Littwin: This time, coming down on a killer cop

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he most shocking thing about the Walter Scott killing is that we can still be shocked when a white cop kills an unarmed black man.

It’s not just that there was video. We’ve seen plenty of video. We’ve seen Eric Garner “I can’t breathe” video and 12-year-old Tamir Rice with a toy gun video. And the shocking thing in both cases is that despite the videos, we weren’t shocked quite enough.

This is different. And not just because the video is so horrific. It’s because this video so clearly puts an end to the usual arguments and challenges anyone who watches it to say otherwise.

Of course, it was about race.

Of course, it was about harassment turned fatal.

[pullquote]North Charleston, in the heart of the South, didn’t want to be another Ferguson. That’s progress of a kind.[/pullquote]

Of course, you could understand how, in an essay written for Time, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would call Scott’s shooting death an assassination.

If you haven’t seen the video, you can’t understand just how great the shock is. An unarmed black man, stopped for a broken tail-light, is seen running away from a cop. The cop, Officer Michael Slager, aims and fires eight times. Scott falls. It is horrific, and yet it does not look quite real, either. It looks like a low-budget movie, in which the bad guy shoots the good guy in the back. All that were missing were the white and black hats.

And then it sinks in. This bad guy shoots the unarmed man in the back and then rushes to cover up the crime. Slager had called in the shooting as a tussle about a Taser gun. He went to the body, handcuffed Scott, and then went back for what looked like his Taser, which he planted next to Scott. He did all this as Scott lay dying.

It was horrific and much worse. Scott had run away from the traffic stop, apparently fearing arrest for an old warrant.There had been a scuffle, according to the man who witnessed the event and caught it all on his cell phone.

But the cop killed a man and then lied about the shooting. He apparently tried to plant incriminating evidence. And you could see how, without the video, he probably would have gotten away with unaccountably — unimaginably — shooting an unarmed man eight times in the back.

It wasn’t the only shock. Some were shocked that the North Charleston mayor and police chief acted so quickly in removing Slager from the force and charging him with murder. Again, it wasn’t just the video. This was about the post-Ferguson world, in a time after #blacklivesmatter hash tags and after a damning Justice Department report about white cops and harassment and racist emails and tickets handed out as a tax on the poor.

North Charleston, in the heart of the South, didn’t want to be another Ferguson. That’s progress of a kind. And so we’re unlikely to hear testimony like we heard from Darren Wilson, who called Brown a “demon” who “looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him. And the face that he had was looking straight through me, like I wasn’t even there, I wasn’t even anything in his way.”

Who knows if Wilson was telling the truth or how much of the truth? We learned later that Brown probably didn’t have his hands up in surrender. We can only wonder what a video might have shown of that fateful encounter, one that began with two teens walking in the middle of the street.

The story in South Carolina didn’t begin or end there, however, because a man was walking to work, saw the scuffle and did what people do. He pulled out his cell phone and started shooting video. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. And he was scared to death to think what he had in his phone.

Feidin Santana, a Dominican immigrant, would say he thought about erasing the video and leaving town. He worried that the cops must have seen him. He was afraid, after watching the shooting, what they might to do him.

“My life has changed in a matter of seconds,” Santana told MSNBC on Thursday. “My family’s afraid what’s going to happen next with me. I’m afraid, too, of what can happen. But I guess I feel that what I did is just, you know, look for justice in this case.”

After hearing what Slager had to say about the shooting, Santana took his video to a vigil for Scott and gave it to the family. The video was released to the press, and, as it was played for the world to see, Slager was charged with murder and Santana was rightly being called a hero.

Days later, the North Charleston police released the dash-cam video of the traffic stop. And the mayor had promised that the police would soon be outfitted with body-cams. And if more video doesn’t really solve the problem, it can force us to see it for what it is.

And so Santana would tell the Washington Post that if people see “something bad … happening,” they should reach for their cell phones to record it. It’s a matter of justice, he said. As shocking as that can sometimes be.

6 COMMENTS

  1. “Who knows if Wilson was telling the truth or how much of the truth? ”

    Well, the Justice Department for one. Here’s what the New York Times reported on January 21, 2015:

    “Justice Department lawyers will recommend that no civil rights charges be brought against the police officer (Darren Wilson) involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., after an F.B.I. investigation found no evidence to support charges, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. The federal investigation did not uncover any facts that differed significantly from the evidence made public by the authorities in Missouri late last year. ”

    And if Mr. Littwin is still unclear about Officer Darren Wilson’s veracity there’s this from the Daily Beast’s John McWhorter:

    “Justice Department investigators have proven that Michael Brown was not simply pulled over and shot in the back with his hands up, but shot while attacking police officer Darren Wilson. However, black Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capeheart, after urging us to admit that the initial MSNBC take on the Ferguson encounter was inaccurate, has been deluged on Twitter with vicious slander for his insistence on admitting the truth. That slander is founded on an assumption: America needs to understand how disproportionately cops kill black men, and facts incompatible with that mission are irrelevant. To stress inconvenient truths is still unenlightened, missing the “larger point.”

    Mr. Littwin goes on: “Of course, you could understand how, in an essay written for Time, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would call Scott’s shooting death an assassination.”

    And what did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar think about the shooting deaths-which some have called an assassination-of two New York City police officers last December? Here it is:

    “The recent brutal murder of two Brooklyn police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, is a national tragedy that should inspire nationwide mourning.”

    Mr. Littwin not only failed to mourn this “national tragedy” he failed even to recognize it. But it clearly illustrates a point: In acknowledging the incident, Abdul-Jabbar—a former NBA player—demonstrates more integrity than Mr. Littwin—a former journalist.

    Here’s another story he ignored about an incident which occurred in Berkeley, Missouri last December, a town less than 10 miles from Ferguson.

    This from USA Today:
    “Authorities released a surveillance video Wednesday showing a confrontation that ended the night before with a white police officer killing an armed black man in this St. Louis suburb.”

    Because this incident didn’t further Mr. Littwin’s white-cop-black-victim narrative it was ignored. Plus, the definition of “victim” would have to be twisted and distorted beyond recognition and, apparently, not even Mr. Littwin was willing to corrupt the meaning of “victim” to include someone pointing a loaded gun at a law enforcement officer.

    And there is another narrative-busting fact Mr. Littwin obviously was unwilling to address: Berkeley not only has a black mayor—who, by the way, supported the officer’s actions–but a police force that is 50 percent black, which begs at least two questions:

    – How was Berkeley–a community similar in racial makeup to Ferguson–able to elect a representative government when Ferguson couldn’t?

    – Why did this incident happen at all when none of the conditions existed in Berkeley that, at least according to Mr. Littwin, were the root of Ferguson’s problems: A majority-black community having a majority-white government and a nearly all-white police force?

    It’s called confirmation bias and it explains why Mr. Littwin ignored the above two stories and how he determines story lines.

    Investopedia.com defines confirmation bias as “A psychological phenomenon that explains why people tend to seek out information that confirms their existing opinions and overlook or ignore information that refutes their beliefs.”

    A story is ignored if it doesn’t fit precisely into Mr. Littwin’s rather parochial left-of-sanity political views. He has elevated confirmation bias into an art form and it explains why Mr. Littwin also ignored these stories:

    = The Rolling Stones’s retraction of a story about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia
    – Shooting of two police officers in Ferguson
    – Department of Justice decision not to prosecute Ferguson cop Darren Wilson
    – Desecration of Denver police memorial
    – Mass beheadings of Coptic Christians by ISIS
    – Burning alive of a Jordanian pilot by ISIS

    Mr. Littwin wonders: ”what a video might have shown of that fateful (Ferguson) encounter, one that began with two teens walking in the middle of the street.”

    If it had shown anything close to what the DOJ findings suggest, the only thing that can be said with absolute certainty is Mr. Littwin would never have written about it.

    “But it’s far from certain that a Ferguson City Council with more black members will change how the city is run. Black leaders may not necessarily mean better lives for black residents, a fact of life that anyone from Detroit or Newark could tell you about.”
    Daily Beast – April 07, 2015

    “An Indiana pizzeria under fire for saying it would refuse to cater a gay wedding shut down on Wednesday after its owners said they received threatening messages.”
    Huffington Post April 02, 2015

    “I marched with many people back in those days and I have reached out to some of my friends who marched with me, and all of them are shocked,” Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) told Breitbart News. “They never thought they would see this day that gay rights would be equated with civil rights. Not one agreed with this comparison.

    President Obama is a disgrace to the black community,” Owens said. “He is rewriting history. We didn’t suffer and die for gay marriage.”

    “It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”
    President Obama redefining “randomly”

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Folds of Honor
    Wounded Warrior Project

    Memorial Day – May 25, 2015

  2. is it just me or does DoLo simply add to previous posts or what? I think he may have just invented #rehash tag.

  3. LOL, Terry Graves, no, it’s not just you. I think DoLo is practicing his “copy/paste” routine and trying to show us how good he’s getting at it. Does he really think anybody even bothers to read his stuff anymore? When I see his name and taking up a full page filled with quotation marks (a bit full of himself?), I quickly move on. I have better things to do.

  4. It’s very flattering to be the focus of so much attention.

    And it’s long overdue. On the Colorado Independent website I am a one man comment-generating machine. Consider this: I am directly or indirectly responsible for 80 percent (four of five) of the comments generated so far.

    You’re welcome!

    I’m not surprised to learn that one of Mr. Littwin’s minions ignores my comments since that’s exactly the same head-in-the-sand approach Mr. Littwin takes when faced with a story that doesn’t precisely fit his left-of-reality politics

    Confirmation bias must be contagious.

    But I am surprised to learn that someone who claims to “have better things to do” can find the time to read Mr. Littwin.

    Go figure.

    But it’s far from certain that a Ferguson City Council with more black members will change how the city is run. Black leaders may not necessarily mean better lives for black residents, a fact of life that anyone from Detroit or Newark could tell you about.”
    Daily Beast – April 07, 2015

    “An Indiana pizzeria under fire for saying it would refuse to cater a gay wedding shut down on Wednesday after its owners said they received threatening messages.”
    Huffington Post April 02, 2015

    “I marched with many people back in those days and I have reached out to some of my friends who marched with me, and all of them are shocked,” Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) told Breitbart News. “They never thought they would see this day that gay rights would be equated with civil rights. Not one agreed with this comparison.

    President Obama is a disgrace to the black community,” Owens said. “He is rewriting history. We didn’t suffer and die for gay marriage.”

    “It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”
    President Obama redefining “randomly”

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Folds of Honor
    Wounded Warrior Project

    Memorial Day – May 25, 2015

  5. Oh, my, here we go again — Mr. Lopez demonstrating his egotism. Best be careful that his head doesn’t swell too much or the wind might just blow him away. He must have felt terribly deflated all the times when no one responded to his comments, so I guess it’s a good thing that he gets a little boost every once in awhile.

  6. “Does he really think anybody even bothers to read his stuff anymore?”

    Well, you do.

    “When I see his name and taking up a full page filled with quotation marks (a bit full of himself?), I quickly move on. I have better things to do.”

    You didn’t move on so quickly this time but maybe today was one of those days when you didn’t have anything better to do. Or maybe you just couldn’t resist. Few can.

    But don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s difficult to stay away.

    So, welcome back! That is if you were ever gone.

    “But it’s far from certain that a Ferguson City Council with more black members will change how the city is run. Black leaders may not necessarily mean better lives for black residents, a fact of life that anyone from Detroit or Newark could tell you about.”
    Daily Beast – April 07, 2015

    “An Indiana pizzeria under fire for saying it would refuse to cater a gay wedding shut down on Wednesday after its owners said they received threatening messages.”
    Huffington Post April 02, 2015

    “I marched with many people back in those days and I have reached out to some of my friends who marched with me, and all of them are shocked,” Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) told Breitbart News. “They never thought they would see this day that gay rights would be equated with civil rights. Not one agreed with this comparison.

    President Obama is a disgrace to the black community,” Owens said. “He is rewriting history. We didn’t suffer and die for gay marriage.”

    “It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”
    President Obama redefining “randomly”

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Folds of Honor
    Wounded Warrior Project

    Memorial Day – May 25, 2015

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