Cop Shot In Face by Unarmed Black Man

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On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy was shot in the face by an “unarmed black man,” or at least that is exactly how the media would have described him had the deputy shot him instead.  Don’t believe me?  Need I mention the name Michael Brown?

You see folks, something that all cops understand, but the media and cop hating groups like Black Lies Matter intentionally ignore, is that every time a cop is involved in a physical altercation, at least one gun is present.  Furthermore, unlike TV or organized sporting events, there are no fair fights and real fights do not have referees.  The slightest use of force can look ugly, but a full on fight is very ugly, and it can wind up with someone dead or seriously injured, which is exactly what happened on Tuesday.  Thankfully, by the grace of God, the deputy survived and doctors say he will fully recover.

Unarmed does not mean not dangerous! 

The unarmed suspect in Tuesday’s shooting, like most violent criminals encountered by law enforcement, was no stranger to the “justice system.”  Nicory Marquis Spann is a 27 year old man who has been in and out of jails and prison for much of his adult life.  Not only is he a convicted felon, but he was also on active probation at the time of the shooting and had only recently been released from jail.  His criminal history includes multiple arrests for battery, criminal threats, brandishing weapons, resisting arrest, and a minor little thing such as being involved in a double murder, for which he went to prison.

According to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department via a Facebook post:

“The initial investigation shows the deputy made contact with Spann on the lower platform of the Regional Transit station. Unprovoked, Spann violently attacked the deputy and began fighting with him. At some point during the fight, Spann was able to get the deputy’s gun and fired two shots. One of the shots struck the deputy in the face.”

With hindsight being 20/20, and looking at Spann’s criminal history, his actions in this incident are not remotely surprising, but in the real world, cops are not omniscient.  We do not know who everyone is, what their background is or what their intentions might be.  We have no idea if the person we are talking to is the nicest person on the planet, or as in the case of Spann, a violent criminal willing to shoot a cop in the face over nothing.

Unarmed does not mean not dangerous! 

We (law enforcement) have said that a million times, but the media and cop hating groups refuse to acknowledge that.  Every year, according to FBI statistics, an average of 700 murders occur where the weapon used was “Personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.).”  Those numbers do not include incidents where the unarmed suspect managed to take a weapon from the victim and use it on them.

So, at the risk of becoming a broken record, let me again say unarmed does not mean not dangerous! 

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Stop Letting Criminals Off Lightly!
The whole misconception that an unarmed person is not a threat is only half of the problem.  The other half, which is especially pronounced here in California is that the media, the cop hating groups, and sadly a good portion of the voting population have begun to view criminals as some sort of group victimized by the cops and the criminal justice system.  If you look at the legislation that has been passed here recently, both by the legislature and by the voters (Ab-109, Prop 47 and Prop 57), there is a very disturbing trend of decriminalizing crime.  Convicted felons are being let out of prison early, felonies are being turned into misdemeanors or eliminated as crimes altogether, the parole system has been neutered, the probation system has been overwhelmed, and as a result, tens of thousands of violent criminals are wandering the streets instead of being locked in a cage where they belong.

It is a long established, well-known (to those who pay attention) fact that the vast majority of violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, many with very long criminal backgrounds.  Despite the tired mantra repeated by the media and criminal apologists everywhere, including one Barack Obama, one does not go to prison for simple possession of a joint (a marijuana cigarette).

“Please note that the majority of crime in America is not reported and the majority of reported crime does not result in an arrest and in many jurisdictions, a significant minority of crimes are not prosecuted. Thus if you reach the stage where the criminal justice system is prosecuting you for a felony, either you have done something very wrong or the system is tired of seeing you back in court.”

In addition to the fact that prison sentences are being reduced and crimes are being decriminalized, another serious problem faced in this country is the over-used pattern of plea bargaining by the district attorneys (state’s attorney, prosecutors, etc. – term varies by jurisdiction) in order to avoid costs involved with jury trials.  This issue has gotten so bad that people arrested for very serious charges, such as being a conspirator in a double murder (like Spann), are being allowed to plea bargain down to far less serious charges which puts them back on the street after only a few years.

It does not take much effort to find numerous recent events where persons actively on probation or parole have killed cops (these stories are far easier to find compared to murders of citizens).  In fact, in the last years, a few noteworthy events come to mind.

  • In Whittier, CA on February 20th, a known gang member and active parolee killed his cousin first, and shortly thereafter killed a cop, Officer Keith Boyer, who responded to a car crash that the piece of worthless crap gang member was involved in (while driving his dead cousin’s stolen car).
  • In Palm Springs, CA in October of 2016, another gang member with many serious prior convictions, who was on active probation, shot and killed two Palm Springs cops, Officers Jose Gilbert “Gil” Vega and Lesley Zerebny, who responded to his home for a “family disturbance.”  The suspect was laying in wait and murdered them in cold blood.
  • In May of 2015, in Omaha, NE, Officer Kerrie Orozco was shot and killed by a 26 year old shooting suspect who had prior convictions for multiple felonies including drug dealing and attempted murder, yet instead of being in prison was on the streets.  That felon’s girlfriend supplied him with the gun he used, and in a total miscarriage of justice, that girlfriend received a whopping one year of probation for her crime that directly lead to the death of a cop.

Those are just a small sample of the incidents where people who very obviously should have been rotting in a small box were instead on the streets, thanks to our ridiculously lenient “criminal justice system” and as a result, a cop is no longer living.  As I previously said, these incidents are only those involving cops as the victim, not private citizens.  Examples of private citizens being the victim of a person who should have been in prison/jail at the time of the crime are far too plentiful to list, and sadly they rarely even garner much media attention.

We know who is committing these crimes, and we know what we can do to prevent them, but sadly our society currently lacks the intestinal fortitude to take those steps.  Hell, seeming at least half of our society, thanks to the media and groups like Black Lies Matter, instantly sides with the criminals.  Long gone are the times when cops were given the benefit of the doubt.

The criminal justice system is broken folks, and the current state of it puts ALL of us in danger.  Ironically enough, if you were to search the internet for the phrase “broken criminal justice system” you would find hundreds of articles claiming the exact opposite of what I am saying here.  I guess I just have no sympathy for people who find themselves in prison.

Sadly, until we as a society once again decide that criminals need to actually be punished for their crimes, we can look forward to many more instances of people being killed by a suspect who should have been dead or rotting in a box.


A GoFundMe account has been created to raise money for Deputy Alex Ladwig, the deputy who was shot in the face on June 27, who faces a long road to recovery.  If you wish to contribute, you can do so here:  https://www.gofundme.com/AlexLadwigGetWellSoon

 

Deputy Shot In Face – Long Road To Recovery Ahead

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Yesterday, while I was out of town on vacation, I caught wind of a deputy having been shot in Sacramento, the town I grew up in.  The incident was still very fresh when I first became aware of it, and all I knew is that a Sacramento Deputy had been shot and that the suspect was outstanding.  Despite all my efforts using the various means I had available at the time, including texting a number of friends who work for that department, I was unable to ascertain the deputy’s condition.

What a horrible feeling!  I knew a cop in my hometown was shot, no idea about his identity or his condition, and here I was hundreds of miles from home where I have more resources available to help figure out what was happening.

Thankfully, I got a text about an hour later from someone in the know letting me know the deputy had been shot in the face, but was undergoing surgery and expected to recover.  Phew!  Thank God!

Shortly thereafter, I got word that the suspect had been apprehended and was in custody.  From what I was told, the teamwork, dedication and professionalism displayed by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Deputies on the scene, as well as numerous outside agencies including the Sacramento Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, was nothing short of commendable.  As I was not present, I cannot offer any examples, but the man who told me that has my absolute trust.

The following are the words of a friend who happens to be in a supervisorial position with the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department:

Things got real tonight at work, I am always impressed by the professionalism shown by the people around me, a job well done.

Today, more information made its way to me.  The deputy who was shot, Alex Ladwig, is not only early in his career, but he is also relatively young.  While I have not heard how it happened, it appears that after a violent fight, the suspect shot the deputy with his own handgun and then fled.

The suspect has been identified as 27 year old Nicory Marquis Spann, who has a significant criminal record including being involved in a double homicide in Santa Clara in 2008.  Wait, double homicide in 2008?  That was only 9 years ago.  How is he on the streets again?  Oh yeah, California… where criminals are the victims and are coddled by the state while the cops are the “bad guys.”  Appears (as always) it was easier to just plea that down to a couple significantly lesser charges, and a few short years later he is out on the streets again.  Sadly, no shock there.

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Deputy Ladwig was shot in the face by a career criminal who should have been in jail.  Deputy Ladwig has a long road to recovery ahead of him.  At this point, there is no way to know how long he will be off, but I’m sure he could use some help from us.  If you are able and want to help a man who was injured while keeping the public safe, a Go Fund Me account has been set up to help him by one of his coworkers.  Even if you cannot give, please share this on the chance that someone else will be able to. Also, if you are the praying type, you might consider sending a few his way.

 

A Black Eye For Law Enforcement: Dirty Cops Suck!

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No one hates a dirty cop more than good cops.  As a law enforcement officer, the community is supposed to be able to trust us, and when one of us screws up, no matter how slight, it makes the rest of us look bad.  BUT when one of us goes full-blown criminal dirtbag pedophile, it is even worse.  Sadly, that is exactly what appears to have happened in the case of Mike Zeug, who just so happens to be the Chief of Police for a very small police department in Walnut Grove, MN.

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He was arrested on June 9, 2017 as part of a sting operation, and the charges are listed on the Brown County Jail Roster as 1) Prostitution and 2) Use minors in sexual performance/pornographic.

“Zeug, who is the police chief of Walnut Grove, is accused of initiating communication with who he believed to be a 17-year-old girl. The charges state he told the girl it wasn’t his first time and wanted reassurance she wasn’t working with law enforcement. He asked the girl sexual questions and asked her to send him nude photos. He also asked her to stand at the front of the house and flash him as he drove by to prove she wasn’t involved with law enforcement.

Zeug was spotted doing multiple laps around the residence and the area once he was given the address of the supposed girl. He was arrested near the residence in Redwood Falls.” – CBS Minnesota

Now before anyone screams about the bad cops doing bad things, stop and realize who investigated and arrested this sexual predator.  It was other cops, doing what 99.9% of us cops do, taking bad guys off the street.  Sadly, for all involved, this bad guy wore (past tense) the same uniform as those who put him behind bars.  Furthermore, who is sitting here writing about the whole incident, but another cop.

Getting hired as a cop is not an easy task.  There is an academy, an in-depth background, a psychological exam, multiple interviews, a criminal history check, and more.  The point behind the entire long, drawn out hiring process is to try and prevent the wrong people from being put in a position of power.  As this case demonstrates, that process is not perfect and sometimes, albeit rarely, a dirtbag slips through.  There was recently a recommendation by Obama’s justice department, that in order to “diversify” America’s police forces, law enforcement needs to streamline the hiring process, lower standards and overlook past criminal history.  If people like Mike Zeug are slipping through now, with the hiring process as stringent as it is, what would it look like if we were to loosen standards for the completely arbitrary purpose of diversifying law enforcement?

Law Enforcement: America’s “Easy Button”

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Do you remember those Staples commercials from a few years ago that touted the “Easy Button” as a way to fix just about any problem you might encounter around the office? Lost something? Hit the easy button. Out of ink for the printer? Hit the easy button.  Have a gang violence problem? Hit the easy button?

What does an office supply store’s commercial have to do with law enforcement in America? Well, that attitude that one button can solve all your problems magically is sadly the exact attitude that most of America has about law enforcement. With one phone call, usually to 911, the cops are supposed to show up and make all of your problems go away.

And nowhere else is the idea that law enforcement can magically solve society’s problems more apparent than in the gang violence arena. Gang violence is a fact of life for many folks in America. Every large city has a ghetto, or more than one, and ghettos breed gang problems, both figuratively and sadly quite literally. Most times one generation of gang member raises their offspring to be just like them. Ask any cop who works a gang infested area and they can tell you what they see firsthand. I have had children so young they were barely able to walk, but in their minds, the cops are bad guys who want to kill them. To this day, I vividly remember a young child, maybe 3 years old, asking his mother if I was going to shoot him. “Mama, is the popo gunna shoot me?” That was 20 years ago, and I can still picture the scared to death look on that little kids face. Who the hell raises their kids like that? The answer, gangsters. Gangsters raising gangsters.

No normal person, no matter what their income level is, wants to live where they have to deal with gang violence, especially not decent, hardworking folks struggling to make ends meet, who have few options except to live in areas where gang problems persist. They call the cops when problems occur, and complain to law enforcement at community meetings about the gang problems, but besides talking about it, few are willing to step up and actually do something about it.

Safe Passage Summit
On Saturday June 3, in Columbus, Ohio, a first of its kind symposium, called the “Safe Passage Summit,” was held with the lofty goal of involving the community that is suffering from gang violence in working toward a solution. Columbus is like any other bigger city. They have nice neighborhoods, and some not so nice. Last year, they had just over 100 murders, mostly gang related, and this year is on track to beat last year’s count.

This summit was organized by Sean Stevenson, a Columbus resident and former gang member. Speakers included some of the founding members from some of the most notorious criminal street gangs in America, all cooperating and trying to work together to break the cycle that ruined many of their lives, and took the lives of many of their friends. The mayor and some city council members were in attendance. One local news station covered the event and talked about the positive aspects and the noble goals of the summit.

What the media did not talk about was the absolute lack of attendance by community members, the very people who are constantly complaining about the gang violence problems. In fact, the news story claimed that the attendance was high. Camera angles and zoom levels were carefully chosen so it appeared to be well attended, but the fact is, hardly anyone attended. They expected a crowd of 300-500, but by the scheduled start time of 1pm, there were only 29 people in attendance. They delayed the start, hoping for more people, but by 1:45, 45 minutes after the start time, there were still far more empty seats than full, and at that point, the mayor, who had planned on speaking, left before anyone had even taken the stage. By around 2:20pm, the attendee count had increased twofold, to approximately 70 people.  Such a wasted opportunity!

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All of those people who didn’t show up, who put no effort into trying to figure out a way to eliminate gang violence, those are the same people who complain about cops. The following are two recent incident from Columbus.  These incidents, and the others like them from around the country, are the reason I say that the people complaining about us are the same people saying we need to clean up their neighborhoods.

About a year ago (June 2016), a couple of (white) undercover officers in Columbus shot and killed Henry Green, a 23 year old black man who was armed with a gun, and who fired his gun at the cops who shot him. Protests and demonstrations ensued, national news media did stories on it, Black Li(v)es Matter got involved and as usual, claimed the cops killed Green for being black. About two months ago, the courts announced no charges would be filed against the officers, because as is usually the case in officer involved shootings, the shooting was justified. As if on cue, Green’s family filed a lawsuit against the city.

A few months after Green was killed, a Columbus cop shot and killed an armed robbery suspect who was pulling a gun on them at the time of the shooting. Tyre King was a 13 year old black kid who was hanging out with a group of older kids and robbing people at gunpoint. His gun just happened to be a BB gun, but neither his victims nor the cop who shot him knew that, at least not until it was all over. The story became national news. “White male cop shoots and kills 13 year old black kid who only had a BB gun.” Protests erupted, Black Li(v)es Matter came and demonstrated. The tired mantra about racist cops was heard. As usual, the protesters completely disregarded any and all culpability that King had in his own demise. And again, as everyone who understands use of force laws expected, no charges were filed against the officer, because while tragic, as the death of any 13 year old kid is, the shooting was 100% legally and morally justified.

And therein lies the problem. Society wants the gang violence problem solved, but is unwilling to do anything about it themselves, and when the cops do anything, that very same society screams at the cops and calls them racist murderers. I think I speak for most cops when I say this is what we hear:

“Hey cops, you need to fix our gang problem , without our help or even our cooperation, and do it without ‘racially profiling’ anyone, even though the gang problem is predominantly a minority issue, and don’t you dare shoot one of them, even if they are armed, even if they shoot at you, even though criminal street gangs are the root cause of the gun murder problem in this country, because if you do dare to shoot them, it was only because you are racist, even if you are black, and you just kill random young black men for no reason… “

While I consider myself better than most at looking at a situation from all sides, I realize that I am a cop and my view on things is always from a cop’s perspective. With that in mind, I reached out to Sean Stevenson, the organizer of the summit, and asked him a few questions. As of this time, I have not yet received a response, but I hope to hear back from him. If I receive a reply, I will update this piece.

Coincidentally, I just read a blog post two days ago and while it was aimed at a different topic, it actually touches on this one as well. The blog is called “The Salty Sarge” and the specific post was titled “Policing in America: Why Good Cops Are Leaving.” It is a good read, one which I agreed on just about every point, but the comment that is pertinent to this discussion is “The only thing that has ever helped a community not suck are the people that live there.” The author follows that with:

“The only thing, in my 2 plus decades of policing, that has ever genuinely helped a community in trouble, has been ‘in your face policing’.

Gasp. Shutter…

No he didn’t.

Yes I did. And that only solves the problem long term when the citizens in that neighborhood decide they have had enough. Or move.”

In that one section the author hit on the two halves of the solution that can reduce, possibly even eliminate the gang violence problem. Hardcore, directed policing aimed at the gang violence problem and an involved community that is working with and standing behind the cops. Without those two, no long term change will occur.

The cop’s side of this is easy. Law enforcement knows what to do, how to do it and is more than willing to do it, if we get support. If we are met with condemnation, name calling and blame shifting, then you get more of the “Ferguson Effect,” which negatively affects the communities that are worse off at a disproportionate level, thus causing more hurt to the very people who need us most.

The community side of this equation is harder. It requires involvement by the majority of the people in the community and consists of crazy things that include being involved parents, not tolerating gang activity, adults actiing as good role models, mentorship for kids on the brink of trouble, employment training and opportunities, teaching work ethics and manners, community development projects and more. It all boils down to being a community that people are proud of and want to be a part of. This is something only the community can do.

There is no “easy button” that will magically fix things. It takes hard work. No one can do this for you, not the cops, not the politicians, not the participants of the Safe Passage Summit. You need to help you. Help us help you. Get involved!