© Miri WTPOTUS April 12, 2012
We examined the case of Trayvon Martin in Florida in a previous post. In that story, the case of Patricia A. Cook of Virginia was also introduced.
The difference in media exposure for these two cases was stark. While Martin’s case received major on-going national coverage, Cook’s case was reported locally, even though some important parallels are apparent:
An unarmed person shot to death by a person (arguably) in a position of authority.
Disputes about what truly transpired.
Varying degrees of conflict between what eye witnesses and the police or the families said happened.
A phone call to the police, referring to the victim as “suspicious” by individuals apparently trained in dealing with such situations. In the Martin case, the caller was a neighborhood watch volunteer. In the Cook case, the caller was apparently a member of the staff at a school, who was following security protocol.
A victim apparently trespassing on private property. Mrs. Cook at a private school and Mr. Martin walking behind properties in a subdivision, instead of on the public sidewalk.
Loud shouting heard by witnesses, preceding the shots.
Weeks pass and no arrest of a suspect.
After much to-do in the national media and cries for “justice for Trayvon” by the usual suspects (race hustlers like Al Sharpton), yesterday the prosecutor announced a second degree murder charge against Trayvon Martin’s shooter George Zimmerman.
Will there be justice for Patricia A. Cook? Apparently there’s a chance, as finally her case is going before a grand jury [emphasis added to all quotes]:
A cosmetologist who moved from Alton [IL] to Virginia about eight years ago was killed in a controversial shooting there by police that is expected to be examined soon by a grand jury.
A Culpeper, Va., police officer claimed that Patricia Cook, 54, trapped his arm with her vehicle window Feb. 9 and drove off, forcing him to fire to save himself from being dragged.
The episode baffled Cook’s friends and family here and in the community of 14,000, about 60 miles southwest of Washington.
Gregory Webb, a lawyer representing Cook’s husband, said, “It certainly, at a minimum, is very curious.” He said Cook was unarmed and “didn’t even have a pocket knife or a pair of fingernail clippers.”
Webb said Cook had no history of violent behavior. Police have not said whether she was suspected of a crime.
The Virginia State Police said Culpeper police sent an officer after receiving a report about 10 a.m. of a ‘suspicious woman” sitting in a Jeep Wrangler on a Catholic school parking lot.
“While attempting to retrieve her identification, the woman suddenly closed her driver’s side window, trapping the officer’s arm, and started driving away dragging the officer alongside,” a state police statement said. “The officer repeatedly commanded the woman stop the moving vehicle. She refused, and shots were fired.”
The Jeep crashed into a utility pole. The officer suffered minor injuries, officials said.
Webb said he was aware of at least two witnesses who disputed that the officer was dragged.
The dead woman’s husband, Gary Cook, told TV reporters earlier that the Jeep did not have power windows.
Town Manager Kim Alexander said the officer’s name was withheld because of a policy not to name people under investigation before an arrest or charges.
Michelle Moulton, a close friend and classmate of Cook at Alton High School in the mid-1970s, called her “a real sweet, well-rounded person” with a great sense of humor. …
A first cousin, Carol Hailer, of Alton, said … “I have never known anything about her that would explain this. … We just want to know what happened.”
Patricia Cook had no children. She married Gary Cook about eight years ago and they moved to Virginia soon thereafter. In Culpeper, she volunteered in the children’s ministry at Culpeper United Methodist Church.
As in the case of Trayvon Martin, little is known about what Cook was doing there the day of her death.
But why she was in the nearby parking lot of the middle school at Epiphany Catholic Thursday morning remains a mystery to many, including Michael Watts of Culpeper, whose children attend the small private school that fronts on Main Street.
“As a parent, I have questions about what the woman was doing at our school. Why was she walking around the middle school and why wouldn’t she leave when asked by school staff?” he said.
Watts said he appreciated the routine safety precautions in place at Epiphany and seeing them smoothly implemented during Thursday’s shooting, including putting school facilities on lockdown.
“I’m glad the staff has been trained to be aware of potential security threats and that the police were so quick to respond to a call from the school,” he said. “Like everyone else, I wonder exactly what happened once the police officer got there and why it required a shooting to resolve.”
… Gary Cook, a Vietnam veteran who commutes to the D.C. area every day, said that early on the morning before his wife was shot to death she told him she was going to do some shopping that day.
Witness Adam Forster, who lives on North East Street, said he heard loud yelling “for about a minute,” before eight or nine shots were fired. It is unknown what the officer and Cook argued about, or if they even did.
In the Trayvon Martin case, many have questions as to what he was doing–wandering around the neighborhood, behind the homes, looking (according to Zimmerman) as if he was on drugs.
As in the Trayvon Martin case, Cook’s distraught family is considering filing a lawsuit against the town where the incident occured; her family wants to know the truth. They contend, as does Trayvon’s family, that she was not the type of person to use violence against another, leading to her own death:
Cook’s husband Gary, who spoke to ABC7 after his wife was killed by a still un-named officer, may be considering filing a lawsuit against the town of Culpeper and the police department.
“Hopefully they’ll find out what the hell happened,” Cook says.
One neighbor of the Cook’s, who preferred not be identified, says it makes no sense that the petite, soft-spoken lady, who taught children’s church, would get into an argument then an altercation with a police officer. She understands why Gary Cook might be considering a lawsuit.
“He’s stressed and worried and hurt,” the neighbor says.
As in the Martin case, there is much evidence yet to be seen. Was Mrs. Cook under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Was she sick? Did she know the policeman who shot her? What were they arguing about? Many questions left unanswered. Despite the many parallels, there are some glaring differences in these cases:
The identity and race (arguably) of Trayvon Martin’s shooter was known to the media and announced by the media. Zimmerman was “vetted” by the media, which led to many unfortunate effects for him and for his family, although until the media feeding frenzy, George Zimmerman was not even under investigation. The initial police response was to accept his story of self-defense, because eye witnesses and all the evidence supported his version of events.
We still do not know the identity or race of Patricia Cook’s shooter. He is therefore not subject to similar “vetting” (one might say smearing) by the media.
There is no national coverage of Cook’s death. Why?
Cook was an unarmed Christian woman who was shot by a policeman, as she sat in her car on a school parking lot, after school staff decided she was suspicious, and after the cop said she rolled up the car window on his arm.
Martin was an unarmed black teenager shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer after he noticed Martin walking behind the homes in the neighborhood, where there had been a rash of burglaries, and after he said Martin attacked him, bashing his head into the ground.
In my opinion, it is more concerning for the general public when a police officer shoots a citizen under controversial circumstances.
Why did the school staff think Patricia Cook was “suspicious?” Because of her race? Her sex? Her age? These are all apparently important questions that Al Sharpton wants answered in Martin’s case. So why aren’t they similarly important in the Cook case? If nobody had called police to report Cook as “suspicious,” then she would still be alive today.
The main question: Why the differential treatment of these two stories? Are white women worth less in the big scheme of things than are black teens? Is this a case of what I called “selective misogyny” in my previous post? Does Al Sharpton not care if white women are shot by police? Or is this yet another sign of what I called the “new racial caste system”, where some people are more valuable to society than others, depending upon their race?
Why does the media play favorites? Why do few seem to care as much when a wife, a sometime-Sunday-school teacher/cosmetologist, gets “gunned down” (8 or 9 shots?) by an unnamed police officer?
Is it because Patricia Cook was white or because she was a woman or because she was 54 instead of 17? If none of the above, then please explain because I simply don’t get it.
Is it justice for the legal system to bend to pressure from a biased media, aided by race hustlers, and put George Zimmerman through a years-long nightmare? Are citizens who defend themselves from assault on the street now to be charged with second-degree murder, if they’re additionally unfortunate enough to be of another race when their attacker is black?
Finally, why are Eric Holder, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and the Department of Justice NOT involved in Cook’s case, but are very much involved in the Trayvon Martin case?