Why Was ‘Peanut’ Not Behind Bars?

My good friend — OK, OK, I’ve never met him in person, but with the internet, I have a lot of good friends I’ve never physically met! — Robert Stacy McCain, in his continuing series Crazy People Are Dangerous, tells us about the suicide-by-cop of Ryant ‘Peanut’ Bluford of San Francisco.

The police video of the shooting was released Friday, showing that Bluford had a pistol in his waistband, which he later aimed at police before he was shot. Despite all this, however, some people continued to ask why police couldn’t “de-escalate” the situation. The obvious answer is that Ryant Bluford didn’t want it to be “de-escalated.” Ryant Bluford was crazy and wanted to die in the proverbial hail of police gunfire.

The police have yet to confirm whether Mr Bluford actually fired a shot at the police, though Mission Local reported:

Bluford’s friends and family also said he had a gun, and fired once at the officers; they pointed on Thursday to a chalk circle on the street, where they said the casing from Bluford’s bullet had landed.

In reality, it doesn’t matter: you aim a gun at the police, and they do not have to, nor should they have to, hold their fire until first fired upon.

Mr McCain’s theme is that Mr Bluford was crazy, which he was, but that’s not the part of the story I find most important:

Bayview neighbors lament police shooting death of Ryant ‘Peanut’ Bluford

Friends, family say slain man feared, detested police after more than decade behind bars

by Gilare Zada, Griffin Jones, and Joe Rivano Barros | Thursday, July 27, 2023

Peanut, before getting shelled. Photo via R S McCain.

The Bayview man shot and killed yesterday afternoon by San Francisco police officers, 41-year-old Ryant Bluford of San Francisco, was known as “Peanut” to friends and family. They recalled him as a loving father, brother, cousin and friend — while acknowledging the violent crime in his past.Neighbors interviewed Wednesday night and Thursday morning said Bluford struggled with mental illness and had a disdain for the police, the result of more than a decade spent in prison for various serious offenses.

Bluford was convicted in the 2006 gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in San Francisco, and spent more than a decade in prison as a result. He was again charged, in 2022, for domestic violence and sexual assault.

Oh, Heaven forfend! Mr Bluford “has a disdain for the police,” he “feared (and) detested police,” because he was locked up for the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl? Apparently the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the mission of which is, “building what will become the “California Model” – building safer communities through rehabilitation, education, restorative justice and reentry,” didn’t do much correcting or “rehabilitation, education, restorative justice and reentry” when it came to Mr Bluford. After spending “more than a decade” of a 14-year sentence behind bars for the 2006 gang rape, Mr Bluford was later accused with domestic violence and sexual assault. That means at least one more person was assaulted and raped by a man who was supposed to be corrected and rehabilitated for the same crime.

The details of the gang rape, and the fact that Mr Bluford orally, vaginally, and anally raped the victim, identified only by her initials, can be found here. Mr Bluford and his codefendants were sentenced to just 14 years in a plea deal. And that makes me wonder: why were Ryant Bluford, Eddie Perkins, Vincent Timmons, and Allen Releford offered a 14-year sentence, rather than taking this to trial and getting them locked up for the rest of their miserable lives. The plea deal was:

one count each of forcible kidnapping (count 1; Pen. Code, § 207, subd. (a)) with an admitted gang enhancement (§ 186.22, subd. (b)(1)(c)), and aggravated assault (count 12; § 245, subd. (a)(1)), for fixed aggregate prison terms of 14 years.

The dropped charges were:

forcible rape in concert (count 2; §§ 261264.1), forcible vaginal insertion of a gun in concert (count 3; §§ 289264.1), forcible anal and vaginal insertions of a bottle in concert (counts 4-5; §§ 264.1289), forcible oral copulation in concert (count 6; §§ 264.1288a, subd. (d)(1)), forcible sodomy in concert (count 7; § 286, subd. (d)), gang participation (count 8; § 186.22, subd. (a)), carrying a concealed gun in a vehicle (count 9; § 12025, subd. (a)(1)), firearm identity tampering (count 10; § 12090), and possessing cocaine base for sale (count 11; Health & Saf. Code, § 11351.5). Most dismissed counts carried multiple enhancements ranging from handgun arming and use, increased risk from moving a kidnap victim, to gang furtherance. An amendment of count 1 to forcible kidnapping (§ 207, subd. (a)) from kidnapping in concert for purposes of rape eliminated sentence exposure to a life term (§ 209, subd. (b)(1)).

One thing we do not know is how willing the victim was to testifying against Messrs Bluford, Perkins, Timmons, and Releford. It has to be conceded that the plea bargain might have been reached to keep the victim from having to testify to such a traumatic assault. But the notion that Mr Bluford was ever let out of prison is repugnant; the gang rape of a 16-year-old, of anyone, should result in life in prison without the possibility of parole!

Back to Mission Local:

Neighbors described the shooting as a tragedy.

“He had four kids and a wife, two were twins. He did the best he could,” said a friend of Bluford’s, who gave his name as Tyke, saying Bluford’s mental health worsened after time in prison. “He was in the pen for 12 years; he had some mental issues from that.”

I don’t know about you, but, to me, the tragedy is that Mr Bluford got out two years early.

At the Bayview intersection, Bluford’s family lit candles. They described Peanut as a man who had been through the wringer, and criminal records show past convictions for rape and other violent crimes.

When journolists¹ start using the subject’s nickname in an article, in other than a direct quote, you know that they are trying to raise sympathy for him!

He had a fearful association with police, neighbors said, one borne from a lifetime of negative experiences dealing with law enforcement: According to criminal records, Bluford was charged with kidnapping, rape, assault with a deadly weapon, and various other crimes in 2006; he was incarcerated in 2008, according to criminal records, and friends and family said he spent more than a decade in prison.

Then in 2022, he was charged again, with domestic violence, sexual assault, and criminal threats. It was not immediately clear if he was convicted and imprisoned for these alleged crimes.

“You have to think about the kind of trauma someone has experienced with the police,” said one neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous. “He looked done, driven to suicide by cop.”

“He had a lot of mental health issues,” said another anonymous neighbor. “He had a family. He loved his kids. A lot of people around here have mental issues.”

As Mr McCain pointed out, Joe Biden got 85.26% of the vote in San Francisco, so yeah, a lot of people there must have mental health issues! 🙂

That neighbor, for her part, wished there had been a non-violent response initially to de-escalate the situation — or at least a less-lethal one.

“It’s like there’s no logic. They don’t ask what’s going on, they don’t even think to just ask. They need more training with people with mental health issues,” she said. “When it comes to African Americans, they use force and think later. Even if they felt he was a threat, they could have Tased him or shot him in the leg.”

Well of course the locals were upset that Mr Bluford was sent to his eternal reward. But at least Mission Local added important information:

San Francisco police, however, do not carry Tasers. And are not trained to shoot-to-wound.

Shooting someone is the use of deadly force, and if you are legally justified in shooting someone, you are legally justified in killing him. Shooting to wound is neither legally required nor very smart.

Naturally, the news source had to throw in a racial angle:

Since 2000, 19 of the 61 people shot and killed by SFPD were Black — 31 percent; 18 of them were Black men. That rate is disproportionate to the city’s population: Black people make up about five percent of San Francisco.

The odd notion that perhaps, just perhaps, black men males might engage in activities, activities such as Mr Bluford aiming at and apparently firing upon the police, which get them shot at a greater percentage of the time seems not to have entered the minds of the reporters.

At some point, people have to drop their sympathy for criminals. Who knows, perhaps the bad guys can eventually mentally reform, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be treated responsibly for the criminal acts that they have committed.

Releasing Mr Bluford, which seems to have occurred in 2020, which would have put it in the same timeline with the releases of prisoners due to COVID-19, was the release of a violent criminal, and it was one which led him to be able to be charged with a subsequent sexual assault crime. Someone else, at least one someone, became Mr Bluford’s victim at a time when he could have been still behind bars.

I’ll put it bluntly: releasing violent criminals early, releasing them even one day before the maximum time that they can be kept locked up legally, increases the danger to the community.
¹ – The spelling ‘journolist’ or ‘journolism’ comes from JournoList, an email list of 400 influential and politically liberal journalists, the exposure of which called into question their objectivity. I use the term ‘journolism’ frequently when writing about media bias.
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