LYNCHBERG, OHIO — Officer Robert Michaels has been a police officer in Ohio for almost a decade.
Michales is known as his town’s “Bad Cop.” He’s been accused of excessive force and misconduct more than a dozen times, and has been suspended a few times for a handful of those incidents, but has never fired. Officer Michaels thanks his police union for that, though he says “all other unions are shit and should be abolished.”
Officer Michaels also hosts a popular conservative podcast called “Police Stating It” in which he delivers pro-cop and pro-conservative rants. During his podcast’s latest episode, Officer Michaels said he is “perplexed, confused, and outraged” at recent discussions of excessive lethal force used against African-American suspects, and he was ready to “sound off.”
“You know,” Michaels said, “people keep telling me that I can Google it and find a dozen or more examples of white people pointing guns, or even shooting guns — real or BB — at cops and kids and still being arrested alive. But I want to know, does that really mean anything?”
Michaels says that as “sworn officer” he understands the notion of presumed innocence; that all suspects are treated as not guilty until they are convicted in a court of law. However, he also says he’s “not a hundred percent sure” that paradigm applies to black suspects.
“Yes, ideally you bring in suspects alive so that due process can be served,” Officer Michaels conceded, “but I keep seeing my fellow bad cops shoot and kill black suspects that could have been taken in alive.”
That, Michaels said, “leads [him] to wonder, are black suspects entitled to presumed innocence?”
“No, really,” Michaels repeated, “I’m asking for reals guys, are they? Because if they are, I might need to do start doing some things differently.”
While he doesn’t know everything, Officer Michaels says he knows “for a fact” what the high-profile incidents involving the deaths of black suspects aren’t about.
“Don’t tell me that we have a bunch of cops just violating the Constitution because of piss-poor training and a public overly eager to defend cops in general,” Michales said, “because that just seems like a much too easy concept. I think it makes more sense to blame the victims, their parents, and their communities, instead of the adult with the deadly weapon in his hands, don’t you?”
There is a presidential candidate Micahels feels “gets this issue,” and that’s who has his vote.
“As Donald Trump has tweeted many times,” Michaels said, “black people just happen to commit way more crime than any other group, so isn’t it in our best interests to treat them equally, but you know, kinda separately from other, non-blacks? It’s all true guys, you can get the stats from any 4chan or Stormfront type group.”
Michaels said he wanted to make it very clear he is not racist. He has a couple of black friends he bowls with once a week, and he never, ever locks his car doors when he’s stopped at a light and a black pedestrian walks by. He doesn’t “even make a funny face” when he goes to his local Hardee’s and “the black one has to serve [him] food.”
During the call-in segment of the show, one caller in particular asked if it’s still part of police training protocol to demand a suspect drop a weapon before opening fire. The caller referenced the tragic killing of young Tamir Rice, also in Ohio, in 2014. Rice was seen being shot dead by an officer just moments after coming upon Rice, who was holding a BB gun. The police initially claimed Rice pointed the gun at the officers, but video evidence later proved that false.
Michaels was dubious with the caller.
“Oh, so a cop is supposed to be able to differentiate between suspects and assess the real threat level before shooting now,” Michaels asked indignantly, “what, you think your precious due process and presumed innocence — if it applies to black suspects — and give a suspect a chance to drop the gun first? ”
The caller asked Officer Michaels why cops shouldn’t be willing to take the time to get the gun away from the suspect and arrest them. He said that if back up has been called for, then there is a window of time to get a suspect to comply that can prevent unnecessary death and ensure the suspect’s day in court.
“What you think that’s what we pay them for,” Michaels shouted, “to be brave enough to risk their life briefly for the sake of justice? Sure, if Tyre had been able to drop the gun before he was shot, he’d be alive, but do we really want our cops using all their judgment, or does it make more sense to shoot to kill no matter what?”
Officer Michaels’ podcast releases shows twice a week, and can be found on the Blue Lives Matter More Than Due Process page on Facebook.
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.