Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Police Murder in the Albuquerque Desert

I'm not as keen on second guessing police shootings of civilians as some, but I can't see ANY justification for this tragic police shooting of a homeless man camping illegally in the desert outside Albuquerque, New Mexico. What imminent threat to these officers' lives did this poor guy pose? Hell, he was even turning away rather than toward them when they shot him several times! It seems to me that the shooter(s) may deserve to be prosecuted rather than excused for murdering this man! They certainly should be investigated by more than a rubber-stamping board from the same agency as the officers who unleashed their ballistic barrage, and, as of this writing, there are encouraging signs that they may be.

And what's with the bean-bag shots and sicking the dog on the guy after he'd already been shot by assault rifle(s) five or six times and was lying immobile or even unconscious in his own blood? Even if he was still holding a knife, did they think he was going to jump up like Rambo, take a miraculous flying leap at them, and gut them like fish through their body armor before they could squeeze off any more rounds? 

Police officers need to be trained to handle the mentally ill and homeless without instantly and reflexively escalating to the overwhelming lethality of soldiers on the battlefield, and when they kill without good cause, they need to be brought to task for it. Yes, police officers are human, and human beings make mistakes under duress. But James Boyd was a human being too, and he too was under duress with heavily armed police barking orders at him, a big police dog menacing him, and a flash bang grenade exploding near him, all of which undoubtedly exacerbated his apparent mental illness that impeded his cooperation with the police officers' commands.

He didn't deserve to die the way he did, the police who killed him don't deserve a free pass, and police officers need to stop invariably acting like Navy SEALs on a search and destroy mission.

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