Joe Olson testifies for more guns at the Capitol (
by Steve Timmer
Jul 9, 2016, 12:00 PM

Joe Olson’s butt hurt

There has been a lot of MSM reporting, and new media and social media comment, about the shooting of Philando Castile by a police officer on the evening of Wednesday, July 6th, in Falcon Heights. He was shot, and killed, by a four-year veteran of the Saint Anthony police department, which contracts with Falcon Heights for police services.

“Joe Olson,” what you probably would say if you were playing a word association game and somebody said “gun,” weighed in on this one almost immediately. He described an incident involving himself and a police contact in Falcon Heights a couple of years ago, a situation completely dissimilar to the Castile shooting, other than it happened in Falcon Heights, and it involved a police officer. And not the same officer.

In articles in Think Progress and the Strib, Joe Olson describes the police behavior at his stop as unusual, with the police officer standing well back and to the side of the tinted-window Jeep Grand Cherokee. He said he thought the officer might have been scared.

What almost certainly happened is after the officer pulled Joe over for blowing a red light, the officer ran the plate and discovered that he was dealing with the state’s Alpha gun nut, in a darkened car, and he decided he should approach the old fool with a little circumspection. Good thinking in my book.

But Joe was obviously miffed that somebody thought he — a good guy with a gun, after all — might be a bad guy with a gun, or just, you know, crazy. Joe felt so ill-served that he complained to the chief of the St. Anthony police department, who, according to Joe, blew him off (hardly surprising). Compounding the insult.

This would all be just the funny ranting of an old crackpot if the present situation involving Philando Castile’s death was not so serious. But Joe Olson claims poor officer training, and everyone, including now the Strib, is off to the races. I’ve seen several references to poorly trained, trigger happy, “fraidy cat” cops involved in the incident on social media.

I’m sorry, but you can infer nothing about training, propensity to use deadly force, or the mental state of the police officer involved in the shooting from Joe Olson’s little anecdotal story. I don’t think it showed very good judgment to publish it.

On top of that, it appears that the officer involved in the shooting, Jeronimo Yanez, and Joseph Kauser, his partner that night, graduated together at the top of their class in law enforcement at Minnesota State at Mankato. According to the same linked article, prior to this incident, there hasn’t been an officer involved shooting by the St. Anthony police force for thirty years.

Investigators are going to have to find out what happened here in the moments before Castile’s girlfriend turned on the camera the old-fashioned way.

Not from the rantings of Joe Olson.

Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.