Police officers deserve fair judgment, too

In the last two weeks, inquests into the deaths of several individuals at the hands of police officers have begun and once again

In the last two weeks, inquests into the deaths of several individuals at the hands of police officers have begun and once again the opportunity for me to write about the stigmas police officers are constantly faced with has arisen.

On Oct. 7, an inquest began into the death of Greg Matters who was killed in September 2012 after a lengthy confrontation with police outside his Prince George home.

On Tuesday of this week, an inquest also began into the deaths of Michael Eligon, Sylvia Kibingaitis and Reyal Jardine-Douglas.

The inquests come at a time where police all over the country are already under high scrutiny from the public. Since the death of Sammy Yatim, who was shot by police eight times, in July of this year people are even quicker than usual to criticize police.

As I already mentioned, this column is one I have debated writing several times. Until now, each time such a controversy involving police has arisen, I have declined to voice my opinions on the matter.

There is a reason I have been reluctant to write this column before. Police shootings, any controversy regarding police actually, hit rather close to home for me.

For 27 years, my dad strapped on a vest, carried a gun and wore a badge as a police officer with the Saskatoon City Police Service.

Dad, now retired, isn’t the only family member who has done so either. A little over a year ago, he pinned a badge onto the chest of my younger brother who is now following in Dad’s footsteps.

Fortunately, my brother has never had to fire his sidearm. However, I know that if he did, he would never do so lightly.

Of course, I know that not everyone who wears a police officer’s uniform has the same sober judgment as my brother. There are bad cops the same as there are bad teachers, bad reporters, bad politicians and bad everything else in the world. But, I can say with some certainty that the same attitude goes for the majority of police officers.

As such, I get annoyed at the comments I read online and hear in the news and elsewhere whenever a controversy involving police officers springs up. It seems that whenever such a case arises, people are all too eager to pin the blame on the officers and then complain loudly that the police are never adequately punished.

By no means am I saying officers involved are innocent. If it were as cut-and-dried as that, there would be no need for an inquest. The sad reality is, people are dead after interactions with police and I think that is evidence enough that, at the very least, something went wrong.

Nor am I saying these officers are guilty and examples of the ‘bad cops’ that make a bad name for people like my dad and brother and are constant sources of frustration for me. Just because something went wrong doesn’t mean it was the fault of the officers.

What I’m saying is, and I can’t stress this enough, is that I don’t know. And neither do you.

No one save the parties involved know what exactly happened in any of the incidents where individuals were killed by police. These are the people who will be called during the inquests and it will be the inquests that determine whether these officers are guilty or not.

As I do not have adequate information to pass judgment on any of these officers I intend to wait and see what the inquest uncovers. I would suggest that the general public do the same.

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer down to 102 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 332 cases with 26 in hospital and five in ICU

Photo Courtesy: Echo Lacombe Association logo.
Lacombe City Council supports Echo Lacombe with location for pilot program

Echo Lacombe Association will run a pilot propgram on food rescue until November, 1, 2021

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

File Photo
Blackfalds RCMP seeking suspects in traffic collision

RCMP are asking the public for help identifing two suspects wanted for multiple offences

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday June 12th, 2021

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Most Read