Broward County, FL — Another unarmed citizen has been killed by police, helping to bring the total number of Americans killed by cops this year to 1,119. Jean Pedro Pierre, 42, was killed by Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Briggs after Pierre attacked Briggs’ colleague and fellow officer Sean Youngward, knocking him to the ground, and then holding his foot.
Most of the incident was caught on video. In one segment, Pierre can be seen taking a swipe at Youngward, an officer who showed incredible restraint, even though he was knocked to the ground, kicked, and attempting to fight off Pierre with a collapsible baton. His taser had already failed, apparently not making contact with Pierre’s skin.
Bystanders who witnessed the incident from upper floors of the complex also began recording. The video shows a dominant Pierre, who ultimately stopped kicking Youngward briefly while backup for Youngblood was arriving.
Several citizens can be heard attempting to reason with the deranged man in the hopes he would not be shot and killed. They told him:
Turn him loose dog…Don’t get yourself in no trouble…Bro, bro, Let go his leg, man…There’s more coming, bro…Think smart. Let go his leg bro…let him go bro. They’re gonna shoot you bro…they’re gonna shoot you, bro…Let him go, let him go! Be smart.
Quite possibly the most disturbing plea by the public was when bystanders pleaded with arriving officers not to shoot Pierre. They screamed:
Tase him. Tase him. Don’t shoot him. He don’t have a gun.
Pierre then begins kicking Youngward again. Briggs draws down on Pierre, and when the man charges him, the officer then fires three seemingly carefully placed shots into his torso. He later died in the hospital from his injuries.
The entire incident, once again, raises serious questions about how much violence police should endure before they are allowed to use deadly force. Youngward could have used deadly force. He chose not to do so and instead used a less lethal approach. He also didn’t attempt to wrestle his way out of the position where Pierre had control of his foot.
Another question which remains is whether or not Pierre was suffering from some mental break with reality, mania, psychosis, or otherwise. What is certain is that Pierre, according to his friends is:
…a loving, caring person. Loved his family, loved his kids. This is devastating to all of us, it’s not making sense.
The video quickly went viral, even before closed-circuit security footage was made available to the public which showed the first encounter whereby Pierre was seen attempting to punch Youngward.
Sheriff Scott Israel held a press conference and told the public the video being circulated did not show the entire encounter and while people can develop their own opinions they are “not entitled to their own set of facts” — facts he said which are indisputable:
Deputy Sean Youngward was attacked, attacked by Mr. Pierre. He was punched, he was kicked and he was knocked to the ground,” Israel said. It was a violent encounter.
What do you think? Could the police have resorted to “less than lethal” measures to end the incident peacefully? Should they be forced to attempt less than lethal measures first? Like, comment, and share.