Lawful but Awful

Jacob Sullum has a nuanced discussion of the police killing of Rayshard Brooks. “Officers are trained that they have the right to escalate their use of force if they believe someone is threatening to incapacitate them,” notes the New York Times (as Sullum quotes).

This to me is the saddest line: “Brooks suggests that the officers allow him to lock up his car and walk to his sister’s house, which is nearby. ‘I can just go home,’ he says.” But do we want police officers to enforce drunk-driving laws, or not? If we do, that means police have to arrest drunk drivers.

This to me is the crux of the issue: Another “opportunity for de-escalation came when Brooks ran away from the cops. Instead of giving chase, [Kalfani] Turè suggests, [the officers] could have tracked him down later based on his car registration, or they could have called for more officers to help subdue him without using deadly force.”

My take: The officers involved certainly should not be criminally charged. But officers certainly should be trained on how and when to deescalate.

June 18 Update: From what I can tell, the officer who killed Rayshard Brooks was charged not for shooting Brooks, but for failing to administer timely medical attention (and various other alleged offenses).


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