The police play such an important role in maintaining law and order yet it seems that far too often we are reading reports of people that have died.
In Miami, Israel Hernandez, died after being shot by a Taser. The teen, who has been described as having a slight and frail build, had vandalized a building. Instead of surrendering, the teen took off running, After an intensive foot chase, police used their taser to subdue Hernandez.
Was it necessary to use a taser in the first place? Did it matter if a graffiti artist got away? Was the community at risk? Did the police feel threatened by the skinny, slightly built fail teen?
John Wrana,a 95-year-old World War II Veteran, was killed by Chicago police on July 27. The elderly man, who reportedly used a walker to get around, became agitated because of an upcoming medical procedure. It’s been reported that Wrana had concerns that he would end up on life support. Staff at the assisted living complex he lived at called police for assistance.
From there things get a bit murky. Police say that they tried to subdue Wrana and that he was armed with a shoehorn, his cane and a knife. Wrana’s family and lawyer said that he was not armed with a knife.
Even if he did have a knife and even if he was charging the officers, how fast could he charge? People can become violent and exhibit an almost super-human strength in times of severe agitation, however he was 95! Were the police so afraid of him that they could not tackle him. They reportedly had riot type gear. How about shooting him in the leg, dissarming him and then with as little force as needed, subdue the nearly 96-year-old man?
Las Vegas is well known across the globe for their use of excessive force which has resulted in many civilian deaths. They have been taking steps to try to reduce the amount of excessive force used and created the Metro’s Use of Force Review Board. That’s the good news. The bad news is that a total of 5 members of Metro’s Use of Force Review Board have resigned, including the co-chairman, because the Sheriff did not follow their recommendation that an officer be fired for shooting a man in the leg and instead ordered more training. The chairman abruptly resigned prior to the other resignations.
On July 23 another case of excessive force occurred in Las Vegas. A man from California, Southaly Ketmany, 35, broke into a home in Henderson. The homeowner, alarmed at finding a half-dressed intruder in his home armed with a butchers knife, left and called police.
Police open fire when when they claim Ketmany charged them. They claim they first tried stopping him using rubber bullets, a dog and a taser.
Ketmany’s ex-wife, Kim Reroma, has been very vocal and says she thinks the police acted too soon. She had actually come to Las Vegas to look for her ex-husband when he didn’t return to California after a weekend spent with friends. Ketmany had a few run ins with police over the weekend and Reroma thinks he may have been drugged since, she claims, he was not a drug user. She believes that whatever he ingested willingly or unwillingly caused his bizarre behavior.
Again, could the police have shot this individual in the legs to take him down and then subdue the half naked man.
The police have to maintain a certain presence and demeanor in order to be respected, to serve as a deterrent to crime and to attempt to diffuse many situations.
Still, must a number of officers taser a kid who wrote graffiti, use tasers and a bean bag shotgun on a 95-year old man and open fire on a person who appeared to not be in his right mind.
Is there a better way to handle these situations?