Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Nine frames that show Eric Casebolt did not draw his gun in self defense

This graphic showing stills purporting to show Eric Casebolt drawing his gun in self defense on unarmed teens has been doing the rounds on social media among those who want to defend aggressive police action against black people in the USA. 

1 -


The problem with the sequence is that some blatant cherry picking has gone on, and some very loose interpretation. Here is a more detailed view.

1 -

Teen (NOT 'Man') Approaches the scene to remonstrate with Casebolt. Let us concede for the sake of argument that that he has assumed the shooting stance and Casebolt MAY have seen this and interpreted it as a threat.

2 - 

Casebolt turns to face the teen more fully who is not no longer in a 'shooting stance although his left hand is concealed from Casebolt.

3 - 

At this point Casebolt is so concerned that he is going to be shot by this kid who he apparently believes has got a concealed weapon that he looks away and says something to Dajerria Becton. You will notice he still hasn't reached for his gun. But the teens hand which was previously concealed is now in full view of Casebolt should he be concerned enough to check it.

4 - 

Casebolt now returns his gaze to these teenage boys and starts to reach for his gun. BUT as we can see here the teen previously thought to be in a 'shooting stance' is now no longer in that position and his hands a clearly visible and he is obviously not holding a gun.

5 -

The teens back away. It is now very clear they have NO weapon at all. Casebolt steps forward still reaching for his gun. It is clear that the teens are not a threat. The are backing off and given what we know about the outcome of these kinds of interactions between police and young black men they know that they may be in mortal danger.

6 - 

The teens turn to run for their lives having done nothing more than remonstrate with Casebolt. Casebolts weapon is now out of his holster and he is going after them. He knows they have no weapon.


Casebolt starts to assume a shooting position. The boys must now really think that they are running for their lives.

8 -

The boys have fled. Casebolt's weapon is still drawn.

9 -

Casebolt returns to harangue Becton who now is faced with a worked up police officer with a drawn weapon standing over her.

Friday, 11 January 2013

My Dad blew the whistle in the NHS

My Dad blew the whistle in the NHS

Q- ‘What’s the difference between a referee and the NHS?’
A-‘In the NHS the whistleblowers get the red card’

There is something I've been meaning to write for a bit now……something which as far as I’m aware on my travels in electronic wonderland, has not been written about before. I am in the family of a whistleblower in the NHS. In the growing cannon surrounding these people, at one turn utterly depressing the next so uplifting, this is the one voice which is yet to be heard.

So, what to say? Well firstly, the whistleblower is my Dad, a paediatrician. Many of those who follow me on twitter will know who he is. I won’t name him…..just yet.

How did it all begin? For me it began as a growing realization that something was wrong. Dad had been working hard for years. I mean really working hard. I had left home long ago and only saw him three or four times a year but each time I did see him he was noticeably more worn, a little more distracted, and deeply, deeply tired. He would often fall asleep halfway through the evening or on weekend afternoons when we were together. I was worried about him. We his children joked about it sometimes, but we all were. Then, this decline suddenly began to accelerate. It came to a head when my Mum turned 60. To celebrate, Mum and Dad took us all away, their children our spouses and their grandchildren to a lovely place in Derbyshire for a few days. We had a great time. But, Dad…..Dad looked worse than ever. I talked to Mum and told her, again, that Dad needed to retire early…He had already said he was going to drop some of the more senior management stuff they had thrust upon him (he’d never really wanted to do this and was only given 3 hours a week for it, the next incumbent did it full time). To be honest I didn't know what the hell he was doing. I didn't care really, I just wanted him to stop.

Shortly afterwards, he phoned me.

“ I've been sacked as clinical director.” He sounded terrible.

He didn't fully explain why. At that point I’m not even sure that he knew the real reasons himself. He believed that he would be cleared and receive an apology. He carried on with his clinical work.

And so it began in earnest. Willing or otherwise (both were represented) we, his family, were all pulled into his world….we followed in real time as the story built. He spoke out again and again (the details are shocking; you may hear more about them shortly in the news). He was investigated internally and cleared, He was suspended from work (aren't they all?). He was accused of being deranged (a common tactic) and without his knowledge an appointment with a psychiatrist made. He was threatened (eventually they all are, in one way or another).He was investigated externally and largely exonerated through what can only be described as a corrupted process.  He was bribed with familiar bait (a huge payoff and a better pension) and a familiar hook (leave now and sign a gagging clause). He withstood it all, and he called them out on every wrong move they made. That was raging against the dying of the light if ever it was to be seen, professionally speaking ….they really didn't like that, so they sacked him.

What drove him? What sustained him? Who knows? I sure as hell don’t. I like to think of myself as a good person but I know I would never have trod that particular narrow path and if by some bizarre glitch in my moral GPS I had stumbled onto it by accident …..I would have taken the money.  Yes I fucking would. Maybe that steel comes with age. I hope so, but I doubt it
He rollercoastered the emotional peaks and troughs. He became properly ill. Still, he dragged himself onwards and we were dragged with him. I've no doubt it was worse for Mum than any of us. They've been married more than 40 years and they still love each other. She was utterly faithful to him. Not all of us were, completely. Some of us just wanted the whole thing to go away. It was talked about, but he never wavered.

Me? I heard his side of the story, and I raged inside. I fantasized humiliation and violence upon his assailants. I read the documents written against him, I wavered. Could it be true? I thought about it long and deep. Was he at fault? He is a man. He is not perfect. If he was in the wrong I would still love him and tell him what I thought. Then I read some more and knew he was right. And I know the man himself. He had devoted his life to the care of children. He talked about them constantly. He fought time, and money, and sleep, and other men and women for them. He was away from me and my siblings a lot…..part of the reason I never wanted to become a doctor. Sure, some of this was to earn a living and support us, he had chances to earn much more money though. As important was the part of him that did it for his sick wards. That was always clear to us. As a child I resented it. Overwhelmed by missing him one weekend that he was on call I remember hiding in his car on a Monday morning to go with him to work. When I jumped out from behind the driver’s seat as he parked at the hospital he laughed and took me in. A day with my Dad I’ll never forget.

One of my great heroes and inspirations was the author and conservationist Gerald Durrell. His mentor in the natural world was the Greek scholar and polymath, Theodore Stephanides. When Theo died Gerald said of him. “He could have been a great man in public, but he chose to be a greater man in private”. This wonderful tribute describes what my Dad has done perfectly. The people who know him best know it. It doesn't matter that others don’t, but it is my fervent prayer that everything he has fought for concerning the protection of sick children and those who care for them comes to pass.

And what of the things he has fought his battles for? Well, they are yet to be settled but he has a new one. People like him (and there are many) who speak out with an unpalatable message to those in power should be able to do so without fear of any kind. The GMC says it is their duty. The BMA says it will support them. Health ministers have said they are protected. They are not. I have come to know of many good men and women who have lost money, careers, and partners after whistleblowing. No one with any muscle has lifted a finger to help them properly. This is a raw injustice, but then we’re all getting used to that these days aren't we? But see, I am thinking like a son of the injustice that has befallen his father. If you asked him he would tell you he only ever did it to try and stop another child being killed by its parent, or a nurse sworn at in public by a target driven manager, or babies put at risk by the way their ward is managed. Those children, their parents, that nurse, and many others, these are the people who those at the wheel of the good ship NHS are letting down by not protecting the whistleblowers who speak up for them. My Dad is one of those whistleblowers. I am proud of him.