A disarming approach to protests


“…it seems every time there’s a questionable officer-involved shooting… a code of silence is enforced and the general public gets the message: “Yes, this was a tragedy. But it wasn’t personal. It was protocol.”

No admission of responsibility. No acknowledgment of how the situation could have been handled differently. And, certainly, no apology.

It’s a dead-end conversation. And the result is predictable: More public outrage, more distrust, more lawsuits.

It’s no doubt one reason why many Sonoma County residents were frustrated last week at the news that Deputy Erick Gelhaus, the officer responsible for the shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez was put back out on patrol. Yes, 10 months later, the community appears to be moving toward some significant changes, including putting cameras on deputy uniforms, improving oversight of officer-involved shootings and, possibly, creating a public park at the corner of Moorland and W. Robles avenues where the shooting occurred. But putting the deputy back on patrol was a harsh reminder that we’re no closer to having assurances that what happened on Oct. 22, 2013 won’t happen again.

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Source: www.pressdemocrat.com