Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Are Good Cops Too Scared To Use Deadly Force?

There have been way too many instances lately in which cops and others in law enforcement have been involved in anything from questionable shootings of suspects to what appear to be outright cases of bad shootings and that may have involved an officer committing manslaughter or murdering someone. In some of these incidents, the officers have been fully exonerated.

One such example was the shooting of Michael Brown by Police Officer Darren Wilson in Fergusson, MO. That shooting spurred on riots and looting by people who used the race card as an excuse to act like animals. It also caused a media sensation during which, at first, the officer was found guilty in the kangaroo court of public sentiment. He was fully exonerated of any criminal wrong doing.

Another case of a suspect being killed, in which the officer was exonerated, was that of Eric Garner. He was seemingly placed into a chokehold by one of his arresting officers. After complaining that he could not breathe, the asthmatic Garner subsequently died due to heart failure that was possibly aggravated by him not being able to breathe. The officer was not criminally charged but it was a media sensation followed by protests, illegal mob activity and the beatings of at least two NYPD officers.

In others, the officer has been indicted but there is a lot to question as to whether or not it was an accident or an intentional criminal act, such as the shooting of Eric Courtney Harris by Tulsa County Reserve Deputy Robert Bates. Bates shot Harris with his handgun after he notified other officers he was going to use his TASER to subdue him. He immediately apologized for shooting Harris and later said he grabbed his gun by mistake. Another media press storm was released after that shooting.

Then there have been cases like the one in which North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager allegedly shot Walter L. Scott in the back as he fled from the officer; there was clear video of the event. From what I saw of the available video, I would say that the officer shot down a man in cold blood for no justifiable reason. That officer has been charged with murder. Again, another torrential outpouring of bad press followed, bad press that is for law enforcement.

There was also the case in which several officers of the Baltimore Police Department were indicted after the death of a subject in their custody. More bad press, more of being found guilty in the kangaroo court of public opinion and apparently in the eyes of the DA prosecuting them even though she supposedly had directed the enforcement action under which it happened. Yes, more protests and lots of riots too. Sure, someone killed the arrest subject - but who did so remains to be discovered and it almost certainly was not all of those indicted.

Today, we arrive at the point where good cops and other in LE, who were already hesitant to ever resort to deadly force unless actually justified, and even then who often showed restraint in applying such force, may be afraid to use deadly force when the situation not only justifiably begs but screams for it to be used. Such is the case of a raid, in NYC, on the abode of a suspected terrorist or suspected terrorist supporter, who had allegedly sworn allegiance to ISIS. During the execution of a search warrant on the suspects home, the suspect allegedly attacked a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force by stabbing him repeatedly with a knife. Apparently no one shot him as he approached or as he actually attacked. He reportedly was arrested, not killed, and will face criminal charges (source).

So why didn't the officer shoot him. Why did they not use deadly force on him when such force was obviously justified. Was it because the officer being stabbed was in the line of fire and if so, then because they use other methods to restrain him even though they could have shot him and justifiably so at that. Or was it because they all hesitated. Maybe that is why the agent was stabbed in the first place, because of hesitation. Why would they hesitate though, what could make them jeopardize their own lives or the lives of other bother LEOs? Is it that consciously or subconsciously they are all running scarred of what might happen to them in the event they use even justifiable deadly force against a subject who is black? Let's face it, Reverend Al and his entourage do not march in protest if the person shot by police is white, and riots do not ensue unless (or so it seems) the so called 'victim' of a police shooting is black. In this case, the suspected terrorist supporter was indeed a black man (although the sole photo I was able to find of him showed him as an angelic looming black youth of may 12 years of age, despite him now being in his twenties). If it has gotten to that, law enforcers being hesitant to shoot because of a suspect's race - we may a well just take away their guns now and have them all direct traffic at Wally World.

Of course, we may want to reign in the media, arrest violent protestors, and actually look at the facts individually in each case of a police shooting. Law Enforcers, like anyone else, are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the kangaroo court of public opinion ought to be reminded of that now and again. So too should the cops be reassured that they will be treated as such; it will keep the good ones from putting themselves in harms way because of a fear from which they may not even realize they suffer.

All the best,
Glenn B

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