Media Plays Games With Body Cam Video
Media Plays Games With Body Cam Video
Another week and another police shooting. This time, sixteen-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was shot and killed by a Columbus, OH police officer after brandishing a knife and threatening to stab another girl. Not that the initial media accounts told the public about the danger Bryant presented. No, it was too busy beating the narrative drum of systemic racism in our nation’s police departments to wait for all the facts. Then, when body cam footage was released, it twisted the coverage and judiciously edited the 911 call. All hail to the narrative that must take precedence over determining the facts, at least as far as the media is concerned.
I tip my hat to the Columbus PD for recognizing the need to release the body cam footage. The department was in an impossible position after the Bryant shooting. Only a day had passed since Derek Chauvin was convicted in the George Floyd killing. The media immediately went on the attack, pointing out this was yet another white cop shooting a black suspect. Only a couple of days had passed since President Biden, acting in a very unpresidential manner, prayed for a guilty verdict in the Chauvin trial.
Can you imagine how the Democrats would have reacted if Trump admitted publicly he prayed for anyone’s conviction? Even if he did so in a way that fit their narrative, they would have condemned him.
Fast-forward a few days to the Bryant case. LeBron James reacted as many of the so-called celebrities did. He took to social media and condemned the shooting without waiting for all the evidence to come in. He tweeted “a photo of officer Nicholas Reardon, who is white, with an accompanying caption, ‘YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,’ along with an hourglass emoji.” He has since deleted the tweet with the following “explanation”.
ANGER does any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail! 🙏🏾✊🏾🤎👑
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2021
Hmm, so it is still all about Bryant without a single word for the person she threatened to stab. Where is the justice in that? Where is the sympathy or concern for those threatened by Bryant as shown on the officer’s body cam?
But LeBron did what he wanted. He fanned the flames and joined the media in trying to sacrifice yet another officer before all the facts were known. (You know you jumped the gun when O. J. Simpson weighs in and tells you to get the facts before saying anything.)
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the worst of the steps taken to make this story fit the approved narrative.
The Columbus Police Department released a clip from the officer’s body cam within hours of the shooting. To say this is unusual is putting it mildly. Most police departments want to at least get a handle on the investigation before releasing the footage. But the PD leadership read the writing on the wall and took what steps it could to not only be transparent with the investigation but head off potential mostly peaceful protests.
Since the rise of body cams, police departments across the country have grappled with whether and how to release videos of violent incidents involving officers and the people they’ve shot or killed. Mayors sometimes want to get the footage out to mollify protesters, police chiefs can use the clips to defend their officers, and prosecutors are left worrying about tainting the jury pool. In some places, local officials may not have a choice because state law prevents or spells out how it can be released.”
It is a balancing act made much more difficult thanks to the media. NBC Nightly News is a prime example. The first thing it did when reporting on the shooting was carefully edit the 911 call in such a way no mention was made of the “grown girls” who were fighting trying to stab others. But there’s more.
In their report on the officer-involved shooting in Columbus, Ohio, NBC Nightly News deceptively edited the 911 call to leave out the part where the caller says a girl was "trying to stab us." They also don't show viewers the knife in the attacker's hand just before the shots. pic.twitter.com/r5uXD1qDb1
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) April 22, 2021
Now, the report did say Bryant had a knife but the spin, oh the spin. There’s a big difference between showing her with the knife in hand and simply mentioning she had one. As the saying goes, a picture’s worth a thousand words.
Knowing it had a problem on its hands thanks to the media, one that needed to be dealt with sooner, rather than later, the PD released a second body cam clip.
The press for transparency after an incident is driven, in large part, by social media and online influencers weighing in on evidence of shootings surfaced by bystanders or witnesses and media interest in cases that garner that attention.”
Do you see the words “justice” or “fairness” anywhere in there? No. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther explained the release of the clips this way:
There were a lot of things being said and shared out in the community that may or may not have been consistent with what we’ve seen with our own eyes here. And I think, critically, a time of crisis, it’s very important to be as transparent and responsive as possible.”
Yeah, Mr. Mayor, it’s hard to keep quiet when the media and so-called celebrities are spreading what can, at best, be called untruths or half-truths.
Civil rights attorney Leo Terrell yesterday put it this way, “Basically, the extreme left has declared war on White Americans and White police officers.” He went on to say:
They talk about racism. I’m a civil rights attorney. I know what systemic racism is. It does not exist in Chicago, and Los Angeles, and Baltimore,” he said. “When the people running the show are Black people and Brown people, chief of police, they only play the White officer card against a Black victim.”
Yet the media continues the narrative and the Democrats fall in line with it. Or perhaps it is the other way around. Perhaps it is the Democrats’ narrative and the media falls in line. Either way, it is damaging this country to the point where recovery might not occur for decades, if even then.
Are there bad cops? Sure. Just like there are bad people in every profession or occupation. But not every cop is bad and certainly not just because of his or her skin color. The same can be said of civilians. You aren’t bad because of where you live, what you believe or the color of your skin.
But the most telling of Terrell’s comments last night are again something the media continues to fail to cover. LeBron James, like so many other celebrities who are demanding police reform or even the abolition of the police–not to mention clamping down on gun ownership–enjoys private security and police guards all the while condemning those same officers putting their lives on the line to protect him.
It must be nice to be one of the more equal among equals. But, since most of us aren’t one of the more equal among equals, let’s hope we have more folks like Mayor Ginther and the Columbus PD command staff giving us information about what happened in a police-involved shooting than the media.
According to Ginther, the video was released “because the public deserves to know what happens. They needed to have this footage … to have this information, to have this transparency, to have this power, given to the community. So, it’s no longer about an officer’s word versus a resident’s word or different neighbors’ takes on things, but we have this footage. And we know that having this footage increases accountability on both sides of a camera.” Left unsaid is that it was also released because of the way the media played games and spun the story.
It is a sad day when the media declares war on police. Isn’t it time we start asking why our supposed free press is attacking law enforcement, free speech, our right to bear arms and so many of our other fundamental rights?
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