The first thing you need to know about the late Antonio Martin is that he was a man. Not a “child” or “teenager,” as the media almost universally described Michael Brown after his fatal encounter with the police in the same general area of Missouri. They did the same thing with Trayvon Martin in Florida, to the point of illustrating his death with years-old photos of him as a baby-faced cherub. Both Martins and Brown were roughly the same age, but I have not seen a single mainstream-media report this morning that referred to Antonio Martin as anything other than a “man” or “suspect.”
Here’s CBS News illustrating the disparity in just a handful of paragraphs:
A large, angry crowd gathered Tuesday night after a Berkeley, Missouri police officer shot a suspect to death at a gas station.
Berkeley is roughly two miles from Ferguson, where a white cop fatally shot black teen Michael Brown in August, setting off large-scale protests.
St. Louis County police Sgt. Brian Schellman says a Berkeley officer approached two men at a Mobile gas station during a routine patrol.
Schellman says as the officer walked out of his patrol car toward the men, one of them pointed a handgun at him. The officer fired several shots and fatally wounded one of them. The other one fled.
Detectives say they’ve recovered the suspect’s handgun.
The Reuters news agency reports the dead man was black.
Weird, huh? It’s almost like the media was deliberately trying to make Brown’s death seem more outrageous from Minute One by classifying him as a child, while today they’re nervous about the out-of-control “demonstrations” they helped unleash across the country – which are bringing some very tough questions down upon numerous politicians from the Party that the media almost universally supports and belongs to – so they’re being very careful not to infantilize Martin.
That doesn’t seem to be preventing some folks in Berkeley from drawing a direct connection between the Brown and Martin shootings, resulting in a certain degree of unrest. The situation is, literally, explosive:
St. Louis affiliate KMOV-TV says the dead suspect was 18. Photographers from the station they saw police with riot gear and noticed large flashes of lights at the shooting scene after some 300 people arrived at the scene.
Officers from Florissant, Overland, Berkeley, and St. Louis County were called
One person tried to set fire to a nearby Quik Trip. Police were quickly able to put out the fire.
Toni Martin, who said she is the dead man’s mother, told KMOV her son, Antonio, was just walking with his girlfriend at the time. “I guess he started to run or something and the police start shooting him,” she said, adding that her son was trying to get this life back together. “We were trying to get him back in school. … We were waiting to get back in Job Corps.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that, among the crowd were ministers and some people who’ve taken part in protests over the fatal shooting of Brown, 18, by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury failed to indict him. He’s since quit the Ferguson force.
The newspaper says at least three people have been arrested. It adds that, “Explosive flashes were set off. It was unclear by whom. A Berkeley police car was towed from the gas station.”
CNN captures the scene after the first crowd of demonstrators broke up, taking care to describe Antonio Martin as “an armed man” in the first sentence of their report:
Later, yellow markers were placed around the scene at the gas station. Next to one of them was a handgun lying in the parking lot, video from CNN affiliate KMOV showed.
Schellman said that the killed man’s handgun was recovered at the scene.
Feet away from the weapon, a body lay covered up. It was later placed on a stretcher and loaded into the back of a van.
The gas station appeared to be outfitted with surveillance cameras, which were pointed at the parking lot.
Berkeley police asked St. Louis County police to handle the investigation of the shooting.
County police are planning to hold a news conference on Wednesday and are considering releasing some surveillance video from the scene.
CNN says that the encounter between “an ethnically-diverse group of dozens of police officers” and the swiftly accumulating crowd ended with some damage to police cars, and several “demonstrators” led away in handcuffs. This report suggests the explosive devices thrown during the incident might have been large firecrackers.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that police have been reviewing video of the encounter captured by the convenience store’s cameras:
St. Louis County Police Sgt. Brian Schellman says police will give a media briefing about the shooting in Berkeley at 7 a.m.
Meanwhile, Schellman said he has seen video from cameras at the gas station where the shooting occurred. He said that footage will be released soon.
“You can see the gentleman raise a handgun and the officer fire a shot,” Schellman said.
He said that, based on footage he has seen, the officer was carrying a flashlight when he approached two people at the Mobil gas station and engaged in a conversation. He also said it appears that the officer did not pull his weapon until one of those people pulled a gun.
Schellman said police are looking for the second person who was with the person the officer fatally shot. Police have not released that person’s identity.
Clearly finding this other individual, pronto, will be important to understanding why Martin did what he did, short-circuiting the paranoid conspiracy theories that will doubtless begin percolating through the anti-cop movement. There are photographs of Martin’s gun lying on the street, but they’ll say the police planted the gun, or that the officer shouldn’t have used deadly force, even if the video conclusively proves Martin raised his weapon at the officer. (Get ready for another round of the “shoot to wound,” “shoot the gun out of his hand,” and “disarm him with jiujutsu” crap that makes law-enforcement veterans and firearms experts roll their eyes at moments like this.) Maybe we’ll even hear some “demonstration” leaders say that Martin was just a frightened kid trying to defend himself against a killer cop, because the police have been using young black men for target practice.
Or maybe this will the incident that causes a bit of sanity to break out in the “movement.” We’ll have to see what happens after all the millionaire race-baiting czars weigh in.
Update: Let me begin with a disclaimer that this is pure speculation, but since I know a lot of people are throwing it around as news of the Antonio Martin incident spreads, so I’ve got to put it on the table: what happens if we learn that he pulled that gun on the police because he’s been stewing in hate rhetoric from the mob Democrats have been pandering to ever since the grand jury decision on Officer Darren Wilson? The shrieks from liberals about how we must forget every stinking word they said about “Climates of Hate” after Tucson will become ear-splitting.
Update: Further confirmation of Antonio Martin’s official media status as a “man”:
USA TODAY: “An armed man was shot and killed by police in Berkeley, Mo. on Tuesday night, police said. The shot man was black, according to media reports.” Shot man? That’s some elegant wordsmithing right there. The headline also describes Martin as an “armed man.”
ABC News: “A man was shot and killed by a police officer…” The description of the surveillance video further into the story also says, “The man’s arm appears to be raised – but the video is inconclusive, captured from the side of the building a considerable distance away.” And while the ABC report doesn’t confirm Martin’s name, it does quote police saying “the man’s criminal record includes assault and armed robbery charges.”
I expect you’ll be hearing a lot more about how “inconclusive” that surveillance video is, over the days to come. ABC says the officer involved in the shooting was issued a body camera, but was not wearing it at the time.
New York Times: Headline is “Officer Fatally Shoots Armed Man Near Ferguson, Police Say.” Like CBS News, the NYT swiftly contrasts Martin’s manhood with Michael Brown’s childhood:
A police officer in suburban St. Louis fatally shot a man who pointed a gun at him outside a gas station on Tuesday night, the authorities said.
The episode occurred less than five miles from Ferguson, Mo., where the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in August by a white officerprompted months of protests and started a national conversation about race and the use of force by the police.
The St. Louis County Police said in a statement that a police officer from Berkeley, Mo., was doing ???a routine business check??? at a Mobil gas station near the St. Louis airport around 11:15 p.m. on Tuesday when he approached two men he saw along the building???s side.
Washington Post: “Police: Officer kills man in St. Louis suburb after he pulls gun.” Martin is not named in the report, but is referred to as a “man” throughout.
Fox News: Fox looks like the only major media organization that mentions the “violent protests” erupting after “St. Louis County police officer kills man who pulled gun” in their headline.
NBC News: Aha! We finally have a media organization that doesn’t classify Martin as a man! “A cop fatally shot a teenager at a gas station late Tuesday just miles from Ferguson, Missouri, police said, setting off angry clashes between demonstrators and officers.” Later they identify him as a “victim” and a “teen,” which is also the term they use for “unarmed black teen Michael Brown.”
Not to be outdone, NBC’s even more irresponsible sister organization MSNBC looks to get some civil unrest rolling ASAP with the headline, “Miles from Ferguson, another black teen killed by police.” Check out how thickly the spicy-hot riot sauce is ladled onto the first few paragraphs of this report:
Just five miles from the site where Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri, another young, black teen was shot and killed by police late Tuesday night.
Demonstrations and angry clashes between police and protesters erupted overnight as the community reacted to another death of a young, black teen at the hands of police. The St. Louis County Police confirmed the death, saying the teen had pulled a gun on an officer from the city of Berkeley and that ???fearing for his life??? he had ???fired several shots.??? According to police, a handgun was recovered at the scene.
Berkeley is just two miles from Ferguson; this is the third police shooting death of a young black teen in less than six months. A second teen, also armed, was shot and killed in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis by an off-duty police officer in October. The latest shooting comes just as many have called on the anti-police brutality protests to halt in the wake of the deaths of two New York City police officers who were killed by a man allegedly outraged by the deaths of Brown and others.
Police reported early Wednesday that the officer had fired three shots and that one had struck the victim; the gun recovered was a 9 mm and had five shots in the chamber. At this time, they don???t believe the suspect fired his weapon. The officer was responding to a robbery call when he approached two young people, one of whom was the victim. The second fled the site.
What, they couldn’t work Trayvon Martin in there too? I guess they didn’t run this piece past Al Sharpton for a final editing pass before they posted it.