As a police officer, I never had to pull out my gun in over 12 years of service. As I have previously stated, I am proud of that fact. Taking a life is not something I have ever wanted to do. I did not live in fear of not making it home to my family. I understand that there are situations that arise where making that final judgement is justified and yet, I didn’t have to come to that crossroads and I am fortunate.
Not so fun fact: I have been tased.
During training, we each got to experience the absolute joy that is being struck in the back by two prongs and having 1200 volts running through your body. The pain was excruciating. I immediately fell to the mat and could not move as my body spasmed, twitched, and my jaw clenched so hard I was sore for days. Afterwards, I found it difficult to breathe for a few minutes and I was completely disoriented. Come for the voltage, stay for the paralysis.
I deployed my taser fifteen times over the course of my career. Sometimes a DUI arrestee would get belligerent, combative, and uncontrollable. I had a couple of domestic violence situations escalate beyond the point I believed I could defuse it and the taser was my course of action. There is not one time I used it that I regret doing so.
Which brings me to Walter Wallace Jr.
Walter died on Monday afternoon in front of his mother because two Philadelphia police officers felt threatened and Feared For Their Lives™ that Walter, with knife in hand, could bring them lethal harm.
From ten feet away.
Did they mistake him for U.S. Olympian Mike Powell?
Police officers train for knife-wielding subjects. I was trained in defensive tactics to subdue someone that was fighting or attempting to resist arrest. None of these actions need involve the use of a gun. Pepper spray and tasers are very effective and less likely to kill. Killing should be the absolute last resort, not the first.
Would Walter still be alive if, instead of two armed officers responding, there were a couple of mental health professionals dispatched to the scene?
I watched that video and to me, those officers panicked. Instead of listening, instead of using less lethal weapons like their tasers, Walter Wallace Jr. is dead because of their ignorance and cowardice. Their body language, especially the officer on the left side in the video, gives off a freaked-out vibe. If you are the kind of person that panics or gets easily upset in any kind of stressful situation, DO NOT BECOME A POLICE OFFICER. There are already enough violent idiots in the department.
From what I could hear from the footage, it was about 10-12 shots fired very quickly. It’s not Diallo-level, yet beyond excessive. They fired backing away and not sure-footed. With several innocent bystanders in the vicinity that could have been struck by ricochets. If this is how they were trained, Philadelphia PD’s program teaches callous disregard for their citizens.
As I covered last week,
taxpayers cities spend obscene amounts of money on police personnel and equipment. The bill for police malfeasance and ineptitude is also footed by the people. That shit adds up. Expect civil litigation (and probably a monetary settlement) on Walter’s behalf in this case. Don’t expect criminal charges because…’Murica.
Fuck. It hurt to write that.
How many more people will die before city governments defund their police departments and implement a system where mental health emergencies are handled by mental health professionals?
From a life-saving and financial viewpoint, how does this not make sense?
I hope the Biden/Harris ticket wins next week. I hope that it’s an indisputable landslide. I hope we can all find some rest over the next couple of weeks. I hope.
Do not tase nor pepper spray Mcsquirrel
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