Searching for the Next Michael Brown
See also: A big target of racial hostility
Families are lining up to make their son the next Michael Brown. Waiting to tell their story of how racist cops killed their child For No Reason Whatsoever.
The latest example comes from Philadelphia, where, early Monday morning, police shot Brandon Tate-Brown. The details are familiar enough: the 26-year old Tate-Brown was driving at 3 a.m. without headlights when two officers stopped him.
If this stop was anything like most others, then Tate-Brown convinced himself he was being pulled over for one reason only: driving while black.
Soon after he got out of the car, a struggle began. That’s how reporters describe it, so they can leave open the journalistic possibility that instead of Tate-Brown resisting arrest and attacking police, maybe the cops attacked him For No Reason Whatsoever.
Other than that they are degenerate racists, of course.
Whether Tate-Brown attacked the cops or the cops attacked him For No Reason Whatsoever, he was soon back in his car, lunging for a gun.
There they killed him.
The gun was stolen. The dead man was a hardcore convict with a history of shooting people and doing time in prison. Being in possession of that gun – stolen or not – would have been ticket back to the penitentiary.
That did not matter much to the outlaw’s family.
“From my eyes, he was a good guy,” Tate-Brown’s mother told the local NBC affiliate. “I would like to know why the police have the right to kill instead of disabling. It has to stop.”
Tate-Brown’s mother last saw him during the Sunday night Philadelphia Eagles football game. The family said he had a jovial spirit despite a difficult past, said the reporter for the NBC affiliate. He had just gotten a job and was getting his life together, they said.
It is not known whether he learned that jovial spirit in prison, where he recently spent five years for trying to kill someone. He had four prior convictions, two for attempted murder and related charges (including violation of the Uniform Firearms Act), theft, and receiving stolen property.
The next night, Tate-Brown’s mother was in the street and, with the assistance of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, was telling a crowd that her son would never do anything like starting a fight with a cop.
No one seemed to care that she was not telling the truth.
About 100 miles down the freeway in Baltimore, just a few hours before, another cop faced the same situation – this time with a different result.
A cop at a gas station noticed the strong aroma of sweet, sweet marijuana coming out of a car. So he radioed a patrol car to make the stop.
The police removed the driver from the car without incident. But in the back seat, 19-year old Donte Jones refused the request to get out of the car while sitting with his hands in his waistband. Police threatened to tase him, so he shot one. Three times.
He ran. They caught him. Alive.
Later at a press conference, police officials described Jones as a repeat offender with weapons violations.
The cop is still alive.
The Baltimore Sun, known more for the absence of crime coverage than actual crime stories, actually got at least part of this one right:
The shooting comes just hours after hundreds marched city streets to demonstrate in the wake of two high-profile deaths of individuals in police custody. Police commissioner Anthony Batts said the timing of this shooting was not lost on him against the backdrop of the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York.
“We've had marches nationwide over the fact that we have lost lives in police custody,” Batts told the Baltimore Sun. “I wonder if we'll have those same marches as officers are shot, too.”
We’ll get back to you on that, Commissioner.
Even before the “hands up don’t shoot” marches with songs about racist police became the latest national rage, black families reflexively and deceptively defended their criminal relatives – regardless.
Chicago is teeming with examples.
In March, police saw Raason Hill (or Shaw, depending) conducting what looked like a drug deal. He ran when they tried to stop him.
Soon he was hopping over a fence, and a gun fell out of his waistband: a .40-caliber handgun with laser sighting. Raason picked it up and pointed it at the police. They shot the 20-year old dead.
Then the riot began. On video. The Chicago Tribune got this part right: “The incident drew a crowd of more than 100 into the street after the shooting, some of whom said they were friends or relatives of the man who was shot. Many were yelling and some fought. One man tore down yellow police tape. At least three were taken away in handcuffs.”
All agreed that Raason was a good boy who never had a gun. Everyone said so. Never did anything wrong. Well, maybe one or two things, but that did not matter, because he was trying to get his life together.
Still in Chicago, in August, police responded to reports of a running gun battle. They arrived at the scene to find 17-year-old DeSean Pittman, holding a gun, standing over the body of a person he had just shot.
When DeSean pointed the gun at the cops, they shot him dead.
At a memorial ceremony for DeSean, the crowd heard one story after another of how DeSean was a saint and the police were racist villains. Murderers.
DeSean’s parents said the police murdered their son For No Reason Whatsoever.
The group gathered for the vigil allegedly turned against police when a woman pointed at an officer monitoring the group and yelled, "That's the rookie mother------ that killed him," prosecutors said Wednesday.
The crowd began to chant, "Kill the rookie," as some pelted police with candles and bricks, authorities said. People threw branches, bottles and other debris from the street while yelling "CPDK," which stands for "Chicago Police Department Killer," officials said.
At some point, a woman drove a Ford Escape into an officer, sending him to the hospital with a fractured leg. Two other officers also were hospitalized after they crashed their squad car heading to the melee, authorities said.
Police arrested eight people. While some were released without charges, five were charged with felony counts of aggravated assault of a police officer and mob action, according to court records.
A day or so after the memorial turned riot, pictures of DeSean emerged. There’s DeSean holding a gun. And other gun. There’s DeSean taking a selfie, showing off his previous bullet wounds. There’s DeSean posing with his proud father, gauze and tape covering his torso from a recent hospital stay for another violent encounter. There’s DeSean’s family, flashing gang signs.
There’s DeSean on a train, beating a passenger.
There’s DeSean’s father on Facebook, proudly displaying many of these pictures of his son, the thug.
“I feel they executed my son,” DeSean’s dad told vice.com.
In another Chicago neighborhood, two hours before DeSean pointed a gun at police, so did Roshad McIntosh. He met the same end. His mother and friends said the same thing. “Chicago police gunned my son down for no reason. They said he had his hands up telling them not to shoot they killed him anyway,” DeSean’s mother said to the Chicago Tribune.
That was a lie, too. Though that did not stop anyone from repeating it hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter and in the streets.
Let’s finish with a video from Chicago. In December 2012, Jamal Moore was one of five black people in a car refusing police orders to stop. Moments before, five black people matching their description and car had robbed a Chicago trucking company. With a gun.
So the chase was on. But not for long. The car crashed, and everyone got away, except for Jamal: he started beating one of the cops who caught him. And when he was finished with him, he headed for the cop’s partner.
He ignored her pleas to stop, and she shot him dead.
Soon Jamal’s family was on the street, telling people their son, cousin, brother, whatever was a good person who was shot For No Reason Whatsoever.
That is when the riot started: The crowd attacked police with bottles and bricks and whatever.
One bystander, on video, reminded his fellow rioters of one fact that is now often heard even today: “They can’t do s*** if we start a riot right now,” he said. “They can’t shoot all of us.”
Colin Flaherty is an award-winning reporter and the author of the bestselling book White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence to America and how the media ignore it. You can find many of the videos on racial violence mentioned in this article on his YouTube channel.