HILLSBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS — A company in New England has developed a new product that they feel could help reduce the number of unarmed people of color that are killed by police officers throughout the country.
Massachusetts based firm TechLife held a press conference this week, just hours after a grand jury in Cleveland, Ohio declined to indict the officer who shot and killed 14-year-old Tamir Rice, a young boy who was carrying a toy gun that was shot dead by an officer within three seconds of encountering Rice. The officer claimed that he thought Rice’s gun was real and that he repeatedly told him to drop it, though the speed at which the whole encounter takes place has cast extreme doubt on that particular claim. TechLife CEO Nancy Spalding told reporters that her company’s new “InstaPale Cop-Proof” mask will keep people who live in urban areas “alive longer when they encounter a police officer.”
Spalding said that had Ferguson, Missouri youth Mike Brown been wearing an InstaPale mask, Officer Darren Wilson might not have even instigated the conflict that left Brown dead. However, even if he had, according to Spalding eventually the “pale facial features” that 18 year old Brown would have had with the mask on could have kept Wilson from seeing in his words a ‘demon’ in Brown, and instead Wilson would see “a suspect that he had to get to the station alive and able to stand trial.”
“Police shootings are on the rise,” Spalding said, “that much is abundantly clear. While certainly white people are killed by officers, there is an issue that the market will have to address if the lawmakers in this country won’t — people of color are simply gunned down far too often by cops. TechLife isn’t here to judge exactly why that’s happening; we’re here to see if we can keep some urban Americans alive long enough to get the due process the Constitution calls for.”
Ms. Spalding then demonstrated the InstaPale mask by having a person of color come out on stage without the mask along with a veteran police officer on the force for 15 years. She told the officer that the African-American man on stage was suspected of shoplifting a few items from a local Target. The officer drew his weapon and shot the other man almost instantly, claiming he “felt” his life was “under direct threat” as soon as Spalding told him the other man was a suspected criminal. “He gave me a look, and I swear to God he was going for his waistband,” the officer said. When Spalding rolled the now dead man on stage over and showed the officer he was unarmed, the officer shrugged and said he’d “make sure all that got in the report.”
Then, Spalding had another person of color come out, but this time wearing an InstaPale mask. Spalding told the same officer that this new man was suspected of robbing several banks, had shot and wounded two cops in a previous robbery, and should be considered still armed and extremely dangerous. The officer looked at the second man, drew his weapon, but then commanded the man to lay down all his guns and come along quietly, and if he did that he’d get a cheeseburger and fries on the way to the police station. The second man complied, and the assembled audience of reporters applauded.
“The InstaPale mask will save lives, we know it,” Spalding said, “and we hope that we can get this masks onto the market next year, because we all have a responsibility to make sure every suspected criminal gets their day in court, but if the police officers we put on the streets can’t remember or be bothered to uphold due process consistently, we may have to start thinking outside the box to keep a black suspect from ending up in one.”
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.