ABOVE THE LAW: SHOULD POLICE OFFICERS BE EXEMPT FROM PROSECUTION?
The recent decision by the United States Justice Department not to bring civil rights violations agaisnt two Baton Rouge police officers is another page turned in a sad and brutal history of police officers intentionally killing a human being- Raising suspicion regarding selective prosecution and the possibility of a new form of exclusionary practice designed to shield law enforcement from charges of wrong-doing. For this reason, its not difficult for Black’s in America to ponder: “There exist a double standard application of law that exclude police officers from prosecution, yet provide grounds to prosecute them.”
In some states, police officers have a right to shoot and kill if they believe it is necessary to stop a threat. Belief and threat are two key elements in determining if the officer acted reasonably. In contrast, most states laws governing homicide, applicable to the average “JOE” provide: ” Murder is the killing of a human being and have specific intent to kill.”
This double standard of law removes accountability from officers to regard life based on a belief, or perceive threat that might not be factual. In addition, it allows police officers wide discretion over life, and therefore place them “above the law.”
After seeing the intentional killing of Alton Sterling by police officers, the question we should ask as a nation: “Should police officers be exempted from prosecution when the facts support he or she intended to kill? After all, a person belief can be unfounded and not based on the facts, as it had happened .
Sure, I’ll be the first to admit police officers are constantly faced with dangers lurking in communities throughout America. Nevertheless, in a age of body cams, tasers and additional technologies, a officer have alternatives available without having to intentionally kill a human being. The killing of a human being should be the last resort. Otherwise, the intent to kill a human being should be applicable to all, even police officers.
If we truly seek justice for Alton Sterling, we must petition to hold law enforcement accountable for the intentional killing of a human being.