Please Shoot Me in the Leg Once Before Killing Me

Body Cam Murder Footage

The shooting of unarmed Black guys is nothing new. As a student, I witnessed riots nearly 20 years ago over the shooting death of teenager Timothy Thomas. This spawned a riot in the city. I rode the bus to work the next day, although we had no customers that day. I was called “white devil” incessantly on that trip to work. The officer now still work in law enforcement in the suburbs.

The death of Fredy Gray at the hands of police garnered the same response over a decade later. This feels like it’s getting old. In Cincinnati Ohio, the shooting of Samual DeBose brought light to this problem again. The shooting takes place about 3 minutes into the video. What leads up to it and how Officer Ray Tensig wasn’t charged with a crime is no mystery.

In 2017, an unarmed man was shot by an officer for holding a cell phone. The footage is graphic, and the evidence pretty damning.

Video after video of what seems to be police getting away with murder. The way that repetitive negative reporting has hurt the image of the young black man is now creating the same inaccurate image of the police. Body cams and cell phones have brought a powerful microscope to the behavior of the boys in blue. The Rodney King beating that birthed the L.A. riots was contained on a single videotape. Now we watch police officers unload the entire clip as soon as it happens. In a nation of amateur press, there are few supperessive barriers from phone to front-page.


Warning Shots?

The real issue I have with this behavior is the lack of control in dangerous situations. In Ohio, if you shoot someone below the knee, you avoid attempted murder charges. A neighbor of mine has been shot in the leg 7 times during 3 robberies. The criminals placed their bullets carefully with the repercussions in mind. Where is this behavior in the police? You can immobilize a threat without shooting 5 times. Remember the warning shot? The rules of engagement for law enforcement are not the same rules applied to insurgents in warfare. Military age brown and black people are not enemies or terrorists. Procedure and training may need an overhaul.

Video Needs Context

The video below shows an unarmed man being gun downed, and if you don’t know what happened, this looks bad. The man who was murdered in this video had allegedly shot at police. He is described as going on a meth-fueled crime spree. Still, the fleeing man was of no immediate threat to the officer, though he was a danger to the public. This shooting was likely justifiable, but the video alone warrants a different image.

There is one sure-fire way for all of this to stop: the police could try to use deadly force as a last resort. Maybe a single shot to the leg would be a good start. I have yet to see that video.

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