Sasheer Zamata asks the one important question that is on everyone’s mind… Why are these officers so jumpy?
With the increase in police brutality, actress and comedian Sasheer Zamata asked the question of the training they undergo. Names like Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner and Sandra Bland have stood in the place of war cries. This year, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile shook the nation with Korryn Gaines, the most recent case calling to national question of our SWAT teams.
While Sasheer Zamata posed this question during the death of Alton Sterling, it reigns true in the bloodshed of all people of color.
In the Police Training Program Guide’s Code of Ethics, we learn that police officers are to “never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities, or friendships to influence my decisions.” The PTP Guide’s Code of Ethics also states that “I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favor.”
While missions and values vary across agencies, one thing is for sure, personal feelings are not part of an officer’s job. In an interview with HLNTV, Law Enforcement Analyst Mike Brooks shares that police officers are “not trained to shoot to kill, but to shoot to ‘stop the threat.'”
In a letter published in New Yorker’s “Trump Defeats Kanye” issue in September 2015 from Roy Morrison of Newton, Mass., Morrison shares that his late father who was a police officer for fifty years never drew his gun unless he intended to shoot. Morrison shares that “He disarmed people, deployed judo come-along holds, and used his fists. When he got angry he was terrifying, but he also taught me about social justice. Darren Wilson got scared and he started shooting. That’s not what well-trained cops do.”
When Sasheer Zamata asked that question and made that observation, she was asking the question and making the observation that thousands have made. There is something painstakingly wrong if your job is to protect and serve and your gun is out with the intention of killing an innocent person because you are afraid.
If police are placed in society to protect and serve, why are people of color not protected or served?