Just give them a reason

On 21 Sep 2012, I read an Occupy Baltimore Facebook blurb about police murdering someone. Police claimed that a 46-year-old drug dealer named Anthony Anderson choked while trying to swallow drugs. A few days later even the local news, WBAL, agreed that it was a homicide:

According to an I-Team source familiar with the investigation, Anderson died from blunt-force trauma, and police ruled his death a homicide, which police officials confirmed later Tuesday afternoon.

Anderson’s family had said officers beat him to death in a vacant lot at East Biddle Street and Montford Avenue. Police originally said officers caught Anderson in a drug deal and that he choked on drugs he stuffed in his mouth during the arrest.

Although the medical examiner said morphine was detected in Anderson’s system, the autopsy report found it was not a factor in his death. The report concluded that Anderson died from blunt-force trauma, saying he suffered broken ribs and a ruptured spleen, causing him to bleed internally and suggesting he may have been kicked or slammed to the ground.

On Thursday 4 Oct 2012, NYPD officers shot an unarmed man in his car. Police spokesmen initially claimed that the off duty guardsman had reached under the seat for something, but witnesses call it Police Road Rage:

The early morning shooting of an unarmed National Guardsman by an NYPD officer is being investigated by the Queens District Attorney’s Office after a witness to the shooting describes the incident as a case of “police road rage.” …

Witness Diane DeFerrari, who was seated in the passenger seat at the time of the shooting, says as she, the victim, and another woman — off-duty NYPD officer Vanessa Rodriguez, who claims she slept through the entire thing — were weaving through traffic, the officers in the NYPD vans were harassing them, with some of the officers flipping them off out the window of the speeding van.

Once Polanco pulled over, she says several NYPD officers — including Hamdy — jumped out of the van with their rifles drawn.

She says that as the officers ordered Polanco to put his hands up, Hamdy fired the fatal shot.

“There was no time to put your hands up at all. They shot in front of my face,” DeFerrari tells the NY Post. “Had I moved an inch, it would probably have been me.”

After the shooting, she says one of the officers told her “your friend shot himself.” Polanco’s hands, she says, were on the steering wheel at all times.

Interesting that the off-duty officer, “slept through the entire thing.”

On Saturday, 6 Oct 2012, Gilbert Thomas Collar, an eighteen-year-old University of South Alabama student was shot once in the chest and killed by a campus police officer.

“When an officer exited the station to investigate, he was confronted by a muscular, nude man who was acting erratically,” [USA spokesman Keith] Ayers said during a press conference. “The man repeatedly rushed toward the officer and verbally challenged the officer in a fighting stance.”

The officer drew his gun and ordered Collar to stop, Ayers said.

“The officer retreated numerous times in an attempt to calm the situation,” Ayers said. “The individual continued to press toward the officer in a threatening manner.”

Collar kneeled for a brief moment before rising and then rushing and chasing the retreating officer, Ayers said.

He said the officer shot Collar after the student continued to rush the officer in a threatening manner and ignored the officer’s commands to stop.

“The individual fell to the ground, but he got up once more and continued to challenge the officer further before collapsing and expiring,” Ayers said.

It sounds to me that the student was high on some sort of drug. It is difficult to second guess, but I wonder why the officer didn’t use a Taser or aim for the student’s leg.

In each case, the people that were killed definitely got in the way of police, but also in each case, the police had other options besides deadly force.

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