And yet another one…
I know it’s difficult to keep track of all of the brown people dying at the hands of various law enforcement officers all over America and vigilantes from Florida. But this one evokes an emotion that is almost indescribable. It all began with a car chase, but I’ll let Vox.com set the scene: Spoiler Alert: No one pays for this crime.
Police began chasing the car [Timothy] Russell was driving when it backfired by a police station, making a loud noise that officers thought was a gunshot. Investigators never determined why Russell didn’t pull over, although a crack pipe was allegedly found in the car.
The high-speed chase at times reached more than 100 miles per hour and spanned 22 miles, more than 100 officers, and more than 60 police vehicles. It ended when the fleeing pair’s car rammed into a police vehicle at a middle school parking lot, where police then fired 137 shots into the car, hitting Russell and [Malissa] Williams each more than 20 times.
This is a case where the entire spectacle of the event totally overshadows the horror of what actually happened. Particularly in the last moments. We’ve got high speed car chases involving more than 60 vehicles that ends with a crash. Then we have the sheer volume of shots fired. All fired at suspects who are unarmed. It should bring up a few questions like was the police chase even necessary and did the suspects ever have a chance to surrender? But let’s just gloss over that like the rest of the media, government agencies and court system. We, as a society are apparently A-OK with the insane car chase that spanned 22 miles putting God knows how many people’s lives in danger and the first 122 shots fired on two unarmed suspects. Nothing to see here folks. Moving right along. Let’s get into the last 15 shots which is the only thing anyone in this incident was being tried for.
So we have a crazy car chase that leads to crazy car crash, followed by 13 of Cleveland’s Finest straight up unloading on these people. But the way this is being reported obscures a few things. Both Salon.com and ABC News in Cleveland blithely describe the scene in exactly the same way:
Brelo — who fired a total of 49 shots, including 15 while standing on the hood of the suspects’ vehicle
Vox.com was slightly better about it stating:
he purportedly stood on the hood of the car and fired the last shots downward into the windshield, inflicting fatal wounds
…As if one just appears on top of the hood of another car. Officer Brelo didn’t just happen to find himself on top of the suspects’ car. Nor was he teleported there via mutant ability. As we all know, only Black People have superpowers. We need a better understanding of what transpired, since the egregiousness of this shit has been entirely lost in the reporting. After the crash, all thirteen officers fired their initial volley of bullets. Twelve of them stopped. Only Officer Michael Brelo left his firing position, ran over to the suspect’s car, jumped on top of the hood, and then fired 15 more shots at point blank range through the windshield. Worse yet, as Officer Brelo was responsible for 49 shots that fateful day, he had to reload his police issue Glock 17 at least two times before killing these people.
How insanely-over-the-top does a cop have to be in the act of murdering someone in order to be held accountable? That is of course a rhetorical question. We live in a world where police can apply a chokehold to a 14-year old holding a puppy because he gave those officers a “dirty look.” We live in a world where police can open fire on an unarmed, mentally challenged man in the most crowded intersection in America. And if that’s not insane enough for you, how about the time police fired at an unarmed mother of five and her minivan full of children. We live in a world where police can choke a man to death on camera and the grand jury doesn’t really find that to be a problem. No one seems to pay for these incidents other than the victims. So it’s no wonder that even a when a police officer is clearly acting out some sort of James Bond action movie in their head, it’s still all good. Sure he completely emptied two full clips of ammunition, reloaded yet again before jumping on top of the hood of the suspects car before going all Last Action Hero on them. But hey, it’s all in a day’s work.
It’s a strange world indeed when even if you’re lucky enough to survive an insane encounter with the police, and that’s a big if, you get to be charged for their excesses. The Times Square crazy person was charged with felony assault for the innocent bystanders who were hurt when the police tried to kill him and the unarmed mom was charged with child abuse because why the hell not, right?
I’m starting to think that the reason that the six officers were indicted for killing Freddie Gray wasn’t because they killed him. It was because they didn’t use their guns.