Stupid is not Punishable by Death

posted in: Corruption, Legal | 0

Again! I couldn’t believe it. Listening to the news, on the way to pick up my daughter from school; Police shooting, unarmed man shot down. Here in SoCal, there is a radio show John & Ken on KFI. Two guys rail against injustices often taking opposite sides, generally entertaining. On this day, they interviewed a guy that was actually there and the story he relayed was chilling.

Feras Morad was his name, 20 years old, nationally ranked debater, honor student. He had taken a healthy dose of mushrooms, had a not so optimal reaction, and fell/jumped out of a second story glass pane window. He landed on cement suffering a deep gash in his shoulder. There was lots of blood. The ruckus spawned two 911 calls. The first, a neighbor said there as a man injured and intoxicated in the alley behind her home. She relayed that he was acting erraticly and was ‘kind of’ violent. The second was a Fire Dispatcher talking with a Long Beach Police Dispatcher who said Feras was intoxicated, violent, and bleeding heavily. He also said the man had no weapon.

So the cops show up and shoot him, dead, after whisking witnesses away, around the corner, according to people there. In the police reports they contend they tried to taser him, and beat him down with a flashlight with no success. The justification for the shooting from the cop, whom incidentally they won’t identify, says Feras didn’t obey commands, was aggressive and threatened him. Again I ask, really? Feras was under six feet tall, weighed in at about 160 pounds. He had just fallen out a two-story window  landing on cement. He was seriously injured and probably had a concussion at the very least. So Long Beach police people, you can’t take out someone like that without using lethal force? I think maybe some more training is in order. Or I have to wonder if the problem is more systemic.

This is the fourth office related shooting in Long Beach this year. The 386th nation wide. Maybe the people being hired to be police officers don’t have the right personality profile to handle the work. Sure the situation was stressful. The guy was incoherent, injured. But he had NO weapon and in his physical state would have been hard pressed to assert an attack. Why has shooting become the first line of defense in our nation’s police forces? While our nation sits close to 400 police shootings for the year, in second place is Germany, with eight. Even if we take into consideration the population variation between the two countries, this is astounding.

In Feras’ case the Long Beach police department’s behavior only got worse. They didn’t even notify the family for two days that Fared was dead. His sister found out from Facebook and his friends. What a complete slap in the face. Additionally the department refuses to identify the officer who fired the fatal shots saying the whole incident is under investigation.

There was a demonstration outside the Long Beach police department the evening of June 4. Hundreds showed up to mourn and show their outrage. Feras’ sister and friends have set up social media to raise awareness and help with the legal fees the family will face dealing with the police department. There is a:

Twitter

Facebook

GoFundMe

In reading various articles about this incident, I couldn’t believe the comments at heavy.com. People commenting that young people need to take responsibility for their actions, and he was intoxicated it was his own fault. To that I say “What? What? What?” all South Park style. Responsibility for this action would have been for him to be arrested and processed for illegal drug use, not death. If stupid were a crime punishable by death, we would all be dead.

I talked with my daughter about the situation and told her she needed to be aware of the police. Isn’t it awful? When I was young, the police were people we could trust. We looked up to them, even though we were afraid of being stopped for speeding. We could talk with them, get assistance and they would take care of the ‘bad’ guys. Now I am telling my daughter to steer clear of any interaction with officers because of these types of incidents.

I certainly don’t believe every single officer out there is a ticking time bomb, and I feel bad for the good guys who are being defined by these incidents. What is clear is something needs to change, maybe Nerf guns?

 

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