The names of some of the people killed by cops are well-known: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott. Partly this is because these were among the most “innocent” of victims – walking down the middle of a street, selling loose cigarettes on the sidewalk, playing with a toy gun in a playground, or just driving with a broken tail light. All were unarmed.
But the victims of cops are far more extensive than just these. Joseph Jeremy Weber, an Army vet suffering from PTSD who was killed by a cop last week in Sunnyvale, CA, was one such victim. He wasn’t the kind of person around whom a public campaign is likely to happen. He allegedly robbed a liquor store (of a single pack of cigarettes!), and allegedly was armed with a knife. Everything is “allegedly,” of course, since he won’t be having a trial now that he’s dead.
And what do the cops allege? The cop confronted him in an alley and, when he refused to drop the knife and advanced on the cop, the cop shot and killed him. But these claims are hard to believe. This isn’t New York City with dead-end alleys in which a suspect could be trapped with nowhere to go. The events occurred in a typical California strip mall where the only alleys are just the area behind the stores, open at both ends. If you had just robbed a liquor store and were armed only with a knife, would you run towards a cop holding a gun, or would you run the other way and try to get away? The cop reported to dispatchers that Weber was 50 feet away from him; “moments later” shots were fired and Weber lay dead. Did he run 40 feet at top speed toward a cop in mere “moments”?
Unless Weber’s family sues the police, we’ll never know exactly what happened to him. But we do know this: the police are completely out of control in this country, accustomed to virtually complete immunity from any crime they commit, particularly those like this one where “dead men tell no tales.” Only those rare cases, like that of Walter Scott with an independent video showing what really happened, have even a chance (and no more than that) of achieving justice. Meanwhile one more vet with PTSD lies dead at the hands of a cop.