March 28, 2008

Editorial:

San Diego Police Gone Wild – Again

What started out as a case of road rage, as de-scribed in recent news reports, escalated into a life and death situation! A man with a gun fired five shots hitting a woman and her child. Under normal circumstances the man would have been arrested for attempted murder. But these aren’t normal circumstance; this particular man was an off duty San Diego Police Officer, Frank White!

The incident took place in a shopping mall parking lot. From what we have read one car cut off another; there was no accident. These incidents happen all the time, you usually cuss under your breath, sometimes a driver will yell at the other, and most of the time the drivers will move on, just another day in our crowded and hurried lives.

On rare occasions, though, these incidents get ugly and apparently this is what happened Saturday, March 15. The drivers stopped and were yelling and screaming at each other and then this off duty police officer pulled out his firearm, got out of his car and shot five times into the woman’s car hitting the woman twice in the arm and her 8-year-old son in the leg! This is the woman’s version of the incident. The police officer’s side of the story has not been disclosed.

What we do know is that the woman was tested for drugs and alcohol, while there was no testing for drugs or alcohol on the police officer. The police officer is free.

We also know that San Diego Police Officers are comfortable in the knowledge that no criminal charges have ever been brought against an officer by San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dum-anis. Dumanis has determined that every police officer shooting has been justifiable.

The most recent cases involved the city of Vista where six deputy-involved shootings in which the victims were young, Latino, male, and unarmed. At least two of the deputies have been involved in multiple shooting incidents. In one five-day period in 2006 there were three unrelated fatal shootings by deputies of Latino males. One of the persons shot was likely mentally ill and was killed for throwing a dumbbell at a deputy. Two others were shot while running away. All were unarmed.

Police officers have the ultimate authority in the use of deadly force. With this authority comes the ultimate responsibility in their use of deadly force. There are rules and regulations in place as to when a police officer fires his gun. It is also the responsibility that all police officers to have the training, experience, and common sense in their use of deadly force. Common sense clearly seems to be missing in this shooting.

This should have never become an incident. This is a picture of a man who lost control and is lucky that he only wounded the woman and her son. If this woman had been killed or worse yet her innocent son killed over this, it is unthinkable and could have been tragic beyond reason.

The ball is now in Bonnie Dumanis’ court, she is going to have to determine if this action was justifiable. We are anxious to see how Dumanis handles this case.

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