Following the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, tensions between people and police officers were high. One of the biggest problems was that some cops had were on a power trip, which is a monumental problem for a law enforcement officer. One such officer, Ray Albers, of the St. Ann police department, pointed his assault weapon at a group of protesters, including journalists, got belligerent, and said, “I’m going to f*cking kill you.”
This wasn’t one of those situations where there’s a possibility that people just thought he was threatening them. He actually took his weapon, which The Raw Story says was an AR-15, pointed it directly at the Free Thought Project‘s Jay Ziegler, and said that he was going to kill him.
Watch the original video of the incident below:
There is no excuse for that, because an officer has no excuse to threaten anyone with a weapon who isn’t a direct threat to them. Albers was just irritated and drunk with power when he did that. Now, however, Albers is complaining that his life is ruined because of that moment.
That kind of a claim seems pervasive in our society, particularly with people who had honorable careers, who were famous or likely to be, or who were wealthy. “I did this horrible thing, and all the fallout has ruined my life.” B-O-O H-O-O. Our hearts bleed pink carbonated peanut butter for these people, because these statements ought to say, “I ruined my life when I did that.” That, at least, would be true.
Albers said in a radio interview a little later on:
“I thought at that time that the only reason they would be coming towards me is to hurt me and take my weapon. You don’t come towards an officer that has a rifle raised. Nobody in their right mind would do that unless they had bad intentions.”
He also said he hadn’t pointed his weapon at anybody in particular. His police chief, Aaron Jimenez, agreed, saying that Albers saw three to four people wearing bandannas, and that one was raising a gun at him. Allegedly, he appropriately raised his weapon while he assessed the threat, except he threatened to gun everyone down.
Albers resigned from the police force shortly after this incident, however, until just recently, he wasn’t really held accountable for that. Now Missouri’s Administrative Hearing Commission says that Albers acted without justification and basically threatened to murder people. Albers is fighting to keep his law enforcement license, and his lawyer is claiming he acted “with great restraint.” Aiming an assault weapon at people and threatening to murder them is hardly restrained behavior.
The video, however, shows something else entirely, and Jiminez said that the citizen journalists “won on this one.” That’s a polite way of putting down anybody who dares to film an officer behaving badly. Police departments, however, have a history of defending even the worst acts from their own officers, instead of doing the right thing and finding out what actually happened before defending their own.
Albers ruined his own life; nobody ruined it for him. Had he actually acted with restraint, as his lawyer claims, none of this would be happening. There’s no question of that. The only “restraint” he showed was in not pulling the trigger, which is just ridiculous.
Image via screen capture from embedded video