Here we go again.
Ceres Police have shot and killed a suspect and certain members have come out screaming how bad cops are.
It's a mantra that's been beat into people from the national media in numerous officer involved shootings. We hear it nearly every week, particularly when an Anglo cop shoots a suspect other than white. In this post-Rodney King era, some would have you believe that white cops only shoot minorities because they have it in for them, not for any actions taken by those who get shot.
I wish police didn't have to kill anybody. But they do.
In fact, I wish nobody had to die from a bullet ever again. I'll go farther and say I wish nobody died from fires, floods, tornados, knives, car wrecks, wars, bombs, drug abuse, tainted food and falling from cliffs, trees and rooftops. But they do.
I wish people didn't have to die while behaving foolishly. But they do.
I know we're to have respect for the dead but Albert Thompson was plain foolish last week. We won't learn from foolish acts unless we acknowledge what constitutes a foolish act. In the case of Albert Thompson, police wanted to talk to him, ordered for him to halt but he decided he'd try his odds. Lack of compliance killed Albert Thompson.
"Stop!" officers yell.
Albert keeps running. The parolee-at-large wanted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation doesn't want to be back behind bars where the state wanted him. If I were a guessing man I'd say he was probably up to no good as to the reason they wanted him. After all, he had a history of carjacking, auto theft and arson.
Social media was full of people last week rushing to criticize police and defend Albert Thompson as a martyr. One man posted: "Albert was a COOL cat."
"Cool" is in the eye of the beholder so I guess if you think consistent law-breaking is cool, I don't suppose I can't change your mind. Albert may have been "cool" to the poster but he died in an unnecessary manner at age 28. What a waste.
Albert wouldn't be dead if he 1). Hadn't run from police. 2). Hadn't produced something that resembled a weapon.
People of America harken. This is 2016. You don't run from cops. It rarely goes well. There are more of them than of you. They have more resources, like canines - that can smell your footsteps for blocks - and they have helicopters that shine down bright lights. They can summon hundreds of officers from outlying jurisdictions, for you see, they have radios. Bulletproof vests, Tasers and the law are on their side.
But for crying out loud, never reach for your waistband. Haven't you listened to the news and heard of all the reports of people being shot reaching for their waistband? Maybe the liberals should fund a new pamphlet for the criminal class of society on "How Not to Become a Police Statistic." It might include details on "Why You Should NEVER Reach for Your Waistband." Unfortunately we live in a society where we have lost a lot of law enforcement officers (126 killed in 2014) because they allowed somebody to reach into their waistband and beat them to a handgun.
Keep that in mind as you read this Facebook comment from a Rachel Hernandez: "That's f-----g horrible. Why the f--- wouldn't they Taz him? He was obviously pulling up his pants to hop that fence. Those officers are relatively new to the force n (sic) obviously trigger happy trying to make a name for themselves."
Ms. Hernandez, police officers don't aspire to kill anyone. A shooting will haunt them the rest of their days. It's something that nobody who is professionally trained to uphold the laws designed to protect all of us wants to do.
Let's put Ms. Hernandez in the officers' shoes. If she was chasing after a suspect and saw a suspect going for a weapon, would she rather be armed with a large caliber handgun or a Taser which has a high failure rate? Any person who wants to go home to their family would opt for the most deadly force available and it wouldn't be a Taser.
Of course I didn't witness the Jan. 5 shooting but police have said Thompson was reaching for an item that was later retrieved next to his dead body. That item, said police, was a hand torch. I had to google a hand torch for I didn't know they exist. No, it's not a flame thrower and wouldn't have killed anyone but it looked a helluva lot like a gun.
Thompson had a choice that night. Unfortunately he chose poorly and paid with his life.
Laura Marquez couldn't believe that Albert was killed over a hand torch. I might add that darkness would have made it appear even more realistic. Marquez writes: "He was killed over a hand torch? OMG! As his son is now grieving for his father. Senseless! God will take care of his own."
Yes, it's very senseless that Albert decided to run and reach for a hand torch. Would it have made anybody feel better if he had had a gun and squeezed off rounds at a cop before he went down? At what point are people willing to accept an officer having to defend himself from somebody breaking the law? Sadly, some would opt for the felon to remain unscathed at the expense of a dead officer.
I get that Americans are indoctrinated to believe in equal outcomes and not just equal opportunities. For a multitude, that means any negative action taken by a human should have no negative result, even if it means death. They are deceived.
The Thompson shooting at Don Pedro and El Camino in Ceres came during the week I got into the 10-hour Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer." Perhaps you, like me, have been enthralled to see a compelling case that Steven Avery, the Wisconsin man who spent 18 years behind bars for a rape he didn't commit because the local law had it in for him, may have been framed for murder. Why? Because he was posed to sue Manitowoc County for $36 million. It looks to this armchair detective that two law enforcement officers in particular are up to their eyeballs in a conspiracy to frame Avery and nephew Brendan Dassey. The notion that corrupt cops could get away with framing an innocent man should boil the blood of any American.
Ceres has had its share of bad cops and they were ferreted out. One such case was that of Chris Melton who was accused of kicking suspect Daniel Reagan in the groin after he surrendered, and then joked about it like it was fun sport. Let's not forget that Officer Thomas Miller was dismissed from duty last April after he shot and killed the husband of a married woman he was seeing while off-duty in darkened Beyer Park on March 29. I know at least another officer was fired for brutality. Over the years Ceres police have been accused of police brutality - including the Sept. 8, 2007 party-gone-wild on Burton Drive where Adolph Estrada claimed officers dragged two girls by their hair, and that a male was struck with elbows in the head and tasered, then pepper sprayed in the face while sitting in the back of a patrol car. At the time a complaint was raised at a City Council meeting where Leonard Shepherd begged a different take as he defended officers: "There is no more taking part in raising children. The police officers are very scared out there sometimes and they react. I'd be scared too if when you know some of the things go on. I'm 64 years old, I would have never even thought of arguing with a police officer when I was a teenager. Not because I thought I could get away with it, but I knew when I got home my parents would have something to say to me very, very drastically. It's a product of our freer society where people don't take responsibility."
Shepherd was onto something: those who disrespect police often pay a high price.
We should all strive for the truth in every police officer involved shooting. But let's not shoot from the hip to aim at the officers before the facts come out.
How do you feel? Let Jeff know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org