It has been just about a year since Ann Kirkpatrick was hired as Spokane's police chief. She inherited a department with severe budget and personnel problems. A departmental public relations overhaul was badly needed.
I don't know how she's doing with the budget but her handle on public relations would appear to need some help. At least to one who gets information from the local press. An officer has escaped prosecution for shooting to death an unarmed assailant. It was deemed justifiable. The victim was apparently involved in a drug deal when the officer came upon him. A chase took place, ending in a fight. It is reported that the victim twice went after the officer who then tried pepper spray. When that failed the bloodied officer shot him. Dead. The story did not elaborate as to whether the victim was high, or just wanting to get away. It did not state whether or not the officer was equipped with a taser. It did not state whether or not he called for back up. Do they not do this any more? Is shooting to kill the standard operating procedure?
Fast forward to this week just passed. A mentally impaired man had perched himself on a local bridge threatening to jump. The standoff lasted through the night and well into the next day, some twenty hours. The man barely spoke yet it is reported negotiations took place.
A face saving agreement had been reached for the man to surrender. Face saving for who? A mentally impaired man who wanted to kill himself? Was he worried about what people would think?? The police approached with weapons drawn. Weapons drawn? The plan was to taser him once. Taser him? Why? Look at the reaction being tasered evokes in the picture! He had supposedly agreed to be taken into custody.
The taser was fired but only one probe found its mark. The man retreated and jumped and died. I wonder if both probes had found their mark if the force wouldn't have knocked him over the edge anyway.
The report states "Everyone involved in the effort to help the man was shaken by his decision to jump". Twenty hours on a bridge. An agreement to be taken into custody. Then approached by police with weapons drawn and a taser fired at him.
I'm not sure one had to be mentally impaired to have wanted to jump. So much the worse that he was. What are they teaching in police academies these days?