Normally, people who write newspaper headlines are notorious for removing any word that they could possibly cut — often paring away so many words that they leave ambiguous or utterly cryptic headlines.Not always, though:
Sometimes, an officer is involved. Ever notice how far a newspaper writer will go, when an officer is involved, just to avoid writing Police killed a man in so many words?
Here’s the story to go with the headline:
Metro Police are investigating a deadly officer-involved shooting Sunday morning near Buffalo and Alta Drives.
According to police, the incident was a neighbor dispute with possible shots fired on the 7000 block of Palmdale Avenue. SWAT teams were called out to assist as the barricaded male suspect was shot and transported to University Medical Center where he died of his injuries.
“At some point the individual came out carrying a rifle. Our hostage negotiators asked a number of times for the subject to put down the rifle and at some point raised the rifle in their direction, ” Metro Capt. Matt McCarthy said. Several of our officers fired on our subject to stop the threat and the subject went down.”
Editor's note: This post was last updated at 9:30 p.m. Staff writers Charles Scudder, Sarah Mervosh and Naomi Martin report.
Sarah Mervosh @ crimeblog.dallasnews.com
McKINNEY – The police officer whose aggressive response to an unruly teenage pool party ignited a national controversy resigned Tuesday, leaving many here feeling relieved but disappointing some police supporters who considered the man a “hero.”
McKinney Police Cpl. David Eric Casebolt, a 10-year veteran of the department, voluntarily stepped down amid an internal police investigation and surging public pressure, including death threats.
The officer’s terse, two-word resignation did not include an apology or acknowledgment of wrongdoing, said McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley, who on Tuesday condemned Casebolt’s actions as “indefensible” and “out of control.”
Tuesday’s developments came four days after Casebolt, who is white, was captured on video cursing, pulling out his weapon and slamming a 15-year-old black girl to the ground. Casebolt, 41, will keep his pension and benefits, but could face criminal charges pending an investigation, the chief said Tuesday.
Well, that’s 1 down, 899,999 to go. Meanwhile, over on the Cop Humor Facebook Community page — a cesspool of cranky old man these kids today! grumping, blue-fascist appeals to following orders, bizarre racist and homophobic tangents, and look at how much I do for you entitled whinging, all of which qualifies as Humor only in the most tenuous, formalistic sort of sense — we have the following genuinely delightful thought experiment.
Oh, well, please don’t stop on my account. Do it.
Seriously, take as much time as you need. No hurry. Don’t feel like you have to come back, ever.
A St. Louis County grand jury on Monday decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police Officer Darren Wilson in the August killing of teenager Michael Brown. The decision wasn’t a surprise — leaks from the grand jury had led most observers to conclude an indictment was unlikely — but it was unusual. Grand juries nearly always decide to indict.
Or at least, they nearly always do so in cases that don’t involve police officers.
Former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. The data suggests he was barely exaggerating: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.
Wilson’s case was heard in state court, not federal, so the numbers aren’t directly comparable. Unlike in federal court, most states, including Missouri, allow prosecutors to bring charges via a preliminary hearing in front of a judge instead of through a grand jury indictment. That means many routine cases never go before a grand jury. Still, legal experts agree that, at any level, it is extremely rare for prosecutors to fail to win an indictment.
Cases involving police shootings, however, appear to be an exception. As my colleague Reuben Fischer-Baum has written, we don’t have good data on officer-involved killings. But newspaperaccountssuggest, grand juries frequently decline to indict law-enforcement officials. A recent Houston Chronicle investigation found that police have been nearly immune from criminal charges in shootings in Houston and other large cities in recent years. In Harris County, Texas, for example, grand juries haven’t indicted a Houston police officer since 2004; in Dallas, grand juries reviewed 81 shootings between 2008 and 2012 and returned just one indictment… .
I’m not invested in indicting Darren Wilson though I understand its (symbolic) import to many people, most especially Mike Brown’s family and friends. Vincent Warren of the Center on Constitutional Rights speaks for many, I think, when he writes:
Without accountability, there can be no rule of law. If Wilson is not indicted, or is under-indicted, the clear message is that it is open season on people of color, that St. Louis has declared that Darren Wilson is not a criminal but that the people who live under the thumbs of the Darren Wilsons of this country are. It would say to the cry that “Black lives matter” that, no, in fact, they do not.
I understand the sentiment that Warren expresses. Yet I don’t believe that an indictment of Wilson would be evidence that black lives do in fact matter to anyone other than black people. Nor do I think his indictment would mean that it was no longer open season on people of color in this country. If we are to take seriously that oppressive policing is not a problem of individual “bad apple” cops then it must follow that a singular indictment will have little to no impact on ending police violence. As I type, I can already feel the impatience and frustration of some who will read these words.
? It feels blasphemous to suggest that one is disinvested from the outcome of the grand jury deliberations. “Don’t you care about accountability for harm caused?” some will ask. “What about justice?” others will accuse. My response is always the same: I am not against indicting killer cops. I just know that indictments won’t and can’t end oppressive policing which is rooted in anti-blackness, social control and containment. Policing is derivative of a broader social justice. It’s impossible for non-oppressive policing to exist in a fundamentally oppressive and unjust society.
The pattern after police killings is all too familiar. Person X is shot & killed. Person X is usually black (or less frequently brown). Community members (sometimes) take to the streets in protest. They are (sometimes) brutally suppressed. The press calls for investigations. Advocates call for reforms suggesting that the current practices and systems are ‘broken’ and/or unjust. There is a (racist) backlash by people who “support” the police. A very few people whisper that the essential nature of policing is oppressive and is not susceptible to any reforms, thus only abolition is realistic. These people are considered heretic by most. I’ve spent years participating in one way or another in this cycle.
So, to those in Ferguson, there are ways of channeling your concerns constructively and there are ways of channeling your concerns destructively. Those of you who are watching tonight understand that there’s never an excuse for violence .
Barack Obama, President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the largest and most heavily armed military force in the world, got onto the television to tell us that there’s never an excuse for violence just as heavily-armed police throughout Ferguson began launching teargas against everyone in sight on the streets. Of course, when he said violence he meant violence by protesters. It is eerily reminiscent of Lyndon Banes Johnson in July 1967, going on national television to announce that We will not endure violence. It matters not by whom it is done or under what slogan or banner, — saying this at the height of the Vietnam War, and on the specific occasion of his decision to send U.S. soldiers and tanks down Woodward Avenue.
The police are irresponsible and unaccountable. That is what makes them the police. Unless we hold them accountable. The law, for its part, will never curtail the racist violence of the law. Only social accountability for police officers, not legal processes, can do that.