Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Shoot to wound?
New York state legislator David Paterson, filed a bill "that would prohibit police officers from shooting suspects with the intent to kill and would hold the officers liable for second-degree manslaughter, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years."
Wow. This is right up there with an Indiana state representative defending the right to verbally abuse police.
Most police departments already have a continuum on the use of force. Certain situations merit physically restraining a suspect, using a baton, using a Taser, and yes, using lethal force. A police officer is not going to blow someone away who is caught shoplifting.
Unfortunately, some people will resist arrest with potentially deadly force. When that happens, a police officer has a right and a duty to defend himself and others. For example, if a murder suspect is trying to escape, lethal force may be necessary to save an innocent life in the future.
Political observers have said that Paterson will not harm Eliot Spitzer's campaign for governor of New York. However, if something were to happen to Spitzer, Paterson would be governor. While this is not likely, it is something New York voters must consider. This choice of this extremist as his running mate also casts serious doubt on Spitzer's ability to judge character.