Re: “Letters,” May 16-22, 2021 page 6A:
I appreciated Mr. Fenton’s attempt to provide a balanced article addressing the disproportionate number of police shootings involving Black victims. However, I was disappointed that it ended by shifting blame on to victims for “disobeying police commands.”
I was even more disappointed by a subscriber’s response in a letter published the very next week that recklessly claiming the “black men that have been killed by police were resisting arrest, had long police records and were under the influence of illegal drugs.” Not only is this completely irrelevant and full of false statements, but it completely misses the point.
None of these things justifies murdering someone. Should we teach our children to respect authority? Of course! But we should also teach our children that taking someone’s life is not a justified response to disobedience. I would hope that if a parent were to murder their child for disobedience, the public outcry would not be “Well, the child shouldn’t have misbehaved.”
We pay our police officers to protect and serve. In doing so, we elevate them into a position of public trust that requires a heightened sense of duty and responsibility. Rather than blaming the victims, our focus should be on training our police officers to deescalate dangerous situations, avoid using unreasonable force and hold them accountable when they fail to do so.