1/29/16

On the LaVoy Finicum shooting

1/29/16
I didn't really follow the whole Oregon occupier thing, much less support it. But I saw this video. About 9:00 minutes in, just before things go down. Then you see what looks like a man, clearly nervous, outnumbered, arms in the air, and shot.



If all it is to justify police shooting someone, is some combination of fear and/or hands briefly unseen, then we need to rethink things. Whether or not that is the legal standard, is, as I understand it, iffy, but seems to be de facto law on the more questionable police shootings.

According to the FBI, Finicum indeed had a pistol in his jacket. All good then, right? Hell no. There's almost zero chance any of the officers on the ground saw a gun on Finicum. Watch in full screen, slow motion if you have to, there is a snowflake's chance in hell either of those two officers saw a weapon.

So let's do a thought experiment. Let's say Finicum had no firearm that day. Which leaves you with two possible conclusions:

1. Finicum was shot because he may or may not have appeared to reach for something, and the officers feared for their safety--pretty much the go-to defense in every questionable police shooting.

2. Finicum was murdered, by the police.

Both of those are terrible, and it's ridiculous that in all too many police shooting cases we walk this ultra fine dichotomy between murder and virtually complete & guaranteed legal immunity for officers of the state.

If Finicum had actually pulled his gun, that obviously changes things and nobody would dispute the shooting. But he didn't. I know this isn't the fantastical Wild West with a gentleman's code of chilvarly, necessitating complete brandishing of deadly weapon prior to shooting, à la Tombstone. But we need something more than fear and subjective amounts of furtiveness. Otherwise we have no law, regardless of what's written.

That said, it'd be interesting to see the shooting officer's body cam footage, in the unlikely event it exists or will ever be released.

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