We’ve had a lot of bad days in America.
Here are a few principles I suggest we include in training materials moving forward.
Just because you have a gun, does not mean you get to shoot it, especially if you’re already constraining a man face down on the ground with the weight of 2+ grown men, presumably trained at detaining suspects, on top of him.
Just because you have a gun, does not mean you get to shoot it when a 12 year old boy is carrying a pellet gun through a park, or another child is carrying a bb gun.
Just because you have a gun, does not mean you get to shoot it when a man of color, a legal gun owner, reaches for his wallet.
Just because you have a gun and you get a little scared, does not mean you get to shoot it.
I beg law enforcement to reevaluate the screening process, the training, and the culture that currently exists in our police departments. I beg current law enforcement officers — the “good cops” — to report ill behavior from your fellow servicemen before they get a chance to brutalize someone. If you don’t, you’re only compromising your own ability to serve and protect. To do your job, the community must trust and value your service. Without mutual respect and dignity, we will never have peace.
And finally, I beg my friends, my family, my peers, and even strangers to speak out, stand up, and support each other. Silence cannot ignite change. Silence only excuses the status quo.
**It would be irresponsible for me to finish this statement without acknowledging the violence against police officers last night in Dallas. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. It should go without saying, but my support of #BlackLivesMatter does not equate to a hatred for police officers. The fact that I value black lives, does not take away from the value I assign to the lives of any other race. Violence, at the hands of anyone, is not the answer.