Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Sir, step away from the scooter.
Here is why loud music, kids' toys and cops with guns are a bad combination.
Brooklyn - Police responded to a complaint of loud music and dope smoking and shot a guy in a scuffle. How it happened depends on whom you believe.
There was a birthday party in the courtyard of a housing project. That much is not in dispute. People were having a good time. Now, we all know that in George Bush's America, that makes your gathering highly suspect. Good times can only mean trouble, people. If you're getting together to burn Dixie Chicks CDs, that's OK. Parties? Not so much.
The cops say two officers asked the group to turn down the music. They left, and returned later. According to police, when the officers returned people were smoking marijuana.
Are we seeing a pattern in police shootings here?
The cops approached a man they described as the D.J. (my guess is they described him as other things too, but off the record) and asked him to turn down the music. The police say the guy responded by punching the officer in the face. Considering the request, that might have been a bit of an overreaction.
A fight broke out. Of course. It's Brooklyn.
In the melee, Mr. Ramirez, that's the dude who got shot, hit a police officer with a kid's scooter. The other officer, having spent more time at the range than the cops who shot the pit bull, fired once, striking Mr. Ramirez in the torso.
“He fell straight down,” one of the neighbors said, and no, I did not make that up. "He fell straight down." I'll bet he did.
But neighbors say the cops' version of what happened is bullshit.
Of course. It's Brooklyn.
They say the music was not even playing when the officers returned. The cops stopped Mr. Ramirez’s stepfather and asked him for identification and the man, not speaking English, said "Huh?" or the Spanish equivalent.
“Cops asked the father for ID,” said Sonia James, 45, from Canarsie, referring to the stepfather. “He didn’t have ID. They started cuffing him. They hit him in the head with a nightstick. The son (the guy wielding the scooter) ran up. They got in a confrontation.”
That's when Mr. Ramirez fell straight down.
The question for you today is, who do you believe?
Me, I think it was Charlie Stella who started the fight. Of course. It's Brooklyn.