Though this story happened 2 or 3 days ago, I had just come across it recently. I first came across it though a fellow who calls himself “Tim Black” on youtube, a creator that posts information relevant to current news and some pop culture material. He first used the body cam video footage of the officer involved, then went on to comment on the story later (linked below).
Being I had seen the video before reading any other articles or hearing any other commentary, I would say that I view the case from an unbiased perspective. The video speaks for itself.
But some background.
Apparently someone (the pastor?) had contacted authorities after getting a credible information that someone had been threatened with violence at the wedding. The person who allegedly issued the threat (“I have a bullet with your name on it”) later showed up at the wedding with the gun, though the officer did not know about the gun at the time.
It seemed like all was fairly well at first. But with the fellows hands behind his back, the officer noticed the suspect was nervous and asked him why he was nervous. It was around that point when the fellow elbowed the officer and took off out of the parking lot and into the nearby street.
Running down the street, the film appears to show the suspect drop the weapon. Im thinking that had he kept going, I would not be typing this. But he did NOT keep going.
He bent down and tried to pick up the gun, and as such the officer was forced to react by firing 5 shots at the suspect.
After you see the paster near by and pleading with the officer to stop shooting and let him check on the person, seemingly ignoring the officers orders to back off (the officer does however assure him that he won’t fire anymore shots at the suspect). And though I didn’t see the extended version of this video, it apparently shows a bystander in the crowd indignantly saying “He didn’t have a gun” upon hearing the accusation from an officer nearby.
I don’t have a whole lot to say about the actions of the officer. The actions as depicted in the video seemed professional, right from beginning to end. I did not see any desire to draw the weapon until the suspect gave him reason to.
What also stands out is the attitude of some of the onlookers, in terms of not really taking the officer seriously and automatically assuming wrong doing. First is the action of the priest who stands fast despite being told to back up. There is a reason for this. If the officer does not know who you are or why you are so close, he can’t guarantee that you won’t make a grab at the gun.
I understand that you likely had only the best of intentions in mind. But given the context of the situation, listen to the officer and BACK THE FUCK UP!
And as for those in the crowd automatically resorting to “He didn’t have a gun!” . . . . I can let it slip as likely driven by loyalties in the heat of the moment. No one likes to think the worst of families and friends, no matter what the senses tell us.
The suspects mother is later quoted in the Vice article as basically saying that the officer did not have to shoot, he was in no danger. Another person makes the claim that the item dropped was a cell phone or other harmless object.
And in viewing of some of the commentary under the Tim’s Take video, there appears to be some disagreement of wether there really was threat on the officers life since many claim that the gun was never really pointed at the officer.
Again, family and friends do not like to think or assume the worst of those close to them, no matter how seemingly clear cut the evidence is. And people can and will say whatever they want to say, and apparently see whatever they want to see. Cell phone or gun, any sudden move is likely going to spook a cop. So worry about the object LATER, and your life NOW.
However, when it comes to the situation of whether or not the gun was pointed at the officer being a factor in the level of threat to the officer, this is irrelevant.
If an officer at any time feels his or her life to be in danger, they can neutralize the threat. The officer does not have to wait for the weapon to be pointed in his direction to act. This is a stupid assertion, because by the time the gun is pointing your way, it may be to late!
This is the same reason why the priest should have backed up when told. With a gun present at the crime scene, the officer does not want anyone else getting ahold of it.
Race is being played up as a big factor in this story. But its irrelevant. If I am in a room with officers pointing weapons at me and I make a move for a gun 5 feet away, the same thing will happen to me. Pointing that gun at the officers does not constitute endangering their lives, simply going for the weapon does!
As is common place in the realm of social media where every halfwit has their public say on every issue, there will be people on both sides of the fence. And there will be people looking to connect this to the Eric Garner/Michael Brown bandwagon of police brutality. And it would be one thing if officer negligence was apparent, or at very least unknown and ambiguous (as is the case with Michael Brown). But the evidence is in video format. From my prospective, there is no ambiguity as to who was in the wrong and who was in the right.
I will grant that this does not mean that one necessarily has to entirely accept the story. One can question for example, if 5 bullets were necessary. Or whether or not deadly force was warranted or is always warranted in such a situation (could he have been subdued by a non-fatal shot?).
But you have to see who the real criminal was. To use an entirely inappropriate metaphor, its in black and white.
I understand the #BlackLivesMatter movement is big now, and I understand why. Even I as a Canadian can see the disparity in targets when it comes to police organizations all over the United States.
But this does not make every black suspect an innocent victim or every white cop a criminal. And trying to paint every case and situation in this light, helps solve nothing.
Im reminded a bit of the folk giving the Ferguson looters a pass because of their anger at the Michael Brown situation, as well as their treatment by officers in society now and for a long time. Yes, I agree you have a reason to be angry.
But I don’t care if its Ferguson MS 2014 or the LA riots of 1992, trashing and burning the neighbourhoods and livelihoods of hundreds of innocent victims (ALSO likely victims of the very same abuse you protest!) does not help your cause!