Saturday, January 09, 2021


 Officer Involved Shooting. This is the phrase that is used with the following definition: "the discharge of a firearm, which may include accidental and intentional discharges, by a police officer, whether on or off duty. In some cases OIS datasets only include instances in which an officer discharged a firearm at a person and may not include discharges directed into or at a vehicle, animal, etc." If you find yourself curious about the "etc." part, I suppose we can be satisfied by the notion that this could include floors, trees, street signs, or perhaps even the air. 

But if you're like me, you might get stuck on "person." When the "person" who discharges a firearm is a citizen and not a law enforcement official, especially when it is at another "person," we call this a lot of other things, depending on the effect of the firearm's discharge. There's manslaughter and murder, that's if the "person" on the receiving end dies. There's assault with a deadly weapon. Or attempted murder. And if the discharger has particularly bad aim, it might just be reckless endangerment. 

Oh, and we don't really call them "dischargers." We call them "shooters." Or "killers." Maybe "nutjobs" if the case allows. Convention doesn't tend to allow that kind of disrespect when it comes to Officer Involved Shootings. Rather than looking for all the possible reasons why an officer might become a shooter, we tend instead to look for all the reasons why shooting was necessary. 

Which is where we find ourselves in Kenosha. That's where prosecutors decided not to file charges against Officer Rusten Shesky. Sheskey responded with two other officers to a domestic dispute. Jacob Blake ended up being shot in the back and paralyzed. Cell phone video of the incident have been used to justify the use of deadly force, but the question of whether or not Mister Blake was threatening or resisting remains. Prosecutors chose to see that Shesky was justified in his shooting of Blake. Several times. No charges will be filed. Not against Skesky. Not against Blake. The shooting version of offsetting personal fouls, if you're looking for a sports equivalent. 

But Jacob Blake is paralyzed.

Officer Shesky is not. 

Officer Shesky remains on administrative leave. Signs point to him getting his old job back. If he wants it. Officer Shesky has not been discharged. 

No comments: