Protesting begins “immediately” after officer shoots armed suspect in California

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SAN BERNARDINO, CA  San Bernardino police are investigating an officer-involved shooting in which an armed suspect pulled out a weapon during a struggle with an officer.  But local citizens evidently already made up their minds about the incident.

At approximately 11:30 pm on the night of Thursday, Oct. 22, the unidentified officer responded to a citizen’s call about “a man armed with a gun who was ‘jumping on cars’ and behaving erratically” in the parking lot of a liquor store.

According to San Bernardino Police Sergeant John Echevarria, the suspect, later identified as San Bernardino resident Mark Matthew Bender Jr., refused to comply with the officer’s commands and attempted to enter the liquor store, which was “occupied by several employees and citizens.”

The officer tried to stop Bender, and placed himself between Bender and the store.  In the ensuing struggle, Bender “was able to physically overpower the officer.”

A bystander began taking a cell phone video of the encounter and submitted it to KTLA News.

In the video, which is embedded below, the officer can be seen taking Bender to the ground.

The officer can be heard to say, “Stop fighting, dude,” as Bender continues to struggle with him.

Bender reaches into his waistband with his right hand and pulls out a black object.

Someone shouts, “What are you doing?” as the physical fight continues, with the officer on Bender’s back.

With the object visible in his right hand, Bender rises to his knees, then to his feet, turning to face the officer as the officer steps back, draws his service weapon, and fires four shots.

Confirming what can be seen on the cell phone video, Sergeant Echevarria told the press in a statement:

“When the officer saw that he had a weapon, he defended himself with his firearm.”

Medical aid was rendered immediately to the suspect.

Echevarria also confirmed that a gun was found at the scene.  A press release states that it was a loaded, functional, black 9 mm semi-automatic handgun.

Bender, who later was pronounced deceased at a local hospital, had a “lengthy17-year criminal history, according to the Sergeant.   He had had multiple arrests for grand theft, domestic violence, receiving stolen property, narcotics possession, felon in possession of a firearm, false imprisonment, criminal threats, and attempted murder. 

He also had “several probation violation and parole violation arrests.”

According to The Police Tribune, bystanders “immediately” gathered at the site of the shooting, “screaming at the officers and inciting others to protest.”

ABC7 reported:

“Emotions boiled over as multiple people were seen shouting at officers.”

One unidentified witness told KTTV:

“Dude was coming out and he started fighting that dude and the dude tried to get up and all we heard was ‘bam bam bam bam.’

“He shot the man. The police shot that man.”

Another bystander, Gregory James Robinson, shared his assessment of the situation, saying:

“That young man was shot for nothing.”

Robinson added further criticism, saying:

“The paramedics are still not here — it’s been past 15, 20 minutes.

“Something needs to be done about San Bernardino PD doing this to people.”

At a “heated” press conference after the shooting, ABC reports, people were shouting and declaring that the officer had his gun drawn when he exited his police vehicle.  Sergeant Echevarria responded that the officers weapon was holstered.  The cell phone video also clearly shows the officer’s service weapon in its holster until the officer drew it.

Second-guessing and spin by the media has joined in the fray, with the Los Angeles Times choosing the headline:

“Video appears to show San Bernardino police officer repeatedly shoot man in the back.”

The investigation into this incident is ongoing.  Sergeant Echevarria has announced that the officer’s body cam footage will be released later on social media.

Sadly, given the immediate judgement by bystanders and the media, and the current climate of volatile anti-police sentiment, it is a good bet that even if additional vindication for the shooting is clearly demonstrated on the body cam video, second-guessing and anti-police protests will continue over this incident.

 

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Recently in Minneapolis, an officer was violently attacked after lies spread about an officer-involved shooting.  Here is our report on that:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN –Minneapolis has seen more than their fair share of riots and protests since the death of George Floyd in police custody at the end of May. 

Recently, information has been obtained of a riot that happened at the end of August which left a Minneapolis Police Officer knocked unconscious and the suspect charged with the crime.

Police advise that Brayshuan Gibson was participating in rioting and looting that occurred in the area following lies spread in the area that Minneapolis Police had shot and killed a black man. 

Upset at hearing this news, Gibson took it upon himself to seek vengeance for a man he believed was killed by police in cold blood.

Gibson saw the officer who was getting into his police vehicle on Nicollet Mall with his back turned toward him.  Seeing an opportunity, Gibson allegedly picked up a 15-pound garbage can lid and struck the officer in the back of the head with enough force that it left him unconscious. 

The officer was taken to the hospital and treated for possible spinal injuries.  The officer has since been released from the hospital but will have to undergo treatment in order to recover.

Minneapolis Police were eventually able to identify Gibson after reviewing video surveillance which showed him walking from the assault scene to a nearby closed business where he entered through broken windows, allegedly stealing several items.  They were able to identify his vehicle which eventually lead to his identification.

Police authored a search warrant for his vehicle and allegedly located several of the stolen items from the burglary inside.  Some of the items were reported to still have the security tags in place.

Prosecutors in Hennepin County filed criminal charges on Gibson on September 4th for second-degree assault, third-degree assault, second-degree riot and third-degree burglary.  Police allege that Gibson admitted to becoming angry when hearing of the rumor and got caught up in the “chaos.”

Gibson allegedly told police that he was eating dinner downtown on August 26th when he had heard the rumor officers had shot and killed a black man.  Believing the rumor was true and that the shooting was unprovoked, Gibson took action allegedly injured the officer and stole the items.

After the incident, Gibson later learned that the black man had actually committed suicide and was not shot and killed by police.  According to Kare11, Gibson regrets getting caught up in the moment and recognizes that he know has to face the repercussions of his actions. 

Rioting and looting have been the mainstay of several large metropolitan areas since the death of Floyd.  Although there have been many instances of peaceful protesting, there have also been numerous reports of widespread looting, rioting, and vandalism all in the name of racial equality.

Places like Seattle and Portland have perhaps seen the worst of these events.  In Portland specifically, there have been over 90 straight nights of riots in the downtown area with no end in sight.  Millions of dollars’ worth of damage has occurred to the area as a result of the continued rioting which has left hundreds of police officers injured in the process.

Recently, Democrat Governor Kate Brown requested neighboring County Sheriff’s Offices to add additional police presence in the downtown area to which they refused. 

They advised that the political climate, refusal of District Attorney’s to file criminal charges on those arrested for rioting were the main reasons why.  Both Sheriff’s also stand by the press release given by the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association and the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police which in part say:

 “As law enforcement professionals we believe public safety is the foundation for safe, healthy and thriving communities.  We are committed to the wellbeing of the communities we serve and support the right to assembly and free speech…

“As statewide associations, we are deeply concerned about the criminal acts at recent protest events in Portland that have put community livability and personal safety at risk.  We unequivocally condemn the violence and loss of life that occurred this past weekend…

 “Abandoning Law Enforcement or the need for policing, is not working.  It has only shown that it undermines the rule of law and puts our community at greater risk.”

 

 

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