Salt Spring Island, CA — Aside from “reaching for his waistband” or “the suspect went for my gun,” one of the most commonly used reasons for justifying police killings is “he or she used their vehicle as weapon.”
This tactic of American police to claim their lives were endangered because someone attempted to drive off, has become quite familiar. It’s also considerably successful at exonerating killer cops.
Just in the last few weeks, we’ve seen multiple unarmed individuals killed in their vehicles by trigger happy cops. One of the most widely covered stories is that of Samuel Dubose being killed by officer Ray Tensing. Despite the fact that Tensing was in no danger of being run over by Dubose, but he pulled out his gun and killed the man.
Another tragic case of a police officer killing a man in a car was Zachary Hammond, who was shot in the side and back by an officer attempting to arrest his date for a small amount of marijuana.
Also, on July 6, Susan Barry was worried about her son’s behavior, so she called authorities to receive a medical evaluation. Instead of medical evaluation, however, her son John Barry, 33, received a pack of assassins. As John Barry attempted to back out of his parking space, police officers proceeded to dump dozens of rounds into this mentally ill man.
The list goes on.
A video out of Salt Spring Island this week shows that this long list of deaths doesn’t have to be that way. The video illustrates what real bravery and real respect for the preservation of life looks like.
During a DUI checkpoint last week, an impaired driver in a lifted Chevrolet Blazer was stopped after he attempted to avoid the checkpoint. While DUI checkpoints are a clear violation the rights of individuals, the manner in which these officers conducted themselves is noteworthy.
After blocking in the driver with one cruiser in the front and one in the rear, the driver made it clear that he was not going to stop; yet these cops did not shoot.
Even after the driver began smashing back and forth into the cruisers, they did not fire into the truck. Even after the truck broke free, and could have run over the officers, no rounds were fired.
The level of restraint shown by these officers is all but non-existent in the United States.
After this man had driven off, in the truck that was later determined to be stolen, the restraint continued. According to the RCMP, the truck drove a short distance before rolling over into a ditch.
As officers and local fire crews arrived at the crash scene, they attempted to render assistance to the suspect, who was seated upright on the interior roof of the vehicle (vehicle upside down). The man then armed himself with an axe from inside the SUV, and attempted to use a lighter to light the vehicle on fire. An on-scene firefighter familiar with the suspect was successful in persuading him to surrender the axe, but the man continued to physically resist attempts by first responders to assist him. After several hours, the suspect was forced from the vehicle and apprehended under the Mental Health Act. He was transported to the local hospital for medical assessment.
— Van Island RCMP (@VanIslandRCMP) August 30, 2015
According to the RCMP, the case is still under investigation, and they believe that the man’s mental health played a role in the incident. Luckily for that man, he may now have the chance of seeking help and getting better thanks to the efforts of these officers — versus being filled with dozens of bullet holes.