Attorney General Eric Holder, and all the way up to President Barack Obama, the Democrat political establishment chose not to categorically refute this portrayal. To one degree or another, the Killer Cop caricature was indulged — explicitly by de Blasio, who claimed to be worried that his half-black son could be harmed by the police officers sworn to protect him. The mob was treated like a righteous crusade, allowed to violate numerous ordinances governing demonstrations with impunity. Major media figures, including sports and entertainment stars, have worked to imprint the false “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” mythology over the cold, unpleasant reality of what strong-arm robbery suspect Michael Brown was actually doing when he was shot.
Now some people taking that narrative seriously enough to start shooting at cops. A curious media interested in Narratives might even wonder if young Antonio Martin was influenced by War on Cops rhetoric; pulling a gun on a police officer after a shoplifting incident seems a bit extreme, doesn’t it?
But no, there are no connections made here. The politicians who indulged this mob mentality are not held accountable for their negligence. In fact, the mainstream media is losing its patience with New York police officers who have been repaying Mayor de Blasio’s contempt in kind by turning their backs on him. Ignoring everything de Blasio has said and done, the New York Times praised him today for “expressing his respect and admiration for the New York Police Department” and castigated the NYPD for “squandering” its respect by turning their backs on him at public appearances.
Statistics suggesting that New York cops are slowing the pace of minor arrests, citing concern for their safety, leads to criticism that they’re informally declaring a strike in a fit of pique. It wasn’t long ago that the NYPD was under fire for making too many minor arrests, thanks to alleged racial profiling and stop-and-frisk policies. One might also look back to the “crime rate declines despite soaring jail population” narrative, which portrayed that situation as suspicious and incongruous, rather than a straightforward example of cause and effect.
Nobody in the mainstream media seems interested in connecting the attacks on police into a larger national story, linked to the irresponsible rhetoric of protest organizers and media-savvy race hustlers. The larger body of liberal rhetoric and Democrat Party politics has ignored these events — remarkable for those who remember how the same media strained to draw hypothetical connections between mainstream conservatism and shooters who really were lone wolves. The narrative of the Elusive Tea Party Killer remains alive, despite years of failed efforts to track down this hobgoblin of the Left’s imagination, but there isn’t even a proto-narrative about the War on Cops, no hand-wringing about a dangerous “Climate of Hate.”
This climate is not just dangerous to cops, by the way. The War on Cops is an assault on everyone who relies upon the police for their safety, especially law-abiding, disarmed citizens who live in high-crime areas. The Number One cause of death for young black men is homicide, and it most certainly is not occurring at the hands of cops, white or otherwise, despite all the hysterical rhetoric to the contrary. Ninety-two percent of slain blacks are killed by other blacks. If this wave of anger and violence directed at police officers leads to reduced law enforcement activity in bad neighborhoods, the ultimate butcher’s bill from the War on Cops will include a large number of young black men. How’s that for a narrative, Big Media? Too challenging, too politically incorrect? Better to just keep hammering the police, while portraying their assailants as crazy lone wolves. What’s the endgame here: Nationalized police forces under the direct control of federal bureaucrats, plus another big round of “social justice” redistribution doled out by Democratic politicians?