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RICH IN THOUGHT- The Decisions
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Much has been said and covered by the news media in regard to the recent decisions from a St. Louis County and New York grand juries not to indict police officers in the separate deaths of two subjects by the police officers involved.

In both cases it appears media coverage on the issue seems to fan the flames of an African-American male being unlawfully killed at the hands of the police, attempting to depict the actions as part of a larger injustice imposed on African-Americans by an irresponsible justice system.

Protesters, ignoring the established method in the country of examining evidence prior to ANYONE’S prosecution, called for the heads of the officers based on the court of public opinion demanding they be jailed for “murder.”

The Missouri grand jury in the Ferguson case examined factual evidence, heard testimony of multiple witnesses – exposing falsities in some, and reviewed the autopsy of Michael Brown.

Physical evidence doesn’t lie and can’t be accused of bias such as racism.

After weeks of scrutiny, it determined not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting the 6’4” 300-pound 18-year-old aggressor, Brown, following his robbery of a nearby convenience store.

In New York, a grand jury recently cleared NYPD patrolman, Daniel Pantaleo, who was shown on video applying a carotid restraint (Note: not “chokehold” as portrayed by the ill-informed) on Eric Garner who was fighting officers and resisting his arrest.

The New York medical examiner found that the physical restraint by the officers caused Garner’s death, but also that Garner’s own poor health of asthma, obesity and cardiovascular disease were the main contributing factors.

Those that had been so hyped in the mob-mentality and, with already preconceived opinions, dismissed the facts that conflicted with their coveted desire – to riot in the streets based on “police violence.”

Straight out of the film “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” when Jimmy Stewart tries to tell the truth to a reporter and he is told “When the legend becomes fact ... print the legend,” convenient topical sayings of “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “I can’t breathe” are developed to erroneously portray what led up to these tragic deaths and somehow demonize the police who were just doing their jobs.

Michael Brown was not “murdered” nor were his hands up.

Impartial review of the autopsy by experts confirms that he was never shot in the back and that he had been struggling in attempt to take Officer Wilson’s gun when first shot. Brown was high at the time of death and he did not have his hands up in surrender, but was advancing toward the officer.

Michael Brown was breaking the law when he was contacted, resisted arrest, tried to take a pistol from a police officer and was justifiably shot in self-defense. Even experts who didn’t work for the police or prosecutor confirmed the conclusions of the medical examiner.

It’s time to stop professing Brown as a martyr or figure for civil rights and admit that his death occurred because he tried to snatch Wilson’s service pistol while resisting arrest after committing a felony at a time when he was high on an illegal substance and later rushed the officer.

This was not murder and it was definitely not an execution. It wasn’t a racially charged unlawful use of force. This was a drug induced thug who was shot trying to kill a police officer. The overwhelming forensic evidence leaves no doubt.

Brown determined his own fate and is responsible for his own faulty decisions.

Regarding Eric Garner in New York who was out on bail for previous crimes, overweight and in poor health, but chose to exert himself against NYPD officers; he was engaged in the illegal (though minor) activity of selling “loosies” or untaxed cigarettes on the street – a “quality of life” enforcement directed to the officers who work that area by the Mayor’s office. When police came to arrest him, he resisted and fought.

What’s interesting here is if Garner could repeatedly say, “I can't breathe,” it means he could breathe. It’s a scientific fact for the airway to be clear to be able to speak, but facts have no place for protests.

Like I pointed out earlier, “When the legend becomes fact ... print the legend.”

Now we await another grand jury decision, this time from Cleveland concerning the Nov. 22 shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Police Officer Tim Loehmann outside a recreation center.

On that day Rice is on surveillance video pacing, occasionally extending his right arm with what appears to be a gun in his hand.

When officers respond a few feet away, Rice reached in his waistband for what looks to be a realistic gun. Within micro-seconds Officer Loehmann shoots Rice who unfortunately had an AirSoft replica pistol with its orange tip removed.

As expected, some are protesting the shooting saying the shooting shouldn’t have occurred because this was a child or officers “should have known” it wasn’t a real firearm.

Newsflash here: A 12-year-old can pull a trigger as easy as an adult and we shouldn’t require our police to have to wait for a gun to go click, bang, or squirt.

If the Cleveland Grand Jury decision goes with the facts and evidence in this case rather than public perception, I predict another cunning adage to be chanted with new protests.

Since the Michael Brown shooting, at least 42 police officers have been killed in the line of duty in the US – men, women, black, white, Latino, and Asian.

No one rioted for them. No one from the President’s administration attended their funerals. Their deaths were limited to support from within the law enforcement world with black bands worn over the badges in their remembrance.

A dead police officer, plenty of apathy. A dead thug, everyone protests and riots in the streets. Does that sound like the right decision?

For those focused on the recent “decisions” ask yourself this; where would everyone involved be now if those contacted by the police simply made the “decision” to follow the reasonable lawful commands given to them?


Richard Paloma is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.