Law-Enforcement Officers within the United States have broad and expansive powers. They have immense discretion and legal authority to determine under what circumstances lethal force can be applied. This far-reaching authority, along with the capacity to justifiably determine under what circumstances a perceived threat shall be terminated, has been determined by the Supreme Court of the United States to be legal and constitutionally sound conduct.
On Monday, November 9th, 2015; the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a state trooper does not have to face a civil lawsuit for firing six rifle shots from a highway overpass, into a motorist driving a vehicle beneath the trooper. These bullets struck and killed the driver of said vehicle. The driver was fleeing from police over a ‘probation violation.’
This man was killed while driving his car at a high rate of speed (85-110 MPH), placing the lives of every other innocent motorist and family member, on this busy road, in harm’s way.
The Supreme Court determined that this trooper did not use excessive force. It was further determined that: “by selecting one dangerous alternative over another,” this law-enforcement officer’s behavior did not constitute inappropriate or excessive force.
Wringing one’s hands in angst, while pounding away on our keyboards proclaiming to the world how improper and illegal the behavior of our police officers are, albeit the incorrectness of our understandings; does not change the law, nor correct any perceived injustice resultant from behavior that one may find disagreeable.
Getting one’s hands dirty and soul bloody via the penetrating effort required to effectively address the constitutional threats and breeches eroding our rights and liberties as a people, is not for the faint of heart. Idle talk, chatter and delusional blather may feed our inflated egos, however, the empty noise emanating from such rants has become the background music for the tragedies, which have become our lives.
The time for man-made remedies has come and gone. We don’t have the juice, desire nor power to transform our world into anything of substance. We are suffocating in a ‘malaise of consciousness,’ strewn with misunderstandings, old ideas and antiquated paradigms propping up remnants of an ego destroyed existence. Ingrained within our human nature is the tendency to repeat old patterns, expecting different results.
The consequences of a ‘grasping self-absorption and ignorance’ are predictable and demonstrative. Not until an accurate self-appraisal is completed; one able to sustain a data induced baseline, as our minds and institutions are re-tooled, making them capable of engineering and constructing viable options and solutions for the realities faced in our lives and world; not until then, will any authentic comfort and hope be a part of our existence.
The aforementioned court case had only one dissenting Supreme Court Justice. She stated: “By sanctioning a ‘shoot first, think later’ approach to policing, the court renders the protections of the Fourth Amendment hollow.” Unfortunately for those in agreement with her, you are outnumbered 8 to 1.
Courts provide law-enforcement officers with great latitude and leeway, covering a wide range of “‘immunized protections,” when it comes to exercising discretion and the use of deadly force. Conservation of one’s resources requires, for the most part, that we reserve our outrage and energies for an authentic opponent. An individual who has actually violated the law.
The house where the gunfight took place is surrounded by dense vegetation, concealing its view to any onlooker from the street. The backdrop to the deputies arriving on the scene that night, was one of an undeveloped vacant parcel of land.
There are a plethora of legitimate reasons as to why the deputies’ discretion caused him to approach the suspect’s vehicle upon it crashing.
Arm-chair quarterbacking, along with calling the play after the fact, will have their place during the debriefing process and investigation. Given the law; along with a detailed review of the conduct recorded via several videos, the deputies on the ground behaved with valor, restraint and purpose.