February 14, 2015 by David K. Sutton
VIDEO: Police Shoot Unarmed Man Dead For Throwing Rocks
As Bill Maher said on Real Time, there is something systemically wrong with policing in this country.
Police in Pasco, Washington were chasing a man (Antonio Zambrano Montes) on foot for allegedly throwing rocks at officers. The video below shows police shooting an unarmed Montes dead.
“Now that is just straight up shooting a guy in the street like a dog,” said Maher.
And you know what, I’m positive some members of my own family would likely display little sympathy for Montes, or the idea of a punishment fitting the crime. To them, it’s like this: “Hey, he was doing something wrong. Do I think he should die? Maybe not, but if he wasn’t doing something wrong, he wouldn’t be dead, and so I’m not losing sleep over this.” And I’ll never understand that attitude.
And I know it’s all-too-easy to say we don’t have the full context in this video, but regardless of what happened before this video started rolling, I fail to see any action by this man that warranted lethal force at the moment officers decided to render it. We need to remember that police officers are not tasked with issuing justice on the streets, they are tasked with upholding the law with the least force necessary. It is up to a judge and a jury to render a sentence, not armed officers in the streets. The punishment should fit the crime, and it should be carried out by court proceedings, not wild west antics on a public street, with bullets flying, only from the guns of those who are tasked with protecting and serving. And the fact that police officers have a dangerous job is a ridiculous response in support of the content in the video above. Yeah, sure, and if you can’t control yourself while doing this dangerous job, then maybe it’s not a job for you.
Now, it is right about this time that I’m supposed to say something like, ‘This video doesn’t represent most police officers, and that most police officers do a great job and deserve our respect.’ Well, it’s getting harder to make those kinds of statements about police officers when these events keep happening. And the only reason we know about this particular event is because it’s on video. How many situations like this happen that don’t get caught on video? I do believe most officers are great people trying to do their best, but of the many potential problems with policing in America, one of the biggest problems is that officers are held to a lower standard than you and I. It’s as if we give them a pass because they have a tough and dangerous job. But, the risk level of your job should not dictate the measures used to determine if you are doing the job correctly. The problem with police in America is that they don’t call out their own.
If a doctor fucks up, that doctor is not supported by a community of doctors around the country. If a doctor fucks up, that doctor is on his own. Not so with police. When police officers fuck up, the force and the police union have his back. And that is a huge problem. Because the default position of police forces around the country is one where accountability is non-existent, shoved aside in favor of camaraderie. When was the last time you heard an officer, police chief, or police union head say an officer “fucked up” in the line of duty? Never. It doesn’t happen.
“We, and even you Bill [Maher], are often fond of demanding that people in the Muslim world decry terrorism,” said Baratunde Thurston on Real Time. “A terrorist act happens, you need to separate yourself from that. I think the cops need to do that in situations like this.”
And this is where the anti-union (for all the wrong reasons) Republicans should call out police unions, but they won’t.