Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney and ACS-CHAL Lawyer Scientist Jonathan Rooker speaks on local news and talk show regarding the recent shooting of a young man by Fresno Police Department
Jonathan Rooker was asked to speak on CH-24 News regarding the recent Fresno Police Department shooting of young Dylan Noble following a traffic stop. While the police body cam appears to justify the first two of the four shots fired, there is still widespread debate as to the justification of the third shot. However, the fourth shot, a shotgun blast to the severely injured, prone, and possibly dying young man is drawing the ire of a portion of the community and nation.
This shooting, and the reaction is part of a larger issue around the nation. People are growing tired of unjustified police shootings. I'm not sure this shooting is the best example of an unjustified police shooting, but growing public outrage over police shooting unarmed members of the community is gaining momentum.
There has become a line between police and civilians, rather than cooperation. Good citizens in middle class families are no longer 100% comfortable calling the police for help when they have been victims of a crime, out of fear that the officer will be aggressive verbally toward them or angry that they have to take a report. Worse yet, many times citizens feel the officer blames them for being the victim or calling in a petty property crime when there is "real police work" to be done.
Recent attacks on police have caused an increased level of apprehensiveness among officers, that will spill over onto the public they serve. The divide is growing, and will get worse if it isn't repaired. I distinctly remember an officer speaking to my first grade class, saying he only had to draw his weapon twice during his career. Now, despite an advanced level of technology and alternative options, firearms are drawn during routine traffic infractions on a regular basis. Even in the body cam video with the Dylan Noble incident, the officer had his firearm drawn long before the Mr. Noble stopped his vehicle, much less acted erratically.
Identifying the problem is only the first step, but how do we fix the problems? The first is a community based approach. The first step is taking the easy step. Police should take the time to get to know the community and learn how to speak to people. Small communities are the easiest. In small towns and cities around, or small communities, get to know the people, tear down the blue wall, and be a part of the community you serve. Visit local businesses, say hello to the owners, and let them know that you are there for them. Let them know it is ok to call, and you will help. Don't write every violation you can, give verbal warnings, or help. Don't blame the victim for not having a lock on their gate to their backyard when someone breaks in through the back yard and into their garage, but offer friendly advice on how to avoid future problems. Feel free to give a verbal warning on a minor infraction, the citizen will appreciate that you gave them a break, and hopefully respond. However, when minor seat belt tickets are handed out with an attitude and rude lecture, yet we read police departments claiming to be undermanned, lacking time to respond to calls, and unable to meet the demands of serious crime, it doesn't appear credible when they take the time to write a safety belt ticket every chance they get. Open communication, friendly, approachable, and helpful officers will help make society safer for all of us.