Pin It
Favorite

Building Up Trust 

Publisher's Note

The shootings of unarmed citizens by police just keep coming — Ferguson, Los Angeles, Pasco and now Madison. Sadly, they will keep coming, as the men and women who serve us in law enforcement are dealing with a more dangerous country. Mental illness is a common feature of these confrontations; a gun has become more of an expectation than a worry.

click to enlarge mcgregor.jpg

Better training and technology both hold promise for preventing these situations — body cameras are coming, and nonlethal weapons are gaining support. But what happens when a shooting does happen and the reasons are muddled? That's where transparency can help. Consider the events in Ferguson, Missouri, that launched a national discussion and fueled so much outrage. After the local jurisdiction and the federal government separately cleared Officer Darren Wilson, both Prosecutor Robert McCulloch and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder held press conferences; investigative reports were released to the public. Additionally, practically every Missouri public official spoke out.

Compare that to the report exonerating Spokane Police officers in the shooting of Stephen Corkery. Obviously these cases are very, very different — when a desperate man steps into the line of fire holding what looks like a gun, as Corkery did, police are justified in defending themselves. The difference we should focus on is in how the two events have been explained.

As reported in this week's cover story, Spokane was told late on a Friday, via a mistake-riddled press release, that the officers were cleared. The Prosecutor's office did not hold a press conference, and no investigative report was released. Trust was eroded when it could have been shored up. The officers involved certainly deserved more notice that they were doing their jobs correctly, and we, the citizens, deserve more, too.

We've been having this discussion since Otto Zehm was killed. And we've made progress. But communication has to improve, and it will if we...

- Stop blaming victims. One of the first things that seems to come out about a shooting victim is how he had a long record, or she was high. Those things will be part of any investigation, but to push that out as a first impression is prejudicial.

- Be transparent. Release the full investigative report and answer questions in an open forum.

If not corrected, this setback may recommend a new course. Perhaps the recent White House Task Force report is right and we do need a truly independent investigative apparatus for these cases. We should be able to do this locally, but we're not there yet.♦

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of , Publisher's Note

Readers also liked…

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

 

Comments are closed.

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays, Thursdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Continues through May 20

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • Health Connections
  • Health Connections

    Development: The business of health in Spokane is growing
    • Dec 4, 2017
  • Re-Energizing Earth Day
  • Re-Energizing Earth Day

    The eco-dream of the '90s is alive in the electric car
    • Apr 20, 2017
  • Good Old St. Al
  • Good Old St. Al

    Gonzaga's road to the Final Four started way earlier than 1999
    • Mar 30, 2017
  • More »

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation