This is just horrifying: SF BART police shot and killed – executed, really – a young black man in the back while he cooperatively lay face down on the ground. There is no excuse for this kind of murder. I learned about the incident from Holly’s post at Feministe, in which she says:
According to witnesses, he was trying to de-escalate the situation between the cops and his friends. This is not an isolated incident, not by a long shot. This kind of thing happens all the time: out-of-control police violence in response to non-violent communication.
She pinpoints the problem: these police clearly had no training in how to de-escalate a conflict or how to recognize when someone is attempting to do so. They perceived the least bit of interference as a threat and responded with their finger on the trigger. This is frightening and disturbing. Ideally, police should be there to de-escalate conflicts, not escalate them even more. I do not know what sort of training police get in conflict resolution, but I’m suspecting that many receive more gun use training than non-violent conflict resolution training. A gun should be an absolute last resort for the police, but clearly that is not the case (actually, should they have guns at all? Many constables in the UK do not carry firearms).