Toxic Nation: Police Targeted

Toxic Nation: Police Targeted

Anne Hirschfeld, Reporter

In a span of five days, seven police officers were killed in Texas and Michigan combined. But the two attacks happened just days after the death of Philando Castile caused by police in Minnesota. The separate incidents leaving the public in protests and fear.


On July 6th, Philando Castile was driving in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, with his fiancé and her daughter, when he was pulled over for a broken taillight. Once the caucasian officer approached his car, he stated the issue and that he needed to see Castile’s license and registration. Castile went on to inform the officer that he was registered to a “Conceal and Carry” permit; but as he went to reach for the information the officer asked for, he was shot four times by the officer. His fiancé, Diamond Reynolds, started a Facebook Live video and showed her dying fiancé as well as the officer who escalated the incident. In the video she states, “You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.” When watching the video, it’s clear that Reynolds remains quite calm and within hours, the video went viral. In the following day’s, protests happened around the country in support, especially for the Black Lives Matter organization.


In Dallas, five officers were killed and seven others were injured by a sniper in late evening of July 8th–the sniper was killed by police. According to the CNN article “It’s on us, America,” written by Roxanne Jones, the suspect said “he wanted to killed white people, especially white officers, due to recent police shootings.” Once the shooter was identified, it was known that he was African American and once the police searched his home, they found his journal. According to a live interview done by CNN with Dallas Police chief, David Brown, he stated that the suspect had written something in blood at the location of where he started the attacks. What was written is unknown to the public, but it was said he wrote the letters “R” and “B.” Dallas police are still investigating and trying to piece the puzzle together.


In Michigan, two bailiffs were killed as well as the shooter, leaving two others injured–the attack occurred outside a courthouse is Berrien County on July 11th. According to the Fox News article “Two bailiffs, gunman dead at Michigan courthouse,” written by Matthew Dean, Chad Pergram, and The Associated Press, an inmate broke lose and stole an officer’s gun. The attack is still under investigation.


Arrowhead officer and Waukesha county police deputy Pete Freyer says, “For [Dallas Officers] to lose their lives due to situations they had nothing to do with, and even before those other cases have been investigated and determined to be proper or improper uses of force, is a travesty. That type of violence and killing by one, does nothing but delegitimize the good intentions of the many who are looking for positive results. It also makes officers much more uneasy while out doing our jobs. Most officers simply want to work hard to protect our communities.”


He continued on saying “As a fellow police officer, I always hope that the officer making decision to use deadly force, made the only decision he/she had available based on the circumstances and to save lives. I think that communities are far too quick to rush to judgement based on what they see on a video or negative perceptions they have. Video can be helpful but it usually only shows a small part of the entire situation. There is no video that can take the place of what an officer is seeing, hearing, or perceiving about a situation when he/she gets involved.”


Freyer says,“And that officer may only have milliseconds to make a decision he/she may have to live with the rest of their life.  Officers DO NOT want to shoot and hurt or kill ANY person, but we are given the authority to do so if we believe others or the officer might suffer great bodily harm or death and all options are exhausted.  Before judgement is made after a shooting of ANY PERSON, communities should let the investigation be completed. If an officer acted outside of their authority and for unacceptable reasons, then they should be held accountable as any other person should be. If they acted within their authority and it was a justifiable use of force, then the officer and the community should be able to move on peacefully.”


Freyer went on to explain what the public should do if something like this happened in a local community, stating, “If an officer involved shooting happens in our communities (Waukesha County), and it does happen, I would want the people to let the process work. Let the matter be fully investigated, and get all the facts before rushing to judgement on the officer or the other person involved. There are checks and balances in place, and if we let them work, they usually do. And people need to accept decisions they may not agree with or like.” He continued on to explain what someone should do if they disagree with something from an investigation for a crime like a police shooting or police involved shooting–“If a person doesn’t like a decision, then they should ask questions and learn why the decision was made, not become violent or disruptive and cause further problems or deepening of negative perceptions. I sincerely respect Americans rights to protest, voice opinions, and have checks and balances for authority positions, but I also think there is responsibility for communities to let ALL the facts emerge and let the system work before rushing to judgement on any single person or profession.”