by John Boch
There is optimism and hope among many that the death of Michael Brown will result in meaningful changes in how American police operate.
First off, let’s not kid ourselves about why Michael Brown is dead.
It wasn’t a case of, as one individual noted and as the race hustlers would have us believe, “A wonderful little black infant was minding his own business, skipping home from school after earning an A+++ on his math test. After he stopped to help an elderly woman across the street and pick some daisies for his ailing mother, a militarized policeman, armed to the teeth, named Officer Whitey K. Negrokiller, for no reason whatsoever, other than his affiliations with the Tea Party, the NRA and the KKK, opened fire on him, shooting him 227 times in the face as the little angel pleaded for his life.”
Evidence is showing that Michael Brown brought his death upon himself. Nobody forced him to commit that strong-armed robbery of cheap cigars from that store in Ferguson, using his 6′ 4″, 300-pound imposing size to intimidate the owner.
Nobody forced him to aggressively enter that police car/SUV when the police officer initially made contact with him. New evidence is supporting the initial police reports that the officer was pushed back into the squad by the suspect and a struggle ensued.
Nobody forced Michael Brown to approach the cop for a second time after initially getting shot.
The cop, from pictures, was a thin guy, probably not even 200 pounds with all of his gear on. Looking at the totality of the circumstances, it was clearly reasonable for the cop to repeatedly shoot a man half-again bigger than him when the suspect advanced on him for a second time – even if Michael Brown had no weapons.
Brown’s size, strength and earlier disposition trying to take the cop’s weapon were enough reason for any reasonable person to believe they were about to face death or great bodily injury at the hands of Brown if they didn’t employ deadly force in self-defense.
That aside, we’re looking at two areas where we may see very positive changes to American policing come about from this incident.
1. Military gear used by local law enforcement
First off, we may see an end to the Department of Defense giving away military equipment to local law enforcement agencies. Local cops don’t need MRAPs, and other military equipment. They don’t need machine guns. They don’t need to look like soldiers patrolling Fallujah on the streets of America.
It is my opinion that cops today are way too quick to use all their latest cool-guy stuff for everything when using one’s head and common sense is a far better option, and there are far too many stories every week of how this goes horribly wrong.
Take for instance the SWAT team who raided an elderly woman’s house based upon a computer internet IP address, because of online threats. Instead of looking up the owner’s information and seeing she’s not exactly the profile of a foaming at the mouth lunatic and knocking on her door to ask if she knows anything about this, they literally break down her front door and hold her and her foster kid at gunpoint. Nice going, jackwagons.
Here in Peoria, Illinois, the mayor sicced his local police SWAT team on someone criticizing him in social media, alluding to his “unverified and supposed drug use and association with prostitutes.” No charges were filed in what would have been a “false impersonation of a public official” charge.
Sometimes shots are fired.
Just weeks ago, a case in Virginia saw a homeowner acquitted for shooting at heavily armed cops in the wrong place while investigating a prowler. Yes, cops were at the wrong address.
The homeowner saw the men dressed in black in his backyard, got his gun. He challenged them to identify themselves. They didn’t, but they did point their guns at him. He fired when he saw a couple of laser pointers splash across his body. Again, by a miracle, he wasn’t killed in a hail of gunfire, but cops still had the audacity to charge him. A jury found that the homeowner’s actions were not only reasonable, but highly restrained, and acquitted him after only a few minutes of deliberations.
Some don’t go so well for the homeowners or the cops. A recent case in Texas had a grand jury refuse to indict a homeowner in the killing of a cop during a 5:50am SWAT raid over some marijuana.
Instead of knocking on the door or waiting to pick Henry Magee up on a traffic stop, they broke in and he shot one dead right there. Miraculously cops didn’t gun him down in a hail of gunfire, but they did arrest him and charge him with capital murder. The grand jury thought the homeowner’s actions were reasonable to protect himself and his pregnant girlfriend and refused to indict.
What did the cops find? A little over a couple kilos of pot, putting him right up there with Ted Bundy, Chris Dorner and any number of spree killers in terms of being Public Enemy #1.
“Officer safety” is the common refrain, but being a cop is dangerous. Nobody ever said being a cop was easy, safe or stress-free and that’s why we pay them well, offer good retirements and benefits and give them special powers and tools to accomplish their jobs with a reasonable degree of personal safety. If that’s not good enough or if we don’t pay them enough, then they should find another job.
Legislation has already been circulated or will soon be introduced for just this purpose. It seems reasonable.
2. A movement towards outside review of police shootings
Read this story. Here’s an excerpt:
What I Did After Police Killed My SonTen years later, we in Wisconsin passed the nation’s first law calling for outside reviews.
(Politico) – …Our country is simply not paying enough attention to the terrible lack of accountability of police departments and the way it affects all of us—regardless of race or ethnicity. Because if a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy — that was my son, Michael — can be shot in the head under a street light with his hands cuffed behind his back, in front of five eyewitnesses (including his mother and sister), and his father was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who flew in three wars for his country — that’s me — and I still couldn’t get anything done about it, then Joe the plumber and Javier the roofer aren’t going to be able to do anything about it either.
Outside review of police-involved shootings should be a must.
Not outside reviews with agenda-driving “activists” / community agitators completely ignorant to the legal, moral and ethical considerations for the lawful use of deadly force. Not review by prosecutors who rely on cops as part of the criminal justice “team”. Not politicians looking to score votes, either, but by trained, competent individuals outside of police/law enforcement circles.
This case in the Politico story above cries out of independent review, but ten years later, it’s long past the time when it should have been evaluated.
Ditto for Erik Scott who was shot down exiting a Costco store in Las Vegas a few years ago.
And there are plenty of other cases.
Independent review of police-involved shootings is a no-brainer, and should have been implemented long ago.
Maybe this case will lend energy to a Wisconsin-style law either passed nationally or in the states.