10 February 2015

Officer's Discharging Of Firearm Leaves Many Holes In Story -- #InstantAnalysis

With Scant Details Given And Past Department History, Incident Begs Further Scrutiny
10 February 2015

By A.F. James MacArthur 
Agitator In Chief 

Editors Note: The Baltimore Spectator strongly believes that an important role of the free press is to question government and their representation of facts and version of events. A free people deserve nothing less. No government agency, department, nor division or individual agents of the same, should ever be seen as being beyond reproach and above questioning and speculation. In some cases the answers found uphold what was first presented. Others times, the truth learned is vastly different than what was first offered as fact. The following instant analysis is an opinion piece. Based on information available to the public at the time of publication, it should not be misconstrued as anything more. No disrespect is intended to the officer or any other parties.

Reported Facts:

A Baltimore Police officer was attacked Saturday night and had to use his weapon to defend himself.

The attack happened around 10:45 p.m., after the officer spent time at an establishment in the city's Federal Hill neighborhood -- an area known for it's many bars and restaurants.

Officer Rashard King, age 27, was off duty.

While walking to his car near the intersection of W. Cross and Race streets, King was attacked in an apparent attempted robbery.

The unknown attacker -- described only as 6-feet tall and wearing a dark hoodie -- stabbed Officer King in the upper thigh.

During the attack, Officer King was able to draw his weapon and open fire on the unknown assailant. The man ran away. It's reported the attacker did not appear to be struck by King's bullet(s).

It was not clear if the attacker made off with any property or belongings of the officer.

The Baltimore Sun reported Baltimore Police Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said Saturday night; police were canvassing the area for the suspect and for witnesses.

It's not clear if anyone saw what happened, or if there are CitiWatch surveillance cameras nearby.

The officer was transported to an area hospital for treatment. Less than 24 hours later, he was released.

Critical Analysis

The incident as reported seems highly suspicious and lacking credibility. There are key aspects of the story that do not add up, leaving a reasonable person to wonder: A) Did the attack on the officer really happen? B) If so, did it happen the way it's being presented to the public? C) Are there key elements of the incident being withheld either from the public, investigators, or both?

Vague Description Of Attacker & Other Oddities

The average citizen may not make the most reliable eye witness, but police officers are trained to be keen observers. It's an essential part of their job. It's highly disturbing to think a bold, knife wielding attacker could be on the loose, and the public has such a poor description of what to look out for.

It has shades of Det. Anthony Fata's now infamous incident in 2011, where he claimed to have been attacked in a parking garage near police headquarters.

Detective Fata's phantom shooter.
Detective Fata was eventually tried and convicted for lying about his attack. Although he avoided jail time, the decorated veteran is no longer a member of the Baltimore Police Department.

  • Like Fata, King claimed to be walking to his vehicle when the attack took place.
  • Fata's description was also that of a hoodie clad attacker.
  • King's attack took place in an area where there seemed to be few, if witnesses. Just like Fata's.
  • Fata's wounding -- now known to be self inflicted -- was in the upper thigh. Exactly where Officer King was supposedly stabbed by his attacker.

  • After Officer King's attacker escaped, police descended on the area in search of the suspect. Exactly as they did when they looked for Detective Fata's non existent shooter.

The Great Escape

One of the strangest elements of the story is that of the alleged attacker escaping.

In order for the attacker to have stabbed Officer King as reported, that would place him in extremely proximity. What experts call the close quarters combat (CQC) or hand to hand distance. The type of distance where even the poorest of shots are likely to hit their target.

When using lethal force, police officers are trained to shoot to stop a threat.

If the first shot fails to stop the threat, either by missing the target, or due to the attacker not responding to the gunfire, an officer is trained to continue to squeeze the trigger, shooting until the desired effect is achieved and the attacker is no longer able to do harm.

Even if the attacker turned to run away upon Officer King identifying himself as a police officer (it's not stated if King did this), it's still unfathomable for him to completely escape from being wounded, or stopped from that close a range.

It is arguable that due to King being stabbed, he could have been disoriented, causing him to miss. But the fact of his being released from the hospital the very next day, suggests King's wounds were not very serious. Victims of serious knife attacks are rarely released so quickly.

As a police officer it's conceivable that more than the average citizen, King would expend great effort in ensuring his armed attacker did not get away. This includes sufficient counter attack to the ambush, via use of the weapon he carried.

There is also the personal motive of making sure your attacker is apprehended and brought to justice.

Then there is the sense of duty. Protecting the public from an obviously dangerous person, willing to to commit unprovoked attack. This did not happen.

If this part of the incident took place exactly as reported, the question begs to be asked; just where did those stray bullets go? In congested urban environments like downtown Baltimore, there should be great concern anytime there's gunfire, no matter the source.

Adequate training ensures that even under stressful situations, an officer should still be able to achieve at minimum, a modicum level of accuracy. Total misses are unacceptable and makes ones fitness for duty and being issued a firearm, not only questionable, but a potential grave liability and threat to the safety of the public that's supposed to protected.

In the past, Baltimore Police have demonstrated they're quite capable of hitting their targets -- with multiple shots even. Each year we see numerous police involved shootings. They rarely miss.

Last month an officer faced down a man with knife at child's birthday party. Things didn't end well for the man with the knife.

Det. Anthony Fata enjoyed his work and it's included perks.
Officers Condition At Time Of Attack

It hasn't been stated whether the officer had been drinking at the time of the attack. The area is known as a hot spot for weekend boozing, and it was stated King had been patronizing an area "establishment" just prior to the attack.

The type of establishment was not disclosed.

If King had been drinking, his carrying of a firearm would be in direct violation of department policy, prohibiting officers from being armed while intoxicated.

Intoxication could also be a factor in being unable to hit a target within close proximity.

Police did not state if King was administered a breathalyzer test as part of their investigation.

In the past, being intoxicated hasn't stopped officers from carrying their weapons, or even using them in questionable situations.

Baltimore Officer Gahiji Tshamba, is currently serving a prison sentence for killing a man in an off duty shooting in 2010. Before that incident Tshamba once shot someone in a different drunken off duty incident. That man lived. At the time the shooting was ruled justifiable and Tshamba was restored to full duty status.

Several years later, in another alcohol fueled incident, Tshamba shot and killed former Marine, Gulf War veteran and city government employee, Tyrone Brown, outside a Mt. Vernon nightclub.

Summary Conclusion

There have been many incidents of police officers, all over the country embellishing facts. Sometimes even completely fabricating incidents. While often under reported in mainstream media, it is not rare in occurrence.

While it is entirely possible that Officer King may have been a victim of attack, at this point, upon examination of the facts given; evidence is strong that things did not take place in the manner in which the public is being told.

In short, the story seems unlikely and improbable.

Either the event did not happen at all, and is a total fabrication, or there is much more to it, including possible targeting, or an attack or retaliation unrelated to robbery took place. There is even the potential of the officer being familiar with his attacker.

Too many questions concerning crucial details remain unanswered in order to draw a firm conclusion one way or another.

Considering the history present, and noted strong similarity to a previous incident of a Baltimore officer fabricating a story of being attacked; it is our hope the department will conduct a vigorous and thorough investigation.

Should the incident be determined unfounded, don't expect to hear about it. The department is known for staying tight lipped about embarrassing events, particularly incidents calling integrity into question.

They've been known to sit on information for extended periods of time, only releasing details when forced too.

The now widely reported Rat Gate incident, involving whistle blower Detective Joe Crystal, took place a year before the public was made aware.

On a positive note, Officer King appears to have not been seriously injured as a result of the attack. Or whatever it was that really happened.

As Director of the MacArthur Institute Center For Advanced Analysis and Critical Comparison; occasional media critic, 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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