Another day, another police killing. Sometime late Thursday evening, police officers in Dekalb County, Georgia conducted a routine traffic stop of two men as part of a robbery suppression detail they were assigned. Upon learning the driver had a weapon, the police asked him to exit the car. Shortly after doing so, his passenger attempted to flee the police by climbing an 8-foot wall. Which was apparently all the justification needed to tase him:
A man died after falling from a wall when an officer used a Taser during a foot chase Thursday night, DeKalb County police said.
Police were involved in a robbery suppression detail when they conducted a traffic stop near the Highlands of East Atlanta complex on Flat Shoals Road, DeKalb Assistant Police Chief Brian Harris said.
During the stop, an officer asked the driver to step out of the vehicle after he said he had a weapon. As the officer secured that weapon, the car’s passenger fled, Harris said.
After a short foot chase, an officer used a Taser on the fleeing passenger as he tried to climb an 8-foot wall to get away, Harris said. The man fell over the wall. Officers then went to the inside of the apartment complex and handcuffed the man, who appeared to be unconscious, per police protocol, Harris said.
He said EMS was called and the man was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he died of his injuries.
See, here’s what I don’t understand. Yes, the man was fleeing the police. Yes, that looks suspicious. But is it now a crime to run from cops? And if so, is that such a horrible crime that calls for deploying a taser? I mean, yeah it’s great they didn’t go for their guns first, like so many cops do, but in the end, their use of force still resulted in the death of a suspect. From the description of events, I do not see how such force was necessary or justifiable.
Of course that depends on whether or not the officers described the situation truthfully, and with everything I’ve read and all that I’ve learned in the year since the execution of Michael Brown Jr., I’ve become suspicious of official police statements. After so many instances of cops lying about their use of force…or the many times police officers have lied about the sequence of events leading up to the death of a suspect…or the times when a chief of police has covered up for their officers…I don’t trust the official police narratives in situations such as this. Law enforcement officials no longer deserve the benefit of the doubt. I need more evidence than comments from the Assistant Police Chief before I’ll believe the official report on these events. Apparently there is cellphone video of this incident, which has been turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who are handling the case. We’ll see if the police narrative matches the cellphone video. Until then, I remain skeptical that the cops’ description of events are accurate and truthful.