Tag Archives: BLM

What Ever Happened to the Truth?

OK, trigger warning here: I’m going to be getting “political” here, and discussing racial and police issues. If that’s not your thing, I understand. It’s why I’m putting up the warning.

So what sparked this? We’ve been catching up on TV lately. We missed quite a bit of shows during our moving prep, the actual move, and the time our furniture was MIA. We got into the most recent Season of CBS’s S.W.A.T. reboot.

Overall, it’s a really good show; a rarity among reboots. They went off the deep end trying to show support for Black Lives Matters at the start of this last season though.

The episode involved trying to break up a chain of terrorist attacks that were designed to hit South Central and stir up racial tensions to the point of actual violent conflict. All this while the neighborhood is planning an annual remembrance event of the Rodney King beating.

LONG story short, the episode spins the riots following the King verdict as the fault of the police because they didn’t step in and restore order. They even have the Commander of the SWAT Division of LAPD get up in front of the community and apologize to them for not disobeying orders and trying to help (he was a patrol officer at the time).

The thing is, I was in San Diego at the time the riots broke out. I was staying with my dad the cop AND (his idea) I was also working as a private security guard in the Miramar area of North San Diego at the time. Believe me, I was paying CLOSE attention to everything that was happening.

Still can’t believe I went to work the nights of the riots completely unarmed, but otherwise looking for all the world like a cop. Pinkerton had dark blue uniforms.

ANYWAY… The truth is people in the neighborhoods where the rioting was taking place were actively shooting at any police that came into the area. Not only that, they were shooting at fire trucks and ambulances trying to help as well. The police pulled back and focused on containment because the alternative was to turn South Central into a full blown war zone, and be accused of a race massacre.

Back in those days, the police were also outgunned. The military weapons and transports that we see police using nowadays came about after the riots.

That’s a big part of why the national guard was mobilized to deal with the riots.

What’s My Point?

First, let me say that NONE of the above facts justify what happened to Rodney King, or others like George Floyd. The idea that Rodney King’s 1986 Hyundai could even do 120 MPH as police claimed is laughable. Even my dad called BS on that one. Early Hyundais were complete crap. You couldn’t get them going 120 if you dropped them out of the space shuttle.

Black Lives DO Matter.

If we’re ever going to get to a solution for all of this though, things have to be dealt with honestly. Both sides are going to have to see each other as human beings. Policing needs to change, no doubt about that. You can’t drive the police out of neighborhoods or try to eliminate them completely (as a few cities have tried) and then complain when they’re not where they were chased out of though.

It’s racist if they’re in black neighborhoods, and it’s racist if they don’t respond (fast enough) to calls in black neighborhoods. Is it any wonder cops are quitting in record numbers and cities can’t find replacements for them?

I’ve seen the impact firsthand there. We left Sacramento and California completely because it LITERALLY took 7 hours for police to respond to any call that didn’t involve gunfire. That’s IF they responded at all!

I won’t fault Shemar Moore (lead actor and producer) or CBS for trying to shine the spotlight on race issues as relates to police. They’ve done it before and up till this point had done a very balanced job of showing both sides of the issue.

I’m REALLY disappointed at the spin they put on the whole situation in this episode however. It was blatantly and unabashedly anti-police, dishonest, and only served to deepen mistrust of law enforcement, especially in minority communities. Nothing in that episode was going to promote communication or healing.

Maybe I’m expecting too much in hoping for Shemar Moore’s character to instead say “We have every right to be pissed about what happened that day and still happens too often. We can’t blame the police when some of us burn down and loot our own neighborhood, and shoot at the people who come to help us though.”

I’m only going to add one other point here: I am NOT saying that the entire neighborhood was involved in shooting at police, etc… I’ve said time and again that the vast majority of Black people, like ALL races, are good people. Like all races, there’s a small percentage of bad apples though. That small percentage did ALOT of damage though, and to their own neighborhoods.

Anybody comes in here with a racist reply about that’s how “all of those people are”, it’ll be an insta-ban from this blog. I don’t have the time or patience for ignorance and hate.

Bill Cosby’s Conviction Overturned!

Yes, that’s right, about 2 hours ago (as of the time I post this), the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court overturned Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction:

Bill Cosby’s sex assault conviction overturned by court (msn.com)

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

The short version here is that the court ruled that the prosecutor was legally bound by the agreement the former prosecutor had made not to prosecute Cosby. Per the MSN story:

The court said that overturning the conviction, and barring any further prosecution, “is the only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system.”

The court was apparently also bothered by the nature of the testimony by other victims:

The trial judge allowed five other accusers to testify at the trial about their experiences with Cosby in the 1980s to establish what prosecutors said was a pattern of behavior on his part.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices voiced concern not just about sex assault cases, but what they saw as the judiciary’s increasing tendency to allow testimony that crosses the line into character attacks. The law allows the testimony only in limited cases, including to show a crime pattern so specific it serves to identify the perpetrator.

MY View / Commentary:

Fair warning: I’m going to largely be playing devil’s advocate here. I don’t believe in Cosby anymore (he admitted he did it, plain and simple), BUT I also still see the problems with the way he was convicted, and the implications for the justice system as a whole.

When the accusations surrounding Cosby first surfaced, I admit that I didn’t believe them. I grew up with Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids on Saturday morning cartoons, and the morals that the show always taught, then “The Cosby Show” later. Cosby was “America’s Dad”, and presented an image of a wholesome ‘Middle America’ Black family and father on the show.

Long story short, doubt grew as time went on, and when he admitted during his trial that he did it all, but didn’t see it as rape, that was the final nail in the coffin for me. To top that, when offered parole, he refused it because a rehab program for sex offenders was a condition of that parole. So there’s no denying he’s not only guilty as hell, but unrepentant as well.

The court decision today raises alot of questions again that have been brought up by Black Lives Matters and other criminal justice reform movements though.

If a prosecutor makes an agreement, and the other party lives up to it, shouldn’t the prosecutor be obliged to also? Let’s take another, easier example here; somebody turns state’s evidence on their criminal organization, gives the District Attorney everything they need to get several convictions and shut the group down, but then turns around and says “Yes, we made an agreement and you lived up to your end, but your involvement was just too serious, I’m prosecuting anyway”.

The question of the other victims’ testimony is something that has to be considered here also. There was, to the best of my knowledge, no evidence or collaborating witnesses to support their accounts. Did their testimony serve to show a pattern so specific it served to identify Cosby? A little debatable as what he did was a sadly all too common date rape tactic. I’d have to say Yes in this specific case however. My concern here however, as it was with the court, is the potential and real abuse of this sort of testimony to gain convictions, particularly where evidence is otherwise flimsy.

Finally, for me, there’s the issue of Cosby’s trial being driven by media and social media outcry. The prosecutor that did finally charge Cosby wasn’t going to do so at first, citing the difficulty of getting a conviction due to lack of physical evidence, etc… as well as Cosby’s age (which should NOT be a mitigating factor in any prosecution). The social justice outcry forced the trial though.

BUT… He was guilty, so it was the right thing to do!!!

That’s pretty much saying the ends justify the means, and rationalizing witch hunts by saying if they’re accused, they’re guilty. The criminal justice system is supposed to operate on the exact opposite premise; innocent until PROVEN guilty. I can recall more than one famous media lynch mob in my time also. The McMartin Preschool pedophilia accusations, and the Richard Jewel Olympic Park Bombing (prevention) during the 1994 Atlanta Olympic Games for starters.

Both of those cases very clearly illustrate the need to avoid rushes to judgment and allow the system to do it’s job free of undue pressure or influence.

We could also get into the issue of prosecutors inflating charges and then pushing for plea bargains so they can pad their conviction record, or using a case to advance a political career, but that’s another story, even if somewhat related.

Is There A Real Answer Here?

Aside from the media (and by extension now, social media) learning self control, I don’t know if there is an easy answer.

Cosby is, by his own admission, guilty as hell, and unrepentant as hell also. He deserves punishment. In this specific case, the question is, “Is nearly three years of an 83 year old man’s life, the complete destruction of his reputation and career enough?”. Given the lives he damaged, I’d say no.

Perhaps without a rush to get a conviction at any cost, there could have been a later conviction of Cosby that actually stuck. How do we punish him and others though when the legal system is frequently guided by public opinion and political grandstanding vs facts, the law and what’s morally right?

The Breonna Taylor Verdict

I’ve purposely avoided commenting on this for a while. Primarily because I know how reporters frequently cherry pick facts to spin stories. Breonna Taylor’s case seems very straight forward however. That being the case, even as the child of a cop, I’m shocked and disappointed by the grand jury verdict earlier today.

All that said, let me give MY analysis based on what’s been disclosed in the media thus far.

The BIG problem I see here is one of policy and procedure, even more than the actions of the individual officers.

First, let me state I have ZERO problem with no knock warrants for known dangerous fugitives and drug dealers. Knocking in those instances will allow suspects to arms themselves and flush drugs or destroy evidence.

Where I *DO* have a problem however is the way that policy was (in my opinion) abused here. They were raiding Breonna Taylor’s house based on guilt by association with the only disclosed evidence being she knew a drug dealer; an ex of all things if I recall correctly. That alone makes a no-knock warrant questionable at best.

Even worse, they kicked in the door to the apartment at zero-dark thirty when ANY sane person is going to assume it’s a home invasion. *I* would have come out gun drawn also in the same situation. The police compounded this problem by not wearing uniforms NOR immediately identifying themselves as police. This all but guaranteed gun play was going to happen. Other than not identifying themselves immediately, this ALL appears to have been standard policy for the department.

I understand the need to keep officers safe, and to increase the odds of catching bad guys off-guard. Somewhere there has to be a balance with the public’s and suspect’s safety taken into account as well. No midnight raids, no out of uniform crap, and certainly no failure to identify. All three of those led the situation to a violent conclusion.

Now with the individual officers… Let’s take the EASY one first. The only one to get charged with anything was the idiot that fired blindly through a window that had blinds or curtains up. He had ZERO idea who he was shooting at, or where those rounds were going to end up. COMPLETELY inexcusable.

One of the first safety rules taught to all gun owners is to ALWAYS know exactly what you’re shooting at and where that bullet is going to go or could end up. Again, since the view through the window was obstructed, he had NO idea where his shots were going, or who/what they might hit. This was NOT a war zone. Tear gas or a flash bang might have been justified but NOT gunfire.

The other officers who were NOT charged… I have a harder time with. Murder requires deliberate intent to kill, and I don’t think that was there.

Manslaughter and some sort of negligence or dereliction of duty based on the lack of uniforms and failure to identify as law enforcement certainly might be appropriate. Technically, they did their job by the book per reports, with the exception of the failure to identify. It was the department’s policy that set up an inevitable shootout between a citizen reacting to a perceived home invasion and police trying to serve a search warrant in the wee hours of the morning.

What I *do* know is that things need to change on a variety of fronts. Policy needs to be written in a way that balances officer safety with public safety. Officer training needs to be better also. This kind of incident is killing morale in police departments all over the country and causing truly good cops to quit the force in droves.

What these incidents are doing to public trust, especially among the black community is just as bad and I think goes without saying at this point.

Protesters really need to check themselves as well however. Shooting cops, setting fires, looting and vandalism are all only making the situation worse, and turns public sympathy against the cause. All these riots really accomplish is driving all the businesses out of the communities that are protesting.

Who does THAT help?

Lastly, I have to call BS on the media as well. I do NOT know if anything was left out of Breonna Taylor’s story. It appears not. However, there have been multiple incidents where the facts were clearly cherry picked to escalate the situation and increase ratings. I saw it first hand with the Stephon Clark case in Sacramento when I lived there. We got more of the story than the national news. That was a case of a poor, mentally ill or at least severely distraught young man putting himself and police in a situation where it looked like he was pulling a weapon but it was far too dark to see. It was a tragedy, but NOT an execution by any means.