A white police officer is back at work in northeast Mississippi, weeks after a grand jury declined to indict him in the shooting death of a black man who ran from a traffic stop.
City spokeswoman Leesha Faulkner confirmed Wednesday that Tyler Cook is carrying out administrative duties at the Tupelo Police Department.
Antwun “Ronnie” Shumpert died June 18 after police said he ran from a traffic stop and Cook and a police dog found him hiding under a house. An autopsy showed 37-year-old Shumpert was shot four times.
The shooting has prompted multiple protests, and Shumpert’s relatives are seeking $35 million in a federal lawsuit against the city of nearly 35,700 residents
“The family is devastated by this latest slap in the face by the city of Tupelo,” their attorney, Carlos Moore, said in a statement. “He killed an unarmed man who simply ran from a routine traffic stop. Where is the justice?”
“Justice” probably starts with an honest description of what took place on June 18 between Antwun “Ronnie” Shumpert and Tupelo Police Officer Tyler Cook.
Carlos Moore, the family attorney, paints the picture of an unarmed man killed while running away from police.
That statement has only a slight resemblance to reality, akin to calling a hurricane “some wind and rain.”
What actually happened is that there was a chase, and Mr. Shumpert decided to try to hide from Officer Cook under a home. when Mr. Shumpert refused to come out and went deeper under the house, a police K9 was introduced to encourage Mr. Shumpert to leave. Shumpert fought off the dog, crawled out from under the home, and then allegedly attacked Officer Cook, knocked him down and was “viciously beating” him, according to the city.
It was at that point that Officer drew his service weapon and fired at Shumpert four times, killing him.
Now, is there a case to be made that perhaps Officer Cook did not have to use his handgun to shoot Mr. Shumpert? If he was justified in firing his handgun at Shumpert, were all four shots justified? Those are the legal questions that matter here, and a grand jury that investigated the case apparently felt that yes, Officer Cook was justified in using deadly force in this instance.
There is a disturbing lack of sanity that has emerged in recent years which argues against all of human history that an “unarmed” person simply isn’t a dangerous threat. The media, community activists, attorneys, and politicians are asserting that regular citizens and law enforcement officers should be able to handle unarmed threats without firearms at all times. That certainly seems to be the argument made by Shumpert’s family and their fantasy-addicted attorney.
In a perfect world, fights would be scheduled among opponents of similar skill levels and abilities in their own weight classes, a referee would ensure the fight is fair, and their would be a ringside doctor.
Back here in reality, however, we know that isn’t often the case.
People come in every color, creed, shape, size and sex. They have wildly different levels of fitness, skill, training, levels of aggression, and mindset. Fights aren’t fair, and in the real world, one of the two combatants in the fight is often vastly superior to the other. More often than not, that person is also the aggressor. They typically take the initiative, establish dominance quickly, and if they are handled quickly, may quickly beat their opponent not just into submission, but into death.
According to the FBI, you’re twice as likely to be beat or stomped to death by an unarmed man than you are to be shot to death by someone armed with a rifle. your roughly twice as likely to be beaten to death than shot to death with a shotgun. You’re more likely to be beat or stomped to death by an unarmed man than someone armed with a club or hammer.
“Unarmed” doesn’t mean you’re not a threat. The person is the weapon. Everything else is just a tool.
Every homicide (death of one person by another, whether justified or unjustified) should be examined with equal gravity under the law, but pretending that officers or civilians should have to fight “fair” while their opponents are doing their best to injure, cripple, or kill them in absurd.
You have a fundamental human right to defend your life against a deadly force threat by using the tools at your disposal. They include (but are not limited to) your own hands and feet, non-ballistic weapons, and yes, firearms.