News One is reporting that East Dublin, Ga., Police Officer Jason Deal shot and killed unarmed motorist Melvin Williams after a traffic stop. The article states that video from a police cruiser in this rural Georgia town shows just how quickly a traffic stop can turn deadly.
In the recording, Deal jumps out of his patrol car and runs toward Williams, who has gotten out of his vehicle. The two begin fighting. Williams punches the officer in the head and takes a couple of steps toward Deal, who draws his gun and fires, killing the unarmed Williams.
Police encounter similar split-second decisions each day and rely on their intensive training and "shoot or don't shoot" scenarios to guide them. Yet in this case, Deal had gone more than a year without a mandatory training on the use of deadly force. He should have lost his arrest powers several months before the May 2010 shooting, according to a report from state investigators.
"Shooting him in the stomach should have been the last resort. But it was the first thing he did," said Williams' mother, Lena. "And that tells you he hadn't been trained."
Williams' family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the officer, the police department and the town of East Dublin, seeking unspecified damages. They claim East Dublin didn't have a written use of force policy.
In the heat of the moment, anything can happen, which is why training is needed. Fatally shooting an unarmed man is excessive. Should you take someone's life just because you can? If the officer charged Williams, why go that route? Did he ask him to remain in the vehicle via bullyhorn or intercom? The stress of being a cop is real, but shooting to kill unarmed suspects is not acceptable. It's not even necessary, especially over a traffic stop.
Brothers also need to realize that even if you're pulled over because of racial profiling, remaining calm might save your life. Yes, it's infuriating, but is it worth your life?
Deal will have to deal with his conscience and have his day in court to explain his actions. Unfortunately, Williams will not be here to have his say.
Read more at News One.
In other news: Should Obama Be Vacationing?