So the alternative media (internet) has pointed out that the dude shot in Minneapolis, Philando Castile, was carrying a gun, and that the officer had a good reason to be twitchy, as he had pulled the car over because the driver somewhat resembled a person of interest for a robbery that had occurred 4 days before....
I don't buy it.
Now, a couple of points: I have been pulled over and questioned by police because I resembled a dude who had actually SHOT at officers. They were firm, polite and professional, if a bit tense. They knew and understood that I might not have been the guy they were looking for. Make no mistake, I could have been shot that night, but they were't hair trigger cocked and locked waiting for me to move wrong so they could shoot me. (but had I done something stupid, I might well have been perforated). I am just glad I didn't sneeze.....
The presence of a gun, by anyone, black or not, is not a reason for a cop to shoot anyone (were that the case, then cops themselves should be shot by every armed citizen that sees them, doncha think?) . Nope, until the pistol is grasped and POINTED, or at least moved towards the cop, the cop has no reason to be shooting anyone. Just because the pistol is in view is not a valid reason to shoot. Draw from the holster? Maybe even point it at the person they have pulled over? Perhaps...... But shoot just because the gun is seen (and remember, announced at the start of the traffic stop)....?
I am all about officer safety. I would like to see each cop go home safe and uninjured at the end of every shift. But if the officer has that thought in mind only, even up to shooting innocent (and remember, until there is reasonable evidence that the dude did commit the robbery, he is innocent) people because he "felt threatened" because there was an announced firearm in the car, then he shouldn't be a cop. If his fear overrides all else, if he will shoot someone just because there is a gun in the car and because the person he is afraid of doesn't sit still like a statue, then he shouldn't be a cop....in fact, he shouldn't be allowed to carry a gun at all, ever.
Now, having said that, I wasn't there. I didn't see what happened prior to the start of the video. I didn't see what Philando Castile did to make the officer put 4 in his torso....but I gotta say, no matter how you slice this, it looks bad. Very bad.
Vague resemblance to the description of a robber from 4 days ago. Black male, wide nose, dreadlocks.
In car with family....child in backseat.
Officer is told up front there is a firearm in the car.
Dude moves when told to freeze, but also was told to show ID conflicting orders? Dunno. Still not a reason to shoot him unless he places hand on gun and draws it or attempts to. Yeah, I know, it can all happen in a second and all that. Still...
Nope, I, who am more than likely gonna give the cops the benefit of the doubt in most cases, can't do so this time.
I've been there. My officers stepped back, and (with drawn pistols, mind you) asked (ordered) me to open the door from the outside with my left hand and step out with my hands in plain view....(and remember, this was 20 minutes AFTER (and 10 miles away from) when some dude who looked like me and was driving a similar vehicle had SHOT at an officer....they asked me to turn around and then they removed the pistol from my holster....then they investigated who I was and where I was coming from. Much more professionally done, and much safer for all of us..... They gave clear directions and I followed them. They were tense but calmly professional....Not scared shitless because someone else had a firearm....Maybe because I am white, but I really don't think so....more because they were professional and smarter about the whole thing.... I'm glad, 'cause I didn't end up dead. Or shot.
I think Officer Jeronimo Yanez was afraid, overreacted and shot a man by mistake.