Last week was a banner week for Pennsylvania Republicans when it came to itchy twitter fingers and making extremely stupid statements on the Baltimore Rebellion. State Representative Stephen Bloom got the ball rolling by blaming the situation on President Obama. State Representative Mike Vereb retweeted a meme of President Obama taking a selfie in front of a burning CVS, which was not picked up by the media, and then later in the week, Vereb went on the Dom Giordano radio show and compared union workers to rioters in the city. Then Congressman Mike Kelly made some pretty flippant remarks about the levels of poverty experienced in Baltimore. On Sunday morning, Keystone Progress blasted out an email that quoted the Congressman saying “This is turning into anarchy and you have people doing things that are absolutely horrible and then saying, ‘oh it was just because I wasn’t given a chance,’ oh my God, give me a break…” on another conservative talk radio show.
Over the past few months, I have posted some of the dumber things that State Representative Mike Vereb has released on twitter. Vereb is a former police officer from suburban Philadelphia and a corporate security guard for Comcast, and according to his legislative website, he was a sponsor of the unconstitutional bill that attacked Mumia Abu Jamal’s right to speak out from prison. Then a couple of weeks ago, State Representative Dom Costa – another former police officer – stated that he and Vereb are spearheading legislation that would make it a crime to taunt a cop in public because of emotional reasons.
Since I am blocked from Representative Vereb’s personal Facebook page, an astute reader of the Raging Chicken Press forwarded me Representative Vereb’s cover photo that he has been using since December, and man oh man, it is this photo a doozy. While “typing leik dis,” Vereb has posted photos that some can describe as anti-protester, possibly racially charged and definitely pro-cop. The representative called President Obama the “emperor of the United States” after the president’s immigration executive order, called for the arrest of Ferguson demonstrators outside of an Eagles game for inciting a riot that never happened, posted photos on Facebook of getting a police escort through Center City Philadelphia while Ferguson solidarity demonstrations were going on, and claiming “Blue Power” while attending a Penn State Football game at Yankee Stadium after the non-indictment of the cops who choked Eric Garner to death.
On the Representative’s Facebook account, he has a cover photo from the pro-police blog The Police Wife Life that is titled STOP BLAMING THE POLICE! The photo reads:
Less than a million officers in the US, 313.9 million residents in the US. Only 245 police per 100,000 residents.
12 million arrests per year. 34,000 arrests per day. 400 fatal police shootings per year. Less than 1% who encounter police die. 99.9% who encounter police….LIVE!
Every 58 hours an officer dies on duty. Over 58,000 officers assaulted each year. Only 245 officers per each 100,000 persons. 760,000 officers for 319.9 million people.
Police kill less than one percent of those they encounter and the vast majority are justified.
Right, no wonder why Representative Vereb think’s it’s a great idea to make taunting a police officer some sort of felony in Pennsylvania. I mean taunting a police dog is a class three felony, so what will taunting a cop be? According to the photo Vereb has on display and, most likely his whole entire attitude toward Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Kimani Gray and other young black men killed at the hands of police officers, the vast majority of police related killings are justified so they’re just dead and shit out of luck?
But let’s save the best part of the photo for last…
And for those who like to throw the race-card 91 percent of blacks are killed BY MEMBERS OF THEIR OWN RACE. ALMOST 500 MORE WHITES DIE EACH YEAR THAN BLACKS. [Emphasis not my own]
For our readers purposes, the blogger makes it known that she is married to an African-American cop. Putting that aside let’s talk about some of these claims.
First off. No one really knows how many “justifiable” homicides there are at the hands of police officers each year. That “400” figure comes from police departments self reporting police related killings because there is no federal requirements or database that keeps track. The number can be as much as three times the original claim. One website, Killed by Police tracks “corporate news reports of people killed by nonmilitary law enforcement officers, whether in the line of duty or not, and regardless of reason or method,” and the “inclusion implies neither wrongdoing nor justification on the part of the person killed or the officer involved. The post merely documents the occurrence of a death.” According to the website, there have already been 392 police related killings in 2015, in 2014 there were at least 1,101 incidents and in 2013 (from May 1 to the end of year) there were 770 police related killings.
The second point is this racially charged trope of “black on black” crime. As mentioned above, the photo claims that 91 percent of murders within the African-American community are “black on black” murders, and the same can be said about the white community. Last November, the Washington Post fact checked Rudy Giuliani after he made an appearance on Meet the Press and claimed that 93 percent of murders within the black community are black on black crime. According to the FBI, murders in the white and black communities are intraracial and rarely cross racial boundaries. The FBI Uniform Crime Report shows that 90 percent of murders in the black community are intraracial, and in the white community, that number is 83 percent.
The Washington Post goes tackles most of the other claims that the photo in question raises. For instance, the photo claims that less than 1 percent of all police encounters are fatal and justified. ProPublica discovered that black men were 21 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than their white counterparts.
Listen to Rick Smith’s opening monologue about Mike Vereb comparing union workers to Baltimore Rioters