Friday, August 3, 2012

It's My Story and I'm Sticking To It...

Chavis Carter, victim of miraculous suicide
In a routine traffic stop (probable cause: Driving While Brown), two officers from the Jonesboro, Arkansas police pulled over a pickup truck on Saturday night.  The passenger in the truck was one Chavis Carter, a local 21 year old African American.  As is their wont, the two white officers searched the driver and the passenger, and found, predictably enough, "some marijuana and some unused baggies".  Perhaps even more predictably, when they ran young Mr. Carter's information through the system, they found he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Mississippi.  Deciding to take him into custody on the warrant, they searched him again and handcuffed his hands behind his back, as is routine procedure.  They placed him in the back of the police car and returned to search the pickup truck more thoroughly.

Now here's where it gets somewhat fantastical.  According to the officers, neither one of them was anywhere near the police car when they heard a loud noise they described as "...a loud thump with a metallic sound".  When they investigated, they explained, they found Chavis Carter with a gunshot wound to his right temple, hands still securely cuffed behind his back.  Official explanation?  The officers, in the course of two searches of his physical person, missed a concealed handgun which he was then able to use to kill himself, presumably in order to avoid a routine arrest on the Mississippi warrant.

As unlikely as it is that experienced street cops would miss a gun in two searches, I would grant that it is at least possible.  But that someone might, with their hands tightly cuffed behind them, access this deeply hidden weapon and then somehow use it to shoot themselves in the head is pretty much impossible.  There is also the additional twist that he was shot in the right temple, while his mother says he was left handed - something the cops would not likely know that night.

It's no surprise that I think one of those Jonesboro cops murdered Chavis Carter that night.  It's no surprise because American law enforcement personnel have become far to quick on the trigger, far to willing to shoot people for increasingly vague and uncertain reasons.  And one of the reasons they have become so willing to kill and maim is that there is seldom any accountability for these actions - they are seldom even brought to trial, and when they are they are almost always acquitted by judges and juries willing to believe any tale, no matter how bizarre, because they are the "good guys" and often because the only other witnesses to these crimes who are not also police are dead.

So there's not much to add here, and nothing new to be learned.  The FBI is investigating, and when they concocted this ridiculous just-so story of immaculate suicide they probably didn't expect the bright light of national attention.  But the story will be told over and over again by the only people left alive that know what happened that night, and their co-workers and supervisors and neighbors will describe their christian goodness in glowing detail, and unless they really screwed up and left fingerprints on their 'drop gun', they will walk away free men.  Chavis Carter will be dead forever, and his memory will be forever fouled by the knowing smirks of his killers.


  1. As the guy in Florida said in his defense after killing a black guy at his door "why are you getting so worked up? I only killed a nigger."

    Also feeding into that trigger-happiness: the distribution of military grade weaponry to local poilice departments feeding into a siege mentality; that they HAVE to shoot first, that weaponry is to be used as a first resort.

  2. Yep. I wrote a piece in the old blog after the Sean Bell slaughter. The fact that one of these idiot cops would run through TWO full 15 round mags without noticing nobody was fucking shooting back is appalling.

    They wear body armor, carry heavy weapons, have advanced digital communications and even air support. And they say they have to shoot people because they "feel at risk". I gotta say, if you tilt the playing field that far in your direction and still feel like you have to cheat, you oughta find something else to do...

  3. As a former city editor, I've got a couple of questions: Whose prints are on the hhandgun and what are the origins of the handgun? Of course, if it was a "throw-down" gun no record of its origins will exist but maybe, just maybe, some sort of trail exists...

  4. We sure spend a lot of money on police and the military for a country that's paranoid and insecure. Or maybe that's the idea?

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