On Wednesday, former Baltimore Police Sergeant and US Marine Corps veteran Michael Wood appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast to discuss police misconduct and institutional racism in the modern criminal justice system. Last month, Wood gained national media attention when he began to tweet examples of police corruption that he reportedly witnessed firsthand while on the job at the Baltimore Police Department.
When asked why police officers are often caught on video shooting unarmed suspects, Wood said, “I’m convinced that the shootings come from fear” and blamed poorly-trained officers who lack the skills to maintain control in tense situations. Wood claimed that he “could have pulled the trigger justifiably a few times” during his eleven years of service at the Baltimore Police Department but did not need to do so.
“Fear is not enough justification to shoot somebody, but that’s what the law says. The law says that, if you’re in fear for your life as an officer, you can pull that trigger. That’s preposterous. You have to at least be in some semblance of containing your situation… But they feel like everybody is a threat, and you’re ingrained into this threat, so [officers] run around with fear and they shoot in a heartbeat because they’re so afraid, and then [officials] just come behind and cover it all up like nothing happened,” said Wood.
Wood also said that he believes that Bob McCulloch, prosecutor in the controversial officer-involved Michael Brown homicide, “criminally covered up” an indictment against former Ferguson cop Darren Wilson, noting that unreliable witnesses were invited to testify before a grand jury in the case, which Wood believes was done to discourage the grand jury from handing down an indictment. However, Wood said that he believes that the evidence in the case would have ultimately exonerated Wilson, but that moving forward with an indictment would have allowed the process to play out in court and prevented a civil uprising.
Wood pointed to City of Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby’s indictment of the Baltimore Six in the officer-involved death of Freddie Gray as good policy that prevented further civil strife, “Was there uprisings after she came out and said, ‘OK, we’re going to charge the officers’? No, because, it’s not that anybody’s rushing to judgment, it’s not that it’s a lynch mob, it’s let this play out in court. I think the two lower officers are going to get off. I don’t think that they did anything particularly wrong — they were following their lieutenant… but you want to hear the case and you want to know what happened.”
“Just because a guy has a gun, and we give him a badge, and he has a GED, and he went to eight months of training doesn’t make him above the world — it doesn’t make him a separate set of rules,” concluded Wood, commenting on the humanity of police officers.
Wood’s appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast can be seen in its entirety in the above-embedded video.