A man was shot.

He was shot attempting to get out of his car. With his hands held high and his friend in the driver seat, Jerame Reid was shot dead on Dec. 30 in Bridgeton, New Jersey. A 36-year-old black man was brought to his death for running through a stop sign.

Today, any black man’s death at the hands of the police immediately brings thoughts of Michael Brown and countless other victims.  The only difference in this case is that both the victim and the shooter were black — the racial element is gone.

Although race issues are a pertinent problem in our country and throughout the world, another very important problem is being looked over. Police rashness plagues the streets of suburbs, small towns and big cities. It is a problem that has manifested itself in the death of Jerame Reid, Michael Brown and many others who should still be alive today.

Do I think that each person who was killed was completely innocent? No. In most cases, I believe a crime has been committed — however, these crimes did not warrant death. In a majority of instances, the simple criminal charge would have passed in court had bullets not passed through the people. Is there a solution to this problem?

To fairly approach this issue, we must also look through the eyes of the police officers. In the case of Jerame Reid, the police officer noticed a gun in the glove box of Reid’s car, and immediately started shouting, “Hey Jerame, you reach for something you’re going to be fucking dead.” With a gun present, the stakes of simply pulling someone over increases vastly. Police officers across the United States are constantly put into situations where they may be harmed. The officer perceived the gun as a means to his own end. It was a threat to his life and that is why he held Jerame Reid at gunpoint.

The men and women in uniform are people too. They are allowed to be scared.  However, the rashness of the officer who killed Jerame Reid is unprecedented. He did not take into account the fear Reid must have felt with a gun pointed at his head and commands being barked at him. It is possibly due to this fear that Reid panicked and attempted to get out of the car with his hands up in an effort to show that he was not reaching for the gun.

Although Reid did not follow the commands of staying put, does getting out of a car justify death? Does a perceived threat on a police officer’s life call for death? Is one life more important than another? Both men were scared. One is dead. One lives with the other’s death.

The officer who killed Reid shot at a man who did not have a gun in his hand.  The video released of Reid’s death shows the inability of the cop to handle the situation.  This failure in fast decision-making has left one man dead. There must be a way to avoid this.

Both are victims in a flawed system that does not provide police officers with enough education on quick decision-making. It is vital that the police officer is able to diagnose the urgency of the situation in order to implement necessary action. The escalation between talk and gun-pointed commands was quick enough to allow for incorrect decisions to be made. Police officers choose this profession of protecting people, but in order to do this they must create a faster decision making model that protects civilians from rash police judgments.

Anderson de Andrade is a sophomore in the College. The Side Effect appears every other Wednesday on thehoya.com.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*