Twenty-two bullets hit him, though no one shot was fatal. He spent his last hour bleeding to death in front of his family.
Many incidents like this have happened in America, with two occurring just last month.
Eighty-four rounds were fired at one murder suspect in Harlem. Ninety rounds were fired at a fleeing, unarmed suspect in Los Angeles who turned out to only be carrying a bag of laundry items.
Our police officers have an alarming tendency of over-aggression.
An excellent New Yorker article by Jill Lepore called attention to the American obsession with guns and its sometimes-invisible but always-there role in our lives. However, she did note that the rate at which Americans horde guns unnecessarily is slowing.
Lepore said “According to the General Social Survey, conducted by the National Policy Opinion Center at the University of Chicago, the prevalence of gun ownership has declined steadily in the past few decades. In 1973, there were guns in roughly one in two households in the United States; in 2010, one in three. In 1980, nearly one in three Americans owned a gun; in 2010, that figure had dropped to one in five.”
Our police forces, while maybe not seeing dramatic rises, are definitely not seeing the rapid decline in citizen gun ownership.
I’m not accusing each and every individual officer here of being too aggressive. Unfortunately, they are caught up in a cultural trend that leads us to believe a criminal, or even a suspect, may sometimes have to die for the sake of law and order.
There can be many reasons to explain police brutality away as an insignificant or a uniquely American problem that we must deal with for our own safety, but I fail to see connections between the Wild West days and our modern, urban police officers.
German officers are known to say they have failed at their job if they needed to fire a weapon.
They are also looked to as a pillar of trust, camaraderie, and even friendship who by the very act of signing up for the force realize that their comfort may have to be laid down for the protection of citizens.
In a country where police officers are so often seen as above the law, we are seeing a dangerous shift towards mass militarization of police units nationwide.
This brutality must be slowed down and brought to an end and we have to restore a sense of trust in our police officers.