How One City Kept the Peace After a White Cop/Black Suspect Officer-Involved Shooting

This article originally appeared at forcescience.org and is reprinted here with permission

Stripped to its bare bones, the incident had the ingredients of another racial firestorm: A white cop with a prior shooting on his record repeatedly fires at and kills a young black male, a former college football player, in full view of a crowd dispersing from a wedding at an African-American church on the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. In one newspaper’s terse assessment: “kindling in need only of a match.” Yet when these unfortunate circumstances recently befell Muskogee, OK, there were no protests by angry marchers, no demands for criminal prosecution of the police, no looting or burning, no related arrests . . .

Instead, thanks to a police department’s skillful performance in getting its “narrative” of the facts across to the public and maintaining calm in the critical days after the shooting, the fatal encounter and its aftermath became what one publication calls “an example for the entire country of how a police department should conduct itself.”

Some of what went on behind the scenes to produce a peaceful outcome, including the important role of Force Science training, is detailed here for the first time–and includes navigation strategies that other agencies may find useful when fate deals them a potential crisis. But Muskogee Police Chief Rex Eskridge cautions: “You can’t start working on all this the day something happens. This was a collaborative effort, involving relationships with the media and the black community that had been cultivated over a long period of time, a city government that fully supported us, a command staff that was attuned to important sensibilities. And it started with patrol officers who were out there doing the job as it should be done.”

SHOTS FIRED. About 3:50 on a Saturday afternoon last January, two urgent calls in quick succession rang into Muskogee’s 911 center from the pastor of a black Baptist church on the northwest edge of the city. A distraught young woman, part of a crowd leaving a wedding he’d just conducted, had come to him for help, claiming an ex-boyfriend had threatened to kill her. He was in the parking lot now with a gun and “a bullet with her name on it.”

“I need a police officer!” the pastor blurted. “I got a whole bunch of people out here. I don’t want nobody hurt.”

The first responder, Ofcr. Chansey McMillin, readily confronted a subject the pastor described–black male, early 20s, white jacket, short dreadlocks–mingling with 50 or 60 wedding guests who had exited the church. When McMillin started to handcuff him for a patdown, the suspect tried to strike him with an elbow and the back of his hand, then bolted into a nearby road. During a brief foot pursuit, he dropped a “silver object” that McMillin later told a supervisor he recognized as a gun. He crouched to pick it up and pointed it in the officer’s direction.

McMillin fired five .40-cal. rounds from his Glock 22. The suspect collapsed into a watery roadside ditch, fatally wounded.

A backup officer located a “junker” .22-cal. pistol, hammer cocked and a round chambered, under the suspect’s body. The dead man’s left hand gripped a cell phone.

From the time McMillin stepped from his patrol car until he fired his first round, less than a minute elapsed.

BREAKING NEWS. Called to the scene from home on his day off, the PD’s public information officer, Sgt. Michael Mahan, had made himself a student of how the controversial shooting in Ferguson, MO, five months earlier had been handled publicly, and he vowed not to repeat what he considered a critical failing there: Ferguson authorities had not adequately explained and defended the involved officer’s legitimate actions from the get-go.

“You can’t have a bunker mentality these days,” Mahan told Force Science News. “Trying to duck reporters with ‘No comment’ or stalling until a full investigation is complete only deepens distrust. You’ve got to put things in a context so the public can understand matters that may seem obvious to law enforcement.”

At the church, Mahan quickly gathered the salient facts, particularly from the pastor and from the supervisor who’d taken McMillin’s public safety statement before the officer was removed from the scene. Then he offered himself for a series of reports for four TV crews.

“I always prefer to go live if possible on breaking news,” Mahan says. “I want to get exactly what we’re saying out there from the top, not somebody else’s paraphrasing or editing of our position. And I want to immediately get people focusing on the facts.”

He made certain to direct the crews to “a witness who saw everything,” the pastor. The minister had told Mahan that he felt McMillin “did everything right” in the fatal confrontation, and the PIO wanted that statement, coming from a credible source, repeated on camera, along with the pastor’s description of the suspect’s initial threat to kill the wedding guest.

A reporter, noting that McMillin was white, asked if race was a factor in the shooting. “Race had nothing to do with it,” Mahan answered. “It had to do strictly with actions and the response to actions”–a theme he would underscore more than once across the coming days.

Yet even as he spoke, someone in the parking lot crowd was claiming that the suspect had only a cell phone in his hand when he was shot. And someone else was alleging that he was shot multiple times in the back but had never made a threatening move against the officer.

TRANSPARENCY PLEDGES. Within 15 minutes of the shooting, the police department contacted the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) to take over the official probe of what happened to assure the public of an independent inquiry.

With OSBI approval, the PD would be free to analyze the video recording from the TASER Axon body camera that had been affixed to McMillin’s collar and, so long as the investigation was not compromised, to comment publicly on what the footage revealed. Mahan assured the media they could expect “full transparency” from Muskogee PD, regardless of what the video showed.

As more was learned about the dead man (a 21-year-old who’d been a scholarship linebacker for a local college the year before), a deputy chief from MPD talked by phone with the suspect’s mother in Texas. He promised he’d keep her abreast of developments daily and gave her his number to call any time she had questions.

Several black clergymen, one of whom is also a city councilman, had showed up at the scene as word of the shooting spread, and a core component of a response plan that involved them quickly took shape. In light of the active personal and professional relationship he’d developed with the city’s African-American ministers, Chief Eskridge believed they could be valuable conduits through which the PD could reach out to reassure Muskogee’s black community.

A meeting was set for the next day at a community center with members of the black ministerial alliance, city council members, the mayor and city manager, community leaders, and representatives of the police department. The religious leaders and politicians were asked to urge to their constituencies not to rush to conclusions about the shooting until an analysis of Ofcr. McMillin’s body cam video could be completed and a “more informed judgment” could be made.

In return, they too were promised full transparency “as information becomes available,” including the chance to see the entire footage and ask questions before it was made public.

Meanwhile, McMillin was concerned about public reaction in Muskogee, a town of 39,000 with something of a rough-and-tumble reputation. Nearly one in five of its residents is black, and the city has suffered racial tensions in the past.

A military Bronze Star recipient who’d seen heavy-combat service in Iraq and Afghanistan, 36-year-old McMillin had been involved in shooting another minority, a subject who had committed violent attacks with a knife, just six months earlier. That shooting was nonfatal and was determined to be justified.

“Still,” says his attorney Scott Wood, “given the national climate, he worried that he might become another Darren Wilson,” the beleaguered officer in Ferguson.

VIDEO ANALYSIS. McMillin asked Wood, himself a former officer and now a police attorney in nearby Tulsa, to represent him in the new investigation. Because Wood has counseled the city of Muskogee in various use-of-force cases across the last two decades, a deputy chief also asked him to review the body cam footage for possible legal issues.

Wood, a graduate of the Force Science Analysis course, recruited Sgt. Jim Clark of Tulsa PD, a nationally known use-of-force expert and former legal section chair for the National Tactical Officers Assn., to join him.

Beginning the evening of the shooting, Wood and Clark spent several sessions meticulously examining the video. “The shooting was one of the fastest evolving I’ve seen,” Wood says. “We watched it 15 or 20 times, and still some details didn’t become evident until we slowed down the action on a laptop so we could study it frame by frame.”

The most critical clarification concerned the object the fleeing suspect dropped and then recovered just before McMillin shot him. The officer had insisted it was a gun, but the distance between his collar camera and the suspect–Wood estimates it was 60 ft.–made the item difficult to distinguish on video when the recording was played at normal speed.

Frame-by-frame, however, the item became recognizable as a pistol, which for an instant was pointed threateningly at McMillin as the suspect picked it up from the pavement with his right hand. All McMillin’s rounds were then fired in less than 1.3 seconds.

Also, in the camera’s running footage as McMillin approached the downed offender, the gun could be seen revealed under the suspect’s body as the backup rolled him over–evidence that would refute any allegation that the weapon had been planted.

As for the rumor that it was his cell phone that the suspect dropped and pointed, the suspect could be seen early in the video transferring the phone from his right hand to his left when McMillin tried to pat him down. It was still in his left hand as he lay dead in the soggy ditch.

Wood called Chief Eskridge and assured him the shooting looked “perfectly justified.” Even so, based on the video, Wood predicted the autopsy would show “some shots to the suspect’s back,” a potential flashpoint for civilian minds.

3 HITS. Soon after the weekend, the medical examiner confirmed it. Three of McMillin’s five rounds had brought the suspect down. One struck his left side, another entered the left side of his back and penetrated his heart, and a third bored into the base of his skull and exited his left eye socket, Wood says.

“It was a classic example of what Force Science teaches about how shots often end up in the back,” he notes. “An officer decides to shoot when he is facing a deadly threat, as McMillin was. But by the time the bullets impact, the suspect has begun to turn in flight, and the rounds strike in the back. With action and reaction times, it’s unavoidable.”

Policy requiring that body cams be worn by Muskogee officers had been finalized only a few days before the shooting. Wood says, “If we had not had video showing the movement of the suspect and the speed he was moving, the location of the wounds by themselves could have implied that he was shot when there was no direct threat.”

Armed with Wood’s and Clark’s analysis, Eskridge decided it was time for full public disclosure.

THE REVEAL. The rollout of evidence was carefully designed and orchestrated.

The first audiences were assembled groups of black clergy, city council members, other civic leaders, and representatives of the US Attorney’s Office, with Wood and Clark on hand to answer questions. Overlapping those presentations were debriefings at the PD as officers arrived for shift changes, giving them facts and interpretations with which they could dispel rumors they might encounter on patrol.

At the urging of Wood and Clark, the presentations consisted of more than just a playing of the body cam video at full speed. Instead, the first component of the program was a 25-slide PowerPoint production, created by Wood, that combined colored still frames taken from the video with explanatory text.

With walk-through narration, the PowerPoint focused attention on highlights of the confrontation and established justification for the shooting from the officer’s perspective. Pivotal frames included the suspect spinning away when McMillin tried to pat him down…launching an elbow and then a backhand at the officer’s head…targeting McMillin after recovering the dropped gun…the officer firing in self-protection…McMillin cautioning, “He’s got a gun!” as backup approached….and the retrieval of the cocked, chambered weapon and the cell phone.

After that, the video was shown in slow motion (speed reduced by a factor of 10) a couple of times before finally being played at normal speed. Q and A followed and included explanation of the back wounds and answers to anticipated questions like why McMillin fired multiple rounds and “didn’t just shoot the man in the leg.”

“Out of about 25 civilians who sat through the presentation, only one verbalized that he still thought the shooting was unnecessary,” Wood says. “All the others said they understood and promised to make sure that the black community knew what they’d been told and seen, to counter any inflammatory rumors.”

VIRAL. At 8 o’clock the next morning, TV stations and other major media in the state were emailed a copy of the PowerPoint program, the various formats of the video, a transcript of radio logs, and other materials pertinent to the shooting via a Dropbox attachment. On the advice of a friendly crime reporter, the time was specifically selected to allow TV newsrooms to “thoroughly absorb” the contents before their first major newscast of the day.

Included was a 15-point list of “considerations” for reporters compiled by PIO Mahan that directed their attention to crucial elements of the video. This itemization explained step-by-step why McMillin had reacted to the suspect’s actions as he did and why the police department felt he was legally justified in doing so.

Care was taken to state why McMillin had not used a less-lethal weapon instead of his gun. “This had come up repeatedly,” Mahan says, “and we felt it important to explain why anything less than deadly force was not appropriate to deal with the threat he faced.”

This same material was shared with the suspect’s family before it was released to the media and with the state NAACP president and his staff. Also a public “listening session” was scheduled for the weekend at a local African-American church where “people could voice their concerns and ask questions.”

“The video quickly went viral,” Mahan says. Before long, he was receiving email from as far away as the Netherlands and the UK. The coverage he knows of, he says, proved to be “fair and accurate in its presentation of the facts,” with some stories noting specifically that the PD was “leaving no doubt” about its defense of McMillin’s actions.

Mahan’s tenure as PIO ended soon after this event, but he recalls that before he left the post he received letters from a variety of news agencies congratulating the PD on its handling of the incident. The online news journal The Daily Beast wrote that Muskogee set “an example for the entire country on how a police department should conduct itself, starting with equipping its officers with body cameras and following through with a promise to be as transparent as possible in the wake of a fatal cop involved shooting.”

OUTCOME. Six days after the shooting, McMillin gave his official statement to the OSBI. Late last month, District Atty. Orvil Loge, citing the reconstruction of the shooting by OSBI investigators, ruled that the suspect had unlawfully posed a “direct threat” to the officer and that McMillin’s deadly response was “legally justified.”

A group of black ministers held a press conference at which they said, among other things, that they were grateful for the openness the department had shown and that they held no ill will toward McMillin. Even so, in light of his two shootings, they recommended that he be permanently removed from street patrol “for his safety and the community’s safety.”

In one-on-one meetings with the pastors, Eskridge explained why it would not be appropriate to punish an officer who had justifiably acted to save his own life and, potentially, the lives of others in the vicinity that fateful day at the church. “After that, they backed off of that recommendation,” Eskridge says.

“Most important, I’m very satisfied that we had the ability to deal with all this in a mutually respectful way that did not get overheated.”

“We believe that our community’s best days are ahead of us,” one of the ministers told reporters. “We don’t have to be a community that’s out of control, that’s consumed by riots. We took the approach that says, ‘Let’s communicate first and try to see how well we can work together.’ “

Though not publicized, MPD did have a contingency plan in place in the event of civil disturbances, Wood says. Primed to supply personnel if needed, neighboring agencies, the state highway patrol, and the National Guard all provided MPD’s SWAT supervisor with emergency contact numbers for their personnel and a list of equipment each agency could bring to a callout.

Although never implemented, even this preparation, too, had a positive result. “It was discovered,” Wood says, “that there was a vast shortage of gas masks and many of those who had masks did not have filter cartridges for them.”

comments

  1. avatar Brian says:

    It may have helped that there wasn’t already longstanding and deep-seated community resentment of police and the criminal justice system as a whole due to since-proven systemic racism and exploitation.

    1. avatar the ruester says:

      Only proof I saw was some bad jokes (that I’m pretty sure I first heard on the daily show) and a few claims of harrassment by questionable witnesses. The “exploitation” appears to be not so different than anywhere else where there are not enough taxpayers to fund the department. Think about this for a second; what are the police supposed to do, harass the minority of non criminal taxpayers for code violations? And how exactly do you nab someone for jaywalking when they are too afraid of the gentle giants loitering on the sidewalks to even go outside? If you look at this from a distance you will see that the public is insisting the police go out of their way to charge everyone with the same amount of crimes, even though they would have to climb through a pile of obvious and brazen crimes to do it.

    2. If you are talking about Ferguson, it is instructive to read the actual report. The DOJ strove mightily to make it seem like racism, using anecdotes and partial statistics, but with some background knowledge of crime stats it was easy to see that racism was not an issue. And they highlighted the emails — but it was about one “concerning” email per year, with the last being three years earlier.

      The revenue-raising part looked more troubling — but I don’t have the background there to have a sense of what is “standard.” Still, fixing this could have been done without the death and destruction brought upon the town by the DOJ and administration. As it was, it just seemed like a microcosm of government in general.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      1. avatar Sammy says:

        Race baiters see race everywhere and with everything.

        1. avatar Mr. Antisocial Guy says:

          “If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

        2. avatar Brian says:

          Reducing nuanced social issues acknowledged by many and experienced by an overwhelming majority of the minority into a single compound word in order to dismiss them is not giving due respect to their complexity or the humans who suffer to experience them.

        3. avatar the ruester says:

          Brian,

          And parsing a simple subject into social justice salad doesn’t exactly exalt them, either. A city full of criminals lied to and about the police. It’s not Ghandi, so get a grip.

    3. avatar Ben says:

      Oh please, get out of the 1950s. There isn’t a single bit of proof that a majority of shootings/arrests of black suspects is due to your supposed “systemic racism”. The age of the white man keeping the black man down has been over for some time.

      1. avatar Grindstone says:

        Yep, racism has totally disappeared as of 1964. Black people have nothing to complain about.

        1. avatar DV says:

          U trollin TTAG brodini?

        2. avatar Grindstone says:

          Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize this was The Truth About Racism. And that it doesn’t exist anymore. I guess I should tell my Hispanic wife that all those experiences with prejudice were all in her head.

        3. avatar Joel from pa says:

          Blacks are the only ones who experience racism?

        4. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          Oh, please, people will discriminate on the basis of anything, even on a particular permutation of factors that may be unique to just one individual. People cry racism, or sexism, ageism, or other broadbrush -isms, because it gives them a quick and dirty means of connecting their individual discrimination with that of the collective discrimination.

          It’s an overall pity party with a very low common denominator cover charge, like race. Did it ever occur to anyone that if five individual minorities endure some negative treatment, that it might be because they’re each a jakackwagon and that that’s the reason for the treatment, and not some incidental shared ethnicity?

        5. avatar Grindstone says:

          Oh yeah, those racial slurs had nothing to do with race and were all just her playing the pity card.

          Hilarious when white people claim minorities don’t experience any sort of prejudice.

        6. avatar ChuckN says:

          What’s even better, Grindstone, is that you’re
          assuming someones race is white based
          solely on their comments. Ever stop to wonder
          how many who openly think that crying racism
          is a cope out are in fact minorities?

          I’m a native American, living in the whitest state
          in the Union, Maine; and the only racism I’ve
          ever experienced has been from the
          government and activist groups telling me
          I need help because I can’t hack it on my own.

        7. avatar Joel from pa says:

          Grind Douche, my wife and I are both white and travel to Philly each month for work. We experience racism every time we are in town, we just don’t cry about it. And I never treat anyone of any race like that.

  2. avatar Skyler says:

    This is all very well and nice, but I’m sure the most important element left out is the payment to Al Sharpton.

    1. avatar David B says:

      You’re not far off base. I thought it odd that the police had to interact with almost black organization and leader in the state. It sounded like the police are held hostage under the threat of rioting and looting unless they toe the line. Oh, wait. Sounds a bit like the guns right movement. Hmmm. Is La Pierre our Al Sharpton?

  3. avatar Grindstone says:

    Wow, good news coming out of Oklahoma for a change.

    I’m glad that this case proves how important officer accountability and department transparency is. If a dusty Oklahoma town like Muskogee can provide body cameras to its personnel, then there’s no reason why most other places can’t.

    1. avatar JohnF says:

      Body cams were not originally deployed to keep an eye on the cops. Their purpose was to allow officers to video suspects, at the officers’ discretion, to provide evidence in court against those suspects. I think it is a sad thing that we now think we need body cams so cops can prove they were in the right and that if anything happens and the body cam is not on, the officer is immediately suspect.

      I started out in life wanting to be a cop. Got my undergrad in Police Administration. I’m so glad I didn’t go that route. I would never want a job where I was under surveillance all day. I would never want a job where I was assumed to be guilty until my body cam proves me innocent. I don’t think the kind of people we want to be cops are going to want that either. We’re going to wind up with a new generation of “techno-cops” who are more worried about the instant replay than keeping innocent people safe. The need for body cams is just one more proof that the crazies have won.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        @JohnF, body cams are the cops’ best friend. In one city alone, “The findings suggest more than a 50% reduction in the total number of incidents of use-of-force compared to control-conditions, and nearly ten times more citizens’ complaints in the 12-months prior to the experiment.” Expressed more elegantly, body cams cut complaints against the Rialto, CA police by 10X.

        http://www.policefoundation.org/content/body-worn-cameras-police-use-force

        Similar results were obtained in other cities that piloted or deployed body cams.

        1. avatar Aaron says:

          agreed. body cams help good cops keep their good name, they help keep some bad cops from acting bad, and they help dispose of the truly bad cops.

          The truth is the best protection for the righteous.

        2. avatar JohnF says:

          What the ONE STUDY purports to show is, that the cameras might make cops less likely to use force. It says nothing about whether or not that 50% less force they used would have been force they should have used. It seems to me using force, within the law, is what we pay them for. So that could just as easily mean the cameras made them 50% less likely to do their jobs. And I wouldn’t blame them. If I were on candid camera all day long I would play it safe too.

          On the other hand, if the study means cops are twice as likely to inappropriately use force without cams, what the heck kind of officers are we hiring and who the heck is supervising them? If that’s what the study shows, it seems to me the Rialto department leadership should resign or be fired as a result.

          It also shows that BGs know that with the cams, they are less likely to win frivolous lawsuits against departments, so they don’t file complaints they should not have filed anyway. I’m sure cams are the future of policing and will reduce lawsuits, which is great, since that’s all police leadership boils down to now. But if I am not here to protect my loved ones, I want the cops that respond to their calls to be more worried about the safety of my family and less about what the cameras will show.

        3. avatar Grindstone says:

          There have been multiple studies done on the effects of police-worn body cameras. Take the time to research them.

        4. avatar Kendahl says:

          I suspect a reason why use of force drops after body cameras are deployed is that the bad guys quit trying. They realize that the video will support the cops and convict them.

      2. avatar Grindstone says:

        What is the purpose of the 2nd Amendment? Hunting? Home Defense? No, it is to protect against the tyranny of the state. Who would enforce the power of the state against the citizenry? The armed agents of the state. This would be the military, law enforcement, and all other armed agents of the Executive branch agencies. It is not enough that we pretend that our rifles will scare the government into not overreaching it’s power. While enforcing laws that keep society in order is well and good, this is not a perfect world and power always corrupts. People die by the hands of armed state agents all the time. Whether they deserve it or not. Whether they have their day in court (also known as Due Process) or not. If we truly care about a “free society” we, the people, need to hold these armed state agents accountable for their actions upon us. This includes monitoring. If we blindly assume an armed state agent is always right, then we assume the state is always right, and that includes when they do things like, say, ban rifle ammo with a certain color of paint on the tip.

      3. avatar int19h says:

        The need for body cams comes from the recorded cases of police abuse. Thing is, police officers are granted with significant powers, especially with respect to use of force, that are way beyond what a regular citizen has. With great power comes great responsibility… except, apparently, in practice many are happy to abuse the power. So the responsibility has to be enforced.

  4. avatar foo dog says:

    Great work reporting this, TTAG. Lessons learned:
    1. Have long cultivated relationships of trust with credible role models and figures with moral reputation.
    2. Have a detailed media and plan, in place, with respected experts to do competent arms length investigations, and analysis of force used.
    3. Body cams and training to use them reliably, all the time.

  5. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Wait a minute. This article says the policeman fired 5 shots in 1.3 seconds and scored 3 fatal hits. And he was shooting .40 S&W. Everyone knows that .40 S&W recoil is too “snappy” and it is impossible with such snappy recoil to fire shots so quickly and accurately. Did anyone get video of the grassy knoll?

    /end_sarcasm

    1. avatar JohnF says:

      This cop is obviously not NYPD material!

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Well, the NYPD has a perfect one-for-one hit ratio in dark stairways.

        http://nypost.com/2014/11/21/police-fatally-shoot-man-in-brooklyn-building/

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      You would be surprised how fast you move during a massive adrenaline dump.

      And how slow the event seemed to be when you reflect on it later.

      I was hit head-on while driving years back. I have a vivid memory of my Ray-Bans oh-so-slowly fly off my face, tumble once, and shatter when they hit the windshield, left lens breaking first.

  6. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I suppose this jumps to the front of the line for the worst wedding day ever. Granted the suspect was not a participant. Nevertheless, to have a fatal shooting in the parking lot/street outside your church on your wedding day as your guests are pouring into the parking lot would really suck.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      No matter how bad the wedding day might be, the divorce is even worse.

  7. avatar barnbwt says:

    Incredible display of muzzle discipline and presence of mind afterward. Can’t believe the idiot trying to get between the cop and the body. Good on his officers just letting him pace around the scene unattended with his gun out for a bit after they got there, though; not like he’s half out of his mind on adrenaline by that point (guy really deserved a hug, geen blanket, and cup of cocoa, most importantly at some distance from the body.

    1. avatar Troutbum5 says:

      Story says he did several tours in the sandbox, so this probably wasn’t his first rodeo. He was certainly professional and disciplined.

  8. avatar Sumner says:

    Please include the link to the original story, not just to their home page. (they have no search function on their site, and searching your title on Startpage doesn’t bring it up.
    TIA.

      1. avatar Sumner says:

        Thanks.

        PS – cheap shot at NYPD. any time you want to volunteer to patrol miles of intentionally broken lights ghetto stairwells, let the NYPD know.

  9. avatar Wood says:

    So… The other two shots? Where’d they go?

  10. avatar Aaron says:

    Watching the video at real-time speed, it looks like a bad shoot. I’d like to see the slo-mo.

    Also, officer was a damn good shot. 3 of 5 shots hit under combat stress, and one was to the base of the skull. Guess not all cops are as bad at marksmanship as the NYPD.

  11. avatar Preston B. says:

    One was armed, the other was NOT armed.

    That’s the difference between Muskogee, OK and Ferguson, MO.

    1. avatar Sumner says:

      Your gentle giant in Ferguson had already tried to take the LEO’s weapon. Go racebait your BS somewhere else.

      1. avatar Preston B. says:

        @Sumner : I’m not “racebaiting”. Furthermore, you’ve shown yourself as a racist not only by suggesting I’m “racebaiting”, but by referring to him, to me, as “Your gentle giant”, as I did not know this man or relate to him in any way.

        Address me when you can do so without slinging slurs, don’t be a hypocrite.

    2. avatar Kendahl says:

      Brown outweighed Wilson by 100 pounds. To me, Brown was armed with size and strength. In legal terms, that’s called disparity of force. My only question about Wilson’s behavior is whether he was civil or insulting during his initial contact with Brown.

      1. avatar Preston B. says:

        @ Kendahl : Well, we won’t know now, and that information could make or break a case.

    3. avatar Hannibal says:

      Usually when the dead guy is armed the ‘community’ still says he was unarmed and that someone must have planted it.

    4. avatar Anon in CT says:

      For simplistic public perception purposes, it is a big difference, even if it really shouldn’t be. It makes a good slogan – also helps if you use a picture of the deceased that is 4 or so years out of date.

  12. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Well when black folks call white cops for protection I guess the narrative (and outcome )would be different than Ferguson…in redneck Oklahoma.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Yup that’s a big part of it too. Without a critical mass (including astro-turfed protests bussed in) it’s a different situation.

  13. avatar guest says:

    amazing what a ‘stand up’ police or public rep can do, rather than go hide———-it’s also amazing that the officer responded to a ‘life threat’ to a citizen, separated the threat from the church going, –but the city was asked to remove him from ‘the street’——it appears to be good work by all—-even with some local hooligan’s remarks from the back ground——

  14. avatar duroSig556R says:

    I hope that wasn’t the minister being confrontational and quasi out of control.

    1. avatar Ted Unlis says:

      It was.

  15. avatar Red in CO says:

    Holy crap. At 60 feet, the officer fired 5 rounds (in a bit over a second) and three of them hit the scumbag? That is some VERY impressive marksmanship. Kudos to him.

  16. avatar DKMII says:

    Hard to compare this to Ferguson. One guy was armed and the other wasn’t. Purely from an optics standpoint, that makes all the difference in the world. The combination of the body cam (really to show no one planted a weapon or the like) and providing details to the public on the back story makes it hard for any reasonable person to raise a stink.

    Mike Brown was unarmed and initially stopped for walking in the road. No body cams to back the officer’s story so not surprising the vastly different reactions by the community.

    1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      A few facts about the Mike Brown case are now known. Maybe you should try to keep up withvthem?

      And since when is being armed a requirement for the justifiable use of deafly force in self-defense?

      1. avatar dsreno says:

        It’s not about being legally justifiable. They seem to be found justifiable most of the time. The issue is if the homicide can be justified in a public trial. The public doesn’t care about what is legal or not. They are not open to reasonable arguments, either. They will make a snap judgement on the information presented on the first day of news coverage. Once that happens, the rest of us just have to wait for the mob to fizzle out.

        I think it all comes down to the presentation given by news outlets. They treat cases with self-armed suspects very differently. Armed suspects will be given a 30 second “officer involved shooting” report on local news. If the suspect did not bring a weapon to the fight, they will be given days of coverage on national news networks. They’ll be reported as an unarmed victim, regardless of their actions during their fight with the cops (or other armed citizen).

        Just my observation.

      2. avatar DKMII says:

        Chip- no one is disputing the facts. You are off topic. We are talking about why this particular situation didn’t turn into a Ferguson situation.

        And since when is being armed a requirement for the justifiable use of deadly force in self-defense? No is saying that it is. The grand jury decisions normally bare that out in stories like these. What I’m saying is its not at all surprising in my mind that in a world that is becoming more and more skeptical of police tactics that incidents where the victim/perpetrator is unarmed will raise questions.

        I for one have no problem with people questioning a shoot of an unarmed person. I think most will agree that more than a few shootings of civilians by police have been questionable. It only makes sense for the mainstream and the mob to focus on these. Rightly or wrongly.

  17. avatar J. Zoss says:

    I call out the police a lot but have never faulted officer Wilson in the Ferguson shoot. I still disingenuous to claim the lack of rioting is simply due to the difference in the way it was handled. I agree with taking these steps but it is hardly the only deciding factor for how the race hustlers and low info types will react. There isn’t actually any proof that it was a deciding factor in this case if we are honest. Sounds good and even sounds likely but it isn’t exactly scientific. We can’t rewind and see what happens in this case if they handle it as close to Ferguson as possible. While legit excuses are not required to riot it seems that a number of the classic excuses beyond a white cop shoots/beats black person are usually exploited before rioting.

    Many (probably most) regular posters here agree that someone does not have to be armed to pose a deadly threat however being armed or not is without a doubt a deciding factor for the clueless or agenda driven. While it is ridiculous it may be the absolute deciding factor for a significant number of people when it comes to their view of justified shooting or not. I heard this repeatedly as the only argument from a lot of people during the height of Ferguson.

    Someone also called in this case to report a deadly threat rather than the officer responding to a direct threat to himself. Again I am not saying that is right but for people that would try to seize on a chance to burn a city it is indeed a factor.

    It isn’t race baiting to suggest that neighborhoods and their relationship with the police can vary enough to affect reaction. I also don’t think it is easy to discount that there were a lot more witnesses in this case, ones concerned for their safety because of the suspect and likely with very similar reports for the police. Not necessarily details about the shoot but at least as far as a legit police response.

  18. avatar Fug says:

    Of course the community supports the police when they are the ones who called them…

  19. avatar DickDanger says:

    This happened from spittin’ distance from me and even I didn’t hear about it.

  20. avatar Jarrod says:

    Pretty sad state of affairs the hoops this PD had to jump through to ensure that there weren’t riots in their city.

  21. avatar Ted Unlis says:

    The only reason the shooting in Muskogee OK didn’t devolve into another Ferguson MO is because the Police Officer was wearing a body cam that fortunately captured in great detail irrefutable video evidence removing any doubt that the use of deadly force was justified and necessary to stop the criminal predator before he was able to carry out a deadly assault.

    Had that Officer not been wearing a body cam you can bet that witnesses would have materialized who swore up and down that the criminal predator was summarily executed by a racist cop while attempting to surrender and that the police then planted gun on the decedent .

    Police haters on the right and left will be sorely disappointed when they finally realize that body cams will benefit law enforcement in the vast majority of use of force encounters by exposing liars who’ve been taught from birth that the police are their enemy.

    1. avatar DKMII says:

      This. Totally agree.

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