Duncan Socrates Lemp was shot and killed by Baltimore police on March 12th, 2020 at 4:30 AM. A SWAT team had conducted a “no-knock” raid on his family’s home based on a tip from an unnamed “confidential informant.” Police shattered a window to his bedroom and shot him five times through the broken glass. He was asleep in his bed when the assault began. His girlfriend was laying next to him. It is alleged that Lemp grabbed a rifle next to his bed and pointed it towards the window.
Lemp was a student and computer programmer. However, due to a juvenile conviction, he was barred from owning firearms until age thirty. The Baltimore PD alleges that a no-knock, night-time raid was justified because Lemp made an online reference to owning a firearm. Also that he described himself online as a “three percenter” and made statements hostile to law enforcement. Police say they found five firearms in his bedroom.
The national media has barely mentioned Lemp. While at the same time spending months sensationalizing the deaths of several different black suspects, who died at the hands of police, during the same time period.
Today, the officer who killed Lemp was cleared of all charges by a grand jury. The office of Rich A Gibson, Howard County, Maryland’s Attorney General, presented the grand jury with a seventeen-page report that painted Lemp as a dangerous extremist. The report says two officers executed a “break and rake.” It describes one officer smashing the window with a hook, then ducking, while a second officer with a rifle took his place. Flash-bang grenades were also being detonated simultaneously while this was happening. The raid was also a “dual-breach” raid, in which officers smashed their way into the home at two different places at the same time.
The report given to the grand jury attempts to justify the use of a violent night-time no-knock raid, despite the house having four other people in it. It claims officers feared that Lemp could shoot at them. However, I see no attempt to explain why they simply didn’t wait for Lemp to leave the house and try to arrest him peacefully and away from innocent bystanders.
Instead of sensationalizing Lemp’s death as “police brutality,” media outlets demonized him as a “right-wing extremist.” They called him a member of the “boogaloo movement.” The term “boogaloo” refers to a category of online memes. These memes were started by libertarians, but have spread and are now used by people from all over the political spectrum.
Lemp’s parents are expected to file a lawsuit against the police department. They maintain that their son posed no threat to any officers. They believe that the officer who smashed the bedroom window startled another officer, who then preceded to open fire without justification. A lawyer for the family also alleges that one of the officers confided to a retired officer that his team “f@cked up.” The officer denies this.
Imagine if Lemp had been black instead of white. Imagine the relentless daily media hype we would have heard for the past eight months. The officer who shot Lemp has still not been named. The officers did not wear body cameras during the raid.