The Atmosphere of Choice
Now we least have a clue into the police mindset. A cop drew his gun and fired into a car that tried to run him over near Syracuse in New York. What is revealing is not how we have to track down the race of the teens involved, but that the police offer was without choice.
““He had no options,” the sheriff said of the deputy’s decision to fire at the car, adding that “the deputies have a right to defend themselves by whatever means necessary.””
No options? By whatever means necessary? There’s always a choice. Many choices. Always. If choices are not supplied to officers, and they trained, repeatedly told, and believe there is no other way out but one, they make decisions “in the heat of the moment” based on the No Option belief.
Many questions remain about this case. But the biggest is if he didn’t fire his weapon for this property crime, theft, what would have happened? The two 17-year-old Dhal Pothwi Apet and 15-year-old Lueth Mo. I’m guessing they are not white boys, though I shouldn’t. But I have to wonder if race played a role. While white teens act badly and make poor decisions, shooting a black or other minority of dark skin for a property crime, or something even less trivial, is more common.
The violence seems to be ratcheted up a notch — or two or three — when police detect race. That’s not just based on my watching too many recent videos, or even older ones like the Rodney King beating, but on overall historical treatment.
Police use greater force disproportionately on black men for similar situated alleged crimes, felonies, and misdemeanors. The traffic stop comes to mind.
But the omnipresence — or what should be the omnipresence — of always on police cameras will give us greater access to create more accurate statistics and descriptions. In the past we only had the bold face assertion of what the police said happened, just like this current “No Option” case.
No offense to those good apples, but all cops will be under duress after a shooting or violence when filling out the report of the incident they were involved in. How many of them will go back, say they were wrong in their use of force to the captain or supervisor? How…