AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
People walk through the streets after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. Brown's shooting has sparked more than a week of protests, riots and looting in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

'Stop Killing Us!' Cops Have a Shoot-First Problem, And Not Just in Ferguson

Sonny Skyhawk

Some Native people can relate to what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri. Cities across America like Rapid City, South Dakota; Gallup, New Mexico; and Minneapolis, Minnesota; just to name a few, are like tea kettles on a hot stove, ready to blow steam. I by no means condone violence. But when you disrespect, mistreat and oppress people long enough, things are going to blow up. The proliferation of militaristic police forces has reached the cities and suburbs of America.

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Men and women who have served in conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan have come home, joined our police forces and now mirror those tactics against the very people whom they fought for. When you consider their training, and that they are constantly on patrol, practice shooting diligently, and practice their strongarm tactics on prisoners in the jail system, it's no wonder they internalize that methodology of dealing with aggressors. And the public is the worse for it. When you watch the evening news, it becomes harder to differentiate between the police and our military forces at war in foreign countries.

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We need to return to the days when police walked a beat, were respected, and returned that respect to the members of their communities. Oh, I know we have some bad people out there, but that is not whom I am referring to; I am referring to people who are just in the wrong place, at the wrong time or situation. Police today are too quick to shoot. There are too many "justifiable" killings, and too many people dying because it "looked" like they were reaching for a weapon, instead of their cell phone. We need to regroup as a society, before we become the "killing fields" of America.

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I am not anti-police. I regret that we have the largest number of police officers being killed in the line of duty, along with the largest number of innocent people dying. Something is wrong, police are afraid of losing their lives, so they shoot first and apologize later. Senseless situations like that of Michael Brown happen much too often lately, and there seems to be no end or solution in sight.


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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
For the longest time the Japanese had what seemed the ideal solution to these shoot first, make excuses later tactics police departments are using these days. A police officer was assigned to patrol his own neighborhood and his neighbors were encouraged to call him day or night with concerns. Not that the Japanese are gun-toting killers like many Americans, but I'm guessing a police officer might be a little more reluctant to shoot an 18 year old he saw grow up.

tmsyr11's picture
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
Growing up on a REAL-DEAL indian reservation (that i consider to be one of hte poorest), we can cops/officers, i.e. Public Safety to maintain and/or provide some reasonable assurance of property protection and assert control over the out of control Drugs, Rez Gangs, and Alcohol infractions. My parents and their property could use some of those 'agressive' tactics by this 'military police' on especially the Rez Gangs who have a CHOKEHOLD on the community/village - no officials in the local Tribal Government have no real concerns. But of course for many posers on the board, typing from a Starbuck Coffee Shop really is a luxury for the great, great majority of Indian reservation dwellers who experience the realities otherwise. They are the survivors and live while the too many just assume, talk, and carry innuendo for political motives.

hammertime's picture
Submitted by hammertime on
I wonder how many white people got killed by the police this month across the USA?? I would guess that the police probably shot dead a few dozen whites last month,,, and they were probably justified in doing so... wether it be a home invasion , a store robbery, domestic dispute.. or a drug bust.. I would be willing to bet that white cops shoot dead young white people all the time... but I dont have the numbers to say how many whites were killed this week............................. I dont know how many black youths shot dead other black youths this week either......I would guess just in Chicago probably 30 or more died this week alone.. But you dont hear much about that because somehow that is different., killing one another every night is considered normal. Its ok to kill one another as long as the police are not getting involved. I really dont understand any of this and I would like someone to explain it to me if they can.....So why is it "open hunting season" on blacks killing each other in every city across the USA.?? Then one white cop shoots someone going after his gun and everyone goes nuts???? ............. There was another victim in all this that everyone forgot about.... The store clerk and his store... He simply called the police about a robbery at his store... I believe that he was thanked by the rioters looting and burning down his store....The loss of his property and livelyhood dont matter either to the folks that are spinning this story for their own political needs........ .

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
When police can justify tazing an 8 year old girl, they can certainly justify shooting an 18 year old boy. Certainly those claiming we should wait for the full story are right, but the fact remains that minorities often suffer discrimination when it comes to encounters with the police. This isn't a political problem it's a human problem.