By T.B. Lefever:
“If you can’t walk the walk, don’t talk the talk.”
“If you can’t handle the heat, get away from the oven.”
“If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.”
Markeith Lloyd, the suspected cop killer also wanted for the homicide of his pregnant ex-girlfriend and the shooting of her brother, has been captured. By the look of his face as he was perp-walked in front of several news crews and reporters, Lloyd did not make it through his apprehension unscathed. Sporting lacerations and swelling over both eyes, and what appeared to be a swollen lip, Lloyd could be seen shouting.
“They beat me up!” he mouthed, over and over again, as soon as he spotted the media. CNN was all too glad to show this clip of Lloyd declaring himself to be a victim of police brutality at the conclusion of a nationwide manhunt stemming from an incident where he pumped rounds into the body of a police officer as she lay dying on the ground in a Walmart parking lot. Markeith Lloyd still breathes. If you ask me, the officers involved in his apprehension showed restraint.
“If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”
At the time of his arrest, Lloyd was in possession of two handguns and bullet-resistant body armor. One of the handguns was equipped with a magazine drum capable of holding fifty rounds CNN reported that the magazine drum held one hundred rounds, but they got it wrong; pictures of the weapons were released to the media, and any dope willing to spend five minutes researching these types of magazine drums would be able to confirm that the Glock magazine extender capable of holding one hundred rounds is a double drum. The picture of Lloyd’s magazine drum shows a single drum with a fifty round capacity. But I digress. This article is not about CNN’s sensational and often fake news of late.
I write this article because I am predicting there will be a move made on behalf of Mr. Lloyd and his family to declare him a victim of police brutality during his apprehension. Whether or not a potential lawsuit or statements that are to come turn out to be the focus of the national headlines is up to organizations like CNN.
One night in January of 2013, I was out hunting for suspicious persons who might be involved in a horrible rash of home invasions and burglaries that were terrorizing my area of the city. Riding around in an unmarked Crown Victoria, I was hardly in the ideal “UC”, or undercover car, but it was the best choice from what I had at my disposal. While making my way up and down the residential streets that were being hit the hardest, the voice of a fellow officer interrupted the uncharacteristic quiet of the radio channel that evening.
“Shots fired! I’m shot!” The officer, who I later found out was a rookie fresh out of the academy, shocked everyone with the ability he showed that fateful night. With a bullet lodged in his jaw, he gave a perfect “78” (a physical/clothing description of his shooter) and a solid direction of travel to boot. Every cop in Atlanta converged on the area. After a long sprint through a residential area and several backyards, I was probably the first officer on scene as the cuffs went on. It turned out that the shooter didn’t want to go peacefully, and was summarily beaten into custody by the first officers on scene. I can remember experiencing feelings of anger and adrenaline as I saw him lying there in cuffs.
Of course, none of us knew if our comrade would survive or not at the time. I’m not going to lie– taking that “eye for an eye” approach definitely enters your mind at a time like that, but you’ve got to fight it back. Cooler heads prevailed, and responsible officers on scene definitely kept things from getting way out of hand. The suspect was taken alive for the crime of shooting a police officer in the face at point blank range after fleeing from him upon being stopped.
Next came the headlines: “Man Beat To Pulp After Shooting Officer,” “Family: Police Beat Man in ATL Officer Shooting,” “Atlanta Police Accused of Beating Shooting Suspect,” and this gem from the now (thankfully) defunct Gawker, “20 Year Old Allegedly Shoots Atlanta Police Officer in the Face, Looks Like He Got the Sh*t Beaten Out of Him.”
We have to stop allowing scoundrels to draw sympathy through victimizing themselves in our society. A police officer and a pregnant woman are dead at the hands of career criminal, Markeith Lloyd. On top of that, a second officer is dead from a vehicle accident sustained while searching for him. Markeith Lloyd does not get to play the victim here. A criminal history spanning twenty years and yielding twenty arrests, along with his own Facebook posts, show Lloyd’s true colors. Just a month ago, he was seen joking about killing a cop while he and the woman he is accused of murdering were pulled over for a traffic stop.
As far as I’m concerned, this incident lies at the heart of the problem law enforcement faces in society today. There are people out there capable of killing both their own loved ones and police officers in cold blood. We can all agree on that. Yet despite standing in agreement that the sky is blue, so many of us in society are driven to feelings of sympathy for the boogie men that terrorize communities and thrive on violence. I remain hopeful that we are reaching a turning point as pro-law enforcement groups continue to gain traction and a more pro-law enforcement regime prepares to take over the reins of the highest governmental positions in the land, but it is up to all of us to choose the right side.
In the case of Frank Nance, the twenty year old who tried to kill my co-worker, will the twenty year sentence keeping him off the streets for the time being serve to rehabilitate him, or criminally educate him for his release at the relatively young age of forty three? Only time will tell. The officer he shot is back to work and continues to fight the good fight, but Orlando PD’s Lieutenant Debra Clayton wasn’t so fortunate. No amount of rehabilitation will bring her back and no possible explanation will make sense of her death.
We’re currently at six dead officers in the first eighteen days of 2017. Many more will inevitably fall in the line of duty this year, and in every year going forward until we are replaced with robots or we patrol the streets in protective exo-skeletons that currently only exist in a science fiction film.
With that being said, I’ll close this out the same way I opened it- with another cliché:
“You live by the sword, you die by the sword.”
Markeith Lloyd lived by the sword, yet he appears unwilling to die by it. I estimate that he will tell anyone willing to listen that he is somehow a victim of police brutality in hopes to get what should be the death penalty in Florida downgraded to a life sentence.
May that sword be swift and accurate enough to find its mark.
T.B. Lefever is an OpsLens Contributor and active police officer in the Metro-Atlanta area. Throughout his career, Lefever has served as a SWAT Hostage Negotiator, a member of the Crime Suppression Unit, a School Resource Officer, and a Uniformed Patrol Officer. He has a BA in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Rutgers University.
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