Dori: Police in officer-involved shooting were right to fire
The big controversy in Seattle these last couple days has been the officer-involved shooting on New Year’s Eve in the Licton Springs neighborhood, where Seattle police shot and killed a 36-year-old man.
Seattle police released the body cam footage, which you can view here (warning: graphic content). Thank goodness for body cam footage for a bunch of reasons. First of all, it protects the cops if it was a good shoot. It is very difficult to watch this video and think that it was somehow not a righteous shoot.
These are cops who were chasing a guy with a loaded gun in his hand. According to police, Iosia Faletogo pulled the gun — which was later found to be stolen — on the cops after a traffic stop. After the shooting, he was found to be carrying illegal drugs and $1,160 in cash. In the video, you can hear the cops repeatedly tell him, “Drop the gun; if you do not comply, we will have to shoot you.”
I see nothing in that video that would suggest to me that this was a bad shoot in any way. Even if you get pulled over with a stolen gun and drugs, and realize you’re going to go away, you’re still going to be alive if you make the right decisions when you encounter the cops. And everything in this story seems to have been predicated by really bad decision-making on the part of the guy who ended up getting fatally shot.
The family members of the man killed in the officer-involved shooting are claiming that this was a bad shoot and never should have happened. But for these cops, you’ve got to understand — they want to go home at the end of their shift.
Everyone is talking about how the guy who got shot was a father of two. A lot of these cops have kids too, and they’re not carrying around drugs and stolen guns. How many of us can begin to understand what it’s like to not know if you’ll be able to go home to your family after a shift at work?
We can have such a powerful anti-cop mentality around here, and it starts at the very top. It starts with Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who called cops who were exonerated from a previous officer-involved shooting murderers. It is a despicable way to treat the people who protect the public and just want to go home to their loved ones.
It’s horrifying when you realize the lack of support that our officers have. They literally lay down their lives to try to protect us, and yet we do not give them our support.
We’ve seen a lot of de-policing going on in Seattle because of this lack of support. With the de-policing, crime goes up. The chaos of situations like this are brought about by people with drugs and weapons encountering the police.
I’m sure we will continue to hear a lot of vilification of the police officers involved. No doubt Faletogo’s family members will be filing lawsuits and telling us how this guy was just starting to turn his life around. The people who make a living out of agitating events like this are already busy laying out the groundwork to once again make the cops the bad guys.
In a situation like this, if you simply don’t have stolen guns and illegal drugs to begin with, and comply with the cops, you’re not going to get killed.