Denied validation, interests continue divisiveness
Despite hitting the canvas in Round 1, backers of the “war against blacks” narrative signaled they would not take the federal decision not to charge two Baton Rouge police officers with civil rights violations lying down, coming out swinging in Round 2 – to the detriment of the community.
The U.S. Department of Justice, in an investigation spanning the Democrat former Pres. Barack Obama and Republican Pres. Donald Trump Administrations, concluded that while the officers did not engage in perfect policing, it found insufficient evidence that the officers had malicious and abusive motives towards Alton Sterling when he was shot last summer while resisting arrest. A typical reaction from this crowd came from the Alinskyites at Together Baton Rouge, who expressed disappointment and frustration of no charges filed, called the federal government unjust, and implied as suspect the coming state investigation if it resulted in no indictments of the officers in the death of Sterling.
This closed-mindedness indicative of the group by this kind of pre-judgmental criticism and shared by its ideological allies sadly reveals a cancer in the body politic. They seize upon every incident where a black “gentle giant” loses his life in an altercation with police as evidence to back up their narrative, refusing to let facts which do not conform to their narrative inform them.
From the DOJ report, they currently engage in a lot of denial. Sterling, a very black large man, appeared uncooperative at the start, refusing to place his hands on a car hood until one of the white officers pointed a gun to his head. This reflected proper caution on their part, as the tipster who had alerted police reported Sterling had a gun and, in fact, he did in a pocket. This combativeness and the fact that, after the officer holstered his gun Sterling started to move his arms again, he received a Taser shot that seemingly did little to slow him down, suggests a pharmacologically-impaired state, although about a month after the incident a judge sealed his toxicology report so it is not public knowledge whether he was high on drugs.
The officers began to wrestle him down while he resisted continuously. After finding themselves unable to control him and he appeared to reach for a pocket with them knowing he had a gun (one shouted out a warning of that), one drew his weapon again and shot him three times, and then seconds later three times more when, even after Sterling rolled on his back, Sterling kept flailing his arms.
The report appears as impartial as it can get. Career, experienced agents, with most of the legwork likely done prior to the changeover from Obama to Trump, assiduously gathered evidence, and two experts often used by DOJ in these matters agreed that the evidence did not exist to charge the officers.
Its conclusion lends to a very simple scenario. Sterling, who had multiple brushes with the law and criminal convictions, at the time was serving probation. Probationers cannot legally possess or carry a firearm. He knew any peaceable arrest quickly would find the gun, so, employing poor judgment, he resisted mightily, repeatedly ignoring lawful commands and acting in a threatening manner. It ended in tragedy and, like it or not, his recklessness contributed to his demise.
Yet as this does not fit the race-driven narrative, those ideologically invested in that cannot admit this as the most plausible explanation of events. They particularly seize on allegations that the shooting officer threatened to kill Sterling early in the encounter when first drawing the weapon. The report didn’t mention that datum, but even assuming that as actually occurring, it would not be an unexpected utterance if an officer was trying to deescalate a situation with a very uncooperative suspect, emphasizing the gravity of it all if the suspect did not begin to cooperate. If actually said, that remark did not sway the experts assessing the incident.
Given that state standards under law work differently, it’s possible that the officers involved may end up charged with a lesser offense. But the federal investigation clearly indicates that the actions did not rise to cold-blooded murder – and for the “war on blacks” narrative to receive validation, that assumption must exist. It will be interesting to see whether those invested in the narrative will accept from the state anything less than charges and conviction for some degree of murder or even manslaughter.
If so, we can only hope somehow to cure the hearts of stone of those interests. Such attitudes that forgo understanding the world through right reason poison community relations, inducing illegitimate divisiveness that puts political goals ahead of the community’s welfare. Intolerance of this nature serves no good purpose, and we only can pray they embrace whatever truth emerges as a step towards healing rifts to which they at this point, through their rhetoric, have contributed.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 12:35