You won’t BELIEVE the police-shooting clickbait I came across today. SHOCKING!

Came across an article today. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/police-officer-sacked-not-shooting-black-man-virginia-stephen-mader-ronald-williams-a7245681.html

The headline reads as:

“Police officer sacked for not shooting black man holding an unloaded gun”

This is a layered one. There’s a lot going on there that I want to try to unpack.

Talking down a threatening suspect rather than killing them is more valorous and heroic than killing them.

Or at least it used to be. If protocol prohibits this, protocol needs to be changed to allow officers to at least exercise discretion in the use of mercy. That doesn’t mean punishing officers who wish to defend themselves, it just means not punishing officers who wish to take personal risks. As far as the article indicates the threat was only to officer Mader until the other two showed up.

That said, this article seems bait-y and misleading, and there must be information missing.

-This was a “domestic dispute” involving a gun; what was going on with Mr. Williams’ family? Was he threatening them?

-There has to be more to it on the department’s end; how in the world could they think firing this guy was the best move? Either in terms of retaining good personnel, or in terms of optics?

-I’m not a gun person, but I don’t think you can tell if someone’s gun is loaded unless either they fire it, or you confiscate it and check. As far as the other two officers are concerned, it seems extremely reasonable to treat a person holding a gun as a threat.

-How does Mr. Williams’ race factor in? Would Mader have not been fired for refusing to shoot a Caucasian holding a gun? Would the other two officers have faced discipline for their actions? I suspect the outcome would have been similar.

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