In this post, I’m going to cut right to the chase: Michael Brown’s (MB) death was justified, Eric Garner’s (EG) is suspect, and the death of Tamir Rice (TR) was an absolute abomination. The common theme in all of these may seem like that they were about white police officers killing blacks, but that is only a surface reading of the situation. What all three situations have in common is that someone breaking the law was confronted by the police, and all three died: In the MB situation, justifiably so, in the EG case, may be may be not, but in the TR case, there’s no question that the man wearing the police uniform should be sent to jail. If anyone is wondering about the weird phrasing to describe Timothy Loehmann (TL) it’s a good observation. In all conscientiousness, I cannot describe Timothy Loehmann as a police officer, so the best I can do is to call him a man that was wearing a police uniform. On the other hand, I have no problems calling Darren Wilson (DW) a police officer, and with some reservation, I can say the same for Daniel Pantaleo (DP). Moving on.
Let’s do this in chronological order, starting with Eric Garner. Here are what appear to be the facts: EG was allegedly illegally selling cigarettes in front of a convenience store and the owner reported him as such to the NYPD. When confronted by the NYPD, the video clearly shows that he does not want to be arrested, which in and of itself is a crime, the crime of resisting arrest. You also see NYPD officers giving him some latitude for protest, which is being generous. But then it becomes clear that EG will not comply with being arrested. Remember, it is not the beat cop’s duty to hold court, but simply to effectuate the arrest; the courts are for determining right and wrong, legal and illegal. This is when officer Pantaleo comes up behind EG and applies a chokehold to take EG down. However, in the video, you see EG struggling to get free instead of acquiescing (e.g., going limp to indicate that he would comply, or falling to the ground with his hands behind his head). This is when the rest of the team jumps on EG and forcefully takes him down, which then results in EG gasping for air, but still breathing (by definition, if he couldn’t breath, he wouldn’t be able to talk) and then he is choked to death.
Now for my thoughts and opinions. The fact of the matter is is that Eric Garner did break the law, and when confronted, he did resist arrest, the video evidence is clear on both of these issues. And, if a suspect is resisting arrest, police officers have great latitude in effectuating the arrest. Keep in mind that police officers are not judge and jury and cannot hold court in the middle of the street. If police officers see a crime being committed, are ordered to make an arrest, or an individual is a person of interest, police officers MUST make the arrest and let the court systems determine right from wrong, legal from illegal. In our country, this is very deliberate to make sure that no part of government has all of the powers concentrated in one section of the government; it is a very necessary part of a Just society to keep the balance of power.
Therefore, technically, none of the police officers did anything illegal. However, officer DP did break NYPD rules on choke holds. Keep in mind that choke holds are NOT ILLEGAL, jast against NYPD rules. Therefore, the video evidence would support clearing the police officers of any wrong doing in regards to the law. Also, what people forget is that in a court trial, the prosecution would have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and the video evidence showing EG resisting arrest would make it extremely difficult for the prosecutor to prove that a crime had been committed because the defense attorney would correctly argue that the officers had no prior knowledge of EG’s medical condition, isn’t required to ask or know, and it is not incumbent on them to make discretionary judgments on whether to make an arrest or not under the conditions that led them to confront EG. In addition, given that EG was resisting arrest, the defense attorney would again correctly argue that police officers are given wide latitude in dealing with how to effectuate an arrest, and that no one could know what would happen if EG were to escape from the clutches of the police, which necessitated making absolutely sure that EG could not escape their clutches. For example, what if he were to escape their clutches and was able to grab a hold of one of the officers’ guns? Could an officer, or worse an innocent bystander, get shot and die? Of course. Therefore, the defense attorney would argue, it was necessary and prudent for five officers to heavily restrain EG to ensure the safety of the police officers, innocent bystanders, and ironically, EG himself.
Now, one may argue that DP is a racist based on prior incidences; however, given that he was not convicted in court of any wrong doing, all such attempts at character assassinations would not be permissible, regardless of the truth of the matter.
All of the above is not to say that DP was 100% innocent of any wrong-doing. On the contrary, he is guilty of many things, just not under the eyes of the law. His main guilt is that he broke the NYPd’s rule against the use of a chokehold. This leaves him vulnerable to a wrongful death lawsuit by EG’s family, which I’m sure the family would win and should win. Also, given his prior actions, it seems clear that he may be racist and there is no room for racists in our society, let alone in any police force, and even more so at the NYPD.
This is why I concluded that DP is innocent in the eyes of the law, but with reservations. Therefore, the outpouring of anger and subsequent PEACEFUL demonstrations protesting the wrongful death of EG is understandable; however, the protest against the grand jury’s decision is not.
Next is Michael Brown’s case. Here the facts are a little less clear than it is for the EG case, given that there is no video evidence. However, if we are to believe the six independent BLACK eyewitness testimony in support of officer Darren Wilson vs. the two that don’t support his testimony then the case becomes very clear. Also, given the prevalence of cell phones, even in poor neighborhoods, it is hard for me to believe that there is no video evidence of what took place. Therefore, I can only guess that such evidence is being suppressed by those that have a nefarious agenda against the police in general and specifically the Fergurson, MO police. Anyway, based on the three-to-one majority testimony, here are the facts as they and officer DW conveyed it to the grand jury.
Michael Brown is caught on videotape stealing cigars from a convenience store and pushing the owner of the store to the ground. A transmission goes over the police channel informing the Ferguson police force of the theft. Shortly after, officer DW spots two young men walking in the middle of the street instead of being on the sidewalk. So, he drives up to them and tells them to get on the sidewalk. This was also corroborated by Michael Brown’s friend. This next part seems logical and was from Officer DW testimony only. According to DW, he then started to drive away, but noticed the cigars in MB’s hands so he back tracked and confronted MB. Everything going forward is corroborated by the six black eyewitnesses. As DW was trying to get out of the car, MB punches him in the face through the open window then opens the car door and wrestles for DW’s gun. The gun goes off and the bullet goes through MB’s hand causing blood to splatter inside the patrol car. MB then runs away at which point DW fires at MB who then turns around and starts rushing DW. After repeated warnings to stop and lay on the ground, which MB ignores, DW continues to fire and ends up putting multiple bullets into MB, including the one to the top of the head that kills him. The forensic evidence, and the blood trails would also corroborate DW and the six black eyewitnesses’ testimony.
So, why did MB’s friend lie? My guess is the following: 1) He’s a punk, 2) he didn’t want to be tied up in the stealing of the cigars, 3) he saw it as an opportunity to get back at the Ferguson, MO police department, which I’m sure had not been kind to him, most likely for good reason, 4) he saw it as an opportunity to be in the limelight — his 15 minutes of fame, so to speak, and 5) he saw it as an opportunity to make some money.
Prior to the grand jury verdict and the facts about the incident becoming public, I understand the anger and the protests, and it would be justified to a large degree, given the so called “eyewitness testimony” of MB’s friend (I refuse to name the punk because I don’t want to give him any publicity). But, the looting, vandalism and arson is unforgivable. However, the post-grand-jury-verdict protests are ridiculous, unless one thinks that SIX INDEPENDENT BLACK EYEWITNESSES not only all lied, but also conspired to tell the exact same lie, which, of course, is ridiculous. And, again, the looting, vandalism and arson are unforgivable.
So, getting back to the case, where is the injustice? What was officer DW supposed to do? Not call for back-up? Not confront a person of interest in a robbery? Let MB take his gun? Not chase him down? Not try to effectuate an arrest? Not shoot at a criminal, particularly one that is running at him with full force and full intent to harm? I don’t get it. So what that he was unarmed? Does that mean that officer DW’s own life was not in danger, because MB didn’t have a weapon? Does that mean that MB is incapable of rendering officer DW unconscious with his bare hands then shooting officer DW with his own gun, jast because MB was unarmed? Really?! Where is the injustice? Where? I don’t see it, I don’t get it, I don’t agree with it.
It is ludicrous that people are protesting the death of a proven criminal who clearly demonstrated his intent to harm a police officer, not once (MB punched officer DW), not twice (MB tried to take officer DW’s gun), but at least three times (MB tried to tackle officer DW), a police officer who did nothing wrong on that day with regard to MB. It is preposterous and calls into question the motives of the so called “black activists.” Actually, it not only calls into question their motives, but also it completely renders suspect their actions. Why continue the protest? Why continue their outrage? What is it that they want? What are they after? Can it be anything other than something that is unjust and possibly even nefarious, by definition? Blacks all across our country should view their so called “black activist leaders” with great suspicion and mistrust: Suspicious of their motives and great distrust of their moral character. Unjust and unjustified protest can only mean that whatever outcome the protesters desire or want is, by definition, unjust and immoral. In this case, protesting the death of MB is unjust and irrational. Once the facts came out, everyone in the community should have supported officer DW, and the so called “black activist leaders” should have all gone on TV and apologized for trusting someone that isn’t/wasn’t trust-worthy and jumping to incorrect conclusions, which then led to rioting, vandalism and arson. And, they should have made restitution to the business and property owners who had their businesses and properties destroyed. That would have been the honorable thing to do. So, again, we have to look at the so called “black activist leaders” with great suspicion and mistrust for not acting with honor.
And, what is with BHO and Eric Holder. Even after the grand jury verdict and the facts becoming public, instead of siding with officer DW and giving full protection to the US Justice system, BHO and his US Attorney General Eric Holder continue to cast suspicion and doubt surrounding MB’s death and, even worse, tar and feather the entire US with racism and cast suspicion and nefarious motives on all police departments! The entire country should have erupted in protest, but, instead, the country, as a whole, didn’t even say, “boo!” This is the true shame and disgrace: That we have a president and AG that would ignore justice and while condemning blanket prejudice and bigotry would indiscriminately tar and feather the entire country with the racism brush and condemn all officers of the law as bigots and racists.
Moving on to the the Tamir Rice case. The facts are as follows as evidenced by the video footage. Tamir, who was 12 years old, waves his pellet gun at passers-by in a park. The pellet gun does not have clear markings to indicate it as such, as they are supposed to. An onlooker calls 911 to report Tamir’s behavior and specifically states that he is not sure whether the “gun” is real or not. The dispatcher who called for the police to investigate fails to report the “gun” as a possible non-lethal weapon. Literally two-seconds after Timothy Loehmann (TL) reaches Tamir Rice, TL shoots him dead.
Now, according to TL, Tamir reached for his pellet gun, which was concealed under his clothes, and not knowing what Tamir was doing, TL says that he had no choice but to shoot Tamir. Hmmmmmm … . First, if officers didn’t know whether Tamir was carrying a real gun or not, what were they doing driving right up to him? They should have kept a safe distance and used the megaphone built into their squad car to ascertain what Tamir was doing and whether or not the “gun” that Tamir was carrying was real or not. In fact, regardless, the two adults should have kept a safe distance and questioned Tamir from a distance. Next, TL should have first yelled, “stop!” to Tamir as soon as he saw that Tamir had a concealed weapon. Third, the other person should have been ready to gun the accelerator as soon as he realized something was wrong. Fourth, at the distance that TL was from Tamir, TL could have done a number of things to prevent Tamir from getting to his concealed weapon. TL could have: 1) Used a stun gun, 2) hit Tamir with the car door, 3) grabbed his arm, 4) shot him in the shoulder or arm — given that TL was literally two feet away from Tamir or 5) punched him.
In my opinion, TL should have the book and then some thrown at him. His judgment was beyond questionable and lousy. His partner should also have the book thrown at him too. Why the hell did he drive up to and get so close to Tamir? What the hell was he thinking?!
The “funny” thing about these three incidences is that the biggest protests, demonstrations and anger came over the MB incidence, and the least from the Tamir Rice incidence. And, it should be exactly the reverse. So, again what does this say about “black activism” and their so called “leaders?”
The “leaders” of “black activism” remind me of labor union “leaders,” who, in their idiotic efforts to prove their worth to their constituents, ended up bankrupting two of the three US auto manufacturers by continuing to draw “concessions” that the auto manufacturers could ill afford and were unjust. Similarly, I get the feeling that these so called “black activist leaders” have no real cause left and they know it, so they go around manufacturing incidences of racial bigotry where there really isn’t any so they can stay in the limelight, feel self important, and make themselves look “useful” to their “people.”
The reality of the matter is is that we are all deserving of life — unless you violate the rights of others — regardless of race, color, ancestry, creed, philosophies, opinions, gender or any other physical or philosophical identification, and when some one kills another it should be judged on the merit of the case and Justice must be our only master. Then and only then shall we over come the divisiveness that continues to split up our society. In other words, we have blacks, whites, Hispanics, Latinos, Asians, and others, because we see ourselves that way, we identify ourselves that way, and the government labels us that way. If we want to end racial tensions, segregations, issues and all of the nonsense and baggage that comes along with it then we must first look at ourselves as human then as Americans and think, act and render our judgment solely based on that which is Just. And, if it so happens that someone decides to commit a crime against another then we should judge the person for the crime that they committed regardless of the motive.
At the end of the day, does it really matter that MB, EG and TR were killed by white people, or does it matter that they are dead? And, does death care that MB, EG, and TR were black? Of course not. Therefore, what matters isn’t that a white police office killed a black man, but whether or not a person died, how they met death, and why they got to know death so intimately and personally. If it so happens that the police officer acted properly and did all of the right things, but still ends up killing a person of interest then what does it matter if it is a white officer killing a black person? On the other hand, if the police officer acted improperly, made mistakes they shouldn’t have, acted careless or recklessly, or grossly misjudged the situation that resulted in the death of another then again, what does it matter that the officer was white and the person that was killed was black?
If a black officer kills a white person, should all the whites in America protest, loot, riot, destroy, vandalize and set fire to other people’s property? And, should we call that racism regardless of the facts? That would be pretty damned stupid and irrational, yet with MB in particular that’s what the so called “black community” did: They prejudged without knowing all of the facts and circumstances surrounding his death. And, even after the truth was revealed, they wanted officer DW’s head on the sharp end of a spear. How is that right? How is that Just? How is that moral? And, what does that say about so called “leaders” of “black activism?”
I’ve been all over this country, and the world, and I can tell you that, yes, there is a sense of discomfort among some Americans with people who don’t share a common ancestry or don’t look like them or don’t believe in similar things. However, I don’t get the sense that it is based on hatred or dislike of the superficial, but mostly due to ignorance and mild trepidation (fear is too strong of a word) of the unknown. Therefore, what I’ve found traveling all over the world is that education and understanding dispels a lot of the discomfort and mild trepidation. And, specifically to our country, what I’ve found is that the vast majority of people don’t see skin color anymore, especially, if one is truly American. Meaning, if a person has assimilated into the “mainstream” culture, believes in the fundamental philosophical cornerstones of this country (i.e., individual freedom and inalienable rights), and largely thinks, acts and relates as an American to another American then skin color becomes a moot issue. It is only when someone insists that another is white, black, Hispanic, Latino, Asian or other and that the other person can not understand nor even has the capacity to understand that race becomes an issue.
Lastly, for better or for worse, ‘white America” is so afraid of being perceived as racist that they end up helping those that would continue to separate Americans by race. This fear, is in part, driven by the guilt of their forefathers, and that the vast majority of white Americans are doing economically far better than the vast majority of black Americans on a socioeconomic measure. And, for some reason “white America” feels guilty about the fact that they are “doing much better” than “black America.” On a side note, I find that “Asian Americans” and “Hispanic/Latino Americans” generally don’t feel guilt for doing better than any other group on a socioeconomic basis, and they bare no burden nor guilty conscious for slavery.
What I find to be a sin is that most “white Americans” that I’ve talked to have no clue as to why the poor stay poor and why “black Americans” have not done well on a socioeconomic basis. And, more to the point, don’t want to discuss such issues for fear of being labeled a racist. On the other hand, I have little to no compunction about discussing such issues with anyone, and, despite being called a racist, many, many times, I have yet to find someone who can show that I’m a racist, nor come up with a better argument than mine as to why poor people tend to stay poor and why some minority groups have not done as well as others in our society on a socioeconomic basis.
Regardless, of why one group does better than the other, I have found throughout my travels that we have far more in common than we do that differentiates us, particularly when it comes to big picture items. Wherever I go, it never ceases to amaze me how many things people all over the world have in common. Everywhere I go, people value family, love of family, family values (not the values themselves necessarily, but the concept of family values), honesty, honor, integrity, morality, ethics, hard work, friendship, loyalty, money, education, giving their children a better life than the one they have/had, giving and receiving of respect where it is earned, creativity, intellectual curiosity, and many, many more traits and characteristics. Given that we have so many common threads, it would seem quite possible that we can use those common traits as a basis for understanding, harmony and unity. And, inside our own borders, this should be far more attainable.
Then, specifically to America and Americans, if we want to truly end the divide that separates some of us from others then we have to first acknowledge that we are all humans, we are all Americans, we all have the same individual freedoms, and inalienable rights, but that we are all responsible for who we are, what we make of ourselves, and how we make our way through life, regardless of any physical or philosophical differences. Then we have to acknowledge and live by the philosophy that when it comes to human interaction the only thing that matters is that which we measure on the scales of Justice. Next, we have to stop listening to and marginalize those that want to continue to divide and separate us, whether they are so called “racial leaders” or the federal government. Finally, we must engage in dialogue that helps us understand each other based on honesty, truth, reality and openness. Then and only then will we have a truly united country with only one people, Americans.
For more, please read my books, “… Under the Constitution with Liberty and Justice for ALL,” available at http://www.CreateSpace.com/3978962 and also available on Kindle, and “The New Constitution for Modern America,” available at http://www.CreateSpace.com/4281897 and also available on Kindle. Please don’t forget to rate this post. Any comments or questions are welcome and can be left for me on this blog, @Ahmedinejahd on Twitter, on Facebook or via email at AlexAhmedinejahd@Yahoo.com. Thank you in advance for buying my books, and rating this post. And, thanks for visiting my blog; I hope you get an opportunity to read my other posts. Have a great day!