Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said that the officers responsible for the shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. were not carrying tasers due to budget constraints. It is hard to find a worse example of incompetent leadership than a chief who denies her officers a critical less than lethal alternative to shooting suspects during mental health crisis’.
Outlaw told the mainstream media that the officers responsible for Wallace Jr’s death were not carrying stun guns. She conceded that her own department’s policy requires that every officer carry a taser, but said that the program within the department for outfitting officers with tasers is out of date. Whose fault is that? The buck stops with her, so we think it is her fault and that Wallace Jr. would probably still be alive if those officers had tasers. In the video of the incident (https://copblaster.com/blast/26023/philadelphia-police-did-not-need-to-kill-walter-wallace-jr) you can see plenty of distance between the officer and Wallace Jr. The officers demonstrated with their repeated attempts to walk away from Wallace Jr. that they were probably willing to entertain alternatives to shooting him. We think that if they were armed with tasers that they would have probably used them and Wallace Jr. might still be alive today.
It is hard to imagine a cop without a taser. Just learning that a major American city has failed to equip all of its officers with tasers is enough for us to ask more questions whenever we see officers shoot someone in a scenario where a taser would have been more appropriate. It makes us wonder if the officer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania who shot Ricardo Munoz earlier this year had a taser (https://copblaster.com/blast/25964/ricardo-munoz-shot-by-police-in-lancaster-protest-mostly-peaceful). It makes us wonder if Rowland Police Officer Michael Sale had a taser when he was beat up on the job twice in the past year (https://copblaster.com/blast/26018/rowland-police-officer-michael-sale-gets-beat-up-again). Physically weaker officers are far more likely to needlessly kill people if their only two choices are getting beat up or opening fire. It is unconscionable that Commissioner Outlaw denies her officers the option to use a taser. If she doesn’t get that program up to date real fast it is only a matter of time until some weakling in her ranks shoots someone else because they didn’t feel capable of handling a suspect any other way.
We still think that the officers should have went for a leg shot before a kill shot, but whose fault is it if they are only trained to target the center mass of a target? We think it is Danielle Outlaw’s fault because the buck stops with her. She needs to make sure that her officers know how and when to aim for a flesh wound. Wallace Jr. should have been left on the ground grasping his leg in agony, but instead he is dead.
This killing is on the city of Philadelphia and their police commissioner. The PPD failed to provide their officers with less than lethal weapons that they are already required to have and they failed to train their officers to shoot for a leg in certain situations. When department policy and failure to train are the driving force behind an injury then a municipality can be held liable in federal court under 42 U.S.C. 1983.
Published at Tue, 27 Oct 2020 23:19:33 +0000