When the murder in Jamaica queens occured I wrote about it and said the following:
But what makes this situation even more egregious is the fact that at least two of the bullets fired that morning went into a home, which potentially could have killed a or the resident. Also another shot went into the AirTran station that resulted in two Port Authority police to be cut by flying glass. That shot could have easily killed either one of them. Therefore; not only was the shooting unjustified and in violation of NYPD regulations it was reckless and could have resulted in at least two other deaths of innocent parties. So what was it about the mentality of the police in that location that made them completely disregard the lives of the innocent people in the area?
Which was picked up by the NY Times Empire Zone blog. It is this question, What is the mentality of the police that they think it is OK to kill people. See the issue is larger than the shooting of black men by police. It is about a culture not only in the police departments but in the society itself that does not fully understand the founding document of the US. This lack of clarity regarding the rights of citizens extends from president Bush on down. That the US citizenry is largely unphased by the clear police state they have allowed to grow around them is particularly troublesome. But let me get back to the white boy shot by police.
Back when the PS3 was released to people with way to much time and money to waste a guy was PS3 jacked in NC shortly after purchasing the hard to get gaming system. The police tracked down a suspect to a house on a college campus and went to arrest him. Because the PS3 jacker had used some force to obtain the unit and was apparently armed at the time, the police were of the opinion that the suspect at the time of the warrant serving would be armed and dangerous. Now I'm not going to fault the police for taking precautions and I don't object to the police having firearms to apprehend dangerous people, it should be noted that any and all suspects are just that, suspects. They are, under the law, innocent of any wrong doing until convicted by a jury. Therefore one cannot pass a death sentence on an innocent person which this individual was at the time.
When the officers knocked on the door, the suspect was in the middle of playing a game. He got up to answer the door with the game controller in his hand. The police, trained professionals who apparently have problems discerning a gun from wallets, lighters and now apparently Play Station controlers, shot the suspect to death in his place of residence. Sound familiar? It should.
it is the same rush to judgement and willingness to kill on the part of police that caused this shooting as well as the Bell shooting. This is a problem. Now the police will say that "he should have done x,y or z" to submit to the police and therefore it is the dead man's fault for being killed by trained professionals. Let me lay it out to you this way. By the police's logic if you are in your house, you know, that place that supposedly the state cannot enter without a court order and without announcing themselves, and you are playing a game or whatever, and out of the blue some police barge into your home guns drawn and all and you happen to have a game controller in your hand as you reach for the sky as you've been trained to do when police point weapons at you, you should expect to be shot and killed and yes, it is your fault. Never mind the issue of your innocence or the fact that the police may be at the wrong location. Anyone else see a problem with that? Apparently not too many people do since it has been happening repeatedly with no consequences to the trained professionals involved.
Clearly then the word is out for "law" enforcers that the killing of constitutionally innocent parties is OK or it would not be happening.
See a part of the problem here is the lack of understanding of 'protect and serve" so let me clarify it for some. Police are here to protect innocent people from harm. Since by the constitution all citizens, including suspects are innocent until proven guilty, that means that even the suspect is to be protected. Secondly, Police are here to serve the public, and yes that includes those pesky suspects who I will remind the reader are innocent until proven guilty by a jury of their peers. This means that police are, in situations such as this obligated to protect the live and limb of any suspect who has not attacked them. Let's make sure we are clear here, a police officer who kills someone because he thinks the suspect is going to do them harm, has committed a crime. it's called murder. A police officer who kills a suspect because he thinks the suspect has a gun has committed murder. A police officer who has been shot at can kill a suspect. It's called self defense. Let's be clear here, this is why police have vests, backup, and many other means of determine whether a suspect is dangerous. the citizen has none of these things when confronted with the state monopoly on violence. it is the police officer's job to put themselves in harms way in order to uphold the law. The law is more important than the officer's life. Yes it is. Any law enforcement person who does not understand this should not be in that line of work.
When police fail to understand and respect their duty then we have a reckless armed body of people. When police do not follow procedure they put themselves and the citizenry in danger as was clearly the case in Queens. There were options for the police that morning. The plain clothes officer could have called for backup, given the plates of the vehicle and had it followed and pulled over later. the plain clothed officer could have hung back to see if the party did indeed get a gun and attempted a return. over all the police officer could have waited until an actual crime occurred since the last time I checked claiming to have a gun is not a crime. Not a bright thing to do, but not a crime.
Similarly, in the case of the North Carolina man, the police could have sent a plainclothes officer to the door to ask directions or ask for the suspect in question for whatever reason, thereby determining if he or anyone else in the house was armed. They could have abused the motor vehicle laws (as is regularly done) and given him a parking ticket that required a desk appearance. But no, instead, because the culture of policing is so militarized and reeking with an attitude of "we can do what we want" they went looking for a confrontation. The trained professionals could not even conceive of a means to deal with a constitutionally innocent person other than to barge in locked and loaded and ready to kill.
So ultimately there is no excuse for the police in both cases to not be brought to justice. Any Mayor or Justice department concerned with those pesky rights of citizens ought to be willing and eager to send a message to those in uniform that the blatant disregard of the safety of the public and the rights of citizens will not be tolerated. No race card even needs to be played because all the cards needed to win are already on the table. All that is needed is for those who know how to play the game to do so. if the police get away with either or both of these shootings, then white America may finally be getting the notice that black folks got with the Dred Scott decision:
You have no rights that the court is obliged to recognize.
That should bother a whole lot of people.