daniel harris 2

The New York Daily News is a New York City tabloid comprised entirely of “very special” writers.

Larry McShane thinks that an armed robbery suspect with a handgun in his possession when shot is “unarmed.” Delicate columnist Gersh Kuntzman nearly developed PTSD from shooting an AR-15, and then apparently lied about his interview with the range owner.

Then there is the most special of all Daily News writers, Shaun King. King has created a name for himself as a radical Black Lives Matter supporter and law enforcement critic, even though he lacks any sort of credentials, experience, training, or insight to lend him any credibility.

King’s full-spectrum ignorance is once again on display today as he attacks a North Carolina state trooper for what King describes as the death penalty crime of driving while deaf (no link, as we do not give the Daily News traffic and money to reward their serially dishonest behavior).

A North Carolina state trooper shot and killed 29-year-old Daniel Harris — who was not only unarmed, but deaf and mute — just feet from his home, over a speeding violation. According to early reports from neighbors who witnessed the shooting this past Thursday night, Harris was shot and killed “almost immediately” after exiting his vehicle.

He appeared to be trying to communicate with the officer via sign language.

“They should’ve de-escalated and been trained to realize that this is an entirely different situation,” neighbor Mark Barringer said. “You’re pulling someone over who is deaf, they are handicapped. To me, what happened is totally unacceptable.”

Police claim they attempted to pull Harris over for speeding, but he continued driving home instead of pulling over. Whether Harris fully understood what was happening, since he could not have heard the sirens, is unclear. His family, including his siblings, are also hearing impaired and could often be seen communicating with each other via sign language in the neighborhood.

An outrageous 752 people have been killed by American police so far this year. While some of the cases posed genuine risks to law enforcement, this one is hard to justify. Beyond being unarmed, deaf and mute, Daniel Harris appears to have been a rather small, thin man. Opening fire could not have been the only option the officer had. What threat did Harris pose? Was a Taser or pepper spray used? Could the officer truly not subdue Harris on his own?

King has a long and well-documented history of attacking law enforcement officers based upon thin and inaccurate first accounts, and then never apologizing nor learning from his long string of mistakes.  The death of Daniel Harris appears to be another embarrassment in the making which King could have avoided by looking at the actual facts of the case, instead of spinning them to favor his cop-hating narrative.

north-carolina-highway-patrol-640

King wants to pretend that Daniel Harris was somehow unaware of the law enforcement officer directly behind him, and that the officer shot him immediately for no reason when Harris got home, just because he was deaf.

Let’s unpack that, shall we?

North Carolina State Troopers use both marked and unmarked cars with bright lights bars and flashing headlights. Deaf or not, Daniel Harris was no doubt well aware that Trooper Saunders was behind him as soon as the Trooper hit his lights. Even if mildly distracted in his thoughts, he would have picked up the troops lights in his mirrors within a few hundred yards.

But Daniel Harris didn’t even start to pull over even then, did he?  He instead led Trooper Saunders on a multi-mile chase.

harris chase

Trooper Jermaine Saunders attempted to pull Daniel Harris over on I-485 near North Tryon Road, a distance of  more than 7.5 miles from where the chase and shooting occurred on Seven Oaks Drive.

King likewise glosses over the fact that both vehicles had suffered significant damage prior to the end of the chase, suggesting that the vehicles drive by Trooper Saunders and Daniel Harris had collided.

Are we to believe that in addition to being deaf, mute, and selectively blind to police light bars, that Daniel Harris’s sense of touch is so awry that he could not feel vehicles impacting one another?

While Shaun King is happy to cite part of what neighbor Mark Barringer had to say about the incident, King intentionally excluded the most interesting things Barringer had to say [my bold below].

The Highway Patrol car came down across here,” neighbor Mark Barringer told the station. “He was kind of smoking real bad, and then he stopped over here, and then a few minutes later, I heard a gunshot. I saw a body on the street, and it looked like he was dead.”

King cites Barringer’s opinions, but not his observations, because what Barringer saw undercuts King’s narrative entirely.

The fact that the vehicles collided prior to their final destination on Seven Oaks Drive  and that Trooper Saunder’s car was smoking—almost certainly from fender sheet metal rubbing against a tire—suggests that Harris was driving in such a reckless and dangerous manner that Trooper Saunders felt compelled to attempt the Precision Immobilization Technique, also known more colloquially as the “PIT maneuver,” in an effort to spin Harris’ car and bring the chase to an end.

It’s well worth noting that the PIT maneuver is only used in extreme cases where the pursued driver is such a threat to the community that law enforcement thinks he may kill someone if the officer does not intervene.

Note that Barringer says that Trooper Saunder’s car was smoking when he saw it on Seven Oaks Drive before the chase ended, strong suggesting that Saunders attempted the PIT maneuver somewhere on the roughly one mile of Rocky River Road between the I-495 exit and where the chase concluded Seven Oaks Drive.

But that’s not the most important detail of Mr. Barringer’s testimony. His most important testimony directly refutes Shaun King’s assertion that Harris was killed immediately upon exiting the vehicle [again, my bold below]:

“The Highway Patrol car came down across here,” neighbor Mark Barringer told the station. “He was kind of smoking real bad, and then he stopped over here, and then a few minutes later, I heard a gunshot. I saw a body on the street, and it looked like he was dead.”

Daniel Harris was not shot “almost immediately” while attempting to use sign language as the cop-hating columnist King asserts.

Daniel Harris, who has a history of resisting officers in both Florida and Connecticut, was shot and killed after struggling with Trooper Saunders after Saunders attempted to take him into custody “for a few minutes.”

There’s a world of difference between an innocent person with a disability being murdered for not being able to understand an officer, and a violent suspect with a history of resisting arrest being shot at the end of a multi-minute struggle with an officer after a high speed chase.

Once again, Shaun King is undone by even a cursory look at the known evidence.

It’s a damn good thing that he works for a news outlet where facts simply don’t matter.