Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Tragic Accident

I don't normally blog on items in the news, but a recent highly publicized incident involving a police shooting has been raging across the internet.

I don't want to get into any of the details here except to pass a link along to a blog post by a gentleman whose work I have been following for more than 3 years, P.W. Fenton. His approach to this case merits discussion as an example that you can't just judge an incident by what you see in a photograph or in a video. There very often is much more to it than meets the eye.

Certainly the judicial system will have to determine culpability and certainly recompense will be due to the victim's family. That much is not in dispute. But what we, as a rational society, sometimes need is to take a step back to allow the emotion of the event to not cloud judgment. Only then can we properly learn the lessons that need to be learned and then move forward.

Thank you P.W. for the moment of clarity.

Radio Free Radio's - Digital Flotsam Blog
So I watched the video of this Oakland Transit cop shooting a suspect in a misdemeanor case who was being held face down on the floor. And instantly thought “Murder… there’s no possible explanation for that other than cold blooded murder”. I’m never so quick to condemn a police officer, but this seemed so clear and deliberate. I put a link on Twitter… and I called it a murder (which I now regret). But then I watched a couple of more times. And I read about a dozen newspaper accounts (none of which offered the officer’s explanation, and at the time I’m writing this, it appears he, or his department, hasn’t offered an explanation publicly). I was ready to hang this cop.

Then, suddenly, it dawned on me. I think I know what happened, and I think it was a horrible accident.

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1 astute observations :

  1. Malik said...

    Whether you think the officer was Bull Connor or Barney Phife, he took a man's life and has to be held accountable for it.