Let's see a show of hands. Every one of you who recognizes these names, raise 'em up. Michael Brown? Freddie Gray? OK. Now how about Darren Goforth, Steven Vincent, Rafael Ramos, and Wenjian Liu? No hands? That's not all that surprising to me as a forensic criminologist and police expert.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past year, you would know that Michael Brown was the felony robbery suspect who assaulted and was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. This incident precipitated the forensically false "Hands up. Don't shoot!" narrative that led to nightly riots and the destruction of parts of the minority business district in that town.
Freddie Gray, as most of us know, was the drug dealing street person in Baltimore, Md., who resisted arrest and died in police custody quite possibly as a result of banging his head against the steel bolted walls of a police transport van. To date, the autopsy results show no direct linkage between Gray's injuries and police brutality. Yet, six Baltimore police officers have been indicted in his death. Again, anonymous "activist" looters pillaged and burned portions of that city's minority and elderly community.
Now for the name you may not be familiar with. Darren Goforth was the Harris County, Texas, deputy sheriff who was brutally executed this past weekend in an unprovoked and cowardly ambush by a suspect identified as Shannon Miles. Police arrested Miles shortly after the killing and so far he's not talking. Deputy Goforth and Shannon Miles had never met each other and no connection between them has been established. The media so far state that "the motive in the murder of Deputy Goforth is unknown." Are you kidding me?! Here's a motive for you: A war against police.
Make no mistake about it. The law enforcement community is under attack. Factually, more peace officers have been injured or killed this year alone than U.S. soldiers deployed overseas in the so-called "War on Terrorism." You didn't know this? Why not? What, you may ask, is causing this spike in what I refer to as "Officer-Directed Violence?" Well, I'll tell you.
As a retired cop and now a forensic and behavioral expert, I have investigated hundreds of critical incidents resulting from violent encounters between citizens and police. In fact, my Forensic Death Investigations & Independent Review Team specializes in police-related death cases. Here is what I have found so far.
The anti-law enforcement Black Lives Matter movement, President Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, jet-setting activists like Al Sharpton, and the uber liberal news media continue to forward a false message to an under- or misinformed public that the police are inherently racist and violent.
Rather than endorsing and championing a message that the law enforcement and urban crime plagued communities need to support each other, these actors seem to thrive on creating distrust, dissention, and division between police and the public. Of course, they all unanimously deny this is the case. So, what is to be believed? Let's make you the forensic investigator to analyze a couple of cases from this past week alone.
Last week Louisiana State Trooper Steven Vincent was deliberately ambushed, shot, and killed by Kevin Daigle, 54 years old, when the 44-year-old officer stopped to render assistance to Daigle, who had been involved in a single-car accident. So far, the investigation has revealed that Trooper Vincent and suspect Daigle had never met each other. On Trooper Vincent's dashcam audio, suspect Daigle is heard to taunt the hapless and mortally wounded trooper, saying, "You're lucky. You're going to die soon." Daigle was neither wanted nor mentally deranged. Nothing the trooper did provoked the shooting.
In case you might think that there is a racial theme to this article, Trooper Vincent and his murderer were both white. From what we are now learning about murder suspect Shannon Miles' cold-blooded murder of Texas Deputy Sheriff Goforth, like murder suspect Daigle, Miles was also neither wanted by police, nor mentally disturbed. It appears that Miles and Daigle just wanted to kill a cop. But why?
Unprovoked, deliberate, cold blooded murders are actually rare occurrences. Yet, the stories of murdered officers and the booking photos of their killers appear with far greater frequency on our TV screens now than in past years. We all know that police work is dangerous. For the most part, police are trained and train themselves in officer safety tactics. Responding to violent domestic disputes, armed robberies, gang fights, and active shooters is all part of the job. We accept it. It's what we do and what the public we serve expects from us. It's that simple.
However, this new dynamic of the wanton, willful, and cowardly assassination of peace officers by ambush is a paradigm shift in the dynamic of officer-directed violence. It is an act of urban terrorism that is no different than if an ISIS cell member had planted and exploded an IED under a police officer's patrol car. There is NO difference because at the end of the day you still have a dead officer that resulted from an unprovoked attack. The purpose of terrorism is not only to kill innocents, but to psychologically paralyze the masses by instilling fear and breaking down the will to fight. Creating fear and submission through random acts of violence is central to the behavioral profile of the terrorist.
Very few of those involved in activist movements such as "Black Lives Matter" are protesting police brutality, racism, or oppression. What they are protesting is the rule of law and police-community efforts to fight crime and violence to make communities drug, gang, and violence free. That is the real war in America right now. Don't be naïve. Our law enforcement officers comprise the "Thin Blue Line" of soldiers who separate and protect the innocent from the predatory criminals and the entitled, exploitative "users" who want a lawless society.
When our own President and his former Attorney General, who was the chief "law enforcement officer" in this nation, allege that police are insensitive racists, they empower false narrative activist groups like the Black Lives Matter movement. When black racists like Al Sharpton label police as thugs and the killers of black men, they fan the flames of racial discord and empower the police haters and predatory criminals to attempt to break down the rule of law. Just as perilous is when national, state, and municipal leaders criticize police for political reasons absent forensic proof; they not only polarize the law enforcement minority communities, but light the fuses of the mentally unbalanced "ticking time bombs" among us who take this dangerous rhetoric as a sign to commit future acts of violence against the police and their communities.
Do you think I'm offering a false narrative? Well then riddle me this. Do the last two names on my list, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, ring any bells? Well, they should. On December 21, 2014 Anti-Crime Unit NYPD Officers Ramos and Liu were peacefully sitting in their patrol car when they were suddenly approached and shot point blank in the head execution style by suspect Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 26.
Prior to assassinating the officers, Brinsley had ominously posted on his Instagram account, "I always wanted to be known for doing something right. I'm putting wings on pigs today." His angry rants on social media indicated that he was going to murder police officers in retaliation for the officer-involved shooting/killing of felony robbery and police assault suspect Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Like his murderous and cowardly criminal colleagues Miles and Daigle, Ismaaiyl Brinsley was neither a wanted man nor mentally unstable. So what would cause this man to believe in his heart that he was "doing something right?"
Why would anyone think that the cold-blooded killing of police officers simply sitting in their patrol car; pumping gas; or seeking to assist a motorist in distress as doing the right thing? I'll tell you why. It's in large part because national, state, or local leaders they respect; activists who refer to themselves as men of God; and a news media that they trust tell them that the police are violent racists who shoot and kill people including young black men who are somehow involved in innocent or benign criminal behavior. "Hands up. Don't shoot." If you don't believe me, then just watch the evening news where you will see protesting crowds of the Black Lives Matter movement walking down streets chanting, "Making bacon; pigs in a blanket." What do you think they are referring to but the assassination of police officers?
So for me and my brothers and sisters in law enforcement, it all comes down to this. America is at a critical turning point. We can either be destroyed by ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists from outside of our borders; or we can be destroyed from within by lawless criminal predators and society's violent criminal activists and police haters. You choose.
The independent monitoring, professional investigation, and criminal/civil prosecution of alleged and actual police misconduct is important in any free society. Peaceful protests forwarding this agenda is also appropriate, healthy, and needed. However, what is largely happening throughout our nation right now is neither.
It is a forensic fact that only an extremely small percentage of the 900,000 peace officers in this nation act outside the bounds of the law. Police also do a far better job removing bad officers from their ranks than the State Bars do nationally to rid the justice system of bad attorneys; or the commissions on judicial responsibility do in removing incompetent or corrupt judges. That's another fact.
Honest, hard-working police officers want the bad apples in law enforcement punished and gone as much as, or more than, you do. However, police officers will not tolerate any threats to their well-being and neither will those of us like me who support them.
So as a law enforcement community and as fellow Americans, my brothers and sisters in blue and khaki and I ask you now: Where do you stand?
Stop supporting politicians, the media, corrupt activists, and people you know who continue to forward false narratives that encourage and empower police hate, urban terrorism, and the destruction of the rule of law. Stand up for law enforcement. Decry the false, hateful, and anti-police rhetoric. Push back against politicians and activists who seek to polarize us. Work to strengthen the bridges of unity between police and the public by supporting law enforcement. If you don't take a positive stand to support your protectors, we will certainly see America slowly but surely destroyed from within. It's your choice. The real truth here is that ALL lives matter!
About the Author
Ron Martinelli, Ph.D., is a forensic criminologist, Certified Medical Investigator, and police expert who directs the nation's only multidisciplinary Forensic Death Investigations & Independent Review Team. He is a Federal/State Courts subject matter expert specializing in police-involved death cases and has personally investigated over 200 officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths.