Vancouver resident Rachel Ross shares her thoughts on the recent officer-involved shooting death of 21-year-old Kevin Peterson Jr.
Once again, law enforcement officers have shot a man while he was running away, this time just off Highway 99 near the Jiffy Lube. This tragedy is the inevitable result of the laws and policies that make every interaction between a law enforcement officer and a person of color into a life-and-death crisis.
This is, perversely, normal. This normal creates fear and distrust of the police. It increases the risk of civil unrest. It goes against the mission of a police force, which is to curb violence and preserve public safety. Fear-based, “warrior-mentality” police instruction must be banned, because it makes police officers more dangerous without keeping them safe.
The policies that allow officers to shoot a fleeing suspect in the back must change, because this action is indefensible to the public conscience. If, as I expect, the ongoing investigation by the Camas Police Department finds that Clark County Sheriff’s Deputies acted in accordance with established use-of-force guidelines when they killed Kevin Peterson, Jr., those guidelines must change.
The deputies were called out to investigate a possible drug crime. Whether or not Mr. Peterson was involved in drug crime, he should not have feared for his life, and he should not be dead, over something as trivial as drugs.