Officer Valentine is an active duty police officer somewhere in the Midwest United States. His background in law enforcement and in the Marines lends particular credibility to his critique of the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson.
“Officer Valentine” is, of course, a pseudonym used to protect the identity of this brave police officer who has come forward and allowed us to interview him. Barney Cox of Cop Block conducted the interview below. We at Counter Current News do not necessarily agree, nor disagree with the responses of Officer Valentine, but we consider his perspective and voice to be an important one.
Unfortunately, voices like his are marginalized and silenced by others in his profession, forcing him to conduct this interview in an “underground” manner. We asked him, fairly open-endedly, to comment on the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson. This is what he had to say…
To understand what happened, you have to think about the probable mindset of the two individuals.
I don’t think Michael Brown ever imagined he’d be shot
I also don’t believe Darren Wilson ever imagined he’d draw his weapon.
If we look strictly on the narrow basis of whether Wilson’s use of force was justified, NOT looking at the whys and wheres of how he got to the point where he HAD to use that force, I’d say, as a police officer, I am satisfied that what he did was legal and justified.
To an officer, squad car is a tomb when you’re in a fight. You gotta get out of it or be prepared to die in it. And when you’re pinned down by a 300 pound man…damn right I’d shoot.
And if he doesn’t get down and prone himself and he comes at me I’d shoot again.
A 6’4″ 300lb guy is 4 inches taller and 200% of my weight. He’s gonna fuck me up with his bare hands and that’s just the way things go so yeah I’m gonna light him up.
And I’m gonna keep clicking until he stops.
That’s my (clinical and detached) use of force assessment. It’s solid. It’s legal. I can put myself in that situation and know I’d probably do the same.
It’s so easy to armchair quarterback, but I think it’s important here.
We make split second decisions and they seem unimportant and harmless.
But in this case I seriously question Darren Wilson’s tactics.
In the grand jury findings, Wilson claims he saw the pack of cigarillos in Brown’s hand and it clicked that he might be the suspect. My problem is, if I see a guy I suspect was involved in a robbery and he’s as big as Brown was and he’s got a friend I identify and track. I don’t confront.
I wait until odds are in my favor, and I only move when backup arrives.
I’m a county deputy and my backup is usually 15 minutes away if I even have it.
But Wilson was a city cop and his backup was coming quick.
The way I was trained was to never put yourself in a position to fight unless you know you’re gonna win.
Sounds cowardly but we have to win. We just have to. It’s not about pride our who’s tougher. We gotta win.
I don’t even think a taser would have made a difference.
This job comes down to pure fucking instinct most times and this was a clusterfuck neither brown nor Wilson anticipated.
It comes down to this.
Wilson didn’t use effective tactics
If he had… I wouldn’t be writing about it. The incident would have been one of the millions like it that occur in the United States every year that do not end in a fatality.
If Wilson would have been more patient and used better tactics Brown would still be alive and Wilson would still have a career. I don’t think his actions rise to the level of criminality but I do find them negligent.
This is the first of what we hope are numerous future interviews with Officer Valentine. We would like to thank him for coming forward, and putting his job on the line to speak truth to power.
(Article by Barney Cox and Moreh B.D.K.; image by Counter Current News)