Did you hear about this one? The deputy sheriff is white, so it Andy Grimm, the photographer.
From the New Carlisle News: New Carlisle News photographer Andy Grimm was shot by a Clark County deputy Monday evening.
Andy had left the office around 10:00 p.m. to take pictures of lightning. There was a traffic stop on Main Street near Studebaker’s Restaurant involved, but Andy was not the subject of the stop.
He had his camera and tripod in his hands and Deputy Jake Shaw apparently mistook it for a weapon and fired, striking Andy in the side.
… He is expected to recover from his wounds.
"I was going out to take pictures and I saw the traffic stop and I thought, 'hey, cool. I'll get some pictures here.'" He said he pulled into Studebaker's parking lot in full view of the deputy, got out of his Jeep in full view of the deputy and started setting up his tripod and camera. "I turned around toward the cars and then 'pop, pop,’"
New Carlisle is a small city of fewer than 6000 residents that sits at the western edge of Clark County in central Ohio. I know the area well. I lived and work in Clark County in 1978 when my son was born. My mother in law lived close by in Fairborn Ohio, where my wife graduated from high school in 1967. Though I left Ohio in 1981, I returned at least once a year to visit my mother in law, a widow who lived alone till she died at age 90 in 2007.
By the way, New Carlisle is in John Boehner's old Congressional district.
I did not like my mother in law. To my eyes she was a vain and manipulative woman who favored her other daughter. Still she was a good grandmother to my son, and she kept my son in diapers and formula while we scraped by. My last contact with her before her final stroke was to carry a warm urine sample to be tested (routine tests). The lab was on the way to the Dayton “International” Airport.
This last trip was taken alone. My wife had just spent a difficult month cleaning her mothers house and getting her affairs in order. At that time, my wife and I were juggling time with my her sister and her sister’s husband. The plan was to push the angry old woman into assisted living. We could never get her to move, so we arranged alternative care. The last year of her life was a shared nightmare for all of us.
She lived only another 7 or 8 months after this visit.
Back to the police shooting.
While much police violence is the consequence of race, some of it is not, but is rather about misguided and poor training. We may or may not be able to remove the issue of race but we can train police not to pull their guns so quickly.
Oh - if you ask why we cannot remove race? Let’s consider New Carlisle. It is a nearly all white farm town nestled among other all white farm towns. While there are blacks in Clark County, almost all of them live in Springfield, a dying midwestern market town and even adding them to the county population, blacks make up less than 9% of the county. So our deputy probably never encounters black folks except in traffic stops or other police encounters. My guess is that none of Clark County’s deputy sheriffs meet black folks on their own terms. Springfield has its own police department, the rest of the county relies on the County Sheriff and state police for police work. So good luck, but I don't see much likelihood in addressing race in white towns like New Carlisle. Maybe it can be done, but I won't hold my breath.
So why did the sheriff shoot? Of course we can never know for sure, but there are “specialists” who have marketed a training program that is centered on the idea that police can never be too careful, that they have almost no time to react if a stop turns deadly. So it emphasizes what I will call quick draw techniques that doom anyone who the police mistakenly believe has a gun.
If we add to it the faster weapons today (no more revolvers) a cop can get off a full magazine of bullets before the victims hits the ground.
My guess is either that there was little training, and so an officer who never uses a gun except at the shooting range simply had no idea what to do and panicked. The other option is that whatever training was done emphasized risks to the officer over risks of killing an innocent man.
None of this is to say race is not a concern, nor does this deal with concepts like white privilege. If we consider the shooting at hand, since both parties were white, the privilege cancels out.