23 January 2015
By A.F. James MacArthur
NOTE: A previous photo appearing here was used for illustrative purposes only. The decision was made to remove it. It is NOT owned by The Baltimore Spectator, nor is it directly or indirectly connected to this article. The picture showed an interaction between police and suspect. That's it. It's not intended to do anything other than show correlation between Baltimore Police and suspects. The incident described in the story is all that matters. Taken by Baltimore Sun Photographer Andre F. Chung, 6 June 6 1997. Police Officer Raymond Cook is seen arresting 16-year-old Lance Tate on an armed carjacking charge at the corner of Edmondson Avenue and Allendale. Sadly, weeks after the photo was taken, in an unrelated incident, Tate was shot to death in what police called a fight between rival gangs.
Shoot first, and figure out justification later seems to be the current, standard use-of-force operating procedure in Baltimore City these days.
The latest incident, happening Thursday night in Park Heights, involves an unarmed subject who police attempted to perform a traffic stop on. The man sped off, evading capture before crashing the vehicle. At that point the suspect bailed out, and police gave chase.
Although police state there was some sort of physical struggle that ensued, there was no word of any weapon being found on the scene, or on the suspect, nor was there any other articulation of a life threatening situation. We're simply told the suspect struggled with police, so the officer shot him.
At this point, it's clear that Baltimore Police can virtually shoot anyone at anytime, and some how, some way, no matter what, it'll inevitably be ruled a good shoot. Although we weren't there, logic has it that most every arrest involves a physical struggle.
With people getting into fist fights everyday, and no one dying, a mere "physical struggle" is hardly ever considered life threatening, particularly in a situation where the suspect was likely greatly outnumbered by police officers.
There is nothing unusual about a police officer having to get into a physical confrontation as a routine part of his or her job. However it seems now the bar for using lethal force is awfully low in Baltimore.
Police Given A Pass
It's not clear how or even why we've arrived at the current sad state of media affairs in Baltimore. If reporters won't ask tough questions of the public servants who's job it is to keep us safe, then who will?
By their lack of a willingness to ask tough questions, and show any inkling of wanting to hold police accountable, Baltimore media has virtually given an "anything goes" pass to the Baltimore Police Department.
The last time Baltimore police shot a man was a few weeks ago near the end of December. He toowas unarmed. Nothing about the police explanation of events even remotely suggests the burglary suspect posed an immediate threat to responding officers. Desperately seeking justification, the best police could come up with at the time was; the man who they'd caught coming out of an unoccupied store that was closed for the day, had a "shiny object" in his hand. End of story.
The "shiny object" was never identified nor shown to the public. The story was all but completely ignored by media. It seemed no one reporting news in Baltimore found it peculiar that police shot a man who; A) had no weapon, nor even threatened or feigned having one, B) did not engage officers in even the slightest bit of physical struggle.
Strangely in that case, despite the narrative being laid out clearly by Baltimore Police; in a blatant display of the type of statist propaganda mainstream media does best, several news outlets altered the facts, taking the story from a man standing there with a "shiny object" in his hand, to a man "charging" at officers with said shiny object in his hand. The police never made mention of any charging. Where the news got this from we will never know.
Dangerous Suspects Able To Be Apprehended Without Lethal Force
In anticipation of the inevitable usual police apologists and those who habitually justify use of excessive force (because police can do no wrong), the following incidents are placed here for comparative perspective:
- An armed man who attempted to rob a Toys R Us store in Towson Wednesday, was captured alive by Baltimore County Police. Note; HE HAD A GUN, yet no shots were fired. It's hard to imagine a situation more dangerous, and actually justifying use of lethal force, yet Baltimore County Police demonstrated, arrest of armed subjects is sometimes possible without opening fire. How much more possible should it then be to take down unarmed suspects without shooting them?
Trigger Happy Track Record
Let's face it, Baltimore Police love to shoot their guns. There have been so many cases, more than any other area agency, of Baltimore Police shooting their guns, when it simply made no sense at all. Here are just a few.
Officer William Kern shot police officer trainee, Raymond Gray in the head, nearly killing him dead. IN A TRAINING INCIDENT. At the time of the incident, few grasped the significance.
Prosecutors stated the police trainer had an "unhealthy relationship" and fixation with his gun. These guys LOVE to shoot.
If a veteran trainer of police could be as sloppy, cavalier and dangerous with his gun as Kern was, how much worse are his legions of former students and trainees likely to be?
Kern was one of the organizers of an illegal, unauthorized, highly dangerous training exercise which involved trespassing on state property.
Not only was Kern a dangerously reckless individual, responsible for showing others how to properly use firearms -- a lesson which he obviously never mastered -- but for the observant, he also provides a vivid view of the careless culture of the department. It's no wonder they shoot any time for any reason. It's how they were trained. They don't know any better.
When Officer William Torbit was gunned down in a hail of bullets outside a downtown night club, The Baltimore Spectator was first on the scene, putting out live updates via twitter.
Although deemed a tragic mistake, with no one being charged, punished, or even reprimanded, anyone living in Baltimore should be highly disturbed by the incident.
When a police department can fire 41 shots at one of their own, a veteran well known, well loved officer no less; the rest of us are doomed. Citizens of the city should realize we simply don't stand a chance. These wanna be jackass cowboys will shoot at anything that moves.
BPD = Bullsh*t Police Department
When an escaped steer attempted to go for one last stroll of freedom before becoming hamburger, the last thing any reasonable person expected was the blunted horn, castrated male cow, minding his own business, simply strutting down the street, would be blasted to bovine heaven to hang with the great herd in the sky.
No One Is Innocent
20 year-old Dameatrice Moore had stopped off at a carry out food spot on York Rd., when Baltimore Police officer Quinton Smith, attempting to arrest a suspect, opened fire. Moore - an innocent bystander - and another man having nothing to do with anything, were both shot.
With this kind of a track record, which we've only examined briefly, one must wonder why every time there's a police involved shooting here, Baltimore Police aren't met with a phalanx of reporters demanding answers and details as to just what happened.
Instead, it's as if they've been given consent by a complicit silence from a media, who seems to have lost sight of their purpose and ability in protecting citizens from danger. Even if that danger is the police.
Researcher, independent investigator, and entrepreneur, A.F. James MacArthur is Baltimore's most well known independent journalist contributor. A member of the underground news network for over 20 years. During this time, he's been a frequent subject of attack by government under the guise of law enforcement. Although closely watched and followed, he's often boycotted from being given any credit for his work by mainstream media.
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