Welcome to my first interview! I read that bloggers should interview someone important. I have chosen to interview John Olson, a retired parole agent. John has thirty-six years experience as a peace office. His experience includes working as a state parole officer. If someone violated their parole, John would arrest them and return them to prison.
Due to his experience arresting parole violators, I feel he is qualified to voice an opinion on the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Both recently got renewed attention (did it ever stop?) when two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Weinjian Liu, were gunned down in their patrol car. The motive was apparently retaliation for police mistreatment of minority suspects which the press has blamed for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. (For a full recap of the deaths of Officers Ramos and Liu, see Minimalist’s Guide to Understanding Protests in New York http://wp.me/p5jxvv-ba.) My seventh grade class even weighed in on the situation. (How to Know If Eric Garner and Michael Brown were Victims of Racism http://wp.me/p5jxvv-5H.)
This past Saturday, one of the police officers, Rafael Ramos, was buried. Vice President Joe Biden attended the funeral as did New York mayor Bill de Blasio. Due to feeling unsupported by their mayor, photos have emerged showing the NYPD turning their backs on Mayor de Blasio as he spoke. These were my questions for John:
- What is your opinion of the bad press the police have been getting since Michael Brown died last summer?
It’s largely unwarranted. When police are contacting people, how the encounter goes depends on the person encountered. Michael Brown was an impediment to traffic. Officer Wilson asked him to move, but Mr. Brown refused. Instead, he assaulted Officer Wilson several times with his fist. Officer Wilson drew his gun which Mr. Brown tried to grab. Officer Wilson fired twice, but Mr. Brown charged at him. Officer Wilson thought Mr. Brown was going to kill him since he had already tried by grabbing his gun. Witnesses agree on this point. Mr. Brown is guilty of strong-arm robbery at a convenience store, assaulting a police officer (Darren Wilson), and sustaining bodily injury (since Officer Wilson had visible injuries). These are felonies.
Cops are trained to shoot until the threats stop. Mr. Brown was a threat. Officer Wilson fired at him to
stop him. The media has made a big deal over the fact that Mr. Brown was an ‘unarmed teenager’. Officer Wilson had no way of knowing that Mr. Brown was unarmed. Unless you search, you don’t know. Fearing for his safety, Officer Wilson tried to stop the threat resulting in Mr. Brown’s death. Officer Wilson had no options. Mr. Brown had many options. Mr. Brown’s death is tragic for himself and his family, but the fault lays with Mr. Brown, not the officer.
- Do you feel that Darren Wilson was a racist?
No. There is no evidence of racism in this case other than skin color. If the skin color had been reversed, the same events would have happened.
- What is your opinion of the two officers that died in New York?
They were assassinated. They were shot while having lunch in their car. There was little Officers Ramos and Liu could do as the events happened too fast for them to react.
- Do you think Al Sharpton and Samuel L. Jackson are to blame for their deaths? (Reasons they are being blamed are discussed in How To Get Rid of Racist Cops http://wp.me/p5jxvv-8Q.)
They are responsible in part for perpetuating the idea that whites shoot blacks. The statistics don’t support that.
- What is your opinion of Eric Garner’s “chokehold” death?
The jury is out. I have been in many arrests where people resist. It’s hard to restrain them without hurting
them. They were trying to get handcuffs on him. Mr. Garner was suspected of committing a low-level crime for which he’d already been arrested, selling cigarettes without tax. The local vendors complained. He was a big man who refused arrest. He knew he had asthma and heart disease but decided to fight with the police anyway. Force was needed to restrain him which suffocated him. His own physical condition caused his death. The chokehold was a “contributing” factor. The police did not set out to kill him.
- What do you see as the future of the reputation of the police department?
I see the bad press continuing since the police hardly ever get good press.
Readers, what is your opinion about the shooting of NYPD officers Ramos and Liu? Do you agree with John that the bad reputation the police currently have will continue? I look forward to you views.