Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I lied...

Yesterday, I promised that today's topic would be lighter.  I totally meant to write a lighter post today. But then I saw the footage of Philando Castile being shot while stopped for a routine traffic violation last summer.  Supposedly, Philando Castile also matched the description of someone who was wanted for a crime.  It turned my stomach.

One of my Facebook friends is a police officer and he has a lot of opinions.  I actually really like him although we often disagree.  I wasn't surprised when my friend defended Jeronimo Yanez for killing Philando Castile.  For some reason, the jury acquitted this police officer for his outrageous actions.  There must be some evidence that isn't being made public because from what I saw in the videos, that cop really fucked up badly.

Mr. Castile did have a weapon.  He did inform the officer that he had the weapon and he was licensed to carry it.  Seconds after Mr. Castile told the cop that he had a weapon, we hear Yanez shout at him not to reach for it as he simultaneously fires seven rounds into Mr. Castile, right in front of his little daughter.

Amazingly enough, Yanez justifies his actions with this beaut of a quote:

“I thought if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five-year-old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front-seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me?”

This so-called police officer was concerned about Castile's daughter's health because Castile was allegedly high on marijuana (which, I understand, doesn't tend to make people violent as a general rule).  So then he blows her father away with seven shots?  And she's sitting there watching it.  I wonder what kind of lasting damage witnessing that act of violence will do to that poor girl.

This video is clearly biased toward Mr. Castile and it's graphic.  

The girlfriend is obviously in more control than the so-called cop is.

And here is dashcam footage.

The cop totally freaks out.

Intellectually, I can understand that police officers have a difficult job and they put their lives on the line every day.  I still think this particular cop fell way short in what he was entrusted to do.  One of the things I like about living in Germany is that there's not as much violence here.  That includes the police.  Bill and I have witnessed them in action.  They do a lot of talking and de-escalating.  I'm sure that is mainly because most people don't own firearms.  To get a gun in this country, you have to undergo a lot of training and expense.  It takes time and effort.  This is certainly not the case in the United States.

I am generally all for showing respect to police officers.  But I must say, watching these videos made me feel outrage I don't often feel.  I think the jurors got it wrong.  I don't say Yanez went to the car intending to kill Castile, but he was clearly not in control and he made a fatal mistake.  He should be punished with more than just being fired.

I can hear the police officer is totally freaking.  He should be freaking.  He should be haunted by what he did for the rest of his days.  And we should all learn from this.    

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