Tag Archives: Jeremy McDole

Police Officers Fear ‘YouTube Effect’ Impacting Job Performance

As police officers across the country are expressing concern over a “YouTube effect” resulting from the public’s ability to document and publish police activity with smartphones, the director of the FBI suggested this effect may be contributing to a recent rise in violent crime.

The Washington Times reported that officers from over 30 agencies gathered in San Antonio for an annual National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) convention last week, where one of the main topics highlighted how to deal with “hostile media” with examples including officer-involved fatal shootings.

Lt. Gary Vickers of the Newark, New Jersey Police Department, indicated that he fears “death by media” if a video of his performance on the job were to go viral.

“Am I going to be the next one who is put on display for doing an honest job?” Vickers said. “It really dictates how a police officer reacts today.” 

FBI Director James Comey told the Chicago Sun-Times that he believes the rise in violent crime is due to the fact that “something in policing has changed” and many officers now  “feel under siege.”

“In today’s YouTube world, there are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime,” Comey said. “Our officers are answering 911 calls, but avoiding the informal contact that keeps bad guys from standing around, especially with guns.”

Comey also said when it comes to sentencing reform and lowering mass incarceration rates, he thinks Americans should debate the issue with “a fair understanding of history.” He used an example of Richmond, Virginia in the 1990s when he said that after dozens of men were incarcerated for trafficking narcotics, violence dropped in the area and citizens felt safer.

The “Youtube effect” was discussed by top law enforcement at a private meeting earlier this month. The Washington Post reported that a “unifying- and controversial- theory” was reached at this meeting, suggesting that officers have been dialing down on aggressive policing over fear of appearing on “a career-ending viral video.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the meeting that “we have allowed our police department to get fetal and it is having a direct consequence.”

“They have pulled back from the ability to interdict … they don’t want to be a news story themselves, they don’t want their career ended early, and it’s having an impact.”

RT noted that while “homicides in 35 big U.S. cities are up 19 percent on average this year, and non-fatal shootings are up 62 percent, according to a police association survey,” there is also a rise in police killings.

According to a list from The Guardian, 931 people have been killed by police in the United States in 2015 thus far, with “black Americans killed by police twice as likely to be unarmed as white people.”

Cell phone footage has challenged some narratives of police officers in the cases of fatal shootings involving victims including Walter Scott, who was shot and killed while running away from an officer after a traffic stop in April, and Jeremy McDole, who was shot and killed while sitting in his wheelchair on the street in September.

In both cases, the officers’ official story of the suspect being armed was challenged by a bystander’s video that was released online.

Family Of Wheelchair-Bound Man Killed By Police Challenges Officers’ Narrative, Citing Witness Footage

An investigation is being launched into the shooting of Jeremy McDole, who was killed by police in Delaware on Wednesday. McDole was shot while sitting in his wheelchair on the street, and McDole’s family has cited cellphone footage from a witness to challenge the Wilmington Police Department’s narrative of the shooting.

Wilmington police reportedly responded to a call that McDole, a 28-year-old black man, was suffering from a self-inflicted gun wound in a neighborhood near the nursing home where he lived.

During a news conference following the shooting, Police Chief Bobby Cummings claimed that when officers arrived on the scene, they found McDole “still armed with a handgun” and they repeatedly told him to raise his hands.

Cummings said it was after McDole refused to comply and reached for a handgun at his waistband that four officers opened fire on him. Cummings also claimed that after McDole was killed, the officers found a .38 caliber gun at his side.

McDole’s mother, Phyllis McDole, interrupted the news conference and insisted that there was video evidence showing that her son was not armed.

[quote_center]“He was in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. There’s video showing that he didn’t pull a weapon,” she said. “I need answers.”[/quote_center]

The Delaware Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust is investigating the shooting. Richard Smith, the head of Delaware’s NAACP chapter, has called for a special prosecutor to investigate the shooting in order to “not have cops investigating cops.”

While Cummings has maintained that he couldn’t confirm anything until the investigation is complete, a cellphone video was released online that showed footage of the shooting.

WARNING: The following video contains graphic content.

The cellphone video appears to show Wilmington officers confronting Jeremy McDole on the street, where he is sitting in his wheelchair. As they approached with guns drawn, they yelled at him to “drop the gun” and to put his “hands up.”

McDole, who appears to be bleeding, fidgets for a few seconds, rubbing his hands on his knees and thighs, and then tries to raise himself out of his wheelchair. The moment his hand touches his waistband, the four officers open fire, striking McDole.

After he is shot, McDole freezes for a second and then falls out of his wheelchair and is motionless on the ground. No weapon appears to be visible in the bystander’s video.

McDole’s uncle, Eugene Smith, called the shooting “an execution” and said that when he saw his nephew 15 minutes before the incident, he did not have a gun.

[quote_center]“It was an execution. That’s what it was.” Smith said. “I don’t care if he was black, white, whatever.”[/quote_center]