Fatal police shooting in Ann Arbor raises questions… How will the community respond?

A 40-year-old woman was shot and killed by Ann Arbor police last night on the 2000 block of Winewood Avenue, at the home of her boyfriend, where she’d been living for the past several months. The woman, who has yet to be named by the police, was killed just around midnight, shortly after police officers arrived on the scene, having been called there by her boyfriend, Victor Stephens. “Me and her, we had an argument,” Stephens explained to the Ann Arbor News. “Glass was being broke, so I called the police to escort her out.” Stephens, who had been dating the woman for the past nine months, went on to tell reporters that she had a history of mental illness, and that the two had been drinking. He also told them that there was no reason for her to have been killed, even though she was holding a knife at the point when officers entered the home. Calling her killing “unnecessary,” Stephens went on to ask, “Where were the tasers at? She wasn’t going to kill anybody with a knife.”

As I wasn’t there, and have no first-hand knowledge of the case, I hesitate to speculate as to what might have happened. Based on the account of Stephens, though, it sounds like things escalated very quickly, and that she was killed within moments of the police having arrived, without much attempt on the part of police to end things peacefully. “The police said ‘police,’ so I stopped,” Stephens told reporters. “She walked towards them… They said ‘freeze,’ and the next thing I know I heard (gunshots).” Given that I don’t think Stephens actually saw the shooting, and since police officers in Ann Arbor aren’t presently required to wear video monitors, I suspect we’ll be told that we have to take the word of the officers involved. Given the recent high profile cases involving the use of lethal force by police officers, like the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, though, I’m not so certain that people in Ann Arbor are going to just accept that official narrative, even if it’s accurate and the officers were in immediate danger. In fact, people are already beginning to come out and call what happened last night murder.

The following comes from a U-M student group calling itself the Student Union of Michigan, who, as I understand it, will be meeting tomorrow evening at 7:00, at Canterbury House (721 East Huron Street, Ann Arbor).

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 4.50.37 PM

Regardless of what actually went down inside that house, what we know is that these events are unfolding against a backdrop of unprecedented police militarization and a seeming increase in the use of lethal force by those officers who have sworn to protect and serve us. I say “seeming” because, if you can believe it, there is no official count of the number of American men and women who are killed by the police each year… For what it’s worth, though, the overwhelming sense is that it’s on the rise. Here, with more on that, is a clip from FiveThirtyEight.com.

…(A)ttention has recently turned to some excellent nongovernmental attempts to compile this data, including the Fatal Encounters database, the recently created Gun Violence Archive and a new database created by Deadspin.

But one recent effort stood out for its apparent comprehensiveness: The Killed By Police Facebook page, which aggregates links to news articles on police-related killings and keeps a running tally on the number of victims. The creator of the page does not seek to determine whether police killings are justifiable; each post “merely documents the occurrence of a death.” He told FiveThirtyEight that he was an instructor on nonviolent physical-intervention techniques and that he prefers to remain anonymous.

Killed by Police had listed more than 1,450 deaths caused by law-enforcement officers since its launch, on May 1, 2013, through Sunday. That works out to about three per day, or 1,100 a year…

I’d encourage you, if you’re interested, to read the entire article and follow the methodology employed by the folks at FiveThirtyEight.com when trying to come up with a solid number for those of us who are killed each year by police officers in the line of duty. Their final number, if you’re interested, is considerably higher than the estimate of 400, which has been reported by the FBI. It’s “about 1,000 deaths per year” say the folks a Five ThirtyEight. And, now, sadly, one of those deaths is local.

As for how people in Ann Arbor will respond, I’m not sure. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens once the official report comes out labeling it a justifiable homicide, which it clearly will, given that she, according to Stephens, had a knife in her hand when she turned to approach the officers. In the meantime, though, I want to share two comments made by friends of mine who were engaged in an online discussion about the case this evening. The first comes from a woman who was responding to someone who said that you shouldn’t call the police unless you want something like this to happen… because, if you’re feeling threatened, they’ll feel threatened, and, if that’s the case, they’ll shoot to kill.

“I don’t think it’s fair by any stretch of the imagination to say that, if you feel less threatened than the police MIGHT, you should “know better” than to call the police to prevent being liable for them shooting someone who is acting erratically. It is not difficult to disarm a person with a knife, with minimal force, by hand, and any sane rational person would call the police to intervene just to prevent that action from becoming construed as assault.

The police are supposed to be trained to de-escalate tense situations, domestic violence, crimes in progress, & whatnot, therefore their tolerance for what constitutes a threat to themselves should be much higher than the average civilian. If the mere presence of a person brandishing a knife as a weapon (not attacking them, just holding it in a threatening manner) makes a police officer feel that they are in imminent danger, I’m inclined to believe that they’re not fit for their job.”

And the second comment comes from a friend who lives in Ann Arbor’s frat district.

“Just a few weeks ago there was an ugly confrontation going on in our neighborhood between what appeared to be a drunk college student (or homeless guy), and an older couple standing on the porch of their home early in the morning. The older man from the couple was very aggressive, yelling at the drunk guy to get out of his yard and never come back. At one point, he threatened to ‘blow the guy away.’ It was not clear what was going on, but the threat of gun violence made me consider calling the police. I then remembered all the situations I have witness and read about involving the police over the past ten years, and decided not to call. Not calling the police seemed like the safest option. I am sad to read that my fears may have been justified – even in Ann Arbor.”

Whether this incident will motivate people to stand up and demand a change, I don’t know. Given what I’m hearing, though, I think people are ready to have that debate, and discuss the possibility, for instance, that we outfit our police officers with video cameras… A recent trial in Rialto, California, as you may recall, resulted in an 88% drop in complaints against officers who are wearing cameras, and a 60% drop in use of force. I can see how officers may not like it, and I’m typically against the idea of increased surveillance, but I don’t see how, in this instance, you can really argue that it’s not worth pursuing. Police who are monitored find ways to be just as effective without the use of force. And that’s something that we should all be fighting for. And, regardless of what happened in yesterday, Ann Arbor should be leading the way in this.

update: As a reader just reminded me, not too long ago in Kalamazoo a “possibly intoxicated” white man was reported to police holding a rifle in the middle of a street and making threats of violence. In that instance, though, the police didn’t kill him. Sensitive to his rights under Michigan’s open carry law, they calmly talked with him until he laid down his weapon. While I understand that the two instances were not at all similar, you can see how some might draw the conclusion that white men and black women are treated differently with regard to lethal force.

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65 Comments

  1. Posted November 10, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m told the woman’s name was Aura Rosser.

  2. NGNM
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    https://www.facebook.com/SUMichigan/posts/746475955452282

  3. EOS
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Our best defense against police militarization is to support local police forces. The most dangerous call for a police officer is a domestic dispute.

  4. NGNM
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    This isn’t primarily about police militarization. It’s primarily about race.

  5. Taco Farts
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    I’ll just leave this here.

    http://youtu.be/cGzeyO3pGzw?t=1m20s

    How big do you think the front room is in that house? This is, once again, not a police violence issue, but a mental health issue. If someone is too sick to know not to move toward police with a weapon drawn, or too sick to follow basic commands, they should have had better help. There are certainly people to blame for that lack, and those people certainly benefit when we peons fight amongst ourselves down here on the ground floor.

    fwiw, total agreement on cameras.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    So, TF, the mentally ill, if they can’t comprehend that the police might kill them at any moment and act accordingly, deserve what they get? Is that what the world has come to?

  7. Meta
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    For those not following NGNM’s link:

    Was today’s murder in Ann Arbor (see earlier) racially motivated? For comparison’s sake, earlier this year in Kalamazoo, a “possibly intoxicated” white man in pajamas held a rifle and made threats in public. Police responded by talking to him and making sure not to violate his right to openly carry/

  8. Meta
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    Police Chief Seto’s number is 794-6910.

  9. LuckyVeteran
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    My solution is to shoot them with some sort of tranquilizer from a distance,
    as we do with large, dangerous animals.

    Police need to be much more creative in their methods.

    Let’s see some creative solutions.
    If you start thinking, you will find many solutions.

    Use dog poles, throw nets, shields or rubber bullets.
    I do not recommend electrocuting them like cattle.

    There are so many ways to stop a human safely.
    Think for yourself. Question authority.
    Using a gun in reaction does not even involve thinking.

  10. Meta
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    It can happen incredibly fast.

    Here’s video of a man with a knife being shot dead by police recently.

    He’s dead within seconds of the police driving up.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1114280/Warning-Graphic-Man-knife-shot-police-12-times.html

  11. Meta
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    They aren’t trained to stop. They’re trained to kill. If someone with a knife moves toward you, you’re taught to shoot, and to keep shooting until they’re dead. We can debate whether or not that’s the way it should be, but that’s how police are taught.

  12. Kit
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Don’t read the comments at the Ann Arbor News site. They will ruin your day.

  13. Quinn
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I know the boyfriend said she may have a history of mental illness, but some people are jumping to conclusions and victim blaming. Most people with mental illness are not violent and most violent people do not have mental illness. People with psychiatric disorders are disproportionately the victims of violent crime.

    http://promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/publications/facts.aspx?printid=1

  14. 734
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    I don’t think anyone, at least here, was suggesting that she was likely violent because of her mental illness, Quinn. Quite the contrary, I think it was brought up here to explain why she might have not immediately complied with the orders of police. So it wasn’t mentioned as a justification for lethal force, but rather as another data point against the police.

  15. idea man
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Cameras would cost about $35o per cop.

    “Fortunately, fierce competition between the two most prominent vendors of the devices, Vievu LLC and Taser International Inc., which makes the cameras used by Rialto police, has driven the price of individual cameras down to between $300 and $400. Unfortunately, one place where expenses can mount is in the storage and management of the data they generate.”

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/what-happens-when-police-officers-wear-body-cameras-1408320244

  16. Ann Arbor News
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Comments from your friends and neighbors about this case.

    Adr3261: What have we learned from this? When a police officers says freeze, he is not offering an option, or want to discuss it further, he means what he says. I do not care what her personal issues are, she had a responsibility to society, to the people of Washtenaw to put aside her personal/mental issues and obey the law. If a civil suit is filed, I hope that I am on the jury, I would not give her a dime and make the family pay for the bullet.

    Saline666: When the parasite lawyers swoop in and sue the city, all you cop haters in Ann Arbor will pay even more to live in utopia. He did what he had to do, but most of the people posting here today would rather see HIM die, than her.

    Darksidert2: SHE could have changed the end result had she listened and dropped the knife, period. Why do so many people not understand how simple this is?

    EaglePatriot1776: No one likes war, but we know that at times, war is necessary. When called upon to act, the military takes that call and we take a day like today to thank them for it. No one likes to see a deranged woman get shot, but when called upon to protect the public, the police take the call and respond the best they can with the training and experience they have. It is easy to second guess and pass judgement from our computer screens, but get down on your knees and thank the good Lord that there are people who will take that call when you are frantically scared on the other end of the phone. They will move toward danger as others flee. If you think that makes them cocky and full of themselves, then so be it. I wouldn’t want a self loathing squeamish police officer responding to my call. If you think that makes them a murderer, then you probably have no idea what they are being asked to do for very little relative pay. It’s hard to thank an officer for the crime that was not committed on you because you never saw it. Try to appreciate another human being for being willing to protect and serve…. They have the right to go home alive. Their job is not to get stabbed in order to prove that they are not murderers. If someone came at me with a knife, I had a gun, and there were witnesses, I could shoot them in self defense and not go to jail for it. I think an officer should have that same right.

    dudefromannarbor: Bullets do NOT stop people unless it disconnects the nervous system. Head or heart were the officers only option if she was charging them with a knife. Takes the same amount of time for her to stab him in the neck as it does for him to draw a weapon.

    EyeHeartA2: Boyfriend – recently released felon.
    Girlfriend – “history of mental illness”
    House – site of numerous police calls in the past
    House – neighbors heard gunshots in the past (from the house with the convicted felon)
    House – “cars and people coming and going from the home during all hours of the day on a daily basis.”
    Girlfriend – “had a knife in her hand as she confronted officers.”

  17. Posted November 11, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Interesting.

    But not surprising.

  18. Posted November 11, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Take or share a survey:

    http://radicalwashtenaw.wordpress.com/

  19. Quinn
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Many commenters on other websites have run with the idea that her alleged mental health problems were a factor. Comments on this site are usually more reasonable, yes. It’s a huge stigma that I wanted to address as someone who works with people with severe and persistent mental illness. I also have a history of mental illness (as do many friends and readers of this blog) which I hope would not be considered justification for killing us by people who do not have all the facts.

  20. John Galt
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately this is what happens when our Ann Arbor police are confronted by people who should be living in Ypsilanti.

  21. Posted November 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    “we came up with even more rules for our three children:

    1. Never run while in the view of a police officer or security person unless it is apparent that you are jogging for exercise, because a cynical observer might think you are fleeing a crime or about to assault someone.

    2. Carry a small tape recorder in the car, and when you are the driver or passenger (even in the back seat) and the vehicle has been stopped by the police, keep your hands high where they can be seen, and maintain a friendly and non-questioning demeanor.

    3. Always zip your backpack firmly closed or leave it in the car or with the cashier so that you will not be suspected of shoplifting.

    4. Never leave a shop without a receipt, no matter how small the purchase, so that you can’t be accused unfairly of theft.

    5. If going separate ways after a get-together with friends and you are using taxis, ask your white friend to hail your cab first, so that you will not be left stranded without transportation.

    6. When unsure about the proper attire for a play date or party, err on the side of being more formal in your clothing selection.

    7. Do not go for pleasure walks in any residential neighborhood after sundown, and never carry any dark-colored or metallic object that could be mistaken as a weapon, even a non-illuminated flashlight.

    8. If you must wear a T-shirt to an outdoor play event or on a public street, it should have the name of a respected and recognizable school emblazoned on its front.

    9. When entering a small store of any type, immediately make friendly eye contact with the shopkeeper or cashier, smile, and say “good morning” or “good afternoon.

    These are just a few of the humbling rules that my wife and I have enforced to keep our children safer while living integrated lives.”

  22. Katt Hernandez
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    This is my home town. There were many amazing, creative people there who ranged from progressive to radical in their vision for society when I was growing up. Since I left in 1997, the town has gentrified beyond belief. I wonder if this incident is related. I hope- o HOPE- that enough of those good, concientious people I knew as a younger human will stand up and make FUCKING SURE this police man gets some REAL justice (and I am not talking about a little paid leave). My heart goes out to this woman’s friends and family. I read these accounts of police brutality all the time- but somehow reading about it happening in the small, bucolic town I am from makes it a billion times more real.

  23. Posted November 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    If people would only just do as they are told, we wouldn’t have these problems.

    Submit to authority and you shall be set free.

  24. Kristin
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Have you paid any attention to “pointergate” in Minneapolis? The mayor suggested, among other things, that officers should wear cameras. Next thing you know she’s being identified as supporting gangs by police (who won’t put their names to anything) and a television anchor who is taking input from these shady characters. I feel like police should welcome cameras. My family had a weird police experience in DC last week, the crux of the tale was that nobody understood why they had to be so scary and mean. There’s something fundamentally wrong when the police are scary. It’s one thing to find them authoriatarian. It’s another to find them dangerous. http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/282228761.html

  25. Smith
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    How many police officers are there in Ann Arbor?

  26. Andy C.
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    A knife is a weapon and a gun is a right. Know the difference.

    How will Westland respond to this?

    http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/27349821/westland-police-fatally-shoot-mentally-disabled-man-with-a-knife

  27. anonymous
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    So, not even 24 hours later, another mentally ill person with a knife was gunned down by police in Michigan? That’s absolutely insane.

  28. Meta
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    From today’s update in the Ann Arbor News:

    “Most Ann Arbor officers are also equipped with audio recording devices on their person, though it’s unknown at this point if the officer who shot Rosser was wearing one.”

    Read more:
    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/11/ann_arbor_police_shooting_name.html

  29. Ann Arbor News
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Another representative comment:

    redwing: Sounds like no great loss to society. She was a violent nutcase with a criminal history. The Ann Arbor police haven’t shot and killed anyone since the 1980’s. They are obviously not out looking to shoot people.

  30. jcp2
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s too early to make any sort of judgement as to what actually happened. Although the boyfriend claims two gunshots, one in the chest and one in the head, the police claim only one.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/11/ann_arbor_police_shooting_name.html#incart_m-rpt-2

    The neighbors report that there have been multiple disturbances in the house, including a police call for gunshots fired in August.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/11/neighbors_react_to_shooting_in.html#incart_story_package

  31. charlie romeo
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    It’s a thin line between a cop and a criminal. Just like that thin line between a genius and an insane person.

  32. anonymous
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Sympathy for the Devil: “Just as every cop is a criminal. And all the sinners saints.”

  33. Meta
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Michigan comes in 3rd on The Root’s list of Worst States for Black People.

    Michigan gets on the list for being the third-worst state in which to raise black children; the home of Detroit, America’s No. 1 most segregated city; and for having the highest black unemployment rate in the nation, which clocks in at 16.7 percent. (Michigan’s white unemployment rate is only 5.8 percent.) To go with that miserable rate, Michigan also has the lowest rate of approval (23 percent) for jobless benefits.

    Read more:
    http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/11/the_worst_states_for_black_people.html

  34. Posted November 12, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Please join us this Saturday at noon in Ypsilanti for a brief demonstration against the killing of Aura Rosser, and to hear testimony about what it means to be a black person in Ypsilanti.

    A flyer may be found here.

  35. West
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    As Rosser was killed by Ann Arbor police wouldn’t it make more sense to do this in front of the Ann Arbor police station?

  36. Posted November 12, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Hopefully people in Ann Arbor are preparing to do so.

    Here in Ypsilanti, which is home to many people of color, we have an opportunity to organize proactively.

  37. 734
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I realize that around the country excessive force is an issue, but is there really a problem in Ann Arbor, or is this an isolated case? Are there other instances that I’m not aware of? Do Ann Arbor cops have a reputation for escalating confrontations?

  38. Posted November 12, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    All the typical trophs of both police brutality…and rationalization of police brutality, appear to be at play in this case, and if anything, by tossing it over to the MSP, Chief Seto seems to be taking a card from the Ferguson play book: Kill the inquiry (and the indictments…) with “The Process” and in so doing, defuse community dissent by giving time and distance from the actual event…in this case, what appears to be a police over-reaction to the supposed threat posed by a mentally ill African American woman…by throwing the process into a protracted zone of neutrality and lack of information released so that ultimately, community reaction is neutered, change is averted, and in a few weeks, we move from Revolution, to instead a state of community engagement akin to… “oh what a shame that was a few weeks back when that poor woman was shot…, but ah well….what’s for dinner?”

    I mean, we’re all still “waiting ” for the Micheal Brown indictments, aren’t we?

    The Process moves slow because the process makers want it to.

  39. anonymous
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of tropes, this is one of my favorite moments:

    “Ann Arbor City Council member Chuck Warpehoski lives across the street from the home but said he did not hear anything Sunday night.

    ‘We were asleep by the time it happened. None of us heard a thing,’ Warpehoski said.”

    Isn’t this a liberal city councilman? Has he got no opinion on the matter?

  40. kjc
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    “Isn’t this a liberal city councilman? Has he got no opinion on the matter?”

    Hmmm. I can’t believe someone dedicated to a no smoking ordinance would be lacking in vision regarding public safety and the police.

  41. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Maybe there are liberal people out there that want to suspend judgment on the specific case because they do not have all the facts? Maybe there are liberal politicians that do not want to profit off a tragic event by spouting off with decisive outrage on a specific event, when, you know, they don’t have all the facts?

  42. Meta
    Posted November 13, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    There’s talk of outfitting police with body cams in Ann Arbor.

    After a 40-year-old woman was fatally shot by Ann Arbor police inside her home on the city’s west side, reportedly for confronting officers with a knife, city officials are considering equipping police with on-body video cameras.

    The issue was expected to be discussed at Wednesday night’s meeting of the city’s Human Rights Commission.

    “Was there another option for the police or not?” City Council Member Chuck Warpehoski, D-5th Ward, said of the decision to fire at the woman, noting that’s a question many are asking in the aftermath of Sunday’s incident.

    “If there was video evidence available, you would take a lot of the guess work and a lot of speculation out of the discussion,” he said……

    Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton said he has been pursuing body cams for more than a year and the county is testing them on its SWAT team right now.

    “We’ve got video cameras in the cars, and we want to equip all of our staff with body cams,” Clayton said at the forum. “And I hope that at some point in the next 12 months, we will be able to equip everybody with a body cam.”

    Clayton said body cams can be expensive, and it’s probably going to cost the county about $200,000 to $250,000, but he’s more than willing to do it……

    State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, has considered introducing legislation that would require all law enforcement officers in Michigan to wear body cams.

    Irwin said he’s still kicking around the idea and talking to different groups, and it’s looking more likely that he’ll introduce legislation in 2015 to do a pilot program for the Michigan State Police, let the state police establish best practices for body cams, and then leave it up to local communities to decide whether to follow suit.

    “There’s nothing that would prevent the city of Ann Arbor from going that route and I think it’s something that really bears looking at,” Irwin said.

    A number of police departments in Michigan have been testing new body cam technology, including a Michigan State Police trooper on Belle Isle. Police in Detroit and Kalamazoo also have tested police body cams.

    Read more:
    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/11/ann_arbor_police_body_cams.html

  43. Posted November 13, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    @Steve: Justice demands the truth, not just plausible answers from an internal investigation or the court of public opinion. I think Seto’s acted very responsibly here.

    We should be outraged over the slaughter of an innocent, the gun violence that destroys our communities, and the ridiculous drive to militarize local law enforcement. But and Seto’s a police chief who’s been a very vocal advocate for community-oriented policing (neighborhood bike and beat cops, youth outreach, etc.). Can we refrain from throwing him under the bus for actually doing the right thing here?

  44. Posted November 13, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    @ Dug Song…I get the gist of the “waiting for all the facts to come out”, “due process”, and “wheels of justice grind slowly but surely” arguments, and agree with them, in principle, but my comment was more indicative of a general dissatisfaction of how, why, and when this argument — the one that goes : “this must not be tried in the court of public opinion and everyone needs to withhold opinion until all the facts come out” — is used lately in regards to these police shootings and related incidents (examples Theo Wafer shooting in Dearborn, Ferguson, Trayvon Martin, et al.). I’m finding that there’s a general trend in the media to use these arguments to neuter public outrage, suppress dissent, and basically ask the public not to form ANY opinions WHATSOVER that are counter to the “officialese” that is formed as a PR release from the authorities. This, to me, shows a lack of critical judgement, in that, ultimately, I’m not a Judge, not a cop, not reporter…but am the public, and as such, entitled to an opinion…even if, begads, it is formed “before all the facts come out”. Because, too often, by the time “all the facts come out”, it’s weeks, months, years, decades later, and no one cares, and a troubling social issue has, willy nilly, become a social norm.

  45. Eleven
    Posted November 13, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I understand that people have questions, but it seems too early to me to start throwing around the “M” word. We don’t know the facts in the case yet. Granted, there is a troubling national trend, but it’s my understanding that events such as these are rare in Ann Arbor and that our police, for the most part, have a decent record when it comes to dealing with the mentally ill.

  46. Lynne
    Posted November 13, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone know if the Ypsilanti police have body cams? If they don’t, I think they should have them.

  47. Posted November 13, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    To be fair, after a long time in social services, I’ve always found the AAPD to be very attentive and very courteous and VERY professional in their dealing with the mentally ill in the community; their outreach and community engagement is first-rate… and that’s one reason this case is so disturbing (at first glance), and one reason — which I realize probably appears counter-intuitive to most perceptions — I was taken aback by the Blue Wall of Silence and the kick over to the MSP so quickly. It’s probably NOT a cover -up, in fact, it’s highly doubtful it is…but it does have that tinge of a delay tactic, and — at least from the almost complete lack of community outrage or even dialogue on who did this and why… (no rallies downtown at the City Hall, no vigils at the site, so far…?) …It appears in the court of public opinion that Ms. Rosser has been on put on trial quite quickly — the A2 News articles are all about her criminal past and recovery and prior domestics at that address — but we know no balancing information as to other factors on the L.E. end. It’s disturbing to say the least.

  48. Anonymous
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    They had apparently been smoking crack at the house, and officers knew going in that there had been reports of gunfire previously.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/11/house_where_ann_arbor_police_s.html

    “Officers were called to the location several times in 2014 for reports of things like domestic violence, assaults and gunshots, according to records obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.

    The records also indicate crack cocaine was being smoked in the house. Rosser and her boyfriend, 54-year-old Victor Stephens, called 911 at least eight times this year. Many of the calls were categorized as “family trouble.”

    Police were first dispatched to the home this year on May 30 for reports of gunshots. Several neighbors called 911 saying they heard yelling and three to four gunshots around 2:26 a.m.”

  49. JC
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I worry it’s easier for some people to find something in the story that allows them to look away.

    But I also am confident that alot of us feel ready to mobilize.

  50. Maria Cotera
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    In a predictable act of journalistic racism, Ann Arbor.com implicitly blames the black victim of a police shooting. Disgusting.
    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/11/house_where_ann_arbor_police_s.html#incart_m-rpt-2

    And if you doubt that journalistic racism is in play, just look at this:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/media-black-victims_n_5673291.html

  51. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Presidents of Che Guevara social clubs unite!

  52. Posted November 23, 2014 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    My friend Robert just posted a link to this story with the tag “Never Call The Cops”:

    12-Year-Old Boy Carrying BB Gun Is Shot and Killed by Police Outside a Cleveland Rec Center

  53. D'Real
    Posted November 29, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) looking into case of woman killed by Ann Arbor police:

    “In cases comparable to this one, a contemporaneous record of the circumstances and events leading to the use of force can reduce or eliminate speculation and uncertainty about what actually occurs during police/civilian encounters,”

    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/11/aclu_looking_into_case_of_woma.html

  54. D'Real
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Racial equity and social justice haters are going to hate, the Huffington Post is going to continue to post!

    “Fatal police shooting in Ann Arbor raises questions… How will the community respond?”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/16/aura-rosser-police-shooting-ann-arbor_n_6330032.html

  55. Posted April 6, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    People’s Retort to the Prosecutor’s Report (PDF) http://bit.ly/peoplesretort

  56. Lynne
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I would really like to see Washtenaw County set up some kind of special prosecutor for investigating incidents like this. Prosecutors usually have to work so closely with police and they depend so much on the police as witnesses that it seems impossible for them not to be biased in favor of the police.

  57. Posted April 25, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    http://bit.ly/beyondthebadge

  58. Maria Huffman
    Posted April 26, 2015 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Mark Maynard…who told you her name was Aura Rosser?

  59. Posted April 26, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I suspect I read her name in the newspaper just like everyone else. Why do you ask?

  60. Posted April 26, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I suppose it’s possible that I learned her name on Facebook. I can’t recall… I guess it’s possible that Chuck Warpehoski, who lives across the street from the house in question, mentioned her name in a post.

  61. Maria Huffman
    Posted April 26, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Why did I ask? I wondered if you had heard from a police officer.

  62. Posted April 26, 2015 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    No, they’re not in the habit, as far as I can tell, of calling local bloggers and sharing information on people that they’ve killed.

  63. Maria Huffman
    Posted April 26, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    No, I suppose not.

  64. Maria Huffman
    Posted April 27, 2015 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    My point was, that deaths are no longer reported in local newspapers with a proper obituary. It is online from, somewhere…and so I think we lost a valuable service that print newspapers provided. No offense, Mark, but news today, real news, comes from bloggers like you.. And you are not sure where you heard where you learned Aura Rosser’s name.

  65. Posted August 2, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    “Ann Arbor has forgotten about Aura Rosser.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By No Indictment in Ferguson on November 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    […] of what happened in the case of Michael Brown, or in the case of the Aura Rosser, who was shot and killed by police earlier this fall in Ann Arbor, or the case of 12 year old Tamir […]

  2. […] of trickery, so that those in power stay in power. Our increasingly militarized police forces are killing us in unprecedented numbers. All of our actions are being watched and recorded. Religious extremism is on the rise. Science is […]

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