When did it suddenly become acceptable to advocate for the death of police officers?
Written by Major Shane Tucker
As of the writing of this article, 26 American law enforcement officers have been murdered with firearms this year. Recently, while an officer lay dying from a gunshot and others tried desperately to rescue her, community members gathered to celebrate what would ultimately be the death of the officer and taunted those who were attempting to save her life. They wanted her dead.
As violence directed at police becomes increasingly common, an astonishing number of people seem to believe this is justified. An increasingly widespread narrative is being propagated by politicians along with many in the media that identifies the root of this problem as law enforcement officers themselves. This narrative suggests that law enforcement officers, because of racial animus, are systematically executing people on the streets of America. As a result of this hate-filled, anti-police rhetoric over the past few years, incidents of violence against officers have skyrocketed.
While this narrative has been decades in the making, the events following the August 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO have been the catalyst some cite to justify violence against the police. When Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted by a grand jury for murder, rioters and looters went to work. A false narrative of widespread instances of police stalking and killing young African American males followed and the “Hands up, don’t shoot” movement was conceived. Protesters, activists, and politicians took to the streets to demand “justice.” Not wanting to seem insensitive, but not so concerned about appearing ignorant of due process and the Constitution, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called for a vigorous prosecution of the police officer before an investigation into the matter was even conducted. A great number of people had determined, without the benefit of a trial, or an investigation for that matter, the officer had committed cold-blooded murder.
The American media wasted no time hailing Brown as a pitiful victim and condemned the policing profession as assembly of racist monsters. Pictures of Brown as an innocent, sweet-faced 12-year-old child were ubiquitous in the media, despite his imposing stature of 6’4” and almost 300 lbs. Members of the Obama administration were conspicuously present at his funeral, which received all the fanfare one would expect to be bestowed upon a brave civil rights martyr.
I must admit, the initial reports of this incident were concerning. The fact that Brown was unarmed was troubling. Perhaps the most significant concern were the witnesses that claimed at the time of the shooting Brown had his hands up in surrender, his back to the officer and was on his knees. Had that been the case, Wilson would have indeed been guilty of murder and I would be thrilled to see him rot in prison. But this was not case. The events that took place following the Michael Brown shooting exemplify why a rush to judgment in these matters is inappropriate, foolish, and ultimately an impediment to justice.
Despite diligent efforts by many to prevent it, Officer Darren Wilson ultimately did receive the benefit of due process. When all was said and done, it was proven that Brown attacked and tried to disarm the police officer. And despite having already been shot, he continued to charge Wilson. He did not have his hands up, he was not on his knees, nor was his back to the officer. Brown most definitely did not surrender. According to the Department of Justice, Darren Wilson had acted lawfully.
After a lengthy investigation by the DOJ, it was established that Wilson had not used excessive force. In fact, not a single credible witness was able to provide any testimony that inculpated the officer. Ultimately, it was proven those that disputed Wilson’s claims of self-defense had lied. Several eyewitnesses corroborated the officer’s account of self-defense but expressed fear over violent retribution from members of their own community if they told the truth about what they witnessed. Several who reported seeing the “execution” ultimately admitted that had not even witnessed the event; they had just wanted to be involved. They wanted the attention. They, like so many of the loudest in our culture, had an agenda. “Hands up, don’t shoot” was a lie.
The DOJ investigation included of hundreds of interviews. Not one single witness was able to provide testimony that was internally consistent, consistent with the forensic evidence, which disputed Officer Wilson’s account of self-defense. Not one. Numerous credible witnesses who were willing to tell the truth, corroborated the physical evidence as well as the officer’s testimony. The report concluded that all shots fired by the officer “were in self-defense and thus were not objectively unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.” (DOJ)
Not surprising, however, proving Officer Wilson was innocent did nothing to slow the fervor of those demanding “justice”. From politicians, pop stars, professional athletes, and average citizens the cries of injustice not only continued, they increased. And then the riots came. Some suggested that Wilson should have been tried anyway. Let that sink in for a minute. Despite a DOJ investigation that conclusively proved Wilson’s actions were justified, they wanted him to stand trial. They wanted a man to be arrested after it was determined he did not commit a crime. This, from the same voices that demanded “justice”.
The events that took place following the Ferguson shooting are emblematic of perhaps the most significant problem that plagues our culture today and the reason the police have become targets. According to many, facts don’t matter. Truth is irrelevant. When a political narrative is established, it becomes immutable, and the advancement of your agenda is justification for subversion of justice. These are the tenets of an emotionally driven and unstable segment of our society that believe they have the right to engage in violent, criminal behavior without interference from the police. And they demand “justice”. They believe that virtually all police use of force is unjustified, yet violence against police is not only acceptable, it is necessary. No longer are these the ideals held only among a few extremists, they are becoming alarmingly more widespread among politicians and members of the media. The result is acceptance of violence against the police.
And now, each time we find ourselves embroiled in a national frenzy over a police shooting, use of force, or other controversial event, many are no longer satisfied with only burning their city to the ground, throwing rocks at the police, or walking around chanting slogans like “hands up, don’t shoot” and “no justice, no peace”. No, they are not content until cops are killed. And just like Ferguson and several events that followed, I suspect in each case to come, before the facts are in and a verdict has been reached, a lot of angry people will demand justice. And just like Ferguson, those screaming so loudly and vilifying the police aren’t really interested in justice at all…they want a lynching. Worst of all, some politicians and much of the American media seem hell-bent on giving them one.
Written by Major Shane Tucker