T Nation


Guys, let’s step back a minute here. It seems to me that what you’ve got here is probably a combination of unfortunate circumstances and bad policing that led to tragedy.

The police get a tip about a crime that never occurred, stop a car (not clear whether there was really probable cause or not), cuff the occupants/suspects (who apparently were actually the putative victims of the crime that never happened), and shoot their dog. Frankly, I don’t see how one gets from leaving a wallet on the hood of a care – a really stupid move, by the way - to a robbery, but let’s leave that for another discussion.

What’s wrong with this picture? Plenty, in my view. Like some of the other posters, I certainly sympathize with the tight-sphincter factor of being a cop. However, that doesn’t give police a license to run roughshod over every citizen they come in contact with. The police also have to know that some tips they get are WRONG and that they have to act with care in case that is the case, as it apparently was here.

It’s easy to excuse the police, after all it was “only” a dog, but the fact is that there have been a number of instances in the past couple of years here in the DC area where authorities stopped the wrong cars and shot and killed people who had done absolutely nothing. When we start excusing those kinds of “accidents” and “mistakes,” we pretty well give the police license to kill with impunity. (Those who live in the DC metro area will no doubt recognize Prince Georges County, Maryland as one of the jurisdictions where this happens a lot.)

I don’t know all the circumstances of this stop, and I can’t judge what happened based on the limited facts available, but if stress among law enforcement officers is an excuse for shooting anything that moves, as some of you seem to advocate, then we have a real problem in this country. The police have to be accountable for their actions. If one is not allowed to question whether they acted properly, then we leave open the door for more and more bad policing.

The extreme pro- and anti-cop views on this thread are really bothersome to me. There are good cops, and there are bad cops. The way to find out which kind these were is to have a real investigation of the incident, and, if they were out of line, take away their badges and weapons.