Information released yesterday indicates that Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Michael Brown, suffered facial fractures as a result of a struggle the two had. But does this struggle–which caused Wilson to suffer an “orbital blowout fracture to the eye socket”–warrant gunshots?
Witnesses have come forward to corroborate Wilson’s version of events. It is difficult to believe that a struggle with police (even one in which a police is punched in the face) warrants gunshots. Indeed, nearly all police SOPs require that an officer be able to show that the response was “proportionate” to the offense. While these guidelines do not ban the use of tactics that may kill, they at least set the standard for proportionality. Police officers are trained in how to restrain suspects, even when those suspects are attacking them. So why the gunshots? Why the killing?
The truth is that police are trained to shoot to kill. This guide states that deadly force is justified “to protect the officer or others from what is reasonably believed to be a threat of death or serious bodily harm; and to prevent the escape of a fleeing violent felon who the officer has probable cause to believe will pose a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”
Regardless of the facts of Michael Brown’s case, it is clear that police training and protocols must be reexamined. Police officers should not have the power and authority to kill people. To learn more about how you can help, contact BORDC at firstname.lastname@example.org.