Sunday, August 7, 2011

No Rodney King

Fullerton Police took a homeless man into custody after they received a report that he may have broken into a car. During their contact with the suspect, six officers struggled with him at Tasered him several times. The man was immediately hospitalized and died five days later.

The FBI and the District Attorney and Fullerton Police have all instituted an investigation of the incident. The city and those investigating all seem to be saying the right thing. Wait for the investigation to be finished before you make up your mind about what happened. They are not releasing all the videos that are in evidence. They have stated they don’t want to try the case in the media and if the case has to go to court they don’t want jury members to try the case based on what they saw on television.

Years ago LAPD had a similar case with Rodney King and handled it badly. The agency and officials released statements that condemned the officers without doing any more research than watching excerpts of the video. The media manipulated the video by editing it for both time and content to make the incident appear worse than it was. People were whipped into a frenzy and rioting ensued with several killed as a result. Officials should make no substantive statements on these kinds of incidents until a proper report is complete.

Incident like this often look bad to the public. These officers may have done good police work. They may have used poor tactics. They might have acted irresponsibly. These officers may need to go to prison for criminal acts. We don’t know what really happened because the investigation is not complete. As yet, we can’t say what the outcome should be. These officers deserve due process and the public deserves a full, impartial investigation; not media hype; that’s what the SGT Says.

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