Duluth Police

NOTE: Duluth Police Sgt. Matt McShane, who has numerous relatives in Washburn County, wrote the following, and it was posted on the Duluth Police Local 807 Facebook page, where by its third day it had gathered 147,000 shares and 13,000 comments.

I am going to share like I have never before. I am going to do so because so many people truly have no idea. This story is not an anomaly and happens across this country day in and day out. All I ask is that you pause and read what it is truly like out here in the real world. Not how the media spins it or some keyboard warrior tweets about a world they do not live in and know nothing about.

Last night my world and my entire family’s world almost changed forever. I almost shot an “unarmed black man.” My partner got on the radio and told us a shooting was happening right in front of her very eyes. Shot after shot rang out in our community we have sworn to protect. 17 shots in all were fired and now people were fleeing everywhere. My partners all went towards the gun shots, no race was said, no thought of our own safety was contemplated. We went because that is what we are called to do. We must help our community no matter who is in danger and no matter the risk. My partners found two of the suspects, and I rushed to help them as they are yelling they are not complying and now they are fighting. Where are the guns used? Do they have them? Are they going to try and kill my partners? All thoughts as I pull up and see my partners on the ground fighting with one male, a black man. Another black man is near them and turns to run as i approach. My partners yell “stop him.”

I yell for him to stop and he turns and runs. Where is the gun? Does he still have it? Is he going to shoot me? My partners? Is he an innocent person just out for a walk? I give chase, he continues to run around a corner. Is he going to ambush me when I turn the corner? Where is the gun? My partners are yelling for more officers. The male keeps running until I and my partner gain ground on him and he stops. “Get your hands in the air!” He does not. “Get on the ground!” He does not. Where is the gun?!!!!! He turns his back hiding his hands from us, still not listening to commands. Where is the gun?!!!! I level my pistol at him. I put my finger on the trigger. Is this it? Is he going to shoot us? Am I going to have to shoot this man to save myself and others??? Will my wife wake up a widow, will my children no longer have their father? Is our community going to change forever because of me? Will everything burn only because we want to help? Because we want to live and not die? Because we don’t want to see innocent people in our community die. All of this in about 1/2 a second... My partner attempts to tackle him and now we fight because he is still not listening. I almost shot an “unarmed black man.” Why was he unarmed? Because (unknown to me at the time) when he ran and turned the corner in front of me, he threw the stolen gun he was carrying in the bushes.

When the dust settled officers had cuts and bruises and two multi convicted felons went to jail unharmed, but it was only 1/16 of a squeeze from changing our world forever. All of this while you slept comfortably in your homes, safe from the wolves who roam our streets. You will not hear this story on the news. No one will call national attention to it. No one will say anything about this night. We simply just dust ourselves off, make sure each of us is ok and go on to the next call. This is what happens all across this country more often than you could ever imagine, but we are racist, we have to change. There must be accountability. Police must be defunded. Each and every day we dust each other off, make sure we are ok and go out into our communities and do the right thing. As the media, professional athletes, politicians, and social media warriors bash us day in and day out. Our promise to you as officers each day is that we will dust each other off, make sure we are ok, and go out into our community and die trying to make sure you are safe while you sleep in peace at night. I almost shot an “unarmed black man” last night. I challenge anyone to get out of your comfort zone and ride with us. Take a day in our shoes and see what it is really like. The truth, the unedited truth. We ask for nothing in return other than allowing the truth to come out. Wait for the facts. Stop destroying us before we even have a chance! Stop pushing the false narrative. Stand with us, help us! We are not heroes, we are men and women who just want to do the right thing.

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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