It has been said more than once in the wake of increased police violence that a failure to properly train officers, especially on de-escalating a conflict, is at fault for many of the unjustified deaths in recent years.
How can we know that our officers should be held to a higher standard? You may argue that being an officer is a difficult job, and that they are justified in defending themselves at all costs. But let me give you context which might make things a bit more clear:
A protester taking part in the demonstrations in Charlotte, North Carolina this week explained that he is a U.S. veteran. Even in enemy territory while facing enemy combatants, he said he and his fellow soldiers would have never acted with such wanton disregard for human life as officers who have executed American citizens on U.S. soil.
Sage Lawson said that he was participating in the protest because he saw a massive discrepancy between how soldiers behave and how police officers behave.
“My biggest question to [police] is, ‘what is y’alls protocol?’ What makes you shoot a man who does not have a weapon in [his] hand? We don’t even have those rules over in Afghanistan and we’re at war. So you mean to tell me we can come home and do that to our own people, but I can’t do that in the country that we’re at war with?”
Lawson called for police forces to look into why their officers are acting out in such a war-like way.
“So either it’s the training or they need to start hiring new people.”
#CharlotteProtest: This soldier had a message for police – from one service member to another.
— Jess Ramirez (@jessmram) September 22, 2016