OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — When the call came from an officer who needed help facing an armed robber at a fast-food restaurant, two members of a reality television show riding along with Omaha police hustled to record the confrontation.
In the chaotic scene that unfolded, one crew member was struck by "friendly fire" from one of the officers, a bullet slipping past his bulletproof vest and killing him,Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said Wednesday. The robbery suspect was also killed. The weapon he was carrying turned out to be a pellet gun, though it looked and sounded so real that both witnesses and officers were fooled, Schmaderer said.
After the shooting, police discovered that Washington's weapon was an air gun that shoots only plastic pellets.
Those plastic pellets can leave quite a welt on exposed flesh!
The blogger takes no issue with the fact that police killed an armed suspect during the commission of a robbery. No harm, no foul.
The deceased suspect learned a fatal lesson: NEVER POINT A GUN AT THE POLICE. IF YOU DO, YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN PERIL.
The fact that these officers shot and killed and innocent bystander, however, greatly disturbs the blogger. It is no comfort to the deceased or his family that he was killed by "friendly fire." There really is no such thing as "friendly fire," a term coined by the military to soften the blow that a member of the military was killed by one of his own.
There are only two types of "fire," and those are "fatal fire" and "non-fatal fire." Those terms are self-explanatory.
The first rule of police firearms training is that the officer is responsible for each and every round that leaves the muzzle of his weapon, morally, ethically, and legally.
The second rule is that the officer should never discharge his weapon if there is a possibility of endangering the safety of innocent bystanders.
Before an officer discharges a weapon, a properly trained officer will survey the scene to determine whether the field of fire is clear to the extent that innocent bystanders will not be endangered in an exchange of gunfire. This becomes instinctive behavior in a properly trained officer.
The blogger, a retired Federal law enforcement officer, has refrained from shooting more than one armed robbery suspect because bystanders were in or beyond the line of fire and would have been exposed to potential injury or death. In the stress of the moment, those decisions are made in milliseconds. If the bad guy gets away, you can always get him later, often under controlled conditions.
Recent events at Ferguson, MO have raised the issue of the militarization of police in the public conscious, and rightly so. Military armament belongs in the hands of military members who have been properly trained, not in the hands of poorly trained police who are empowered by the possession of such weaponry to the extent they are afflicted with a "Rambo" complex.
The blogger shudders at the thought that the Medina County Sheriff has issued fully automatic AR-15 assault rifles, the civilian equivalent to the military's M-16, to sheriff's deputies.
Nearly every sheriff's deputy to whom the blogger has been exposed in Medina County is uneducated, poorly trained, with a lack if common sense, to a man. They do not know or understand the law and therefore are incapable of properly enforcing the law.
Placing automatic weapons, or for that matter any weapons, in the hands of Medina County's sheriff's deputies is a recipe for disaster.
SADLY, THE EVENTS PLAYED OUT IN OMAHA, NB RESULTING IN THE DEATH OF AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER BY POLICE "FRIENDLY FIRE" ARE CERTAIN TO OCCUR IN MEDINA COUNTY. THE ONLY QUESTIONS YET TO BE ANSWERED ARE WHERE AND WHEN.