Is It Ever ‘OK’ For an Officer to Shoot an Unarmed Civilian?

Officer who shot mike brownThere are a lot of heated discussions surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teen shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this month (bringing back all-too-fresh memories of the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida).

While we have yet to know why Brown was shot, if there is a “reason” at all, we now know the identity of the officer and, thanks to an autopsy conducted on Sunday, the exact amount of times Brown was shot.

28-year-old Darren Wilson controversially put two bullets in Brown’s head and four more in his right arm while, according to witnesses and other reports, his hands were in the air, not holding or reaching for a weapon of any kind.

The incident has been a huge source of controversy for the nation and an absolute nightmare for the police in St. Louis, who are under even more scrutiny for tear gassing protestors, not to mention that the KKK are reportedly raising money in support of Wilson.

While everyone is wondering how and why this happened in the first place, I’m specifically wondering if there’s ANY circumstance where a member of the police force could shoot an unarmed civilian and not be ostracized by most of America.

Putting ourselves in the shoes of a cop and understanding what they deal with on a day-to-day basis is a start, but I find it very hard to see myself fatally injuring anyone who didn’t have a weapon and wasn’t attacking or threatening me, which is why, as a weird sort of optimist, I want to believe that there was some sort of reason, but what could it be?

Did Wilson feel like his life was in danger? He obviously didn’t pull the trigger by accident…

The only way it would be socially and jurisdictionally acceptable to shot is if you thought the suspect was armed. Say you tell someone to put their hands in the air and they do, but then they rapidly reach into their pocket, THAT seems like a “reason” to shoot, but not in the fucking head, and definitely not twice.

This wouldn’t be a story at all if Wilson had aimed for just Brown’s arm or kneecap, but he didn’t, and even with so many conflicting reports, like the one that Brown might have charged towards Wilson or assaulted him in his car, it’s hard not to think the worst.

Most suspect Mike Brown’s skin color had a lot to do with it, and anyone who reads the news knows how common shootings of this nature are. According to homicide reports delivered to the FBI, an astonishing two African-Americans are killed in the U.S. by white officers every 14 days. On the other hand, a friend of the six-year veteran of the police force insists Wilson is “not a racist” and “the last person you would expect to do something like this.”




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