By Brett Gillin
Over the last few months, thousands of protestors have taken to the streets in marches critical of police officers. As we all know, it’s relatively easy to pick up a sign and march around a block or two, learning some catchy chants and letting people know your opinion. But most of these protestors are lacking something: perspective. That is no longer the case with one protestor and activist named Jarrett Maupin.
Maupin is a vocal activist who has led multiple marches protesting police in Phoenix Arizona. He and his followers were upset over the police-involved shooting of an unarmed man in Ferguson. Although they’ve all heard the evidence of an altercation between the man and police, they still protest the use of force.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department knew of these protests, and invited Maupin to get a little perspective. They asked him to undergo a standard “use of force” training exercise with the department, which he agreed to do.
As you can see in this video from Fox News, Maupin’s first task in the simulation was to question a man who might be attempting to break into cars in a parking lot. Maupin, who admittedly has no police training, asks the suspect what he was doing. The suspect claims he was looking for his car, but was unable to describe the car to Maupin. Then, the suspect steps behind another vehicle, pulls a gun from his pants, and shoots Maupin.
“When he came to the back of the vehicle and started hiding, I could sense something was wrong,” Maupin told reporters when recapping his first failed test in the simulation.
Maupin’s second test was to break up a fight between two men. The men were arguing loudly and pushing each other. When Maupin asks what was happening, one of the men quickly rushes toward Maupin. The activist takes a couple steps back before taking out his gun and shooting the man.
“I shot because he was within that zone, I felt that imminent threat,” Maupin told reporters. “I didn’t necessarily see him armed, but he came clearly to do some harm to the officer – to my person. It’s hard to make that call. It shakes you up.”
So the activist protesting against the shooting of an unarmed man shot an unarmed man who was threatening him, much like one side of the Ferguson case suggests happened. After the training, even Maupin admitted that he has changed his attitude toward police officers and their use of force.
“I didn’t understand how important compliance was, but after going through this… yes, my attitude has changed,” he told reporters. “This is all unfolding in 10 to 15 seconds. People need to comply with the orders of law enforcement officers for their own sake.”