A Police Shot to a Boy’s Back in Queens, Echoing Since 1973

Apr 17, 2015 · 180 comments
mikeoshea (Hadley, NY)
When - many years ago - I was growing up and going to St. Mary's Elementary School on Parsons Blvd, in Flushing, some of us guys would sneak out of the schoolyard at lunchtime and head down Parsons towards Riskins store, where we would try to pretend we were grown-up by reading their adult magazines and buying cups of coffee. More often than not, however, we would encounter an (Irish) cop who recognized us and knew what we were doing. He'd walk back part of the way with us and then tell us that he'd tell Sister Thecla on us the next time he saw us. We respected him, but were a lot more afraid of Sister Mary Thecla than we were of him. He walked the beat and knew everyone, and everyone, it seemed to me, liked him and respected him.

I live in Flushing once again, and there are almost never policemen (women) to be seen walking the beat in that area (109th precinct). They make NO effort to show us peasants that they're there to protect us and surely don't let the bad guys know that they're watching what's going on. They do, however, respond in their cars AFTER something bad has happened.

I'm still a teacher (after almost 49 years), and I can say without fear of being contradicted that most of my students and their families don't think that cops actually care about the people (us) that they're supposed to be serving. I certainly don't think they care about us (although I'm afraid of them).
Debra (Formerly From Nyc)
I have a problem with the national television media showing nightly police atrocities, which I fear will only confuse those who are not looking closely at each individual case.

Within the past week and a half, we have learned about Walter Scott, a family man who was tragically killed, some white guy who stole a horse and a Black man who was selling illegal guns and was killed by a volunteer (WHAT???). I fear that conflating the three incidents will make some think that Scott, too, was running because of a criminal past.

I know that the media likes to find trends of some larger problem occurring but showing three incidents within a week is just going to confuse people.
Earl Horton (Harlem,Ny)
The bottom line is black lives never mattered. Look at some of the images of lynched black men, their private parts cut off, or immolated. Then you see whites sometimes entire families with children spectators to murder. Many just coming from sunday services. The look on their faces are looks of satisfaction as if they killed a monster, a creature, a dangerous animal.

To read responses such as "they shouldn't run" from police or "he was a criminal anyway" is what they used back during those lynching's to somehow justify their barbarity.
Everyone should go online and look at the images of murdered black men and women hung from a tree, and whites psychotic glee.
"If only he hadn't run ,or ,"been in our white town, forgetting his place he would still be alive ."
Remember that same attitude of indifference or rationalization was used to okay lynching, ultimately mob murder. Only today it's legal because of a badge, uniform , and white skin.
Debra (Formerly From Nyc)
It's sickening. I'm biracial with an African American father but it took a college course in my late 30s to really learn about the history of lynching in this country. I had no idea that people stood around watching and having picnics. And the other day, the Times said that pictures of the lynchings became souvenirs. What is wrong with people?

No wonder some people don't want students to major in the liberal arts. People don't want us to learn our real history.
Brian Drumm (Ca)
Have been white for 0 years. Earl Horton you are 100% correct.
K Spitzhoff (Cherry Valley, NY)
I was in high school in Jamaica, Queens when this took place. I remember that the school closed for several days during the unrest. I have thought of this many times in the last few years and tried to find out more details about the killing. Looking back to the neighborhood and the time period, I understand why Clifford Glover and his step-father started to run when an unmarked car pulled over while they were carrying a week’s wages. It was a rough neighborhood, early on a Saturday morning when few people would be on the sidewalks, back in a time when there were no cash machines, cell phones, or dashboard cameras. Starting to run actually made sense. It is also interesting to remember that in 2006 Sean Bell was killed while leaving his bachelor party few blocks from where this fourth grader was killed, also by an undercover policeman. Thank you for this article on a piece history in a neighborhood that has seen a lot.
Joseph W. (New York)
Don't run from the police. In order to be shot in the back you have to be running away. Lawful citizens NEVER run from the police.
Richard Brown (Ossining, NY)
If you had read the article carefully, you'd know that the officers were in an unmarked car. The man and the child thought they were fleeing robbers, not the police.
Earl Horton (Harlem,Ny)
Joseph [email protected] You must be a cop....

To think because someone wouldn't follow an order to "stop", shooting them in the back is the answer. Killed by a civil servant...
Your sense of justice and acceptance of barbarity is telling....
Elliot (NJ)
Sure, you're absolutely right and he deserved to be shot also, right?
Sherry P (Brooklyn)
I was 9 years old when Clifford Glover was murdered, I remember feeling afraid of the police after that..
ayjaytee (Brooklyn)
I would be very curious to see what the news coverage of this was like in 1972
Kay Johnson (Colorado)
We are having the national conversation about racism whether we like it or not and if we had courageous leaders, they would realize that the constellation of killings of citizens is finally registering due to social media I think. On NPR this morning was the story of 2 youngsters who survived the Oklahoma City bombing. They were infants in the daycare. Even being shielded from that story by their parents as they grew up, it had nevertheless changed the trajectory of their lives. It is terrorism whether it is on foreign soil or here to do this level of damage to a family in the service of "an idea". It is a kind of madness I think.

That poor mother in this story is a haunting figure. We need something like South Africa's Reconciliation project to let people tell their family stories and get some relief, so we can acknowledge what this does to people, and move on as a better culture. Otherwise this stuff will continue to live in the sub-levels of our national consciousness and continue to act as a toxin.
bobnathan (san diego ca)
The Stones Heartbreaker, a record that just keeps repeating itself, the amazing thing to me is we want to tell the rest of the world how to live
Earl Horton (Harlem,Ny)
For whites this is revelatory, for blacks it is nothing new...
Brian Drumm (Ca)
70 years continue with revisionist history whitewash country is doomed.
P. Lee (Chapel Hill, NC)
I was in High School during the time Clifford Glover was killed. I attended a Catholic school in Jamaica. To get there, I took a NYC bus, a trip that took about an hour.
I am white, but I remember Clifford Glover's name and the change in atmosphere. The TV reports all told of his having a "toy" gun. I don't remember the cop's name being mentioned, nor his trial. I remember a lot of negative reports about Clifford Glover and his stepfather, true or not. (Sounds like they were not true.)
Travel to school became dangerous. The nuns did the unprecedented, they told us to wear jeans to school and change into our uniforms at school. Our uniforms had become a reason to be assaulted. We were not told why, but we knew.
Even if they had body cameras or cell phone video cameras in that time, the "blue wall" would not have let that evidence survive. Same with eye witnesses. Sad that a child was killed and his killer got away. Sad that there are still "incidents" like this still happening over 40 years later...
Meh (Atlantic Coast)
What happened to that little boy is why I told my then 9 year old son, who was walking out the door to play with his friends carrying a clear, plastic water gun that he could not do it, because I didn't want some white woman call the cops claiming some huge black man was climbing over her fence and was carrying an UZI and get my son shot by the police who would swear they feared for their lives, he was tall for his age (he wasn't), and they saw something "flash" (the terms they used back then to justify shooting someone).

Unfortunately, being a black mom of a black male child, I had to think like that.
Sandy (Boston)
The NYT just published this today in its "Watching" sidebar:
"Washington (CNN) As the Missouri National Guard prepared to deploy to help quell riots in Ferguson, Missouri, that raged sporadically last year, the guard used highly militarized words such as "enemy forces" and "adversaries" to refer to protesters, according to documents obtained by CNN." Calling enraged citizens "enemy forces" shows that at least for some — perhaps the majority — of the supposed guardians, be they National or local police, absolutely nothing has changed since 1974.
Tony P (Boston, MA)
By now every American must know that white police officers sometimes shoot black men, and children, suspected of real or imagined legal transgressions. And as often as that happens, lesser mistreatments occurs daily within that same power structure. Improvements have been made and continue to be made, but the horrors continue to occur. I suppose this particularly disturbing story is being retold to remind (or educate?) readers that the problem that's finding it's way into today's news, primarily because of new technology, is not a new problem at all? I can't really tell. What this story does do very well is document the disintegration of a family after the occurrence of a tragedy of this magnitude.
mmmlk (italy)
White cops shoot black people Sometimes? I haven't read any recent articles about White men being shot. Black people run because they KNOW that they are going to be shot or beaten if they stand still. Black parents now teach their children to be cool, cooperative, not to wear hoodies, move their hands, not to run. Charles Blow journalist for this paper wrote this some time ago. But running is instinctive. And blacks are not always murdered while running. They can be murdered while in a store in Ohio while looking at merchandise in the gun department.
mmmlk (italy)
Yes. The story documents the disintegration of a normal closley knit family where each member had a specific part.
Bob M (Merrick NY)
From Bob: But if cops bring up the number of officers killed and injured by minorities (sines 1973) that's called bigotry and racism. What hiprocracy towards those who literally saved NYC...
Don (NJ)
Dead wrong. Cop killers are justifiably among the most vilified people in society, and will, I hope, continue to be. Stop trying to change the subject. Look within yourselves, police, instead of whining when the camera is turned onto you.
Bob M (Merrick NY)
Last year 228,000 thousand misdemeanor arrests with ZERO fatalities; even at our peek of murders; 2,262 in 1991 and over 6,000 people shot, only TWELVE were killed in actions involving police. This is another "hands up..don't shoot" fantasy to satisfy 'scape- goaters and other bigots..
Monica Dula (Nyc)
How many cops have been killed by minorities? Very few. Black men are being murdered by police at the rate of 3 a week.You are comparing apples and oranges.
Michael O'Neill (Bandon, Oregon)
There may not ever be a way to correct what is wrong with urban police forces. At base the problem is Catch-22:

"They can do anything to you that you cannot stop them from doing."

As every similar story will show, with a large force of brothers in arms to lie and alibi you there is almost nothing that you can do to stop them. Especially when the entire force is maintained on the public dole.

To run and hide may well be the only sensible choice.
Tom (NYC)
People who weren't around NYC in the nineteen-seventies don't know what it was like. The police weren't doing their policing job. All they did was rant about criminals and animals. There were very few black or Hispanic officers. Homicide squads were almost exclusively white. People who lived in "bad" neighborhoods were more the victims than beneficiaries of the police presence in their streets. Police corruption was very widespread. In my neighborhood on the Upper West Side, police on the overnight shift spent more time "cooping" (sleeping on the job) than patrolling. Anyone remember the Charlie Chopoff murders - young black and Hispanic boys mutilated and murdered over several years by a serial killer? The police couldn't be bothered. The NYPD has changed radically, thanks largely to Bratton and Giuliani and a lot of new supervisors, but the virus of the old days lives on in some hearts.
Chuck Crandell (Arizona)
Police abuse and atrocities of this nature are not entirely about police not having adequate training, oversight and management. It's also about a judicial system that is does not work at times and is to costly - lawyers cost big bucks.

I am white. A police officer ordered me to do go with him, I complied. I was then cited for doing what I was ordered to do - in my case j walking, yep, during Art Walk in downtown Flagstaff Arizona. Had I paid a lawyer, big bucks, I wonder what the outcome would have been?

FYI the officer never identified himself as an officer (court testimony) and it was night and I could not see. He also shined a bright LED light in my eyes, blinding me. And there was a rock band playing approximate twenty five feet away, so dialog was problematic.
S. Bliss (Albuquerque)
The Supreme Court assures us in their 5-4 wisdom that racism is over. One wonders what kind of bubble those 5 live in.

The news is loaded with incidents of cops shooting (mostly black) people, not as a last resort but as their first option. And the excuses don't change:
1) I thought he was going for a gun (turns out to be cell phone, wallet, sandwich)
2) He didn't follow my instructions (so of course my life was in danger- had to shoot)
3) His 3" knife threatened our lives (we had to shoot him 16 times)

And we live in a world of surveillance and cell phone video. You know that these killings have been going on for years. And up until now the cops' recounting of the incidents have been golden. I have an inexpensive cell phone, but it takes video, and I am inclined to use it if I see any questionable police interaction going down. And I'm sure I'm not alone.
Laura Hunt (here there and everywhere)
So the answer is to beat white ball players? I see that seems so logical. Not to condone what Shea did but beating 13 year olds with base ball bats is certainly not the answer.
Bangdu Whough (New York City)
Condoning the Shea murder is precisely what your post is about.
mmmlk (italy)
Your comment is in the present tense. We are talking about something that happened in 1973!
owldog (State of Jefferson, USA)
It seems there is a personal clandestine "guerrilla" war between some white policemen and all-non-white-Europeans. I can only understand these killings within that context. Jim Crow went viral underground.
Manic Drummer (Madison, WI)
“When the news came out, about 200 people emerged on the field. They just took the baseball bats and started beating the white players, chanting, ‘Shea got away.’ ”

And that reaction certainly didn't accomplish anything either. It only deepened the racial division in New York City...and elsewhere.
Mema (CT)
In simple words, NYT, how about not picking at scabs so that the healing can begin?
Roger Faires (Portland, Oregon)
Mema, I'm sorry but justice as in medicine, healing can't begin unless a good diagnosis is arrived at. A true analysis, and documenting of events is necessary. Maybe it can bring a tiny amount of peace to the surviving members of that family to know that after all these years, the life and death of their Clifford may help prevent another one. I myself had never heard of this case.

And anyway, dirt not cleaned out from under a scab can become infected . . . and it seems that has clearly happened in this country in recent years.
pheymont (Brooklyn, NY)
How will silence and ignorance of long injustice help healing begin?

To turn our backs on what has happened means only that it will happen again.

For true healing, the injustice, whether it be Naziism, racism, Apartheid, police violence, starvation-wage labor and all the rest must be ended.

And that end can come only through fighting together to end them, not by pretending that "the past is past."
Kay Johnson (Colorado)
The problem is that the wound never got cleaned. No doctor leaves a scab on with rot under it. Truth is what makes things better and forgivable at some point, not ignoring things.
blackmamba (IL)
Emmitt Lewis Till, Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins and Carol Robertson were teens when they were killed like Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and Michael Brown. This young man was not, just like Tamir Rice and Carol Denise McNair. White supremacy denies the humanity of black men, women and children.

Armed violent threatening white men like Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, James Holmes, Jared Loughner, Eric Frein, Eric Rudolph, Tim McVeigh, Randy Weaver and Cliven Bundy can live to survive and thrive any encounter with law enforcement.

White men can even storm and shoot at the White House or land a gyro-copter near the U.S. Capital Building as long as they are not foolish enough to engage in any black-face minstrelsy disguise or camouflage while doing so.
ejzim (21620)
Same song, many verses later. Sometimes, I'm really ashamed to be white.
ayjaytee (Brooklyn)
There's no shame in being white. There's much shame in being a racist.
L.Bearer (Brooklyn, NY)
I second Ayjaytee. Couldn't have said it better.
Roger Faires (Portland, Oregon)
I used to do animation festivals all over the country and the Boston show was one of our best. After a show one night in Somerville I was heading across town to go to see friends play a gig at a club when in Cambridge on a street I don't remember, ahead of me a car pulled up to a young man walking along the sidewalk, the driver got out and swung a hammer at the pedestrian. I felt I knew what was going on and gunned my rental car towards this crime unfolding. Honking and flashing my high beams the assailant got back in the car and sped away. Turns out the victim was a young guy named Morgan who worked at the theater and is nearly, at the time, legally blind. He sold tickets and concessions. We found a pay phone and called the cops, then I spent the next two hours being driven around by Cambridge and Boston Police to every car they had pulled over. No luck, I could never definitively identify an assailant.

What I'm saying is that when a car pulls over very suspiciously on the East Coast in a relatively sketchy neighborhood, my first instinct would be to run. In Morgan's case he could hardly even see the car so he didn't think he needed to run.
Clifford and his father were just doing what any savvy citizens would have done so I don't want to read any comments here about why people run from strange encounters.

PS. Morgan was OK. The hammer just grazed his temple. And he told me it wasn't going to change him walking home at night. I wished Clifford was OK like that.
Joe Heinz (Alexandria, VA)
The police is out of control. Good cops need to police their fellow cops to clean up their profession and we have to do a better job at screening the people we train, hire, trust and empower with arms to protect our communities. If a child has to die senselessly in order for us to feel safe then what kind of a society are we part of?
Criminals have infiltrated the police forces all over the country. We need to clean house.
Peter Rant (Bellport)
A lot of commenters wish there were pictures of some of these past "killings", looking for justice in the past, as if it has already been achieved now with the Scott police shooting. I'm just going to say that the Scott killing has not at all been resolved. There has been no trial, and and if past history is any predictor of the future, this police officer will be exonerated completely, and will likely be re-instated in his job with back pay.

We all wish justice will prevail, it's a happy narrative, but juries give cops a huge leeway, even with shooting unarmed people in the back. And, let's not forget, Scott was running away, there was an arrest warrant out for him for child support owed, and he was test driving a Mercedes Benz, and it happened in "the South" and, last but not least, he was black.

Please, really, I'm not going to say there is no case for the prosecution but the video does not show the struggle before the shooting, or what was said. If, for example, Scott told the cop he was running to get a gun hidden somewhere it's case closed. Bottom line, the negative publicity for this has helped, but justice for any victim is, at least for now, is just a fervent wish.
ejzim (21620)
Maybe juries should be comprised of the victim's "peers." If bent cops get juries filled with white men, and cops, we all know what will happen. Anybody who give this cop a pass is just as corrupt as he is.
vrob125 (Mandeville, LA)
Running, for a 10 year old or a 50 year old, does not merit the death penalty.
What kind of logic is that?
And shooting anyone in the back has always been considered a cowardly action.
In this culture.
DecliningSociety (Baltimore)
The NYT....doing their part to ensure that racial division and hate for the police stay alive for at least another 40 years. They only had to go back 40 years to drag out this tragedy? You would think its happening every day in every neighborhood. Still waiting for any honest story on the violent crime epidemic or the thousands upon thousands of murders committed in the urban black communities. How about a story about the hundreds of white officers or unarmed whites shot by armed black men in the last 40 years. How about any reporting using the actual statistics to tell the real story to the world. This divisive media and political campaign needs to stop.
motorcity555 (.detroit,michigan)
maybe you can give us an account or a story of an unarmed white person killed running away from a black man. . and when you do please detail the outcome: probably in more instances than not you'll also find a conviction.
Zejee (New York)
But there are so many more black men killed by cops than cops killed by black men. It's a problem -- and burying your head in the sand will not solve the problem.
Mark (PDX)
Yeah! Let's ignore the injustices of the past. We can't possibly learn anything from them and it does no good to dwell on them. Just think happy thoughts. Besides, just because the cop said was recorded on a radio transmission saying, “Die, you little,” adding an expletive doesn't mean he was a racist he probably would have said that to a white perp
Cleo (New Jersey)
It is a pity that this police officer was not wearing a camera. It is a pity O.J. Simpson was not wearing one either. What is the point?
H. Charles (Phila, PA)
OJ? Really? Grow up. OJ is not a public servant.
Babeouf (Ireland)
Listen you have a Police force that is obviously out of control. And it has been for decades . Are you, can you do something about it or Not. What a very weird place you live in.
Chris (Toms River, NJ)
The number of police shootings and bullets used in NYC are down 90% since 1972, violent crime and murder have declined 80% since 1992 (overwhelmingly black lives that have been saved), yet racial demagoguery and racial fear mongering of white police are as toxic as ever. The article presents no evidence that race had anything to do with the shooting yet simply assumes, by the skin color of the shooter and victim, that it must be racial. This is itself a form of racial profiling and selective moral outrage. Why is it we never identify the race of perpetrators when black men shoot police ( 43% of all cop killings are done by blacks, and such shootings up 60% since 2014), when police kill whites (headline in New Mexico of "Hispanic police kill White man" anyone?),or when black criminals target whites, Jews and Asians for horrific violence? Of the 400,000 interracial violent crimes committed last year, including murder, 85% were black on white. Black criminals and teens routinely target Asians for violence in New York City, Oakland, San Francisco and Philadelphia, yet the only time race is even mentioned is when someone claims that bringing up race is racist! We always read about non-racial teens or perpetrators committing this terror. No, unless the story fits a Grievance Narrative in which one race is a perpetrator and the other is a relentless victim, the Times will have nothing to do with it.
ejzim (21620)
Black lives have not necessarily been "saved," they have just avoided being murdered, apparently. Interesting point of view. Tsk, tsk.
H. Charles (Phila, PA)
So let me get this right...you don't want people to generalize whites with racial demagoguery but you will write a long paragraph generalizing blacks? Great job. I'm sure that will solve the problem. Just so we're clear though, all blacks are awful violent people, correct?
Bhibsen (Albany, NY)
So what you are saying, if I get you correctly, is that 53% of police shootings are done by people who are NOT black. Yet in the media one would think that every incidence in which a person uses a gun against an officer the assailant is black. Based on your own statistic (of which I would love to know the source), the majority of police shootings are not by black people.
Paul King (USA)
Any statistics on how many black cops or female cops engage in dubious, overreacting, or downright criminal misconduct?

I only hear about white males having these problems.

How many black male cops have killed people or even discharge their weapons?

This is a crucial measure to know.
What is going wrong with white male cops and how do we solve their problems?

Updated training and strict rules on conduct need to prevail and every cop needs to get the news that we're watching.
The spotlight on the police can only move us to greater accountability. It is a good thing.
I have seen some reports that black cops are just as likely to shoot black suspects as white cops. See e.g. Are Police Bigoted? NY Times 8/30/14
Matt (NYC)
@NYB is correct. There was another NYT story on that very subject. The issue truly about white officers shooting at minorities (usually blacks), but officers in general being very quick to use deadly force. So the only racial aspect is the VICTIMS of dubious shootings are typically minorities. Statistically speaking, the shooter's race is not significant.
Bangdu Whough (New York City)
Yes, because many Black cops assimilate the norms, beliefs and attitudes of their colleagues in order to fit into the organizational culture.
TheJadedCynic (Work)
I was 9 in 1973, and I can remember my Mother's reaction to the Clifford Glover shooting. She sat me down and almost in tears, gave me my marching orders for any encounter with the police. Keep your hands away from your pockets and in full view. Be respectful, and don't react if they try to provoke you. Address them as "Officer", and look them straight in the eyes when you speak with them.
I'll never forget that talk, and the anguish that I couldn't really understand at the time. Now, with a grown daughter of my own to worry about, I understand all too well what she was going through. And while I worry less that she will be harmed by police than by a boyfriend, there is still the fear of her being harassed by the police for being a young Black Woman in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not to mention my own sense of caution whenever I have to interact with law enforcement. I would love to think of an America without these injustices, but frankly I lack the imagination to visualize what that would really be like. The closest I can get is the guys on Star-Trek:TNG. And it'll probably take that long to accomplish a truly color-blind America, where no one has to have that conversation with their 10 year old son.
Kay Johnson (Colorado)
I appreciated that this article vividly showed what such a cowardly act does to a family who can get no justice. This could be anyone's kid.

It makes it real to see what grief did to this mom. This whole family was destroyed by one man. And when the facts are used against people? Tragic in every way because the toxicity goes back into our culture and rots it when everyday people are run over like this.
johnny (bklyn ny)
I am absolutely stunned.I was ten years old in 1973.As, a white man I cannot believe this injustice occured.The press at that time did not make a big deal out of this story.The media did not make a big deal out of it.Why? THe entire media was controlled by white people who automatically believed that this boy had a gun.Where was Geraldo during all of thi?.I began reading newspapers and watching the news every single day starting at nine years old.I would be curious to see how the new york times covered this story at that time.The times was never read in my neighborhood marine park.Please investigate and find out how the times covered this story.The point I am making is this I do not remember this story.Did something major happen that week in the country like a plane crash or natural disaster.I have a tremendous memory.This story was not front page news that weekend.
Mike Barker (Arizona)
Just don't resist arrest or run away if don' t want to get shot. Why is that so hard to understand?
Del Shortliffe (Norwalk, CT)
The story makes it clear that they were not resisting arrest because they didn't know the man with the gun, who arrived in an unmarked car and wore no uniform, was a cop.
Robert Sherman (Washington DC)
What arrest? There was none. Shea jumped out of an unmarked car brandishing a gun. Armistead ran to a patrol car SEEKING POLICE PROTECTION, not knowing that the police were shooting his innocent stepson.

Apparently these plain facts are too hard for Mike Barker to understand
Chilena (New York, NY)
An unmarked car rolled up next to them in the pre-dawn darkness on a New York City street in 1973. Two unknown men in street clothes were inside. You would have run away too.
Also, it is illegal to shoot someone just for running from police.
VoR (SF, CA)
Curious what purpose an article about a horrendous episode over 40 years old serves to further what is already a hostile dialogue. You've *already* got people justifiably angry, you've already had reprisal killings of cops, you've *already* got cops circling the wagons and anyone reading the NY Times is well aware this isn't a new phenomenon.

So what is the point of this article? To further sensationalize an already sensational and critical subject? To generate clicks on the back of tragedy?

Are we going to go through the annals of history, and bring up every miscarriage of justice? Or just the ones involving black victims and white cops? Or just the ones from NYC?

Between the NY Times shameless pandering to celebrities, outright propaganda for Hillary Clinton and its pathetic editorial standards, time to cancel the subscription.
Anita (MA)
The point to this story is that White cops shooting Black citizens has a long history in this country. THAT is an important point. We MUST deal with - and SOLVE - this problem NOW. (Because you, VoR and people like you, clearly do not understand or appreciate how luck you are to be born WIA - White in America).
Dilbert123 (Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia)
Just imagine its a little blond blue-eyed white boy running away from two black cops who up and shoot him and the bullet goes through that little white boy's back and out through the top of his chest, because he was running with his head bent down.
Got it?
Now continue to see a celebratory photo of that black policeman with his black lawyer in a restaurant after he won the case.
Feel better? No? OK, cancel your NYT subs then
Ann Arbor (Princeton, NJ)
To me the point of this article -- one well worth pondering -- is how the ramifications of a shooting like this ripple outward through years and generations, long after the specific incident has disappeared from the headlines. It should spur us all the more to push for reforms to reduce police shootings. Like an independent office to investigate police shootings, instead of a prosecutor whose daily work (and likely future political ambitions) depends on police cooperation.
jck (nj)
Revisiting this tragedy from 40 years ago is divisive and intentionally inflammatory.
There have been an estimated 12,000 murders in NYC alone since then.
There are approximately 400 murders per year in Chicago alone.
The epidemic of murders in the U.S. is being ignored by the political focus on several police incidents.
Where is the outrage and protest against these crimes?
There is. Check out NPR's article 'Ghettoside' Explores Why Murders Are Invisible In Los Angeles.
Roland Berger (Magog, Québec, Canada)
These men are no police officers. They are hunters.
Yeah, whatever.... (New York, NY)
The idea that that Mr. Shea would have a public celebration and take "congratulatory" photos no less, speaks volumes.
How tone deaf can you be? The child was 10 years old!
The photo is awful.
Victor (NY)
This story is an excellent reminder of how little has changed on the last 40 years. Every year we hear speeches on M.L.K. day about all the progress we have made. Much of it is true. National surveys show that racial attitudes, meaning whites perception of blacks, are better today than any time since these data have been collected.

But in celebrating our progress we ignore the more stubborn manifestations of racism, especially in police departments. Our social science data tells us that there is considerable racial bias in society, affecting everyone. It affects your loan rate when you buy a car, your chances of getting a job, whether an apartment will be rented to you, who your friends are, what church you attend and even what TV programs you favor.

Yet, despite all this data we have no ongoing unconscious racial bias programs in our schools and our police departments. This type of training should be mandatory. It wont solve every problem of violent police citizen encounters, but it will diminish the impact of race in those encounters.

I'm tired of reading about these cases. Our City Council recently voted to increase the NYC police force by 1000 officers. Are they going to simply give us more officer Shea's? Or will they finally apply a racial justice lens to policing and require new training and monitoring within the department? So far they have only presented a budget authorization. We need to remind them that their responsibility doesn't stop there.
ibeetb (nj)
Right now...up in that big place in the sky....there is a gathering place of all the WHITE cops and overseers from slavery to now...that have beat, tortured, and lynched Black men. They are currently reaping what they have sown.....and it aint good. Believe that
Jen (NY)
There is a legal project called the Cold Case Justice Initiative that looks into unsolved civil rights-era murders... maybe we need a national commission to look into old cases like Clifford Glover's.
Pooja (Skillman)
If a suspect appears to have a weapon and a police officer shoots and kills the suspect, and then it is determined the suspect did not have a weapon, the police officer needs to be thrown off the force and charged with the appropriate crime. And if he kills the suspect, the police officer needs to be charged with murder.
"I thought he had a gun," "I was in fear for my safety," "He was as strong as the Hulk and charged me" are not reasons to use deadly force. If the suspect points a weapon at you and is about to fire his weapon, then yes, you may fire upon him. All other excuses are just that: excuses. Lame excuses.
Susan (New York, NY)
But racism is over. The Supreme Court told us so. PLEASE NOTE SARCASM.
L.Bearer (Brooklyn, NY)
To be fair, they did have a black guy vote with them, soo, there's that.
Temp attorney (NYC)
The wrongs run deep. Look at the figure Patsy in twelve years a slave. Around the same time in history, a young black woman slave was raped. She killed her white owner who had raped her. She wasn't even old enough to be an adult. The jury found her guilty of murder and hanged her. The law mocked her humanity. Then turn today to what the banks did to Americans' homes in 2008, and turn to what the Nazis did during WW2, what took place in Rwanda. Very little justice was achieved. Then pause to ask why we don't have a museum in Memphis dedicated to Martin Luther King. Pause another moment to consider all those hundreds of bystanders on Panama City beach who stood by while a woman was raped. Pause to reflect on all those happy picnicking white people depicted on those postcards showing lynchings in the South. These are all the same, although different: all that evil needs to flourish is for good men to stand by and do nothing. Maybe the real message is that there aren't enough good men. Those of you who are good, you owe a duty every day to be the best person you can be because you are fighting a mighty tide.
Jake (Smith)
Look at how many African Americans are killed in America compared to White People, you would be amazed. Its not always about Race.
Robert Sherman (Washington DC)
To be fair, we have to point out thatthey are mostly killed by other African Americans.
Mark (PDX)
@robertsherman. And most whites are killed by other whites if you have a point then you should make it.
Jay (Maine)
The narrative in this country has to change. We often applaud ourselves on the emancipation act, and the civil rights movement but in reality nothing has changed. When nearly one out of every two black males older than 23 has been incarcerated, when a prison term and its collateral damage results in an incarcerated male never having a meaningful job, what is the difference between slavery and todays society. If white society believes and is afraid of black society, then nothing has really changed. The truth is there are cultural differences in the United States and we should cherish, and applaud those differences not push them down. A homogenous society is a dead society. We have so much to learn from everyone in this country and the idea that we have to control the masses (particularly the black masses) is false and damaging. As a nation we are in a tail spin and it will continue until there is equality and a belief in all people in our society. Our democracy will not prosper, it will not move forward, and it will not thrive until it represents every single person in our country not just the fortunate few. The events in this article happened in 1973 but are a repeat of events that had been happening since 1492, and will continue to happen until the national narrative changes. White police officers should not be shooting black children, instead they should be playing pick up sports with them and ensuring their schools and travel to schools is safe.
JaneE (New York)
Ever heard of the Police Athletic League?
nostone (brooklyn)
Not white policemen.
There is no category white policemen.
There are policemen who are white and there are some who are black.
Clifford Glover's family moved next door to my parents, in a Southeast Queens bedroom community, after his tragic death. Presumably they used some of the paltry payment of $50K that the City made to them. My family (and I, on occasions when I visited my parents) witnessed the rapid descent of Ms. Glover and the devastating impact of this on the surviving children. Her daughter's account in the NY Times piece is chillingly sad, but accurate. The murder of Clifford Glover caused the ultimate destruction of the family and the early death of his mother. Today, he would be about 51 years old. #IAmCliffordGlover.
And this is exactly the reason we have to highlight these accounts because it's not only the dead victim but the victim's family is also destroyed when a loved one is killed without just cause.
Jeffrey Lynch (Anna Maria Island, Florida)
If you did some credible research and went back to 1973 and searched all the records on police killings up until today, first of all you would see that most of the statistical evidence is not there. For some strange reason, people in power that are supposed to keep track of these things, have all kinds of excuses for why they are not doing their job. The Justice department says that local police departments make it difficult for them to gather information. I guess reading the newspaper never occurred to them. My second point is that taking all the evidence that does exist and doing a thorough search, you will discover that very few cops that kill people were ever indicted and even less were ever convicted. Our entire system of checks and balances has been corrupted. It's not just the cops who are pulling the triggers.
Steven McCain (New York)
Really tired of hearing this Thin Blue line excuse for bad policing. Joseph Wambaugh wrote the book The Thin Blue Line and we use it for the excuse of letting out of control law enforcement stay out of control. Because they are line between us and the felons we don't have to hold them to any kind of standard. Maybe will need to make the line thinner by removing and not hiring people who make these deadly errors in judgment. Since most wear blue how is the public to tell the bad from the good? Do good cops let bad cop’s plant evidence? What good cop would think of beating a woman on the side of an interstate highway in California with hundreds of cars going by in broad daylight? Until the good cops stand up and stay enough is enough all the cameras and training will not put Humpty Dumpty back together again!
Steven McCain (New York)
The problem of out of control cops was dramatically shown to us when the South Charleston PD released the conversation between the officer who shoot the man in the back and his superior. Never once did I hear the superior even ask him did he have to shot him or why was the deceased shot in the back? What I heard was a casual conversation with the superior telling him to go home and get his story straight and write it down. Meaning go home and think of a way to justify this and make sure you write it down because you have to keep the first lie going. Write it down because you have to tell the same story the same way every time you tell it. In the real world who could forget any second of taking a human life. Cameras and training will not change this culture. Easy fix for this whole ever growing spotlight on bad policing is fire superiors who are not supervising their subordinates properly. If a superior can't go into roll call and tell them I will support you when you need me but when you violate my trust and the public's I am going to be your worst nightmare. To have a superior officer tell officer Slager to go home and get his story straight should have raised more eyebrows than my own. The ten or more cops in California knew it a news copter overhead but it did not stop them from teaching the guy on the ground a lesson. The lesson we should learn is that they only do these things because they know they will get away with it. Who polices the police?
Christine McMorrow (Waltham, MA)
So sad. Every time I hear of a new police shooting, accompanied by videos or dash cams, that leave no doubt how incidents occurred, I always shake my head and ask: how many senseless killings did white cops get away with before the advent of new technology?
J. F. Mulligan (NY, NY)
Thank you for reminding us that this moment of police racist misconduct and murder is not new. Public safety is not served by policing and mass incarceration.
swm (providence)
Why do we give police the right to exact a death penalty on the citizens? This isn't a right they've earned.
vincentgaglione (NYC)
This is a penetrating article that serves more as an editorial than a background story on current events. Justice is not always served. Decency is not always present. Why do so many refuse to understand? Why do so many refuse to change their attitudes and behaviors?
Nickie Lisella (Allendale,NJ)
So sad - we don't realize how our actions affect people and their lives.
Hundreds of African American kids have been shot and killed by other African Americans in the past 40 years. Why dredge up this case? Are you trying to defame the police department yet again. I hope that policemen nation wide will go on a strike demanding total immunity from criminal liability in performance of their difficult duties. Without this immunity, any person who wants to become a policeman should be discouraged by his friends and family.
Gary (Brookhaven, Mississippi)
You ARE joking, aren't you?
I can only hope your head is in the sand.

Total immunity from criminal liability would create open season on the citizenry. This story did not defame the police department one iota. Shea got away with murder. He knows it.
Christopher (San Francisco, CA)
Tthe police seem to do a pretty good job of defaming themselves. Total immunity? Seems like that's already been the case for decades, but the times are changing.

You'd probably feel very differently if someone from your family was shot by a cop and there was no accountability.
azzir (Plattekill, NY)
Police have been literally getting away with murder by hiding behind the badge since forever. Things change. Maybe those days are falling behind us. What a sad story. With one misbegotten gunshot, Mr. Shea killed a family. And was acquitted.
winthropo muchacho (durham, nc)
Having lived in New Orleans for 20 years I learned that it was commonplace for cops to lie to protect the wrongdoing of other cops or to build cases based on outright perjury of officers and subornation of perjury of witnesses at the behest of officers of or crooked da's in Harry Connick's office.

And if one is wrongfully convicted and spends years in prison based on the lies of the cops and subornation of perjury and suppression of evidence by crooked da's, and is subsequently exonerated, there is essentially no redress available by way of monetary damages against the evil doers thanks to the 5/4 decision by the not so supreme court in Thompson v. Connick authored by that champion of liberty Clarence Thomas
Cam (MA)
Why is there a general perception that jury's "get it right"? There are countless examples in the recent past of this simply NOT being the case!
Melvyn Nunes (On Merritt Parkway)
Charleston, Ferguson, New York.
Rodney. Martin. Emmett.
Tell me. Please.
What's the difference between ISIS and racism?
About 2,423 miles.
Howie Lisnoff (Massachusetts)
Racism, police violence, few decent jobs, prisons meant to hide the failures of social/political/economic institutions.
M.L. Chadwick (Maine)
I agree with H.L. that American "prisons [are] meant to hide the failures of social/political/economic institutions."

But there's another, more insidious reason for the massive imprisonment of Americans. The right wing is promoting a vast wave of privatization of all functions that, in a free and democratic society, are government-run and responsible to the people.

Privatized prisons will reap huge financial gains--in the billions of dollars--for their CEOs and shareholders. "We the people" will have little or no control over them. Indeed, ever more of us--even whites (the horror...)--will become their victims.

Until this tide is turned back, both our democracy and our individual freedom from false arrest and imprisonment will remain in grave danger.
Kenya (Florida)
I, a mother, and so very afraid for my son, who was just 11 years old in 1974,
recall this story, the horrible shooting of the ten year old black boy, the reactions, the protests, I was a protester, and how justice was not done. Why is it almost always a back male and a white police officer and/or male? And things have not improved, changed, a great deal. In fact, some issues have only gotten worse. Black males are more inclined to be in jail than in schools and/or colleges!! And many African/American. most? families are headed by women, many men make babies and leave, and sadly many women can't seems to comprehend that they must be in command of their own reproductions choices. I, now an educator and no longer living in NY feel sad and dispirited, at times. A Black African American President, so what?????? American is a country of disease(s) and it shows!!! Yet, I still hope and pray and hope and pray! And I try to do what I can to encourage and to motivate in my little corner of my world. I reach out, teaching, training, trying to be positive but it is challenging. Until some people see another person(s) as human, real,with feelings, etc mistreatment, cruel behaviors can and will continue. I wonder how to go about teaching tolerance, respect and having empathy for others. Obviously, it is not being taught in many homes, churches and schools.
partlycloudy (methingham county)
As an admitted cop groupie who worked with cops for over 28 yrs, I have to say that the horrendous shootings of black men in the back all over this country are ridiculous. It is one thing to shoot someone like that in Missouri. But the shooting in Tulsa and N. Charleston and elsewhere show a callous disregard for the lives of blacks. I.e., racist white cops. My atlanta cops used to run down suspects. I had a case with a black cop shot by a white guy who took the young cop's gun. Jury convicted the white guy. Cop lived. Too many cops have been shot and killed or injured by suspects who fought with them
But the shooting of anyone in the back? That's murder. Even when a cop does it. Too lazy to chase a suspect and too bigoted to let the guy whose ID the cop has and whose car the cop has get arrested later by the fugitive squad.
Doris (Chicago)
Many have been saying that this killing of unarmed African Americans has been going on for the last one hundred years, this is not new.
Sound town gal (New York)
I think what is new is that a broader slice of society is starting to notice and protest.
Shaun (Passaic NJ)
So often one reads about the breakdown of nuclear families, and in particular black families without father figures. And here is an example of a family with working parents destroyed unnecessarily by an officer who's supposed to protect them. It's disgusting O'Shea celebrated his acquittal - he should have been more respectful considering he's killed a child - then again he lied about why he did. The jurors' behavipr was deplorable - clearly not impartial. The more police enact the death penalty upon unarmed black men and women for minor crimes (and where no crimes occur), the more children we will see being raised without the love and guidance of parents.
susie (New York)
Yes the photo is very disturbing. Of course he is understandably overjoyed that he is not going to jail BUT you still killed someone - a child even. I would think that would temper your celebration a bit. That fact that it didn't speaks volumes.
ooonanana (wembley uk)
losing a member of one's family is probably the most painful experience known to us.
and it must be even worse when the death is caused by person(s) in authority.
the overwhelming feeling that comes from that can be difficult to come to terms with.
many people are never able to trust the police again.
and in this case the officers decided to kill a 10 year old who "appeared to have a weapon" but once again it Turns out that the officers were wrong.
again and again officers have been found to have made "snap judgments"
followed by swift action that results in the loss of lives.
this should not be allowed to continue.
the American police force needs to swallow its pride and make a much needed decision to clean up its act.
and the public need to make a decision to promote respect for the law and the enforcers of the law
which will hopefully reduce the chances of another person being killed by a police officer.
Jim Dwyer (Bisbee, AZ)
Another excellent, penetrating article by Jim Dwyer.
asg (Good Ol' Angry USA)
It is clear our policies are not stopping police brutality. I suggest cameras on all police, with the presumption being if it stops filming sound & voice it has been tampered with. No vile cursing by police: they are public servants - what professional employee is permitted to act that way- it makes them no better than thugs. Enough w the buzz hair cuts like they're para-military or quasi-skinheads: it sets them apart from the people- it's wrong and makes them look military and intimidating. Stop the heavy arms from the military to them- military is not permitted in the US via the Posse Comitas Act of 230+ years.
R Nelson (GAP)
@asg in Good Ol' Angry USA:

Posse Comitatus dates from 1878.
Militarization of the police accelerated exponentially after 9/11. President In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, GW Bush toyed with the idea of relaxing the law to allow the military to restore order. The result was the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the military to be used in "major public emergencies" (see, for example, the Wikipedia article on Posse Comitatus). Nice...
Armo (San Francisco)
The sick pattern of behavior and cover-ups has gone on since the sheriffs anointed deputies and formed posses on horseback. The sick culture hasn't changed - the "blue wall" is a disgusting, vile pattern of cover-ups and heinous crimes. Time to stop. Anyone who truly wants to be a cop should not be one. No one should trust cops - they lie, they steal and they kill.
Ronald W. Gumbs, Ph.D. (East Brunswick, New Jersey)
It was 1957 when policemen walked the streets of the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York where I lived with my father in a three-story row house. It seemed then that there was no crime in the neighborhood where everyone spent the days sitting outside on the stoops of the row homes.

There were no drugs on Chauncey Street where I lived. There was full employment, including jobs in manufacturing, and various trades, such as TV repairman.

No one could visualize a policeman shooting anyone in the back in those days because there was excellent policing and communication between civilians and law enforcement.

The family structure was stable and almost everyone went to church on Sunday.

But in 1964 there were riots and the relationship between residents and police deteriorated rapidly. And with the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967, the rioting accelerated with looting and burning of whole sections of certain blocks.

Today, with stop and frisk, Tasers and patrol cars, body cams, dashboard cams operated by the police and smart phones owned by the residents, America is finally coming to grips with the problem of police brutality and the Blue Wall,

So let us hope that there are no more Clifford Glover's and that we can all get along together, to quote Rodney King. In order to accomplish this, we need better policing, communication, education and most important, parenting.

God bless America!
Nancy (Corinth, Kentucky)
We also need to rebuild our cities, which were gutted of their tax base and their social fabric by the mortgage interest deduction and the freeway system. One was a giveaway to the banks and building industry, the other to the auto and fuel industries. Both committed deliberate, shameless cultural gerrymandering and disenfranchisement of urban populations.
Jack M. (New York, NY)
And in that same 1957 I was a young man newly arrived in Hell's Kitchen. There was crime everywhere in the neighborhood Cops did walk SOME of the streets.
And according to rumor too prevalent and consistent to be wrong, many cops carried a hidden, untraceable gun in case they had to plant it on a citizen they were arresting, or had shot.
God bless America indeed! We need it, and any other help we can get.
Samantha (New York, NY)
I think your story of decline ignores the actual historical causes of many of the 1960s riots. Most of the non-MLK assassination riots occurred because of longstanding tensions between the police and local citizens, as was certainly the case in the 1964 Harlem Riot and the 1967 Newark riot. In other words, the riots only publicly exposed divisions that already existed, they did not creat them.
skanik (Berkeley)
Perhaps we can have a National Policy on when Policemen can and cannot
shoot someone who does not have a weapon.

It would be helpful if people got up in arms about all the shootings that
end up killing children and adults whether carried out by Policemen
or street-thugs.
Jacob K (Evanston, IL)
Here's the problem with your comment: gang members are not accountable for their actions. They're already criminals. We expect them to do terrible things, and shouldn't be surprised when they kill children. Most gang members are teenagers anyway; the real tragedy is the fact that they end up in gangs in the first place.

Cops, on the other hand, are supposed to enforce the law and act as role models for the rest of society. They should be bastions of morality. They are also given a great deal of power (in the form of badge, gun, taser), paid for by taxpayer dollars. Our taxes do not fund the guns of gangsters. Every time an innocent child dies, it is a tragedy. And there are certainly people "up in arms" about gang violence, and trying to stop it by reaching out to youth before they join gangs. But solving the epidemic of gang violence is far more difficult than holding cops accountable for their crimes.
Miriam (Raleigh)
How about you are not allowed to murder people, you know the unarmed. That is already the laws and police are not above it.
skanik (Berkeley)
Jacob K,

I do not expect extensive NY Times coverage over only
solvable problems.
The comparative lack of outrage over all the violent deaths
of children in this country, especially those by Street-Thugs
is shocking and sadly tells you what is and what is not important
to the NY Times.
And Justice For All (San Francisco)
I don't know any other way to say "this must stop" than to protest loudly in the streets. Letters to the editor or to congressional leaders just don't cut it.
Larry (Michigan)
Perhaps it is time to create another model to protect our citizens. Perhaps it is time to get rid of the police as we know them. Stop traffic stops for minor offenses, use cameras and send letters for traffic infractions. Take the crime out of small amounts of drugs. We will not need as many police. Many police have become too violent. Average citizens are just plain afraid of the police as we now know them.
me not frugal (California)
After all that Eloise Glover had been through, the churches she loaned her settlement money to took advantage of her? Sometimes I despair for the human race.
Bob Smith (NYC)
Larry (Michigan)
Reasonable people would run if they thought they were about to be hurt or killed. However, most African-Americans who have been killed did not run or grab for the officer's gun. this just is not true. In order to believe this, a person would probably have to be a member of a protected group. A racial group that does not have to worry about being killed if stopped for having a broken car light or beaten for not wearing seat belts. You have to be a member of that racial group who could reasonably expect a ticket and perhaps a court date but not death. Please do not make an excuse for police who are killing our young people because those who died have created a "fog of war." Is this what happened to this ten year old boy?
No Chaser (DC)
We need the police, but I've never, never trusted them. The job attracts too many people that desire the position for the wrong reasons.
Lucian Roosevelt (Barcelona, Spain)
These cold blooded killings by police officers are absolutely disgusting.
In no way does this justify or in any way shape or form excuse any of these killings but...
Why run from a police officer? Once you resist arrest and take off anything can happen. I didn't say anything should happen. I said anything can happen.
In many of these cases the victim resists arrest, runs or tries to reach for a police officer's weapon. If you choose to go that route you're inviting the possibility that a 'fog of war' situation sets in, where the police officer, in the midst of a sudden struggle or giving chase, panics and does something stupid.
I don't think I've seen a case where a police officer shoots dead a suspect who simply complies.
Mike Boylan (Philippines)
As the article stated, the step-father had just been paid and thought they were about to be robbed because they were being followed by vehicle that turned out to be an unmarked police car. That's why they ran.
Jonathan Handelsman (Paris France)
I was looking for the first "why did he run" comment. Seems to be the latest fad with those who justify police brutality towards people of color (along with the tired "black on black violence" trope). Quite apart from the fact that the explanation is in the article, which apparently you didn't bother to read before forming your opinion...
Miriam (Raleigh)
Running from a crazy white guy is not a crime, in fact it could save the life of your child.
M J Earl (San Francisco)
A ten year old? The cops shot a child of ten? What could a child of that age possibly do to deserve to be killed? The police don't know how to stop a a child without killing them? Are these really the (armed) men and women we want looking after our streets?
Maggie Dee (NY)
Oh, indeed they did - I was a 13-year-old in another part of Queens when it happened, and remember it clearly.
NYHuguenot (Charlotte, NC)
Last year a NYC policeman killed a 14 year old with a head shot while running after him. The boy had been arrested once before for shooting a man in the shoulder in a dispute and he was released. When police next encountered him he was running after a man and shooting at him. Told to drop the gun the 14 y/o turned the gun toward the officers. It is then that he was shot. Despite all this there people who say the police were wrong to shoot back.
Cheekos (South Florida)
It truly is getting out of hand the way that some police officers verbally and physically abuse individuals that they chose to stop--sometimes without cause), drag them out of cars, taser them, and even shoot them without a rational reason. No wonder they are fighting having body and even dashboard cameras.

Oftentimes, the District Attorneys are in cohorts with the officers. Why did it take personal cell phones to take pictures? Each officer tends to back-up others and oftentimes, as we have seen in many jurisdictions, the racial or ethnic make-up of the police department--and even the city hall--bare very little resemblance to the P.D. that is out on the street.

It starts with racial profiling, which is generally statistically absurd, it carries over to the police state traditions, and, then, excess military equipment makes each officer feel like robo-cops.

SOPs need to be updated, requiring on-scene cameras, situation reports completed immediately after an engagement--individually by everyone present.
Sure, it will be time-consuming; however, if it reveals discrepancies as to what happened, when and why--that's a reason for further probing.

Lastly, the purpose of a Grand Jury is to prove that there was, in fact, sufficient justification for charges. But, it is not a place for the potentially accused to speak. Also, it is not intended to declare innocence.

nh (new hampshire)
It's not entirely clear to me why the United States feels that it can admonish other countries about human rights.
Xavi Alfredo (Los Angeles)
I would have to concur. We say Cuba does this and that, and then you have this stuff. The videos of the Attica Prison riots show the 'victorious' cops yelling "white power" it is on YouTube. In one sense it is organized thuggery ...

Andrew (Yarmouth)
Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We admonish other countries about human rights for the same reason we have nice restaurants in our country even though some people are hungry, why we send expensive probes to other planets and moons even though some people are penniless, and . . . well, why we continue to aspire to improve.
Ladislav Nemec (Big Bear, CA)
Simple: other countries are frequently much, much worse than we are. Have you heard about different levels of human right violations? Like beheading for no reason at all?
Mark Weitzman (Las Vegas)
Bring those cowardly cops to justice.
Xavi Alfredo (Los Angeles)
For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”d and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”e 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Michael Adcox (Loxley, Al)
It seems that all Americans should be outraged at Law Enforcement’s irresponsible and often criminal use of deadly force. But reading some of the comments on Facebook, or listening to conversations shows this not to be the case. The victim is usually given a share of blame because “he ran” or “wouldn’t do what he was supposed to do”, or “the media makes him out to be a choir boy when he was breaking the law”, and on and on, in the same way a rape victim is blamed for the way she dressed or acted.
Blaming the victim does not alter the facts: America’s Law Enforcement has a long, sad history of racism and murder.
lou andrews (portland oregon)
I don't want to think about how many people have been shot - execution style by cops prior to the advent of cell phone cameras and video cameras.. Even a video camera didn't help Rodney King, and it sure did help those thug cops who got away with that beating. We can thank an all- white jury out in the L.A. suburbs for that. That was 23 years ago... nothings changed- Police unions are stronger than ever, and white folks are even more stubborn in their insistence that there is absolutely no racism in America. That it is all in black peoples' minds.
Kathryn Kellison (St. Louis)
Some white people, not all.
shirls (Manhattan)
.... but not enough to insist on change!!
Kathryn (Canada)
This hurt my heart to read. What a cruel world we live in sometimes.
Pat (NJ)
I lived in NYC for 10 years, until a few years ago, and I never heard this story about Clifford Glover before. The recent shootings of Walter Scott, Eric Garner, and others are bad enough, but a 10 year old child -- it makes my stomach churn.
Xavi Alfredo (Los Angeles)
The police turned an African immigrant into Swiss Cheese and were acquitted ... the place is full of murderous police.

If you lived in NYC during this time, it would be seared in your heart.
I remember it well.
Richard V (Seattle)
Then you will also remember that New York was a dangerous place to live then. Many stories of being robbed, often at gunpoint, in an elevator, or on the street, with people standing 100 feet away, watching...feeling the fear, powerless, then angry, furious. "Death Wish" had lines around the block and people cheered when Bronson shot the thugs, white and black alike. A woman was stabbed in the street, many times, over a period of 45 minutes...many heard her screams, reported it to the police, but did nothing to help save her life...We leave that to the Police, like we leave collecting garbage to the bin men and we wonder why they act and smell the way they do...
Susan (Piedmont, CA)
Nothing has changed. They're still denying it. Let's hope they don't get away with it this time.
Laurence Voss (Valley Cottage, N.Y.)
42 years ago and nothing has changed. At least two killings last week and it...just...doesn't...stop. More guns than people in this country with no small thanks to a Supreme Court majority of the opinion that it is still 1789 and the citizens may still have the option of revolting against an oppressive government. Considering that our government is defended by the most powerful military in the history of the planet and that no such option has been extant since the Civil War , the Court's reasoning is preposterous. Considering urban sprawl and the fact that a majority of citizens live within the close confines of large metropolitan areas begs the question and the logic of indiscriminately allowing all and sundry access to lethal weapons with no required training or serious background search.

There is no question but that this demented ruling has resulted in periodic displays of random shootings far too numerous to recount. This week's demonstration of the madness revolves around the opening of the trial alleging that James Holmes , a doctoral candidate gone bonkers , armed himself with military ordnance and killed and maimed dozens at a movie theater in Colorado.

That incidents like this have become de rigeur is not only the fault of the Supreme Court , but is coupled to a Congress that cowers before the NRA while simultaneously pocketing millions provided by NRA lobbyists.

The police are out of control. 90% of the electorate backs gun control and nothing is done. Why ?
Judith Remick (Huntington, NY)
Mr. Voss, you are absolutely right about this. When Thomas Hamilton shot and killed sixteen children and one teacher (and ended his spree by killing himself) at the Dunblane Primary School in Stirling, Scotland, on March 16, 1996, Great Britain's reaction was to effectively make private ownership of handguns illegal.
Yes, it is no longer the late 18th century, and no matter how many guns citizens may collect, they are no force against the Federal Government.
It's time to get rid of the guns, and the horrific but powerful NRA.
Personally. I wish I could have pried his gun from actor and NRA spokesman Charlton Heston's "cold, dead hands."
R Nelson (GAP)
Commenter Lawrence Voss of Valley Cottage refers to the "opinion that it is still 1789 and the citizens may still have the option of revolting against an oppressive government."

Since the United States had no standing army in 1791, the Second Amendment was primarily intended for citizens to be able to form a militia at a minute's notice, as the Minutemen had done against the British in Revolutionary days, in order to defend the state. The Founding Fathers based their amendment on English law that also considered the individual's right to defend himself and to resist oppression--this last being the phrase parsed out by the wingnuts convinced that Obama's coming to get their guns. Well, dear wingnuts, no--he's not--but there are indeed de facto oppressors to be resisted--the lobbies and corporations that have bought the government. How many more black boys and men will be killed by police, how many toddlers will shoot themselves or their siblings (or their moms at Walmart), how many suicides and crimes of passion will be enabled by the ubiquity of guns, guns, guns, before we throw off the shackles of the NRA?

Citizens United out the window! Publicly funded elections now!
VoR (SF, CA)
See, THIS is the point of the article. So ignorant readers can say "nothing has changed." Except everything has changed.

In this episode, a clearly innocent 10-year-old boy was murdered, and nobody even broke stride. In the current episode, a deadbeat father running from the cops was killed, and the officer was crucified as he absolutely should have been. Michael Brown had just committed a felon, and was turned into a national martyr.

So, yeah, a lot has changed, and a lot of progress has been made.

There are still miles to go before the problem is solved. but if the New York Times were actually interested in progressing the dialogue, and helping the situation move toward a resolution, maybe it would've drawn out some nuance from the episodes instead of just pointing to history and saying: "SEE, GET ANGRY! NOTHING HAS CHANGED!"
Obonne (Chicago)
What a sad pathetic story! 42 years later and we are still telling the same narrative.
Hans Tyler (DFW, Texas)
Yes, including the despicable 'I didn't think he was a child' excuse said about Glover over 40 years ago and Tamir Rice just last year.
christopher (nyc)
When you become a cop, you have a responsibility to protect the public at expense to your own life. If you can't handle that responsibility... if you must shoot at the first sense that you might be threatened... then do not become a cop. You haven't got what it takes.
j s kandola (mississippi)
agree 100%.i understand why politicians always praise and defend police officer,becase they need them to excercise their control over us, they need them for protection.police is to to protect them and judiciary etc and not public.
Malone (Tucson, AZ)
``Afterward, many of the jurors joined Mr. Shea and his lawyers at a Queens Boulevard restaurant to celebrate.'' And 11 of the 12 jurors were white! Just looking at the photograph of Shea and his buddies makes me sick!
And we still blame the Ferguson protesters because some of them were rowdy, while protesting against yet another killing of a Black man by police, more than forty years after Clifford's death!
If anything, it is amazing that African Americans have been so patient and forgiving.
Patty (Florida)
Violence is not the answer. Read the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Breaking windows, burning cars, destroying businesses, stealing, and total mayhem is not "rowdy" behavior it is violent behavior.
Construction Joe (Utah)
It says " To serve and protect" on the side of their cars, but who are they serving and protecting. Certainly it is not poor people.
G Love (Arlandria)
I love how the media likes to tell stories about things in the past, things in other countries, etc. They like to maintain the illusion that our society is just, by distracting people.

Nothing has changed at all since this boy was killed. And nothing will change. Ever.

No progress has been made by humanity. That is the real lesson. Our lives are much worse now than thousands of years ago.
Aurther Phleger (Sparks, NV)
Nothing has changed? The article notes that bullets fired by NYPD has declines 90% since 1972. If you care to look elsewhere, you will see blacks shot by cops has declined 75% since the 1970s. Many more whites are shot than blacks and when you adjust for participation in violent crime, blacks may actually be less likely to be shot by police than whites. Also these two shot-in-the-back incidents are very very different. The recent Scott shooting occurred after a 200 yard chase and at least 1 minute of resisting arrest observed by two eyewitnesses which included a "tussle" and "going at it on the ground." The shooting is still not justified but it is a question of degree. This was a lone officer in a hidden location. He may genuinely have feared for his life while 1973 cop could not have. Nationwide crime is way down as are police shootings of blacks. That's huge progress in law enforcement effectiveness.
Hans Tyler (DFW, Texas)
Just last year the murder of Tamir Rice by a police officer happened two seconds after the police officer pulled up to the scene. He didn't even fully exit his vehicle and give himself enough time to adequately surmise the situation. He just shot first and apparently didn't even really ask questions later. That cop wasn't in fear of his life. Tell Rice's family that there has been huge progress in law enforcement effectiveness.
tom (north shore)
Well said. Too bad none off the people who have been calling for violence this morning care about the facts.
Bill Randle (The Big A)
One has to wonder how many hundreds or even thousands of black people and other minorities have been summarily executed over the years by police officers in communities all over the country. Considering that this incident from 1973 happened in the North, just imagine how many times this kind of thing happened in the South and never made it into the public consciousness because victim's families were afraid to pursue it.

Just about the only difference between then and now is that cameras are ubiquitous and it's no longer the police officer's word against the victim's word. We are getting to the point in which juries will no longer accept a police officer's word at face value, and that's a good thing.

Also, worth noting that in the Walter Scott murder, the black police office who came upon the scene after Mr. Scott was shot in the back sided with the white police officer and lied on his report. Even black police officers have come to view fellow blacks as inherently unworthy of basic human considerations and human rights. Goes to show how easily the establishment can corrupt a person's honor, integrity, and essential compassion for fellow humans of any color. So it's also about class.

As of a few years ago it wasn't uncommon to hear white people claim racism in the U.S. was a thing of the past. Thanks to lots of videos from all over the nation, that kind of comment is easily ridiculed and dismissed. You can't argue with facts.
Max Cornise (Manhattan)
". . . just imagine how many times this kind of thing happened in the South and never made it into the public consciousness because victim's families were afraid to pursue it."

That possibility offers no consolation to me, but in any case, I am sure the difference between the number of murders of African Americans in the North vs. the South is much smaller than white folks have been led to believe.
mw (New York)
Heartbreaking story. Thank you for telling us about it. No one should go through what that poor family did.
Mike Davis (Fort Lee,Nj)
An all white jury in a case like this is a prescription for disaster and injustice. We have to admit that having all white juries decide on cases involving minorities have been a dismal failure. Maybe a tribal mentality develop during the deliberation or something but it would take many studies to figure out why all white juries are so prone to acquit whites (especially police officers) of murder when it comes to blacks. I don't believe pointing out this obvious truth makes me a racist but I am sure many will say I am. However I have seen the same opinion rendered by Mark Gellagos, one of the nation's most prominent white defense attorney.
Bob Smith (NYC)
Peer's? How can justice be served when an all white jury is selected in cases like those being described here? Ridiculous.
See also