Calling out media manipulation on police shootings
Austin PD's media manipulation tactic of waiting until after the initial press cycle to inform reporters that naked high school kid in Austin who was gunned down by a police officer was unarmed backfired on them in the case of David Joseph. Opined the Statesman's editorial board:
That delay was too long for information that had to be known to the police department within hours — if not sooner — following the shooting. That is a misstep the department should not repeat as the investigation into this tragedy unfolds.Managing coverage of police shootings media cycle by media cycle - eliding the truth as long as possible while the department gets its story straight - is a tried and true old-school method of media management that will probably soon become outdated now that the news cycle runs an hour or two at a time instead of 24. This has been ridiculously common as long as I've followed these civil rights issues around police shootings. You can often tell the dubious ones because the department's story changes over time. Initial press announcements following police shootings in many cases misstate or obfuscate key facts - like overlooking that the naked guy was unarmed - which sometimes are corrected in followup coverage days or weeks later, sometimes years later in litigation, or sometimes not at all. It's really good to see the media calling them out on it.
It’s also the kind of misstep that undermines public confidence in the police department’s ability to investigate its own officers. It’s the kind of lag that fuels public perception that the police department is buying time to craft excuses to justify an officer’s use of lethal force under suspect circumstances rather than conducting a fair investigation that goes where the evidence leads.
'I'm down, bro'
A civil rights suit has been filed, reported the Texas Tribune, in which police were caught on video beating an already-detained jaywalking suspect:
There was an imminent threat he might text someoneIn last fall's much-publicized incident, Austin police officers arrested Jeremy King, 22, and Lourdes Glen, 24, alleging they had jaywalked on Austin’s 6th Street. Video taken of the arrest shows several officers forcing King and another friend — Matthew Wallace, 23 — to the ground. King and Wallace are black. Glen is Hispanic.The suit names Austin police officers Richard Munoz, Brian Huckaby, Gustave Gallenkamp, Vanessa Jiminez and other "unknown officers."At one point in the video, an officer appears to punch Wallace repeatedly, though Wallace is already being held on the ground by three officers.“I’m down, I’m down, bro,” Wallace says on the video, which went viral online. “I’m down, I’m down. What did I do?”
The wife of an unarmed man killed in San Antonio when police mistook his cell phone for a gun and shot him has sued SAPD in federal court. This happens a lot. Cell phones cost $600 so people don't want to leave them in their car. Plus, some folks access their insurance info that way. Of course they bring their phone with them.