Friday, August 05, 2005

BAD GUYS and police brutality

marjorie says...

In today's Albuquerque Journal we have the story about cops who had to shoot two pit bulls in order to arrest two brothers. Here’s how Bernalillo County Undersheriff Sal Baragiola justified the dog killing: “The dogs were between the good guys and the bad guys. They took out the dogs so they could get to the bad guys.”

Wow. Well, that certainly explains that -- we certainly can’t have the BAD GUYS on the loose. No matter what, they have to be caught. Honestly, I’m not quibbling with this action really - but the language and the actions certainly bring to mind a similar but much more horrific incident in South Central Los Angeles just a couple of weeks ago.

In case you haven’t heard about this one, the LAPD had 18-month old Suzie Marie Pena’s dad cornered in his shop in a shootout. Her dad was using her as a shield - perhaps he thought the cops would back off rather than shoot a toddler. Well, if that’s what he thought he was wrong. Little Suzie was killed with a shot to the head. Here’s what Assistant Police Chief George Gascon said about the incident:

"We have a suspect that has just attempted to kill his 16-year-old stepdaughter and you have a suspect who has been shooting at the police. And we've got a suspect who has not hesitated, in fact actively has used his 17- to 18-month-old baby as a human shield when he's engaging with police in a gunbattle. And we have the possibility of additional hostages inside the building."

Ohhhhh. Okay. Thanks for clarifying, Gascon. Let me translate it for you all: This LAPD squad pumped up on testosterone got themselves some action with a BAD GUY. Granted, the 16-year old stepdaughter had already gotten away safely. Still, they had no choice but to take him out, because, you know he’s a BAD GUY. Too bad the baby girl got caught in the cross fire but that’s just the way it goes in the City of Angels.

What makes this story even more tragic is that the family of the man called the police in the first place -- for protection. Is this how the LAPD protects people? By shooting them? Would this have happened in another, wealthier, neighborhood, or in that case would the police have retreated and negotiated with the man?

Perhaps we should all stop buying simplistic terms, such as “good guy” “bad guy” from police apologists in the first place - which would make them explain themselves for real. And police officers should be held accountable for their gross violations of human decency. It’s probably true that those officers on that squad are depressed about the whole thing - but I am certain there are plenty of depressed PEOPLE (not bad guys) sitting in penitentiaries throughout this country as well.