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On the latest police atrocity in pontiac, michigan

Oakland County Sheriff Kills Pontiac Black Man ‘Jaquan Fletcher’ - When is the Sheriff’s Body Camera Footage Going to be Released? Will It Be Accurate?

“A hundred years ago the American white men used to put on a white sheet and use a bloodhound against Negroes. Today they have taken off the white sheet and put on police uniforms and traded in the bloodhounds for police dogs, and they're still doing the same thing.” – Malcolm X

“There isn’t really much dictating how law enforcement should edit their video if at all before publishing.” - Law Professor Gary Gibson

On August 18th a Pontiac Black man ‘Jacquan Fletcher’ was killed by an Oakland County Sheriff. The following is the official summary report provided by the Sheriff’s Department to the mainstream media outlets:

“The deputies say they approached the car on either side and attempted to make contact with the driver but were unsuccessful. Investigators say that's when the deputy on the driver's side opened the unlocked door to wake up the driver and saw a gun next to him. The deputy removed the gun and placed it on the roof of the car, telling the driver to place his hands behind his back. The deputies say the driver refused. That's when the deputy on the passenger side opened the door to help and watch the driver. Officials say the deputy partially entered the car to assist as the suspect was resisting and not following directions. The driver then put the car into gear and took off crashing into the patrol car, a curb and then a street sign. Sheriff Mike Bouchard says this all happened as the deputy on the passenger side was hanging out of the car.”

What We do know from this official version is Mr. Fletcher was asleep and did not have a gun in his hand. We also know the Sheriff on the passenger side fatally shot Fletcher. What was the Sheriff doing on the driver’s side? Did he try to stop Mr. Fletcher from the starting the vehicle? Did he try to grab the steering wheel? Could either Sheriff have first tried to pepper spray or taser Fletcher instead of using deadly force? From my perspective there were other options but the preferred method in dealing with a Black man is ‘shoot first’.

What We also know from the Sherrif’s official version is Mr. Fletcher is an ex-felon with a criminal background and currently on parole; this is the ‘criminalizing character assassination’ addition that’s used against Black men to justify their deaths. We know Mr. Fletcher is Black, he’s a 32-year-old father of five children that he loved. What We don’t know is any information on the Sheriff’s background who shot and killed Ferguson; is the Sherrif who killed him white? You see this is the double-standard of personal information exposure ‘unprotected vs. protected’.

Waiting on Sheriff Body Camera Footage

This post is written today September 5, 2023, Sheriff Bouchard told the media there was body camera footage of the incident, which they are working to review. Fletcher was killed by the Oakland Sheriff on August 18th which is 18 days ago almost 3 weeks. So when is the Sheriff’s body camera footage going to be released to the public?

As Black folks here in Pontiac and elsewhere around the country, can We really rely on police body cameras being ‘accurate’. As a community leader i’ve been involved locally along with Quincy Stewart in struggling against police racism specifically and against police harassment, brutality, and deadly use of force in general.

Based on over 30 years of struggling for police accountability along with extensive research i found that rarely is the footage of a police officer’s body camera that captures a fatal shooting released to the public in a timely manner. Furthermore, i’ve questioned the accuracy of police body camera footage; according to California Western School of Law Professor Gary Gibson We cannot rely on this footage accuracy due to editing, he stated:

“There isn’t really much dictating how law enforcement should edit their video, if at all, before publishing. There’s some bare minimum laws; the departments can get away with just about whatever they choose to do as long as they’re acting within those bare minimum laws. The short answer is police can edit a video in any way they choose and not release sections they believe would compromise the investigation until a certain period of time has passed. When the time comes for a department to release video, law enforcement can put as many layers of voiceover and graphics as they want on body-worn camera footage as long as they aren’t manipulating the public’s view of what really happened. It’s perfectly permissible for the department to do that [edit footage]. Every individual community is going to have individual policies and procedures. For how law enforcement interprets this really depends on which agency you look to. The laws surrounding releasing or editing bodycam footage are ‘bare minimum’.”

Indeed, i don’t trust the accuracy of police camera footage, nor have i ever trusted that police want to provide real ‘transparency’, in fact the federal government does not want major police reform that includes transparency; federal legislators refuse to pass the ‘George Floyd Justice in Policing Act’ (GFJPA); national police organizations are against GFJPA too.

Many government officials are against GFJPA because at the core of the Act are measures designed to remove barriers to holding law enforcement officers accountable for police brutality. These include addressing qualified immunity ‘the judge-made doctrine’ that has been interpreted by courts in ways that have created near-immunity for police officers engaged in unconstitutional policing.

GFJPA would be an amendment to the federal statute that would strengthen the ability of the Department of Justice to bring criminal civil rights actions against officers; along with a national database of sustained findings of serious police misconduct and a process for decertifying problem officers.

Black men what should be crystal clear is that the majority ‘mainly’ white politicians and police don’t want police transparency or reform; police want to continue to harass, brutalize, and kill Black men with impunity. Black men We have to accept that the racist killing of Black men is an intrinsic aspect of police culture in America.

Most importantly Black men We have to accept the ongoing responsibility of struggling against ‘totally unacceptable’ racist policing. Black men, police killed Jacquan Fletcher and thousands more yesterday, it can be me or you killed by them tomorrow.

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