Police approach a man during an investigation of car break-ins. He runs. They tell him to stop. He keeps running. They tell him to show them his hands. He reaches for something.
What do you think is going to happen?
Of course. They’re going to shoot him. If you know even a tiny bit about police training and procedure, you know this. You also know that when the police approach you and you run, you have just officially risked your own life, and whatever happens to you for as long as you’re defying police instructions is your fault.
Yet the news media treat this as a police scandal every time it happens, and they’re doing it again this morning after an incident in Sacramento. This is largely driven by the fact that the suspect was black, because the media love racial controversies even if they have to concoct them.
Look how the police-hating Young Turks treat what happened in Sacramento. Yes, it’s a terrible tragedy that Stephon Clark is dead, especially since he wasn’t the car burglar. But what really makes it tragic is that Clark, being innocent, had no reason to run (unless he ran because he had warrants or something else of that nature), and also because the media are so totally clueless about what police are trained to do and why:
The Young Turks are apoplectic over the fact that police protect their own lives in these situations. There’s a reason they’re supposed to do that.
If you can get past Cenk Uygur yelling and screaming, what you notice is that he thinks it’s the cops’ fault they didn’t know the item in Clark’s hand was a phone and not a gun. It’s not their responsibility to know that. It’s Clark’s responsibility to give them the chance to discern it, and the way for him to do that is to follow police instructions. If he does that, they will frisk him and quickly discover he has no gun. No one will get hurt.
But he ran and defied their instructions, which forces them to treat any potentially aggressive motion he makes as a threat to their lives. If they tell him to show them his hands, and instead he reaches for his waist, pulls out a gun and shoots them, then they will have risked their lives in defiance of their training.
This is what police-haters either fail or refuse to understand. When the police give you a command in a situation like this, you protect both your lives and theirs when you follow their instructions.
The following morning, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn tried his best to cut through the emotion and disinformation that’s being disseminated:
He has to complete the investigation and he can’t come right out and pronounce his officers exonerated. And even if people do see the video they may still not understand that the cops were justified in their actions because they see things the way Cenk Uygur sees them. He thinks the police should put the lives of fleeing suspects above the protection of their own.
That’s the most maddening thing about the police-haters’ take on all this. Should police risk their lives to protect the innocent? Of course. That’s their job. Should they risk their lives vis-a-vis that of a fleeing suspect who’s ignoring their commands and refuses to do what’s necessary to eliminate the possibility he has a gun or could be a threat? Absolutely not. Clark could have eliminated any threat to himself at any moment simply by stopping and putting his hands up. As long as he refuses to do that, why should officers put their own lives at risk for the sake of his?
The reaction of politicians, celebrities and athletes tends to follow patterns in these cases, and sadly this one is no exception:
The game between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks started Thursday after a 19-minute delay due to protesters who were locked arm-in-arm surrounding entrances to Golden1 Center. Only a few hundred fans made it into the Golden1 Center before police decided to not allow anyone else to enter and several of those who did get in moved down into the lower bowl of the arena, leaving the upper deck empty.
Black Lives Matter organized Thursday’s protest after the fatal shooting of, who was unarmed and in the backyard of his grandparents’ house Sunday night when he was shot by police 20 times. Officers said they thought he had a gun, but he was holding a cellphone.
The protesters earlier marched from Sacramento City Hall and onto a nearby freeway, disrupting rush hour traffic and holding signs with messages like “Sac PD: Stop killing us!”
The police “will pay for this,” Clark’s brother Stevante told CBS News’ John Blackstone Wednesday. “You’re going to know his name forever … You’re going to remember it like how you know Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice. You’re going to know him. You’re going to remember this.”
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg questioned police policies for providing medical aid after a police shooting, but said he can’t second-guess the split-second decisions of the officers.
You want the police to stop killing you? Stop running when they want to talk to you. Stop ignoring them when they tell you to show them your hands.
That’s what’s getting you killed.
And you want to know the tragic irony here? Black Lives Matter is causing people like Stephon Clark to get themselves killed. Young black men are hearing and believing the propaganda that the police want to shoot and kill them, and it’s causing them to panic and run in situations that would otherwise be completely innocuous.
Their own supposed advocates are doing them no favors. They’re creating fear and mistrust where some simple common sense would keep everyone safe.
Yes, I know there’s mistrust between the black community and the police. It’s not the fault of the police. It’s the fault of activists and journalists who have created a totally false narrative about cops wanting to shoot black people. And it’s aided by people like Cenk Uygur who neither know nor care about the procedures police have learned to protect their own lives, or why these procedures are needed.
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Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)
Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)