As the women’s attorney told the Los Angeles Times: “The problem with the situation is it looked like the police had the goal of administering street justice and in so doing, didn’t take the time to notice that these two older, small Latina women don’t look like a large black man.” This could be written off as a sad fluke, except that 25 minutes later different officers opened fire on a different truck — once again getting key details wrong. Can’t officers at least check the license plate, and issue a warning, before opening fire?
“Nobody trains police officers to look for one of their own,” said Maria Haberfeld, a police-training professor at John Jay College in New York, according to the Web site News One. “I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes and I don’t think anybody else would.” We all understand the situation. But saying that we wouldn’t want to be “in their shoes” is no excuse for such dangerous behavior. The police wouldn’t excuse a member of the public for misusing a firearm, regardless of how stressed out that person felt.
News One also published the photograph of a gray Ford truck in the Los Angeles area with a hand-made “Don’t Shoot, Not Dorner, Thank You” poster on the back window. T-shirts and bumper stickers have popped up to similar effect. Those are funny in a dark way, but police ought to recognize how poorly this reflects on them and their strategies. It’s sad when people are more worried about the police than they are about a murderer on the loose.
It’s especially sad when they (or at least many of their leaders) declare that they should have a monopoly on “assault weapons.”