Over the weekend the news team at KFOR here in Oklahoma City posted a video to their website that has generated a lot of angry comments on their Facebook page for the video.
If you haven’t watched the video yet, please do so before reading the rest of my post. It is only two minutes long..
KFOR posted this video to their news site under the headline – “Incredibly moving video reveals last words of those shot, killed by police”
Aside from the fact that this video is not ‘news’ or ‘reporting’ it is blatantly inflammatory and anti-police. It is also presented with no back stories, fact checking or commentary of any kind. And it is highly misleading.
Let’s take these deaths one at a time and see what the truth is. KFOR should have done this but they didn’t. Shame on them.
In the early morning of February 4, 1999, Diallo was standing near his building after returning from a meal. At about 12:40 a.m., police officers Edward McMellon, Sean Carroll, Kenneth Boss and Richard Murphy, who were all in street clothes, passed by in a Ford Taurus. Observing that Diallo matched the description of a since-captured well-armed serial rapist involved in the rape or attempted rape of 51 victims, they approached him.
The officers claimed they loudly identified themselves as NYPD officers and that Diallo ran up the outside steps toward his apartment house doorway at their approach, ignoring their orders to stop and “show his hands”. The porch lightbulb was out and Diallo was backlit by the inside vestibule light, showing only a silhouette. Diallo then reached into his jacket and withdrew his wallet. Seeing the suspect holding a small square object, Carroll yelled “Gun!” to alert his colleagues. Mistakenly believing Diallo had aimed a gun at them at close range, the officers opened fire on Diallo. During the shooting, lead officer McMellon tripped backward off the front stairs, causing the other officers to believe he had been shot. The four officers fired 41 shots, more than half of which went astray as Diallo was hit 19 times.
Had Diallo obeyed the police commands to stop and show his hands he would be alive today. The officers were charged with second degree murder and were acquitted at trial.
Crawford was holding a Crosman MK-177 air pump rifle as he walked through the store, WHIO, Dayton, reported. The weapon, which can shoot both pellets and BBs, had been removed from its original packaging. April and Ronald Ritchie told WHIO they were in the hardware section of the Wal-Mart when they saw Crawford walking with the air pump gun in his hand. They became alarmed and called 911 to report him.
Once on the scene, Beavercreek police Officer Sean Williams and Sgt. David Darkow located Crawford and instructed him to put down the replica rifle. When he didn’t comply, he was shot by the officers.
Had Crawford obeyed the police commands to put down the rifle he would be alive today. The officers are currently on administrative leave pending investigation.
The New York Post reported that Joseph Guzman had an argument with a man outside the bar, and threatened to get a gun. One of Bell’s friends reportedly said, “Yo, get my gun,” as they left the club. Thinking a shooting was about to take place, an African-American plain-clothes officer named Gescard Isnora followed Bell and his companions. He alerted his backup team, who confronted Bell and his companions outside. Isnora claimed he “held out his badge, identified himself as a police officer, and ordered the driver to stop.” Instead, Bell accelerated the car, striking Isnora, and then collided with an unmarked police minivan. Isnora said he thought he saw Guzman reach for a gun. He yelled a warning to the other policemen and they opened fire on the car. Five policemen joined in, firing about 50 bullets into Bell’s car in only seconds.
Had Bell obeyed the police commands to stop he would be alive today. The officers were charge with manslaughter and were acquitted at trial.
Trayvon Martin – was not killed by the police. That fact alone destroys all credibility for this video. Additionally, the video claims that the man who did kill Martin was told by a 911 dispatcher to stop following him. That is a direct contradiction to evidence presented in court.
Officer Randall Kerrick shot an unarmed Ferrell, a 24-year-old ex-Florida A&M football player, after a woman — home alone with her 1-year-old child — called 911 and reported someone was trying to break down her front door.
It was 2:35 a.m., and according to the lawsuit, the woman “does not understand that Jonathon may be injured and is in need of assistance and becomes frightened by his presence on her doorstep at such a late hour. She quickly closes the door, calls 911 for assistance and activates her home security system.”
Police were dispatched, and Ferrell walked down the street to seek assistance elsewhere, according to the lawsuit.
Kerrick and two other officers arrived on the scene about 11 minutes after the 911 call, but Kerrick didn’t speak with the woman, the lawsuit says. He instead tracked down Ferrell, who “never engages in any conduct which can be objectively reasonably interpreted as aggravated active aggression,” according to the lawsuit.
“Defendant Kerrick, in direct violation of written police department regulations, fires 12 high-velocity bullets at Jonathon, striking him 10 times in the chest and arms,” the lawsuit continues.
Ferrell has been indicted for voluntary manslaughter.
Oscar Grant III was fatally shot by BART Police officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California, United States, in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2009. Responding to reports of a fight on a crowded Bay Area Rapid Transit train returning from San Francisco, BART Police officers detained Grant and several other passengers on the platform at the Fruitvale BART Station. Officer Johannes Mehserle and another officer were restraining Grant, who was lying face down and allegedly resisting arrest. Officer Mehserle stood and, according to his attorney, said: “Get back, I’m gonna Tase him.” Then Mehserle drew his gun and shot Grant once in the back. During his court testimony, Mehserle said that Grant then exclaimed, “You shot me!” Grant was unarmed; he was pronounced dead the next morning at Highland Hospital in Oakland.
Mehserle’s attorney claimed at trial that his client had intended to tase Grant but mistakenly shot Grant with his service weapon instead. Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and he was sentenced to two years in prison.
Police have said Gray pointed a loaded .38-caliber handgun at the officers and claimed he was ordered to drop it.
But his family and lawyers noted that out of seven bullets that struck the teen, three entered from his back, suggesting he was running away.
The District Attorney declined to file charges against the officers or present the case to a grand jury.
Pasadena police officers Mathew Griffin and Jeffrey Newlen fatally shot McDade in March 2012 after they followed him from the scene of a reported robbery. A caller told a 9-1-1 dispatcher he had been confronted by a man with a gun.
Believing McDade to be that armed man, officers gave chase. They followed McDade, who was grasping at his waistband, from Orange Grove Boulevard to Sunset Avenue. Later both veteran officers would claim they felt threatened as McDade allegedly “charged” at them; the first officer to fire on the teen was just two feet away.
Had McDade not run from the police, grasped at his waistband or charged police, he would still be alive. Officers Griffin and Newlen were cleared by the District Attorney’s office, an internal probe and the FBI. They are back on patrol.
Chamberlain, 68, was shot dead in his own home last November by Officer Anthony Carelli in White Plains after Chamberlain mistakenly set off his LifeAid medical alert pendant. When the police arrived, Chamberlain refused to let them in. Questions have arisen as to whether cops used racial epithets to antagonize Chamberlain before forcing their way into his apartment.
Police fired bean bags at Chamberlain before he was shot. Carelli said Chamberlain was about to stab another officer.
Had Chamberlain cooperated with police he would be alive today. A grand jury declined to indict any of the officers involved.
Eric Garner, 43, died after being placed in a chokehold that caused him to suffer neck and chest compressions during his arrest two weeks ago in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island, according to findings released by the New York City medical examiner’s office. Garner’s weight, chronic asthma and cardiovascular disease were listed as contributing factors.
On July 17, officers approached Garner and questioned him. He was believed to be selling untaxed cigarettes, a charge on which he had been arrested several times previously. Videos of the incident show that Garner repeatedly said he had done nothing wrong and asked the officers to leave him alone. As police tried to make an arrest, one of the officers placed his arm across Garner’s throat and wrestled him to the ground. Garner can be heard repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe,” while another officer presses his head against the sidewalk.
Had Garner not resisted arrest he would be alive today. When an officer is attempting to arrest someone, justified or not, resisting is stupid. A cell phone video of the incident is available here and at the 1:24 mark you can clearly see an officer move in to place Garner under arrest. Instead of submitting he fights with the police who end up putting him in a chokehold. One officer has been stripped of his badge and gun and was placed on modified duty pending investigation. The other officer was placed on desk duty pending investigation.
Brown and a companion are confronted by an officer as they walk back to Brown’s home from a convenience store. Brown and the officer are involved in some kind of scuffle, followed by gunshots. Brown dies at the scene.
By now everyone knows about this shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. And by now everyone has seen the video of Brown committing a strong-arm robbery at a convenience store minutes before being shot by the police. The facts of this case are in dispute and the investigation is far from complete.
Now that I’ve done KFOR’s job, you have more information on these deaths than you did a few minutes ago. Were all of these deaths justified? No. Were some of them justified? Absolutely. For KFOR to post this video on their website is one of the lowest forms of journalism I’ve ever seen from the local news stations.
The video was posted by Bailey Woolum, who is a media producer at KFOR. After the video she added, “The images were made to honor those who were killed.” Thugs are to be honored? Seriously? How about honoring some police officers instead?
So Bailey and KFOR, how about putting together a video showing police officers saving lives? How about a video of police officers who have fallen in the line of duty, murdered by people like some of the ones listed above? How about a video of the last things murdered police officers said? How about a video of the families of murdered police officers and how they are coping with the loss of their family member?
Shame on you Bailey Woolum and shame on you KFOR. I’m now embarrassed to say I used to watch your broadcasts.
Update 8/26/14: KFOR has removed the video from their website but the post on their Facebook page remains.
Update #2 8/26/14: KFOR has removed their Facebook page for the video.