Ok. I’ve had a few folks ask me my opinion on the BART shooting. I’ve thought about whether or not to post about it because it has nothing to do with my assignment as a Motor and isn’t my department. Although it obviously strays from my original intent for this blog, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done that so here’s my opinion. It didn’t take me long to come up with it, so don’t be shocked. Ready?
Dude fucked up. End of story.
Or at least that should be the end of the story, but the community and the all-knowing media have a different opinion, so I shall be a bit more specific with mine…as well as my opinion of the aforementioned community and media.
Let’s get one thing straight first. I wasn’t there. But then again, neither were you. I have a decade of training and experience in law enforcement. You, most likely, do not (with obvious exceptions for my brothers/sisters on the job). I am not interested in starting a dialogue about what you think about my opinion. It is my opinion. Do I seem defensive? Fucking-A right I am. Know why? Because when shit like this happens, the people I and those like me have sworn to defend sometimes turn on us. So, let me say again. I wasn’t there. I didn’t shoot anybody. However, having more than earned my credentials on this job, I can offer a much more accurate assumption as to the incident itself. We’ll get to the fallout later.
Initially, I had assumed the Officer had his weapon out and made the mistake of not indexing his finger. For those of you unfamiliar with firearms that means keeping your finger off the trigger and extended along the barrel to prevent AD’s (accidental discharge). Turns out, I was incorrect. It appears the Officer made the fatal mistake of pulling his duty weapon instead of his Taser. How can I say that, you ask? Go to youtube and watch the dozens of videos. Every cop’s reaction on that platform was “Oh, shit!”
Let’s stop and think about this for a minute. There’s a train load of citizens (read: witnesses) stopped on the platform. There’s six or so cops on the platform. There’s three or four detainees on the platform. Do you honestly think for one second that Officer said to himself, “I’m gonna shoot this guy.”? Come on. I can’t tell you the number of reminders I get about the number of cell phone/video cameras out there.
This was a horrible, tragic mistake. Should the Officer be held to answer for it. Hell yes. Did he commit murder? Look up the penal code and you tell me. Section 187 thru 199 deal with murder and manslaughter.
No one cares about this Officer and what he’s going through. He killed a man. That affects you. We are not perfect. We are human. We make mistakes. Does that mean we deserve death threats to our families? Our two month old children? Again, I am not excusing what happened. Accidents happen. There is a reason they are called accidents.
“He should have known better.” Probably. Hard to argue that. A little perspective, though. Not everyone that is on this job can handle this job. You know that guy or girl that works with you, maybe gets paid more than you, that is a complete fuck moron? We’ve got them too. I’m not saying this Officer was that guy, but I don’t know the man. I know he was a “two year veteran”. An oxymoron if ever there was one. BART’s training program 18 months long. That means that after you graduate the academy, you get 18 months of OJT (on the job training). That is to say, this Officer was on his own for six months after completing FTO (field training). I’ve always been told you need to be in patrol for a minimum of five years to really and truly be a well rounded, experienced officer. I whole-heartedly buy that.
Guess what, folks…police officers have the same rights everyone else does. Just like you, we have the fifth amendment right to not incriminate ourselves. That’s why he quit, so he couldn’t be compelled by his department to make a statement. Any defense attorney worth a shit (man this post if just full of oxymorons) will tell you it was the right move for him to resign.
You want a black/white bottom line for this? You might not like it, but here it is. If that kid hadn’t have been fighting (with either the other detainees or the cops) and had followed lawful orders from the police, he’d be alive. But, oh no, he was a choir boy (as reported by the news) and a good father. In the last two weeks, I’ve only heard one news station report (and only once on that station) that the deceased was an ex-con. He apparently did some time for running from the police and was found with a firearm. Hmmm…choir boy. Sure.
So, my official opinion is that it was a tragic accident. I don’t believe the Officer intended to shoot the deceased at all. By the same token, I’m glad he is no longer a cop. We can’t afford to make mistakes like that. We’ve now had two weeks to quarterback what happened. Any officer will tell you we have a split second to make life and death decisions. It isn’t easy. The pressure and responsibility is enormous.
I’ll continue later with my opinion on the Aftermath…prepare for sailor-esque commentary. Won’t be pretty…