Police shootings are a terrible thing and the police who risk their lives everyday are understandably concerned when they get a report about an attempted suicide. People with a gun, especially emotionally distraught ones, can pose a risk to others.
The police need special training to prevent a bad situation from getting worse. Yesterday, again, it appears that rather than “talking down” and stopping a potential suicide, the Wilmington police shot first and ended up killing a man on his front porch.
This recent killing hit home to me. First it reminded me of the September 2015 killing of a young paralyzed wheelchair bound African-American man, Jeremy McDole. My law firm, Jacobs & Crumplar, represented his family in a law suit which recently resulted in the City of Wilmington paying his family 1.5 million dollars to settle their wrongful death suit.
Yesterday’s killing was literally closer to my home. It occurred in the neighborhood where I have lived for over 30 years and was inches away from where my son presently lives. My son and I live in a racially diverse neighborhood full of young families and young professionals.
On the very porch where my neighbor was shot, I often chatted with the family that used to live there. Just a year ago they moved out and the new resident, a middle-aged DuPont engineer, was the individual shot and killed.
When the McDole settlement was announced, it was noted that the City of Wilmington was in the process of adopting a new use of force policy. This recent shooting may indicate that it can’t come soon enough.