The Miami Herald wupped the Sun-Sentinel again on the latest Fort Lauderdale police shooting story, again with the benefit of more reporters assigned to the breaking news. From the Sentinel story:
"Police declined to identify the officer or officers who fired or explain what led to the shooting."
From the Herald story:
"The latest shooting, in Fort Lauderdale, involved Officer Robert Norvis, a decorated police veteran who was once named an Officer of the Year, and Officer Todd Hill. ... Norvis, who joined the department Aug. 21, 2000, received the 2001 Officer of the Year for the State of Florida award for his role in helping bring down a gun-toting, mentally disturbed former Oakland Park policeman.
That gun battle started with what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop for an expired tag. When it was over, Norvis' training officer was left with a slug in his neck and Norvis with a bullet wound to his hand."
I vaguely remembered the case involving the "mentally disturbed former Oakland Park policeman," so I looked it up. Yep, his name was David Royce Truman, an ultra-paranoid, black-clad, weapons-fanatic who neighbors described at the time as a "time bomb waiting to happen." Truman lived in a big black house (that would be worth $1 million today), wore a black cape, and was crazy as the day is long. Here's how the Sentinel's John Holland described his house at the time:
Smack in the middle of one of the city's quietest neighborhoods, Truman's house is unmistakable. Amateurish carpentry on the overgrown front lawn holds handmade signs, including rebel flags, eagles and crosses. Carved owls, apparently wooden, are all over the yard, now encircled in police tape.
The yard is flush with unruly bushes and trees. A stench rises from the yard, a product of his three large Rottweilers, Reed said. Truman, who clashed constantly with the city, was often without electricity and water, Reed said.
So Norvis, who may be a "veteran" now but was just a rookie on the job four days when the 2000 shooting occurred, was involved in a gunfight with a true madman. This latest shooting, however, doesn't look so clear-cut. The Herald today outright stated, without attribution, that the unarmed 21-year-old man wounded in the shooting, Travis Jackson, was shot in the back. Again, if that is true, there looks to be serious problems with this case. I wonder if the shooting of the driver might be considered justified and the shooting of Jackson excessive. But that's all there is now, a bunch of guesses. There's a reason the Sentinel didn't get the name of that officer: The police department is in full bunker mode, hunkering down and releasing nothing on the situation. That's another distinct sign that the department is aware that it has a problematic shooting on its hands.
Once again the Sentinel message board has been barraged by ignorant racist jackasses. Wrote one person:
"I am appalled by the blatantly racist comments on this and other Sun-Sentinel comments boards. The fact that several of these comments seem to have been made by police officers is not helping the public perception of their profession."
The stuff is so similar in tone that it has the reek of a semi-organized campaign (most of it aimed at Carlton Moore, the black city commissioner who is calling for an investigation of the police). And, as I intimated yesterday, I wouldn't be surprised if the brunt of it is coming from cops (though you have to hope they aren't responsible for the most vile of it). Yes, both victims in this shooting were criminals and there is a serious debate to be had about accountability in the black community. But this is pathetic and indicates a lack of respect for the rule of law equal to that of the criminals themselves.
After the jump: Highlights from the Sentinel's Racist Forum
-- "The FLPD need better guns and traning. This way both of these outstanding schoogies would be dead. They where on there way to school where they where working on there Phds in Afro-American studies. They had 36 credits allready"
-- "Mr. Moore, please have the balls to know when to call a spade a spade. ... These nigs are scum and always will be...THANK YOU COPS"
-- "Wake up white people!"
-- (This from someone signed KKKONCERNED CITIZEN) "MAYBE WE SHOULD GIVE COMMISIONER CARLTON MOORE SOME H.V.L.T., COURTESY OF THE FLPD! HIGH VELOCITY LEAD TREATMENT."
-- "if the cops hadn't shot these primates at such a young age, they would have gone on to kill each other eventually anyway. 2 less crack dealers/car jackers/free loaders/armed robbers/murderers to deal with. give the cops a key to the city. then shoot the commissioner."
-- "carton moore is just really upset because he's one of 5 guys that could have been those boys fathers"
You get the picture.