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Sticking MY Finger In The Crocodile's Eye
Certainly public safety requires police forces of well-trained officers ready to put their lives on the line for the people they serve. It also requires that the people who pay for and rightfully expect to be protected by the police have well-founded confidence in them, and that confidence requires in turn that the public has an opportunity to discover and challenge bad or outmoded police policies, practices and attitudes.
Less than a week has passed since the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, and even less time since the killing of 26-year-old Ezell Ford, so it is simply not yet possible to say with certainty whether police in each case followed their training and policy.
But a basic fact of life in Ferguson is undeniable:
Los Angeles is high on the list of cities with long histories of police abuses, especially in African American neighborhoods. Those include a number of deadly encounters between officers and mentally disturbed people that could have been avoided...
That's still not enough, though. Even if it turns out that policy and procedure were scrupulously followed in the Ford shooting, it is hard to believe that police cannot refine their encounters with unarmed citizens to avoid the use of deadly force — and to avoid reopening wounds that have barely begun to heal here and remain raw elsewhere.
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