[UPDATE :: TUESDAY, April 6, 2010: "Eureka" Slaughter NOT an Aberration Either]
This is the Report's fourth commentary on the police shooting of David Sequoia. No doubt not the last either. The Times-Standard newspaper continues to tell everyone what happened according to the survivor's as if everything they say is the truth. They continue to refer to Sequoia as a criminal “suspect” in the process of assaulting everyone with a gun; “a grave threat.” That is the unsubstantiated opinion Greenson and the Times-Standard continue to publish made by Chief Garr Nielsen. This Report does not dispute the fact that those officers were put into a threatening situation. To say Sequoia put them there is unsubstantiated nonsense.
Thadeus Greenson continues his reports in the Wednesday, March 24, 2010, Times-Standard another one-sided account of what happened to David Sequoia in his article: “Two officers in Eureka shooting identified.”
If you hadn't read all the other reporting with some objective scrutiny or careful consideration you'd think that there was some wild-eyed, pistol-packing criminal type, some thief, rampaging through a peaceful neighborhood, threatening, shooting, attacking and fighting with innocent people, including a local resident trying to protect his family and property, when he was consequentially confronted by the police and subsequently shot when he “twice” pointed “his” revolver at a police officer. All open and above board, totally legal and justified.
Greenson doesn't say that the guy shot in the head execution-style had first been assaulted by the local resident, Kris Coon for simply “lurking about” in the alley. Notice how Greenson twists or slants what Coon earlier reported, “Coon said he wound up in a confrontation with Sequoia, who was still armed with a hand gun.” In another report, Greenson writes, “Once the officers saw the gun, which was still in Sequoia's hands, Coon said they instantly began yelling at Sequoia to drop the weapon.” Nielsen continues, “officers issued numerous verbal commands, and also attempted to physically wrestle the weapon from Sequoia.” Notice now what Coon says about what just transpired, “Finally, Coon said, his grip on the barrel of the weapon began to weaken, and he felt the gun turning toward him.” So what the officers actually saw was NOT a gun in Sequoia's hands, but a gun in both Coon and Sequoia's hands. So why did they jump to the conclusion that the gun belonged to Sequoia and that he was the aggressor? Coon had just said he had jumped Sequoia and slammed him to the ground in the mis-belief that Sequoia was a thief. He does say, however, that when the police officers arrived they found Coon and Sequoia on the ground fighting, as it turns out, over the possession of a handgun. Coon says he had a hold of the barrel, “desperately trying to keep it pointed away from him and his house, where his 12-year-old daughter and wife were inside,” and Sequoia apparently had the gun by its grip, the only way he could fire the gun if he was an actual threat to anyone. Greenson says both officers along with Coon tried to wrestle the gun away and when in the melee Coon supposedly pointed the gun at or near officer Patrick Bishop's face he shot him in the chest. The coroner says that was a fatal shot. When, somehow, Sequoia was still able to bring the gun to bear on Bishop his Sargent Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez put his gun at the base of Sequoia's head and shot him instantly dead.
On the obvious face of this, what's wrong? First, according to Kris Coon, Sequoia did NOT threaten Coon. Coon “confronted” Sequoia. He freely admits he was the aggressor and jumped without any provocation Sequoia “slamming” him to the ground. Sounds to me like Coon was the stronger of the two. Next Greenson says the police officers, once they too realized there was a gun began wrestling with Sequoia trying to get the gun away from him; immediately identifying him as the “aggressor.” Apparently, this effort was done with only one hand because their other hand held their own guns. Point being, to hear their accounts you would think Sequoia was some kind of super-strong gorilla able to overpower all three men while holding onto the grip or butt of the gun. That would be the part with the least amount of leverage. It seems to me that if Sequoia was able to overpower three men sufficient to threaten their lives, two of the men trained police officers no doubt in good physical condition, he certainly could have overpowered Coon and shot him straight away. He certainly would not have waited to use that gun until slammed to the ground. At that point Sequoia had the legal right to use that gun for self-defense if he so chose. Apparently, according to Greenson, that is what he had just done when confronted in a dispute by two of his supposed friends over on California Street.
This Report is not taking issue with the Eureka City Police officers justifiable right to shoot that man to death given that he was an actual threat. Unfortunately, everything that was said by Kris Coon, the officers involved as reported by John Driscoll, Thadeus Greenson and the concurring statements of Chief Garr Nielsen do not justify that man's untoward death. What they do show is that everyone involved jumped to unsubstantiated conclusions, conclusions totally without merit and acted aggressively on them resulting in the untimely death of that man. That seems to be an inherent problem within the Eureka Police Department that Chief Garr Nielsen has done nothing to fix.
All our lives, regardless of what class, race or religion, are just as valuable as any police officer. No one forced any of these people to be police officers. Doing their job, dealing with ongoing situations of the type involving Coon and Sequoia obviously forces quick, life-changing decisions. That's what they freely and personally took on to themselves. That's part of their job. That is what all taxpayer's pay them to do. That does NOT make them heroes nor does it make them more important or their lives anymore valuable than anyone one else. When people inadvertently or purposely break the law, it is the “LAW” that they offend, not the police officer or the police department. Police officers routinely act like it is a personal affront anytime someone seems to personally impugn them or their integrity. The fact that they wear a badge and carry a gun does not make them god. It's too bad these reporters, and the Times-Standard management, don't understand that fact and report with a little more independent objectivity. In the long run, since it is the responsible thing to do for the community the Times-Standard supposedly serves, they just might save someone's life, even someone like Kris Coon.
[UPDATE :: Monday, April 5, 2010]
What does it mean when we can't get the simple facts from the newspaper anymore? Either the news-conscious public are so inured or dumbed down the media believes they can say anything and everyone will go along. Tragically, the media and their whore-mongering politicians backed up by a corrupt judicial system seem to think they not only have the right to tell people what to think, but HOW to think.
It was this atrocity hitting the American news that began the end to the Vietnam War. That guy with the gun was a South Vietnamese General, Chief of National Police and the man he publicly executed a man in handcuffs ONLY accused of being a Viet Cong soldier. Why? Because the majority of American's couldn't stomach being responsible for such an atrocity. The atrocity wasn't the brutal and summary public murder of that young man, but the blatant, in your face attitude, repudiating rule of law, justice and human rights; everything America used to stand for and that was worth sacrificing your children for. These same atrocities are going on constantly, only this time they are carried out by U.S. forces in other obscure places. This time, because it is American men and women enforcing this despotic system of the wanton butchery of all that is right, decent and legal, while they try to hide behind their so-called rules of a phony war, it's okay to lie, stack the deck and preach incessant propaganda. This is the latest “act” of self-defense in this war against the masses: How Americans are propagandized about Afghanistan - written by Glenn Greenwald and contains the following Headline: U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan are committing atrocities, lying, and getting away with it.
March 22, 2010, by Jerome Starkey, war correspondent for the Times of London. Here's a partial excerpt:
It’s not the first time I’ve found NATO lying, but this is perhaps the most harrowing instance, and every time I go through the same gamut of emotions. I am shocked and appalled that brave men in uniform misrepresent events. Then I feel naïve.
There are a handful of truly fearless reporters in Afghanistan constantly trying to break the military’s monopoly on access to the front. But far too many of our colleagues accept the spin-laden press releases churned out of the Kabul headquarters. Suicide bombers are “cowards,” NATO attacks on civilians are “tragic accidents,” intelligence is foolproof and only militants get arrested.If you think this kind of crap, lies to justify the murder, only exists in far away places, you'd better open your eyes, look down the street and think again. The local Times-Standard is no better than this:
But far more often, Americans are completely misled about events in Afghanistan by the combination of false official claims and mindless stenographic American "journalism." And no matter how many times this process is exposed -- from Jessica Lynch's heroic firefight to Pat Tillman's death by Al Qeada -- this relentless propaganda machine never seems to diminish.