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by Peter Moskos

September 9, 2009

Undercover Cops Kill Jonathan Ayers

In an off-topic comment to another post, "Badge Licker" (is that like Holster Sniffer?) wrote:

"Undercover narcotics agents take out the trash this week."

I clicked on the link and realized this was talking about Jonathan Ayers. That got me thinking.

Here's a later report [dead link removed] from the same Fox News station.

[dead link removed]

I replied to Badge Licker:
I assume by "trash" you mean "Christian" and by "taking out the the trash" you mean "undercover officers killing a man who thought he was getting car-jacked because the cops weren't in uniform?"

I'm actually shocked that Pastor Ayers is white.
Maybe Ayers was involved in a little something something. But maybe not. We don't know. But we do know he wasn't the target of the raid. And the woman who was, was charged with (gasp) cocaine possession.

Badge Licker said:
The undercover narcotics officers announced, so that automatically means Reverend Ayers heard and understood and believed they were police and knew that it was not a car jacking as you implausibly suggest, PCM. Because Reverend Ayers knew they were police and tried to run them over anyway that means that Reverend Ayers was involved in some type of crime. Ergo, trash was taken out by them. The video shows how undercover narcotics officers help keep Georgia safe.
A guy with gun yelling police isn't necessary convincing. What is convincing is a guy in a police uniform yelling police.

PCM said:
It is certainly not unreasonable to consider the possibility that that Ayers thought he was being carjacked.

We don't know how clearly the officer announced they were police. And we certainly don't know if Ayers understood. The owner of the gas station said he had no idea they were police. So they didn't announce themselves *that* clearly. This is a problem that happens again and again with undercover. Sean Bell comes to mind (and Bell was less innocent that Ayers). So does the killing of Agent Michael Cowdery.

And what justifies shooting at the car as it's driving away (this is after the officer pulls the very cool roll-off-the-car-and-land-on-your-feet move)? Ayers was no longer a threat and, at least according the police department, he was not a suspect in their investigation.
Perhaps others also have thoughts on this shooting?

Above link is dead. But this one still works.

And without the news-broadcast audio:


Marc S. said...

Ugh, this is why I back into parking spaces.

I had read that he was overheard asking the paramedics who shot him, indicating he did not know that his assailants were the police.

Here in Philly we had a short string of home invasions perpetrated by a group of 3 men who would dress in black ninja gear and play out drug raids. They'd boot in the door, shout "police" and act in a manner not unlike Philadelphia Police's real narcotics unit (by which I mean they stole shit and sexually assaulted women).

Frankly, if I have no reason to believe I'm being investigated for a crime, assailants with guns are assailants with guns until the uniforms arrive to sort through the bodies.

What is it cops like to say? "In god we trust, all others are suspects." I feel that is the correct mindset when one finds themselves confronted by armed hoodlums with guns, so don't act surprised if citizens try to run you over when you're appearance and actions spell "carjacker".

Jeff said...

What is an citizen supposed to do?

Fight, flee or comply. Fleeing didn't work out for him, fighting would have ended the same way. Comply and hope they don't kill you I guess?

They go on paid leave/vacation to await investigation.

Fast forward to a year from now, there will be a report, there will be findings, procedure was not followed or needs to be revised or both. There may be some professional admonishments, maybe their careers will end or at least dead end.

Jail time for the police? Probably not.

A civil suit will be filed, the widow will get some money.

Rinse, repeat in a new town with new officers next time. Same story, different day.

PCM said...

What bothers me is the idea among some that such police actions are unfortunate but inevitable (and therefore unavoidable).

That belief would be horrible for our society to accept.

Collateral damage in the war on drugs in not acceptable. Police are not soldiers at war. This is a question of policy (drugs) and tactics (uniforms). Changing either would probably have saved a life.

A weird silver lining is that perhaps as aggressive police tactics in the war on drugs happen more and more to middle-class white people (see for instance Cheye Calvo), public opposition will grow.

The war on drugs might be seen as no longer a war just on "them" when it's a war on liberty and all our freedoms.