There are two sides to every story – or so the old saying goes. This is the case where the latest police shooting resulting in the death of a young black suspect in the St. Louis, Missouri area is concerned.
The police version of the incident, as reported in a Fox News story, is as follows. An off duty police officer, working for a private security company at the time, saw three suspicious men in the area he was working in. Then, according to Lt. Col. Alfred Adkins of the St. Louis Police:
“As he exited the car, the gentlemen took off running. He was able to follow one of them before he lost him and then found him again as the guy jumped out of some bushes across the street. The officer approached, they got into a struggle, they ended up into a gangway, at which time the young man pulled a weapon and shots were fired. The officer returned fire and unfortunately the young man was killed.”
Then there is the other side of the story.
According to the same Fox News story, the mother of the suspect is indicating her son was holding a sandwich when shot and killed by the police. That’s right, folks. A sandwich!
Is the mother of the slain suspect offering a believable account of what happened? I don’t think so and the evidence recovered at the scene seems to support that.
St. Louis Police Chief Col. Sam Dotson has publicly stated that ballistic evidence recovered at the scene indicates the suspect fired three shots at the police officer who killed him. Not only that, the firearm those bullets were fired from was recovered at the scene as well. Therefore, unless the St. Louis Police Department is so corrupt no one serving in any capacity of leadership there can be trusted, it seems very likely the suspect died as a consequence of his own actions. But let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment. Could the suspect have been armed with a sandwich?
Three guys are standing in a street when an off duty police officer approaches. Maybe this officer was in a security guard’s uniform or not, but we know he was working for a security company. At any rate the suspects began running from the officer. Why were they running? Was it because all three men had sandwiches and the officer looked hungry? Maybe, but let’s continue from there.
As the three men ran away, the police officer gave chase. If we are to believe the mother of the deceased, her son, probably running for his life because he was being chased by a police officer, never released his sandwich. That tells me the deceased was really hungry, the sandwich he was holding was so delicious he couldn’t let it go, or he thought he could protect himself with it should he be caught by his pursuer. Believable? Apparently so, considering there are people rioting in the St. Louis area because they believe it. But let’s go on.
The deceased apparently hid in some bushes and was approached by the police officer, after which something caused the officer to fire 17 shots at him. He died, guilty of no wrongdoing and holding his sandwich.
Really? People are actually buying a story like that?
Enough with playing devil’s advocate. Let’s get back to reality.
In my humble opinion, which isn’t just influenced by my former career as a police officer but common sense, the suspect did, in fact, have a firearm. And he used it to try to kill the police officer. And he was shot to death for it. End of story.
While I have no problem with people questioning the police, their actions, policies or procedures, the stories that have recently been told by the non-law enforcement community in the recent Ferguson, Missouri shooting and this one are beyond questionable in content. They are downright ludicrous if I may be so bold – and I am so bold.
In the recent Ferguson shooting, a witness claimed Officer Darren Wilson got into a struggle with a much larger suspect than himself, slain suspect Michael Brown, and was trying to pull him into his police car before Brown ran away and the conflict escalated to a use of deadly force once Officer Wilson chased him down. I’d be lying if I said I believe anyone could honestly and wholeheartedly believe a tall tale like that.
Has anyone, in the law enforcement profession or outside it, ever witnessed a police officer trying to drag someone into a police car while they’re seated in it and pretty much defenseless? If so, I’d love to hear the particulars of such an incident. Why? Because the officer in a story like that? He’s either wacky, has a death wish or both! It’s tactically insane.
The bottom line? There are two sides to every story – and every law enforcement-involved shooting. While there are exceptions now and then and I pray there is justice in such instances, one can be close to certain the average police officer isn’t going to gun someone down for walking in the middle of the street or holding a sandwich (unless the sandwich is a Smith and Wesson on rye and there are bullets flying out of it).