Mimesis Law
20 September 2020

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.

Robertson had walked into the street earlier carrying a gun. He fired into the air until his pistol was empty. When the deputies showed up, he started to walk away, still holding the gun.

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.

Not once.

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.

namIn 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.

24 Comments on this post.

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  • The Face of Reform Looks Like Rahm Emanuel, And It’s Ugly | Simple Justice
    15 December 2015 at 8:57 am - Reply

    […] Prickett, using the eyes of a 20-year police veteran, tries to tell his brothers that if this murder in the streets doesn’t end, the public is going to do . . . something.  […]

  • Eva
    15 December 2015 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    As long as it is still legal to video tape these kind of situations regarding law enforcement there is a chance citizens may be able to address the apparent over use of deadly force.

    • Scott Jacobs
      16 December 2015 at 2:01 am - Reply

      How? By making it public? What good does that do?

      Until we start putting these cops on trial and actually convicting them, nothing will change.

      And look, folks, these cops murdered a man in broad daylight, having pumped over 30 rounds into him. Do you know WHY?

      Because they thought they could get away with it. And I don’t think they are wrong.

      • Eva
        16 December 2015 at 8:45 am - Reply

        Scott please read my comments right next below to this one.

        I want to clarify my previous statement about “irrefutable” (spelling?) video evidence. This video would have to clearly view the intent of all parties and would have to unaltered in any way shape or form.

        Unfortunately I believe that unless the public decries the way 33 bullets were required to stop a man probably nothing in the way of a major investigation or trial of the officers would of been done.

        • Scott Jacobs
          17 December 2015 at 11:22 am - Reply

          Again, so what? What will the video actually DO? It won’t stop them from murdering people in the street, we know that for sure.

          You are hoping that some fix will occur, as if by magic, simply because video exists.

          I’m telling you that unless you count “angry mobs,” “fire,” and “woodchippers” as magic, nothing is going to get better because cops – cops who are shown by the video to have flat out lied about both their actions and the actions of the person they killed – will still either not be charged at all or not convicted if they are charged.

  • Eva
    16 December 2015 at 2:23 am - Reply

    I get what you are saying Scott but without irrefutable (sorry if spelling not up to par) evidence such as video the chances of any kind of a trial or fair investigation would probably be further out of reach.
    There is also something to be said of pubic outcry when evidence of video is presented regarding abuse of deadly force. Still I get what you are saying Scott, it’s bad, very bad to see a man crawling away on the ground while so many bullets were fired at him. I don’t understand why they thought that was okay to do to another human being.

    • Scott Jacobs
      17 December 2015 at 11:23 am - Reply

      Public outcry means absolutely nothing. Have you not been paying attention?

      • Eva
        17 December 2015 at 10:18 pm - Reply

        Has the Black Lives Matter movement meant nothing to you? Is their effort meant nothing to you? What does your demeaning converse add to the conversation? Am I suppose to be your whipping post for your frustration in this particularly devasting situation.? I tried to give you In the nicest way to respect your opinion yet you dismiss me by saying “Have you not been paying attention?

        Well I am a person of color and part of me bleeds every time I hear or see such heinous acts against other minorities. I may not be black but I’m not Anglo either.

        So spare me the part about not paying attention. I am grateful for any shred of positive effective action that may lead to addressing such atrocities.

        • Eva
          17 December 2015 at 10:24 pm - Reply

          Let me clarify I am a biracial person.

          • Greg Prickett
            17 December 2015 at 11:52 pm -

            Eva, two points.

            Races are a human construct, there is no genetic difference from a biological standpoint.

            Second, even if there were ‘races’, almost every is at least biracial and most are multiracial.

            If we treat everyone the same, we don’t have to worry about labels.

      • Eva
        17 December 2015 at 10:25 pm - Reply

        Let me clarify I am a biracial person.

      • Eva
        17 December 2015 at 11:21 pm - Reply

        Point of reference “Black Lives Matter” have been putting themselves out there protesting, I believe their “public outcry” as been very effective.

  • Richard G. Kopf
    16 December 2015 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Greg,

    If you were not of age to be drafted in 1968 you can’t imagine how the photo of the execution of the Viet Cong operative galvanized America and the world. I remember hearing the gasps as we watched the footage and thought WTF. I am not happy that you brought me back to that moment, but I am glad you did.

    Terrific writing. All the best.

    RGK

    • Greg Prickett
      16 December 2015 at 12:44 pm - Reply

      Thank you Judge. I was not yet 10 when that happened, so it did not affect me as much at the time.

      The kicker to the whole photo, Pulitzer or not, is that Lem, the man who was killed, was a VC officer who had probably killed over 40 innocents, had been seen, just before his capture, executing some of them, and was not in any uniform. The police chief, Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, was within his rights and was acting within the law of war to summarily execute a spy in a combat zone.

      The photographer, Eddie Adams, has stated that Loan was correct in what he did and apologized to Loan and his family for the damage the photo did to his reputation.

      All of that was a moot point – it galvanized the anti-war movement in the U.S. It was part of the tide turning against the military and the war.

      That’s what I see happening here. There will be a video of a killing that will finally be the straw that broke the camel’s back for the public, and they will start putting pressure on politicians. It’s already happening to some extent, all one has to do is look at Chicago and how fast the mayor tossed the chief under the bus.

      It’ll get worse.

      • Scott Jacobs
        17 December 2015 at 11:27 am - Reply

        “There will be a video of a killing that will finally be the straw that broke the camel’s back for the public, and they will start putting pressure on politicians”

        And the politicians will whisper sweet nothings, soothing empty platitudes, and then promptly ignore us.

        “all one has to do is look at Chicago and how fast the mayor tossed the chief under the bus.”

        Indeed, look to Chicago, where not even a week after the whole thing blew up and the chief got chucked, the city went right back to fighting tooth and nail against the release of video of multiple other shootings.

        Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

        • Greg Prickett
          17 December 2015 at 1:10 pm - Reply

          Scott, I understand what you are saying.

          I would love for this to no longer be a problem, but until it reaches a critical mass with the public, the same thing will be done as has been done in the past–because it worked.

          I feel that change is coming, but it’s not to that point of critical mass yet.

          It’s frustrating.

          • Scott Jacobs
            17 December 2015 at 2:14 pm -

            I just keep getting the feeling that you don’t think critical mass will involve public officials put to the torch.

            I, at this point, suspect that nothing short of that will being the process of change.

            But as I said, my cynicism has apparently managed to actually get worse.

          • Eva
            17 December 2015 at 11:01 pm -

            One effective strategy I believe is to make the voting public aware of the resume of the people in charge (electable officials) of these law enforcement departments. Specifically how they allow and/or train their subordinates to operate in the field such a incorporating stats on use of deadly force and outcomes of investigations presented as a reference of how a candidate for an electable office in such depts. operates. This “resume” could be presented as a reference so the voting public could make a more informed choice..

            The trick would be to make that resume a part of the voting process so voters would know exactly how effective a candidate in all phases of his job performance.

            What is your thoughts on this ? How could we accomplish this goal?

          • Scott Jacobs
            18 December 2015 at 2:48 am -

            How do we accomplish it?

            By dragging the politicians and appointed officials from their offices, kicking and screaming, stripping the nude, covering them in tar, dusting them with feathers, and running then out of town on a rail.

            If that fails, I’d vote for the traditional method of dealing with traitors that the English used to use. The REALLY traditional way.

            because this dream of “effecting change” simply will not work – the people in charge don’t want to change, if for no other reason than they need the police union to support them if they want to get elected.

            And the voters? Please. the voting public is functionally retarded – if you walked up to a 30-something on the street and asked who their congressman is, they MIGHT be able to tell you, but they sure won’t be able to name their rep in the state legislature. And you expect them to hold a thought in their head long enough to vote based on policy positions? FFS, Hillary AND Trump supporters both fully support the positions of the other when they are told their candidate is the one who made the proposals. I suspect a lot of other candidate supporters would do the same thing.

            We have raised up a bloated, ineffectual system – a system that now moves under it’s own momentum, discarding things like “logic” and “discretion” in favor of “well, this is what the rules say, so we better ticket that 8-year old girl for running a lemonade stand without a permit…”

            The public won’t vote for change- they are too busy with their bread and circuses. Hell, Chicago has had the same party in charge for decades, and it isn’t like the cops there are only just now doing horrible stuff – the people there know, but the politicians give the same empty promises year after year, and the people keep falling for them.

            I admire your faith in The System, I just don’t understand on what it is actually based.

  • Scott Jacobs
    17 December 2015 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Huh. I’m starting to think my cynicism has reached the Singularity…

    • Eva
      17 December 2015 at 11:39 pm - Reply

      I’m going to try one more time. You appear to be singularly smart. That is such talent you have.

      Don’t waste it on cynicism. I don’t care how bad it gets.

      • Scott Jacobs
        18 December 2015 at 2:37 am - Reply

        It comes from observing reality. Sort of unavoidable.

        As Mencken said, 9 times out of 10, the cynic is right.

        • Eva
          18 December 2015 at 4:36 pm - Reply

          So stubborn…..

          ;^)

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