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John Batchelor


The maddening revision of the Olympia shooting

Hundreds of people protesting a police shooting gather outside of City Hall in Olympia on Thursday. (AP)

I’ll be the first one to admit that we don’t know all the details that happened in the Olympia shooting this week that sent two men to the hospital. We’re relying on limited testimony and audio evidence. But how about we all pretend to give a damn about all the facts of the case currently presented, rather than revising the story to fit ideological views?

Related: Police release surveillance video taken before Olympia police shooting

Here’s what we’re being told by some outlets: two unarmed black men were brutally shot by a white cop for trying to steal beer. The Seattle Times headlined their story Thursday night, “Washington officer shoots men accused of earlier beer theft.” KOMO TV reported Thursday night, “Olympia cop shoots 2 unarmed men suspected of steeling beer.” The Stranger reported, “An Olympia police officer shot two unarmed black men early this morning who were ‘suspected of stealing beer.'”

If that’s what happened, we should be outraged. But it’s not what happened – at least not according to the facts currently presented.

Here’s what is alleged to have happened: two black men attempted to steal beer from an area-Safeway. When confronted, they threw the beer at the clerks, fled, were confronted by an officer, assaulted one of the officers with a weapon (a skateboard), and were shot.

The officer didn’t shoot these two men, according to reports, for stealing beer; they were shot for committing an assault. Hard to believe, but officers don’t like being assaulted with a weapon that can kill or seriously injure them. (Some folks are downplaying the assault or just omitting it altogether but if you don’t think a skateboard can be used to kill someone, read about the death of Demetri Andrews, who had his head smashed in by a skateboard in the University District).

But you have race baiters and ideologues purposefully perverting the facts of the case and setting up a phony narrative because they need it to fit the #BlackLivesMatter cause.

Case in point, Charles Mudede over at the The Stranger wrote of his time at Thursday night’s Olympia protest. He wrote:

A young white male who identified himself as Philip talked with me about the allegations that the two young black men had been caught shoplifting at a Safeway. “I have been caught for shoplifting there and I got a slap on the wrist and they sent me home to my mom,” he told me. “I do not want special treatment. I want to be treated like everybody else.”

Did Philip assault the cop arresting him? That might have changed the way the cop interacted with him.

Then Mudede reminded us, “Don’t forget: Mike Brown was shot by a cop after he stole from a store, too.”

Let me remind Mudede, then. Don’t forget: Mike Brown was shot after he tried to steal the cop’s gun in an attempt to kill the cop, not because of his robbery.

Related: Police recording details what happened in Olympia shooting

If you think these activists are fighting because they see an injustice, think again; they don’t have facts on their side to show an injustice (at least not yet). They only have their hatred and distrust of cops. I think they truly believe that hatred and distrust is justified, but they’re blinded by those emotions (justified or not). They just close their eyes, hold their collective breath, and pray that the facts change and show them to be right. If it doesn’t, they don’t care – they’ll just ignore the details. And it’s possible that their instincts are right. We can acknowledge that. We still don’t know yet what went down. The problem is every time these activists protest before knowing facts, the less influential they become. And right about that time when they are justified in their anger and protest, it’ll be when the rest of us ignore them as the protesters who cried racism.

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