The real problem facing our nation is putting incomplete police videos in the hands of people like Zaf Iqbal, and letting them judge incidents for which they are unqualified to judge. And then giving them a forum to speak about it like New Times did on Aug. 4 (“Violent cycle”).
We haven’t even heard from both sides in these continuing police investigations, but that doesn’t stop Mr. Iqbal from reaching conclusions after making up his own facts, and ignoring others. The most unconscionable is his ignoring that in both the Baton Rouge, La., case and the Falcon Heights, Minn., case police had to deal with the presence of a gun.
In the Alton Sterling (Baton Rouge) case, he begins by saying the officers tackled Sterling, but doesn’t say why, which is an insult to his readers. The officers were responding to a complaint about an armed man threatening people outside the convenience store. Sterling fit the description, and on the video we hear the cops order Sterling to get on the ground. He was non-compliant, forcing the officers to escalate. They then tackled him after Tasers failed. Mr. Iqbal would have you believe Sterling was just harmlessly selling CDs.
Mr. Iqbal then says that Sterling “posed no threat to the police.” Really? About 10 seconds after tackling him, as they struggle to control him, the cops exclaim: “He’s going for the pocket, he’s got a gun! Gun! If you move, I swear. He’s going for the gun!” The tenseness of the situation lets you know they are not making it up. They shoot him. Before the video ends we see a cop remove a gun (or similar object) from Sterling’s pocket.
The liberal narrative unbelievably erases this entire part. Now the nation has to go through another unnecessary shock wave when the officers are cleared of wrongdoing.
For the Philando Castile incident (Falcon Heights), Mr. Iqbal ignores the part (as reported by AP) that the cop pulled him over not for a broken taillight, but because he fit the description of a local armed robber from a few days prior. Thus the cop had a reason to be on edge. Then he neglects the part about how Castile had a gun, and how we don’t really know what went down. We need to wait for the officer’s story before judging. But the officer did exclaim on video afterwards, “I told him not to reach for it!”
The liberals unbelievably immediately turn this into an abusive, racist, traffic-stop death.
But did you notice no mention of this cop’s race? That’s because Officer Jeronimo Yanez is Mexican-American, which paralyzes the forced narrative. We only get sweet backstories about Castile. Undoubtedly warmhearted backstories exist about this particular young Mexican-American. What’s a liberal to do?
With Mr. Iqbal’s distorted narrative, it can seem like “rogue cops” shooting black people for no reason. Just forget the cop’s stress of dealing with the deadly presence of a gun—it’s all about race. Perhaps readers should be respected and given all the details. Otherwise, it’s unfair to them, and unfair to those police officers.
Tom Reynar is a San Luis Obispo resident. Send comments through the editor at email@example.com or write a letter to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read a rebuttal by Zaf Iqbal here.