The latest high profile shooting by police in the USA has been covered once again by the world wide media for all to see.
It was the fatal shooting of a young black man by a police officer in the city of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Everyone from the police chief to the media are reporting that it was an accidental shooting.
The police officer mistaking her pistol for her taser and firing a single fatal shot at extremely close range. This isn’t the first time that I’ve heard negligence being passed on as an accident when it comes to police shootings.
There is a myriad of issues concerning professionalism during the traffic stop and attempted arrest of this individual as they tried to place him in handcuffs, however at this point I only wish to cover accident versus negligence with the fatal shooting.
But who’s negligence exactly? The cop who fired the fatal shot, her operational managers, her training managers, or all? Something is seriously wrong here, and I feel that she should not be the only individual to be held accountable for that negligence.
My child’s school district here in America goes into lockdown drills only, if there is a shooter in the school. They will not train for the options that many other schools in America are taking up in the last few years of run, hide, fight…which in reality are the only options that staff and students alike have while unarmed.
The school district’s answer being that the police are telling them that it’s safer to remain in classrooms, as they don’t want to “accidently” shoot children as they seek out the shooter. I personally find that comment totally unprofessional…the same as I find the American term collateral damage (which I’ve heard cops and ex cops use for the shooting of innocent children caught in police fire) unprofessional too. So what happens in the time period of the police showing up, especially those caught out on the same floor space and close to the shooter? Which is why I wrote a blog post a while back on how to survive a school shooting explaining all of this.
Whether it’s poor day to day management of officers on the ground, poor training, poor selection of armed officers, poor continuation training, long shifts, poor health of officers, (we see obese officers more and more these days)…or indeed a number of these and other issues. In my opinion there is absolutely no reason for a professional police officer in a country like the USA to negligently pull a pistol instead of a taser from their belt, still not recognize the difference when aiming, and still go on to shoot, even if the whole action takes only a couple of seconds. The pistol will feel and look (while in the aim) completely different to the taser to the professional.
Even in the context of going into a school to eliminate an active shooter, there is still no excuse when shooting dead innocent children who I’m sure with the feelings of fight or flight are moving in every direction quickly and loudly.
Negligence versus accidental is extremely important wording, whether a mayor, police chief, lawyer or journalist. Please make the distinction clearly, as I explain that even a 6 year old child shooting their mother dead with the mother’s own pistol is negligence (on behalf of the mother, not the child) and certainly never accidental.
America is the country of litigation, and lawyers in court can twist words every which way…I’m only interested in being proactive here.
If they were to begin with the correct selection of a police officer with realistic course failure rates, combined with professional continuation training along with achieving annual fitness levels. Including hitting the right levels constantly throughout the officer’s career across all States and within all counties. Management at all levels must remain accountable for that, and accountable for officers’ actions when out on the ground.
If these stages are implemented and managed correctly, I guarantee that there will be a lot less negligence with fire arms within the police forces of the USA in the future.