- The Washington Times - Monday, March 14, 2016


There are so many moving parts to Sunday’s cop killing in Prince George’s County, it’s difficult to zero in on a single opinion — mostly because the shooting was an ambush outside a police station.

The family of the three brothers charged in the fatal shooting of Officer Jacai Colson must be at their wit’s end.

On Sunday afternoon, Michael, Malik and Elijah Ford set out to videotape “a suicide by cop,” wherein a suicidal person stages a threatening situation so that the law enforcement response is a lethal one. Things did not play out as the brothers had planned. Real life intervened.

In the cop-killing scenario, the suicidal individual was the troubled Michael Ford. And if Prince George’s County Police have their facts straight, Malik and Elijah have the videotape to prove it — as Michael’s own brothers recorded the provocation that led to the lethal response.

Michael, the eldest of the Brothers Ford, was shot, and he is recovering in a hospital. (All police do not shoot to kill.) The law enforcer, Officer Colson, is dead.

The Brothers Ford have been arrested and now face 21 charges, including conspiracy to commit murder and second-degree murder.

Sadly, it appears as though Officer Colson, who was only 28 years old, was felled by friendly fire, according to preliminary evidence.

It’s difficult enough when one family member faces murder charges. When two are charged, the grief is unfathomable. Consider, the mother of the Tsarnaev brothers, who plotted the deadly Boston Marathon massacre. Zubeidat Tsarnaeva spewed hell and damnation rhetoric upon America after a jury convicted son Dzhokhar and sentenced him to death. She said she found comfort believing America will burn “in the flames of an eternal and terrifying fire.”

The Brothers Ford’s grandma, Deidre Ramos, was initially in denial as well, according to initial news reports. Ms. Ramos said her grandsons were “not involved,” reported The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, an aunt, Shanelle Ramos-Rogers, said Michael had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic, that the family was devastated and shamed, and sorry for everything and all the grief we caused in this officer’s life.”

Late Monday afternoon, police said that Michael also shot at several cars and at one time paused to reload his weapon. Officer Colson, an undercover narcotics cop, had happened upon the station on Sunday to bring a meal to his sweetie. The timing, as the Brothers Ford saw things, was perfect.

By all measures, or at least by those discussed with police, Officer Colson was a hero: He was off-duty, saw the threat, drew his weapon, identified the threat and distracted Michael.

The sound of gunfire drew the attention of other officers — officers who drove the mortally wounded detective to the hospital Sunday evening.

It’s hard, but think of Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who, while stationed in Afghanistan in 2004, was initially reported as a casualty of hostile forces. An investigation later discovered that Tillman was killed when two groups of allies mistakenly fired upon each other after hearing gunfire.

Of course, even that analogy is no consolation for the Colson family. It helps to illustrate, though, how good guys sometimes shoot other good guys.

As for the Brothers Ford, they’ll have plenty of time to rewind the real-life tape in their heads over and over and over again. Indeed, a judge or judges (if the three siblings are tried separately) might find respite watching those reality shows that have no social redeeming value.

Their family, however, has a tough road they probably never even imagined they would have to tread because of the Brothers Ford.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at [email protected]

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