Given the recent decision in Madison not to prosecute a police officer in the shooting of an unarmed youth, this blog may be even more relevant as the community presses to hear a response to what was on the cover this week’s New York Times Magazine: “The demand is simple, stop killing us!” It is a demand that is being raised today throughout our great nation.
The recent U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) report concerning the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) tackles a common misconception many police have internalized: the belief that fear of life justifies the use of deadly force.
From the report:
“The dictum ‘in fear for my life’ was the most common theme throughout all of our conversations with PPD officers and sergeants regarding deadly force policy. Yet, notably, the word ‘fear’ does not appear in PPD’s [use of deadly force policy] nor is it supported by current case law. As noted in the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Deorle v. Rutherford, a simple statement that an officer is in fear for his life is not an objective factor.”
What the DOJ found in Philadelphia was that officers were relying on the simple dictate – “if I fear, I can shoot.” And it’s wrong.
This may be part of the problem along…
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