Published on March 13th, 2015 | by gatsbyadmin0
“Diabla in the details”
In late January of 2015, Jessica Hernandez, an unarmed child, was shot dead by Denver police officers. While the facts of this case continue to evolve alongside the legal process, the observant public wonders if we are witnessing the formation of yet another avenue for police brutality.
The police shootists — Daniel Greene and Gabriel Jordan — claim that Jessica endangered their lives by driving at them, and thus her death resulted from the officers’ self-defense.
American familiarity with this dynamic, for better or for worse, is at an all-time high. When it comes to the self-defense narrative, it is getting hard to assess which aspect is more impressive: total frequency or total forms, as the latter seems an array allowed to widen every day. Unless of course the self under attack is queer red brown or black.
The officer-versus-car form of self-defense though off-kilter already has traction. In fact, members of Denver PD have now protected themselves by firing into a vehicle 4 times in the past year.
One such case is that of Sharod Kindell, a 23 year-old black man who allegedly attacked officers with his Jeep in reverse before being shot five times. On March 6, District Attorney Mitchell R. Morrissey published a letter detailing his failure to file charges against PD who shot Sharod, beginning to produce a new layer of precedent for acceptable police brutality.
For those criminal cases that pit the word of an officer against the word of a victim, small details of the event or information about its participants can become crucial both to a particular case under examination as well as those set to follow. The stolen Jeep that Kindell was driving reportedly made contact with a police car as well as the apprehending officers. A loaded gun and a bunch of cash were found inside. Furthermore, positive assessment of a will to commit such a crime has been aided by Kindell’s criminal record that includes felonious vehicular eluding in 2013.
D.A. Morrissey stated that no charges were fileable against the Denver PD who shot Kindell five times “[in] view of the circumstances of this case, and the options” available. And say what one may about the details of Sharod’s experience – in an age where innocent teenagers and children can be shot dead by police on videotape one can hardly claim to be surprised by a statist outcome, however tragic.
In the opinion of the author, the details of the Sharod Kindell case by no means constitute an acceptable justification for lethal force. Make no mistake; the bias should never go in favor of a police department whose members have not faced criminal charges for killing a citizen since 1992.
The facts of each “vehicle-as-weapon” case naturally seem strange and that of Jessica Hernandez is no exception. The narrative of a teenager driving a car full of her friends at police officers with intent to kill sounds specious and illogical, especially in comparison to the overarching narrative of authority routinely overstepping its own boundaries to the grave detriment for America’s People of Color.
But in terms of how this latest justification for shooting a POC will take shape, the Kindell case will still serve in part to define the limits of the law. Due to the frequency of police shootings, before the Kindell case can be entirely accounted for the question for Hernandez is quickly becoming: how important will the circumstances of her case actually be? Or will the need to vindicate any and all police action yet again be the sole cost of colored life? What will Denver PD do? What do we expect them to do?
Such questions are not merely abstract. Initial revelations of deeper investigation are already countering the perceptions of Jessica’s responsibility for her own death, including those of the cops that shot her.
For instance, Denver’s Chief Medical Examiner and Coroner recently stated the manner of Jessica’s death to be “homicide.” Upon finishing his examination, Dr. James Caruso concluded that bullets entered the driver’s side door before passing through Jessica’s lungs and heart, back to front, facts that her attorney claims should “undermine the Denver Police Department’s claim that Jessie was driving at the officers as they shot her.”
Common sense makes so much more sense. Sadly common sense is rarely available to racists or accounted for in racist systems. Hernandez was partying with friends in a car in a residential alleyway before driving away from officers out of panic. Trace amounts of marijuana and alcohol in Jessica’s system will become the focal point even though they do not constitute a motive for why she would risk five lives to commit vehicular homicide. She lacked a relevant criminal record. Vindicating details for a deceased innocent teenager jump out asking for attention. Will they receive it?
Sadly we have already learned from the protections granted to George Zimmermyn and Darrun Wilsyn that any scratch counts – an officer could have slipped and fell trying to reload his weapon for all we know. But still it is worth stating that any injury allegedly sustained to the officers leg has been largely unsubstantiated.
Daniel Greene and Gabriel Jordan, the officers who killed Jessica Hernandez, sit at home on paid leave.
written by: Martin Osborn @o_z.z_y