Mom Would Never Lie

The press in Phoenix must have Essie Strong’s cell phone on speed dial.

I follow the news closely. Last week I read a story about a home invasion that ended when one of the men living in the home struggled with the invader and cracked his skull open with a clothes iron. I didn’t think much of it until today. The intruder was 20-year-old Moses Taylor. He died in the hospital of his injuries. His family held a car wash this morning to raise money for his funeral. His mother, Essie Strong, had her own version of events.

She claims that he wasn’t breaking into the home. He had supposedly been robbed and was running for help. He wouldn’t break into anyone’s home, she says. There was no reason to hit him and kill him. Unfortunately there’s more to this family’s story. A LOT more.

Back in June 2008, a news story broke about an officer-involved shooting near I-17 and Dunlap in Phoenix. Police were called by several people in an apartment complex who saw a young man chasing a pregnant woman; they feared for her safety. When police arrived and knocked on the door of the apartment the suspects had disappeared into, they were met by a thug wielding a gun. One veteran officer opened fire and hit the suspect. It turned out later that the thug was using a BB gun. Guess who it was?

Then-16-year-old Moses Taylor.

His mother, Essie, immediately went on the news and pitched a crying fit. It just wasn’t fair, you see – he only had a BB gun. There was no reason to shoot him over that. I wasn’t writing for this blog at the time, but when she claimed that it was “obviously” a BB gun and couldn’t possibly be dangerous, I posted photos like these and asked readers to tell me which one was the real thing:

Not one person, even my cop friends, could tell. Because of how serious airsoft war games have become (even my martial arts school does combat training with airsoft guns), it’s easy to buy a BB gun that looks like the real thing. Those officers couldn’t have known, and they can’t afford to wait to find out. They’re not going to ask, “excuse me, but is that a REAL gun you’re pointing at me?” They were perfectly justified in shooting Taylor. When it was proven that the officers did exactly what they were supposed to do, the press rapidly lost interest.

In October of 2008, Essie was back in the news when her 15-year-old daughter sparked a confrontation with a bus driver who ended up following her into a convenience store, punched and kicked her, then threw a large bottle of Powerade at her. The press didn’t even mention Moses Taylor’s incident at the time, but Essie (surprise!) never questioned her daughter’s behavior. I said then that the bus driver was absolutely wrong for his behavior – something about a grown man chasing down a teenage girl just sounds wrong on the surface, let alone what he ended up actually doing – but I questioned whether Essie’s daughter really only tossed up her hands and yelled, “you almost hit us!”

Essie never questions her own children, so it should come as no surprise that when Moses Taylor was killed during a home invasion she stepped into the spotlight yet again to claim he didn’t do anything wrong. As if she were there with Moses, she had the nerve to claim that he’d been beaten and robbed and was “banging on the door to get help.”

I call bullshit.

What facts the press hasn’t gotten wrong are pretty clear. There was no banging on the door. Taylor entered the home through a window and left his pants behind as he crawled in. One of the men living there heard the window break and went to confront the intruder; that’s when the fight broke out and the tenant grabbed a clothes iron and hit Taylor in the head with it. Everyone got out and police arrived to find Taylor in critical condition in the home. Witnesses in the area knew Taylor and they all said he’d been drinking and using drugs earlier that night. I’d have to ask, how would Essie know that her son had been robbed? Did he hit the pause button on the scene so he could call his mother and tell her what happened right before he desperately broke the window of someone else’s home and wiggled through a hole in the screen, leaving his pants behind?

Here’s the most ironic part of all of this nonsense: the picture they’re carrying of Moses smiling brightly is his prison ID photo. In less than four years he managed to rack up four disciplinary infractions, every single one of them a major incident, the very first one being a sexual assault on another inmate. The crime that sent him to prison wasn’t the shooting in June, either. It was a violent armed robbery that the press never breathed a word about three months later.

Yeah, he was just running to find help. Mom would never lie, would she? Of course not…especially not after she learned her lesson during her own hard time for selling narcotics the year before Moses was born.