This isn’t about “he said she said”, but rather “cop said citizen said”.
On April 1, near the corner of Colfax and Sable in Aurora, Colorado – a 10-minute drive from where I live – police Sergeant Kevin Barnes shot motorist Michael Torres, seriously injuring him. Barnes will not face charges.
According to KDVR Channel 31 in Denver,
“Officers wanted to arrest Michael Torres, who they said was wanted for aggravated motor vehicle theft. Police said they believed he was armed and dangerous.
“When police tried to arrest Torres, he took off in his car and Sgt. Kevin Barnes fired his rifle three times, the district attorney’s office stated.”
Thus said the cops.
“A background check on Torres did not find anything indicating he was wanted for aggravated motor vehicle theft and his family insisted he was innocent of the alleged crimes.”
Hence, the cops had no reason to pursue Torres.
“The investigation demonstrated that Mr. Michael Torres was aware that the police were following him and made aggressive maneuvers with his vehicle to avoid apprehension,” the statement said.
“At the time Sergeant Barnes fired his weapon, he stated he was in fear for his life, the lives of his fellow officers and citizens.”
“The evidence does not support the filing of any criminal charges against Sergeant Barnes.”
Thus said the cops.
“Torres’ girlfriend, Stephanie Cervantes-Facio, was in the vehicle with him during the shooting. She said police rammed the back of the vehicle, sending it away from officers and into a ditch.”
“She said she looked over and saw Torres had been shot. She said there was no gun in the vehicle, prompting questions about the officer’s decision to fire.”
“It was terrifying. I have never felt so scared in my life. I thought I was going to die. I have never been around gun shots or that kind of police brutality,” Cervantes-Facio said.
So who’s right? The cops or their victims?
We know that a cop shot a man, seriously injuring him, and will not get as much as a slap on the wrist.
Everything else the cops have said here is an accusation. None of it has ever been tested in court. Sergeant Barnes has never had to prove that he was in imminent danger like a non-cop would have to if he claimed self-defense. Michael Torres never got any due process.
The Aurora Police arrested mass murder suspects James Holmes and Nathan Dunlap without incident and gave them their due process before sentencing them to prison. In Dunlap’s case, he was given a death sentence. Why did the Aurora Police see the need to shoot Michael Torres on sight, with the potential of killing him?
Just because the cops said Michael Torres stole one vehicle and “made aggressive maneuvers” with another doesn’t make either accusation true.
Just because the cops said someone was a serial child molester doesn’t automatically make that person a serial child molester.
Just because the FBI or the DHS said someone was a terrorist doesn’t automatically make that person a terrorist.
Just because, for example, a business client or a former spouse said you did something horrible doesn’t automatically mean you did something horrible.
Just because the cops said something doesn’t make it true. It doesn’t make it false either. However, you cannot just shoot someone based merely on an accusation.
The presumption of innocence is sacred. If you are a Christian like me it is Literally Sacred. It is the Golden Rule – Matthew 7:12 – in its purest form. Have you ever been falsely accused? If so, my guess is that you didn’t enjoy it and you wanted the chance to defend yourself.
Do cops always lie? Certainly not! But do they always tell the truth? Again, certainly not!
You have to be brain dead to believe the cops – or, for that matter, any other group of people – always tell the truth. You have to be brain dead to believe that issuance of a blue uniform, a badge and a perpetually open tab at Dunkin’ Donuts elevates one to a higher moral plane upon which one is absolutely incapable of wrongdoing.
I can’t help thinking that some of these Facebook comments summarize the thinking of a significant percentage of Americans. Among them:
RG: “Let’s try something new. Listen to cops, don’t get shot.”
LL: “Here’s an idea….don’t commit crimes, and don’t run from the police!”
LB: “I agree with all cops shootings until society stops thier War on the men in blue.”
Millions of Americans will automatically believe the cops because, well … because cops!
Cop. Him good. Him serve in community. Him keep me safe.
The cops’ word is good enough for them. The cops’ accusations are always true and anyone who happens to be in their way must be guilty … because cops! And anyone who questions cops hates cops and America and God and, well … everything good!
We just came through a 4-day orgy of fireworks, hot dogs, beer and baseball in which we purport to celebrate the anniversary of the signing of a document that reads in part: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
When cops can shoot people with impunity, people are neither equal nor free.
You are far more likely to meet a police officer than anyone you voted for. These encounters represent the interface between the individual and the state. When you read about an officer-involved shooting, or any other example of police abuse, do you (a) automatically side with the cops or do you (b) start asking serious questions and demanding hard evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the victim? This, and not your party affiliation, determines your true political stance.
July 4 weekend has passed and life is somewhat back to normal. We are sitting in front of our computers and HELLevision sets moaning and groaning about all the tyrants and criminals in Washington and wondering how they ever got there. It’s not hard to figure out at all. When you excuse tyranny and criminality by your local government on the streets of your community, you DESERVE tyrants and criminals in your national government.