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by Peter Moskos

April 20, 2016

"He came in with a gun and announced a robbery!"

On April 15th, an off-duty Baltimore cop shot and killed a man. "Witnesses" said, according to WBAL:
The officer was having an argument with the man outside the store and the man ran away toward the store.

"As he was running in the store the police shot him, boom. When he got in the store, the police (officer) got over top of him, but once he seen us run up there, he tried to pause and say, 'Stay right there, don't move,' and then he called for the ambulance," a witness said.
It's a pretty detailed account. Yes, says this good citizen, who of course prefers to remain anonymous. A cop chased and shot another black man in the back. But luckily these good Samaritans -- and at great personal risk -- followed the cop in the store to make sure the cop didn't deliver the coup de grĂ¢ce. Is hero too strong a word?

This is how false narratives gain traction "Hands up, don't shoot!" (Which was also a lie.) After all, all cops wake up every morning thinking, "who can I shoot today?" and Baltimore cops in particular love killing innocent people.

This WBAL story does note, really an afterthought:
Police said witnesses inside the store, including clerks, told them that the suspect announced a robbery in the store.

Police are reviewing surveillance video.
But really, who you gonna believe? I mean, this wreaks of a police cover up, store owners cowering in the face of police pressure, and the bad word of police against the good word of criminals.

Luckily, in this case there was video. Good video.

Reporters, in their defense, can't verify that a witness was there. But they could try a bit harder. In places like Baltimore "witnesses" appear after every police-involved shooting. And the story is always that the cops killed a surrendering man. Hands-up-and-shot. It's nothing new. I've been keeping an eye on this for the past 17 years. And in Baltimore it's never happened. Not once. Sure, it could happen. But it hasn't. And you'd think that might matter. (When I was in the academy a housing cop was accused of this but luckily shot this criminal through the criminal's pants' pocket and the criminal's hand. But what if he hadn't been so luckily in missing center mass?) And during that time there have been 4,422 murders.

Eight times out of ten, the "witness" didn't see it; and nine times out of ten, they're lying. (And the 10th time? Well, I'm glad there's video.)

In this case it's not just the "witness" was wrong. Sometimes reasonable people can disagree on what they see. It's that the witness's story was 100 percent anti-police fiction and still reported as very possibly true.

A cop is in the store and a guy comes in a pulls a (turns out to be fake) gun and a knife. He tells the cop to kick it out (or whatever the kids are saying these days when robbing people). Presumably, after rubbing the customers, he would rob the store.

And yes, if you try and rob a cop, you get shot. Nothing wrong with that. And cops in Baltimore (unlike many cities) are required to carry a gun off duty while in the city (and permitted to in the rest of the state). When I took out my trash, I was packing.

And, as usual, the video showed exactly what police said happened. Of course you generally only hear about the exceptions. And you should hear about the exception. But you don't have to base your worldview on them.

Again, Commissioner Davis had the cop's back, as he should. From the Sun:
"He did the absolute right thing," Davis said of the officer.

Davis said the officer acted appropriately and courageously. He said a witness in the shop told him he felt his life would have been in danger if the officer had not acted.
Davis on Saturday also criticized some media outlets who quoted people at the scene who identified themselves as witnesses and gave what he said was false information.

Davis read an excerpt from a Baltimore Sun story in which a man said Howard "ran in the store for safety." A second man said the officer started "fussing" with the Howard, who cursed at the officer before the officer drew his weapon.

Davis said several other outlets spoke to the men, but that their accounts were false. He called the reports "absolutely erroneous and irresponsible," and said the two men "lied about what occurred."

The department released surveillance video outside the store that shows the officer walking into the shop, and Howard crossing the street just behind him, contradicting the witness accounts.
In their later story, after the video was released, WBAL dropped the "witness." Given everything that has happened in the past year in Baltimore, maybe the lying "witness" should have been mentioned.

[check out my next post on this!]

1 comment:

john mosby said...

The copper should sue the TV station for defamation. Even if they claim he's a public figure, this level of fast/looseness with the truth rises to the level of "actual malice" required by NYT v Sullivan.

Heck, if the city is smart it'll join the suit on the side of the officer. This could be the new method for balancing their budget....