Thursday, July 07, 2016


Over the past few hours there have been two more police induced homicides caught on video. It's now more or less impossible to not view the videos as they're everywhere. The typical scenario goes something like this: minority man is stopped for little or no reason by an officer, the suspect is shot six times and dies. The police force regrets what happened yet happily explains that there's more evidence than just the video, there's also the reliable testimony of the officers who should never be found at fault.
Just One Bullet 

What is it about this day and age that is different? Why are people suddenly being shot and killed by officers? Is there something in the water at police stations? Are police officers now inadvertently taking some drug, vitamin or supplement that has laid waste to their capacity to make informed decisions in a manner that does not result in death? No, the police haven't changed nor have the suspects.

The only unusual quality about these killings is that they're now routinely recorded whereas before the killings were hidden in a mirage of statistics. Most people, even poor people, have access to cell phones with cameras. Rampant uncontrolled police killings have been going on unnoticed for years except by the friends and families - the mourning fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and fellow parishioners in minority neighborhoods.  The pictures of the missing dead lining the walls of their homes. But the new videos speak if American injustice louder than their families accumulated tears.

The time has come for change in police strategy and tactics. The goal should be to protect the safety of not only the officer, but the public and the suspect. Too many officer engage in conduct such as needless high speed chases that endanger lives or firing a gun for low level crime investigation that escalates the probabilities of violence endangering innocent people as well as themselves. Why should officers be armed when they're eating at a restaurant? When a violent crime is being investigated why not simply retrieve the firearms from the police cruiser? 

Most of the time the cop on the street has no need to be carrying a gun or taser. In fact a strong argument can be made that the intimidation caused by wearing a gun backfires by making people wary of dealing with officers and making them feel as though they're living in occupied territory. 

For many years local police departments have protected the worst officers who use violence. When any officer harms or kills someone that officer should be indicted, tried and if found guilty punished. The integrity of local police departments should be a federal prosecution priority for indictments in the Middle District of Florida and throughout America. When the FBI conducts federal criminal investigations these deaths will the tears of the families finally run dry?