Opinion| Mark Sidney|. I bet you have heard about the recent shooting of an unarmed man named Rayshard Brooks, in the parking lot of a Wendy’s in Atlanta.
Body cam footage from, what appears to be the beginning to the interview the officers conducted with Mr. Brooks, has just been released and is causing a lot of heated debate.
A lot of people are pointing out that Mr. Brooks seems to be resisting arrest, fighting with the officers before he runs away from them, after he is tasered.
Some people are pointing out that the officers were courteous and not confrontational with the suspect up until the moment the Rayshard appears to resist being cuffed. This seems to be true, in my view, as well.
However, after Mr. Brooks failed the field sobriety and breathalyzer tests, the officer goes to cuff the Rayshard Brooks, and the suspect seems to try to pull away, after which, a scuffle ensues.
It would be easy for me to say, as many others are saying that ‘he was resisting arrest, get got what he deserved.’
However, I remember my father telling me stories about the days before MADD came on the scene. He told me that ‘back when he was a kid’ and you were pulled over for driving drunk, the officers would just bring you home. There were no sobriety tests, no $10,000 DWI’s (which is about what it cost me in fines and fees when I got one about 20 years ago.) Just officers (who carried guns) but were there to deescalate situations and keep citizens safe, first and foremost.
Now a days, it seems that way too often, the police are there to rule over us with overwhelming force and generate as much revenue as possible, not to help us and ‘keep the peace.’
Now, by no means am I suggesting that all officers are bad, nor are they all good, I just think the way they are trained has changed over the last 50 years, and not always for the better.
Police have released the footage of the officers interaction with Mr. Brooks, presumably beginning the moment he pulled his car over and was approached by the men in blue:
Yes, the officers were reasonable and likely behaving just as they were trained to act. However, it is also clear that this man was no threat to anyone, in that, he was not looking for trouble. He blew a .108 on the breathalyzer. The legal limit in many states USED to be .1, now many states consider .08 to be grounds for a driving while intoxicated arrest.
At .108, he was definitely buzzed, and that comes across in the video, but Rayshard was soft spoken and polite, he was not driving at the time.
I’m not making excuses for him resisting the arrest or fighting with the officers, but I do think that we need to have a conversation about what the purpose is of the police in our communities. Are they there to lord over us with an iron fist and arrest everyone for everything possible, or should they be there to help people when they can? Again, I am not saying that officers do not help people, however in this instance, why not give the man a ride home?
The answer is likely because that is not what the police are trained to do these days.
I also understand that the officers are under a tremendous amount of stress and scrutiny which makes encounters like this more difficult. The media loves to hype these incidents up to create a frenzy and divide us on the basis of race and affinity for the police/hate for law enforcement. We can not let them keep doing this.
Here is the video of the altercation which lead to the shooting of Mr. Brooks. Was he running away from the police after they tried to arrest him? It sure looked that way. However, SHOULD that be cause for an officer to open fire in a restaurant parking lot, killing the man, via bullets in his back? Personally, I don’t think so.
I know a lot of people reading this will disagree and say ‘you run from the cops, you get what you deserve.’
However, while I agree you should respect authority and do what the police tell you to and let the courts sort out who is right and who is wrong, there should be a middle ground between being shot multiple times in the back for running from the police for being .028 over the limit while driving in or sitting in, a car, and getting away scot free.
Here is the video of the altercation:
No doubt, Mr. Brooks should not have done this. However, should it have cost him his life? I don’t think so, what do you think?
Yahoo News reported:
An Atlanta police officer involved in the death of a Black man at a fast-food restaurant has been fired and another placed on administrative duty, authorities confirmed early Sunday.
The moves follow Saturday’s resignation of Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, who stepped down as the Friday night killing of Rayshard Brooks, 27, sparked a new wave of protests in Atlanta after turbulent demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis had simmered down.
The terminated officer was identified as Garrett Rolfe, who was hired in October 2013, Atlanta Police Department Sergeant John Chafee told USA TODAY.
The other officer placed on administrative duty is Devin Brosnan, who was hired in September 2018.
The establishment is trying to divide us so that they can conquer us. They keep trying to make this about race, when what I think it is really about is how much power do we want to give the state.
Remember, whatever power we do ceed to the state WILL inevitably be used by your worst political adversary against you. It is only a matter of time. I think it is time we start talking about what the purpose of the police is, are they there to help and serve, we the people, or are they there to be judge jury and sometimes, (infrequently, as of now) executioner, while collecting as much revenue in fines and court fees as possible?
I could go on and on about this, and I know many of you may disagree with me, but this is a conversation that we need to have. I appreciate those who risk their lives to keep us safe, but I also believe that with power comes great responsibility, and with the amount of power that comes with a badge and a gun, the corresponding responsibility must be enormous as well.
Of course, I do not think we need to defund the police, but we do need to discuss what their role in society is, and who, at the end of the day, they are/should working for. (Hint: you and I, not the establishment and their interests of ruling with an iron fist)