Suicide by Cop now Being Studied by the Department of Justice

There is a sad phenomenon occurring in Philadelphia now.  I will call it suicide by cop.  Last week, there were four police shootings.  Three of those shootings were fatal.  In a city in which over 1200 shootings occurred last year, this blip is nothing new.  It just reflects the desperation that some individuals in our society feel now.  It is a rare situation in which an individual will have the police outnumbered.  I remember that we had a spate of police officer killings about two years ago so I don't blame the police for the need to protect themselves.  I am just wondering what is causing this recent trend.

In some recent discussions that I have had, it was iterated that some individuals just do not want to go back to jail.  Many individuals who have encountered the judicial system in some way cannot get a fair chance to get a job.  There is research being done in advance of proposed legislation by State Representative Jordan Harris that will help some non-violent offenders in this regard.  If it was me and I knew that I could put the gun down and avoid a shoot out with the police, I would do just that.  I wonder what the story is behind the four individuals who decided to take on the police.

On May 22nd, 2013, thirty-five year old Belton Lomax, a father of seven, was shot and killed by police after numerous 911 calls from neighbors.  The police also killed a man wielding a butcher knife.  In addition a male suspect was killed in Southwest Philadelphia after pointing a gun at police.  The other two suspects were not named in the paper but is a strong likelihood that they were minority males who had a hopeless viewpoint with regards to making a living for themselves.  It is one thing to be tough and to adopt a no snitching persona.  It is entirely another thing to give up on life by shooting it out with the police.



The Philadelphia Daily News lead article today was entitled Young Guns.  It mentioned two young males and the easy availability of guns in our community.  It is really not news but it will keep the focus on the plight of young men in low income communities and the way that arguments are settled when a fair one just won't do.  One young man supposedly purchased a $500.00 gun to settle a fight over a $5.00 bet.  In the Hispanic community they would call this phenomenon 'machismo'.  In our community it is short sighted and continues to add to our number of young men that are incarcerated and dead.

Commissioner Ramsey is ordering a study by the Department of Justice to get to the bottom of the rash of police shootings.  In spite of the numerous arrests of Philadelphia police officers that would cause some people to be sceptical about who is wearing the shield today, I feel that most police officers are trying to feed their families and make it home safely.  There was a story last week about a police officer who was setting up and robbing drug dealers.  He was caught in a sting and will pay dearly for his transgressions.  I am sure that grinding poverty will be one of the causes of suicide by police.  If these individual had jobs to go to, they would be less inclined to face off with police.  Mental illness can play a part but it shouldn't result in being killed by the police.  What about shooting someone in the leg?  They said the study should not take more than a year.  I hope the solution will involve restraint on the part of the shooters and the police.   

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