Another day, another black person senselessly killed by the police.
|Dubose holding his car door|
Tensing's version of events was a pack of lies about being dragged by Dubose's vehicle and needing to shoot to make him stop the car. Another officer who arrived on the scene after the fact even backed up Tensing's fabrications. Pretty amazing, since the second officer got there too late to see anything. I guess both cops forgot they were wearing body cameras.
The link is the video from Tensing's body camera:
"Asinine." "Totally unwarranted." "An absolute tragedy." "Senseless." "He purposely killed him." "[Tensing] never should have been a police officer." "Mr. Dubose did nothing violent at all." "This is without question a murder." "[Tensing] was not dragged." "You will not believe how quickly he pulls his gun and shoots him in the head. It's maybe a second." "This was a chicken-crap stop."
This may have been Joe Deters finest hour. For him, a prosecutor, to speak with such honesty and candor about a police-initiated shooting of an innocent citizen is pretty unusual these days. Deters skipped all the euphemistic bullshit and simply told the truth. He should be commended.
It's proof that Republicans can indeed do the right thing. They just don't do it enough.
Now we hear of data which shows that campus cops use force more frequently than municipal cops, and that more colleges are arming their officers. Deters says he believes that all college police departments should be abolished. He may have a point. Certainly at smaller schools, it's hard to see the need. I started college 43 years ago at a small liberal arts college in a small town. The college had no campus police whatsoever. A few years ago, my son went to the same place. There was now a campus police department with a chief and four or five officers, all heavily armed and dressed in SWAT-style, bad-ass black. Really?
Jurisdiction is an issue for college PD's. Generally, college cops hold sway over anything and anybody on campus, passing through campus, or fleeing from campus. And contiguous areas? It gets fuzzy. And some urban colleges -- UC is a good example -- are so embedded in the city itself that the very concept of "campus" is debatable.
And think about the sort of person who works as a college police officer. No one with aspirations of a law enforcement career envisions themselves patrolling the campus of, say, Otterbein College. By and large, campus cops are those who couldn't get hired anywhere else. But today's Barney Fifes have a small arsenal of military-grade weapons, not just the single bullet in the shirt pocket.
Growing up, my best friend and I often debated the issues of the day, in our mid-1960's, twelve year-old way. He skewed right. I went the other way (usually by conviction but sometimes just to piss him off!). He always said he wanted to be a policeman, and I always told him he was nuts and that he watched too much TV. I was sure he was just dazzled by all the trappings -- flashing lights, sirens, uniforms, badges -- and enticed by the instant authority of the sidearm and the nightstick. Dreams of growing up to be a cop are all about high-speed chases and getting the bad guys -- "Freeze, turkey!" -- not mundane stuff like directing traffic.
Despite my nay-saying, my friend followed his dream. He worked for a couple small town police departments before spending his entire career in the Ohio State University Police Department. He did his share of the mundane stuff, rose to lieutenant, and became a desk-jockey. At some point, it must have occurred to him that reality was nothing like Dragnet or Adam-12. He was OK with that and just did his job. He never shot anyone, and retired a couple years ago.
I wonder what he'd say about all this? I'll have to ask him.