Wednesday, August 19, 2015
A Great Solution To End Police Shootings Of Black Youths
It happened again today. Two white policemen in north St. Louis shot and killed a black man...
A man who pointed a gun at police was shot and killed by officers in north St. Louis, according to St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.
Officers were executing a search warrant at a home near Walton and Page, Dotson said at a news conference, when two armed men ran out of the back door of the home.
One pointed a gun at police officers, the chief said.
It appears two officers fired a total of four shots – one fired one shot, the other fired three shots, Dotson said.
Both officers, who are white, were unharmed, according to a police report.
One suspect was hit, continued running, collapsed, and was pronounced dead at the scene. The suspect was a black male in his early 20s, and he had a gun reported stolen from Rolla, Mo.
A number of other suspects were taken into custody, along with four guns and a quantity of crack. The house has had warrants served before.
The arresting officers, of course, had to put up with protests from the neighbors:
The shooting that left a black suspect dead drew protests, with many of the roughly 150 people who gathered at the scene hurling obscene gestures and expletives at investigators and questioning the police use of deadly force. Some chanted “Black Lives Matter,” a mantra used a year ago after the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson.
“Another youth down by the hands of police,” Dex Dockett, 42, who lives nearby, told a reporter. “What could have been done different to de-escalate rather than escalate? They (police) come in with an us-against-them mentality. You’ve got to have the right kind of cops to engage in these types of neighborhoods.”
Another neighborhood resident, Fred Price, skeptical about Dotson’s account that the suspect pointed a gun at officers before being mortally wounded.
“They provoked the situation,” Price, 33, said. “Situations like this make us want to keep the police out of the neighborhood. They’re shooting first, then asking questions.”
Living as they do near an obvious crack house, I admit I have to questions the mental processes of these people. After all, one less thug in a neighborhood like that, especially one crazy enough to point a gun at two policemen should be a blessing.
But on the other hand, maybe they have a point. Perhaps these policemen are vicious, racist cops who just wanted to shoot down a black youth. Maybe he just wandered in and didn't realize the place was a crack house. Maybe he didn't shoot at the police. Maybe the stolen gun was given to him by someone else to hold, or the racist white cops planted it.I'm sure that's the way these people's thoughts are running.
Since none of us were there to actually see what occurred, I think it's fair to accept the view of these residents of the neighborhood as just as legitimate as the police chief's, or mine for that matter. And therein lies a perfect solution.
The locals don't like the police, to put it mildly, and I'm sure that the police themselves don't enjoy going into neighborhoods where their attempts to do a difficult job are looked upon by a significant number of the inhabitants as the provocation of racist interlopers.
Mr. Fred Price points the way to a win win resolution that will please everyone. Let's indeed give the residents of north St. Louis and other similar areas a way to keep the police out of their neighborhoods.
Let the residents take a vote on making their neighborhoods off limits to police. If such a vote passes, let the residents make their own arrangements for crime prevention or policing should they see fit to do so,and offer property owners a discount on their taxes based on this city service they would no longer be using.
Police would be limited to enforcing the perimeters of such neighborhoods, so that thugs and criminals would be prevented from leaving these neighborhoods during certain hours. But inside the perimeter, the residents themselves would take responsibility.
Based on certain incidents that have happened in neighborhoods like this in the past during tense times, it would probably make sense to eliminate or at least cut back fire department and EMT service as well, since many times they require a police escort in order to guarantee the safety of the firemen and EMT personnel. Or perhaps these communities might be able to make arrangements not to attack them.
Like I said, a win win. The inhabitants of these neighborhoods would get the kind of policing they deserve, and the men and women the majorities in these communities see as vicious police killers would have no opportunity to practice their racism. And the police wouldn't have to go into these areas where they're seen as the enemy, making life easier and less dangerous for them.
Of course, if the people in these communities voted to continue to allow the police to serve them, it certainly wouldn't be out of line for the police to demand respect and a healthy benefit of the doubt in exchange.
Res Ipsa Loquiter.