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June 14, 2014

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I live on the field and was transcribing what Errol was saying during the time he was held up in his house (as I was stuck in mine as well). This is exactly what I wrote down and is 100% contrary to the DA's report that Errol wanted to die by cop. I was one of the very few people who could both hear and see what happened that day, besides the police officers. I don't know what happened inside the house, but I know what he was yelling out the window and I was live texting it to friends, each time he said something.

"I don't want to hurt anybody!"

"Do you have a search warrant? Am I under arrest? That is all I want to know!"
"PLEASE. I AM SCARED FOR MY LIFE!"
"I don't want to die!"
"Am I being rescued?"
"Please, man, please!!!!"
"Am I being rescued? I don't want to be assassinated! If you shoot me, I can't do anything!"

Mr. Butler:

It should come as NO surprise that District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe has made questionable statements about this case. Back in 2010, the State Bar of California sent Wagstaffe a warning after he lied about the facts of an African American defendant's case to the press. That has not stopped him from continuing to lie to the press and the public every chance he gets.

A number of news organizations have copies of the state bar warning to Wagstaffe: http://www.almanacnews.com/square/2013/10/16/bar-warns-wagstaffe-to-cut-out-the-misconduct

Great piece of reporting.

An excellent report, Ian.

I carefully avoided the word criminality in reference to the police in my previous letters on this issue. I felt that I needed to know more about it at the time. I felt that such talk could ruin the career of some rookie police person who was guilty only of ignorance in the midst of the present turmoil. It appears to me now that there was criminality from the root (the policy these officers are required to abide by) to the officers themselves, who should have possessed the moral fiber to stand against such a policy. We cannot afford police who see their function in society as being mindless drones who follow orders regardless of what those orders happen to be. That is how policing is done in fascist or other totalitarian states and not how police in a free constitutional democratic republic should be operating. I hope my saying so isn't going to target me and mine, but somebody has to say this stuff. We, as a society, need to work together to make trust and confidence in our law enforcement the norm rather than the exception. For situations involving mental health help, we need police who will recognize when a situation needs a different skill set from what they have to offer. Our government needs to provide the appropriate mental health facilities so that these officers have someone to call with such issues and someplace to send such mental patients. We need to stop letting the military-industrial complex push their excesses on local police departments. Police departments seem to have become a dumping ground/cash cow for weapons manufacturers. Remember that when you have truckloads of hammers, it becomes evermore imperative that you see everything, every situation, and every passerby as a nail. I think the equipment influences decisions in ways that clearly do not help. I think that police departments have (quite rightly) recognized that our veterans have some transferable skills that could be of use in police work. I think that police departments have failed to stress how VERY DIFFERENT the job of policing is from the job of fighting a war. People in and out of uniform need to work together on this. It is VERY important that we succeed.

This is such a sad story, but I don't think it's fair to continue to blame the police for Errol's death after the facts that have come out.

Errol's father also had a different take on events than Matt Chang. His father was so afraid of Errol that he had to barricade himself in his bedroom for fear that Errol would kill him in his sleep. Thomas Chang also told police that he believed Errol may have wanted to commit suicide by cop. And he said he knew police would probably kill his son if he called them, but he had no choice.

Well done, Ian. The revelation of the father's statement about the resting place of the firearm (rifle) to the authorities on the scene is mind blowing. I think it shows that after six hours of caffeine and donuts even the police can become -- well, we saw what they became that day.

Thank you for the article.

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