Five years ago, the death of Michael Brown inspired the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” line.
That’s because witnesses had claimed Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, put his hands up and told police not to shoot.
All over America, the slogan and gesture became emblematic not only of the Black Lives Matter movement but of a burgeoning left-wing indictment of law enforcement as systematically biased against and violent toward young black men.
There was one problem, though: It was all complete fiction. Michael Brown had done nothing of the sort.
Instead, he’d attacked a police officer. That’s how he ended up dead — not because of prejudice or improper use of force.
Five years later, activists haven’t learned a whole lot. In St. Paul, Minnesota, protesters organized by a number of groups — including the local Black Lives Matter chapter — are protesting the death of a 31-year-old man who was killed by police Sept. 15.
Was he unarmed? Well, no, he had a knife on him. In fact, body camera video shows he charged at the officer who shot him. He was given repeated warnings to drop the knife.
And, after all that, he ended up dead.
Protesters, meanwhile, want “justice.”
“Dozens of people marched Sunday evening from a St. Paul police station to the spot where a Little Canada man was shot and killed by an officer last week, where they spoke against police violence at a candlelight vigil,” the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported Sunday.
The event was organized by a number of groups including Black Lives Matter Twin Cities Metro, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, Justice4MarcusGolden and Justice for Justine Damond Ruszczyk.
“Ronald Davis, 31, was fatally shot by Officer Steven Mattson last Sunday during an encounter at Thomas Avenue and Griggs Street,” the newspaper reported.
“Davis rear-ended Mattson‘s squad car when the officer was stopped at a stop sign, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the agency conducting the investigation,” the story continued. “Both men exited their vehicles, and Davis brandished a knife and ignored repeated commands to drop it, the BCA said in a statement. During the confrontation, Mattson fatally shot Davis.”
Even though the officer’s body camera footage was to be released later that week, protesters still weren’t going to wait for the facts to lambaste law enforcement over the shooting.
“Enough is enough,” activist and civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong said at the event.
“This man should still be alive,” she added. “I don’t care what happened in that car situation.”
Perhaps she should care. When the body camera footage was released on Tuesday, it showed that Davis was clearly intent on attacking Mattson and presented a clear and imminent threat to the officer’s life.
“As soon as Mattson exited the vehicle, Davis can be seen charging straight at him with what police identified a knife in his hand,” NBC News reported Tuesday.
“Mattson immediately moved back as the 31-year-old man continued to swipe at him with the knife, and at one point Mattson fell to the ground.”
In the video, Mattson can be heard repeatedly warning Davis to ditch the weapon: “Drop the knife. Drop the f—ing knife,” he says.
The body camera footage can be see below.
WARNING: The following video contains graphically violent images that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
The Saint Paul Police Department released bodycam footage which showed one of its officers fatally shooting a man who confronted him with a knife on September 15th.
The man, 31-year-old Ronald Davis, rear-ended Saint Paul police officer Steven Mattson’s patrol car, police said. pic.twitter.com/nW3fCIRGtb
— KOKH FOX 25 (@OKCFOX) September 26, 2019
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said Mattson had “no choice but to defend himself.”
“While I recognize the trauma that has been caused by a history of policing practices throughout our country, that have disproportionately affected communities of color, I cannot stand by — I simply can’t sleep at night — knowing that a good officer and all of our officers are being assailed by people who simply do not have the facts,” Axtell told reporters.
“I look forward to moving forward together with our entire community and in good faith to achieve the outcomes that we all desire.”
The problem is that only works if the entire community is grounded in reality.
KARE reported during the protest that several of the protesters didn’t even believe that Davis had a knife. This was before the body camera footage was released, but that still shows a remarkable amount of credulousness by activists who simply didn’t want to acknowledge the facts.
But that’s how it always is with activists’ narratives regarding police shootings.
If the facts don’t fit, they don’t exist at all. Davis wasn’t a threat. He may not have even had a knife. Hands up, don’t shoot. The fallacies, as always, will live on even after the facts have come out.
The Pioneer Press’ article shows one of the signs at the rally: “Delay of justice is justice delayed.”
Nope. Davis got his justice on Sept. 15.
He attacked a police officer with a deadly weapon and ended up dead. That’s what happens when you do that.
When activists cover for people who are killed after violently attacking police, they’re teaching everyone the wrong lesson.
Nobody wants to see someone end up dead.
However, all of the narrative-building in the world can’t change the fact that Ronald Davis was the sole author of his own demise.
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