NO EXCUSES IN ATHENS COP KILLING

Some are casting accused Athens cop-killer Jamie Hood, 33, as a victim because police killed Hood’s brother years ago. Hood himself told his acquaintances—the so-called “hostages” he held to stave off the closing loop of a manhunt—that he feared the police because they killed his brother.

The Daily Mail, a British paper basing its coverage on that of Atlanta’s own WXIA, Channel 11, begins its story with Hood’s apology for killing Athens Clark-County Police Officer Elmer “Buddy” Christian last week and his statement that “you know, they killed my brother. They were going to kill me.”

An apology offered with an excuse isn’t quite an apology, but it made great TV. Hood gave himself up to authorities three days after the killing on the condition that he be allowed to surrender on live TV because, he claimed, he was afraid of cops.

His orchestrated spotlight-grab has a lot to do with why the story reached the British tabloids and other international outlets. It also, let’s face it, plays into time-honored stereotypes about Southern law enforcement and blacks.

Officer Christian was white and his accused killer is black.

But it’s important to note that 43-year-old Tony Howard, another Athens-Clark County Police officer shot by Hood, is black, too. Hood, who was wanted in connection with a carjacking, is accused of shooting Howard in the face and chest before fleeing the scene of a traffic stop and going on to shoot and kill Christian.

This is a well-worn problem with news coverage and consumption; put a black person and a white person in any kind of proximity in a dramatic story and its racial aspects tend to drown out the facts.

The much bigger and more troubling story is the astonishing rise America has seen in violence against police officers over the past few years. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc., in 2009, 47 officers were shot and killed nationally. In 2010, that jumped to 59. So far this year, there have been 22. (Many more were killed in on-duty automobile accidents or duty-related illnesses.)

Their deaths represent not only a loss to their families, but far-reaching tears in the fabric of our society. They take an oath to uphold the law that protects us all. When they are killed in the process of doing that, their killings represent an assault on order and justice; all law-abiding citizens are threatened when a police officer is killed in the line of duty. That’s why it’s a big deal.

Such police officer deaths also leave a trail of heartbreak in their departments.

Added to the physical damage that Officer Howard is dealing with, is the psychological burden that very few of us could ever really understand.

When a police officer loses a partner or coworker to a criminal’s bullet, they never forget it. They never stop reviewing the tape, so to speak, asking themselves what they could have done differently to prevent what happened.

Patricia Cocciolone, an Atlanta Police officer who was providing back-up for Officer Rick Sowa in 1997 when he was killed while responding to a domestic dispute in the Lindbergh area, still has nightmares about trying to shoot the perpetrator, but the bullets aren’t working, she can’t seem to hit the target. She sometimes wakes in tears. Keep in mind that “Coach” herself took a bullet at point blank range from the perp as she lay injured on the ground, and you may begin to understand the level of responsibility and self-sacrifice that these officers feel for one another.

That is the path ahead for Howard. Even after his body has healed, he’ll be reviewing the events surrounding his fellow officer’s death for years to come. His police chief told news reporters that Howard woke in the hospital urging his fellow Athens cops to go get the killer and trying to give them pointers on where they might find him.

Howard needs love and support and understanding. He needs to know that he did the best he could and that what happened to Officer Christian was not his fault. He certainly doesn’t need to turn on his TV and see the thug who shot him and killed his friend making excuses for what is morally indefensible.

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10 Responses to NO EXCUSES IN ATHENS COP KILLING

  1. Maynard Eaton says:

    Great insight and compelling commentary about cop culture and the escalating tragedy of cop killings. Hood “played” the police and orchestrated the media with his”live” TV surrender. Regretably he has become an inner city hero now for revenging his brothers death, doing his perp walk in front of papparazzi and perhaps getting his friends/”hostages” that 50 thosand dollar reward. Hood comes from a family of crooks but to his ilk he executed his exit with style and swagger!!

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  3. admin says:

    Doug Richards over at 11-Alive is defending the use of his TV station to honor the negotion demands of accused cop-killer Jamie Hood. After all, he says, Vernon Keenan, the head of the GBI, asked the news media to help–Hood wouldn’t give himself up unless he did it on live TV.
    I support media helping law enforcement do their jobs, 100 percent. Given the situation, what were the TV stations supposed to do? So, perhaps this comment is directed, respectfully, to Mr. Keenan: Have we just introduced a new era in negotiating with hoodlums in which they demand to be on TV and we acquiesce?
    It’s easy for me to play Monday morning quarterback. I realize that, and I truly respect the GBI and the tense situation that presented itself. But the neighbors said the same cars had been there before; these weren’t hostages, they were friends. Given our cultural environment, rife as it is with reality TV demi-stars, I fear that we have just sent out a casting call for every would-be two-bit celebri-thug in Georgia.

  4. scott says:

    The GBI got played. So perps get to kill a cop, wound another, go on the run, hook up with his friends, smoke some dope, hide his guns, have a party, then put out his own demands to the public and we give in on all of them??????
    The news should have never been involved, nor should his demands been met and given the platform to say whatever he wanted to make himself look better. I mean really? He says the Officer didn’t deserve that, yet hes the one that pulled the trigger enough times to kill one and wound another. Such BS. Then says they thought we were going to kill him. You mean when they stopped him for carjacking a car, yea thats what we do, run around shooting at random people for no reason.
    Yet the news runs with it, runs with this guys B******t comments like they are the truth. GBI was played bad.
    Arrive, assess, tac up the SWAT team, attempt to negotiate, failure to comply, execute and enter. He either lives or dies by his own decision. Case closed.

  5. Give Me a Break. says:

    The thing that Hood failed to mention, and the Brits probably did, too, is that an ACCPD officer killed his brother AFTER his brother put a gun to the officer’s head, which apparently jammed. Otherwise, his brother would be alive and in jail, as a cop-killer himself. Hood knew that. I don’t really care if he was scared of police or not. All I know is that the men and women of the ACCPD, GBI, FBI, etc. showed him much more mercy than he showed to SPO Christian, SPO Howard, the murder victim in another case in which Hood is a suspect, and likely the carjacking victim as well. They showed him mercy because they are professional law enforcement officers, not murderers like Hood is and his late brother nearly became. I hope that Hood has the sophistication to reflect upon that fact as he rots in jail.

  6. s says:

    simple math for those news media fools and bleding heart liberals.
    have a gun + point it at a police officer= you will make yourself a target.
    YOUR choice makes you a target and liable be shot and killed.
    you are not a victim, nor a product of a piss poor home, nor a misunderstood individual, nor a victim of racisim.
    You are a man that made a choice to commit the actions that will cause an equal and opposite reaction from those that wear the badge. Preferably with a different result then in this case.

  7. cityworker says:

    If ANYONE believes that those people were hostages then they are dumber than the GBI. Who was the retard that said it was ok to broadcast taking this piece of crap into custody? Get ready for the next “trend” in media hype. Every piece of crap is going to want live coverage.
    The thing that is worse than giving the guy coverage is actually giving his scared angle credibility. I know the media likes to get a story, and I know that they like to do the headlines but come on. Where does the media draw the line? Where is there responsibility? I know I know….Im dreaming here but you would think that someone somewhere would know the right thing and do it.

  8. Tina Trent says:

    Of course, Atlanta-based (?) Patrik Jonsson is shilling these lies and others to an international audience in the Christian Science Monitor. His article here doesn’t even mention what the killer, or his brother, did. The story features a photo of the killer’s “traumatized” relatives, yet no mention of the murdered officer’s name.

    He’s also insinuating that “right-wing” politics is driving the rise in police deaths — a risible claim, but the default line for the CSM’s coverage of crime. Worst of all, he blames cops themselves for “escalating” incidents to violence. Of course, there are always eager academics in universities and the Justice Department ready to spin facts into condemnations of brave officers.

    Trying to wring political points out of the murder of innocent cops, all geared to a reflexively anti-American audience. You don’t have to look overseas to find intellectually dishonest exploitation of police deaths. It originates here, in our media, academia, and unfortunately even our Justice Department.

  9. GBI Supporter says:

    I dont fault Vernon Kennan for what he did. Why get more folks killed including perhaps more law enforcement officers? If they could get this garbage out of the house peacefully, do it. He will now face a death penalty trial and some day lay on that table and be sent straight to hell where he belongs. (I would rather him face a firing squad of police officers but an injection will have to do I guess)

  10. cityworker says:

    I don’t think anyone blames him for anything, but I would call him foolish. Why would you do something like that? Why give this piece of human trash ANY type of audience? I think it was a dangerous move on his behalf. Ya think now that the next cop killer isin’t going to demand the same thing? Or bank robber or god knows who else! It was a bad call on his part period.