Ferguson Update: Week 13 of 2016

Worried that the mainstream media would lose focus of the serious issues highlighted during the Ferguson, Mo., unrest, Soundtrack of the Week has broadcasted a weekly report since August 2014 addressing police violence and other related stories. This is the print edition and will continue until significant change has been realized.

Genius* Invents Cell Phone Gun (*Asshole)
Some guy – whose name and company shall remain anonymous since neither need further publicity – invented a gun that looks like a cellphone when folded up. With one click, the plastic cell phone opens up and is ready to kill somebody. How convenient!

How did this guy come up with the idea?

“A boy spotted me in the restaurant and said loudly, ‘Mommy, Mommy, that guy’s got a gun!’ And then pretty much the whole restaurant stared at me,” he said in an NBC News article.
Ideal Conceal
Maybe that was a clue that no one wants a goddamn death tool in the restaurant they’re at, regardless of what it looks like. Instead, the man interpreted the incident as a call to make a gun less recognizable, because not knowing whether or not someone is packing is always reassuring.

With gun violence a prevalent issue in the United States, nothing can go wrong here. Now a cop can justifiably kill you for whipping out your cell phone. How did the officer know it was simply a Galaxy S7? Take no chances.

City of Seneca, S.C., awards family $2.15M after police kill teen
Last July, an undercover Seneca police officer attempted a drug bust. The target was a female passenger in a car who accidentally called a state trooper to make a drug deal. Officers rolled up to the car in a parking lot. When the driver, 19-year-old Zachary Hammond, noticed it was a cop at his window, he tried to leave. This was the result:

Hammond was killed by the shots. The officer claimed he felt his life was in danger. This claim has been widely criticized. To start, the officer made no attempt to move away from the car. Second, shots were fired through the driver’s side window, indicating the officer was to the side of the car, out of harm’s way. Third, such an ambiguous claim gives police almost unlimited excuses to shoot someone.

Despite whose side you’re on, the city of Seneca awarded the family $2.15 million, nearly 10 times the approved settlement, according to The Charlotte Observer. State prosecutors are not pursuing the case. However, a federal investigation is still ongoing.

Yes, both the officer and the victim were white. Does this mean that cops are reckless with everyone? Yes and no. This case reveals that you don’t have to be black to be killed by police when you’re unarmed. On the other hand, statistics reveal that blacks are disproportionately killed by police relative to percentage of general population:

 

Unarmed man killed in Arizona hotel
Okay, so maybe this isn’t the week I preach about the disproportionate amount of unarmed blacks being killed by police relative to unarmed whites. Point in case:

An unarmed white man was killed by Mesa, Ariz., police at a La Quinta hotel in January. Although I’m just now getting around to this case, it’s worth noting that the officer has already been charged with second-degree murder and fired from the department. We’ll get back to that.

Allegedly drunk at the hotel on a business trip, the man was showing off his pellet gun to some other guests at the La Quinta. He got a little nutty with the pellet gun as he pointed it outside his fifth-floor window. Another guest reported to the police that a rifle was being pointed at patrons.

When police arrived, the man was ordered to get on his hands and knees and crawl to them. Police allege that the man reached for his waistband when one officer shot him. Reports claim that the man’s pants were falling down and he reached down to pull them up. The man is now dead because of it.

Back to the officer who shot the man. He’s a wild one. The words “You’re Fucked” were etched onto his AR-15 patrol rifle. Also on his rifle was the Greek phrase “Molon Labe,” which means “Come and Take Them.” These are the type of people we trust not to kill people unjustifiably. Take that as you will.

The officer, Philip Brailsford, was brought up on charges and fired relatively quickly. Would Brailsford’s fate be determined as quickly if the man killed were black? That’s speculation on our part, so extrapolate what you want out of that information.

Washington Post “Fatal Force” count
According to The Washington Post, 255 people have been shot and killed by police in 2016 as of 4:15 p.m. CDT on Friday, April 1. Of those killed, 17 were unarmed, 16 had a toy weapon and 13 were “unknown.” Of the 17 unarmed victims, eight were white, seven were black and two Hispanic. The same ratio applies to those with a toy gun (minus one Hispanic). Body cameras were used in only 29 of 255 fatal shootings. Year-to-date, there have been approximately eight more deaths in 2016.

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