I've heard the term suicide by cop a time or two in recent years. And lemme tell you, I'm not buying it; at least not in all cases. What ever happened to the good old days when people just hung themselves, shot themselves in the head, slit their wrists, or any one of the various ways of committing suicide. OK, yeah, so it's a known fact that cops have itchy trigger fingers, and yes I can see someone using that to their benefit. But instigating an encounter with the police to end your life seems more like a call to attention than a death wish in my book.
According to the boys in blue down in the city of Chattanooga, TN., that's just what that seemingly happy Black man, Alonzo Heyward in the pic above did in a recent encounter. Allegedly, he was distraught and suicidal after a night of drinking and returning from a party; he walked around his neighborhood with a rifle threatening to kill himself. When confronted by the police he was shot and killed by 6 white police officers who fired at him 59 times, hitting his body 43 times total according to the medical examiners report:
Now I know the job of the police department is a rather dangerous one. And yes, I can understand them being apprehensive and fearful coming into contact with an emotionally disturbed individual. In also know that they're trained on how to tactically diffuse encounters with people mentally disturbed, or under the influence. But be that as it may, can you tell me that shooting this man, tha manner in which they did, was justified? Sure it can be said that they may have felt their lives threatened, or he made a move. But again, firing upon him 59 times? Of course this is overkill, and will be "justified" by the police as always. But could they have not done any better?
According to witnesses, Heyward was lying on his rifle on the porch at the time they opened fire. Now that said, how in the world can this be a justified shooting? Also, before the was shot they tried to subdue him with a stun gun. Um, the way tasers have been killing people all across the country, how come that didn't work? According to a police spokesperson on the case, Chattanooga police spend anywhere from 2 to 4 hours per year in training for situations like this. Given the outcome in this situation where Alonzo's life was lost? I'd say it's either they need more time spent in training, or they never cared about his life to begin with.
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