On Monday, Sept. 14, police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, released body camera and dashcam footage of the June shooting that left one officer dead and another wounded. The release of the footage led some on social media to point out what they deemed to be the hypocrisies in the responses to those shootings and those of the shootings of unarmed Black men and of two Los Angeles deputies.
David Ware, a 33-year-old white man, was captured and taken alive into police custody after shooting Sgt. Craig Johnson and Officer Aurash Zarkeshan after a traffic stop that occurred during the overnight hours of June 29 in East Tulsa. After an argument and struggle that took place over several minutes, Ware grabbed a gun from under his seat and fired multiple shots at the officers.
Zarkeshan survived, but Johnson died from his injuries.
During a news conference held Monday, Sept. 14, prior to the release of the video, Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin noted that the suspect was given dozens of commands before officers used nonlethal options including a stun gun and pepper spray in an attempt to get Ware to exit the vehicle. Ware was eventually dragged out of his car by the two officers.
Franklin urged the public not to watch the video of the shooting. “To me, it seems criminals have more rights than what you and I do, they have more rights than what our law enforcement officers do. You would never be allowed, publicly, to see the execution of a criminal, yet today you get to publicly see the execution of a police officer. What kind of society is that?”
District Judge William Musseman disagreed, noting the public has the right to know what happened under the opens record act.
Before it was released, Ware’s sister said the video footage would exonerate her brother and show that he acted in self-defense. “I think it’s ridiculous if they have nothing to hide why not just show the video footage,” Ashley Melendy said. The nearly 17-minute long video appeared to show the exact opposite.
After the video was made public, some people pointed out that Ware was taken into custody alive after shooting two police officers, while other Black men have been shot while completely unarmed.
Others said there was less outrage from Blue Lives Matter supporters following the release of the video, compared to after the shooting of the two Los Angeles deputies on Saturday.
After the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office shared information about the ambush that left two deputies wounded, the hashtag #BlueLivesMatter trended on Twitter, and President Donald Trump called the shooter an “animal.”
The Sheriff’s Office said the suspect is a Black man between the ages of 28 and 30.
Video footage of the shooting shows the suspect approach the patrol car parked near Compton station, and fire multiple shots through the passenger window before fleeing.
Author Tariq Nasheed tweeted that Blue Lives Matter supporters only care about the lives of police officers when it furthers their “anti-Black racism.”
Another user expressed a similar sentiment.
Nasheed also jokingly asked if Celine Dion was “going to donate money to help find any accomplices,” hours after L.A. Sheriff Alex Villanueva called on LeBron James to match the $100,000 reward being offered for information in the search for the shooter. James has been vocal about standing up against police brutality and racial injustice.
David Ware has been charged with first-degree murder, as well as attempted murder, and could face the death penalty.