Agree and disagree
I am a Durham Democrat and agree strongly with the need expressed by Willie Fleming, of the African-American Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party, to immediately reduce violence by police personnel (DN, nando.com/qf). BUT, I equally strongly oppose his proposed solution.
He calls for stopping deadly responses to all unarmed persons without regard to their behavior, and that is an unacceptable response to unjustified police violence. The question is one of the nature of the violent intent and action by an assaultive person, not whether they are armed with a gun when they assault. That requires much more careful judgment, not Mr. Fleming’s simple prohibition on police use of deadly force under all circumstances where the assaulter is not using a gun in his assault.
Huge numbers of murderous assaults are by unarmed persons. In fact, no witness disputes that an unarmed Michael Brown initiated a violent fight to take a loaded police gun. If he had been killed – unarmed – as he initiated his violent assault, Mr. Fleming’s policy would prohibit the officer’s use of deadly force to resist the taking of his gun. Huge numbers of murderously violent assaults are by unarmed persons, including much if not most deadly domestic violence.
I hope that Mr. Fleming is never the victim of a violent and potentially deadly assault on the streets or in his home by an unarmed person.