It was recently said in this newspaper that for years there has not been a homicide in Pleasanton. This baffles me. Perhaps Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley thinks some lives are unimportant. She suggests that some deaths are merely a consequence of policing. The deaths I am referring to are those at the hand of police, those of suspects acting crazy or running away from police, deaths of our mentally ill. I fear if we do not confront this horrible loss of life, it will happen again. Why do O’Malley and the police get caught up in such homicides?
Police are here to protect lives, not just their own. When police believe that their own lives are the most important, others will suffer, especially our most vulnerable. Though many consider the police to be heroes, the police must remind themselves that saving lives is their job. When paramedics removed the spit mask of one citizen, Jacob Bauer, he had turned blue. Do citizens of Pleasanton want a police force that kills mentally ill people?
Black Lives Matter is a good and just cause, but O’Malley seems to give lip service to it for political gain. O’Malley has ignored other homicides that still scream for justice. Perhaps they would not have helped her career. Coroners classify a homicide as loss of life at the hand of another. If the police had not shown up in those Pleasanton cases, would the suspects still have died?
The noble motto “To serve and protect” does not mean to serve and protect the police force. This motto, this duty, needs to extend to all citizens that police engage with. I wonder how they would have treated their suspects if they were their brothers? How would it have affected the outcome if the commanding officer were dealing with his own son? Would any officer shoot his own son if he ran and then stopped, raising his arms? Would he force compliance for his daughter with a baton, fists and taser and then put a spit mask on her, never checking on her until after the paramedics arrive?
There will be more homicides unless we stop police bullying and police gang culture and start treating citizens as though they are our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.