After the driver of a vehicle shot at a police officer, the officer returned fire, striking and killing her. However, it was what he did just seconds after the shooting that has viewers speechless.
In the view of anti-police activists, law enforcement officers wake up in the morning with one prerogative: gunning down innocent civilians. They are painted as mindless killing machines hellbent on targeting the marginalized and oppressed, motivated by white supremacy and systemic racism.
Citizens are often given just enough information to paint for themselves a picture of police brutality. However, the reality is far more complicated and nuanced. A peek behind the curtain shows just how dangerous it is to paint an entire group of people with such a broad brush.
Video capturing the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old Michigan woman has gone viral, but not because of the shooting itself. What has garnered so much attention is the officer’s behavior immediately following the incident. The unidentified officer was working a traffic check just outside of a parade in Flint when an unnamed female driver pulled up and engaged him, NBC News reports.
Witnesses in a nearby vehicle captured the incident as the interaction became heated, leading to a deadly shootout between the pair. According to witnesses, the driver brandished a firearm and began shooting at the officer, who had repeatedly warned her to show him her hands. Despite facing imminent danger, the officer practiced incredible restraint before finally discharging his weapon and hitting both the vehicle and driver. It was then that the atmosphere drastically changed.
At the realization that he had shot the woman, the officer drops to his knees and places his head in his hands. Seeing his partner distraught, a fellow officer attempts to comfort him to no avail. Instead, he collapses face-down on the pavement, apparently overwrought with grief over the fact that he may have taken a life.
As soon as the gunfire ceases, the car is seen slowly pulling away from the scene. The female suspect was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. Neither the officer nor any bystanders were injured during the incident.
The video appears to originate from a Facebook post uploaded by a woman who claims to have witnessed the entire incident. She adamantly states that the woman shot first and that the officer only returned fire to protect his life and that of the civilians who were closeby.
“This car pulled up shooting first !! From inside the car with the windows still up! Which is what caused the police to shoot her he didn’t shoot her for no reason he had his life and the parade to protect. Why shots was coming from inside the car is what I don’t know,” she wrote.
State police have corroborated the woman’s account, confirming that the suspect had pulled up to a “traffic point” at an entrance to the parade before opening fire on the officer. They added that the suspect shot first and the officer returned fire.
The video exposes the often overlooked side of policing. As well as the physical danger, the psychological impact that comes from hostile encounters is ignored and trivialized.
While law enforcement officers must maintain a thicker emotional skin in order to properly do their jobs, they are still humans. The vast majority don’t want to kill anyone and feel immense remorse when they are forced to do so.