by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz
When I got married nearly 11 years ago, my father gave me some of the best advice I ever heard. He said, “Son, the day is going to come when you are going to have a disagreement with that lovely new wife of yours. And before you start that argument, ask yourself this question, ‘Is this really the hill you want to die on today?’ Because if it isn’t, let it go and pick your battles for another day.”
Just a quick recap, Reed led IMPD officers on a high-speed chase, which ended at 62nd and Michigan Road. He got out of the car and fled. The officers pursued him. He was tased, and according to the video he recorded, as he was streaming the entire incident on Facebook Live, the camera fell to the ground. You hear shots fired, and Reed was pronounced dead.
If you listened to the protesters, this was another example of police shooting an unarmed black man. Please note, the officer who is believed to have fired the shots was black, so they couldn’t use the traditional “white cop shoots unarmed black man narrative,” but that still didn’t stop them from expressing their “outrage.”
When I saw the video, I was shocked like everyone else. But unlike the protesters, I decided to do some homework and get the facts before expressing an opinion.
Here’s what I found.
Reed has three outstanding warrants for his arrest for failure to appear. He had one in Marion County for felony intimidation and two out of the Tarrant County-Ft. Worth area in Texas, one of which involved a gun charge. Think about that for a second. A warrant on a gun charge from the state where they give you a gun when you’re born. Why does this matter? Well, when most people have outstanding warrants and don’t want to go to jail, they tend to flee from law enforcement.
Now let’s look at the part about him being “unarmed”; once again, a little homework goes a long way. Contrary to the semi-popular narrative, Reed was not unarmed. He was armed with a weapon law enforcement said he pulled out of his pants and fired shots at the police. Now call me crazy, but I always thought that if you pulled a gun on police, after fleeing and leading them on a high-speed chase and firing shots at them, they tend to fire back.
But Abdul, didn’t they tase him. Yes, but this isn’t the movies. He was still able to reach for his weapon and fire at police. Which by the way, IMPD identified him using in another Facebook live video firing indiscriminately out of a car window.
And here’s the kicker, during the chase, you could see people making comments during the Live stream, most of which were joking and encouraging him. There were maybe two or three comments from individuals telling him to stop, everyone else egged him on, and you see how that ended up.
Now I will say this. The officer who made the remark to the effect that Reed was going to need a closed-casket at his funeral, deserves to be disciplined, as such behavior is unprofessional and uncalled for. By the way, that detective was not one of the officers involved in either the chase nor the shooting.
And speaking of IMPD, near the end of the video, you see an officer come up and turn off the stream. This led to conspiracy theories that IMPD was trying to cover things up by deleting the footage. Obviously, since the footage has gone viral. literally worldwide, that was one of the worst alleged cover-ups I’ve ever seen.
But never let facts get in the way of political grandstanding.
If only these people had put this same energy into protesting the deaths of eight-year-old Rodgerick Payne Jr., 16-year old Nya Cope, or some of the other record murder victims Indianapolis has seen this year, maybe things would be different. Or here’s a thought, had Reed not instigated the event by fleeing law enforcement, we wouldn’t be here right now.
Fortunately, there will be an investigation that will likely get to the bottom of this. However, my instincts tell me what you just read is pretty much how it’s going to play out when it’s all said and done.
Gun-related violence and African-Americans, particularly young men, is a serious issue that requires serious people. As evidenced by the last 24 hours, these people are anything but serious and they shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Abdul-Hakim is an attorney and the editor and publisher of Indy Politics. His opinions are his own, but you are free to adopt them.
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