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Opinion |  ‘Horrible but legal’


This standard allows insensitive and senseless behavior, reckless and deliberate taking of life. Any action can be excused as a reasonable response to fear.

As the American Bar Association pointed out in February 2020, the horrific but legal concept creates a “heavy burden for the prosecution of bad police actions.” The group summed up the sentiments of a group of legal experts at an ABA meeting.

One person on the panel, Ronald A. Norwood, a defense attorney in St. Louis who was an attorney with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, put it this way: “Public servants should not be held responsible for bad guesses.

But these “bad guesses” are not trivial. In many cases, a person is killed.

As Kalfani Ture, assistant professor of criminal justice at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut and a former metro Atlanta police officer, told reporters in June of the police murder of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta: I shot Rayshard Brooks? My answer is no. ”

But, he continued, “It is a questionable use of force, but there are many officers who may find it a legal use of force. So, this is one of those things that we call “ legal but horrible ” law enforcement, meaning the officer could have taken alternative actions that did not result in the death of the civil. ”

The lethal use of force by police officers is highly discretionary, but these police officers are humans who bring prejudice, both conscious and unconscious, to their work. When one person can be patient and forgiving, another will be rewarded with violence and evil. And, often, all of this is legal.

We have a legal system that has shirked its judicial responsibility, allowing inconsequential extrajudicial executions – death sentences. In this system, too often the police are judge, jury and executioner.

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