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Thread: Charlotte LEO need our help

  1. #1
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    Below is an editorial that was published in today's Charlotte Observer regarding the recent death of a suspect that fled from police and was subsequently shot by a CMPD officer, along with my response to the Editor, and a more complete response to the author of the editoral. It should be read from the bottom up like an email.

    If you care to chime in you can contact the author via email at secretary@fbcwest.org or the Observer by following these instructions from their website:


    We welcome letters. Please sign (unless you are using e-mail or computer fax) and include your address and daytime telephone number. We edit for brevity, grammar, clarity and accuracy, and we reject letters published elsewhere. Letters typically address a single idea and do not exceed 150 words. We cannot return or acknowledge letters not used. Published letters will appear in paper and electronic format.

    The Observer Forum
    The Charlotte Observer
    P.O. Box 30308
    Charlotte, NC 28230-0308
    Fax: (704) 358-5022

    E-mail: opinion@charlotteobserver.com
    E-mails must include your name, address and phone number.

    ================================

    Letter to Dr. Woods secretary as directed to on their website:

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    Below is my reply to the opinion piece by Dr. Woods published in today's Charlotte Observer. Due to their word and space limitations, sometimes these replies come across a bit short and/or flippant. This was not my intent, though I could not help but address the errors in Dr. Wood's understanding of firearms law, along with presenting an alternative to his suggestion on how to prevent officer-related shootings in Charlotte.

    Should Dr. Woods care to learn more about the NC General Statutes, NC Common law and Federal laws regarding firearms and their use, they are readily available on the Internet. Though the laws do vary slightly in terms of when and where a law officer may carry a firearm, the laws regarding the discharge of a firearm in self defense are exactly the same for a private citizen as they are for an officer. A thorough understanding of the law clearly puts the advantage to the private citizen over the law enforcement officer, however, with that comes a certain level of responsibility on the part of the citizen. Evidence of the success of the current system is observed simply from the sheer number of private citizens (armed and unarmed) that law enforcement officers engage with every day, as related to the number of citizen deaths by officer's fire.

    Regardless of what is determined in this most recent case, without doubt or argument the suspect would clearly be better off today had he followed my simple advice below. The old saying, like most old sayings, "Better judged by twelve than carried by six," rings true more times than not. Instead of publicly declaring current law and policy to be failing us, Dr. Woods would serve our community a greater good by talking more directly to his congregation about the importance of taking responsibility for one's actions. Whether dealing with a law enforcement officer, coworkers, family or friends this will always be more successful than relying on the government or law to solve your issues. We don't need more laws, we need better citizens.

    Regards and best wishes,
    Dave B


    ================================

    Letter to the Charlotte Observer in response to the Editorial below:


    To The Editor:

    Dr. Woods states CMPD policy, "allows use of deadly force any time the officer feels threatened." Incorrect. NC and Federal law require officers to feel a situation has become eminently life-threatening prior to discharging a firearm.

    Additionally, his call to change the “policy” is based on a misunderstanding of why the shootings occurred. When dealing with an officer the “rules” are simple: remain calm, don't make sudden moves or actions, listen to and follow instructions, ask for clarification if you don't understand, and mind your manners. In this instance, the officer will not feel their life is threatened. Should a suspect choose otherwise, potentially deadly (weapon) retention issues alone could cause the officer to interpret it as a life-threatening situation. In this case, shooting to end the threat is justified, and should the suspect die as a related result, they did so by their own choice, not by the officer’s error.

    Dave B


    ================================

    Police need new policy

    Number of fatal shootings involving Charlotte police is a reason for alarm.

    From Dr. Ricky A. Woods, senior minister at First Baptist Church-West:

    The number of fatal shootings involving the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Charlotte citizen is a reason for alarm and an indication of the need for a new policy governing the use of deadly force.

    I come to this decision not because I'm soft on crime or have a negative view of the police. I've had the opportunity to ride with our police while on duty and have seen first-hand the way many of them respond to calls of help from our community. I've had the opportunity to help our community deal with the needless loss of two of CMPD's finest who gave their lives in the line of duty. For many years my brother-in-law was a local law enforcement officer, and my brother works in the county jail in a neighboring community. I know our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day.

    However, I'm deeply troubled by the number of Charlotte citizens who have lost their lives to law enforcement officers trying to do their job. My concern comes from a policy that allows use of deadly force any time the office feels threatened, whether or not that threat is real. This policy has led to two citizens this year being shot in the back while fleeing from officers.

    In none of the events involving deadly force have any shots been fired at officers or other citizens. There have been conflicting from reports for witnesses as to how the decision to use deadly force was employed.

    It is time for a new policy and better training for officers on the use of deadly force. We cannot afford for the public's confidence in how law enforcement does its job to be eroded if we are to make our community safe for all persons.

    It is time for greater transparency involving the use of deadly force. The rule of law must protect both the innocent and the guilty in ways that show we live in a society of morals and laws. I urge a change in the policy for allowing the use of deadly force.





  2. #2
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    I should have included that (according to the police report) the suspect pulled a gun while running away and turned toward the officer. A gun was in fact found within 5 feet of the suspect's body.

    That's an omission on my part you wouldn't know unless you live here.

    Sorry.

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