LETTER: Police need to exercise restraint
To the Editor: Deadly confrontations between police and unarmed citizens are occurring way too often. The confrontation between Officer Wilson and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., is an example of a police officer letting his emotions override com...
To the Editor:
Deadly confrontations between police and unarmed citizens are occurring way too often.
The confrontation between Officer Wilson and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., is an example of a police officer letting his emotions override common sense and his training. After reading the grand jury testimony of the event, it is my opinion that Wilson did not use his power and authority appropriately.
The teenager, Brown, and his companion disrespected Wilson by not assenting to his original request to move onto the sidewalk. This made the officer mad, and he overreacted. Brown, being a large teenager, full of himself, and more than willing to rebel against all adult authority, and on his own power trip after stealing cigars, also overreacted and the situation escalated way out of control.
The grand jury apparently never asked an important question: Why, after the initial tussle at the car and Brown was shot and running away, did Wilson fear for his life from a kid who was wounded, had no weapon and was running away? Why didn't he call and wait for backup to help subdue Brown, instead of chasing him and shooting him several times, eventually killing him? If he had waited, Brown would most likely have been arrested for stealing the cigars, but he would be alive and maybe someday when he grew up he would have realized how stupidly he had acted, how lucky he had been and even come to appreciate the restraint used by the police.
Many of us as rebellious teenagers were disrespectful of authority -- parents, teachers, cops, etc. -- at least once or twice, and owe a lot to adults who understood and showed restraint in their discipline. Police in a community need the highest level of this understanding and how to use common sense, restraint and fairness to earn the respect and cooperation of the community. Maybe more emphasis should be placed on de-escalating conflicts and less on developing a shoot-to-kill attitude during police training. Genuine authority does not come from a gun.