Protecting and Serving you to death

The video of the interrogation of John Crawford’s girlfriend has come to light and it sparks more questions than it answers. One of the responding officers, the one who shot Mr. Crawford, was also the shooter in the only other officer-involved killing in Beavercreek history, back in 2010. In that case, Officer Williams killed 45 year old Air Force Master Sgt. Scott A. Brogli after a domestic disturbance. According to a witnessing neighbor, Brogli was “too intoxicated to do anything”, but according to the officers, he stood up when officers entered his home and would not obey their commands. They stated that he charged them with a kitchen knife in his hand, which apparently prompted Officer Williams to subdue him with a shutgun blast to his chest. Unfortunately, in that case, there were no video cameras to counter Officer Williams version of events, as was the case in the Crawford shooting.
In a case where the prosecutor has openly stated that there were “no bad guys”, the investigating detective, instead of informing the victim’s girlfriend that Mr Crawford is dead, spends 20 minutes trying to get her to admit that Mr Crawford could have had a weapon, that he was at the Wal Mart with the intention of shooting someone, that she herself was under the influence, anything at all to find justification for having Killed Mr Crawford. When confronted on his tactics, the investigating Detective, Rodney Curd who Mr Crawford’s girlfriend, Tasha Thomas, “You lie to me and you might be on your way to jail,” stated that he was not aware at the time that the gun Mr Crawford was holding was a toy from that same Wal-Mart. That statement, in itself is farcical for several reasons.
First, every police officer that has ever been trained in this country has been taught the same thing. When confronting a individual with a weapon, as son as you neutralize the individual your VERY NEXT IMMEDIATE ACTION is to safe and secure the weapon. The very second any officer would have seen the toy from less than 10 feet away, much less touched it, they would have immediately been able to ascertain that it was exactly that, a toy.
Secondly, if the Officers had the time to somehow determine who it was that Mr Crawford had been speaking to, information that Detective Curd had, then surely there must have been time to determine where the toy came from.
Third, the very fact that the police even knew who Mr Crawford had been speaking to shows that they had already determined that they were going to pursue any chance of casting Mr Crawford in as bad a light as possible.
Keep in mind. Mr Crawford is dead. There is, once the gun is determined t be a toy, nothing illegal that Mr Crawford had done that would have justified a warrantless search f his cell phone to determine who he was speaking to and what their relationship was. Also keep in mind that Ohio is a open-carry state, and that Mr Crawford was in an establishment that sold weapons. Even if the gun HAD been real, Mr Crawford would still have been 100% within his right to have been holding it. Why, instead of trying to place a gun on his person before he entered the store, were there no questions asked as to whether Mr Crawford was licensed to carry it? Why was the automatic assumption made that in a state where gun ownership is 100% lawful, that Mr Crawford was in the process of doing something illegal? Why was the victim’s loved one interrogated like a criminal and threatened with charges instead of telling them Mr Crawford was dead? And more importantly, Why are we hearing these particular details from a foreign press organization while we concern ourselves with Lebron James possibly improperly touching Kate Middleton?

Finally, Knowingly “making false alarms” is a crime under Ohio law and is punishable by a fine or jail sentence. Where pray tell is the interrogation of Ronald Ritchie, the “witness” who called the dispatchers and told them Mr. Crawford was waving the gun at people and was loading it. Why has he not been charged for willfully making false statements that directly caused the death of a completely innocent individual.

I Can’t Breathe

i_cant_breatheIn the wake of the non-decision regarding the killing of Eric Garner, I think it’s time to review a few things. It seems that the press has managed to confuse a couple simple salient facts and are thereby leading people to some erroneous conclusions.

1.) Yes, it is true that in the past, Mr garner had been known to sell individual cigarettes, or “Loosies”.

2.) Mr Garner was re-selling perfectly legal cigarettes that he himself had purchased.

3.) The premise behind this being a crime was that he was not charging a cigarette tax on these individual cigarettes and submitting said tax to the state.

4.) At the time of his killing he was NOT in fact engaged in selling “loosies”, he had in fact just broken up a fight between two other individuals.

5.) When the police officers arrived, they did not even approach the two individuals who were fighting, but instead approached Mr. garner because the knew that in the past he had sold “loosies”

6.) The very first officer to physically touch Mr Garner applied the choke-hold immediately.

7.) Choke-holds of this nature have been outlawed in New York for over 20 years.

8.) Again, since we can’t stress this enough, when the officers attempted to arrest him for selling “loosies” he was in fact NOT doing so, he was instead breaking up a fight between two other individuals, neither of which were even spoken to by the officers, much less cited for fighting.

Incompetent Policing

So..The Shooting in Ohio of the 12 year old.. Looks like it was most simply, a case of a cop who should have never been a cop. Doesn’t seem like actual malice, especially by the department, as much as likely VERY poor police-skills on the behalf of the rookie cop, and very poor screening by the hiring department. Before he was employed by the Clevelnad, PD, Mr Timothy Loehmann was employed for a short time by the Independence, Ohio police department where they let him resign before they could begin the firing process.. Form the report that led to their decision to part ways with him:
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Emotional Immaturity-

Ptl. Loehmann’s inability to perform basic functions as instructed, and his inability to emotionally function because of a personal situation at home with and on and off again girlfriend leads one to believe that he would not be able to substantially cope, or make good decisions, during, or resulting from any other stressful situation. This ongoing personal relationship should not have whole-fully consumed him that he would not be able to follow simple direction, especially after being given a reasonable amount of time to collect himself.

Circumventing Direction-

It appears from the pattern developing within our short time frame with Ptl. Loehmann that he often feels that when told to do something, that those instructions are optional, and that he can manipulate them if he so feels it can better serve him. I do not say he is doing this for some benefit, or in an insubordinate way, but it just appears to have the mind set that if he thinks he knows better, than that is the course he follows.

Recommendation:

Due to this dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to manage this personal stress, I do not believe Ptl. Loehmann shows the maturity needed to work in our employment.

Unfortunately in law enforcement there are times when instructions need to be followed to the letter, and I am under the impression Ptl. Loehmann, under certain circumstances, will not react in the way instructed.

Ptl. Loehmann’s lack of commitment for his future here at Independence is disconcerting. Although saying he is happy to be here, he seems to be considering other options.

For those reasons, I am recommending he be released from the employment of the City of Independence. I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.

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It appears that the Cleveland PD had access to these records, but it’s not clear if they ever actually read them, or contacted the Independence PD directly. This guy should not only never have been allowed to be a cop in any jursdiction, I question whether he had the mental wherewithall to own guns period.

Source PDF

Right To Carry

It seems ironic to me that in an age where there is increased pressure to allow both open and concealed carry, there is also an equivalent increase in the amount of people being killed while holding toy guns. I’m sure that everyone reading this piece remembers the iconic “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out” quote from the move “A Christmas Story”,  where there are numerous scenes showing just how “American” it was to play Cowboys and Indians, running around with toy guns. Somehow, now, in an age where we have segments of society fighting harder every year for their right to carry actual and loaded guns on their persons, it is also commonplace to assume that our children are wrong for playing the same childhood games that we, and our parents before us played at their age. We cannot have it both ways. If it is unreasonable for children to play with guns, and if doing so is somehow a sufficient reason for the police to kill them simply for having those toy guns, then it should be equivalently unreasonable for anyone not actively engaged in a law enforcement activity to keep and bear arms. If it is the inalienable right of every red-blooded American to keep and bear arms, then all citizens should be given the benefit of doubt that they are either wielding a legally obtained weapon, or a facsimile. Giving a 12 year old child 2 seconds to explain themselves is an insanely insufficient amount of time for them to do so. I would challenge any adult here to have a random voice at a random time to scream at them “Show Me You Hands, Show Me Your Hands, Show Me Your Hands”, and within the 2 seconds it takes for them to yell that to clearly assess the direction of the noise, the target of their attention, (You), and manage to both raise your hands slowly enough to not be making a sudden movement, and quickly enough to not be unresponsive to their orders, all while not flinching, being startled, or moving your head in a threatening manner. Two Seconds…

We cannot have it both ways. Either unassailable gun rights, and the assumption of innocence that comes with it, or the right to aggressively target anyone with a gun in public, and the necessary abridgement of gun rights that comes with that.

If we were to move to the direction of removing guns from the hands of the criminals, potential criminals, children, and innocent citizens, then we would actually be in the place that some police officers seem to think we are as it is, that ‘only criminals have guns’, that ‘if you’re not doing anything wrong, why do you need that gun’. Once we reach that place, the assumption will be true, only criminals will have guns. If a officer sees a gun, an actual gun, not a wallet of course, then s/he would have the publicly-sanctioned right to open fire. If we are not willing to go to that place, then we need greater controls on when police start shooting. They should be forced to always assume first that regardless of the race, or perceived social status of the individual that they may be in full compliance of their right to carry.

If we do not want to approach the gun-control avenue, then I would sugggest that we should drive that every citizen of America, no matter their race, creed, or socioeconomic status, who is able to do so, go out and get licensed to carry a firearm, get licensed to conceal-carry where your minicipalities allow it. Having the right does not mean that you actually ever have to actually DO so, you likely don’t even have to purchase a weapon at all, just obtain the right to do so. In any muniicipality where the over-riding majority of the citizens are registered on paper as having the right to carry, the authorities will have no choice to assume that the citizen they are approaching is legally carrying.

The Big Wheel of American Justice

americanjustice

So.. I have read through most of the witness statements to the Grand Jury in Ferguson, you can read the docs here
and I have a single takeaway. In a few salient points, almost all of the witnesses agree. There was an altercation between Mr. Brown and Mr Wilson. it appears that Mr brown was not actually in the vehicle, but that he pushed the door closed and reached into the vehicle. There is some speculation that Officer Wilson was reaching for his service weapon and Mr Brown was attempting to prevent him from doing so. All of the witnesses agree that a confrontation took place through the vehicle window. and that a gunshot was fired in the vehicle. All of the witnesses agree that Mr Brown at that point ran away from the vehicle to some indeterminate point away from the vehicle. here, there is a bit of a divergence in the statements, with several saying that additional shots were fired by Mr Wilson at that point at the fleeing Mr Brown, others saying only that Mr Wilson made verbal commands to him. Most all agree that My Brown stopped running, turned around, raised his hands and looked at his side as if he had been shot. the majority state that Mr Brown raised his hands up to at least shoulder level, with his palms facing Mr Wilson. Some state that Mr brown started walking back towards Mt Wilson, but not at a fast pace, one witness states that Mr brown took one single step towards Mr Wilson with his foot simply touching the pavement before Mr Wilson resumed shooting and eventually firing the killing round. All agree that Mr Brown was hunching over as if absorbing the pain of being shot, and not, as Mr Wilson explains, “hulking up” using what are in effect small discrepancies in observation as excuses to disregard wholesale a unified overall story is a terrible injustice. To not understand why the residents of Ferguson feel so powerless and react so violently is an injustice even greater.