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Two Shootings, 1,000 Miles And 2 Days Apart, Bring Police Misconduct Back Into The Spotlight

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Two incidents that occurred some two days and roughly 1,200 miles apart are bringing the twin issues of police overreach and the disparate treatment of African-Americans back into the limelight and suggesting yet again that this is a problem that has yet to be seriously dealt with. In both cases, the men were engaged in seemingly innocent behavior when confronted by police in a hostile manner that quite clearly suggests that officers had already made the decision about how they were going to handle the situation before truly evaluating the situation fairly based on the available evidence.

In the most recent incident last night near St. Paul, Minnesota, a 32 year old African-American man named Philandro Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop that was live-streamed by the man’s girlfriend:

Minnesota’s governor called on Thursday for a federal investigation into the shooting of a black man by a police officer during a traffic stop near St. Paul, after millions of people watched the bloody, dying man in a grisly video recorded by his girlfriend and streamed live moments after the shooting.

The deadly encounter Wednesday night in the city of Falcon Heights was at least the second shooting this week of a black man by police officers, after the killing of a man in Baton Rouge during an attempted arrest, and parts of both encounters were recorded on video.

The graphic video from Minnesota showed Philando Castile, 32, who had been shot several times, slumping against the woman who was recording the scene. As she did so, her 4-year-old daughter sat in the back seat and an officer stood just outside the driver’s side window, still aiming his gun at the mortally wounded man at point-blank range.

The video is all the more shocking for the calm, clear narration of the woman, Diamond Reynolds, who states that Mr. Castile had done nothing wrong, and the fact that she streamed it live on Facebook. Ms. Reynolds gave her account of what had happened, stating again and again that Mr. Castile had just been reaching for his driver’s license and registration — as the officer had requested — when the officer opened fire.

“Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him,” she said. “You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”

Ms. Reynolds’s daughter appears several times in the video. Near the end of the 10-minute clip, as the two are sitting in the back of a police car, and Ms. Reynolds becomes increasingly distraught, the girl comforts her mother. “It’s O.K., Mommy,” she says. “It’s O.K. I’m right here with you.”

As the video circulated widely on social media, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the governor’s mansion in St. Paul during the night and Thursday morning, demanding accountability for the officers involved. Some voiced anger that Gov. Mark Dayton did not respond faster, but late Thursday morning, the governor emerged to speak with protesters. Rumors circulated on social media that he had been evacuated from the mansion during the night, but the governor’s office said that was not the case.

Thirteen hours after the shooting, Mr. Dayton, a Democrat, released his first statement on the incident, saying that he had spoken with a White House official to request a Justice Department investigation. Representative Betty McCollum, a Minnesota Democrat, had called for the Justice Department to investigate earlier Thursday. The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is already investigating.

The governor said, “I will do everything in my power to help protect the integrity of that investigation, to ensure a proper and just outcome for all involved.”

The video of the shooting, which occurred around 9 p.m., passed rapidly among Twitter, Facebook and YouTube users, becoming significant news online before traditional outlets — even those in the Minneapolis area — caught up.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday morning, Ms. Reynolds said that Mr. Castile, a cafeteria supervisor for the St. Paul Public Schools, had just come from having his hair done for his birthday when they were pulled over on Larpenteur Avenue, a major east-west street.

Falcon Heights is a small, predominantly white and middle-class city of about 5,500 residents, bordering St. Paul on the northwest. The two officers who stopped them were from the nearby city of St. Anthony, which provides police services under contract to Falcon Heights, and one officer approached Mr. Castile, who was driving, and said he had a broken taillight, Ms. Reynolds, who is also black, said.

“He tells us to put our hands in the air, we have our hands in the air,” she said. “At the time as our hands is in the air, he asked for license and registration.

“My boyfriend carries all his information in a thick wallet in his right side back pocket. As he’s reaching for his back pocket wallet, he lets the officer know, ‘Officer, I have a firearm on me.’ I began to yell, ‘But he’s licensed to carry.’ After that, he began to take off shots – bah, bah, bah, bah, ‘Don’t move! Don’t move!’ But how can you not move when you’re asking for license and registration? It’s either you want my hands in the air or you want my identification.”

In the video, she says repeatedly that her boyfriend had been shot several times while reaching for his license, and that he had told officers before the shooting that he had a gun in the car.

In the background, one of the officers can be heard shouting: “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hands up.”

The video begins with images of Mr. Castile, who appears to be moaning and moving slightly, his left arm and left side bloody. Ms. Reynolds then pans the camera to her face and says matter-of-factly, “They killed my boyfriend.” Looking into the camera, she says that Mr. Castile had told officers that he was carrying a weapon — she says he was licensed to do so — and that he was following instructions to produce his license and registration when he was shot.

Jon Mangseth, interim police chief of St. Anthony, confirmed the fatal shooting but said he could not provide any details, and said that the officer had been put on administrative leave. He declined to identify the officers, but said that the one who fired — whom Ms. Reynolds described as Asian-American — had been with the department for more than five years.

“We haven’t had an officer-involved shooting in 30 years or more,” he told reporters at the shooting scene early Thursday. “It’s shocking. It’s not something that occurs in this area often.”

In the Facebook video shot by Ms. Reynolds — who uses the name Lavish Reynolds on line — an officer can be heard telling her to keep her hands on the wheel, and she replies: “I will, sir. No worries. I will.”

Moments later, her voice shaking, the woman says: “Oh, my God, please don’t tell me he’s gone. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that.”

Then: “Please, Jesus, don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please, Officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him.”

An officer issues an order “to get the female passenger out.”

“Exit now,” she is told, “and keep them up.” She asks for her daughter.

The video was briefly removed from Facebook but was later restored with a graphic warning attached.

At one point, the video goes dark as the woman is handcuffed and moved to a police vehicle, although it continues to capture an audio feed as the woman prays for the man’s life.

Chief Mangseth said Mr. Castile had been transported to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, where he died Wednesday night. No officers were injured, he said.

Here’s the video that Castile’s girlfriend shot and livestreamed on Facebook. It appears to begin shortly after Castile was shot and continue for several minutes thereafter. As the warning indicates it is graphic, so be warned in that regard:

The incident in Minnesota occurred just two days after another African-American man, Alton Sterling, was shot to death during a police confrontation outside a market in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a case that has already prompted Justice Department intervention:

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation on Wednesday into the fatal shooting of a black man by the Baton Rouge, La., police after a searing video of the encounter, aired repeatedly on television and social media, reignited contentious issues surrounding police killings of African-Americans.

Officials from Gov. John Bel Edwards to the local police and elected officials vowed a complete and transparent investigation and appealed to the city — after a numbing series of high-profile, racially charged incidents elsewhere — to remain calm.

“I have full confidence that this matter will be investigated thoroughly, impartially and professionally,” Mr. Edwards said in announcing the federal takeover of the case. “I have very serious concerns. The video is disturbing, to say the least.”

Urging patience while the investigation takes place, the governor said: “I know that that may be tough for some, but it’s essential that we do that. I know that there are protests going on, but it’s urgent that they remain peaceful.”

Two white officers were arresting Alton B. Sterling, 37, early Tuesday after responding to a call about an armed man. The officers had Mr. Sterling pinned to the ground when at least one of them shot him.

The video of the shooting propelled the case to national attention, like a string of recorded police shootings before it. The shooting has prompted protests here in the Louisiana capital, including a vigil with prayers and gospel music that drew hundreds of people Wednesday night to the storefront where it happened.

(…)

On Tuesday, a person called the police to report that a black man in a red shirt selling music CDs outside the Triple S Food Mart had threatened him with a gun, the Police Department said. Two officers confronted Mr. Sterling about 12:35 a.m.

Mr. Sterling had a long criminal history, including convictions for battery and illegal possession of a gun, but it is not clear whether the officers knew any of that as they tried to arrest him.

The graphic cellphone video shot by a bystander, which was released later in the day, shows an officer pushing Mr. Sterling onto the hood of the car and then tackling him to the ground. He is held to the pavement by two officers, and one appears to hold a gun above Mr. Sterling’s chest.

At one point someone on the video can be heard saying, “He’s got a gun! Gun!” and one officer can be seen pulling his weapon. After some shouting, what sound like gunshots can be heard and the camera shifts away, and then there are more apparent gunshots.

A second video of the shooting, filmed by the owner of the store and first posted by the local newspaper, The Advocate, on Wednesday afternoon, showed the shooting from a different angle. It also shows one of the officers taking something out of Mr. Sterling’s pocket after he was shot and was lying on the ground.

Witnesses have said they saw a handgun on the ground next to him. Mr. Jordan, the lawyer, said Mr. Sterling’s relatives were not aware of him owning a gun.

Arthur Reed, the founder of Stop the Killing, the group that released the cellphone video, said he saw a gun only after Mr. Sterling had been fatally shot. The group, a mentoring program for youths, had heard reports on a police scanner about an arrest at the store, and showed up to gather video for potential use in a documentary about urban violence.

Mr. Reed said the group decided to release its video after he heard that the police had accused Mr. Sterling of reaching for a gun.

“He never reached in the video,” Mr. Reed said. “He never did anything.”

Here are the two videos that have been released of the Sterling shooting.

In addition to these videos, there is also believed to be dash-cam video from the officer’s patrol car and video obtain from surveillance cameras outside of the market where this shooting occurred. Additionally, there were originally reports that at least one of the officers involved had been wearing a body camera during the incident but that their body camera had allegedly either malfunctioned or fallen off his uniform during the confrontation, meaning that it did not record the majority of the confrontation between Sterling and the police. The surveillance video from the market has already been taken into custody by officials investigating the shooting and has not yet been released to the public, though the market owner said that he believed that the cameras very likely would have captured the entire incident based on where they were positioned.

It is important to keep in mind that it’s still early in the investigation of both of these cases, and that the facts in both cases are different and therefore may end up being evaluated differently. In the Sterling case, there were apparently reports of a man with a gun outside the market that led to police showing up on the scene. Whether or not those reports are true, and whether or not that man was Sterling, is completely unknown at this point. By all accounts, Sterling was regularly outside this market selling DVDs and Compact Discs, with the permission of the market owner and it’s not at all clear that doing that was in any way illegal or that Sterling had had any previous confrontations with police at this location. As noted, it’s also unclear if police knew about Sterling’s previous criminal record before the shooting, although if they did that still would be insufficient to justify an otherwise unjustifiable shooting. Moreover, based on the videos that have been shared to date it appears that Sterling was shot after police had him on the ground and mostly under their physical control. If that’s the case, then it’s hard to imagine any scenario where the shooting was justified.

Where the Sterling case is a hazy at this early stage of the investigation, the Castile case seems much more straightforward. If the statements of Castile’s girlfriend are accurate, then he was shot while reaching for his license and registration as the officer had requested after having informed the officer that he was licensed to carry a gun and that he did have the gun on him. It appears that it was at that point that the officer shot him at close range and then continued to hold a gun on the injured Castile and his girlfriend even as Castile was bleeding profusely from his wounds. At no point during this part of the confrontation does officer or anyone with him attempt to apply pressure or otherwise suppress the bleeding, and one imagines that Castile lost a tremendous amount of blood during the time that officers waited to apply any kind of first aid.

As I said, these are two different cases and need to be treated as such, It may turn out that there was a justified shooting in one case, but on the other, that neither shooting can be legally justified based on the facts and the evidence, or that both cases fall into the category of legally justified police shootings for which there will be no punishment. Based on what I’ve seen on the videos and the statements from witnesses that we’re aware of, the Castile shooting seems highly questionable even when viewed in a light most favorable to the officers involved. The Sterling shooting is complicated by the fact that officers were responding to reports of an armed man making threats, but even there the fact that Sterling clearly seems to be largely under control of the arresting officer when he was shot makes it difficult to justify the shooting. In both cases, it seems clear that police were acting with the same ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ mentality that has governed so many of these cases, especially when African-American men are involved. We’ve known it was a problem for some time now, and yet nothing ever gets done about it. Indeed, if it weren’t for these advances in video technology we likely wouldn’t know about these cases at all.

As I said, the investigations need to be allowed to proceed forward in both cases and the chips allowed to fall where they may. But if you can’t understand why so many African-Americans are angry about this issue after watching these videos, then you’re just being willfully blind.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    Sterling, that man was executed. Watch the video any of you. On the ground, two cops, shot in the back of the head. Executed.
    The force was not justifiable in any way shape or form.
    Watch the video, watch it. Before anyone comments on that shooting.

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  2. J-Dub says:

    In the cops defense, he probably was guilty of copyright infringement. /s

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  3. LaMont says:

    Indeed, if it weren’t for these advances in video technology, everyone outside the black and latino communities likely wouldn’t know about these cases at all.

    Fix that for you Doug. Black people have been complaining about this since the days of NWA’s “F**k The Police” song – and much earlier than that! It’s truly insightful how back then, the rap group NWA was castigated for making that song. No one understood or could identify with the content. Everyone just thought they were a bunch of thugs wrongfully accusing police officers of any wrongdoing. NOW, almost thirty years later, everyone is only starting to understand!

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  4. Jc says:

    Below are some real events, no one was shot surprisingly….hmmm if these guys were black odds are they would be dead. Meanwhile a guy and his fiance get a routine traffic stop, make an officer aware of their conceal carry legal weapons, reaches for his requested ID, shot dead.

    A Deltona man told deputies he was trying to release some built-up anger Tuesday morning when he fired off multiple rounds from an AK-47 rifle while walking around his neighborhood, Volusia County deputies said.
    Frederick Wenzel IV said he was upset because he’s 28 and had to move back in with his parents, so he drank several beers before taking a walk with his firearm in tow, according to a sheriff’s charging affidavit. Multiple residents of homes on Joyner Drive told deputies they could hear the gunshots and a man yelling about 5:30 a.m.
    Wenzel said he never intended to hurt anyone, but he had thought about shooting at the K-9 officer he saw looking for him, according to the affidavit. Children who had arrived at school bus stops in the area were told to return home to ensure their safety.
    Wenzel was arrested and charged with six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, using a firearm while under the influence of alcohol, open carrying of weapons and carrying a concealed firearm, records show. He was being held later Tuesday at the Volusia County Branch Jail without bail.

    Police in Ohio have arrested two men for accidentally shooting up several homes in their rural neighborhood after the clownish pair decided to take target practice in their backyard with an AK-47 and some suds.
    Bullets tore through several homes in Montville, Ohio, about 40 miles east of Cleveland, Wednesday afternoon, prompting several residents of the quiet town to frantically call 911 to report that their homes were being shot at.
    After a brief search for the source of the gunfire, authorities eventually located and arrested Mark Bornino, 53, and R. Daniel Volpone, 45, who were found in a nearby backyard with an assault rifle, three other guns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and alcohol.
    When police arrived at the first home of the first caller, according to WKYC-TV, they determined the bullets were coming from the northeast. After several instances of the gunfire stopping and starting again, the sounds led cops to a house just a few blocks away, where Bornino and Volpone were taking target practice with an AK-47 assault rifle and three other guns.

    Officers confronted the men, ordered them to the ground and took them to into custody. Both men are being held at the Montville Jail until the appropriate charges are filed. While target practice is legal in Montville Township and both men passed background checks, the pair had been consuming alcohol, police said, and were likely to face felony charges related to drinking while handling weapons.

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  5. Lit3Bolt says:

    When oh when will the blue community address its out of control thuggery and murder?

    I’m waiting for blue leaders across the nation to stand up and denounce the killings.

    If the blue community got its act together, then these acts of violence will stop.

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  6. steve s says:

    This is not new. This is life for black people in America. What changed is they now have cameras.

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  7. gVOR08 says:

    The gun strokers like to talk about a “good guy with a gun”. They want good guys to carry. How do they think “good” guys get to carry and “bad” guys don’t? This is how. A black guy carrying can be killed. I don’t know anything about the relevant law in LA and MN, but any case against the cops will likely turn, as usual, on whether they were in fear for their lives. He was a black guy, I thought he had a gun. The defense rests. @Lit3Bolt: The “blue community” won’t change until this changes.

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  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As I said, the investigations need to be allowed to proceed forward in both cases and the chips allowed to fall where they may.

    Just like they have so many times before? Like with John Crawford? Or Tamir Rice? Eric Garner? Walter Scott? (ad infinitum) Excuse me Doug, but fvck letting the chips fall where they may when the police are dealing from a stacked deck. That is why this sh!t continues to happen time and again and again and again…. If it had been my child that had been killed in so egregious a manner as they and so many others have, I would not be so accepting of the complete a lack of justice that is yet another rubber stamp investigation ending with a no bill from a grand jury.

    And until we stop accepting it, it won’t end. Something has to change. And it will, one way or the other. One way or the other.

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  9. Bookdragon says:

    I wonder how the record low in homicides discussed in the last post would turn out if police committed homicides like these were included.

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  10. stonetools says:

    As I said, the investigations need to be allowed to proceed forward in both cases and the chips allowed to fall where they may. But if you can’t understand why so many African-Americans are angry about this issue after watching these videos, then you’re just being willfully blind.

    I didn’t even want to post on this issue, I was so sad and angry. I was only moved to post after I saw Obama’s presser. Sadly, even he seemed somewhat resigned to accomplishing not much of anything on the issue.

    Doug, I lost all faith in the judicial process when I saw a racist, pro police prosecutor manipulate the grand jury into not filing charges in a case where video showed that the police officer drove up and shot to death a 12 year old boy who was playing with a toy gun. At that point, it became clear to me that under the current system, there would be never be justice for a black person killed by the police, absent the most extraordinary circumstances.

    This is obviously a systemic problem, not a “few bad apples” problem. What’s needed is far sighted, broad federal; legislation that reforms the powers of the police to use force against civilians. Furthermore, there should be a Civilian’s Right Act that gives the DOJ broad powers to investigate and prosecute all police killings, and that gives civilians a cause of action in federal courts, similar to Section 1983 of the 1866 Civil Rights Act.

    What is the possibility that such legislation will pass in this Congress? Effectively zero. Consider that they are planning a ninth Benghazi investigation, and seem to have no plans whatsoever to move on criminal justice reform. Just disgusting and disheartening beyond words. I’m beginning to understand why revolutions happen .

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @stonetools: Laws won’t fix this. A change in culture has to come from the bottom up. It sure as hell ain’t coming from the top down.

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  12. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    I”m stealing this.

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  13. Loviatar says:

    I’m a black ex-cop, and this is the real truth about race and policing

    On any given day, in any police department in the nation, 15 percent of officers will do the right thing no matter what is happening. Fifteen percent of officers will abuse their authority at every opportunity. The remaining 70 percent could go either way depending on whom they are working with.

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jc: Oh and you left out my favorite: Papania: Open carry situation could have turned into ‘violent misunderstanding’

    While openly carrying a firearm in Mississippi is legal, Papania said this situation could have turned into “a very violent misunderstanding.” According to authorities, the two men walked into the Walmart on Highway 49 around 8 p.m. Witnesses said the man holding the shotgun was actively loading and racking the firearm. Walmart does not have a policy about guns inside its stores.

    What color do you think this individual was? Here’s a clue: Not the same color as John Crawford.

    Papania pointed out a question he thinks people should ask themselves as we move forward with the gun laws conversation. “Gun laws should be such that it provides us security. As we look at this fact pattern, do you feel safer?”

    In addition to everything else, food for thought. Don’t ya think?

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  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Loviatar: Just like the general population.

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  16. Loviatar says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Yeah, but we don’t have the means and the color of law to end your life.

    Quote from article:

    I worked with men and women who became cops for all the right reasons — they really wanted to help make their communities better. And I worked with people like the president of my police academy class, who sent out an email after President Obama won the 2008 election that included the statement, “I can’t believe I live in a country full of ni**er lovers!!!!!!!!” He patrolled the streets in St. Louis in a number of black communities with the authority to act under the color of law.

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  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Loviatar: Yep. I grew up in STL and well know the culture of policing there. (even got pulled over for DWB a time or 2 even tho I am Caucasian)(I am darkly complected with kinky hair, but one look at my face and all know) My youngest son lives in Baton Rouge. They sent a “fugitve apprehension team” out for him after he missed a traffic court date. Walked out his door with his dogs early one morn and came face to face with a cop in full tactical gear:

    “Ummmmm…. Can I help you?”
    “Do you know DJM?”
    “Ummmmm…. Yeah, that’s me.”

    I have no doubt things would have ended up a whole lot differently if he was not blond and blue eyed.

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  18. Jack says:

    I have said it in the past and I will say it again. The cops in both of these examples decided to escalate immediately. This remains a big problem within the law enforcement community.

    From Radley Balko

    All of which is why training police in de-escalation is so important. Physical confrontation like the kind we see in this video immediately raises the stakes and narrows the margin for error for everyone involved. A misheard directive, a misinterpreted gesture, or any other miscommunication can quickly become fatal.

    It’s time to start asking whether the shooting was preventable — and if it was, whether the failure to prevent it was due to poor training, bad policies, or police officers acting in contravention of policies or training.

    Was it legal? is the question we ask when deciding whether or not to prosecute. Was it preventable? is the question we need to ask to save lives.

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  19. Jenos Idanian says:

    It is still very early in the cases, and way too early to draw any conclusions. But, based on what is being said now, we have two very different cases.

    1) Mr. Castile was apparently legally carrying a gun, announced it to the officer, and was obeying the officer’s commands when the cop shot him. If that is what actually happened, this cop needs to go up for manslaughter.

    2) Mr. Sterling, it is being reported, was openly carrying a gun when someone did as stonetools suggested and called 911. The cops arrived, found a known convicted violent felon possessing a gun, and reacted. That one’s a little grayer.

    As a believer in the 2nd Amendment, at this point I am inclined to condemn the killing of Mr. Castile, but am withholding judgment on the death of Mr. Sterling. But I am not going to make any firm commitments here until more facts emerge. After all, look how long “hands up, don’t shoot” was spread as gospel before it was definitively proven a lie. Hell, it’s still being spread around today.

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  20. Jack says:

    @Jenos Idanian: The police officers escalated the situation with Mr. Sterling. One officer said “He’s got a gun.” In all likelihood, the other officer believed that meant “He’s got a gun in his hands.” Possession of a gun is not a death sentence.

    While they may be able to justify this shooting…because cops fear for their lives…after they escalate is not reasonable in my opinion.

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  21. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Here is some of the information coming out about the Sterling case:

    Sterling was selling CDs early Tuesday outside the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge, the source said, when the homeless man approached him and asked for money.

    The man was persistent, and Sterling showed him his gun, the source said. “I told you to leave me alone,” Sterling told the man, according to the source. The homeless man then used his cell phone to call 911.

    In 2009, [Sterling] was charged with carrying a weapon (a firearm) while in possession of a controlled substance (marijuana). He pleaded guilty two years later and was sentenced to five years in prison, with credit for time served and a recommendation of work release and drug treatment.

    Muflahi, the store owner, said he’d known Sterling for six years and never saw a confrontation between Sterling and anyone. Sterling never got into fights, he said. “Just five minutes before (the shooting),” Muflahi said, “he walked into the store getting something to drink, joking around, (and we were) calling each other names.”

    Still as gray to you? It doesn’t sound to me at all like this guy was a violent felon known to police – just a guy exercising his 2nd Amendment rights and trying to get someone harassing hiim to leave him alone.

    FYI, quotes are from CNN.com.

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  22. Guarneri says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    Oh, I don’t know. In Chicago Rahm Emanuel, the Democrat mayor of a Democrat city made sure the video taped cold blooded shooting of a black guy, Laquan McDonald, was suppressed until after said mayor and friend of Hillary friend of Obama was safely re-elected. Wouldn’t want that messiness during an election. You all remember Laquan McDonald, right?? That’s what I thought.

    You know there is a rumor going around right now that there are two sets of rules, one for democrat elites, and one for the little guy. Im not sayin’ I’m just sayin’……..

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  23. Moosebreath says:

    Something very close to the Minnesota case happened to me a few years ago. I was walking around the neighborhood after putting my kids to bed. I heard someone behind me call out to see my ID. I asked if he was a cop and he said he was.

    So I started to reach into my pocket for my wallet, when I heard him yell, “Get your hands out of your pocket.” I raised my hands and said very slowly, “You asked for my ID. It’s in my pocket. Do you want to see it or don’t you?”

    The cop then gave a very nervous laugh. I strongly suspect that if I were black, I would have been shot right then.

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  24. Jc says:

    The Sterling call stated he had a gun. Cops responded knowing he had a gun. Did they ask him where is the gun, we received a call against a person matching your description stating you threatened him with a gun? Nope, as Jack stated above they took it to a whole other place it did not need to go to. Why? Because he was black. Black Lives Matter should also be Black rights matter. Meanwhile you can find stories of Earl drunk in the back of his truck shooting out windows and he ends up talked down and apprehended. If black there is no negotiation, they start yelling and you are like WTF? then tased taken down and killed before you can get some clarity on what’s going on.

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  25. Hal_10000 says:

    Radley Balko had a great post on this. It is likely that none of these officers will be charged. Under the legal standard used, an officer is always justified if there was any way he could have feared for his life. This was the standard used in Tamir Rice: that if there was any doubt as to whether the gun was real, they were justified in shooting him.

    What has to change, as I said on my blog, is police culture. As Radley said, we need to change the decisions made before the shooting happens. Fewer laws that result in interactions with police, fewer confrontations, way more training in de-escalation, way less emphasis on pseudo-military tactics.

    Watch how the officers react after the shooting. They’re screaming, nearly hysterical, trying to justify what happened. They shot them partly because of racism, partly because of miscommunication and partly because they’ve had it drilled into their heads that they are constantly in danger at every moment (even though policing is safer than it’s been in a century). And then we act all surprised when that drumbeat of DANGER DANGER DANGER results in a dead man on the ground and a cop with a smoking gun trying to justify what he just did.

    (PS – And this an example why, despite being a Second Amendment supporter, I think the NRA should get stuffed. They should be one of the first ones talking about this. A legal gun owner, a non-criminal, a carry permit holder was shot because the police panicked.)

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  26. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    After all, look how long “hands up, don’t shoot” was spread as gospel before it was definitively proven a lie

    Not sure why you are fixated on this. Officer Wilson clearly and obviously lied about aspects of the confrontation, yet you accept his story as gospel.

    Well, he do be white…

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  27. Guarneri says:

    I think Jc’s point should be taken that more negotiation should have been afforded. But I also have a question. Is there anyone dumb enough here who wouldn’t be on the ground as fast as possible when instructed by two police officers? Once you make that mistake, rightly or wrongly things spin out of control as often as not.

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  28. anjin-san says:

    @Guarneri:

    things spin out of control

    They just seem to spin a hell of a lot more often for black folks…

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  29. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Go to Hell

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  30. Guarneri says:

    That appears to be true, but really irrelevant to the point. White, black or pink I’d hit the deck pronto if instructed. Do you think there is just a teeny weeny chance that defiance is more pronounced in certain communities? That’s not justification for cops shooting, but it is a piece of friendly self preservation advice.

    You know, I see a lot of moral outrage here. It would be more credible, and not selective, if the absolute assassination of Laquan McDonald received same, and wasn’t buried……….the burying done by the former chief fundraiser for HRC and former chief of staff of Barack Obama. Call me crazy but I don’t think there will be much commenting here, just as HRC and Obama were never queried about the heinous act of their buddy Rahm.

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  31. Guarneri says:

    True, Anjin…..

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  32. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Just last week House Democrats sitting on the floor singing “We shall Overcome” with legislation in hand designed to rectify a problem. When the hell is this party going to stand up for the people that overwhelmingly support it? I can take racists being against me–they’re supposed to be—but the people that are supposed to be FOR me are nowhere to be found for issues relevant to me!

    Obama is doing all he can do with Speeches and Civil Rights Investigations. But that’s not enough! We need legislation with TEETH that takes the discretion AWAY from the Police and outlines CLEAR rules of engagement for the Escalation of Force and Use of Deadly force. You democratic boot lickers can come and downvote me all you want but I’ve got skin in this game–it’d take 2 hands to count the number of police guns that have been aimed at me since I was a teenager. So I don’t want to hear any damn excuses.

    Someone can’t buy birth control from a store and the Supreme Court, House,Senate, Legal funds, Think Tanks, etc go into overdrive. Black men get shot down in cold blood and nobody lifts a finger. Im sick of this crap!

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  33. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Guarneri: And if you were black you’d still might get shot….that’s the issue dufus.

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  34. anjin-san says:

    @Guarneri:

    On a happier topic, be sure to check out Warren Haynes “Ashes & Dust” and Lizz Wright “Freedom & Surrender

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  35. Guarneri says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    You might, but I doubt it. And I don’t seem to here you expressing any invective towards Obama and his absolute silence that his former chief of staff would cover up a video of the slaughter of a black man, just for political gain. Nor against HRC. Only black lives that have political utility matter I guess. Until there can be a coherent, consistent moral outrage I wouldn’t expect much change, which you claim you want. There has been no change in decades as blacks have simply served as political pawns. It may not dawn on you, but that is despicable as well.

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  36. Guarneri says:

    @anjin-san:

    Thanks

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  37. Jc says:

    “Three Dallas police officers were killed and seven others were wounded Thursday night during a demonstration protesting the police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana this week, according to Chief David O. Brown of the Dallas police.”

    This is bad. Someone needs to bring people together and stop this madness.

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  38. bill says:

    @Jc: 5 now, i wonder if that sates the blm ‘tards and their supporters?
    like dallas had anything to do with what happened next door or in minnesota. but then again, dealing with idiots is never logical.
    guess our great healer in the white house has failed again….but hey, i didn’t vote for him or expect him to diffuse anything.
    i wonder if obama/hillary will blame the gun this time?

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  39. DrDaveT says:

    @Hal_10000:

    What has to change, as I said on my blog, is police culture.

    That’s certainly a necessary step, yes.

    I suspect that it would happen faster if police officers started doing hard time when they commit homicide while in uniform.

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  40. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Jc:

    This is horrible, and will lead to a horrible response.

    The fabric of America is stronger than this.

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  41. Gustopher says:

    As I said, the investigations need to be allowed to proceed forward in both cases and the chips allowed to fall where they may. But if you can’t understand why so many African-Americans are angry about this issue after watching these videos, then you’re just being willfully blind.

    And if you believe that the officers will end up convicted, you’re also just being willfully blind.

    Our courts require a level of certainty, and we give our police enough benefit of the doubt, that it is basically impossible to convict them of anything that happens quickly, whether they deserve it or not.

    In both of these cases, the officers knew that the suspect was armed, and in both of these cases, they got scared and began shooting after misinterpreting the suspect’s actions (I’ll give the officers the benefit of the doubt, I don’t feel like watching snuff films right now). That’s bad training, possibly mixed with racism (people have biases — you need to train people to recognize their bias enough to ignore it). In both of these cases, a black man ends up dead, and the officers lives are unpended.

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  42. Gustopher says:

    @Gustopher: Accidently hit post halfway through a thought. But I’m not really sure how to finish the thought.

    Do we serve our police poorly by not training them to handle these situations? Yes?

    Does that absolve the police of responsibility for their actions? No.

    Should we just give up on justice since we never get it anyway, and go after harm reduction, immunizing the officers in cases like this, and try to use them to teach other officers? Maybe?

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  43. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Monala: Yes, still gray. Because it’s still too early. I was cautious before, and this shows why: Sterling was still a felon in possession of a firearm, but it wasn’t a violent felony. So he was legally banned from possessing a gun.

    How relevant that might have been is still unclear. If the responding officers knew that he had a gun on him and knew that he had that record, that makes the situation much tenser — unlike the Castile case, where he was in legal possession of his gun.

    If Sterling had a gun on him, he knew that he was in big legal trouble for being a felon in possession of a gun, and more likely to react inappropriately. If the police knew he was a convicted felon who had no legal right to have a gun, they would be considerably more tense.

    So we still need to know more.

    Both look bad at this point, but the Castile one looks far worse.

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  44. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Not sure why you are fixated on this.

    Because it became a rallying cry and a call to action, and people still willfully insist that it was true. Or, in your case, desperately want to pretend that it never happened.

    Have YOU ever acknowledged that it was total bullshit from the get-go?

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  45. Jenos Idanian says:

    And before we get too far down the rabbit hole on the Dallas shootings, let me put out three possibilities for the shooters:

    1) Anti-police extremists who saw the opportunity to kill some cops.

    2) People unhappy with the Black Lives Matter movement (yeah, that includes me) who saw an opportunity to make things a LOT worse.

    3) Muslim fundamentalists who saw a chance to get two groups they don’t like angry at each other.

    Other possibilities are… less likely. The fact that these were carried out by several people fairly proficient with rifles makes other theories (gangs, lone nuts) less plausible.

    But again, still very early. We don’t know anything about the shooters yet.

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  46. Jenos Idanian says:

    President Obama just gave a brief statement about the shooting. Reading the auguries, he just made a point of talking about the dangers posed by powerful weapons. That makes me suspect that there’s at least a theory as to the motives of the shooters, and it’s one that he finds… uncomfortable. Previous incidents that have provoked such a response from President Obama have involved Muslim fundamentalists and Black Lives Matter sympathizers.

    And yes, it’s still very early. Anything can change. Everything can change.

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  47. Jenos Idanian says:

    Gateway Pundit has a couple videos from the Dallas shooting. In the second video, I hear what sounds like a fully automatic weapon firing. (Bursts of shots, evenly spaced apart, in very rapid succession.) That should narrow the suspect list down even further.

    To me, that makes top suspects either some extremist militia group, or Muslim fundamentalists. They are two groups who are more likely to have fully automatic weapons and the training to use them effectively. Gangs and BLM activists…. not so much. They are more into handguns, and aren’t much known for practice.

    Also, there’s a possibility that the fully automatic weapon was being fired by police, not the criminals. So, still too early to draw conclusions.

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  48. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “To me, that makes top suspects either some ”

    Oh, for God’s sake, can’t you simply shut up?

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  49. Jenos Idanian says:

    @wr: Aw, did I harsh your mellow?

    Suck it.

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  50. Jenos Idanian says:

    @wr: This whole thread has been pretty much speculation or misinformation, long before I said word one. Hell, the first comment says Sterling was shot twice in the back of his head, when the video shows him lying on his back and he was shot twice in the chest. Why aren’t you going after that?

    Oh, yeah, they aren’t the object of your crush.

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  51. Eric Florack says:

    @Bookdragon: if I understand correctly the way those statistics are taken and presented, they already are included

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  52. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Have YOU ever acknowledged

    This is coming from George Zimmermann’s self appointed champion…

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  53. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: And I never got even a ribbon for it. (sob)

    So screw off, jackhole. You make such a strong point of never saying anything of substance, just repeating the same snide ad hominems every time you open your gob.

    “Hands up, don’t shoot” was bullshit from day one. It never happened. Brown attacked and tried to kill a cop, and was justifiably killed while charging him for a second attempt. And all the riots and protests after it were based on that lie.

    So screw off.

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  54. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Guarneri: And yet, here we have a case where a black man was. at least according to what a witness testified to, doing exactly what a police officer said to do and was shot anyway. Doubt all you want to. I think you’re not being entirely truthful, even to yourself.

    On the other hand, your comments are for linking this tragedy to Hillary and the Democrats so you can justify–again, in your own mind–voting for Trump. Why am I not surprised, Drew, captain of industry extraordinaire?

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  55. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    And before we get too far down the rabbit hole…

    And you still come up with Islamic extremists? Really? Dude, you whole life is down the rabbit hole!

    Click

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  56. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Brown attacked and tried to kill a cop

    You mean the cop who lied about Brown repeatedly punching him in the face with such force that he feared that even one more blow might kill him?

    Wilson after “beating”

    It’s pretty clear, actually its crystal clear no-doubt-about-it that Wilson suffered no titanic blows to the face. He is an obvious liar, and you are his sycophantic fanboy…

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  57. anjin-san says:

    It’s been a discouraging week or two- this might help lift some spirits:
    I Remember, I Believe

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  58. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    I just heard tonight on the news that the Bahamian Tourism Agency has issued a travel advisory for visitors to the US. Apparently, they are warning that young black men run a high risk of being killed while visiting our country. I wonder why the concluded that?

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  59. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    And I never got even a ribbon for it.

    Well no, but you did get a dandy pearl necklace…

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  60. rodney dill says:

    @Loviatar: a fairly accurate summation of humanity overall.

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  61. Moosebreath says:

    @rodney dill:

    “a fairly accurate summation of humanity overall.”

    Not disagreeing with you, but shouldn’t we be weeding out the bad influences in the police departments? Instead, I see far too much reflexive rallying around any accused police officer, without any critical examination of how they acted.

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  62. rodney dill says:

    @Moosebreath: I agree, and I would say its been started… in some places anyway. Not enough places and not fast enough. There’s still too many places where you think, “What were the cops thinking?” Taking care of the ‘known’ bad cops, where they’ve already committed some very questionable act is a start, but would be reactive and too slow.

    The problem I see is its very easy to say and fairly complex to implement. More minority officers seem to help, but only at a certain threshold, and only when enough are at a high enough rank. Police unions probably get in the way at some point. Saying “Lets weed out the bad influences in the police departments” is a lot like saying “Lets ban guns from anyone on the Government watch list.” It’s specious, but can cause it’s own set of problems, and false positives

    Did you have any specific ideas for your plans on how this would be done?

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