There’s nothing like a little bit of media bias surrounding a tragedy. We’ve been dealing with it for so long at this point that I’m pretty sure I’d miss it if they weren’t doing it anymore. Such has been the case since August 12, when an off-duty Chicago cop was attacked and had to shoot one of his attackers in self-defense.
The officer has not been named publicly, but there have been vigils held for the 26-year-old father who was killed that night. The officer was riding his motorcycle when a small child darted out into the road; he intentionally laid the bike down (biker parlance for deliberately wrecking it to avoid hurting someone while moving at a high rate of speed) to avoid hitting her, but the bike clipped her anyway. Her father, Christopher Middleton, came tearing out of the restaurant they were visiting in a rage and, along with his cousin, 18-year-old John Passley, began viciously beating him.
If it were me, I would be more concerned about my daughter than angry at the person who hit her. As soon as I made sure that she wasn’t bleeding profusely and was still conscious, THEN I would want to find out what happened. I sure as hell wouldn’t run outside, right past my injured child and immediately start beating someone. It would only make a bigger mess of things.
It resulted in a bigger mess when the off-duty cop had to pull his handgun and shoot Middleton. According to the victim and witness testimony, the beating was very brutal. The victim felt himself beginning to lose consciousness and believed that his life was in imminent danger. He pulled his sidearm and fired a single round right into Middleton’s upper thigh/groin area, clipping his femoral artery. He died at the hospital.
What’s more incredible than the story itself is that Middleton’s family is claiming that he was a great father and didn’t deserve to die – that he was just “going crazy” over his child. A great parent will be more worried about their child after an accident than they are about getting back at the other person involved. Middleton had no idea what happened. He didn’t stop to ask whether his daughter had run out into the street. Hell, it sounds as though he didn’t even stop to look at her. He barged out and attacked someone without knowing what happened, and he had no intention of stopping his rampage until his target was either maimed or dead.
The family claims that the officer never identified himself as a police officer. Actually, multiple witnesses say he did tell Middleton that he was a cop – Middleton reportedly said, “I don’t give a f***” and smashed him in the face. Even if he hadn’t, why should it have mattered? Would he have done worse to someone he knew wasn’t a cop? Does it excuse the fact that he attacked a man who appeared to be unarmed without knowing what happened? Is it supposed to somehow absolve him of his role in the tragedy?
The family is also demanding justice. For what? A man sees a kid jump out into the street in front of him, pulls off a very dangerous maneuver to avoid hitting her and unfortunately ends up clipping her anyway. He did what he could. After that, two men he doesn’t know attack him, knock him to the ground and beat him until he starts to pass out. What was he supposed to do? Would it have been better if the cop had fought back and killed him with his bare hands? What would you have expected him to do in that situation? It’s clear that the family was not only not trying to stop him, they were actively helping him.
The whole situation could have been avoided. Rather than admitting that he was an idiot, they’re claiming he didn’t overreact and the cop he attacked should be the one going to jail. Middleton’s mother has even sworn to get a lawyer and do whatever she can to get back at her son’s victim.
The press hasn’t addressed this ridiculous story except to turn everything back around on the man who could have died trying to avoid hitting a child. British publication The Daily Mail worded their entire article in an accusatory fashion. Other articles linked here talk about the vigils for Middleton, but no mention is made of the mental state of the off-duty cop who had to kill another human being. I promise you, he’s not taking it lightly. I’ve known cops who had to kill and not one of them ever slept well afterwards.
It’s always sad when a child is hurt. I hate those calls; even when the child is crying and responsive (which tells me that the child is breathing and conscious, not in shock), it breaks my heart. I cannot, for any reason, excuse the actions of Christopher Middleton. If his family has an ounce of intelligence, they will stop blaming the victim and set a better example for the children in the family. Keep close track of small children. Teach them to NEVER enter the street without looking carefully.
More than anything, however, don’t ever attack someone blindly. You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. If you do attack someone in a blind rage, you deserve the negative outcome – no matter how tragic the public may think it is.