Rebuilding the relationship between the Police and the Communities that they serve one voice at a time.
Police Shootings – media narrative vs. reality 2015 examined and what is to be done?
There has been much said regarding the use of force by Police and shooting of Citizens by Police Officers in the Past few years. It took on a life of it’s own with the case of George Zimmerman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in 2012. Prior to any thorough investigation being concluded media had blitzed the internet and the court of public opinion had been held.Some media outlets had been less than accurate in factual reporting and more enthusiastic about supporting biased reporting to ensure ratings. In the end when the evidence was formally presented an acquittal of George Zimmerman was not acceptable to the masses who did not know what to believe.
Many believed that the Police were to blame and still do. The embers turned to flames one incident feeding the fire after another as the media continued to fan the anger of segments of society. Eventually the Shooting of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri would turn into one of the rallying points of the decade if not longer.
“Hands up don’t shoot” was perpetuated by the media based upon a story that was later disproved. But it didn’t matter. To this day people still believe that it did due to the various images that are embedded in their minds. From political leaders, news casters, sports figures and thousands of protesters who all used the symbol of “hands up don’t shoot”. Officer Darren Wilson was innocent of what he was accused of but it didn’t matter either. He left his career.
More statements were made, perpetuated and accepted as fact although they were not true either. Such as “The viral claim that a black person is killed by police ‘every 28 hours’” It is just not true.
A very interesting article was published in the National Review regarding the work being done by “The Guardian” who has undertaken a project known as “The Counted”. For the month of December 2015, Celina Durgin ran through the statistics published by the Guardian on the Police shootings and found that the idea of crazed racist Police killing unarmed black people just doesn’t hold up under much scrutiny.
Durgin writes in part:
In a project titled “The Counted,” the Guardian is tracking killings by police in the United States and has compiled a comprehensive list for the year 2015. The tracker was motivated by much-discussed but poorly founded concern about excessive use of police force particularly against blacks. In December, police killed 92 people — 21 blacks, 40 whites, 17 Hispanics/Latinos, five Asians/Pacific Islanders, and nine of unknown race. Fourteen were unarmed, including five blacks. Those who were unarmed reportedly still posed other types of threats to officers. These threats included physical violence and ramming officers with a vehicle. Most of these reports are based largely on the accounts of eyewitnesses and the officers involved and so might not include all relevant details, such as results from ongoing police investigations. But the available facts fail to support the claim, made most prominently by the movement Black Lives Matter, that police systematically target unarmed black men.
She then goes onto list every case for the month of December 2015 with details and excerpts of the shootings.
The Washington Post did it’s own study of Fatal Police Shootings in the United States as well for the year of 2015 ending in the month of December. It too does not match what most media would have people believe regarding the racist police lurking behind every mailbox looking to kill a black person. In fact they wrote “The Post found that the great majority of people who died at the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: they were wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran when officers told them to halt.”
The Post also found that “In three-quarters of the fatal shootings, police were under attack or defending someone who was. They continued “Overall, more than half of those killed in 2015 had guns, 16 percent had knives and 5 percent attempted to hit officers with their vehicles. Three percent had toy weapons, typically replica guns that are indistinguishable from the real thing.”
What they were unsure of were the rest as they stated “The events that led to the fatal encounter run the gamut. Routine traffic stops and calls about erratic or bothersome behavior were most common.”
What is problematic for Officers is that they are dealing with the gambit of humanity daily. While most people never come in contact with Police Officers the few that do tend to have either very negative or very positive contact with them. Officers often never know who they are dealing with. Many times officers are talking to people who have emotional, mental or other problems that they were never equipped to deal with.
Media types and many of the public expect that Officers will just somehow magically make these problems work out or that they would have handled the situation better. yet they themselves have never gone through the same type of physiological, emotional or psychological stresses that officers face every day that no human can escape.
What does in fact happen when these type of people go through typical “shoot don’t shoot” training courses opens their eyes to what Officers go through on a daily basis as CNN’s Carol Costello learned first hand. Also Jarrett Maupin who was a civil rights activist went through a “shoot don’t shoot” course and changed his mind stating that “people need to comply with the orders of Law Enforcement officers” after he ‘shot’ an unarmed man during his exercise.
For the record, it should be stated that any Law Enforcement Officer who has been in a “Shoot don’t Shoot” situation finds infinitely more stress in every way,
mental, emotional, physiological than they do in training. It should go without saying, but then again some people believe that Officers also ‘get paid to be shot at, stabbed and bitten, kicked and or hit by persons or various objects’.
So we have some media and some activists learning that everything is not as clear cut and dry as they may believe it to be or that they could do things better than the Officer did in a particular instance. What next?
Media and activists must understand that Officers are trying to do their very best to do a job that calls upon them to investigate people and circumstances not of their choosing. That most Officers are trying to just do a job and get home to their families safely. Yes there are some bad officers out there just like in any other profession. They are the few not the majority.
That we as a society need to stop listening to Politicians, media and activists who perpetuate the divide between law Enforcement officers and communities. Because what will eventually happen is that Law Enforcement officers will do the very bare minimum and Society will break down.
The number of violent crimes committed across the country was up in the first half of 2015 compared with the same period a year earlier, with increases seen across the country and spanning different types of crimes, federal authorities said Tuesday.
The numbers of murders, rapes, assaults and robberies were all up over the first six months of 2015. Overall violent crime was up 1.7 percent, an increase that followed two consecutive years of declines, according to the FBI. These figures come after a year that saw murder rates go up in cities nationwide, sparking a series of tense media reports. ~ Source Washington Post
The WBL searches the Internet daily for “Good Stories” to try and promote stories of compassion that Law Enforcement officers show daily. However the reality of the situation is that every time an Officer reaches out to another human being they are virtually taking their life into their own hands just because they are wearing a uniform.
Incidents evolve quickly and uncontrollably in ways that are unpredictable and unfathomable to many people. Wait for facts to come out, not for people to start playing the blame game or claiming the Police were automatically wrong.
The WBL encourages people to watch the following videos and understand that reality is not what you see on television or even what is being portrayed for ratings or votes. It is not about Black lives mattering more than Blue lives. White lives or any other lives. ALL LIVES MATTER. Most police officers we know judge people based upon actions not on the color of their skin. Will the public do the same?
We also subscribe to Mr. Morgan Freeman’s Point of View.
Do you agree with Mr. Freeman? Would you rather just be judged as a person? Is it too much to just judge a Police Officer based upon what they do and the facts on what they did? Or should they be judged by their profession and what a politician, activist or journalist says before facts come out?