On Sunday, a man by the name of Che Taylor was shot and killed in a confrontation with Seattle Police.
How that shooting was characterized by different parties, however, is as different as night and day.
Seattle independent news outlet The Stranger spoke with Seattle-King County NAACP President Gerald Hankerson, and presented a story that portrayed Mr. Taylor as the mostly-innocent victim of racist police officers.
On Sunday, Seattle police shot and killed Che Taylor, a black man from Seattle who was well-known in the community and deeply beloved, Seattle-King County NAACP President Gerald Hankerson said this morning.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he has one of the biggest funerals in Seattle,” he said.
…Hankerson decried the way some reports “are demonizing him as an armed felon… They’ve already depicted him as a monster.”
Police chief Kathleen O’Toole called Hankerson last night. Hankerson said she told him a gun was “‘in reach’… which indicates to me that a gun was not in his hand.” Another member of the local NAACP, Sheley Secrest, said O’Toole told her the same thing, and that the chief promised to share dashcam video of the shooting by the end of Monday. The department has made a practice of releasing videos of officer-involved shootings within a day.
“It doesn’t add up,” Hankerson said. “We know him as someone who is not a gun toter… My entire community right now is so outraged. There’s so many more questions than answers.”
Taylor celebrated last New Year’s Eve with Hankerson. They’ve known each other for nearly thirty years. “He was a handsome gentleman who lived life to the fullest,” he said. “He’s well known, well loved… this is personal.”
That’s certainly one account. Here’s another.
The felon who was fatally shot by two Seattle police officers Sunday reached for a handgun after ignoring commands to show his hands and get on the ground, Seattle police (SPD) said Monday.
Police released graphic dashboard-camera video and a detailed description of the incident, in what appeared to be an effort to quickly provide information on the shooting of the African-American man, identified as 47-year-old Che Andre Taylor.
Taylor, who also has gone by the name Marvin R. Hunter, had a lengthy felony record, including rape, robbery and assault, and he was under supervision by the state Department of Corrections, according to court records and a corrections spokeswoman.
Taylor died Sunday evening after police shot him hours earlier on the edge of the Wedgwood neighborhood in Northeast Seattle.
Police were conducting surveillance about 3:30 p.m. in the 2200 block of Northeast 85th Street as part of an ongoing investigation, according to a written statement posted on the SPD’s news website Monday,
Officers saw a man with a holstered handgun and identified him as Taylor, a “convicted violent felon” prohibited by law from possessing a handgun, the statement said. They called for additional units around 4:15 p.m. to assist in taking Taylor into custody.
While Taylor stood at the passenger door of a white Ford Taurus, a marked patrol vehicle with its emergency lights activated pulled up facing the Taurus as an arrest team approached the car, according to police.
“Officers ordered Taylor to show his hands and get on the ground,” the statement said. “He did not follow officers’ commands, and instead leaned into the Taurus.”
Officers and a civilian witness interviewed by investigators reported Taylor reached for a handgun, the statement said.
Taylor’s handgun was recovered, along with six ounces of crack cocaine and black tar heroin.
* * *
Let’s be very clear on two points.
Sometimes law enforcement officers use excessive force. If there is evidence that officers use excessive or negligent force, those officers are hopefully then arrested and face the criminal justice system. This is a good thing.
It is not probably not excessive force when officers open fire on a known convicted felon reaching for a gun, as was shown in the dashcam video of officers sweeping in to arrest Taylor for being a known felon in possession of a gun at the scene of a suspected drug deal.
When clowns like Seattle-King County NAACP President Gerald Hankerson—who knew Che Taylor from their shared time in prison—attempts to portray the death of a violent serial criminal as a crime against an upstanding citizen, and the black community swears to that lie, they are doing nothing more or less than gutting their credibility.
The Black Lives Matter movement has continually beclowned itself as it reflexively attempts to portray any shooting of a black person by law enforcement as a racist act. When eyewitness accounts and the physical evidence show that those deaths are indeed justified—as happens an overwhelming majority of the time—then the Black Lives Matter movement looks to the rest of America like pro-criminal agitators. Attempts by the Seattle NAACP and Taylor’s family to portray this convicted rapist/armed robber (and apparent crack and heroin dealer) as an innocent instead of the human predator he clearly was are pathetic theater.
This continually dishonest “crying wolf” make it increasingly difficult for the rest of society to discern real incidents where law enforcement officers have overreached from those instances which are mostly fiction, such as the justified self-defense killing of Michael Brown.
We all want law enforcement officers to use the minimal amount of force necessary to bring in criminal suspects, but when activists and agitators lie to themselves and the world about clearly justified uses of deadly force, society at large suffers, and we can’t bring pressure to bear when and where it is truly needed.