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A police security badge

With all the people who’ve been killed while fleeing arrest, you’d think running away from police is legitimately a capital crime.

Early this month, two men were shot dead while trying to escape from police. Eric Harris, an illegal arms dealer, was shot dead by Volunteer Deputy Robert Bates after Harris tried to run after being busted during a deal on April 2nd. Harris had already been captured and wrestled to the ground when Bates came over and shot him; Bates claims he mistook his gun for a taser. More recently, Walter Scott was shot in the back multiple times by Officer Michael Slager while fleeing from a traffic stop on April 4th. Scott was unarmed. Both officers have been charged for their actions, but neither have been convicted as of this writing.

Although it’s good that enough people in power acknowledge this as a charge-worthy issue, the officers’ actions say something about how they’re trained. Cops seem to be getting more and more reliant on using lethal force just to subdue suspects. Didn’t there used to be a time when cops actually chased down the bad guys until they caught and handcuffed them? Why is it necessary to stun or shoot a suspect who is already being seized by an officer and pressed to the ground? What manner of thinking drives an officer to shoot an unarmed man in the back several times out of fear for his life?

It’d be nice if police remembered how to detain people without killing them in the process.