First, the story:
In Mesa County, Colorado, Nathen Rolf Channing, 27, was arrested after he pointed a banana at police officers as if it were a gun. He explained that he doing a “trial run” for YouTube video as a “funny joke.”
The two officers initially thought the banana was a gun after Nathan “drew the object in the same manner someone would draw a standard handgun from a concealed holster.” According to the arrest affidavit, Mesa County deputies Joshua Bunch and Donald Love feared for their lives after Nathan pointed “what appeared to be a yellow tube with a black center” at them. Both stated that they thought the fruit was a gun, and Love was preparing to fire when Nathan shouted “It’s a banana!”
A conviction could get Nathan three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Now some observations:
1. Nathan is an idiot, and should be convicted. Just because an assault is silly doesn’t mean its not an assault. Police officers shouldn’t have to put up with gag threats on their lives.
2. Over at Reason, where they really, really don’t like the police (libertarians, you know) Ed Krayewski mocks the officers and actually uses this incident to impugn Darren Wilson. “Cops almost universally make this claim [that they are in fear for their lives] after a shooting, and it almost always helps in avoiding any criminal charges,” he says, suggesting that it is all a lie. You know why they always make that claim, Ed? Because police have good reason to be in fear for their lives. Their job is dangerous; over a hundred officers are killed in the line of duty every year. A second’s hesitation or a moment’s misplaced trust can mean death. People like you who ridicule that reasonable and necessary wariness without having ever been in similar circumstances just contribute to public ignorance and the next Ferguson.
3. It is just a matter of time before someone dies trying to make a viral YouTube video. If it has to happen to someone, Nathen Rolf Channing would be a good candidate.
4. The question lingers: if Nathan was a black idiot and not a white one, would he be dead today?
5. Thank God we don’t have to find out. Imagine all of those protesters carrying bananas, and the awful chant, “It’s a banana! It’s a banana!”
6. That being said, if someone draws an object out of a holster, points it at police and gets shot dead, white or black, the shooting police officer should not face charges, even if it turns out to be fruit. Try that hypothetical on the Brown protesters. I guarantee they won’t get it.
7. Nathan is from Fruitvale, Colorado. Really.
8. From the comments on this incident at Instapundit: “Did they read him his Carmen Miranda rights?”