The Execution of Nicholas Robertson*
Dec. 15, 2015 (Mimesis Law) — I used to work for a police lieutenant out of East Texas. Like many blacks in that part of the country, he grew up without anything, dirt poor, but determined to make something of himself. He joined the Army, served his time, got out, and became a police officer. Over his 20-year career, he rose to the rank of lieutenant and obtained his bachelor’s degree. He got out of the police department and started his own business, which has become successful.
He has shown extraordinary drive and determination, and as a businessman and former cop, he has always been conservative, Republican, and very supportive of police officers. He rarely posts on Facebook, so when he posts something I tend to pay attention.
Oh, crap, I thought. You have a black man, walking away from deputy sheriffs. Then you have the man, Nicholas Robertson, get shot in the back, fall to the ground and start crawling away.
There’s a slight pause, and then the deputies start shooting at him again, as Robertson was crawling away.
What the hell? He’s crawling away!
My old lieutenant was very clear on his thoughts.
I would love to know how this act could possibly be a lawful use of deadly force. Look at the officer reloads as the officer continues to shoot at the man as he crawls on the ground. The majority of Police Officers are out to protect and serve, but this is out of control. When will this stop!!
If you watch the video at about 0:23, you’ll see the closest deputy drop an empty magazine, reload, and resume firing.
Again, what the hell?
Of course the rest of the story is different, and this is where it would have ended in the past.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office initially said that Robertson pointed the gun at the deputies.
That’s so much BS, and proven to be in error thanks to the citizen video.
So now the story is that Robertson was still holding the gun as he fell and as he tried to crawl away.
OK, why don’t we look at this for a second.
Even if you accept that the officers needed to shoot to begin with,† to protect the public at large, that doesn’t require that they then continue to pump 33 bullets into him as he’s crawling away.
The deputies never tried to move to cover after Robertson went down.
They didn’t pause to evaluate the situation.
No, they just continued to fire bullet after bullet into his body.
As he’s crawling away.
At no point does Robertson turn back toward the officers or point the gun at them.
All he did was crawl away.
If someone did that to an animal, they would be charged with cruelty to animals, and PETA and the rest of animal rights loons would be having massive protests.
The police just don’t get it. It doesn’t matter if they can justify it legally or not. I’m very aware that these officers are not going to be criminally charged, and even if they were, they will never be convicted in California.
The police are going to lose the public relations battle. It’s happened before.
In 1968, a South Vietnamese police chief killed Nguyen Van Lem in the streets of Saigon. Lem had been caught by a mass grave of 34 civilians who he had killed, after he had also killed a South Vietnamese officer and his family, including an 80-year-old woman. Lem was an officer of the Vietcong, and since he was in civilian clothes could be summarily executed as a spy.
None of that mattered to the public in the United States. The photograph won the Pulitzer Prize and was one of the reasons that the anti-war movement kept growing.
Here at home, with the increasing popularity of cellphone videos and Youtube, the police are going to continue to provide photos and videos that will appall the public, and will eventually turn them against the police. We’re seeing some of this already.
But when you have a video that two former 20-year cops initial reaction is “WTF” and “when is this going to stop,” you’ve got problems that mere words are not going to solve.
The police can use all the words that they want to explain why they were justified in shooting Robertson. The military and the government explained over and over again why Lem was executed in the street in 1968.
It’s not going to matter to the public.
There going to believe what they see, at the time they see it, and it’s not going to matter what the follow-up explanation is, or if it is justified or not.
The public is still not going to like it.