While a few may complain about Big Brother watching, those security cameras in front of business establishments and even at intersections can be a boon for the people at large. The shooting of a black 18 year old man at a gas station and convenience store turned out to be the police officer’s best friend as it corroborated that patrolman’s assertion that he shot the black man in self defense. Of course the black community was decrying the incident saying it was just another brutal attack on the community and young black men in particular. The security camera showed the stupidity of the young man after he and a friend came out of the store and stood around. When the police car entered the parking lot they actively walked towards the vehicle and one of them pulled a pistol and pointed directly at the police car. The the shots were fired by the policeman while the friend or companion ran off.
The Officer had been issued a body camera but was not wearing it at the time of the shooting. The police car was equipped with a dashboard camera but it had been turned off. The small city or town of Berkeley is 90% black and the officer is white. If ever that officer needed a camera it is in that city and that neighborhood. The whole point of having the cameras is that they must be used, not should be. Frankly, that officer should be disciplines for: one, failing to turn on his dashboard camera; and two, failing to wear and have one his body camera. Both failures constitute willful disobedience on his part. The other point is that his supervising sergeant and his watch commander should face discipline measures for not insuring the use of these cameras. If it were up to me I would suspend that officer without pay for six months and the two other police officers three months for their failure to properly supervise their people. The other principle I would want to place into effect is that the camera should be remotely monitored for use. That is, the supervisors and watch commanders should know if a camera is on or not, and if not on, contact that individual and inquire as to why it has not been switched on. Granted, equipment fails and often an officer may not be aware. But the department must insure that the equipment does work when and where it is needed.
The officer is excused when the evidence shows that his actions taken, in this case the drawing of his service weapon and the firing or rounds at the assailant, were reasonably justified. But we cannot excuse him of his stupidity of failing to wear his body camera and certainly not for having failed to turn his dashboard camera on. The minute he receive the call to investigate a robbery or theft that camera should have been turned on, no excuse. And if the young man had fired first and killed the officer we might never identify him. The security camera does not have a high enough resolution, particularly at night to identity many individuals who are in the parking lot.
Another idiocy is that the black community went ballistic again over the shooting of a young black man with a history of crime in the neighborhood and who illegally possessed a handgun and indulged in concealed carry. This is not a young hero but a criminal, and a dumb one at that. That black female state senator who made her stupid comments would have served her community well by having kept her mouth shut. Calling that young black man’s behavior unacceptable is laughable. It was criminal. Stop trying ti minimise criminal behavior by merely calling it unacceptable. Rudeness is unacceptable behavior, pointing a loaded handgun at a cop is criminal. There was no racist act of violence by the police, just an extremely stupid act by a really dumb young man. The color of his skin is of no concern. It represents nothing of importance in the actions of that night.
What I fear is that many policemen will not learn from this incident. Many consider themselves special cases and entitled to special privileges. I see police speed through the local streets and on the highways. They can’t all be responding to crime scene calls. And even if they are, excess speed is not of the essence, safety is and the public is not fooled by the assertions that there is not a second to be spared. Usually the cops arrive too late to do anything, so why the speed? It is time to hold the police to a higher standard of behavior. Otherwise we need to subject them to the same rules of evidence and the public at large. Perhaps that might change their attitudes and behavior. Rough up an individual in custody, prove that it was absolutely necessary. Perform a warrantless search, prove that it was absolutely necessary. Suspicion my read end, convince me of the foundations of the suspicious behavior. And if you fail, the lawsuit goes against you and the other individuals involve all the way up the chain of command. If we start holding the Chief of Police for the actions of his patrolmen the we just might see department rules change for the better. In a war we have held that those war crimes committed by individual soldiers and units are attributable to the lack of control exercised by commanding officers. We’ve hung generals for as much. Hold these individuals both criminally and civilly responsible. If you as the patrolman had to face losing your pension to someone you mistreated during an arrest and or interrogation then you might be far less likely to exercise wrongful behavior. As for police unions and associations, hold them responsible for civil proceedings as well. It is not a matter of our members, right or wrong, it is a principle of hold their members to a standard of behavior and not defending them if they do not adhere to it.