Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Little White Lie

Back when the Michael Brown shooting took place, I kind of got sidetracked by other police-killing-unarmed-black man cases that happened that week, particularly John Crawford III.

Every week or so I google his name (and usually Dante Parker's as well) to see what the latest news is. Tonight I learned the police won't be accountable for Mr Crawford's death, even while I also learned the Wal-Mart surveillance videos prove he did not ignore police and he never pointed the toy gun at anything but the ground.

You're probably needing more background info at this point, but my point in mentioning the Crawford case is to look at how deeply a little white lie can destroy hundreds of people's lives. Here's the info you need to know in order to understand that claim.

1. Mr Crawford was the father to two small children.
2. He didn't know it, but a third is on the way.
3. He was a son to loving parents.
4. He was at Walmart buying supplies for a Saturday night BBQ when he took an unpackaged air rifle off the shelf and started examining it. He was also on the phone with his children's mother at the time.
5. Some 22-year-old white guy called 911 and told police there was a Black guy in the store waving a gun around, looked like he was loading it and pointing it at people "like children."
6. Video surveillance proves that claim a lie.
7. Said 22-year-old white witness retracted statement and now claims Crawford never pointed the gun at anyone or waved it around irresponsibly.
8. When police arrived they told Crawford to put down the gun or they'd shoot. Still on the phone, he turned his head toward them and they shot him twice, in his back and side. He died shortly after.
9. A middle-aged women was shopping with her two tween-aged children a couple aisles over and suffered a heart attack as she tried to rush her kids away from the scene. She died that evening.
10. The video doesn't make it clear if Crawford dropped the toy gun before or after the shooting.*

While the grand jury decision breaks my heart, I can't say I fully disagree with the verdict. If you put yourself in the police officers' shoes it's hard to say how you'd react. Considering the information they'd been given from the 911 call, this man was dangerous and already reeking havoc on other innocent shoppers. Also, the police had a training just two weeks prior on how to approach armed suspects and they were taught to be the aggressors. Clearly they didn't know Crawford was simply thinking about purchasing a toy air rifle from the store.

I'm certain that in hindsight the officer who shot those bullets feels horrible (he should). But he isn't really the one to blame. Good citizen, 911 caller is.

That individual is responsible for the deaths of two innocent parents. But how do we go about seeking justice? Can we really start charging people with murder when they call the cops with exaggerated claims?

When all the Mike Brown bru-ha-ha first started I remember thinking both sides of the story could be true. That officer may have felt threatened and endangered. Mike Brown may have had his hands in the air, saying "don't shoot." People misunderstand each other all the time.

Unfortunately for some, it is a matter of life and death.

When 22-year-old white guy called 911 he may have been scared. He probably thought the situation could escalate quickly so he needed it to sound more dire than it was. He stretched the truth in order to make sure the police took him seriously.

And three little kids will grow up never knowing their father because of it. Two others lost their mom right before their eyes. All for a little white lie.

*over the past two months I've gathered this info from various sources, but here's the article I read tonight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just another hate crime, and police officers need much more training on how to respond. The senseless shooting of the young man in Saratoga Springs was nothing more than racial profiling, just like this.
Oh and did I say Mia Love will not comment on the issue? I figure if she says it's racial profiling she will anger her fellow Republicans who do not believe in such -- or global warming, or gun control or or or... and if she says it's not racial profiling, she nothing short of a damned liar!
Politics and religion, politics and religion -- the two twin evils of the world...

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