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Atatiana Jefferson

Ms. Jefferson is the latest victim of a fraidy cat cop. The Fort Worth police are already trying to smear the deceased by releasing a photo of a gun they claim they found in the house where she died. Never mind that it was likely entirely legal for the occupants of a house in Texas to have a gun, or that the cops have shown zero connection between the gun and the woman who is now dead.

Mike Brown, the black man who died at the hands of a white police officer in 2014 and set off the current round of protest and attempts at discussion of this topic, was 150 feet away from Darren Wilson when Wilson fired at him. Brown was unarmed, as Wilson must have known at the time.

Tamir Rice, the twelve year old boy who died from a trigger happy cop in Cleveland, had a toy gun. We hear incessantly the cheap excuse that the toy gun lacked the orange cap that toy guns are supposed to have. Irrelevant. We know there was no gun fire before the cop shot because young Rice had a toy gun. He could not have shot anyone. The cop had no business shooting at him.

The only valid reason for any police officer to fire at anyone is to protect themselves or someone else from imminent harm.

We hear incessantly when the subject comes up that police officers have the right to protect themselves.

Obviously. No one has ever disputed that.

But it is impossible for any thinking person to deny that too many white police officers apparently see any black person as a lethal threat automatically, no matter how wildly implausible that claim may be.

Being a police officer is not a particularly dangerous occupation.

But anyone who wants to have an occupation that is free of danger should choose something other than being a police officer. The primary purpose of the job is to protect the public. Defend yourself, but not at the expense of law abiding citizens.

We have no reason to think that Ms. Jefferson was committing any crime. The circumstances strongly suggest otherwise. Reports indicate that she was playing a video game with her nephew immediately before the police officer shot her. Again, having a gun in the house itself was likely perfectly legal in Texas, and the police have shown no connection between the gun and the shooting.

Apparently a neighbor called the non emergency line to report that the front door at the house where Ms. Jefferson was had been open for an unusually long time and until an unusually late hour. Police responded and were investigating outside the house. At no point did any officer knock at the door or ring a doorbell, or in any way announce their presence. One officer saw Ms. Jefferson near a window and ordered her to raise her hands, firing his weapon moments later. You hear some fool yelling at you through a window at your house, what do you do? Go look to see who the fool is. That this is a reason for a cop to fire at the person inside the house is inconceivable.

This is inexcusable. At best, it is extremely poor police practice. The officers should have made their presence known and asked if anyone in the house needed their help. Lurking outside a house in the dark is obviously a very bad idea. Failing to announce themselves as police officers is a very bad idea. Firing into a house from outside is a bad idea.

Yes, police officers have the right to protect themselves, but they should work to avoid putting themselves in situations where they perceive threats.

Ms. Jefferson’s family members are obviously very angry about the situation and have hired a lawyer to represent them.

The cops need to come clean about this event and withhold no information about it. They need to allow an outside agency to conduct a thorough investigation. The police union will no doubt start to whine and try to cultivate sympathy for the cop.

A woman is dead.

And just to forestall the various slimy tactics cops use to attack the victims of their crimes, it doesn’t matter if an autopsy shows that she had any controlled substances in her blood. It doesn’t matter if she has a criminal record. It doesn’t matter if they find pot in the house. That’s not why the cops were there.

The cops screwed up.

The cop who shot her is guilty of manslaughter on the facts we have. He deserves the same due process as anyone else who doesn’t die in the streets at the hands of a trigger happy cop. He deserves a trial.

But it looks like manslaughter from here.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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