The Anatomy of a Divisive Event
On Saturday, September 12th, 2020, just before 7 PM Pacific Time, a gunman approached a sheriff deputy’s vehicle parked outside the MLK Transit Center in Compton, California. With no provocation, the gunman opened fire, hitting two deputies in the head, who were sitting in the front seats. They both were recently discharged from the hospital, after fighting for their lives, and now face a long road to recovery.
By all measures, what happened to those two deputies is cowardly, disgusting, and shameful.
In this article we will be dissecting the ins and outs of how a tragic event like this can grow into a national source of tension within only 24 hours of its occurrence.
1 HOUR POST SHOOTING
On Saturday, September 12th at 7:51 PM local time, less than one hour after the attack, the LA County Sheriff official twitter account announced that:
“Moments ago, 2 of our Sheriff Deputies were shot in Compton and were transported to a local hospital. They are both still fighting for their lives, so please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. We will update this thread with information as it becomes available.”
1.5 HOURS POST SHOOTING
Following the previous tweet, 31 minutes later at 8:22 PM local time, the Sheriff’s office tweeted:
“Update: One male deputy and one female deputy were ambushed as they sat in their patrol vehicle. Both sustained multiple gunshot wounds and are in critical condition. They are both currently undergoing surgery. The suspect is still at large.”
2.5 HOURS POST SHOOTING
Major media outlets, such as The Hill and NBC start reporting the shooting.
3 HOURS POST SHOOTING
County Sheriff Villanueva discusses the ambush shooting from the St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood with major media outlets covering the events live. In the audience is local journalist Josie Huang, covering the conference. Sheriff Villanueva mentioned that “words have consequences”, which implied that the current country-wide movement against police brutality inspired an unknown shooter to commit a heinous crime with an unknown motive.
President Donald Trump tweets that the “animals must be hit hard!” in reference to the individual who shot the two deputies.
4 HOURS POST SHOOTING
In the City of Los Angeles, there is a group called the Africa Town Coalition. As described on their website, they are a “Union of Black Grassroots Organizations & other Black Individuals from South Los Angeles & the Surrounding Communities.” And their mission is to “Establish & Develop an Africa Town in Los Angeles & other Cities which have a significant Concentration of Black People.” Similar to a Korea Town or a China town, this group would like to see Leimert Park, a historically African American community in Los Angeles, be officially designated as an Africa Town, and have some level of autonomy. It is important to note that the Africa Town Coalition is not affiliated with Black Lives Matter.
The current leader of this group is Kevin Wharton Price, who earlier this year sat down with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti to discuss “cultural competency” workshops (DailyMail) aimed to teach local business owners about, amongst other things, historical context within certain parts of the community. Mr. Price has been seen from time to time participating in Black Lives Matter events.
In a video posted online approximately 4 hours after the shooting which has since been removed, Mr. Price was seen marching with a small group to the hospital where the sheriff deputies were staying in critical condition. In the video, Mr. Price leads a group of individuals, presumably all from the Africa Town Coalition, in a protest of the officers in the hospital, and does so with rather sickening language, including at least one protestor yelling they “hope (the deputies) die.”
Journalist Josie Huang claimed in a tweet that she heard the protestors just before 11 PM local time, right after Sheriff Villanueva’s press conference, and went to investigate, only having her press lanyard around her neck for a credential. Mrs. Huang started recording the encounter.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweets that they are “sending prayers of healing to the @LASDHQ deputies shot in a horrific attack near the Blue Line in the City of Compton. Deputies across the country bravely work to keep our communities and metro riders safe. We strongly condemn this cowardly ambush & stand prepared to offer aid.”
One twitter handle “@lalovestrump” responded to the mayor’s tweet in less than 4 minutes, asking if he “still think cops are ‘killers’? Do you still support defunding the police? Do you still support BLM?”
4.25 HOURS POST SHOOTING
After some time recording Mrs. Huang stopped to send the video to editors, and noticed after uploading the group had disbanded, spar one “male adult protestor” according to the Sheriff’s department. While trying to arrest this protestor, journalist Josie Huang was arrested by the LA County Sheriff at 11:16 PM local time (Scott Schwebke ABC 7).
5 HOURS POST SHOOTING
Journalist Megan Garvey of Southern California Public Radio took notice to her colleague’s arrest. Given the journalists remarkable track record, it was considered impossible by many in the journalist community she would do something to get arrested.
The LA County Sheriff’s office tweeted at 12:02 AM local time, which is 5 hours post shooting, and around 45 minutes after protestors disbanded, the following:
“To the protesters blocking the entrance & exit of the HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM yelling "We hope they die" referring to 2 LA Sheriff's ambushed today in #Compton: DO NOT BLOCK EMERGENCY ENTRIES & EXITS TO THE HOSPITAL. People's lives are at stake when ambulances can't get through.”
5.5 HOURS POST SHOOTING
Newsweek publishes an article around 12:30 AM local time where they say “crowds of protestors blocked the entrance to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood” and that “a witness told ABC7 that some had tried to break into the hospital’s emergency room.
The nationalistreview.net, a right leaning website, wrote that “black lives matter terrorists tracked down the hospital” at around this same time and also showed a clip of Mr. Prices video where he announces he is protesting as a part of the Africa Town Coalition.
7.5 HOURS POST SHOOTING
Journalist Megan Garvey tweeted a video sent to her by Journalist Josie Huang seconds before her arrest earlier that night showing Mrs. Huang’s point of view of the protestors, which showed approximately 5 protestors from her recording.
The LA County Sheriff’s office tweeted at 2:19 AM local time that Mrs. Huang was arrested for ignoring “repeated commands to stay back as [the law enforcement officers] struggled with the male and interfered with the arrest.” She was charged for 148 P.C. which is a law stating you cannot intentionally resist, delay, or obstruct law enforcement officers from performing their lawful duties.
9 HOURS POST SHOOTING
Journalist Josie Huang is released from jail at 4 AM local time. In images posted to twitter by Megan Garvey, Mrs. Huang is seen with some minor cuts and bruises.
10.5 HOURS POST SHOOTING
Donald Trump Jr tweets at 5:42 AM local time to “please pray for these two Sheriff Deputies. Their lives matter!!! #BlueLivesMatter”
The phrase “Blue Lives Matter” was first used around December 2014 in response to Black Lives Matter, which was perceived to be anti-cop, and the murders of two NYPD officers in Brooklyn. “Black Lives Matter” as a movement started in July 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in his trial over his shooting of Trayvon Martin with the goal of ending systemic racism and police brutality.
11.5 HOURS POST SHOOTING
President Donald Trump retweets his sons tweet from an hour earlier and says “If [The Deputies] die, fast trial death penalty for the killer. Only way to stop this!”
The top responses to this tweet from the president includes:
@MeSoOrnery1 “Or, or, or police can stop killing unarmed people. That’s another way to stop it. I don’t see you demanding swift justice for those people.”
@HKrassenstein “Why didn’t you say the same thing about the officer who killed George Floyd?”
@drew84levit “What about Kyle Rittenhouse?”
@rockynickydog “If the two sheriff deputies die, there should be a fast trial and a public hanging the next day. That is what Justice calls for.”
These responses are mixed, and are mostly made by people upset that the President swiftly condemns violence and wants justice for officers who are shot for no reason when he pointedly is not so quick to condemn police brutality. The problem with these tweets is that they also suggest that the still unknown shooter, with a still unknown motive, only committed the crime in protest of police brutality.
12 HOURS POST SHOOTING
On my personal Facebook feed I started to see posts and comments pop up about the events in Los Angeles that happened only 12 hours earlier. Across the variety of them I captured a few themes.
The first theme was to call out the shooter and the protestors as horrible people.
The second theme was to connect the events to the National Football League, saying that since NFL teams had honored some police brutality victims to raise awareness, that they therefore should also be against civilian on law enforcement officer violence as well, and honor the deputies who were fighting for their lives.
The third theme was to tie the shooter and the protestors to Black Lives Matter and suggest that either the organization planned one or both of these events, or at least contributed to the atmosphere where the shooter and protestors thought this behavior was okay.
12.5 HOURS POST SHOOTING
At 7:31 AM local time, Robby Starbuck of the “Grow Up Live” show tweets the video of the 2 police in Compton who were shot and said “BLM activists then blocked the ambulance entrance of the Hospital ER shouting ‘We hope they die’. If you are an undecided voter, I hope you just made your decision.”
This is likely the first tweet by any verified Twitter account claiming the protestors were a part of Black Lives Matter.
13 HOURS POST SHOOTING
The Democratic Nominee for President Joe Biden tweets that “This cold-blooded shooting is unconscionable and the perpetrator must be brought to justice. Violence of any kind is wrong; those who commit it should be caught and punished. Jill and I are keeping the deputies and their loved ones in our hearts and praying for a full recovery.”
Additionally, the California Governor Gavin Newsom tweets that “A 31 year-old mother and a 24 year-old are fighting for their lives because of this cowardly, horrific act. The perpetrator must be quickly brought to justice. Praying for a full recovery for the deputies. @JenSiebelNewsom and I are keeping their loved ones in our thoughts.”
14 HOURS POST SHOOTING
The Democratic Nominee for Vice President Kamala Harris tweets that “Doug and I are keeping the two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies in our hearts as they currently fight for their lives after a horrific attack last night. The perpetrator must be brought to justice.”
14.5 HOURS POST SHOOTING
Dan Bogino, of the conservative Dan Bogino Show, re-tweets at 9:40 AM local time the Robby Starbuck tweet mentioned earlier, and says that “BLM is a Marxist terror-group that uses violence and destruction to advance its racist agenda. They’re a clear and present danger to liberty and freedom. #FACT” And Donald Trump Jr., the son of the President of the United States, retweets this message.
By this point it was known the protestors were not affiliated with Black Lives Matter. However, many people wanted to make the connection because they felt that either Black Lives Matter, as an organization, contributed to the shooting and the protests directly by planning the attack and protests, or because they think BLM has created an atmosphere where people may think it is ok to shoot deputies, or advocate for an officers death.
22.5 HOURS POST SHOOTING
The American Civil Liberties Union tweets at 5:27 PM local time that “Journalists should never be arrested or attacked by police for doing their job. The First Amendment doesn’t allow it. To Josie Huang and journalists nationwide: We’re with you.”
24 HOURS POST SHOOTING
The suspect in the shooting 24 hours after the event was still on the run.
POST 24 HOURS
Additional video two days after the shooting came out from a bystander (Daily Mail) showing the immediate aftermath of the shooting with the massive police response. The bystander in his video does not say the shooting is funny, but appears to laugh the shooting off.
The same night this video comes out, Tucker Carlson of the Tucker Carlson Tonight show said that “[the Shooter] tried to kill them because they were cops… Can we really be surprised that he tried to do that? Since the beginning of summer, the Democratic Party has told us that the police are evil. That they’re killers. Agents of racist genocide. Cops are the Problem [to Democrats].”
He went on to say that “Black Lives Matter has told this man (the bystander) that police officers deserve to die because they’re sub-human, so why wouldn’t he celebrate?”
The Deputies were released from the hospital on September 21st, and journalist Josie Huang had all charges against her dropped on September 24th. Additionally, the shooter is still on the loose.
So What Now?
Instead of focusing on catching the shooter, many of our nation’s leaders, thinkers, and provokers from all political backgrounds found it a better use of their time to politicize the entire situation to gain some sort of social points amongst their closest followers. All the while two deputies were fighting for their life. The people who politicized this event never said anything else about this incident after getting in a sufficient number of jabs to fulfill their ego and divide us even more.
It is incredible how in just under a few hours from a tragic event like this, we can go from hoping for the victims to survive to then finding ways to connect a few protestors to another movement to please our unconscious biases, then fighting for a journalists first amendment rights, re-affirm how there either must be a huge problem in this country not supporting the police, or a huge problem with the police, and finally assigning the weight of the entire situation to a political party.
Here is an idea. Let’s hope that the deputies recover fully, that the perpetrator is caught, and that we can also end police brutality.
If you have any information to help catch the shooter, call investigators at 323-890-5500.
- Tyler, The National Watch