The most disappointing news out of Ferguson, MO., the last 24-hours was not that Officer Wilson would avoid charges in the Michael Brown shooting. We all pretty much expected such results. Policing is frequently based on judgements made in a split second, and officers deserve the benefit of the doubt in dicey situations.
But since August 9th, and as a former cop, I've had one burning question that I really hoped Officer Wilson would answer once the investigations were all over.
Explain that Lap Dance, Darren. What the hell were you doing? What Police Academy taught you that?
What kind of trained, experienced, police officer would let 6 ft, 300-lb, “Hulk Hogan,” or any other person --much less a suspect-- stand in his drivers window like you let Brown do you?
You were vulnerable, Darren, at a disadvantage from the beginning, if things went sideways:
- You're sitting down and belted-in,
- Your door is blocked but your window open to eye-level punches
-or a bullet between the eyes from a gun casually flicked out out of the waistband,
-or maybe just a razor blade across the cheek,
- You've got both limited visibility & limited mobility up and behind you,
- and all this was going on with a second suspect god-only-knows-where
- doing-god-only-knows-what out of your view, even if it's just cutting the valve stems of your tires.
You can’t get to your Sam Brown belt for mace, handcuffs, a collapsable baton, or a blackjack. You're barely controlling your weapon. How'd you get into that mess? I'd really like to know.
I'd also like to hear why you didn’t drop your cruiser into drive and floor the gas pedal, about the only other non-lethal defensive tactic left to your poor judgement. Acceleration 0-60-mph, perhaps with a sudden deceleration at the end, would throw any attacker off balance, probably break some bones.
So now Michael Brown is dead. You're likely out of the police business for life. The nation is in turmoil. And your story has already been added to police patrol curriculums around the nation, but not in the way you'd have hoped.
I guess if you can't be a good influence; you can always be a terrible warning. But I'm sorry for you, Michael, and for us all.