ABC News World Headquarters’ World News Tonight started off with another report critical of police use of force in recent days, either without all the facts or simply in a rush to judgement against the police.
“We begin tonight with yet a new police video under the microscope just as we come on the air…” David Muir crows with great sensationalistic excitement in his voice.
Here’s the report:
Here’s the rest of the story from the local ABC station:
MARANA, Ariz. (WJLA) – Police in Arizona said Tuesday that an officer who intentionally used his car last month to run into a suspect with a rifle probably saved the man’s life.
Hmmm. Let’s hear some more. Same story, just re-arranging paragraphs.
Before Rapiejko’s encounter with Valencia, the suspect had pointed the rifle at his head multiple times and threatened suicide before fleeing, according to police.
Hmmm. Now that’s a clue. Yes, if he had pointed the gun at himself multiple times, threatening suicide, that would suggest he’s dangerous and then some.
In one video, an officer who was tailing Valencia at slow speed reports over the radio that the suspect has fired one round in the air with a rifle he is accused of stealing that morning from a Walmart.
So he’s got a rifle that’s loaded and is willing to pull the trigger. Those are clues.
So one of the cops ram him with his squad car, minimizing the risk to innocents, officers and the suspect himself.
The police chief explains:
“If we’re going to choose between maybe we’ll let him go a little bit farther and see what happens, or we’re going to take him out now and eliminate any opportunity he has to hurt somebody, you’re going to err on the side of, in favor of the innocent people,” Police Chief Terry Rozema said. “Without a doubt.”
Of course, the suspect’s lawyer is crying foul. She doesn’t credit cops with saving her client’s life.
The man’s lawyer strongly disagrees. Video of the incident has stirred debate about what type of force police should have used to detain a man with a gun.
“Everything in the video seems to point towards an obvious excessive use of force. It is miraculous that my client isn’t dead,” said attorney Michelle Cohen-Metzger.
A man armed with a gun acting suicidal and firing at least one shot?
Michelle’s client is lucky he wasn’t shot dead. Darn lucky.
He wasn’t seriously injured, but the ramming did put an end to a one-man crime wave.
Tucson Police Sgt Pete Dugan said that Valencia was involved in several incidents in Tucson the day he was struck.
At 6:45 a.m., Valencia robbed a 7-Eleven with a metal object in his hand. He was charged with theft.
A little more than an hour later, police said, Valencia set a fire at a church and was charged with arson of an occupied structure.
Just after that he entered a home and stole a car, police said, adding that he later stole a gun in Marana.
Valencia faces at least 15 charges.
Armed robbery, theft, arson of an occupied structure, home invasion, car theft, retail theft of the gun and ammo from a Walmart and more.
Especially in Arizona, he really did want to die. He’s lucky he wasn’t shot dead multiple times that day by a whole host of people.
Does all this square with the sensationalistic hit-piece done by ABC World News Tonight?
Not in my mind. What say you?