Alton Sterling: In Defense of Police

I just watched the video of police shooting Alton Sterling. It is very disturbing and unsettling. Another life has been taken which perhaps could have been avoided.

I wish Sterling had never threatened the homeless man with his gun just because he was annoyed with the man. Mistake #1. This is a serious problem. If you are ready to show your gun because you are annoyed, what would motivate you to shoot it?

The homeless man felt threatened and he told the police. The police responded thinking Sterling had threatened to use his gun. The 911 operator told them a person called and said Sterling had pulled a gun on him. After arrival, Sterling refused to cooperate with police probably because he knew they would find the gun on him and whatever else he had. Mistake #2 They told him to get on the ground at least twice. He didn’t. Mistake #3 They tased him, but he didn’t go down. So an officer grabbed him and struggled to get him to the ground. Once on the ground, the cop warned Sterling not to move or he would shoot him. So, from this we know that the cops never intended to shoot or kill Sterling In fact, they tried to subdue him without the use of a gun several times!

Sterling was not completely subdued yet since the officer told him not to move. Either one of the cops or a bystander yelled that Sterling had a gun. At this point, Sterling was shot. The gun was then removed from Sterling’s pocket.

The police believed Sterling may have a gun. Sterling knew he had a gun. My conclusion is the police gave Sterling several opportunities to submit without use of deadly force. Sterling refused. The police acted to protect themselves. Racism had nothing to do with this shooting, and I do not see this as murder.

Could things have been done differently along the way? Perhaps, but when you are in the situation and you believe your life is being threatened, you have to make a decision and make it quickly. This was a tragic and unfortunate situation that could have been avoided if Sterling had not threatened to shoot someone in the beginning. The cops should be allowed to return to work with the requirement that they review the tapes and discuss with others how they could have done things differently along the way if they could have. Also, go through some practice training by implementing the lessons they have learn if needed.