They Killed My Baby!

“They killed my baby!” cried the mother of a 32-year-old robbery suspect. “I want justice for my son. They didn’t have to kill him. He’s a good boy – a good father.”

These are words that are often heard immediately after an officer-involved shooting. Sure, the robber was his mother’s baby, and always would be, no matter what he’d done. However, the moment Junior made the decision to point a weapon, or threaten the life of an an officer, or another civilian, was the moment that justified an officer’s use of lethal force.

In many cases, there’s no one at the shooting scene other than police officers and the suspect. The suspect was also probably alone during the moments that led up to the shooting. Therefore, Mama was not around to see her precious baby boy when he smoked crack for several hours and then headed for the corner convenience store carrying a cheap Davis .32 pistol loaded with bullets he’d had for so long they’d begun to turn green. Once at the store he wandered around waiting for the last customer to leave and then pointed his pistol at a frightened clerk demanding that she hand over cash and cigarettes (they often include several packs of smokes in their take). Then he left the store to buy more crack with the stolen loot.

He’s drinking a beer, his eighth in the past two hours, as he drives to the various places in town known for crack dealing. They’re easy to spot – runners standing in the street in groups of four or five, pretending to carry on conversations all the while scanning each vehicle for potential customers, and for undercover police officers. A runner approaches the robber’s car and the robber asks if he’s holding. The runner spits a $20 rock from his mouth (a favorite hiding place because he could easily swallow it if approached by the police) and then sells it to the robber.

At this point the robber’s hours-long intense synergistic high combines with the adrenaline rush caused by committing the robbery. Suddenly, he’s ten-feet-tall and bullet proof. This is the worst possible time for him to make contact with police officers. He thinks he’s invincible.

However, this is just about the amount of time officers need to put together the information required – license numbers, residence, type of car, witness statements, known hangouts, etc –  to track down the suspect. They begin their search based on the information they’ve gathered. It won’t be long now.

The suspect drives his car to the end of a rarely used alley where he uses a homemade crack pipe (a piece of broken portable radio antenna stuffed with a small portion of a copper scouring pad for a screen) to smoke the recently purchased rock. This takes only a few seconds to accomplish, with the peak of the high lasting not much longer. He pulls the shift into drive and heads out to buy another rock.

Patrol officers spot the car pulling out of the alley. They check the description against the information they’d received in the BOLO (Be On The Lookout). It matches that of the car used in the robbery. The officers activate their emergency equipment (cop speak for lights and siren). The suspect pulls over and reaches under the seat for his gun.

The officers use their PA system to order the suspect out of his car. They tell him to hold his hands high so they can see them at all times. Instead, the suspect leaps from the car and begins shooting toward the officers. The return fire, killing him.

Meanwhile, a neighbor who heard the action makes a few phone calls. Word eventually gets to the family who soon begin to show up at the scene. It’s not long before Mama arrives and sees the tarp-covered body surrounded by a sea of police cars, officers, and news reporters.

“They killed my baby!” she howls. That’s when the lights come on and the cameras begin to roll.

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7 replies
  1. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Shawntel – Thanks for stopping by. You know, thanks to the media and parents who wear blinders, there are lots of people screaming at their TV sets.

    SZ – I don’t remember if I’ve addressed the confiscated cash issue, or not. So…

    Cash that’s seized as a result of illegal activity – drug raids, etc. – can be forfeited to the police department, prosecutor’s office, etc. for use in future drug enforcement operations. We bought cars, guns, and other equipment, etc. Officers can even seize property, such as cars and homes if they were used in connection with the illegal activity. They can either sell those items in a police auction, or use them in drug-related law enforcement (homes can be used for undercover ops; cars for the same).

    Cash recovered from robberies goes back to the owner as soon as possible. It’s kept under lock and key in an evidence room/locker in the police department.

  2. SZ
    SZ says:

    Don’t get me started on the parade they gave to that Lovell Mixon guy who killed FOUR police officers last year !

    Yup Jena, well put.

    Lee, have you ever had a post about where money goes, sits … after retrieved from a robbery, drug bust … ?

  3. Shawntel
    Shawntel says:

    This was a great post. I’m also one who screams at the TV. My thought is that maybe if Mama had seen her baby honestly instead of making excuses for his criminal behavior, then she wouldn’t be put in the spot of crying because her baby’s now dead and no longer the scourge of society.

  4. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Joyce – Me, too.

    Ramona – The mouth is much more sanitary than some suspect’s pants pockets. You wouldn’t believe the crap cops pull out when searching those folks. I sometimes wished I’d worn a second pair of gloves to protect the first.

    Jena – You’ve nailed it. News reports can be so frustrating .

  5. Jena
    Jena says:

    Oh, but the best part will be the media’s take on it:

    “According to family members, he was a sweet boy who laughed all the time [because he was stoned 24-7], left behind 2 beautiful babies [both illegitimate, from different teenage mothers, and don’t forget the third, born to his rape victim last year], and after winning a singing contest [when he was 7] he wanted to be on TV [but probably didn’t plan on being featured on ‘America’s Dumbest Criminals’]…”

  6. Ramona
    Ramona says:

    Of the many, many, many reasons not to smoke crack, the thought that the rock has been carried around in somebody else’s MOUTH is a good enough one for me. Eww.

  7. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    Great post, Lee.

    Those “They killed my baby!” people should not be put on TV, but unfortunately drama outweighs any justice or common sense, so they’re here to stay. I always end up yelling at the TV, “Your baby was a ******* criminal!”

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