I would like to begin this article by making it clear that I do not believe every person killed by police officers is some kind of angle — although I do believe they didn’t deserve to be killed. While the entire world was focusing on the fact that George Floyd might not have died because of the actions of the officer (although the officer was clearly trying to kill him), I focuses on the fact that the officer had his gun upholstered while walking up to a counterfeiter.
My general view has been this: The police should not act as judge, jury, or executioner. If they are to cause damage to the person they’re arresting, it should only be in response to clear and present danger and even then the damage should be as minimal as possible.
I recall people making fun of Joe Biden’s comment that police should try shooting in the leg instead of the chest — but that would actually make a big difference. While it is far from the only solution to the issue at hand, it’s at least more of a start than the vast majority of politicians are willing to give us.
So, let’s talk about Jacob Blake, the latest case of police brutality related controversy. A man who was shot in the back seven times by police while he was trying to get something out of his car, all while his children watched, causing massive protests even in spite of curfew orders previously placed on the city where it happened.
Now of course, police officers cannot simply let people they’re arresting look through their car where it’s possible they might contain a weapon. For that matter, unlike George Floyd, Blake not only had been arrested various times for violent crimes but it’s very possible this was another example of that. However, I must wonder, why couldn’t the police find another way to neutralize him besides shooting him outright? Every video shows multiple police officers on the scene, you’d think they could find some way to stop him before he became a threat worthy of killing.
The videos even showing him walking around his car multiple times, all while various police had weapons drawn on him. Surely, there has to be some kind of middle between just standing there and shooting him multiple times in the part of your body where shooting you were near certainly be fatal.
For that matter, do police have any kind of weaponry besides guns anymore? While tasers can still be lethal, the odds of them killing a person are still significantly less than shooting them in the back. Yet, police officers seem to be using tasers, as well as other non-gun related weapons, less and less — to the point where the only time tasers have been a part of one of these stories was when Rayshad Brooks stole one. And again, even if Blake was hit with a taser beforehand, there are many other places to shoot someone besides their back — as well as six numbers before seven, now that I think about it.
And if you want to respond that the officer did fear for his life, well then I ask, why did either he or any officer present like Blake get near his car in the first place? Police are suppose to be strong men and Blake was, at that moment at least, totally unarmed — surely, more could have been done than just holding a weapon and hoping he complies. This is not so much a case of police brutality, but instead a case of police inaction until the last possible second followed by what could be seen as brutality to finish it off.
This shows the massive issue with many police forces — the fact that there is no middle. Another example was Rayshad Brooks who, as I argued at the time, was a bad man, but not one worthy of death considering the crimes he committed. A common excuse for the deaths of these people in the past has been they were “doing something stupid,” as if mild idiocy is worthy of capital punishment.
To put it simply, we need to cool down the law enforcement of the United States. The fact they go from docile to Yosemite Sam in just one action is a massive issue that needs to be addressed. Nobody has an issue with the police arresting someone who has a warrant out for his arrest, as Blake did, and we all realize arrests can sometimes not be pretty. However, how about the police instead engaging in some ugliness now to stop much more ugliness later?