As we approach the one year anniversary of 12 year old Tamir Rice’s death at the hands of the Cleveland police, there are two ways we must examine this for the need for change. At a time when 1400 people per year are killed in the United States by agents of government at some level, by a factor of 70 x the worst record for police killings in any first world country, to go with the highest number and rate of incarcerated citizens, there is clearly a national problem with our systems of enforcement. The first is the purely human, emotional, or Judeo-Christian, Muslim Buddhist, humanist, Constitutional or Declarational value systems. A 12 year old was killed by the people whose job it is to protect him. If you don’t know that his mother has trouble sleeping at night for the loss of her baby boy, perhaps you should talk to a mother about how she feels about her children and really understand the term mother from their perspectives. That this is something that must never be allowed to happen again is something to which you must agree to honestly say you subscribe to any of the prior belief systems.
The second, and the one I will focus on here, because this part seems less obvious, is what an astonishing, and downright frightening collapse of purpose- demonstrating extreme weakness in response operations, security and problem that occurs here.
A call comes in that there is a person with a gun- which MAY be a toy- the call taker does not disseminate this information to the dispatcher, or to the responding officers.
The officers ordered to a scene where there is potentially a live gun are a pair of ROOKIES. Why rookies would ever be first to a scene, and first to engage- unless there was an immediate public threat- something to first be determined from a distance and approached with a speed determined after the initial observation, is unexplainable.
These rookies drive up to point blank range. As in, before they get out of the vehicle, had they been responding to a genuine psychopath, or someone who was mentally disturbed, they both could have very easily been shot dead without even exiting the vehicle. He then jumps out of the vehicle with his gun drawn; enough again, to startle someone into shooting, if in fact they had a real gun.
It seems to me that procedure in this situation would be to get an assessment first from a safe, and preferably unobservable position to assess threat level, and relative level of public safety, and relay this information to a more experienced officer, before deciding to close in. Likely, without that immediate threat to public safety, it would almost certainly be best to wait for back up, and go in with overwhelming force, which often can pre-empt attempts at fighting their out of situation- 2 cops can be handled, 6 cannot, so surrender would be more likely.
We later find out that this rookie officer was dismissed from another department as unstable, and he is armed, and put out into dangerous situations, with only another rookie for guidance. Municipal and senior officer liability is assured.
Beyond the fact that a government officer of a part of the United States is now responsible for the death of an American, one of the causus belli for the American Revolution, and firmly contradicting the Constitution, it is a frightening look at how unprepared our officers would be to deal with real threats- sophisticated and highly trained operatives of foreign or malignant domestic entity. The training for these sorts of interactions are all Constitutional, and thus, ultimately – we must use each case to develop and sharpen templates to avoid this kind of behavior from a couple of aspects. It also means, that at the end of the day; that as a national problem has emerged, it is not simply up to the individual departments to fix, but that a new, methodology for Constitutional enforcement minimums must be established, including provision to ensure that the conflict of interests that are now causing a 99% indictment rate for citizens and a <5% indictment rate for police- even as we see being moved towards in this case, in the Eric Garner case, are not a factor in achieving justice.