A few days ago, a 13 year old autistic was shot by Salt Lake City Police who had been summoned by his mother. Golda Barton called Police when her son Linden Cameron started to have a meltdown. After they arrived, Linden bolted and was shot several times. Barton is now livid and wants to know why the officers did not first use rubber bullets or tasers before firing live ammunition.
The scenario of U.S. Police officers jumping straight to excessive violence is now a cliché. Far too often, when responding to a call, the action is shoot first and ask questions later. This is particularly true when black people are involved, as the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake (among others) know all too well. Whenever I see a news story about a police officer shooting someone, it’s from the U.S. A hugely disproportionate ratio of police shootings occur there. In every other democracy, police hardly ever kill.
There is also a complete failure in the U.S. to hold police officers to account. In George Floyd’s case, two of the officers had multiple complaints against them. They should have been either dismissed or very closely supervised, yet they weren’t.
During the recent “Black Lives Matter” protests, Police Departments have made statements about what happened, only for actual camera evidence to prove the comments false, or even outright lies. This raises the question of how long has this lying been going on.
The slogan “defund the police” has been bandied about. The proposal is to cut police funding and use it on things like mental health awareness, and less aggressive means of dealing with situations. The hope is that fewer interactions will end in tragedy. Whatever is done, it can not be denied that the situation in the U.S. needs to change. Too many people are needlessly dying from disproportionate violence by the Police.