A tale of two shootings: Albuquerque and Ferguson
by Daniel Klein
Ferguson and Albuquerque: two nice towns that have been all over the news for reasons that would make their Chambers of Commerce cry.
Albuquerque had the high-profile James Boyd police shooting. It was caught on video.
Boyd, a mentally ill homeless man, was killed by APD officers in March of 2014.
But the Boyd case is not the APD shooting that I think uniquely contrasts with Ferguson’s.
More on that in a moment.
Ferguson had the Michael Brown police shooting in August. It was not caught on video.
In the Brown case, a grand jury investigation considered statements from several witnesses.
Some of those statements support the officer’s account.
Some do not.
So many “experts” (i.e. politicians, attorneys and media members) were quick to question how witnesses in the Brown case could tell such different versions of the same event; many whom hold expert opinions seemed to push forward a growing sentiment that a conspiracy was unfolding.
I understand that politicians, attorneys and journalists don’t have to take courses in crime scene investigation, but this lack of comprehension is outrageous and often reckless.
Why do we have so many cameras watching every play in the NFL? Because each camera will tell a different story.
Why is it so hard for the media, attorneys, politicians and the public to understand this?
POINTS OF VIEW
The Ferguson shooting case should have witnesses with differing points of view. If it didn’t, then I would begin to wonder if some sort of grand conspiracy had been unleashed.
This strikes me as common sense.
But, so often, it seems lost in the rush to blast-out inflammatory headlines; an emblazoned path with oft-scorched truths and buried facts, its twists and turns primarily aimed at shaking loose the most advertising dollars.
So let me make a definitive statement regarding all of the witnesses of the Ferguson shooting: they are all probably correct in what they witnessed (unless they intentionally lied to the grand jury).
No two people are going to view the same incident exactly the same way. That is why we have the grand jury review all of the information from witnesses. Just like NFL replay.
Back to the original point of this column.
MORE IN COMMON THAN MOST REALIZE
Albuquerque and Ferguson have far more in common concerning the Brown shooting than many likely realize.
Just five days before the Ferguson shooting—now famous for the “hands up, don’t shoot” slogan—the Albuquerque area had a police shooting that bears an eerie resemblance to the Ferguson’s.
This Albuquerque shooting began with a call to dispatch reporting road rage.
A man had rammed his ex-girlfriend’s car.
Once the car was disabled, the man tried to run the woman over, narrowly missing her.
As a Bernalillo County Deputy drove up to the scene, he was attacked while still inside his police vehicle.
Twice, the ex-boyfriend rammed his truck into the deputy’s police unit, pinning the deputy inside.
After the second ramming, the ex-boyfriend jumped out of this truck and was shot and killed by the deputy (who was injured and pinned inside his car).
At the moment he was shot, the ex-boyfriend had his hands up.
Does that mean he was surrendering?
Just because someone has their hands in the air, does that mean they are giving up? That this violence they have brought to bear upon others has ended?
I don’t believe that’s always the case.
Just as in Ferguson, many witnesses will see the event from their own viewpoint, but this shooting in Albuquerque had one big difference.
It was recorded by a surveillance camera.
Everyone can see the incident from the viewpoint of the camera.
I would ask the reader to watch this video and then ask, Does hands up mean don’t shoot?
Do you think the ex-boyfriend was no longer a threat to the deputy who was injured and trapped inside his patrol car?
Watch this video and put yourself in the officer’s position.
See if you conclude that there was a lot more going on than just “hands up, don’t shoot.”
WHAT DO YOU SEE?
I think the entire nation should take a step back from making any decisions about Ferguson until we have thoroughly read the entire grand jury report.
I recognize that asking journalists, attorneys, politicians and citizens to take a step back and reasonably review the investigation won’t sell advertising and won’t stir the passions of civil discontent, but it might make all of us seem a bit more intelligent.
To those who do take pride in your reputation and don’t act hastily, I make one more request: demand that your friends, family and media do the same.
We will all be better off when we don’t blindly allow ourselves to be manipulated by the media, talking head politicians, our friends and family.
Research, review and think for yourself.
(Note: Additional video and information concerning last August’s shooting in Albuquerque can be found at KRQE-TV.)