A Tale of Two Videos: Analyzing police shootings


(TheAntiMedia) “Cops make mistakes, too.” When the subject of police murders come up, someone will inevitably state that cops aren’t perfect. That’s true and accidents do happen. Videos of police killings can show much more than just the mere chain of events leading up to the death. They can often give great insight into the officer’s state of mind at the time he pulled the trigger or beat someone to death. A well-adjusted person does not want to kill another human being. Fewer than 4% of soldiers are “natural born killers.

Douglas MacArthur was a Five Star General, an Army Chief of Staff, and a Medal of Honor recipient. His father earned the Medal of Honor. While brash, he was a preeminent soldier and could draw on his own wartime experiences and his father’s. On the subject of the horrors of war and killing he said:

“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

He wasn’t talking about wounds caused by shrapnel or bullets. He was talking about the emotional and psychological toll of enduring combat and killing one’s fellow man. Even during war, an activity we are indoctrinated to believe excuses all forms of brutality, killing takes a toll. Imagine the emotional toll that a stable individual would feel after killing an innocent or inflicting grievous bodily harm.

In this video you will see an officer do everything by the book. He stops his car far enough back to observe the suspect without causing a “fight or flight” response. This also provides the officer with distance in case the suspect does open fire. He illuminates the vehicle with all of the available lights, and appears to turn off his forward facing strobes (the red and blue lights). The flashing lights can play tricks on the officer’s eyesight. More than one “gun” that wasn’t really there has been attributed to officers not taking the time to flip off their strobes.  He waits before approaching the suspect’s vehicle and stands off to the side so he doesn’t give the suspect a clear target by silhouetting himself with his own lights. When the suspect begins to pull a shotgun from the back of the truck, he issues multiple verbal warnings to stop. He then and only then initiates violence. Once he realizes the suspect is incapacitated, even though he isn’t on the ground, he stops firing and again issues the command to drop the gun. This brings the shooting to its surprise conclusion.

It wasn’t a shotgun, but did you think it was? In all honesty, I can’t say that I would have been able to tell the difference if it was being swung in my direction at that speed. This is where the video begins to show the officer’s state of mind. Upon realizing his mistake, he immediately calls for medical assistance and begins rendering first aid to the 70-year-old man he just shot in the gut. Through tears and apologies, he continues to try to assist until other officers arrive to take over. Then he has to be comforted by another officer who reassures him “you did what you had to do.” The shooter doesn’t care the least bit about remembering to say he was in fear for his life or getting his story straight. He simply repeats “He pulled a cane not a shotgun.” He breaks down sobbing.

Yes, the officer made a mistake. Yes, he shot an unarmed person. This definitely falls short of being an attempted murder though. This is what an accidental shooting looks like. This is what happens when an emotionally-stable person inflicts pain on an innocent. This is an officer that did everything right and still had a “bad shoot.” This is not an officer that wanted to hurt someone. This is an officer that deserves the benefit of the doubt.

In comparison, during James Boyd’s summary execution for the crime of being homeless, officers promised Boyd he was safe. An officer stated:

“I’m interested in safety, I’m not a f—king murderer.”

Without provocation, they attacked him with a concussion grenade. When the presumably deaf and disoriented man pulled a knife to attempt to defend himself, they opened fire. After he was shot, cops allowed a K-9 to attack him. While his lungs were shredded and he bled to death in the dirt they shot him again with a bean bag gun. Obviously, the officers had the means of bringing the suspect down by nonlethal means (the bean bag gun they used later just for fun). They chose to execute him. This was not an example of a mistake; this was excessive force resulting in a man’s death. It’s murder. The officer that opened fire is retiring with full benefits and will avoid an internal investigation by doing so. (Update: The feds indicted him) There was no remorse. There was no pity. There was no attempt to render aid. There is nothing redeeming in any of the officers’ actions. It doesn’t help that hours before killing him, one of the officers said he was going to shoot the homeless man. Watch the video below.

Remember how upset Officer Daniel Pantaleo was while Eric Garner was dying at his feet? You don’t? That’s because he wasn’t. He was laughing and joking. He even waved at one of the people filming. This isn’t the reaction one would expect as someone watches a man they just took down struggle to stay alive.

In another example of blatant police aggression, officers slammed a petite nurse face first into the concrete after pulling her over for talking on her cellular phone. To make matters worse, she was handcuffed. I’ve met men who spent years being tortured in Vietnamese POW camps, I’ve met men who were shot down and taken captive by terrorists, I’ve met Medal of Honor recipients, but I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone that displayed the bravery and courage it takes to beat up a 5’4” handcuffed woman. The celebration that followed was well deserved boys, you earned that fist bump. The streets are definitely safer now that you’ve smashed in a nurse’s face.

The reactions of officers after they kill or hurt an innocent person are just as important as the incident itself. A general disregard for an injured person denotes that the person probably was not exercising reasonable care or skill while performing a legal act. That’s pretty important because that is the part of the legal definition of manslaughter.

This article was originally published on The Anti-Media last year. In light of the most recent videotaped shooting, it seemed time to revisit the issue.