It is time to ask which is dropping faster in American print news dailies, circulation or standards? The Washington Post is leading the plunge in faltering quality of copy. The Sunday August 1, 2021 front page is centered with the story: “Killings by police persist despite outrage, reform drives.” Writers Mark Berman, Julie Tate and Jennifer Jenkins choose some mighty deep gorges to make their stand in. None of them seem to have a clue what kind of anecdotal evidence will rile up the part of the public that doesn’t pine for bong hits, craft beer and soy burgers.
An article that dominates the front page and three beyond the jump opens with the tale of Ryan Fallo, gunned down by cops at the age of 20. The details aren’t likely to pan out in a sob story for the tenderest of hearts. Fallo had slashed an Uber driver’s hand with a knife in the process of carjacking his Mercedes. When the law caught up to this violent criminal he refused to drop the weapon. Taking lead at over one thousand feet-per-second doesn’t sound like much of a scandal in those circumstances. Were these reporters looking for an undeserving “victim”? Most of us can think of half-a-dozen better examples of recklessly deadly LEO gunplay without any Googling.
Any gaffes in police procedure or candor fade in the mind of a reader once he knows the dead guy cut somebody while commandeering a vehicle. Getting your way with a potentially lethal blade is playing fast and loose with your own life. That should be a vivid reality in everyone’s mind. In a society where it isn’t anyone placing value on un-terrorized living is in need of both fire power and a moated fortress. Transportation services like Uber become distant fantasies.
“The Washington Post began tracking fatal shootings by on-duty police officers in 2015, the year after a White officer in Ferguson, Mo., shot and killed a Black 18-year old.”
The WP is among the media sources in a perpetual funk over the variety facts people choose to believe. The ones in Michael Brown’s case were thoroughly investigated and published in a DOJ report during the Obama administration. Did any of this articles three authors read it? Some details leave a narrow margin for dispute. There is zero doubt, however, that Brown stuck his head inside the window of the police vehicle and assaulted Officer Wilson. Brown did try to escape after getting shot while going for the cop’s gun, but then, inexplicably turned around in an aggressive posture—another fact established by witness testimony. The post article ignores all this in its disappointment with people who don’t find them trustworthy.
The next case to come up, 20 paragraphs in, is Chase Brooks. After randomly attacking cars in a parking lot, at least one of which was occupied, this “victim” was shot charging at police with either a tire iron or a crow bar. Video cuts off before shots are fired as Brooks is running toward the Officer less than 20 feet away. The average man in motion does not need a full second to cover that distance. The idea of mediation by a social worker is goofy. A psychological expert would have ended up brained before getting a full sentence out. A well informed reader should be weary before ever getting to pages 3 and 4 of this zany effort at reform in police protocol. That is not to say we aren’t in need of it—but we are equally in need of writers with a large audience who can present a coherent treatment.
Why, for example, do we get any recount of the Jason Gallegos case? This is what the article tells us.
“In Lansing, police were called to the apartment where Gallegos lived after he accidentally fired a gun, argued with his mother and grabbed her wrist, according to a review by the Michigan attorney general’s office. His mother told a police negotiator that Gallegos was on medication for “many mental illnesses,” according to the review.
After police coaxed him outside, Gallegos came with a shotgun and shot an officer in the leg, the review said. Six officers fired at Gallegos, killing him.”
It is then added “The attorney general’s office said the officer’s acted lawfully.” Was there any other possible conclusion?
People with myopic reading habits about a subject are not ideal candidates to write on it. Has the Post heard of Atatiana Koquice? This was a Black woman shot inside of her own Fort Worth home by a policeman looking through a window from outside. Her 8-year old nephew was visiting at the time. A neighbor called a non-emergency number when her door was left ajar. There was a gun in the house near the body. It may have been picked up as the officers made noise without calling her, knocking on the door or identifying themselves. In any event, it was never alleged the pistol was pointed toward officers on the scene. Video evidence evinces a trigger happy officer with flagrant over regard for his own life instead of the people he is charged with protecting.
How could any of the four cases above be more relevant to the question of police procedural lapses? Failing to pull your door to ought to be a hell of a lot less controversial than fighting police arresting someone for a crime that is not in question.
John Crawford III is another name that should take precedence over Fallo, Brown or Brooks in this examination. He was shot by cops while on his cellphone in a Walmart outside Dayton, Ohio. The video clearly shows Crawford standing idly holding a pellet gun he had just picked up from a shelf and ostensibly, intended to purchase. No one appears to be in range and the gun is pointed toward the floor as the shooting occurs. As the story progressively got worse American media progressively lost interest. It took The Economist to report a mother in her 30’s standing nearby who suffered a heart attack and died after witnessing the senseless killing. On top of that Crawford’s girlfriend, Tasha Thomas, who was waiting in a car, was taken in for questioning after the shooting. She was treated as a suspect in a crime and repeatedly threatened for over an hour. The interrogator, Rodney Curd, makes the implausible—if not impossible—claim he had not been informed Crawford was holding an air gun out of Walmart stock at the time. We are expected to believe CYA was no motive in this outrageous treatment of someone intimate with a genuine victim. In any rational world it amounted to a criminal level of abuse.
We could go on and on citing actual victims of police malfeasance. Daniel Shaver, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, John T. Williams, or this guy. There are plenty of other examples that major media, with the vast resources necessary to document events in context, should be archiving on the internet for easy access. It would amount to an enormous advance in understanding what is at stake in this controversy. The Post, claiming to be on it, gives us instead a circular graph on the front page that is impossible for a layman, or probably anyone else, to unravel as dimly informative.
Police tactics began to be ramped up decades ago. Who was behind it all? Well, there was Retired Lt. Col. Dave Grossman for one, who claims LEO’s experience their best sex after a violent confrontation—especially a fatal one. Despite the fact that he has been lecturing our badged protectors for decades his name rarely comes up in major media. Maybe, if he had received some notice 10, 15 or 20 years ago we could have a little more confidence in media outrage today? Other acolytes in this cult were telling LEO’s the US was a war zone and they should react accordingly for years. The WP, NYT, LAT, CNN, MSNBC and friends yawned. The malefic “alt-media” were the only ones covering this deranged development.
We hear from Ann Coulter et al, that qualified immunity is essential to our safety. This conviction boils down to the notion that only the government—who the bill-of-rights was composed to protect us from—can be trusted to protect us from violent wrongs committed by government. Prosecutors, who rely on cops for the evidence they use to go after their prey, are who we must rely on to hold cops accountable? Like the wokies she loathes, the lady has a very superficial understanding of human nature. Anyone who can reconcile the first ten amendments with “qualified immunity” belongs in the historic legal camps of Roger Taney, Carl Schmitt and Andrey Vishinsky.
In the meantime, Berman, Tate and Jenkins have nothing but the vaguest idea on where to begin policing the police. One place to start might be a “broken windows” standard for cops. In May, 2019 Officer Luke Tambrini physically attacked, tased and sicced a police dog on Marcus Mosely for, supposedly, urinating on the side of a road in the middle of nowhere. Video evidence proves there was zero justification for this conclusion. Yet the highest profile source we get on the incident happens to be Red State—the kind of site the WP commonly smears as fascist, white supremacist, fake news.
Eight months after Mosely was hospitalized by bites from Dante, the faithful police pooch, the local CBS affiliate tells us:
“For almost six years, Dante has worked to keep the Lynwood community safe. Now, that community has rallied around him in his recovery.”
There is inadequate emphasis on the fact that the dog was injured playing catch with Tambrini, who is also quoted:
“No one ever asked him to sign up for this, and he does it, and he loves it.”
There’s little doubt that some dogs love biting people but a great deal about their capacity to distinguish dangerous felons from industrious handymen.
What kind of prioritizing leaves a writer with more sympathy for a white kid who feels entitled to take a car with a knife over a blue collar black man between business engagements so cravenly attacked? CBSN Chicago is cluelessly happy to idolize Dante and Tambrini with no recognition of their criminal record.
Will it ever dawn on mainstream media that independent prosecutors—with no ties to law enforcement—are the only ones who could capably mount cases against them? Or that monumental, four page, 4,000 word pieces are less effective than daily and careful scrutiny of flagrant, unequivocal examples? The article does, finally, question the prerogative granted most municipalities allowing them to withhold information from the public. Why did it take so many decades?
In toto, we get nothing remotely profound from anybody with a platform enjoying a substantial audience on this subject. A question I have never seen asked is the role of the FBI’s “National Academy” in any examination of the police hyper-aggression we’ve been seeing in the past few decades. Considering the fact that any full-time municipal police employee qualifies for the program isn’t a little media scrutiny in order? FBI ineptitude surfaces nearly every time the Bureau comes up in a national story. 9-11, the Whitehurst lab revelations, the Samuel Little case, Stephen Hatfill, Brandon Mayfield, Ulises Villadares…the list is never complete.
Dave Grossman has been cited by many as the world’s leading authority on violence and aggression. He is quoted on video declaring that getting action with a paramour after gunning someone down is “the best sex,” a “very intense sex.” So, what moves the Earth for a WP reporter? There seems to be no room in copy for legit victims of police derangement. They save it all for the martyrs who wantonly attack innocent people.