Post OIS — The Long Game


The book on the left is full of false tropes, in Mas’ opinion;
the one on the right attempts to show the truth.

After a shooting, there are agonizingly long investigations … and then, more than one jury to face.

After an officer-involved shooting (OIS), there will be a department investigation, usually an additional investigation by another agency if only for optics, and intense scrutiny from the prosecutor’s office. It will often go in front of the Grand Jury. If there is an indictment, there’s Criminal Court to worry about. Even if the Grand Jury clears the involved officer(s) with a finding of No True Bill, that’s no bar to a lawsuit in Civil Court. There may be a third Court, Federal, if plaintiffs file under 42 USC 1983 with the claim that under color of law, the officer violated the decedent’s rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of murdering cops.

Too many people forget there’s one more court, the Court of Public Opinion.

Cases In Point

Cops in the academy and attorneys in law school are told, “Don’t discuss your cases in the press. Wait for it all to come out in court.” Unfortunately, recent decades have seen publicity-hungry and politically motivated prosecutors and money-hungry plaintiffs’ lawyers bringing cases against the evidence and loudly announcing at press conferences that whoever pulled the trigger was a hate-filled monster. The media goes with what it can get, and those are the only voices they hear to quote. It is human nature to believe that silence in the face of accusation is seen as a tacit admission of guilt. When the judge and jury finally do see all the evidence and exonerate the shooter, the public doesn’t get the full story unless they follow the trial, which very few do.

Now, the accused, who fired in legitimate self-defense and won in court, is still seen as the rogue killer cop or the vigilante racist executioner. Their victory in court is hollow when they and their families now live in a world conditioned by the mass media to hate them.

Don’t say to yourself, “Thank God I’m not a cop, and that will never happen to me.” It happens to armed citizens, too. Professor Anderson describes the George Zimmerman shooting of Trayvon Martin with a quote from the Martin family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump: “Trayvon Martin, a kid, has a bag of Skittles. (Zimmerman) had a 9mm gun. Trayvon Martin didn’t approach George Zimmerman; George Zimmerman approached Trayvon Martin.”

Totally overlooked is that irrefutable fact evidence at the trial of Martin’s unprovoked attack on Zimmerman convinced the jury to acquit. But Zimmerman has to live under an assumed name today, still owing a seven-figure legal bill he’ll never be able to pay. Police officers in similarly controversial shootings have suffered similar fates even after acquittal. Read I Can’t Breathe: How a Racial Hoax is Killing America by David Horowitz for a more lucid view of many of these controversial shootings, a lot of which have triggered riots that led to more deaths.

Fighting Back With The Truth

When one side breaks the treaty, the other side is not bound by it. “We don’t discuss our cases in the press” has become largely obsolete. LAPD and Las Vegas Metro began the practice of calling press conferences, recording them and making them available to the public whenever there has been a potentially controversial use of force. The videos generally include playing the 9-1-1 call that brought cops to the scene in the first place, showing photos of the decedent’s weapon and, perhaps most importantly, dashcam and bodycam video of the event itself. This “gets ahead of the narrative” and goes far toward preventing life-destroying lies (in microcosm) and preventing inflamed public sentiment, which can explode into riots, looting and more injuries and deaths (in macrocosm).

On the individual side, if you are wrongly accused, hire an attorney who is not afraid to call a press conference and get your side of the matter out in front of the public. In Handgunner’s back issues, you’ll find the Ayoob Files on the John Daub incident. He was a member of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, where I proudly serve on the advisory board.

Daub called ACLDN shortly after calling 9-1-1 when he fatally shot a crazed home invader. Attorney Gene Anthes called a press conference at the scene before the blood had dried. Not only was John cleared criminally and not sued, but he and his family received much more public sympathy than they would have otherwise. Belonging to a post-self-defense support group is akin to a cop belonging to a union or police fraternal organization: They can also handle the six- and sometimes seven-figure legal fees for you.

Never forget, the false accusation that goes unanswered is seen as an admission of guilt … and please bear it in mind when you hear or read about the next controversial shooting.

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