SECOND GUESSING THE POLICE
Several readers asked me to comment on the officer-involved shooting in Atlanta, Georgia...
In this age of surveillance cameras and smartphones with decent still and video capabilities, it is hard for individuals, politicians, and the police to escape notice. It is always striking to see so many foolish individuals in dangerous situations trying to capture video or taking selfies. Unfortunately, this leads to the luxury of second-guessing the actions of officers and others who are acting on split-second decisions made in real-time.
About this particular shooting...
The basic facts are clear: A Wendy's employee called 911 to report a man, later identified as Rayshard Brooks, sleeping in a vehicle in the drive-thru and disrupting business. Devin Brosnan, the responding officer, woke the driver who appeared impaired and had him park the car in the parking area. The officer then called for assistance.
Another officer, Garrett Rolfe, arrived, conducted a field sobriety test, determined the suspect met the legal requirements for driving while impaired and arrested the suspect. In the process of handcuffing the suspect, a fight ensued. The suspect overcame two officers and fled with Brosnan’s Taser. In the process of fleeing, the suspect turned back toward the pursuing officer, aimed the Taser at the officer's head and fired at point blank range. Thee shots were fired, two striking the suspect in the back which resulted in the suspect's death from blood loss and organ failure after surgery.
For those politicians and media pundits who claim Brooks is "running away," you are not running away if you turn to engage the police with a weapon in your hand. And, it appears that the weapon -- which could have incapacitated the police officer -- was fired point blank at the officer's face. The officers unsuccessfully attempted previously to Tase Brooks.
After viewing hours of video and body-cam footage from Wendy’s drive-thru in Atlanta, Georgia, I realize that the problem is not the police officer that shot Brooks, but the politicized system that appears to demand a conviction to assuage the mob and to benefit the self-interests of the politicians who are pandering to their constituents.
One, it is true that Brooks appeared to be drunk and somewhat disoriented when interviewed by two Atlanta police officers. There is no question that Brooks did operate a vehicle while impaired as a police officer witnessed him operating the vehicle.
Two, it is also true that Brooks was initially cooperative and tried to follow the officer's instructions as he was being interviewed -- attempting to talk his way out of trouble, but only demonstrating the level of his impairment. It should be noted that allowing such an impaired individual to continue driving would put innocent citizens at risk of death or injury, not to mention probable property damage.
Three, it is true that a struggle starts when one officer attempts to handcuff Brooks.
Four, it is true that Brooks resisted arrest, grappled with the two officers, secured one of the officer's Taser and attempted to run away from officers. It should be noted that, even though the Taser is not normally considered a lethal weapon, it can incapacitate a police officer and an incapacitated officer might have his duty revolver taken -- and the threat to the officers and innocent bystanders immeasurably escalated.
Five, After the pursuing officer attempted to Tase the suspect, it appears that Brooks twisted back to the officers with a Taser in his hand and allegedly fired at the officer’s face at point blank range.
Six, the officer fired his service weapon and it appears that Brooks may have been facing away from the officer or in the process of turning when struck by bullets. Only an autopsy can assist in determining the relative positions of the participants, although it is known he was shot twice in the back and suffered organ damage.
Given the level of Brook’s impairment and the lack of situational control of the suspect by the police, I believe that the use of deadly force was a split-second decision, and the officer should be given the benefit of any doubt.
About those police unions...
For all those who believe that the police union protects corrupt officers, you will notice that the officers requested a representative to help guide them through the stressful situation of an officer-involved shooting. Considering the tremendous political pressures in play, this is a critical necessity to preserve the officer’s rights in the face of an angry mob, and spineless politicians who want to virtue signal their constituency in the media.
Swift action by the authorities…
"Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds said his agents worked through the night interviewing witnesses and reviewing video.
He said their findings show that Brooks tried to fight off two officers when they tried to arrest him and at one point managed to take a Taser away from one of them.
A security camera recorded Brooks 'running or fleeing from Atlanta police officers,' Reynolds said. 'It appears that he has in his hand a Taser.'
"During a short foot chase Brooks 'turns around and it appears at that time he points a Taser at an Atlanta officer,' Reynolds said. That's when the officer drew his gun and shot Brooks, he said, estimating the officer fired three times.
'In a circumstance like this where an officer is involved in the use of deadly force, the public has a right to know what happened,' Reynolds said of the decision to quickly release the restaurant surveillance footage."
Here is the full body-cam footage explaining almost everything.
This preliminary investigation is only the first part of the fact-finding efforts of the investigators, the formal autopsy must be completed, and the entire case reviewed by the District Attorney, who can decline further prosecution or bring charges to proceed through a court of competent jurisdiction.
As with all American citizens, the officers should be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Let us not forget that the District Attorney is a political appointee, possibly with ambitions of higher office, and may bring charges for political expediency.
Rush to judgment...
The officers, already convicted by the self-serving politicians, the media, and the mob, appeared to have been denied due process when the Atlanta police department announced that officer Garrett Rolfe who shot Rayshard Brooks was fired. The second officer, Devin Brosnan, who was involved in the shooting, was placed on administrative leave.
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields was forced to resign, and Atlanta’s Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, went “full political” when she announced that the shooting was not a “justified use of deadly force.” Bottoms may be on Joe Biden's list as a potential candidate for the Vice Presidency.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said on Sunday that a decision about filing charges against officer Garrett Rolfe would be made by his office "around Wednesday" of this week.
"He [Brooks] did not seem to present any kind of threat to anyone, and so the fact that it would escalate to his death just seems unreasonable," he told CNN, adding, "It just seems like this is not the kind of conversation and incident that should have led to someone's death."
[OCS: Is this man blind and stupid? The suspect fought two police officers, broke away with a weapon, and turned toward an officer, weapon in hand, and discharged it at point blank range toward the officer’s face.]
Howard explained that there are several charges being considered, including murder, felony murder, and involuntary manslaughter.
"There are really three charges that are relevant: one would be the murder charge in the state of Georgia. That charge is a charge that is directly related to an intent to kill,” he said.
[OCS: To believe the officer woke up that morning with the intent to murder Brooks or even a generic black person is ludicrous. If anything, the intent after the struggle was to preserve his life while apprehending Brooks and placing him in custody.]
“The second charge is felony murder, and that is a charge that involves a death that comes as a result of the commission of an underlying felony. In this case, that underlying felony would be aggravated assault."
[OCS: Does this district attorney have his head up his ass. The suspect attacked a police officer -- the officer did not attack the suspect.]
"The only other charge that might make any sense at all would be some voluntary manslaughter charge. But I believe in this instance, what we have to choose between, if there’s a choice to be made, is between murder and felony murder," he added.
[OCS: This is absolutely insane. The suspect presented a clear and present danger to the officers. ]
Rolfe fatally shot 27-year-old Brooks, who was suspected driving under the influence, on Friday at a Wendy's in the Georgia capital. Footage from the incident showed Brooks taking an officer's Taser during the arrest and pointing it at him as he ran away. Rolfe then fired three shots at Brooks, who was later pronounced dead.
"There’s one good thing about video,” Howard noted. "Because in the video, we actually get a chance to hear the officer’s first statement after the shooting took place. And what the officer said is not that his life was saved. What his statement was, is, 'I got him.'"
[OCS: This is a statement, probably out of context, and considering the circumstances is meaningless.]
"Specifically, officer Rolfe, whether or not he felt that Mr. Brooks, at the time, presented imminent harm of death or some serious physical injury. Or the alternative is whether or not he fired the shot simply to capture him or some other reason," he said. "If that shot was fired for some reason other than to save that officer's life or to prevent injury to him or others, then that shooting is not justified under the law."
Both officers should have been placed on administrative leave, and any firing delayed until after a thorough investigation and a hearing in which the officers can defend their actions, job, and future career.
Community comments by those with a clear agenda…
"Gerald Griggs, an attorney and a vice president of Atlanta's NAACP chapter, estimated there were 150 people protesting at the scene as he walked with them Saturday afternoon. 'The people are upset,' Griggs said. 'They want to know why their dear brother Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed when he was merely asleep on the passenger side and not doing anything.'"
This does not appear to be the case, as shown in the video, and only serves to inflame the mob further as well as to convey unhelpful disinformation. Fake news!
What the media is hiding: Brooks was a violent criminal.
And the stories told by the Brook’s family lawyers are just as misleading. The truth appears to be more disturbing. Brooks was a repeat violent offender -- possibly on parole which could be the reason he ran. Of course, the lawyers with Stewart Trial Attorneys set up a GoFundMe account for Brooks’ wife and children. The same wife and children he probably beat when he was charged with cruelty to children and battery on a family member. Look at his record for yourself.
This has been a life-altering event, obviously for Brooks, his family, his friends, and certainly the officers who will be scarred for life -- that is if they have a future life.
While there are bad officers, overly-aggressive officers, and do-nothing officers, you cannot generalize about the thousands of decent officers whose sworn duty is to keep the peace and ensure the safety and security of those they have sworn to protect and serve.
The lesson that must be learned by those in the Black community is simple: DO NOT RESIST ARREST! DO NOT FIGHT THE POLICE! DO NOT TOUCH AN OFFICER’S WEAPON! The lesson to be learned by the rest of us is that our self-serving politicians cannot be trusted to uphold the law, provide for our safety and security. and protect our property.
This is not an example of racism; it is an example of stupidity. To the extent that the community supports even a genial thug over the police is the degree to which they are welcoming chaos, lawlessness, and anarchy. Instead of chanting “Hands Up – Don’t Shoot,” perhaps they should practice it.
Today, I stand with the police officer. This is not the Floyd case where the negligence of the police officer’s case is almost indisputable.
We are so screwed.