In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, liberal activists demanded that cops begin using as many cameras as possible to record what officers were doing.
Never mind, of course, that every reliable eyewitness account and piece of forensic evidence pointed to the fact that Brown had reached for Officer Darren Wilson’s gun before his arrest, or that the facts in most of the other cases protesters cited for increased police surveillance hadn’t worked out in their favor. Cameras were what liberals wanted, and cameras were what they got.
So, what happens when dashcam footage exonerates a police officer in a shooting? The selfsame liberals who called for the cameras in the first place blame the cop anyway.
That’s at least the takeaway from a Facebook rant by Shaun King, the prominent Black Lives Matter activist and America’s most woke Caucasian (although he generally denies parts of the latter appellation).
King was responding to the death of C.J. Smith, a 17-year-old who was shot and killed by police in North Little Rock, Arkansas, after he pulled a gun on officers and fired two rounds during a routine traffic stop on Jan. 7, according to KTHV-TV.
The video is available at King’s Facebook page. We’re not going to show it here as it depicts the violent death of an individual, however justified it may be. However, the footage clearly shows Smith resisting arrest, screaming “I can’t go to jail!” and then pulling and firing a gun on officers, who returned fire and fatally wounded Smith.
The video was released by the police department to prove the innocence of the officer who killed Smith after activists said the shooting was unjustified.
King, who has apparently subsumed the morbid role of cultural ambulance chaser that Al Sharpton used to occupy in tragedies such as this, says he’s been conferring with the family’s attorneys. In a Facebook missive posted last week, King admitted that the shooting was justified because, well, duh. However, through some impressive rhetorical yoga, he still somehow managed to place the balance of the blame on the police officers whose lives Smith wanted to take.
First, King argued that “CJ and his friends were pulled over by police for no other reason than the fact that they were Black and it was late. This is racial profiling. That is illegal and unconstitutional.”
You may not be surprised to learn that this little nugget of race-baiting is almost certainly an outright lie. According to the Arkansas Times, the car Smith was traveling in when he got pulled over at 1 a.m. was speeding and had a broken taillight. Apparently, it now constitutes racial profiling to pull over people of color for traffic violations, especially if it’s past midnight. If you don’t remember reading constitutional precedent to that effect, that’s probably because you aren’t sufficiently “woke.” (It also doesn’t exist.)
King then reproaches the officers for not finding the gun before Smith was able to use it.
“Police searched every person in the car. You can see or hear the searches. They never turned up a gun,” King writes (emphasis added). “This was also a huge mistake that could’ve cost other people their lives as well. Had police properly searched and found the gun, it’s likely that CJ would’ve been arrested on the spot for a smaller gun possession charge. It would suck, but he’d be alive right now. Police failed to do their basic duty during this search.”
Yes, someone arguing the police shouldn’t have been pulled over the car for constitutional reasons is now arguing that the police search wasn’t invasive enough. And that’s not the only thing that police did wrong, according to King. They also failed to properly keep control of someone resisting arrest by any means possible.
“When police opted to arrest CJ, they quickly lost control of him. I understand this is real life, but losing control was again a fatal error,” King writes.
“It was this lost control that appears to give CJ the room to grab and fire a pistol, nearly hitting (or possibly hitting) his friend on accident. It makes no sense to anyone that CJ did this, but he did. Unemotionally speaking, even with a gun, he had no chance of getting out of the arrest. It appears he acted out of fear or nerves.”
Actually, C.J. Smith probably acted out of the fact that, as KTHV-TV reports, he was out on bond for a string of armed robberies and was facing 10-40 years in prison. While fear or nerves might have no doubt played some part in Smith’s fatally imbecilic decision, what he did no doubt had more to do with the fact that he was about to have his legal woes escalated — even with a “smaller gun possession charge” — to the point where he could be spending decades in prison.
The coda to this farrago of outright lies and other nonsense proves just how far gone King is from reality.
“Everyone here made life-altering mistakes that ultimately cost a 17 year old kid his life,” King wrote. “The racial profiling was wrong. The end result does not justify the racial profiling. The police search of the kids was grossly inadequate and should’ve turned up the gun. The actual arrest was out of control. And CJ, who family and friends say must’ve been a nervous wreck, made mistakes that would’ve likely cost him his life anywhere in the country.”
Aside from the last sentence, everything else is either specious or a blatant untruth. The only person who authored C.J. Smith’s demise was C.J. Smith; if you don’t struggle with cops or fire a gun at them, you won’t die. There was almost certainly no racial profiling; the vehicle Smith was traveling in was committing at least two moving violations. I wasn’t there for the police search, but anyone who argues that the stop was unconstitutional can’t fall back on the fact that the cops weren’t nosy enough when it came to searching the occupants of the car. And as for the arrest being out of control, to reiterate myself, that is the fault of one man and one man only: C.J. Smith.
King closes his rant by noting that he doesn’t “have any regrets, and never will, when it comes to supporting families affected by violence.”
Of course he doesn’t. In his reductive view of the world, those shot by cops are never fully responsible for their actions, even if they fire a gun at the police and are out on bond for numerous armed robbery charges. And for King, the fact that it leads to plenty of press is just a felicitous perk of consistently being wrong.
Please like and share on Facebook and Twitter if you agree the only person responsible for C.J. Smith’s death is C.J. Smith.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.