the david ware shooting

The debate has been raging in the comments section in the wake of my post on the the killing of David Antjuan Ware by LAWNET officers a few days ago. Some folks seem to think that we should 1) blame the family of the victim for not having raised him properly, and 2) assume that the police are in the right because, after all, “we hire good people to be cops.” It’s been rumored that some in the community feel that the undercover officers acted inappropriately, but I haven’t, at least not until just now, heard that directly. (Some have questioned why they would have conducted an operation in a heavily populated residential area, but I haven’t heard anyone suggest, for instance, that the police killed Ware without just cause.) Most people, at least most people in the community, just want an honest explanation of what happened that evening.

Today, I received a note from an anonymous source claiming to have heard several members of David Ware’s family talk about the shooting. According to this source, these people were well aware of David’s past with drugs. They knew that he, “wasn’t a saint.” However, according to these family members (and this is paraphrased) David did not have drugs on him at the time, and the LawNet officers arrived on the scene in an umarked car. What’s more, they’ve heard that the officers were wearing ski masks. (I wonder if there are other accounts that either corroborate or refute this?)

I’m not suggesting that any of this is true, but if it wasn’t, as has been speculated, a drug deal with undercover agents gone bad, but a bust carried out by masked men in an unmarked car, there are a lot more questions that need to be answered. Let’s say it’s true, and he didn’t know who his assailants were, and he ran, would we be as willing to accept that the shooting was justified? We already have an unarmed man with at least one bullet in the back (according to earlier reports) – what if, on top of that, he didn’t know who these men were? And, what if, he didn’t even have drugs on him?

Granted, these are just rumors, but they are rumors that are floating around our community. Who knows what kinds of rumorw we will be hearing if we allow this to fester any longer. And, for that reason, I think it’s absolutely imperative that we receive an official explanation as soon as possible.

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  1. egpenet
    Posted February 1, 2007 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Here we go again … more rumors …

    1) The investigation by the State Police is not complete.

    2) Ypsilanti Police have part of the story, but are not in charge of the investigation.

    3) We do not have a local newspaper.

    4) The Ann Arbor New does not have a trained, professional crime reporter on the story … so there’s no journalistic digging going on.

    5) The Riverside Neighborhood Association (which is the neighborhood where the incident took place) is planning a meeting with Ypsilanti Police Chief Harschberger and a YPD LawNet member to help explain what went down, and explain the “rules of engagement” within the city. Other neighborhood associations in the city who are CoPAC-affiliated will be invited.

    6) The way to deal with a rumor is to “see and hear it with a blissful spirit, wish the beareer of the rumor well” then put it out of your mind and get on with your life.

  2. mark
    Posted February 1, 2007 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    It is a rumor, Ed, but it came from the dead man’s family. I thought that it was worth sharing if only for that reason. I also thought that helped make the case as to why we need to have someone coming forward ASAP with the actual facts of the case.

  3. Paul Schreiber
    Posted February 1, 2007 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    I hope that the Ypsilanti community patiently waits until the Michigan State Police report is released.

  4. mark
    Posted February 1, 2007 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    I hope so too.

  5. kayt
    Posted February 2, 2007 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I hope the Michigan State Police waste no time in compiling a full report, so as not to push the patience of the Ypsilanti community. When patience is urged, it is often complacency that is desired.

  6. oliva
    Posted February 2, 2007 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Or, as William Blake put it: “Prudence [Patience’s sister?] is a rich ugly old maid courted by incapacity.”

  7. robr
    Posted February 2, 2007 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    So many things to note from the comments above: We don’t have any reporters digging for the truth– Chances are the AA reporter will merely “accept” the “official news release” and write up a story based upon that single source… No digging involved, as that may require actual work. Time heals. The longer it takes for LAWNET to get its “version” out the better… Old news is good news, as the fickle public will focus its interest elsewhere soon enough (right on, katy!).. Our mayor calls for “Patience”– It’s been what? Two weeks? The Army is able to issue a full after-action report about a battle in Iraq involving hundreds in this space of time… Why can’t LAWNET have the facts ready about an incident that involved maybe ten, in the same amount time. And– Why did LAWNET put a gag on the Medical Examiner, which according to some recent radio comments is quite unusual (insofar as Ann Arbor or Washtenaw Co. goes). Mark has it right: ASAP! It’s been a long enough period of time, without answers….

  8. mark
    Posted February 3, 2007 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    And the fact that the prosecution is stalling in the case against the other guy they busted that night doesn’t exactly make me more confident.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted February 7, 2007 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    The County Prosecutor has announed a decision. There is an updated story at

    – Steve

  10. egpenet
    Posted February 7, 2007 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    So, the investigation is complete. The prosecutor has made a ruling.

    But what is continuing to go down in our residential neighborhoods. Setting up drug deals in our neighborhoods or in public places, like busy public parking lots, or at KFC, or MacDonalds, or on busy street corners may be great “cover” for drug dealers, but it puts innocent citizens at risk due to LawNet’s seemingly obvious policy of “Don’t Chase/Chill.” What’s the solution?

    Let’s ask at our public meeting tonight 02/07 at 7PM at the Ypsilanti Senior Center on Congress.

  11. Dr. Cherry
    Posted February 7, 2007 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know it was legal to gun down an unarmed perp if they’re a known felon.

    I wonder if he had a felony conviction prior to the incident because being suspected of a felony isn’t exactly the same thing.

    The prosecutor only decides if the officers will be prosecuted criminally. I suspect there will be a civil suit.

    The prosecutor also didn’t peruse YPD officers when they illegally searched Dennis Barger’s house. Barger won his civil case and promptly moved out of town.

  12. brian r
    Posted February 7, 2007 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Barger didn’t win, he settled with the City.

  13. Dr. Cherry
    Posted February 7, 2007 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    I guess it depends on your definition of “winning”.

  14. brian r
    Posted February 7, 2007 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    No one had to admit guilt. That doesn’t sound like winning.

  15. Dr. Cherry
    Posted February 8, 2007 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    I wish you could have seen that video because they didn’t stand a chance in court. Between the cop-touches-dildo incident, jokes about “not telling the FBI”, and the discussion having prior contact with Barger didn’t exactly work in their favor. Neither did the parade of officers leafing through pages of topless photos.

    The city got of easy at $100,000 plus legal fees. It could have been so much worse.

    Writing a $100K check doesn’t seem like winning to me but I don’t pay taxes in Ypsi.

  16. Posted July 11, 2007 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    David was a very good man, father and freind. All i know is he will truely be missed and never forgotton.For the cop who shot him what if it was one of your kids or freinds. How would ths whole thing make u feel

  17. Eugene
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    I’m Eugene and I’m older now and I was just reading the stories of how my dad got killed and the stories are weird because you can’t shoot an unarmed man nor can you shoot someone in the back

  18. Posted May 5, 2015 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry for your loss, Eugene. Your dad, and you, deserved better.

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