Now we have the incident yesterday in El Cajon, CA, in which a troubled black man was shot dead by police because, jeepers, they were just so damned scared for their lives and the safety of others when the dude acted erratically and didn't follow commands "just so."
How many times do we hear that? How many times has hindsight shown that, whoopsy, dude was unarmed, posed no objective threat, and ultimately there was no necessity to kill him, but them's the breaks, the shooting/killing was "within policy" so the officers involved cannot be held criminally liable for their actions.
In this case, there are reports that the police have confiscated all community cell phone video of the incident and are being tight-lipped as hell -- except to impugn the dude they shot and killed, the way that Standard Protocol has demanded.
Video of the aftermath of the shooting has been posted to Facebook (scroll down, I prefer not linking directly to Facebook as it is so annoying), however, and police deny "confiscating" any citizen video.
No, this has got to stop. The holy fear that says someone (particularly if black) behaving "erratically" needs killing is itself crazier than the disobedient black man on the street. Nine times out of ten if not more often, there is no objective necessity to kill the crazy Negro or other disobedient individual, but it is "within policy" to do so, so why not? Why not kill him/her if there are no consequences for doing so -- except a riot here and there, massive protests all over creation, lawsuits out the wahzoo settled for millions, and plenty of media "scrutiny."
Until the next time, and then the whole sequence of events repeats all over again.
Again and again and again. Nothing changes. Somewhere else, another Crazy Negro (or other victim) is shot down, and again it will be ruled "within policy" even though the cop who kills may be sent to trial for manslaughter or murder.
Almost always such cops are cleared of criminal culpability. They're "just doing their jobs."
I've been watching parts of the trial of Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez in Albuquerque. They were charged with Murder 2 for the execution of James Boyd on a Sandia Mountain foothill trail in March of 2014.
This execution sparked major protests in the city of Albuquerque and the aftermath led to major reforms and DoJ oversight of the Albuquerque Police Department. They hardly kill anyone anymore.
The trial has brought to light a whole raft of issues that were barely touched upon in the initial reports and the protests that followed.
Sandy and Perez were designated killers -- as was suspected -- but they weren't the only ones at the scene (there was another sniper on hand whose view of the crazy Boyd was blocked by the cops who ultimately shot and killed Boyd.) I had no idea there was another police sniper on scene until the trial.
Allegedly, neither Perez nor Sandy went to the mountain side to kill Boyd. This is much like the claim that police "don't shoot to kill" they shoot to "neutralize the threat by aiming for 'center of mass'. In other words, when they shoot they shoot to kill. But they won't admit as much because that's not nice.
So Sandy and Perez didn't go to the mountain side to kill Boyd, they went to "provide cover" for officers who were assigned to arrest Boyd and bring him into custody.
Boyd was armed with two knives which he refused to drop over several hours of negotiations between himself and CIT officers. He agreed to put them away, but he would not put them down.
Eventually, after further negotiations, he agreed to surrender and was in the midst of doing so when police launched a flash-bang grenade and a dog against him in order to effect his arrest. Boyd took his knives from his pockets in order to defend himself against the dog and turned away from both dog and police at which time he was shot in both arms and his back. He fell, paralyzed, and the dog bit him several times in the butt while officers commanded him to "drop the knives". He said he couldn't do so because he couldn't move (he was effectively paralyzed.) The officers continued to command him to obey.
Finally, they realized he was telling the truth and could not comply. They kicked the knives out of his hands, and sometime later called in paramedics who were stationed below.
Boyd was give first aid and taken to the hospital where one of his arms was amputated, and his other wounds were patched up as best they could be, yet he died several hours later from the combined effects of the gunshots.
From appearances, Boyd's killing was completely unnecessary and outrageous, thus the protests. He was surrendering and posed no threat -- even though he still had knives in his possession -- when he was shot. WTF? Crisis intervention had worked with him for an hour or more until called off by SWAT officers, who then escalated the situation by stationing officers with weapons pointed at him.
At the point he agreed to surrender and was in the process of doing so, they further escalated the situation by firing a flash bang and loosing a dog on him, which caused him to react in self-defense, both to draw his knives again and to turn away from the dog and the police, who then killed him.
The defense is that Perez and Sandy were defending the K-9 officer who was unarmed and in jeopardy of his own life because he was close enough to Boyd to be stabbed by him.
I've believed all along that Perez and Sandy will be acquitted. Regardless of any objective "fear for their lives and the safety of others," it's been clear enough to me that even though there was no necessity to kill Boyd, it was within the APD's use of force policy at that time, and therefore it was a defensible act, though it was repugnant and wrong.
[Note: this afternoon, the judge in the trial of Sandy and Perez dismissed the lesser included voluntary manslaughter charge against them. This is significant, and it signals an eventual acquittal on all charges.]
This is the problem that leads to so many of these killings: they don't need to happen, but they happen because police department policies and the expectations of commanders essentially require them in situations where officers perceive a threat from disobedient individuals, particularly if they are black or mentally ill. The designated killer-officers on scene often have little choice -- according to their experience and training and the expectations of their commanders. Regular cops -- not designated killers -- pick up this "ethic" (if you can call it that) and do likewise. They can't help it; they are trained and conditioned to kill when they perceive a threat to their lives and the safety of others, even when there isn't any objective threat. Or the threat is so minimal that other means of handling the situation would be more effective and would preserve the life of both officers and disobedient victims.
I don't know what happened in El Cajon, of course. The police are keeping the facts and evidence under wraps the way they do, and witnesses are notoriously unreliable without back-up evidence which isn't available.
But reports so far indicate that this incident fits the pattern of so many others. Family member calls for help with a erratic loved one, police arrive, and "fearing for their lives and the safety of others" shoots and kills the erratic victim. Protests erupt, police are mum, and eventually it is determined that the killing was "within policy" and probably a large payment will be made to the victim's loved ones.
Then it happens again somewhere else.
It's insane and corrosive and it's got to stop.