Survived Car Crash. Killed By Cop. (UPDATED)

We know who killed Jon Ferrell, but the legal system seems to be confused.

In the aftermath of the mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict in the case of Randall Kerrick, the former Charlotte-Meckenberg police officer who shot and killed 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell in September 2013, you will inevitably hear law enforcement experts providing explanations about why the jury did not vote to convict Kerrick and possibly send him to prison for 11 years.  Many of these experts will be current and former police officers. This is what you need to know about these “experts.”

Everyone has an opinion. Some even have informed opinions. But sometimes what seems to be an informed opinion it is only impersonating one. What you’re actually hearing is a highly biased opinion designed only to defend bad policing by bad cops.

The excuses are the usual ones. The apologists say Kerrick deserved to lose his job. Kerrick should never be a cop again. But it’s not Kerrick himself, but the police department which hired him that should be punished for his bad policing. Kerrick should go free for his bad policing but it is the taxpayers who should be on the hook for Kerrick’s bad policing. Kerrick shouldn’t be punished for pumping 10 bullets into Jonathan Ferrell, even though the two other officers, both more experienced than Kerrick didn’t fire their guns at all.

While for some it may be plausibly asserted the past experience of someone in the same profession has to make them the go-to experts on how ALL police departments work and how ALL police officers respond to situations as an uncooperative suspect, that is a baseless assertion of authority that defies logic, reality and common sense. Nobody is an expert on everything facet and every situation others in that profession may meet.

The opinion which should carry the most weight isn’t of somebody who doesn’t know Kerrick, doesn’t know what sort of cop he was, doesn’t know how the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department trains its officers, and doesn’t know what their policies and rules are. The opinion which matters most is someone who does.

Randall “Wes” Kerrick used excessive force when the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell two years ago, a training expert testified Tuesday.


CMPD Capt. Mike Campagna told jurors that given the circumstances – from what Kerrick knew from dispatchers to how events quickly happened – the 29-year-old officer violated police policies by opening fire on Ferrell as the former college football player ran toward him on a Sept. 14, 2013.

jonathan-ferrell car 2

All that’s left of Ferrell’s car. He survived the crash but not the police.

Ferrell, who was unarmed, was hit by 10 gunshots. Most came when Ferrell and Kerrick were a few feet apart or on top of each other.

Campagna said Kerrick was justified in pulling his gun but not in using it. Instead, Kerrick should have holstered his Smith & Wesson 40-caliber pistol and used other options to restrain Ferrell – from firing his Taser, to using his baton or pepper spray, to even kicking or punching the approaching man.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers are taught to respond to a threat with only the force needed to subdue a subject, Campagna testified.

What was the highest response Kerrick should have used, prosecutor Teresa Postell asked?

“Non-deadly force,” Campagna said.

“Was shooting Jonathan consistent with CMPD policy and training?” Postell asked.

“No, it was not,” Campagna said.

Some of these experts will express how concerned they are about bad cops and how they must be weeded out.    Do not believe them.  If their lips are moving, they’re lying.

Anybody who continually manufactures excuses for bad policing and then turns around to make noises about “reforming” the police to get rid of the bad apples in the bunch does not sincerely mean it. Reform is what they say. What they do is repeatedly shrug off every incident of inept, incompetent and illegal policing as isolated events which cop-haters will exaggerate only to tear down the police. How many isolated cases does it take before it is obvious there’s nothing isolated about police violence against people of color?

Kerrick didn’t get desk duty or a suspension for shooting Jonathan Ferrell. He got fired and arrested for murder.   There were troubling signs Kerrick might not be found guilty when a grand jury failed to indict him and it took a second to do so.

How might things play out differently if Timothy Loehmann is indicted and tried for killing Tamir Rice or when Michael Slager is indicted and tried for killing Walter Scott or when the cops in Baltimore are tried for killing Freddie Gray?

It won’t play out any differently. Cops and their lawyers know they if they say the Five Magic Words it will be their guaranteed Get Out of Jail Free Card: “I feared for my life” and some sap on a jury or a limp-dick judge or a prosecutor afraid of pissing off the police will swallow this line whole and without question. We saw it with Eric Garner and Michael Brown and Sean Bell and Oscar Grant and Amadou Diallo and Patrick Dorismond and on and on into infinity and beyond.
Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis because he feared for his life. Theodore Wafer killed Renisha McBride because he feared for his life. George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin because he feared for his life. The Fear is the same but civilians, unlike cops, are less likely to have that reasonable doubt granted to them. Zimmerman was an exception and everything he’s been involved in since escaping punishment for Martin’s murder has brought clearly into focus between the two which one was the “thug.”

Cops get that benefit of the doubt. The Fear they claim led them to kill an unarmed man, woman or child is not measurable, but the cop apologists will tell you its real and its significant. In Kerrick’s case, he wasn’t facing Jonathan Ferrell alone. There were two other officers with him and neither one of them fired a shot. Does that mean they were the cowards here and Kerrick, the former animal control officer, was the real courageous one?

If a cop is so afraid for his life the default setting is to kill whomever is making them afraid, why the fuck are they a cop in the first place?

Calling Kerrick a coward is a completely proper term. He panicked and overreacted. He violated his training. He acted recklessly. He used lethal force in a situation where in the judgment of two other police officers it wasn’t necessary to stop Ferrell.

Those are the actions of a coward. A gutless, worthless, murderous COWARD who never should have been a cop. Kerrick should still be taking on angry Chihuahuas and poodles, not blowing away disoriented, injured Black men who had crawled from the wreckage of his totaled vehicle.

Make no mistake of it. What Kerrick did when he squeezed that trigger and pumped bullet after bullet after bullet after bullet into Ferrell until he had no more bullets to pump wasn’t about Kerrick being afraid for his life. It was about Kerrick wanting nothing more than to kill Ferrell and take away his life.

Contrary to the cop show hype crime does pay and criminals do get away with murder.  Especially when the criminal is a cop.

The dog catcher turned killer cop testifies in court.

Live. Die. Repeat.

Running feet do not trump flying bullets.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

A Black man.  A car.  A White cop.   Black man runs.  White cops shoots.  Black man dies.   White cop arrested and charged for killing the Black man.

Sound familiar?  It should, but it’s not Walter Scott being gunned down as he runs away from Officer Michael Slager in North Charleston, South Carolina.   It’s Jonathan Ferrell, the 24-year-old former Florida A&M football player whom in September 2013 survived crashing his car in Charlotte, North Carolina only to be shot down when Officer Randall Kerrick shot Ferrell 12 times striking him with 10 shots. Crawling from the wreckage of his car a, bloody and disoriented Ferrell banged on a frightened woman’s door and officer responding to the 911 claim he rushed them.

Then, as with Scott, a Taser was used by the cops against Ferrell and failed to stop him.  There was also a dash-cam video of Kerrick killing Ferrell, but it was never released publicly.   Kerrick was fired, indicted and faces trial…oh hell, I don’t know.  SOMETIME in 2015.  Or maybe next year.  Or maybe never.  It’s hard to say with any certainty.

Despite all the absolute certainty repeatedly expressed in this thread that Michael Slager is guilty as sin for murdering Walter Scott, please remember there was video of Rodney King being beaten and Eric Garner being choked to death and we all know how those cases turned.

Slager has a new attorney who has a reputation of taking on tough cases and winning them including a cop accused of killing a suspect.  Slager will get his day in court (or he may not if he isn’t indicted) and he is entitled to mount a defense,  In the hands of a skilled attorney up can be turned to down and what looks an absolute certainty now can become an acquittal if only one juror finds there is reasonable doubt.

That’s the one upside of being completely cynical about successfully prosecuting and convicting a killer cop; when it doesn’t happen you’re never shocked by it.

If I wanted to I could update my blog with nothing but updates of cops shooting Black men.   I could, but I don’t want to. If I never wrote another post about a Black man killed by a cop, I’d be thrilled.

But racist police brutalizing us is a growth industry and business is good. Cops beating up, beating down and fucking up the world of Black people is an common event. It’s common practice.  Beaten.  Brutalized.  Bloodied.  This shit HAPPENS EVERY DAY. No holidays. No days off. No breaks. No pause. No let up of boots up the ass and on the necks of Black people.

Slam dunks are for the basketball court, not a court a law. A video is not a conviction.  There have always been cops whom  kill unarmed suspects, plant weapons on them and walk away from it and that is what would have happened had not someone filmed it.

Yet time and again, though the camera never lies, it doesn’t always lead to the truth and I have no faith it will in this case. The man behind the video, Feidin Santana admitted he gave serious thought to erasing the video.  Imagine how differently this story would have played out if he had.

If Slager is charged, he won’t be indicted. If indicted he won’t be put on trial. If put on trial, he won’t be convicted. If convicted, he won’t be imprisoned and he will NEVER be sentenced to death.   The good faith Americans place in the justice system is devout and guileless. unfortunately, the hard truth is their faith is all too frequently false and unfounded.  It’s more likely Slager walks away from this and U.S. Supreme Court precedent is why.

Maybe things will be different this time, huh?   Let’s all close our eyes, clap our hands and wish for ponies this Christmas too.

You have the right to remain silent. Forever.

Fake Gun. Real Dead. Not His Fault.

Created by God. Killed by cop.

The city of Cleveland believes it has determined who is responsible for the death of Tamir Rice.  Tamir Rice did it!

The city of Cleveland’s response to a lawsuit filed by the family of Tamir Rice says the 12-year-old boy is to blame for his own death by police.

The young boy seen milling about his neighborhood park had less than two seconds to react to two Cleveland police officers who drove right up to the gazebo and shot Tamir, mistaking his pellet gun as a real and dangerous weapon.

Rookie police officer Timothy Loehmann shot Tamir dead just steps away from the park’s gazebo on Nov. 22, reportedly never knowing dispatchers had believed the firearm to be “probably fake.”

The majority of the city’s response lacked elaborate detail into their claims by leaning on Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office’s incomplete investigation for the inability to comment on Tamir’s death.

The case has not been completed by the Sheriff’s Office and no timeline exists for its hand off to prosecutors, Cleveland.com reported.

Despite the city’s recent hire of Loehmann, the city said it had no knowledge of the cop’s alleged applications to Akron, Euclid and Parma Heights Police and even failing the Cuyahoga County’s written examination.

The suit makes no mention of Loehmann’s brief ties to Independence Police where he was described as “distracted” and “weepy” during a firearms qualifications training before being fired in 2012.

“Nothing wrong with shooting people as long as the right people get shot.”

Blaming Rice for his own death is cruel to the dead boy and his family, but Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association Steve Loomis ups the ante to insanity as he calls Rice as “menacing” and “a 12-year-old in an adult body.”

Nothing gets Steve Loomis churning faster than questions about what happened on the day that Tamir Rice was shot.

His constant refrain: The police are heroes misunderstood by a public being fed a steady, media-generated, activist-fueled diet of false information about how they do their jobs.

“Tamir Rice is an absolute example of that,” Loomis said. “There’s this perception that police just slid up in the car and shot him. That’s not reality from the officers’ perception. They acted based on what they knew at the time.”

“Tamir Rice is in the wrong,” he said. “He’s menacing. He’s 5-feet-7, 191 pounds. He wasn’t that little kid you’re seeing in pictures. He’s a 12-year-old in an adult body. Tamir looks to his left and sees a police car. He puts his gun in his waistband. Those people—99 percent of the time those people run away from us. We don’t want him running into the rec center. That could be a whole other set of really bad events. They’re trying to flush him into the field. Frank [the driver] is expecting the kid to run. The circumstances are so fluid and unique. …

“The guy with the gun is not running. He’s walking toward us. He’s squaring off with Cleveland police and he has a gun. Loehmann is thinking, ‘Oh my God, he’s pulling it out of his waistband.’”

Oh my God. Those poor officers! What else could they do? They had to kill that menacing 12-year-old kid in an adult body.

Shame on Tamir Rice for scaring those poor officers. And shame on Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, John Crawford, Eric Garner and Akai Gurley, Jordan Davis for scaring their killers.

So many scary Black guys. So many cops and vigilantes to make them dead and less scary Black guys.

There are times when I have no words. Mostly because those words would be unbelievably angry and profanely foul. All I have is cold, burning rage and the fire that burns would very much like to come down like God’s own wrath on someone like Steve Loomis who embodies everything Black Panther founder Huey P. Newton thought a “pig” was.

“We felt that the police needed a label other that fear image that they carried in the community. So we use the pig as the rather low-lifed animal in order to identify the police. And it worked.”

I never liked calling cops “pigs”. It was too extreme and I believed  it to be too debasing, disrespectful and dehumanized all police officers for the actions of the bad ones.  Yet the more I hear guys like Loomis in Cleveland or Patrick Lynch in New York and all these other leaders of police unions who debase young Black men like Tamir , disrespect young Black men like Tamir, and dehumanize young Black men like Tamir, the less resistant I become to calling cops “pigs.”

If the police do not respect us we should not respect them and where there is no respect, the response will be resistance.

This will not help Tamir Rice, but it might make a few killer cops take an extra second to consider the consequences before they pull the trigger. If justice can’t be found in the courtrooms,  people will go looking for it in the streets.

The System Didn’t Fail. It Was Supposed to Work This Way.

Great White Hunter.

“The American Negro has the great advantage of having never believed the collection of myths to which white Americans cling: that their ancestors were all freedom-loving heroes, that they were born in the greatest country the world has ever seen, or that Americans are invincible in battle and wise in peace, that Americans have always dealt honorably with Mexicans and Indians and all other neighbors or inferiors, that American men are the world’s most direct and virile, that American women are pure. Negroes know far more about white Americans than that; it can almost be said, in fact, that they know about white Americans what parents—or, anyway, mothers—know about their children, and that they very often regard white Americans that way. And perhaps this attitude, held in spite of what they know and have endured, helps to explain why Negroes, on the whole, and until lately, have allowed themselves to feel so little hatred. The tendency has really been, insofar as this was possible, to dismiss white people as the slightly mad victims of their own brainwashing.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

In the wake of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson and the return of violent unrest in Ferguson, I’ve read and heard a lot about how Blacks and Whites need to stay calm and have a rational discussion.

Okay. Let’s calmly talk rationally about the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer last Friday, why don’t we?

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A Cleveland police officer fatally shot Tamir Rice immediately after leaving his moving patrol car while his partner stayed at the wheel, surveillance video shows.

The video showed Wednesday by police captures the Saturday afternoon shooting at a West Side recreation center in which 12-year-old Rice was shot.

The video contains no audio.

A rookie officer pulled the trigger, said Jeffrey Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association.

Police were sent to the Cudell Recreation Center at Detroit Avenue and West Boulevard about 3:30 p.m. when someone called 9-1-1 to report a “guy with a gun pointing it at people.”

The caller told dispatchers twice that the gun was “probably fake,” but that detail was not relayed to the responding officers, Follmer said.

Over the past few days I’ve read so much amateur analysis, part-time forensic experts and ex-cop war stories and “woulda/shoulda/coulda” scenarios made up of skewing some facts and misinterpreting and excluding others of what happened and all the while with fawning deference for Support Your Local Police Officer no matter what because gee they do a tough damn job and they are they only thing that stands between the nice people and the jungle predators.

Frankly, it makes me want to vomit.

I see no point in holding a rational discussion with anyone who can rationalize the actions of a murderer. A rational discussion serves no purpose when the intent to shame and embarrass one member of a racial minority into apologizing for the actions of a few while assuaging the fears of the majority that “we’re all not like that.”

I have no interest in having a rational discussion with anyone more upset by broken windows and the looting of cheap stores and shoddy merchandise and are untroubled by a young man losing first his life and then his humanity.  They shrug it off with a blase “Well, I wasn’t there but he must have done something to deserve it.”

Something like boosting some smokes, jaywalking and maybe smarting off to a cop? Yeah, that’s some serious flaunting of the law there. Better pump 12 in him since he’s such a big target.

a System cannot fail

“A system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect.”W.E.B. Du Bois

A rational discussion is a pointless waste of time when the same “rational discussions” have followed after the cops killed Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Patrick Dorismond, Darrien Hunt, Joseph Ferrell,

Now add Tamir Rice to the roll call of the dead. What happened to him wasn’t a shooting. It was an execution. The trail of Michael Brown’s blood has flowed all the way from Ferguson, Missouri to Cleveland Ohio.

Some say the problem is the BB gun Rice was carrying looked too realistic.   Okay,  I see how that come lead to complications but how about training rookie cops better so they don’t zoom up to a 12-year-old suspect and fucking immediately blow him out of his shoes? Would that work?  Shoot first, shoot last and keep shooting and asking no questions later is a prime example of piss-poor policing. You could paint the toy guns in all the colors of the rainbow and it still wouldn’t stop some of these trigger-happy cretins.

This is a problem situation which has to be resolved by addressing the issue of the realism of the toy and the overkill response of the cops. You have to start demilitarizing the warrior cop mindset when they zip around in their cars, never know anything about the people in the neighborhoods they patrol and start trying to change the adversarial relationship between cops and communities of color. Until both sides meet each other halfway nothing will ever change.

Changing the “I am a hammer and everything is a nail” philosophy of the warrior cop would help.  Community policing isn’t a new idea and has had both its unqualified successes and dismal failures, but an adversarial relationship between cops and the communities they patrol is poisonous. Nothing positive can come from cops calling civilians as “fucking animals” while the civvies serenade the cops with a chorus of “Fuck the Police.”

The cops have the bullets and the weaponry to fight the community, but the community has bullets and weaponry too. Neither side can win so where does that get us to but M.A.D. (mutually assured destruction)?

 

ferguson

White critics think violence and destruction are indefensible. They need to ask what brings people to react this way. Tweet by Steve Chapman

Darren Wilson resigned from the Ferguson police department and possibly with a million dollars raised from supporters for a trial he was never going to face.  Like George Zimmerman before him, Wilson has become the recipient of  charity from supporters who hate the idea just because you shoot and kill and unarmed teenager that’s no reason you should be punished for it.

A million dollars. Imagine that. Who would have thought one dead Black kid was worth that kind of money?  For Darren and George, despite being the ones with the guns its okay to take Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin’s lives a long as they claim were frightened for theirs.  Not only will you go free, you’ll get paid too!

Get rich or kill trying.

While rioting is terrible a riot is not the most terrible thing.   People never really understand something until it happens to them and sometimes not even then.

Peace will never be present where justice is absent.

It's settled down for the moment, but at any moment Ferguson could go up in flames again.

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dead Again.

Michael Brown

Left in the street like a dead damn dog.

Michael Brown was supposed to start college today.  Supposed to.  He didn’t make it.  He wasn’t absent.  He was dead.

Another young Black man dropped by the cops shouldn’t be any sort of big newsflash by now. Like celebrity divorces and mass shooting episodes, fatal encounters between cops and Black males more often results in a dead Black male than a dead cop.

What makes Michael Brown’s killing any different? Nothing, really. It’s actually sort of ordinary.

Cop stops an unarmed teenager for reasons only the two of them (and potential witnesses) know.

Something happens. Maybe the teenager says “the magic word” that sets the cop off? We don’t know. The official story isn’t sounding very official so far. Everything is still being investigated. Or everything is being covered up. You decide.

Why would Brown struggle with a police officer days before he was supposed to start college? Seems like an odd time to show a secret death wish for suicide by cop.

No mother should have to bury a murdered son

As Brown’s body laid in the street, a puddle of blood trickling down the street, the excuse was the cops (all 15 departments that were involved) were processing the scene, gathering evidence, and waiting for their Krispy Kremes to arrive. What the corpse of Michael Brown baking on the hot August asphalt said to the hundreds of neighbors, onlookers, parents and children was, Look at me. Look at what they did to me. They could do this to you too. Anytime they want.

There is a LOT of information missing from this story, but the insensitive and inept way the Ferguson cops have handled matters couldn’t be much more tone-deaf. If there’s looting and pillaging going on the police practically dared the community not to respond to their provocation.

Leave a dead kid on the street like a dog for hours, but hurry up and get the SWAT teams, riot guns and dogs ready ’cause them Black folks might get uppity!

All the right things are being said and all the now standard pacification protocols are being implemented. Call in the FBI to aid in the investigation. Politicians and public officials will make pleas for peace and calm while they put the home number of the governor on speed dial should the National Guard need to be mobilized when the savages stop burning cars and looting liquor stores and start burning cop cars with cops still in them and looting White neighborhoods.

It would seem the hacktavist activist group Anonymous has gotten wind of what’s going down in Ferguson, Missouri. They aren’t too cool about it either.”

It’s worth sharing.

Twitter pic by Raheem DeVaughn

Greetings, world. We are Anonymous.

“On August 8th in Ferguson, Missouri, the 17-year-old and unarmed Mike Brown was shot several times and killed by an officer of the Ferguson Police Department. His body was left to lie in a pool of blood in the sweltering heat for hours while 15 police departments militarized the area against protestors, sealed the roads leading to Ferguson in a vain attempt to prevent protestors from reaching the city.

“The police has clearly crossed a line in the sand….

“To the good people of Ferguson, take heart and take your streets. You are not alone. We will support you in every way possible. Occupy every, square inch of your city. Demand justice….

“To the Ferguson Police Department and any other jurisdictions who are deployed to the protests, we are watching you very closely. If you abuse, harass, or harm in any way the protestors in Ferguson, we will take every web-based asset of your departments and governments offline. That is not a threat. It is a promise. Attacking the protestors will result in the release of personal information on every, single member of the Ferguson Police Department… We will seize all your databases & emails pools and dump them on the Internet.

“This is your first and last warning….

“The time has come for more than simple justice for these atrocities…. Until justice prevails, hack and protest will replace it.

“Operation Ferguson engaged.

“We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget.

“Ferguson, expect us!”

If Anonymous says it, they probably mean it. Known for their sense of humor they are not. Anonymous adds an interesting twist to the story, but I don’t believe they are going to find justice for Mike Brown by threatening to crash into the cops’ computers and unearth all the dirt.

That sort of threat has never slowed cops from killing any Black man that makes them feel uneasy.

Riots are terrible. Looting is terrible. Setting stuff on fire is terrible.

It’s also terrible when yet another Black man has yet another fatal encounter with the police.

Reference Sean Bell. Or Amadou Diallo. Or Oscar Grant. Or Patrick Dorismond. Or Jonathan Ferrell. Or Eric Garner.

Or Mike Brown.

We’ve been here before. We’ll be here again. Change the name, but the game remains the same. Oh, we’ll get hyped for a while, but then we’ll calm back down and wonder what’s on TV tonight? It’s easier to get people hyped over non-events like the state of Queen Bey and Jay-Z’s marriage than killed by cops due to Living While Black or the rape of a 16-yr-old who is raped a second time when her assailants go viral with video.

Ain’t we got NO shame? Or priorities?

There is a sickness killing our souls like Ebola is killing Africans. Maybe we’ll notice it at some point. Probably we won’

Martin Luther King noted a riot is the language of the unheard.

Can you hear them now?

Mike Brown was supposed to start college today.  His family can start planning a funeral instead.

Armed With A Toy Rifle, Killed By Real Bullets

Andy Lopez Cruz: dead before he really had a chance to live.

It’s Wednesday and time to discuss something other than yet another Obamacare-is-gonna-kill-your- mama story or whatever stupid thing Kanye West said when he woke up.

Something that happens far too often.

SANTA ROSA, California (Reuters) – No more than 10 seconds elapsed from the time sheriff’s deputies spotted a 13-year-old California boy carrying what they thought was an assault rifle and the moment they shot him dead, only to learn afterward the gun was a plastic replica, police said on Thursday.

It took 16 seconds more for the two officers to call for medical assistance, according to the time line of events released by police investigating Tuesday’s shooting in Santa Rosa, a suburb in northern California’s wine country.

Andy Lopez Cruz, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, had been on his way to a friend’s house clutching the imitation gun designed to shoot plastic pellets, police said. He died at the scene. A toy handgun also was found tucked in his pants.

An autopsy performed on Thursday found seven bullets struck the boy, and that two of the wounds were fatal. Investigators believe a total of eight rounds were fired by one of the two deputies who confronted the youth.

But the tragedy has reignited calls in the community for creation of civilian review boards to examine such incidents.

“People have to do something,” said Elbert Howard, a founding member of the Police Accountability Clinic and Helpline of Sonoma County. “He’s a child, and he had a toy. I see that as an overreaction to shoot him down.”

An advisory panel of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission urged Sonoma County to create civilian-review boards in 2000 following eight fatal officer-involved shootings in less than three years, but that recommendation went unheeded.

As many as 200 mourners gathered on Thursday around a makeshift memorial consisting of flowers, balloons, teddy bears and pictures of the boy at the site of the shooting.

Some held candles and signs that said: “What a tragedy, what a travesty.”

Cruz and his the AK-47 airgun that looked too real.

What could justify gunning down a 13-year-old kid walking down the street because he had the misfortune to carry a toy gun that looked too real?

Fear? A siege mentality? A sugar rush from one too many jelly donuts? Another minority kid wearing a killer hoodie?

Point of fact: Andy Lopez Cruz wasn’t a gang-banger.  Wasn’t a thug.  Wasn’t a criminal.  He was a 13-year-old kid carrying a TOY gun and one that wasn’t “real looking”

Kid walking down the street carrying a toy gun that kind of looks like the real deal, but isn’t. Cops roll up, tell the kid to drop it and then what? Lie down on the ground? Put his hands in the air?

Doesn’t matter. He turns around–in response to the cops–and gets shot down. That’s the end of Andy Lopez.

So what’s the moral of the story here? Better to err on the side of caution? Shoot first and ask questions later?

How about maybe cops need better training on how to discern a real gun from a fake one because it can’t be excused as just “a very tragic accident” every time a citizen with an air-gun in his or her possession steps outside their door and ends up getting popped and dropped?

The FBI has taken an interest…

Santa Rosa has been rocked by the event, with hundreds marching on Wednesday to protest the shooting of “an innocent young boy,” as one sign read. The deputies, who have not been named, are on leave while the incident is investigated, and the FBI announced on Saturday that they’re conducting an independent investigation of the incident.

The shooting is the latest in a long line of incidents of police shooting — and sometimes killing — people whom they have mistakenly thought to be armed with a real firearm. Last year, police fatally shot a Texas eight-grader who was carrying a pellet gun that resembled a black Glock. The year before, Miami police shot and killed a 57-year old man who had a realistic replica gun after getting 911 calls about the ostensible weapon. “This is not the first time,” says Karen Caves, spokeswoman for a California state senator who has pushed stricter regulations on imitation firearms. “It happens every year.”

…but I’m not surprised more people aren’t. After all, it’s not as if Andy Cruz was twerking or riding on a wrecking ball buck naked or something important like that.

Family members mourn the slain teen.

Being thirteen doesn’t make you a little boy. It makes you an eighth-grader and still too young to drive a motor vehicle, sign legal documents, drink a beer or legally buy a gun.

Being thirteen should mean you get the benefit of the doubt that you’re NOT a spree shooter or a kid killer, but Andy didn’t get that benefit of the doubt.

Not that he needs it any longer.

The cop in Charlotte who put ten bullets in Jonathan Ferrell said he feared for his life.  Here’s a thought:   If these cops are so full of fear should they even be cops in the first place?

Some will worry about the state of mind of the two deputies and how will they sleep after this.  I’m more concerned a boy is dead and he shouldn’t be. Nor am I particularly upset if the lives of the cops will never be the same. They still have their lives and will as likely as not suffer any real repercussions for their mistake. They won’t lose their jobs. They won’t lose their freedom. They probably won’t even lose any pay.

Andy Cruz lost his life. Where is the concern for him? I’m not indifferent to how the cops feel, but they have lost nothing compared to what they have taken.

I don’t take the officers at their word because they are human beings and when human beings royally fuck up as in this case they can handle it one of two ways:

1. Oh shit! I royally fucked up. I had better come clean and own this with a complete and honest account of what happened.

2. Oh, shit! I royally fucked up. I had better cover this up and lie my ass off with a totally bullshit story of what happened.

This is not me saying the cops are lying.   This is me saying under stress human beings fuck up. They miss important details. They forget. They think something was black when it was actually white. If “fight or flight” is a natural response to dangerous situations, “come clean or cover my ass” is also a natural response to dangerous situations.

Until I know more about what happened and why Andy Lopez Cruz is dead, I am not assuming good intentions on the behalf of the police officers because long before they were cops, they were still human beings.

No matter what the facts turn out to be they will still be child-killers and nothing can change that.

Mourning and anger in the wake of Cruz’s death (Photo: Reuters)

Survived Car Crash. Killed by Cop.

Ferrell was a responsible man, not a criminal. He shouldn’t be dead.

Remember when you were in school and Officer Friendly came to class and told you , “the police officer is your friend?”

Some are. Some aren’t.

Sometimes you can’t tell until it’s too late.

A North Carolina police officer who authorities say fatally shot an unarmed man as he sought assistance after he crashed his vehicle early Saturday morning has been charged with voluntary manslaughter in the man’s death.

Authorities in Charlotte say former Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University football player Jonathan Ferrell appears to have crashed his car down an embankment about 2:30 a.m. and then knocked on the door of a nearby residence shortly after looking for help.

The homeowner opened the door thinking it was her husband. When she realized it was 24-year-old Ferrell – a stranger – she closed the door and called 911, according to reports.

When officers arrived, they found Ferrell a short distance from the home, and he matched a description given by the homeowner, police said.

The statement said officers approached Ferrell to investigate the original call. Ferrell ran toward the officers and one officer fired a taser, however it failed to discharge, police said.

Ferrell continued to run toward police when Officer Randall Kerrick, 27, fired his weapon, hitting Ferrell several times, according to WSOC. Ferrell was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities said Kerrick fired his weapon with ‘excessive’ and ‘unlawful’ force.

A wrecked vehicle was later discovered in woods nearby.

‘We believe that vehicle belonged to the individual who was shot. It’s quite possible he was seeking assistance. Based on his accident, it was a pretty serious accident,’ Monroe said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe said the accident was so serious Ferrell would have been forced to climb out of the back window of the vehicle, WSOC reported. He apparently walked to the nearest house and banged on the door.

Monroe told a news conference that he didn’t think Ferrell was trying to rob the woman.

‘I don’t believe threats were made,’ the chief said.

‘He is pretty shook up,’ the chief said. ‘He’s devastated.’

Kerrick has been with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police since April 2011.

Monroe said at a news conference that Kerrick was in custody. Police say he was charged with voluntary manslaughter after an investigation found that the shooting was excessive. He handed himself in on Saturday.

‘The evidence revealed that Mr Ferrell did advance on Officer Kerrick and the investigation showed that the subsequent shooting of Mr Ferrell was excessive,’ police said in a statement issued late Saturday.

jonathan-ferrell

‘Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter.’

Two other officers at the scene have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a probe into the shooting, according to the station.

This isn’t simply a tragedy. It’s a travesty and it stinks like hell.

The word online is what happened to Jonathan Ferrell is a shadow of what happened to Trayvon Martin and  I really don’t want to see those shadows. No shadows, no echoes, no reminders, no similarities, none of it.

I want to assume this was a senseless case of mistaken identity and intentions.  But I don’t know if I can make that assumption.   Let’s recap the story as it appeared in The Charlotte Observer.

Ferrell moved to Charlotte in February after a stint at FAMU where he played safety on the school’s football team. He worked two jobs, one at Best Buy and another at Dillard’s department store.

Police said he drove a black Toyota Camry down a street that leads to the community’s pool, clubhouse and tennis courts. But the car crashed into an embankment about 2 a.m., police said. Investigators said they found no indication of alcohol use, but are waiting for toxicology tests.

I’m going to assume Ferrell was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol when his car ended up in an embankment at 2:00 a.m. It is possible he was, but I’ll assume he wasn’t until we know differently.

Ferrell apparently climbed out of the back window of his mangled car, police said. It was unclear whether he was injured, but he walked to a house just visible over the crest of a hill, about a quarter-mile away.

He started “banging on the door viciously,” according to Monroe.

I’m going to assume the police are not exaggerating when they say Ferrell banged on the door “viciously” of a residence he wandered to.  But I have a problem with the phrase “viciously.”  That is a pretty powerful descriptor. As a writer I know well how changing knocking on a door from “urgently” to “viciously” has an entirely different meaning.

Why is it “unclear” if Ferrell was injured in the crash? I assume we have to wait for the coroners report to decide what injuries were caused by the car wreck and which were caused by being shot down by the cop.

The woman who lives there at first thought the man knocking on the door was her husband, coming home late from work. But police said when she saw Ferrell, she thought he was a robber. She dialed 911, asking for officers to come to her home in the 7500 block of Reedy Creek Road.

I will make another assumption here: It’s 2:00 in the morning. Someone’s knocking/pounding on the door. Maybe you’re up watching TV. Maybe you’re asleep. Maybe Ferrell is in a panic, disoriented, hurt, distraught, pissed off–who knows? The lady of the residence–does she open the door and see a young Black man standing there pleading for help or does she look out the peephole and see a young Black man–maybe bloody and disheveled and looking like he just crawled out of the wreckage of a smashed car–banging the hell out of her door?

What would you do? Open the door? Let a total stranger in your home at an ungodly hour? Grab your gun and tell him to get the hell off of your property? Call the cops?

Next is where it all goes ass end up.

jonathan-ferrell car 2

About 2:30 a.m., three Hickory Grove division officers responded to the call – Kerrick, 27, who’s been an officer since April 2011; Thornell Little, who joined the department in April 1998; and Adam Neal, who’s been an officer since May 2008.

They encountered Ferrell a short distance from the home, police said.  As the officers got out of their car, “Mr. Ferrell immediately ran toward the officers,” according to a police statement. It said Ferrell moved toward Kerrick.

Little fired his Taser, but police said it was unsuccessful.

Police said Kerrick fired “several” rounds, striking Ferrell “multiple times.” He died at the scene.

Police gave no additional details Sunday.

Ferrell had no criminal record in North Carolina and a 2011 misdemeanor charge in Florida that was dismissed.

I’m going to assume Ferrell saw the cops roll up. Maybe the thought went through his mind, “Oh thank heaven. The cops are here.”

It’s 2:30 a.m. It’s night, there are street lights for illumination and the cops have flashlights. But they don’t know they’re responding to an accident scene. They are responding to a 911 call of a stranger rapping on a door.

Maybe he’s just drunk or stoned or mental. Maybe he’s dangerous.

You can’t assume good intentions.

Ferrell runs toward the cops. Is he shouting “Help me!” Is he cursing and making threats? Is he screaming incoherently? Does he have blood on his face, body and clothes from the crash or breaking out the back window of the car and crawling out?

The woman called 911 and reported Ferrell as attempting to break in her home. That would  change the perception of the responding officers that they were looking for a suspect, not a victim.

Who’s got time to wonder? This guy is running toward you. Maybe it looks like he’s charging you. You’ve told him to stop, raise your hands, lie on the ground, but he’s still coming! Don’t take any chances!

One cop pulls his Taser and tries to hit Ferrell with it. No good. It doesn’t work!  He’s still coming!

Kerrick pulls his gun and fires “several” rounds and hits Ferrell “multiple” times. He dies at the scene.

This is where I stop assuming.  The several rounds and multiple times turned out to be ten shots.  Pure and total overkill.   That wasn’t stopping a suspect.  That was an execution.

Why would Ferrell “charge” the cops? What does “move toward Kerrick” mean? Did Ferrell have something in his hands? Something that could be confused as a weapon? Was it something he said? Was he running toward the cops at all?

Two experts who study police use of force told the Observer on Sunday that they had never seen a police officer charged so swiftly in a shooting.

“That’s unheard of,” said Mike Bumcrot, a California-based consultant with the Police Policy Studies Council. He’s also a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide detective. “I was pretty dumbfounded.”

Bumcrot said internal affairs and homicide investigations into police shootings typically take weeks.

“I’ve never seen it happen that fast,” said Bumcrot. “The only thing I can figure is the officer must have made some statement … that really put him in a bind.”

Geoffrey Alpert, a University of South Carolina professor of criminology, said it’s “very rare” for a police officer to be charged with a criminal offense for using a weapon in the line of duty. Internal discipline, up to being fired, is much more common.

“I’ve never seen a criminal charge that quickly,” said Alpert. “Normally it takes a lot longer to figure out what happened.

Ferrell survived this crash, but not the cops.


Alpert said that the quick charging time could be completely reasonable, based on what investigators found.

“There’s no standard time,” he said.  He said a criminal charge is “reserved for really extreme cases.”

I’d say this case qualifies as “really extreme.”

Is the Charlotte police department avoiding any charges of “cover-up” by so swiftly charging Kerrick with a crime or are they insulating themselves from a wrongful death lawsuit and throwing a rookie cop to the wolves?

Why did police initially describe Kerrick’s shooting of Ferrell as appropriate and lawful,” but later change their tune to “excessive?”

So many questions. So few answers.

I’d like to be fair. I’d like to be reasonable. I’d like to assume this was simply a case of a bad accident that spiraled into a horrible tragedy.

I’d like that. But that requires a degree of objectivity  I ‘m not certain I should extend to Kerrick and the other cops.

Jonathan Ferrell was not given the benefit of the doubt and he was presumed guilty (of something) and a trigger-happy cop overreacted and killed an innocent man.

Now we arrive to the question nobody really wants to ask: Does the race of Ferrell and Kerrick factor into this?

This is America. How could it not?