Fusion.net recently published an article on police abuse called “This 43-tweet story explains how black kids are treated by America’s criminal justice system.” Oh boy, here we go again. The false narrative of blacks getting treated differently as a whole than everyone else.
In a 43-part tweetstorm on Tuesday, Doucette recounted a recent experience defending a 17-year-old black teen from claims by a police officer that the teen was doing 360s in the middle of the street. Over the course of the story, Doucette demonstrates many of the problems black people face in the U.S. court system and why changes never seem to stick.
Read the article. The police were trying to hose this kid, and there’s no doubt about it. However, Fusion clearly jumped the shark a bit with their headline. As did the lawyer. I’ve seen this happen hundreds of times to people of all races. Again, it’s corrupt blue line vs good cops vs the public. Until officers who lie on reports, and bare false witness are punished, we will have this problem of trust. Let’s just stop pretending it only happens to one group of people. No, it isn’t a ‘black’ thing, and no, there isn’t any evidence to the contrary. Let me give you just one example of the hundreds of cases like this I’ve covered in my career.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 2009 lost Officer James Manor in a fatal car crash responding to a domestic violence call. Officer Manor was a black man. He was killed after Calvin Darling, a white man, pulled out in front of him. This led to a horrific accident, and Officer Manor’s vehicle catching fire. Ultimately, he lost his life.
The day of the accident we learned Calvin Darling was arrested for DUI. The city exploded into a hatred for Calvin Darling like you wouldn’t believe. An officer responding to a domestic violence call was using his lights and siren while trying to help someone in need, and this DRUNK GUY pulls out in front of him and kills him. The sheriff at the time, Doug Gillespie, was adamant that Officer Manor was doing nothing wrong. He repeated all of this in the media, and on my show as he sat right next to me.
I was the first person in all media that day to urge calm because we didn’t have any evidence Darling was actually drunk. No test had been done at the scene. The rage I got from callers who were citizens, police officers, and their wives was intense. Then I got a call from a listener who witnessed the accident. They said the story being told about Calvin Darling wasn’t true. More on that later.
The reason the public was so outraged about this is that there was a second officer who was driving behind Officer Manor. The witness. That officer is the one who said Manor had his lights on (running code), and that Darling was drunk. He lied.
We eventually learned Officer Manor wasn’t running code. He wasn’t using his lights, or his siren. Neither was the other officer who said he was. He was driving at 109 mph on a 45 mph road in the pitch black of night. The front and back of Metro’s patrol cars are black. Difficult to see at night anyway. When you add in the speed with which the officers were driving, Calvin Darling had no chance to avoid the collision.
We also learned that Calvin Darling was not drunk. He passed all of his blood alcohol tests. We also learned that he attempted to rescue Officer Manor. He risked his life to do so in spite of his own serious injuries. When it became clear he couldn’t get to Officer Manor because of the flames, he attempted to put the fire out. He wasn’t a drunk man who killed a police officer, he was a hero who tried to save an officer who was responsible for a deadly accident, and violating department policy.
You need to understand something here … there was a long time that passed before we learned that Officer Manor wasn’t using his lights or siren. The Sheriff was constantly saying he was sure Officer Manor did nothing wrong before he even had the information (there’s a box installed in the patrol cars that records when lights and siren are used).
Eventually, all charges against Calvin Darling were dropped, and the police settled with him for $120,000. Far too little in my opinion.
Calvin darling, a white man, had done no wrong. Yet he was accused of killing a black police officer, and the police department attempted to set him up to take the fall for a crime of which he was innocent. If it were a white officer and black motorist, the headlines would have all been about how racist white officers tried to frame a black guy for murder. Race had nothing to do with it. It was the thin blue line protecting its own from scrutiny, but the story gets worse.
Now that we knew Officer Manor and the other officer were not running code, were violating policy and the law, and that the other officer had LIED about it on his police report leading to the arrest of an innocent man, who was actually the victim … what must become of the lying officer?
I had Sheriff Gillespie on my show again once this revelation was discovered. He looked me in the eye and promised the other officer (name withheld) would be disciplined. I asked what that discipline might look like, and the Sheriff declined to answer.
Some time passed … weeks, months, years. Nothing ever happened to the officer who lied that day. No discipline at all, I know, because I asked. The media (except for me) stopped asking questions. Metro had successfully swept the criminal actions of this officer under the rug. Not because of race, not because they are evil, but because they take care of their own. Even if their own are corrupt and criminal in many jurisdictions.
Obviously, this isn’t the norm. Somewhat common perhaps, but not the norm. The great law enforcement leaders do their job to protect the public from corrupt officers. Unfortunately, stories like this kid who was being hosed by police over his mythical 360 donuts, and stories like Calvin Darling foment distrust between people and police departments. That trust is further damaged when officers are punished for speaking out against corruption in their department.
Maybe, just maybe, the kid in the Fusion article wasn’t being set up because he was black. Maybe it was just because the officer was a dickhead. Like Officer Thompson, who lied about me when I was a teenager when he said I was drunk (didn’t have a drop), and in possession of alcohol (wasn’t holding anything, or with the group he detained). After the other kids fled (I stayed because I was innocent), he arrested me and charged me with all of the charges the kids who ran faced. He lied on his police report. Then he lied again in court. It took me a while to get over that, and start trusting police officers again.
As a society, we have to stop automatically jumping to the bigotry conclusion because of the races of those involved. We should only accuse people of bigotry when there is actual evidence of it. To continue to make baseless race-baiting accusations against anyone, but especially the police, only serves to foment mistrust, hatred, and even violence. Often this animosity gets seeded in people because of false accusations, mythology, and outright lies.
Mostly white constitutionalists have been sounding the corrupt police abuse alarm for a long time before #BlackLivesMatter chic was a thing, and they were all but ignored. Now that many minorities are starting to see what they saw all those years ago, they still aren’t teaming up to hold corrupt law enforcement accountable.
How is it that #BlackLivesMatter protesters, many of whom have rioted and used violence or threats of violence, get a pass in the media? They are trying to propel change they say. Legitimately protesting alleged police abuse they say. Funny how the narrative changes when it’s white guys with cowboy hats who protest the same police and government abuse at a wildlife refuge with far less violence. Those guys are racist, white, right-wing terrorists. They are protesting the exact same thing people.