Las Vegas’ recent rash of officers fatally shooting suspects has many people concerned, including Sheriff Bill Young, who recently appeared on Jon Ralston’s show, Face to Face.
For years the ACLU and other organizations have complained that Metro officers were always cleared of wrong doing in the shooting deaths of suspects. The standard argument has always been that the IAB investigations and Coroner’s Inquest were stacked in favor of cops. The assumption seemed to be that unless the suspect was armed with a machine gun and rampaging through a Station Casino bingo room, something else should have been done – something non-lethal.
Like a large percentage of the population, I’ve never had to face the decision on whether or not to take someone’s life. I have known several officers and soldiers who did have to make that decision, and I can tell you that it was not a decision they took lightly. It was also not a decision that left them unscarred; just the opposite. Each man and woman at Metro goes out on patrol knowing that they might not come home at the end of the shift. They also know that they might be the reason some family looses its father, brother or son. Neither thought is an easy one.
For everyone involved, I can only hope that the inevitable (and needed) scrutiny of these shootings will offer answers, but in these cases – as in so many that went before – I imagine the questions will always outnumber the answers.