Poor or Biased Reporting Makes Cops Look Bad; Medford, OR Police Vindicated

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Ok, so the cop in me immediately got very defensive when I read an article posted here on May 30 titled “Veteran Has His AR-15 Confiscated By Police For Fending Off Burglar”. I had read related stories in several other places, and for various reasons, not the least of which include “don’t piss off the boss” followed closely by “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”, I publicly kept my lips zipped. My initial reaction when reading that story, and watching the related news clips, was that there is either:
1) much more to the story than the media was saying, or
2) the cops in Medford are not friends of the gun owner.

MPD_BadgeWell, here we are a few days later and come to find out, thankfully, that my #1 conclusion was correct. This may come as a shock to some of you, but it appears that the mainstream media that covered this story did not really present all the facts, but rather sensationalized the story to get more play. I know, shocking right? Does “Trayvon Martin / edited 911 tapes” ring any bells?

It appears that the Medford Police Department was getting hammered by public outcry, so much so that they felt the need to issue a public statement about the incident. What follows is the pertinent info excerpted from their full media release as sent out by Lt. Mike Budreau. Just for clarification, Mr. Thompson is the vet/gun owner and Kinsella is the bad guy.

Based on feedback from the community, there seems to be some misinformation on this case. This press release is intended to provide further details on the circumstances of the shooting.

The location in question is an apartment complex. The backyard area of the apartments are not private and are open. There is a fence that runs the perimeter of the apartment complex property.

Mr. Thompson heard noises and believed someone was trying to kick in his back door. Mr. Thompson went to investigate, unarmed, and verbal contact with Kinsella in the common area behind his apartment.

Kinsella ran away.

Mr. Thompson then obtained his AR-15 rifle and went out the front door of his apartment. He confronted Kinsella in the parking lot area of the apartment complex. He pointed the firearm at Kinsella and challenged him. Kinsella asked if Mr. Thompson was an officer in which he said he was not. Kinsella then turned and walked away. Mr. Thompson told police that he fired a “warning shot” near Kinsella’s feet. This caused Kinsella to run away, contacting officers moments later.

Officers could find no evidence to suggest Kinsella was attempting to enter Mr. Thompson’s apartment. However, Kinsella did break Mr. Thompson’s chair while attempting to get over the back fence. This is
what Mr. Thompson could have heard.

There is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Thompson, or anyone else was in imminent danger.

In this case, I am very happy to be able to say “I told you so”. From the full description of the incident, as provided in that press release, I would have done the same thing as the cops did there (based on their state laws).

Mr. Thompson had every right to arm himself when he thought his apartment was being broken into. He had every right to warn a possible intruder that he was armed and would use lethal force if the intruder entered the home. He had every right to investigate the situation and confront the potential intruder. But when he started following the guy into the parking lot, he started losing his standing. He really had no business chasing this guy down in the parking lot of the apartment complex, especially one with open yards as described, while packing his AR-15. He absolutely had no business firing a round, warning shot or otherwise, in the direction of the subjects feet.

As a cop, stories like what was originally portrayed, which in this case spread like wildfire, especially amongst the “cops are all jack booted thugs” crowd, really does some serious damage to society. These one sided, incomplete stories undermine the faith that people should have in their local cops, and the folks who already dislike the cops feel even more justified in their dislike, causing people to make statements such as “Never let the police take your weapons unless your dead”.

Please, when reading news stories or watching TV news, please remember that ratings sell, and sometimes the MSM is apt to release only partial stories, one sided stories, or as in the case of the Trayvon Martin incident, completely fabricated falsehoods. Don’t be so quick to Monday morning quarterback the cops based on what you see on TV. We really aren’t all as bad as the lefty liberal media makes us out to be.

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  1. Robby777 says

    Smoke screen for all the bad things that do happen. Maybe not in this case, but there are many instances of excessive force and exceeding their authority or official repression that are true and real. Fortunately these a few and far between; that being said, there are many LEOs that should not be officers, though most acquit themselves admirably. A few bad apples can spoil the barrel – how true!

  2. violater1 says

    The MSM needs to be held accountable for their libterd reporting and perhaps if a few fines were implemented on their sorry asssez they would make it a habit to get all the facts! I blieve intheir first amendment rights as long as they are factual reports!

  3. AfghanVet says

    There is always two sides to a story, and unless you have both making a conclusion will always be fraught with inaccuracies. This goes both ways however. When I was a working police officer, most of my comrades would go to the defense of an officer, regardless of the facts. They would make all kinds of suppositions to justify an officers behavior even though the officer was clearly in the wrong. The same goes for those who likely are against the police. They will make every excuse to make an arrest seem unjustified. These days, with instant access to information and news, we need to be very careful making false judgements and then passing those assumptions along. It is clear that we can no longer rely on the media or others to make our conclusions for us, we need to take the time and do it ourselves. I try and wait to come to any conclusions until all of the facts have come out. These are perilous times and it is getting harder to know who to trust for information. My motto is: question everything. Everybody has an angle and an agenda, and until we as a country start doing our thinking for ourselves, we are going to keep losing our freedoms one at a time, until we have none.

  4. Worship Dancer says

    even IF kinsella had broken open the door of his apartment, thompson needs to remember where that bullet MIGHT strike. when you fire a weapon if that bullet is fired in a manner that could endanger innocent bystanders – firing into the air is ILLEGAL FOR A REASON – then you should NOT be handling weapons

  5. TruthorConsequences says

    Thompson did go too far, did endanger others who may have lived near or were walking near. When the full story comes out, it sheds much light, previously in darkness, on the situation. My family and I, and many friends and associates now know a fuller, more balanced version, of the facts. The Medford Police did the right thing. I apologize for my previous conclusions and remarks. Best to the Medford Police Department and all in uniform protecting us.

  6. voterid says

    It makes a difference if both sides of a story are told near the same time…in todays 24 hour media, Oregon too has to step up to the plate and have the foresight to know that before rumors are started they need to make clear their position. I have a daughter that was driving through Grants Pass, OR about one hour North of Medford. She has two teen age daughters who she has full custody of. She took the girls to move back East to get married. Her x-husband called the Oregon State police to report she had kidnapped the girls.

    She was stopped just out of Grants Pass, OR and the girls were taken out of her car, even though she had her custody papers with her…they would not listen to her. They promptly took the girls and placed them into a foster home and she spent the night in a hotel. After calling her attorney, she was eventually given her girls back with no apologies at all. I believe that not all Oregon cops are listeners…as they wouldn’t listen to her…she was in shock and still can’t believe they did this to her. I was born and raised in Oregon (since moved to the East coast) and know that some of these police officers are more arrogant and self centered than officers in other states…so I wouldn’t be so quick to believe their story as they have had time to get it right over many days. The girls are older now but talk about scaring them to death!

  7. HongryHawg says

    The good thing about this is that there was an outcry from the citizenry at the first story.

  8. VocalYokel says

    As someone with two Brothers who are Law Enforcement Officers, I am quite aware the media more often than not is either unable or unwilling to properly report police actions.

    Whether this stems from laziness or bias, it is all too easy to accept the initial version as factual and containing all the circumstances pertinent to the situation and make a judgement accordingly.

    This is not to say there are not egregious encroachments of rights committed by the police, as both of my Brothers will admit, but we must temper our conclusions with the knowledge that the media is not always without an agenda, whether it is simply to augment sales or to besmirch a certain segment or occupation of society.

  9. Sharon Jeanguenat says

    Good article! Not ALL police are bad guys. Some states have stupid laws, some people do some really stupid things, (as in this case), etc. Plus I know several cops, & none of them are bad cops. The media, both conservative AND liberal, like to sensationalize stories.

  10. cowboybobmt says

    i’d wait to hear from Mr. Zimmerman…uh Thompson….before i would immediately change my mind. I seem to recall the Sanford, Florida police dept issuing several clarifying, and conflicting, statements in the early stages of that fiasco.

  11. James A. DeHart says

    Thank heaven for the thin blue line, and when doubt exists, give it first to the people that are serving to protect us. As is our right, we are all innocent until proven guilty.

  12. ort says

    I stand corrected. I, too, apologize.

  13. MortarMan107 says

    I hereby apologize to the Medford Police and Lt Budreau for my negative comments. They were based upon inaccurate information.

    That does not mean I change my beliefs on the subject of self defense in the home. There are unfortunately, still far too many genuine cases of police power overreach. It is a problem that is getting worse as our society begins spiraling down into chaos.

    We need all the GOOD cops we can get.

  14. James Syntax says

    Hey, everyone has something to say when it appears rights are trampled… perhaps we should have something to say when the headline and the facts differ? Most police interactions are valid, and we should all have an honest response to an honest account of the facts.

    1. Sharon Jeanguenat says

      I agree! And, for the most part, if you treat an officer respectfully, you get treated the same way.

      1. $14832922 says

        as long as you don’t question or stand up for yourself.

      2. AfghanVet says

        sha, I agree, most cops will treat you well as long as you are cooperating. But, there are a few that somehow made it through the psychological exams that should not even be allowed to write parking tickets. The very few bad ones, make all police officers look bad, and even make it next to impossible for the good cops to get any cooperation and deservedly so. I have worked with these kinds of cops and they are the reason that I left the profession. It is incredulous to me that the unions, and the departments themselves will bend over backwards to defend these bad cops even to the point of allowing harassment of good cops that refuse to turn a blind eye towards the actions of these bad cops. Look back at how many cops were harassing and arresting people for filming them. No cop doing his job properly should ever fear a camera. Until there is a dramatic shift in police culture there will continue to be widespread abuses by bad cops and then maybe good cops can hold their heads high and get respect and cooperation from the people they serve. Like I said, most cops are good and honest as the day is long, but the few bad ones taint them all.

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