Dec. 28, 2022

Cop shoots "unarmed" man, what's the definition of "unarmed"? 2022.


Cop shoots "unarmed" man, how to define "unarmed"?

How many times have we seen the news headline, Cop shoots unarmed man? How often has that news headline or talking point been proven to be false?

Before we take a deep dive into the "unarmed man" headline, I need to point out two different incidents and their correlation. First, as a Police Sergeant I was nearly shot killed and permanently disabled by an "unarmed man". Before, I explain how that is possible, I must say that I'm extremely grateful that neither he, nor I were shot that night.

Second, let's look at the Michael Brown shooting and death by Police in Ferguson Missouri. How many so-called news outlets reported that Michael Brown had his hands up in the air before being shot and killed by a police officer? And do you remember when members of the St. Louis Rams, now Los Angeles Rams, NFL Football Team took the field with their hands raised in the air to protest the "hands up don't shoot" claim? 

It has been proven over and over again that the "hands up" did NOT happen. Here is a news article by the Washington Post about that claim.

Yet, even though it was disproved on multiple occasions,the myth of "hands up" still persists. Why? because people saw it, read it, and heard it on the news headlines. It's as if normal common sense and a reasonable questioning of facts disappear when something that is NOT true is reported by the news. 

Investigating Broadcast News Distortion from the FCC.

"Accordingly, the FCC's news distortion policy is more narrow than an informal understanding of the term might imply. In weighing the constitutionality of the policy, courts have recognized that the policy "makes a crucial distinction between deliberate distortion and mere inaccuracy or difference of opinion."

"The scope of the news distortion policy is limited in several respects. First, the regulation applies only to the broadcast medium, which means that the FCC has no power to enforce it against cable news networks, newspapers or newsletters (whether online or print), social media platforms, online-only streaming outlets or any other non-broadcast news platform."

"Second, broadcasters are subject to sanction only if they can be proven to have deliberately distorted a factual news report. Errors stemming from mistakes are not actionable, nor are expressions of opinion (however unsubstantiated they may seem to some viewers or listeners)."

Here is more information about the "10 Most Important U.S. Supreme Court Cases for Journalists".

So, because it is reported and spread from one news outlet to another does NOT make it fact.

Now on to my story. How can a uniformed Police Sergeant be almost shot and killed by an "unarmed man"? How is that possible? And by the way, it happens far more often than people realize. According to the F.B.I. 5.1% of Cops in the last 10 years that were killed, were killed with their own guns.

In my case, when I went to arrest an "unarmed" car thief, I suspected that he might have been reaching for a weapon because of his body movements in the stolen vehicle before bailing out. I had my service weapon drawn and had the suspect on the ground. As I was attempting to holster the revolver, the "unarmed man" came off the ground and began to fight me for control of the weapon. At some point in the struggle, while the gun was still in my right hand, he got a hold of it and was trying to turn it towards my face. Control of the weapon was split between me and him. At that point, the suspect was no longer "unarmed", he was also armed with my service weapon and was trying to fire rounds at my face. As I stated before, for reasons I will never understand neither he, nor I were shot. Even though all 6 rounds were fired from the gun.

So, while he was definitely unarmed at the start, he became armed and capable of murder when he tried to forcefully remove the weapon from my control. 

The next time you see a news headline about a Cop Shooting an Unarmed Man, please do everyone a favor and read the whole article. Often the facts at the end of the article exonerate the officer, but when people only go by the headlines we often have "hands up don't shoot".  Look at all the reported facts of the case, before making a judgement. And remember that everyone in this Country is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, not a court of public opinion or the often wrong news media.