Sunday, July 13, 2008

If The Police Are Innocent

If the police are innocent, then they have nothing to worry about. Taser and police fans are always quick to yell that at suspects. Will they apply the same standard to the police? From the Charlotte Observer:

Here's what we know about how 17-year-old Darryl Wayne Turner died: He had cardiac arrest after a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer shot him with a Taser gun.

Yet what we don't know about that shooting is just as important. Police and prosecutors should say how many times Mr. Turner was shot and make public a surveillance videotape that captured much of the confrontation. That's the only way to settle questions about what happened.

Prosecutors announced last week that Police Officer Jerry Dawson acted appropriately when he shocked Mr. Turner during a March confrontation at a north Charlotte grocery store. Officials said Mr. Turner was shocked more than once after he advanced on the officer.

Yet police and prosecutors have refused to reveal how many times the officer shot Mr. Turner and refused to air a videotape that showed what happened leading up to the shooting.

That secrecy doesn't make sense. If the investigation cleared the officer, those key details would only reinforce that finding.

What's that you say? Aren't I conflicted for arguing against the "if you're innocent you have nothing to hide" paradigm for suspects and calling for it here for the police? Um, no. You see, the police are public servants and the transparent and public scrutiny being called for is not only appropriate, but obviously necessary.

Hat tip: Tasered While Black (and here).

Tased 17-Year-Old Died from Dysrhythmia and Fibrillation