How Akai Gurley Died
Taking the stairs from the seventh floor all the way to the ground floor of their Brooklyn apartment, Akai and his girlfriend, Melissa Butler, on November 20 were having a normal evening not unlike any other. The lights were a problem in the stairwell, but they knew their way around.
Unbeknownst to Akai and Melissa, two NYPD officers, Peter Liang and Shaun Landau, were one floor above them. When Peter Liang entered the stairwell with his flashlight out and gun drawn, he fired his weapon and the bullet struck Akai Gurley center mass in his chest. Akai tragically tumbled down two more flights of stairs.
The Tragic Aftermath in the Shooting Death of Akai Gurley
Shocked beyond belief, Melissa Butler went one floor lower to the fourth floor and frantically knocked on the door of a neighbor. The neighbor immediately called 911.
Reported in an exclusive by New York Daily News reporters Rocco Parascandola and Oren Yaniv, Officers Liang and Landau, in the last crucial minutes of Akai's life, were not busy using their training to save or stabilize him, but instead began immediately texting their union reps to inform them of the shooting. According to the Daily News:
While Akai Gurley was dying in a darkened stairwell at a Brooklyn housing development, the cop who fired the fatal bullet was texting his union representative, sources told the Daily News. Right after rookie cop Peter Liang discharged a single bullet that struck Gurley, 28, he and his partner Shaun Landau were incommunicado for more than six and a half minutes, sources said Thursday.
In the critical moments after the Nov. 20 shooting, the cops’ commanding officer and an emergency operator — responding to a 911 call from a neighbor and knowing the duo was in the area — tried to reach them in vain, sources said.
“That’s showing negligence,” said a law enforcement source of the pair’s decision to text their union rep before making a radio call for help. The guy is dying and you still haven’t called it in?”
Still fighting for his life, Akai was not only wrongly shot by Officer Liang, but was denied the basic treatment and compassion he deserved in his final moments. Instead of caring for the victim shot by their own firearm, the officers went straight into "CYA" mode.
Imagine, just for a minute, if someone other than an officer behaved in the same way. Say for instance, that Akai Gurley shot someone, deliberately or accidentally, and for six-and-a-half minutes ignored the victim as they died, ignored calls from police and medics, and instead texted friends who could give him some good advice. How would that be viewed by the public?
What's particularly troubling when you consider such a role reversal is that Officers Liang and Landau, unlike Akai or most other civilians, were actually trained, at great expense, on exactly how to handle these situations, and abandoned their training in favor of personal expediency.
How Tamir Rice Died
Twelve years old and only in the sixth grade, Tamir Rice was shot and killed on November 22 by Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehman while playing in a local park near his home. After a local resident called 911 to report that someone who appeared to be a child was playing with what was likely a toy gun (both accurate), the police dispatch failed to relay crucial details to police officers—leaving out that Tamir was young and that his gun was likely a toy. With that in mind, police arrived on the scene and shot Tamir within two seconds of seeing him.
At least six lies the police have told about this case can be studied here and here, including the reality that Tamir never actually pointed or brandished the gun at them as they initially described. Likely unaware that a local security camera filmed the entire ordeal, the officers not only contrived key details on why and how the shooting occurred, but were unaware that they were filmed willfully neglecting a mortally wounded Tamir Rice in the crucial minutes following the shooting.
The Tragic Aftermath in the Shooting Death of Tamir Rice
It wasn't until an FBI agent, who was in the area with a detective, arrived on the scene that Tamir was given any first aid whatsoever. It must be noted that Tamir Rice fought to live all the way until the following morning, nearly 24 hours later. When asked why footage was not released showing exactly how officers performed after the shooting and why the officers on the scene refused Tamir any first aid, a spokesperson for the mayorjust communicated that the entire ordeal was under investigation.
As it turns out, Officer Timothy Loehman, who shot and killed Tamir, was actually dismissed by the previous department he worked for. The scathing critique left for him, which states that they recommend he never work as an officer, was uncovered by The Guardian, and states:
“During a state range qualification course, Ptl Loehmann was distracted and weepy,” Polak wrote, naming the trainer as Sgt Tinnirello. “[Loehmann] could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal. Sgt Tinnirello tried to work through this with Ptl Loehmann by giving him some time. But, after some talking it was clear to Sgt Tinnirello that the recruit was just not mentally prepared to be doing firearm training ...
In recommending Loehmann’s dismissal, Polak listed what he said were other performance shortcomings, including Loehmann’s having left his gun unlocked, lied to supervisors and failed to follow orders ...
“Due to this dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to manage this personal stress, I do not believe Ptl Loehmann shows the maturity needed to work in our employment,” Polak concludes. “For these reasons, I am recommending he be released from the employment of the city of Independence. I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.”
In the footage that has been released, Officer Loehman, at 7:16 in the video, can be seen immediately shooting Tamir Rice after opening his car door, then clumsily falling down on the ground, before taking cover behind the car where he appears to be nursing a twisted leg of his own.
How Eric Garner Died
On July 17, Eric Garner was choked to death by Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Staten Island, New York. His death was ruled a homicide.
As brutal as it is to watch, no words can say quite what this video conveys.
Almost universally, people all over the world feel that the death of Eric Garner was tragic, avoidable, and, at the very least, an excessive use of force.
The Tragic Aftermath in the Choking Death of Eric Garner
What's equally troubling, but shown much less, is the almost unimaginable seven minutes that an unconscious, and possibly dead, Eric Garner laid handcuffed on the ground while officers stared at him and offered no substantive form of first aid whatsoever. Again, consider a role reversal of any kind in which Eric Garner choked a handcuffed man unconscious and stared at him for seven crucial minutes instead of frantically performing CPR or seeking urgent help from the scores of surrounding professionals.
Or, could you imagine any scenario in which someone you loved (or even liked a little) loses consciousness after some violent injury, doesn't respond to your touch or words, and you, a trained professional, just stare at them not for a few seconds, or even two to three minutes, but for seven crucial minutes? It would NEVER happen.
These three cases were by no means chosen because they are the only three cases on record in which police officers exhibited a willful lack of regard for their victims, but because these all happened in the latter half of this year. Sadly, scores of similar cases exist all over the country and it is nearly unfathomable to imagine police officers, or any human beings with half a heart, behaving this way with anyone they loved or cherished.
Instead of conveying positive emotions of any kind, quite the opposite effect, in fact, is conveyed to African Americans when victims of police violence are treated with the regard one would give a dead rodent. It must be accepted by the wider public that these post-tragedy behaviors only fuel the narrative that racism, be it subconscious or otherwise, is what allows those chosen to protect and serve do anything but.
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