“Off-Duty Cop Fires Shot During Scuffle With Boy, 13, Sparking Widespread Outrage”

"Reports like this further complicate the efforts for building community trust."

At what point and time do incidents like this evolve into pride versus enforcing a violation against a minor. I know firsthand that the news only reports half the story but reports like this further complicate the efforts for building community trust. This isn’t about a minor walking across the officer’s lawn. There is something much deeper at play that caused this officer to restrain the child in the way that he did. There is a point of reference this officer is using to motivate his actions. This motivation blinded him to the unreasonableness of the event. Did this incident have to reach the magnitude it achieved or could another protocol have been followed? This officer wasn't operating with social or emotional intelligence. However, this is the current training and culture of law enforcement. The officer is attempting to "enforce" some law that he has rationalized and will find a way to justify the use of force that follows. Incidents like these require an opportunity for that officer to sit before a trained clinician that can help him sift through the biases that were at play during this incident.

In Building Community Trust: Human Development, the Culture of Law Enforcement, and How It Impacts Police Officers Who Need Counseling, “Police officers have to establish control over rapidly evolving events where suspects are not complying with lawful commands. Under these conditions, it is a matter of seconds before an officer can react to a non-compliant suspect’s actions. Police officers are authorized to use force in order to regain control over a suspect’s resistance. This authorization is designed to establish safety for both the officer and the suspect or effect an arrest. One of the major challenges with this authority is that a burned out officer will create more opportunities to use force by way of his current attitude. This is why counseling is a critical piece to addressing how officers are using force in incidents that perceivably don’t require it.”

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