A Different World

Case of paralyzed Myrtle Beach man: Everyday people lie, police officers make ‘mistakes’

“I come out of the bathroom and I just see figures and it's boom, boom, boom. I'm dead," Julian Betton, grimicing in pain, says from his bed on Friday, July 10, 2015. He's recounting what he remembers of the mid-April day he was shot at least nine times by officers executing a warrant at his Withers Swash Drive apartment. After seeing the figures, he woke up from a coma six weeks later and is paralyzed. The three officers involved in the shooting are with the 15 Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit. They have been cleared of any charges by the State Law Enforcement Division. The SLED report states Betton did not fire at the officers. The shooting happened in the execution of a warrant stemming from a marijuana investigation. Officers seized less than eight ounces of marijuana, $970 in cash, an assault rifle and a handgun in the April 16 incident. Betton has been charged with three counts of possession with intent to distribute but he has not been charged with weapons violations. | By Janet Blackmon Morgan jblackmon@thesunnews.com
“I come out of the bathroom and I just see figures and it's boom, boom, boom. I'm dead," Julian Betton, grimicing in pain, says from his bed on Friday, July 10, 2015. He's recounting what he remembers of the mid-April day he was shot at least nine times by officers executing a warrant at his Withers Swash Drive apartment. After seeing the figures, he woke up from a coma six weeks later and is paralyzed. The three officers involved in the shooting are with the 15 Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit. They have been cleared of any charges by the State Law Enforcement Division. The SLED report states Betton did not fire at the officers. The shooting happened in the execution of a warrant stemming from a marijuana investigation. Officers seized less than eight ounces of marijuana, $970 in cash, an assault rifle and a handgun in the April 16 incident. Betton has been charged with three counts of possession with intent to distribute but he has not been charged with weapons violations. | By Janet Blackmon Morgan jblackmon@thesunnews.com

Related: Former Myrtle Beach cop heroic for having the strength to admit imperfection

Imagine if the roles were reversed, and it was a member of the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit lying in a hospital bed paralyzed below the waist instead of Julian Betton.

Imagine the person who shot him had claimed for weeks that it was self defense because the cop shot first.

Imagine that after an investigation by an independent prosecutor, evidence shows that was not true, that the person lying paralyzed in the hospital bed did not shoot first - or at all.

There’s no way after such a development the area prosecutor would have claimed this:

“I can understand that when you rush into the house with gunfire there’s sort of a fog,” he said. “They must have thought they were fired upon.”

Read more about that here.

The reaction would have been different. There likely would have been a press conference saying that the evidence proved the shooter was a liar. Period. There would have been no talk of fog. There would been no talk of fear.

There would been no talk of justification, as the independent prosecutor suggested - even after finding that the key detail the police had been telling for weeks was false.

This is how you further increase the amount of distrust people have in police.

This is why police officers are almost never charged or convicted when their actions lead to awful things.

This is also what quickly happens: The victim in the case - a paralyzed man - is quickly blamed for the shooting because “he’s no saint,” because he’s sold small quantities of pot, because he’s been arrested before, though never in South Carolina and not in nearly a decade.

Now we are told to believe that though he didn’t shoot first, or at all, he pointed a gun at the officers. This claim is coming from the same people who were just proven to have been telling a falsehood for weeks on end. Why should we believe them on this new claim?

Shouldn’t we be questioning why so many law enforcement resources were expended on a man selling small amounts of pot? Shouldn’t we be asking if the cops went into his home without knocking - as Betton claimed - with guns ablazing and unnecessarily made a tough situation even worse?

The shooting in Charleston was able to get so much traction because Dylann Roof allegedly murdered the perfect victims - people who were literally in church and studying the Bible and talking about God when they were gunned down. It was impossible to blame them; it’s easy to feel little to no sympathy for Betton because he’s not nearly as perfect.

But do we really want that to be our standard, that only the supposedly perfect among us should be protected from police “mistakes”?

By the way, yes, sometimes cops lie, too, like the cop in this video:

Related: Blog | Video of South Carolina cop shooting evidence of latent fear of black men, not racism

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