Comic from xkcd. Click to enlarge.
Vin Suprynowicz uses the term Baby's Daddy Removal Team.
There are still plenty of police apologists out there who simply cannot understand why the profession is losing all credibility (or has already lost it) among more and more of the public. "Just a few bad apples," is the usual mantra.
The basics of Vin's story are thus:
Sequioa Pearce was made to kneel before the Las Vegas police officers who held her at gunpoint in her bedroom Friday night, June 11, and watch them shoot her unarmed fiance in the head.
The 20-year-old, who was nine months pregnant, could see her fiance, Trevon Cole, reflected in the mirror from the bathroom, where he, too, was being held at gunpoint as officers told him to get on the floor. He met her gaze in the mirror. She watched him put his hands up.
“All right, all right,” he said to police, according to Pearce.
Then she heard the shot. The man she planned to marry slid to the floor, blood pouring from a gunshot wound — some have reported a shotgun blast — to the face.
Officers rushed her out of the apartment. Trevon Cole, 21, employed as an insurance adjuster while working on a political science degree at UNLV, died minutes later.
Pearce will raise her daughter alone.
Officers were serving a pot warrant on the apartment at 2850 E. Bonanza Road, near Eastern Avenue. The warrant was based on Cole having made three marijuana sales to undercover police, according to Deputy Chief Joseph Lombardo, who oversees Metro’s narcotics section. (Marijuana, for the record, is not a narcotic. It’s barely even illegal, anymore.)
The shooting poses a small problem for police. Ms. Pearce, who survives, says police were upset they could find no drugs in the apartment that night, that Mr. Cole was unarmed, that he put up no resistance, that he owned no firearms.
This would be more appalling, of course, if it were less common. And the "common" theme is what Vin was on about in his first piece on the matter.
An unarmed man was shot in the head and killed for making a “furtive movement” while on his knees with his hands up, surrendering? I seem to recall that also happened to Orlando Barlow, on his knees with his hands up while surrounded by Metro officers in a front yard, back in 2003.
Officer Brian Hartman of Southwest 11 nailed Mr. Barlow with an AR-15 rifle. The killers later sported “BDRT” T-shirts. A cop union spokesman said it stood for “Big Dogs Run Together,” not “Baby’s Daddy Removal Team,” as widely reported.
Isn’t it interesting that every single person shot in or near their home by a Metro cop in recent years “made a furtive movement” — in not a single case has an officer ever said, “I discharged that round by accident; in hindsight I shouldn’t even have had my finger inside the trigger guard, since the suspect was unarmed”?
Could Las Vegas Metro Sheriff Jerry Gillespie please stage some big show-and-tells at local auditoriums, with officers demonstrating the kind of “furtive movements” that will get you killed in your own home late at night in Las Vegas, as well as some “bold and forthright” movements that won’t?
The officer who shot Mr. Cole has been identified as 34-year-old Bryan Yant, a 10-year veteran of the department who has shot two other people. (One survived.)
Something is very wrong here, and no coroner’s jury that rubber-stamps this shooting as “justified” (they’re all found to be “justified”) is going to explain why this made-his-bones member of the Baby’s Daddy Removal Team is breaking into people’s homes at night and holding them at gunpoint — let alone shooting them — over selling small amounts of marijuana.
Officer Yant said he was chasing Richard Travis Brown, dubbed “The Candy Bar Robber” by police for his 41 heists, in the early morning of Nov. 17, 2001.
After a vehicle pursuit, Yant chased Brown on foot. Yant told the inquest jury that Brown reached for a gun as the two ran down a sidewalk. Yant fired three to four rounds. Brown fell, face first. Yant said Brown then tried to re-aim the gun at him, requiring Officer Yant to fire three to four more rounds, killing Brown.
But crime scene analysts recovered Brown’s handgun on the sidewalk 35 feet away from where he’d been shot.
That’s almost as good as Ronald Perrin, the guy into whom Officer Bruce Gentner of the Southwest 11 Baby’s Daddy Removal Team emptied his 14-round Glock on South Rainbow Boulevard while Mr. Perrin was “armed with a basketball” back in 1999.
Why was Mr. Perrin shot, with no witnesses? “Furtive movement,” of course.
Will the jury “probing” Trevon Cole’s death be told about the gun found 35 feet away from the earlier suspect who had just supposedly “re-aimed” it at Officer Yant? Of course not. Prosecutors lead them to their “justified” verdicts like children dressing up their pet rabbits and walking them through a tea party in the doll house.
And that was just one post about the unfortunate Sequioa Pearce. Not two weeks after watching her unarmed fiance murdered before her eyes for the (apparently capital) offense of doing peaceful business outside the state's sanction (nobody is suggesting that Cole ever actually harmed anyone), would you believe she had another run-in with yet more of the local finest?
At 11:45 a.m. Monday June 21, 10 days after they killed Trevon Cole, Metro police were at another Las Vegas apartment complex, near Owens Avenue and H Street, in the traditionally black West End.
A patrol officer “heard shots fired” and “saw movement at an open upstairs window” in one of the apartments there, said spokescop Sgt. Andy Walsh. Concluding that was where the shots came from, he called for backup.
The officers then approached the home with a bullhorn, demanding that anyone inside come out.
The only person home was Shannon Sutton, 18-year-old brother of … Sequioa Pearce! Yes! This was the apartment of Sequioa Pearce’s mother, where she had gone to stay after Officer Bryan Yant killed her fiance. What a coincidence!
Well, the apologists will say, surely there was good reason to follow all this up...corroborating evidence that exculpates the officers involved...certainly everyone was acting in good faith.
Yeah, right. You're new here, aren'tcha?
Sgt. Walsh said officers did not need a warrant to check the home to see whether anyone inside was hurt, but they did need a warrant or written consent from a resident to search for guns or ammunition.
So, Trenia Cole — Sequioa Pearce’s mother but otherwise no relation to Trevon Cole — said officers demanded she sign a written consent form in exchange for a promise not to transport her son to jail.
Spokescop Walsh explained it’s not uncommon for officers to use that sort of leverage. “If they believe there’s a gun in the residence, we would certainly offer what we could to get the consent to search,” he said.
Trenia Cole signed the card, asking only “that you don’t tear up my house,” which of course they did.
No firerarm was found.
It doesn’t matter whether this kind of police behavior is “not uncommon” — it’s illegal, and it’s fair to wonder why cops expect us to respect the law when their own attitude is “Screw the law, do whatever’s most expedient.”
Either they had a suspect who deserved to go to jail, and they let him loose in order to extort the waiver of Mrs. Cole’s Fourth Amendment rights, or else they threatened to haul an innocent young man to jail in order to extort her waiver of her Fourth Amendment rights.
Either way, extortion under color of law.
Since there was no firearm found, clearly no shot came from that apartment, if the officer really “heard a shot,” at all.
Okay, so the only thing any of us knows for sure is that we are never going to know all the details of what happened in this case. Well, that and something sure stinks to high heaven. But that's just the way of things these days, now isn't it?
See, here's the litmus test for the police apologists. If it really is just "a few bad apples" ruining it for the rest of the good ones, where the eff are those "good ones", who after all should certainly have enough professional pride to get ther Serpico on and purge their ranks of the rotten fruit? With all the press that systematic police abuse gets these days, one would think that there should be a bloody obvious clamor among the "professionals" to oust the rabble and restore a little dignity to what used to be quaintly called "keeping the peace".
Boy, it sounds ridiculous even saying it anymore, doesn't it?
What you will get, in response to your request to show you the evidence that the "good ones" are publicly denouncing and purging the "bad ones", is absolutely deafening silence.
You'd think that would clear things up.