US police shoot two journalists and a dog during press conference on police reform

Killings By Police March

By Simon Davies

BALTIMORE A press conference held earlier today on proposed measures to curb violence by US police, ended in chaos after police officers shot and seriously wounded two participating journalists.

The event – jointly convened by the Ferguson and Baltimore police departments – was intended to showcase a new campaign to reduce the number of police executions of innocent black people. Instead, police officers reportedly lost control and fired at will on the audience of reporters.

The first casualty was John Heinbeck of the Baltimore Sun. A WBAL TV news camera captured images of the veteran reporter being gunned down in a hail of bullets, mid sentence.

The press conference immediately before the police shootings

The press conference immediately before the police shootings

The second victim was Haley Rosenthall of the Christian News Network, who – according to witnesses – was shot more than half a dozen times as she rose to speak.

Another reporter was rushed to hospital after four officers tasered her for seven minutes, resulting in an apparent heart attack.

Ferguson police immediately went on the attack, accusing the Baltimore Sun journalist of speaking without first putting up his hand, and Rosenthall of attempting to create a public incident by asking “provocative” questions.

“Police were legitimately acting in self defence and in the public interest” argued Captain John Capone of Baltimore police. “This press conference was a public place which police had designated as a security area. Sudden movements by any person will obviously create alarm”.

More than five hundred people per year are killed by US police.

While onlookers were shocked at the brutal treatment of media representatives, the most intense outpouring of emotion was reserved for a pregnant three-legged Labrador dog called Lavender, who police shot dead at close range “because she moved”.

Police later issued a statement apologising for the dog shooting and pledging to require all officers to undergo an “animal respect program”.

The campaign that was to have been launched today – “Shit happens… get over it” – was quickly concocted after the leading police national membership organisation failed in its bid to stall reforms by the Obama administration.

Onlookers attempt to revive Lavender, the pregnant three-legged labrador after she was shot by police

Onlookers attempt to revive Lavender, the pregnant three-legged labrador after she was shot by police

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) had attempted to shunt the reform agenda into a congressional committee in the hope that nothing substantial would emerge for half a decade. Lobbying for this measure continues, but appears to be losing steam. The “shit happens” campaign was then seen as the next best hope for maintaining the status quo.

One of the most potentially controversial elements of the campaign is a proposal by police to work toward more accurate targeting of offenders. The strategy that was to be outlined included a more comprehensive deal between police departments and the NSA, allowing illegally obtained communications data held by the agency to be used by police forces to more accurately track suspects.

A bulk deal has been agreed between the NSA and police of $3 per thousand illegal intercepts – slightly less than the present market price of grey market consumer data.

A further statement by the FOP argued that there is a direct connection between the lack of illegally obtained data and the incidence of police killings. “We always argued for Total Information Awareness because good, ordinary, predictable, acceptable people would be easier to detect and eliminate from lethal action”.

A White House spokesman said that the shootings were “regrettable” but that at least no-one was dead, which “in the big scheme of things is a positive sign”.

The White House has refused to comment on the NSA deal.