THE KANGAROO COURT FOR COPS
By: Officer Deon Joseph
When police shootings occur, (depending on the race of the officer and the person they encountered) often times those stories can get spun completely out of control. For months, I end up having to do several things that keep me from protecting the community I serve.
One of those things is to handle protest and get shouted at for something I was not involved in, that occurred in another part of the city, county or even crazier, in another part of the country. I can handle that. That doesn’t bother me. I work in the protest capital of the nation.
Another incredibly annoying thing I have done on and off duty is answer loaded questions from friends, foes and strangers as to why police officers “murder” people. Or here is a rich one. “Why we have a license to just kill people for no reason.” Or “How is it possible for cops to kill unarmed people?”
Fun fact, folks: There are people in prison for killing other human beings with their bare hands. It’s possible. Yes, unarmed people have tried to murder police.
The questions are usually asked in a way to guarantee a certain answer, or get under my skin so my anger can drive me to a desired answer. But I was born at night. Not last night. I always have an answer that they usually cannot refute without going into a temper tantrum or pre-prepared rant provided to them by some college professor or running off to a different subject to avoid the “L” as my sons say. Yet, to keep answering the same tedious questions over and over again is really getting old, but I do it anyway because if I don’t a social justice warrior will answer for me and they would more than likely be lying.
So in this article I’m taking it upon myself to share with you the importance of why our detractors have such a huge advantage over us in getting the truth to the public when shootings occur. I need you all to see why America as it relates to cops has become a kangaroo court.
When police shootings happen, the investigations can take anywhere from several months to a year depending on how complex it is. During this time, we are gathering witness and officer statements, waiting for autopsy reports, checking hours of body camera and closed circuit footage, waiting on forensics and a whole host of things to ensure that we have all the facts before we release conclusions.
Officers who work for the same department often get accused of being silent on a perceived injustice. I’m sure most wish to God they could talk about it to stop the slander machine or misinformation. Unfortunately, with most if not all departments not one employee working for the involved department is allowed to talk about the shooting until the case is resolved, whether they were involved or not and whether they feel it was a justified shooting or not. For officers not involved; their silence is not because they have something to hide, fear retaliation or because of some ominous/mysterious blue code of silence that for the most part is Hollywood BS.
The truth is this: We are in a litigious society; every officer on a department is a representative of their department no matter where they go. Hence the reason I still get asked today about the Rodney King beating, even though I wasn’t a police officer in ‘91. I was fuming about it like everyone else back then. Though we have no direct connection to that shooting, we are connected by uniform. Which means anything they say can be used as a sound bite that could harm the integrity of the investigation, which is not fair to the officer involved in the shooting or the person who was shot. The media and ambulance-chasing lawyers do not care if that officer was at his home watching a football game when the shooting occurred. All that matters is that he wears the same uniform and he or she gave them sound byte they needed to keep drama going for self-serving reasons.
In between time, our detractors who are masters of manipulation clearly understand that we cannot talk about it. They know this very well. And use this as an opportunity to try this case in the court of public opinion for months. Here are the groups and how they work folks.
We can’t fault them. They are doing their jobs. And that job is to get people the highest payday possible so their own payday can be higher. Seeing so many settlements even when the officer was justified lets me know I am probably in the wrong profession. Their goal in our silence is to try the case in the court of public opinion. Bring grieving mothers and grandmothers center stage to pull at the heartstrings of the public. To find pictures of the person who was shot playing T-ball minus the gang tattoos on his face. They want to racialize the issue as quickly as possible using identity politics to rally people who identify with the victim’s family. The goal is to create a jury pool long before jury selection. They use trigger words like “injustice”, “racism”, “murder” repeatedly to paint the actions of the officers as so heinous, that no one would believe the truth even when it is finally revealed for hopes of a settlement and a new pair of Jimmy Choos or a yacht they have been dreaming of.
Their job: Take it to social media. Take it to the streets to push their agenda. Their methods: lie, twist the truth, put captions on social media posts to guide the simple-minded to a thought. They exploit the person who was shot, who when they were alive they could care less about especially if they are not the right color to further their agenda. A life to them is only as valuable as the race or profession of the person who kills them. As they take their “outrage” to the public, they carefully craft their arguments for two groups of people. For the more intellectual folks, make their arguments so complexed using so many $10,000 words that even educated people begin to fall for. For those who lack a certain level of education or knowledge of the law, the strategy is to come up with catchy phrases that are easily digestible, designed to fire up folks who just don’t have the patience to just wait for the truth to come out.
In fact, their versions of the incident are purposely abbreviated to leave out details that may make sense. They engage in a tactic I like to call “jumping.” It is where they jump from A to Z claiming they recited the alphabet but left out the other 24 letters. For example:
When Mike Brown was shot, they repeated this mantra… “Mike Brown was murdered for being black and jaywalking.” Sure if you repeat it enough, everyone will believe it. But the truth is he was warned for jaywalking … twice. In response, he decided to assault a police officer and struggle over his gun which led to him being killed. But who cares about facts when there is a revolution going on?
But their favorite are people who are disenfranchised, who are intelligent, but are so frustrated and fed up with their condition that they can only see things from an emotional level. They are already primed and ready to engage in conflict based on said frustration. “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” was one of the most recent and famous ones to incite them. It was simple and took the thinking out of it for many people. And as we found out at the end of that investigation, the cliché did not match what actually occurred. By the time the truth came out, a city was burning and a nation was divided. At the click of a button numerous social justice warriors who believe in the “end justifies the means” approach, can guide a mass amount of people to a thought with carefully edited montages, or edited portions of a police shooting they want people to see to get them all fired up. They recognize better than anyone that we live in what I like to call a “microwave society.” I call it that because we are in an age where people want their information fast. It doesn’t matter if the nutrients are burned out. It doesn’t matter that it could give you cancer. They just want it. A conventional oven (methodical FACT gathering) won’t give it to you fast enough, so most will always go with and stay with the microwave (the fast, juicy version) no matter how bad it ends up being for them in the long term.
Unfortunately far too many people are being influenced by these groups, which are now made up of college professors, high school teachers, politicians and civil rights activists who are constantly seeking to grab 15 more minutes of fame. They show up, set the world on fire and then walk away waiting patiently for the next officer to have a human moment, as the communities they spun up are left to pick up the pieces. They literally cannot wait for another exploitable person to die at the hands of an officer who made a decision no officer wants to make in the heat of a dangerous moment.
I’m not saying all media is bad. I have met with many responsible and fair journalists over the years. I will not paint them all with a broad brush. It would not be fair. Yet I can say I have never seen it this bad. Objectively and balance has been almost completely sacrificed for ratings and sponsors.
I remember years ago when the police were involved in a shooting they would only share the limited facts that they had. Now we are seeing many reporters colorizing and racializing each shooting when it involves a white cop and a black male before reporting the facts. It is done to grab eyeballs. What’s even worse, some reporters are now social justice warriors masquerading as news anchors. And they use the incident to push an agenda they or their bosses support. They bring in social justice advocates to continue to paint with that broad brush that helps create the necessary tension to stretch the story for as long as possible, all the while knowing that the involved law enforcement agency can’t release all information for the reasons I stated. They continue to use tortured language to cast suspicion on every aspect of the shooting and the ensuing investigation. They thrive off speculation and innuendo to push the narrative as far as possible. They could be real heroes in keeping the peace by rejecting subjective reporting. But that won’t happen any time soon for some. Ratings equals $$$.
Once I gave a man in the political world a ride along. During the ride along, we had a frank discussion about the lack of support some politicians give to law enforcement during police shootings where the officers were clearly in the right. He looked at me and said “Joseph, most politicians know the vast majority of you all do a phenomenal job. We know in most cases those officers have to make a tough call they did not want to make. But some feel they have to allow you all to look like the bad guy to get the things their constituents want.” I respected the hell out of him for his honesty. But I was completely disheartened by what he said.
We have huge problems with our politicians refusing to stand by officers who were clearly defending themselves within the law. They are too afraid of the optics. Others who try to stay in office and pander to certain communities will completely throw police officers under the bus as we just saw in recent cases, and then back over the officer. They also sacrifice the truth for self-serving reasons.
Instead of leading, they put their fingers in the air to see which way the political winds are blowing, and are gone with the wind of lies, fear mongering and hysteria.
All of these groups go on a tear for months. Sometimes their work pays off when an officer who was righteously defending himself ends up having to stand trial, but gets acquitted because the facts show there was no criminal intent which is the main reason why they do not get convicted. Not because of their race. But in most cases, when the facts bear out, all the hype, the flawed reporting, the malicious rumors and lies, lose out to the facts, which sparks more staged outrage from all three groups that end up having disastrous consequences for police officers and the communities they serve. (See Dallas and the south side of Chicago).
Now please do not think that I believe we are infallible as police officers. I have reported misconduct as an officer. I also do not believe every police shooting that has captured the attention of this nation was justified.
The Walter Scott shooting was a clear case of murder in my opinion. The Oscar Grant shooting should not have happened. That officer had zero business with his firearm out. Eric Garner should still be alive. The Laquan McDonald case was clearly unjustified as well as a couple of others that I completely agree should not have happened.
Cases like those are pretty cut and dried. You do not have to be an expert to know those shootings should never have happened and are just as shocking to many of us as law enforcement officers as they are to you.
For the others, we all, cops and civilians alike, must stop allowing the aforementioned groups to manipulate you for self-serving reasons. We all must wait for all facts to come out before we rush to judgement against officers who were placed in a situation no police officer wants to ever be in. I have met with hundreds of officers. Not one has ever told me that they want to kill someone. Stop allowing these groups to drive a wedge between you and your police agency, because in the end, we all need each other.
When all facts have been gathered, if you still feel it was wrong, protest away, peacefully. I along with my fellow officers will even protect your right to do so. That is your right. All I ask is you stop reacting, and start thinking.