The Murder of Officer Robert Wilson III Continues a Cycle of Violence

Many people were stuck in the house on a snow day on Thursday.  Mother Nature has not treated Philly like she has done to Boston but it seemed like a day to chill in the house and watch movies.  I was saddened to hear on the 6:00 news that this officer had been gravely wounded by two gun wielding brothers.  The officer, Robert Wilson III, had stopped in to the Game Stop store located at 22nd & Lehigh Avenue to purchase a video game for his sons birthday.  Ironically, the son's birthday is Monday.  This young man will turn ten without being able to share it with his Father.

The two perpetrators seemed oblivious to the fact that a police officer was in the store trying to make a purchase.  It seems like since there were two shooters that one would have also noticed the police cruiser idling less than 40 feet away from the store.  I guess that the desperation and the need for money blinded them to the fact that criminal intent needs to include surveillance of the surroundings.  There were customers in the store who witnessed the horror of the subsequent shootout between the suspects and the now fallen officer.  It was relayed to the public by Commissioner Ramsey that he led the perpetrators away from the line.  These guys were intent on engaging the police officer with disastrous results.

There have been some suspicions about the violence perpetrated by police officers against citizens for some time now.  There was a March on Washington under the banner of Black Lives Matter.  The crisis in Ferguson spurred by the shooting death of Michael Brown preceded a spate of police involved shootings.  Tamir Rice was killed by police officers in Cleveland.   A recent ruling indicated that he caused his own death.  Tony Robinson is a 19 year old who was just killed by police in Wisconsin.  Just meaning yesterday.  In Philadelphia, the murder of Brandon Tate-Brown by police officers has left many unanswered questions.  Were his lights on or off while driving?  If he was reaching for a gun in the glove compartment, why was he shot behind his car?  His Mother is awaiting answers from the Police.

Carlton Hipps, 29 (top left), brother Ramone Williams, 24 (bottom left), and Officer Robert Wilson III (right).

The 22nd Police District in Philadelphia suffered a tragic death about three years ago.  Officer Moses Walker was killed by two gun wielding African American suspects in 2012.  He had just finished a shift and was trying to catch the bus on his way home.  The suspects who murdered Officer Walker were 19 and 23.  The suspects who murdered Officer Wilson were 24 and 32.  Two African American police officers have been sent to their eternal rest by four African American suspects who were innocent children at some point in their lives.  What caused these young men to pursue a life of crime that led to their incarceration and to a disturbing pattern on Black on Black crime?  Unemployment?  Drug use?  Lack of options?  I understand that it is a terrible job market for returning citizens.  Something more has to be done to stem this tide of violence involving young men and police.

Many people are contemplating what could have been done differently to save the lives of those killed by police.  Eric Garner was suffocated by police while it was filmed.  There will be no indictment of the officers involved.  Officer Darren Wilson was exonerated of any wrong doing for the death of Michael Brown.  There have been 18 Officer fatalities this year.  Where does the cycle of violence stop.  I appreciate the police and what they do to help keep our citizens safe.  Some do overstep their boundaries and the consequences are being felt acutely throughout the country.  I am so sorry for the Family of Officer Robert Wilson III.  His sons will never feel his hugs and love again.  They have to plan a funeral because two citizens decide to rob a Game Stop on a snowy Thursday.  God Bless his Family.  To the Family of the perpetrators, I wish you healing also.  

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