There never should have been any doubt about the verdict. Fortunately, it was a sensible one. The policeman’s actions were so egregious and so unnecessary that there should have been no doubt about the jury’s decision. Yet there was. Now we await sentencing. Let’s hope the verdict isn’t spoilt by an egregious sentence.
When I worked at a police training school developing course materials, I had debates with most of the instructors there about the policy that mandated police most shoot to kill if they shoot at all. They shoot to kill because it’s easier to shoot somebody in the chest than dropping him to the ground by shooting him the leg–especially if he’s firing at you.
Nonetheless, I think police should shoot to wound the suspect except under extraordinary circumstances. Otherwise, use a taser or a nightstick or a stun gun, or a non-fatal shot.
It’s absurd, I think, that deadly force is used against people who are not armed, not in the process of committing a capital crime, and–if running from the scene–were only committing a misdemeanor. There’s no legitimate reason to shoot and kill a person suspected of stealing a pack of cigarettes. The police response should never be greater than the crime.
So what if a suspected shoplifter runs away? There’s no point in killing him to prevent that.
We need to review the use of weapons and the methods of controlling a suspect rather than defunding the police (except when they’ve become militarized) or by using an unarmed traffic patrol to handle moving violations and accidents. And that’s not all of it by any means.
We need a police force that is unbiased, doesn’t profile minorities, uses non-deadly force (if any), and that’s trusted by all segments of the population.
Malcolm R. Campbell
Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing