“They’re Back: Cops Who Kill”

police_brutality01Well they’re at it again, killer cops are back. The proof, another senseless killing in the street. You may recall back in November a 36 year old Latino was gunned down on the streets of Los Angeles by two LA County sheriff officers. The officers claim that they had attempted to pull the car in which the victim was a passenger over for speeding. After a brief car chase the officers were finally able to pull the car over. The suspect allegedly got out of the car and began to run. According to the officers the man would not comply with their orders to stop and began reaching into his waistband for a gun. Fearing for their lives, or so they said, two of the three officers opened fire on him.

Now this man was not a felon, ex con, druggie or a gang banger, this man was just your average Joe Citizen, a hard working father of two who not only worked full time for the city, but also held down a part time job at the local Costco to help support his wife and family, yet there he lay dead in the street. Why he jumped out of the car and ran is anyone’s guess. Was his killing justified? well the officers claim they were convinced that the man presented a danger to the public and swear the suspect was reaching into his waistband, so perhaps in this instance they were justified in using deadly force to put him down. Hmm…  What I find a little peculiar is the fact that the third officer wasn’t compelled to fire his weapon at the suspect like the other two. Usually in a shooting like this all three would have had their guns drawn and aimed at the suspect.  Kind of makes you wonder.

Then yesterday the results of the victims autopsy were released and threw the officers credibility into doubt. It seems the victim had his back to officers when he was shot. That’s right he was shot 5 times in the back, once in the right hip and once in the right forearm, also from behind. Seven shots all  from behind. Sounds a little questionable wouldn’t you say? But then someone facing away from you can be a helluva threat! Not! Suddenly the account given by the lone eye-witness who watched the entire incident from her bedroom window, contradicts much of what the officers had reported. The young woman who heard the commotion outside and raced to her window claims that the suspect had complied with the officers orders to stop running and was following their directions to put his hands on his head when the officers opened fire. She adamantly claims that his hands were on his head when they started shooting.

The shooting is now under investigation by the Sheriff’s Internal Affairs Bureau as well as the District Attorney’s office. Truth be told we’ll probably never know for sure what happened on the streets that night. We are left to speculate whether these two police officers gunned down an innocent man or not. For them live goes on. Immediately after the shooting they were taken off the streets and give desk duty which is customary. Five days later they were back on the streets to protect and serve.  Be careful out there.

Somehow the idea that peace officers sworn to uphold the law, cross the very line they’ve promised to defend troubles me. I realize that most police officers are the ‘good guy’ but a few bad one can ruin it for the rest. It’s all about the image. I wonder how many more violent men and women are out there hiding behind a badge. It calls into question the numerous acts of violence committed by police officers across the country, the shootings, beatings, tassings, and all the other mistreatment of suspected criminals that occur  under the ‘color of law’. Are they all really justified? I wonder.

A badge, gun and uniform are great protection. All of those ‘Cop’s Gone Crazy’ videos we’ve seen on the news  suggests that we’ve got a hell of a problem! We’ve got to ask ourselves, are the incidents involving police officers and brutality, and unjustified shootings just the tip of the ice burg? What about all the incidents that don’t get recorded or go unwitnessed? Have a small number of sociopaths actually managed to infiltrate police departments across the country, wrecking havoc on the public? God I really hope not, but  given the state of all things police…one has to wonder.

Just Saying…

JS

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