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Friday, May 26, 2017

Opinion

Staff editorial: No justice. No peace.


For the past year, we have seen our country divided over minority deaths at the hands of negligent police officers.

Police have gunned down young boys like Tamir Rice, and men like Philando Castile have died in front of children. More recently, Terence Crutcher was fatally shot after his vehicle stalled in the middle of the road and police, who were in pursuit of someone else, came upon him.

We must place the value of human life above all else. This isn’t about black versus white or a “race war.” This is about holding the bad seeds of law enforcement accountable.

UH Police Department and the Houston Police Department need to set a precedent to serve and protect all citizens despite the color of their skin. Together with the UH community, we can set an example for the rest of the country and make this change.

An alleged thief, murderer and drug dealer all deserve their day in court. Police officers who take the law into their own hands or treat innocent men like criminals need to be stopped. Officer Betty Shelby has been charged with first-degree manslaughter for killing Crutcher in what authorities are calling a “heat-of-passion” shooting.

Shelby was on paid leave before the charges were filed.

On Wednesday, a Louisiana judge released a video from September 2015 showing two officers firing 18 rounds into a car and killing a 6-year-old boy. The officers involved in the shooting have been charged with second-degree attempted murder and second-degree murder.

Officers constantly act in situations in which they have to make split-second decisions. It’s important for an officer to know that fatally shooting someone without cause will lead to a conviction and not a slap on the wrist.

The military have their own escalation-of-force policies that must be strictly followed or the soldier is reprimanded to the fullest extent. It doesn’t matter if the soldier shoots a civilian by mistake or with malice — if the death was not warranted then they are stripped of their duties and are punished if found guilty of negligence. These punishments often include the loss of rank and the forfeiture of pay.

Our police have started to look more and more like the military from the weapons they carry to the vehicles they ride in. The old blue uniform has been traded in for body armor and the 9mm is swapped for an M4 or shotgun. We must raise the standard of our escalation-of-force policies along with everything else. This is the only way to help everyone and save lives.

The police are a valued and necessary part of our society, and we respect and give thanks for their service. But we must all become accountable and discipline those officers who shoot innocent people. Let’s punish those who commit murder and praise those who protect and serve.

Lethal force should only be used if a suspect poses a serious threat to the officer or another individual. Men like Crutcher deserve better and they will only get it when there’s change.

It’s time we work together as a community to recognize these issues. It’s time for a difference in our society and no more senseless violence and death.

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  • CJ

    Come on Daily Cougar staff, please do better than this. You all can go ahead and toss in your one line about respecting and thanking police officers, but common sense informed people will see right through that. You don’t respect law enforcement, you judge entire departments and a whole profession based on what you see on CNN or read in huffington post. You claim to want the community to make a change, but I bet there’s a zero percent chance the daily cougar editors will be writing a piece anytime soon about breakdown of family values, drug problems, skipping school and lack of respect for rules and laws that contributes to these problems. The issue you speak of has many sides. Either you can’t see more than one, or you are willfully ignoring it because it doesn’t fit the mindset you pander to. It’s pretty convenient that you cry out for social justice and people to be judged as individuals not as a group, but you do exactly that to law enforcement.

    Houston and University of Houston police need to serve and protect all citizens? What is it that tells you they don’t? Officer Shelby (Who is from a different state) was placed on paid leave prior to charges because the law affords a presumption of innocence and they had to get the facts first, not because of some racist conspiracy.

    Don’t complain about the so called “militarizing” of police without considering WHY they need the equipment. Body armor protects them from rioters who want to hurt them. Shotguns have been standard issue for many decades. Armored vehicles protect the passengers in high risk warrants, riots and risky situations. This is practical equipment.

    “It’s important for an officer to know that fatally shooting someone without cause will lead to a conviction and not a slap on the wrist.” You think they don’t know that already? These officers who act wrongly are being charged with serious crimes. If you don’t like the outcomes of trials your problem is with the judicial system, not the police.

  • Bobocefus Jones

    The Cougar Editorial Board obviously think the UH Readers of this Blue Dress “STAIN OF A PUBLICATION” are blithering idiots.

    OH …. Five (5) Dead … 46 wounded in Chicago BTW, a light weekend.
    No LOVE LOST by the CEB for the BLACK LIVES there, but the COPS are called every name in the book.

    With media reputations at all time lows … we get today’s CEB Progressive Brown Nosed offering in the last days of the 2016 campaign. It’s a misguided attempt to shape campus public opinion, and continues the narrative that all Police are evil.

    I wonder what’s next … that Cops should only use rubber bullets? Or always let the thugs have the first shot?

    And I wouldn’t be SURPRISED if by the end of the week … UHPD COPS are SPAT UPON … for all the GINNED-UP HATE for cops contained in this TRIPE of a piece.

    The media thinks it can shape public opinion, and this is the DC’s attempt. All Democrats are desperate. From the hub-bub over Trump Tax Returns, to outright illegal publishing of several pages of an actual tax return from 1995. They are desperate.

    The negative press against Donald Trump is probably worse than it was back in the 1800’s, and since the media thinks that Sander’s BASEMENT DWELLERS, and HOPELESS are 100% behind them. They show no shame in their outright support of Hillary Clinton.

    But one thing stands out … no media corrupt attack against Trump will stop a terrorist act, get an American a job, get affordable healthcare to Americans who really need it.

    I’m reminded that the Brit Media did the same thing in trying to shape public opinion before the OVERWHELMING BREXIT LOSS. Their polls were way off … and our polls will be off too. The British people didn’t buy their tripe.

    Our media including the DC has thrown away every pretense of journalism in their reporting, and have grown to be a Wing of the DNC. The New York Times did not release the hacked Global Warming emails showing East Anglia making up of data. They instead attempted to track down the hacker.

    On the other hand, the NYT wasted no time in releasing Trump’s hacked tax returns. Which I believe will not hurt Trump.

    Nothing will hurt Trump, and it frustrates Democrat media to no end. The excitement is palpable for Americans who loath corrupt Democrats and its Media.

  • Frank Emery

    This is a poorly researched and written article, even by Daily Cougar standards. This is emotional pablum devoid a point; the rambling missive of a Tumblr queen. How about instead of anecdotes you include statistics. You don’t because the statistics don’t support your narrative. Police are 20% more likely to shoot whites than blacks in identical situations, this is from a Harvard study. This information is out there. Police are less likely to shoot an unarmed black suspect than an unarmed white suspect, this is a Washington State University study. This information is also available to you. Hey how about this one…for every black person killed by a white police officer in the US, 71 are killed by other black people, and those are highly conservative estimates assuming police shootings are under-reported. Black lives matter? To whom? Apparently not to other black people. One more…blacks get pulled over more than whites. Oh yeah, because the commit a disproportionate number of traffic offenses. There are several studies that support this, but you won’t be discussing those here. You’ll stick to the exceptions that prove your narrative.

    And your title…that is the cherry on the top of the ignorance cake. You realize that “No Justice, No Peace” is a threat, right. Is this what the Daily Cougar supports? Your moral compass is spinning. This is a culture problem, and you are making it worse by lying about facts you know to be available, but which contradict your virtue signaling dogma. You suck at your job and as people.

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