Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cops Gone Wild in Cleveland

Back in November of 2012, a couple were driving under the influence of illegal drugs including cocaine and marijuana, as well as alcohol.  The driver was driving on a suspended license.  The police attempted to pull the car over, and, foolishly, the driver fled.  When the couple were finally stopped amid some 60 police cars which had joined the pursuit, the cops opened fire on the car.  They fired 137 shots and killed both the driver and the passenger.

The occupants of the car were unarmed.

The female passenger was struck 24 times, the male driver 23 times.  This was a grossly inappropriate reaction, and some 75 officers will be disciplined as a result.

Disciplined?  How about being charged with manslaughter? At that point in time, the occupants of the car were essentially prisoners.

 I have no doubt that a cop fired the first shot.  It could have been an accidental discharge.  In the darkness and confusion, it's possible to give the officers some benefit of the doubt, but there is no excuse for pouring that amount of fire into a parked car containing people who, whatever their crime, presented no threat whatsoever.

Here's a comment on this story from a "conservative" on a "conservative" website in response to someone asking if the parked car was endangering anyone as much as the cops firing all those shots:

Yes. Anyone and everyone else on the road that night.
Second question irrelevant. No innocent people were harmed. Either by a drunk and stoned driver, or the cops who stopped him.
This intrepid law-and-order commenter fails to grasp the point.  A high-speed pursuit is not always the best course of action.  True, a person under the influence has greater likelihood of being involved in a fatal accident than a sober person.  But that is a probability, and still a relatively low one -- not a certainty.  The probability increases with speed so the police must be allowed some discretion and encouraged to use good judgment as to whether a chase is justified.  Even if we give them the pursuit, the shooting remains a problem.  The vehicle had been halted and trapped.  There were dozens of officers.  The two people inside were not going anywhere.  According to our law and tradition, two "innocent" people, people who never had their day in court, and who had not been judged as guilty by the legal system, were hurt.

Even when a person clearly threatens an officer of the law with a firearm or other weapon, it is the duty of the officer to stop the attacker, not necessarily kill them.  It is certainly an egregious violation of commonsense and decency for enforcers of the law to act like a bunch of mobsters.  It has, in fact, the markings of a mob mentality -- a mindless act of destruction.

This must have looked like something out of The Blues Brothers.   I guess Jake and Elwood were lucky they were in Chicago. 

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