Among the tens of thousands of civil rights violations every year, less than 1,000 result in death of a citizen. That risk is always present when police powers are combined with weapons in the hands of an officer who does not place the civil rights of citizens first. These tragic deaths are the high profile cases that get attention from media and those who demand justice.
The violations are so serious, and the holes in communities and families are permanent, so we must acknowledge these violations and strive to reduce the likelihood of future violations.
Consider two citizens shot and killed by police officers, and observe the similarities:
- Mr. Ryan Whitaker, Phoenix, AZ, May 2020
- Mr. Andre Hill, Columbus, OH, Dec 2020
Both men were shot and killed by officers within just a few seconds of being approached. In neither case is a crime identified by officers before they killed the gentlemen. The two officers involved decided to use appallingly bad judgment, with fatal consequences.
Mr. Ryan Whitaker made salsa and was playing an exciting video game with his girlfriend, enjoying a night at his residence in the Phoenix, AZ police jurisdiction. A busybody neighbor upstairs called 911, complained of "noise", which is nothing serious, and then falsely claimed there could be a physical altercation: "It could be physical, I could say, yeah, if that makes anybody hurry up". Officers even commented on this bogus claim as they approached. Yet officers shot Mr. Whitaker in his doorway mere moments after he opened the door, killing him in front of his girlfriend.
Mr. Andre Hill was visiting friends at their home in Columbus, OH just before Christmas. He was working on a car late one evening when a busybody neighbor called 911 to complain about a car 'starting and turning off'. That is not even a crime, and it certainly should not have merited a response. However, bored officers arrived and approached Mr. Hill as he was standing in the open garage door with his cell phone in hand, shooting and killing him within 10 seconds of approach.
You can search the names and cities to find several stories about these gentlemen, and videos. There are several other Tragic Shootings you can find with a quick search, including the ridiculously outrageous body cam video of the killing of Mr. Daniel Shaver in Mesa, AZ in 2016 as he pleaded for his life while complying with incredibly disrespectful and pointless commands.
Let's think about these cases before calling 911, people. Granted, there is no excuse for hostile police officers to murder citizens. Yet think: What is a real crime? Lives could be at risk. Live and let live.
Observe, there is nothing "institutional" or "systemic" about these incidents. They were the result of appallingly bad judgment by the individual officers involved. The officers are responsible for the decisions they made and for their actions.
Observe too that we citizens provide weapons to officers and grant them police powers to "protect and serve". Yet officers are still human, subject to making errors in judgment, and mistakes - intentional, inadvertent or negligent.
Our courts must protect our civil rights and provide justice when mistakes and errors are made.
- Phoenix approved a settlement of $3Million in the wrongful death of 40 year old Ryan Whitaker.
- Columbus approved a settlement of $10Million in the wrongful death of 47 year old Andre Hill.
These are acknowledgments of violation of civil rights by the communities. There are additional avenues of justice in our courts that could impose judgment against the officers individually for horrifying decisions they made of their own free will.
Only justice in our courts will bring safety to our streets. Hence we have issued The Supreme Court Challenge!
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons...shall not be violated."
- US Constitution, 4th Amendment