We’ve seen media Spin in the recent weeks with a vengeance in the wake of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman encounter. The media, by and large, including the conservative channels of media don’t like guns. They don’t like non-conformists and they certainly don’t like the constitutional rights of the people when it comes to the ability to defend oneself. But this isn’t an article about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, nor is it an article about liberal media, political spin or racial tension…necessarily.
Well that isn’t entirely true: there are aspects of this story that include media spin and liberal media.
Bill Parker is your average guy. He lives in Florida with his wife and dogs, he serves as a school counselor and holds a CCW (concealed carry weapon permit). He doesn’t appreciate the crime that has penetrated his neighborhood in the recent years, but isn’t the confrontational type necessarily, so up until now, he has just accepted that he would have to live with the violence, drug dealing and prostitution that occurred routinely in and around his neighborhood.
The law enforcement agents in the area had made it clear that it was important to keep tabs and make phone calls about the illegal activity the local residents were seeing, so THEY (the law enforcement) could handle it. But nothing was happening. Well, at least that’s the way it seemed, until the night of February 7th.
*Note: Ordinarily I would not advocate the readers of www.netgunsmith.com reading unfair and inaccurate statements by a news outlet, but in this case, it’s necessary to understand the full scope of the situation.
The following is a public recount by a media outlet tied to the Manatee county sheriff’s department.
It is located at the following URL: http://www.newsmanateearchive.com/2012-02-18-local.asp
According to the arrest report, on Tuesday, February 7, 2012, at about 9:45 p.m., three Manatee County Sheriff’s Detectives were parked in a vehicle in the 900 block of 26th Avenue West.
Parker was standing in his fenced yard at the above location. He was intently watching the actions of the detectives and appeared to become agitated.
Parker walked toward the door of his residence, then returned to the gate.
He was holding his right hand behind his back and exited his fenced yard, walking directly to the driver’s side of the detectives’ vehicle. He was still holding his right arm behind his back and appeared angry.
The detectives presumed that Parker was concealing a firearm behind his back.
One detective placed the vehicle in drive and another detective drew his firearm, keeping it hidden from Parker’s view “so as to not further escalate the situation,” the report said.
Without warning, Parker brandished a large frame silver and black semi-automatic pistol from behind his back. He was about 2 feet away from the car. Then he raised the firearm and pointed it directly at the front driver’s window.
The detective who was driving accelerated as quickly as possible from the area as Parker yelled, “That’s right, you better get out of here.”
The detectives returned to the Operations Center.
At about 10:30 p.m., one of the detectives returned to Parker’s home with marked patrol units. Parker was still standing in his front yard and willingly walked out to the street.
The detective began speaking with Tina Parker, Parker’s wife. During the conversation, Tina invited the detective into the fenced yard and spoke about “the situation earlier.”
While speaking with Tina, the large frame semi-automatic firearm was located in plain view sitting on the roof of a vehicle parked in Parker’s driveway.
The firearm was seized and found to be fully loaded, including a round that was chambered.
Parker was arrested and charged with one count of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm.
Post-Miranda, Parker said that he let his emotions get the best of him. He said that he is tired of the drug dealers in his neighborhood. He further said that he has no excuses and that he knew what he did was wrong.
The above was a full “report” of the situation by the reporting agency, but it is rife with misinterpretations, misinformation and outright lies. The truth follows, and it is extremely important to note that NO CHARGES have been filed against Bill Parker and there are conflicting public records which are not substantiated by the official police report. Mr. Parker seems to be in a position to avoid long term damage beyond what he has already endured (Bill Parker was fired from his position at the school district as a direct result of this event).
Bill Parker actually was ready for bed, in boxers and a t-shirt and decided to take the dogs out for a final bathroom break, when he noticed that there was a car sitting parked in front of his home with a strange man sitting in it. There was a single man in the car, and a woman had just exited the car to go inside of a house next door. He knew what this was; it wasn’t difficult to tell that there was some drug deal going on inside the home, and he was watching the strange man getting ready to take his buyer back to where she came from. It was several minutes, and finally, feeling incredibly uncomfortable, Bill turned to the man in the car and shouted for him to leave immediately, that he was not welcome. The man was ignoring him, disinterested in dealing with Bill at the time.
Bill, being a law abiding citizen in an area where it’s normal, possessed a CCW, and had his handgun tucked into the band of his sleeping boxer shorts. It was admittedly a bad place to have a heavy gun, and he was perhaps more uncomfortable about holding a weapon in a flimsy waistband than he was about the druggie in the car. He spoke up louder, maybe he was yelling at this point and the man in the car knew he was talking to him, but Bill was fed up with the neighborhood’s steep decline in recent years. He had called hundreds of times to report drug activity, prostitution and illegal activity. He was a great example of someone who should have a CCW, and he was a staunch supporter of Law enforcement. He had a father and brother in law enforcement and he was about as patriotic as a man could get. He knew times were tough, but he never expected to be turned on by the men he supported in his community at every chance he got. He postured up towards the now finicky and flinch man in the car, who looked like he was trying to figure out a way to speed the drug runner up now. Bill is a big guy, maybe intimidating to some. But you wouldn’t know it if you talked with him; the kids he routinely helped through their high school years, and the people he worked with on class projects while getting his teaching credential would tell you he is a soft spoken and easy going guy, just trying to make it through life with a smile on his face.
Bill didn’t realize it, but his being fed up with the degradation of his neighborhood was going to make this the longest year of his life, and one of the longest nights that night.
He decided the thug in the car needed more convincing and made a sudden sprint for a few feet at him, yelling and posturing up to show he meant business, the guy got the clue, and from behind Bill, the woman drug runner was exiting the house. She moved quickly to the car, as she knew what was happening, and didn’t want trouble. The guy in the car got worried or maybe just proactive and put the car in drive towards Bill. Bill felt as though maybe the guy was getting aggressive with his car, perhaps he was a bit clouded in his judgment, he felt threatened, he was overtaken by his jittery legs, spurred on by the adrenaline, he ran towards the man in the car.
He felt something move, his gun was slipping into his boxer shorts. He saw more people, all of sudden this situation could get ugly. Who were the new people in his periphery? He held the gun against his body to control it, and if he had to get into his home fast, he didn’t want another gun getting into the hands of criminals just because he didn’t have the foresight to pick it up off the ground. Things were happening faster than he expected. He clutched the gun backwards with the bottom three fingers barely hanging onto the butt of the grip. The man in the car was now fixing to come towards him; there was some shouting, and the man pulled away quickly as Bill fixed his hold onto his firearm. Would he have to use his CCW to protect himself? He didn’t have to now, he realized, as the man was gone and hadn’t made a move towards him fully in the vehicle. He now had a gun in his hand, but he realized that the threat was over and went to the driveway of his home to take stock of the situation and try to understand what he would need to do to make sure there was no concern going forward for him or his wife.
He was near his car, and he saw an awkward woman moving towards him. It was the drug runner from just a few minutes earlier. She had her hands up and was hailing him, he didn’t know what to think, but she didn’t seem all that threatening, so he walked over to meet her a few feet away from the original incident.
She explained to Bill Parker that he had just gotten aggressive with undercover law enforcement agents and that black and whites with uniforms on, were going to be coming back to handle the situation. Bill was floored, he thought back to see if he had handled everything properly. He felt comfortable that he had handled himself properly, he didn’t even know if he had ever full drawn his weapon prior to the man leaving. He would later find out details form other police witnesses that led him to believe otherwise, but would leave him more confused than informed.
The police arrested Bill on “Attempted aggravated battery with a firearm against a Law enforcement officer”. He was laughing and joking with the police officers, who once they realized Bill’s side of the story, seemed interested in not seeing him spend the night, or longer in a cell. He was on a first named basis with the guys. The man from the car even decided to get involved back at the station, where Bill offered an extended hand, met by the officer’s and gave an apology to the man for what the many may have thought was aggression with a firearm. The officer shrugged it off and noted the tension surrounding the neighborhood. He seemed to feel for Bill Parker, and didn’t seem bothered by the chain of events that ad earlier transpired.
Bill was shocked to say the least when he had to spend the night in jail, he was still sure that he had handled himself properly, aside from potentially provoking a man in a car to take an action. He thought his name would be clear at the end of a couple of hours at the station. He was partially wrong.
Bill hasn’t been charged, arraigned, contacted or communicated in any form by the sheriff’s department or the prosecuting attorney for the county.
Bill never admitted that he knew what he had done was wrong; he only said that he shouldn’t have provoked a man who he was unsure of to make a move.
Bill had his firearm unloaded and the magazine out on the roof of his car when police arrived.
The problem with shock factor stories like this is that they rarely allow the reader the opportunity to think about salient facts of a situation like for instance:
If Bill was wielding a gun and waving it and pointing it directly at an officer, why would the officer put the car in drive and the other supporting officers draw but NOT alert Parker to their presence?
When was the last time you saw an officer with a gun pointed at him, handle it by walking away, and his partners who have tactical advantage, not make use of it?
It is legitimate for an officer to pull a gun on a man and shoot him if he is threatened, gun or no gun. Why would no such event have been reported?
In the police report, the officers all stated that from a separate and distinctly different location, three guns were drawn on Parker, but why would no one inform Bill that they were officers? A simple badge flash or a calm voice informing Bill of their true identity would have been enough, right? He was, after all, according to the media outlet, less than two feet from the car. The drug runner was part of a sting, she was not a risk to be told the same information; the home was dark that she had just left from, and the people inside were none the wiser. Why so much lack of protocol? Surely the subsequent drug bust would not have been compromised by such a tiny action as to inform Bill of the true facts in the situation.
Remember Bill hasn’t been charged a month and a half later. The drug dealers that were busted the week later have all been arraigned. Wouldn’t that be a sufficient amount of time for this to be sorted out?
Bill’s gun was confiscated as per the regulatory protocols, but it was not chambered or loaded with a magazine. Upon hearing that he was to be arrested, he unloaded the firearm and placed in in safe open action on the hood of his car and stepped several feet away from it until police arrived.
Bill complied immediately once he was given proper information.
Bill Parker got himself a lawyer, who is confident that no charges will be filed or filled against Bill. He also is still without a means to protect himself. He has lost his job, and this is the first time his story has been told. According to the media outlets he petitioned to, they don’t speak with criminals who aim to hurt law enforcement.
A week before the incident Bill Parker’s uncle was murdered by 2-3 drug dealers in his home with an ice pick. Tensions were already high in the neighborhood and Bill was under some pretty stressful conditions with the news of his uncle.
This is a night Bill Parker wishes never happened. It has turned his world upside down. He just wants the truth about the episode to be told. He supports law enforcement still, and is respectful and grateful to the detectives that were there and involved that night. He misses the kids he worked with on a daily basis at the high school; he hopes they don’t think Mr. Parker just abandoned them, which would only serve to salt the wounds Bill has sustained in this ordeal.
Sometimes things aren’t as they seem on the surface. It’s just that, with Bill Parker’s little incident in Manatee county Florida, this is the first time anyone has heard the side of the story that doesn’t have spin, that is raw and unedited. He knows something like this would never have happened, had he heard only a short quiet sentence, or seen a badge from one of the other officers. The problem is, even if Bill did do something wrong, the law enforcement officers also broke protocol to maybe protect their investigation, but people were put needlessly into harm’s way by actions from both sides, and yet, no one was hurt, and Bill Parker remains a free man to this day, albeit one without the job he loved.
Bill asked for one request during my time with him:
He asked me to explain to people to be safe, get training, and know how to act in a situation like this, have plans for contingencies, and be able to understand the situation before reacting to it. He also told me to tell others to support the good work that law enforcement around this country does on a daily basis, these are brave men, dealing with unscrupulous criminals who seek to hurt them.
The story if Bill Parker is far from over, but we want you to know what happens, there will be another update to help you understand the eventual outcome of this chapter in Bill Parker’s life.