A Brief History
On June 21, 2017, a date firmly implanted in the 21st Century, people still have not learned to DO WHAT THE POLICE SAY TO DO. Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown was found not guilty on June 21, 2017 in the fatal shooting of Sylville Smith.
Once again, a police shooting is considered justified after incredibly close and deliberate investigation and trial, and yet people are surprised. Mr. Smith ran from a traffic stop on August 13, 2016, armed with a handgun. After a foot chase, Officer Heaggan-Brown shot Smith twice as he tried to jump a fence. The big point of people protesting the shooting is that Officer Heaggan-Brown fired a second shot 1.69 seconds after the first shot. Upon the first shot, Smith’s gun was flung over the fence.
So, here we are with an irate public and inflammatory media decrying the “lack of justice” in the allegedly unnecessary shooting and death of Smith; however, a couple of major points remain that are apparently being ignored by the misguided people that have no respect for authority, society, other people and the law.
Number one, Smith fled from a traffic stop with a gun. A good way not to get shot is to not run from a traffic stop and not illegally carry a pistol! Why is this critical point missed? This is not rocket science, brain surgery or even advanced calculus, it is the law and common sense. Comply with legal police directions when stopped or confronted by the police and YOU DON’T GET SHOT!
Number two, Officer Heaggan-Brown fired the second (disputed) shot so soon after the first that experts testified that his mind was already made up to shoot before he could perceive the pistol had been separated from Smith’s hand. Unless you have gone through police training exercises such as “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” you may not understand this. Cops are trained to keep firing until the threat is eliminated. Factors such as tachy psyche (also spelled tachypsychia, etc) and an enormous adrenaline rush grossly affects physical and mental precision. Again this is well known to medical and behavioral experts.
Number three, 4 African Americans were on the jury. If they thought this shooting was some sort of conspiracy to kill Black men without cause, they probably would not have voted to acquit.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted on June 19, 2017 in the shooting death of Philando Castile, a shooting captured on dash cam video where Yanez is clearly heard repeatedly telling Castile not to reach for his (legally carried) pistol. Witness Diamond Reynolds testified that Castile was reaching for his ID, but seriously, if a cop is telling you (at gunpoint!) to not reach for something, you better stop reaching, PERIOD. The officer does not know your ID is in the pocket next to the pocket with your gun. He says “stop reaching” then by golly STOP REACHING! Again, another case of someone not complying with police commands. This shooting may well have been a misunderstanding, but the fault is Mr. Castile’s for not stopping his hand movement immediately.
Officer Betty Shelby was acquitted on May 17, 2017 of manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher on September 16, 2016. Crutcher’s vehicle was stalled in the roadway, and callers reported he was running away from the vehicle shouting it was going to blow up. Officer Shelby confronted Crutcher, who seemed under the influence of drugs (he was on PCP and another hallucinogen, she had recently been trained to determine if someone was under the influence of drugs), and Crutcher raised his hands but REFUSED ORDERS TO STOP, instead continuing to walk to his car. This incident is continuously reported as Shelby shooting an unarmed Black man with his hands up, but in fact she did not shoot until Crutcher REFUSED TO OBEY AN ORDER NOT TO REACH INTO HIS VEHICLE, and when he did reach into the car, he was shot and killed. Misguided citizens that think Shelby should not have fired until Crutcher came out of the SUV and she could clearly see if he was armed or not, are naïve at best, stupid at worst. When you have someone at gunpoint, and they reach into a car when you tell them not to, you can be shot before you recognize a gun and make the decision to shoot. Once again, experts can prove this over and over. If irresponsible news reporters, such as Chris Hayes, went through “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” training they would have a totally different perspective.
When are people going to get the idea that the people being shot are doing something wrong and the cops are doing their job in a reasonable way? The result of this public disparaging of police by the news media, politicians, and biased family and friends of criminals is the “Ferguson Effect,” and a pronounced decrease in applicants for police jobs, especially in larger cities. This phenomenon almost assuredly also means a decrease in the pool of well qualified police applicants. Crime is up where cops are being abused. Is this what people want? I hope not.
By the way, the parents of Michael Brown (remember his step-dad urging the arson of a building during the ensuing riot?) have been awarded a civil wrongful death settlement from the city of Ferguson, Missouri, in the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, a shooting that was 100% justified and was precipitated by Brown ATTACKING THE POLICE OFFICER WHO WAS IN HIS CAR! Great use of tax dollars, eh? I think not.
Question for students (and subscribers): What do you think about these cases? Feel free to include your comments regardless of which side you take in the comments section below this article. We appreciate all angles of opinions.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Mac Donald, Heather. The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe. Encounter Books, 2016.