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The whOregonian's crass police-shooting article by Cheif Kroeker

The whOregonian's crass police-shooting article by Cheif Kroeker, reproduced in its entirety
Misconceptions about shooting do a disservice

Police don't 'shoot to kill,' nor was the chain of events started by the victim's failure to pay bus fare

Monday, May 14, 2001
The Oregonian

Misinformation following the tragic shooting death of Jose Santos Victor Mejia Poot has compounded the sentiments and heightened the level of anger and hurt in a community that has many questions and concerns.

Two of them have been exacerbated by the media, including an article in The Sunday Oregonian ("Hundreds decry police shooting in Portland," May 6).

The first piece of false information is that our police have a "shoot to kill" policy.

Portland Police Bureau officers are trained much like those in any other law enforcement agency; they are trained to "stop a deadly threat." There is a distinct difference between the two, because an officer's goal is not to kill, but to stop the deadly threat.

Even after being shot, an emotionally charged person may continue to advance. That is why officers are trained to shoot at the central body mass, the largest part of the human body and the area that gives the best chance of stopping the threat as quickly as possible.

Other factors also influence this training. Studies have shown that when human beings are threatened, their body actually goes into survivor mode, which includes blurred vision, decreased fine motor skills and almost a tunnel-like vision. These factors all influence the ability to control a firearm -- and this is the case for a police officer, just like any other human being.

Portland Police Bureau officers train extensively on firearms and must qualify three times a year. Many officers are expert marksmen. But it doesn't change the fact that when threatened, they will experience these physical effects. So when officers must use deadly physical force, they rely greatly on their training. If police officers were trained to shoot suspects in the leg, for example, and they missed, their own lives and possibly the lives of those they are trying to protect would be directly threatened. Movies and television have greatly contributed to the myth that police can shoot like heroes in old Westerns, such as shooting a gun out of someone's hand.

When a person becomes a police officer, he or she swears to protect human life. To use deadly physical force means the officer might take a life, something that is foreign and horrific to us. These decisions are not entered into lightly, and the officer must comply with an extremely detailed General Order on when physical deadly force should be used.

In the case of Mr. Mejia, the officers first used all forms of less-lethal tools available to them: voice commands in Spanish and English and physical methods including the baton, pepper spray and the less-lethal beanbag weapon. Mr. Mejia, armed with a metal bar, advanced on officers, who were trapped in front of a locked door. Having exhausted other means, an officer fired in defense of a fellow officer's life.

The second prevailing misconception is that Mr. Mejia was arrested because he was 20 cents short on his Tri-Met fare. This is simply untrue.

The driver flagged down a police car because, he said, Mr. Mejia was being disruptive. Mr. Meija was arrested after attempting to assault the responding officer. It is not clear whether Mr. Mejia was having an epileptic seizure or suffering from some other mental disorder.

Though the use of excessive force during this arrest is under Internal Affairs investigation, the arrest was made because of Mr. Mejia's behavior -- not because he didn't have the fare.We also should not forget the officer who fired rounds that resulted in the death of another human being. This highly regarded, decent officer and his family will forever be affected by this tragic event.

I have agreed to participate in public forums or multi-agency reviews of this incident. This incident was unique in that it encompassed the Portland Police Bureau, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, local mental health agencies and Tri-Met. Questions are raised; answers need to be given.

I have pledged to do what it takes to aid this process. I am reviewing every stage of this incident to determine what improvements need to be made in policy, procedures, training or technology. This tragedy has shaken the community, and it is imperative that people understand the facts and are not misled by false reports or wrong information.

-- Written by Mark A. Kroeker, Portland's police chief.

homepage: homepage: http://www.oregonlive.com/commentary/oregonian/index.ssf?/commentary/oregonian/ed_21kroek14.frame

Pig-to-Civilian Translation of Above Article 15.May.2001 11:16

Josh

PIG: "Studies have shown that when human beings are threatened, their body actually goes into survivor mode, which includes blurred vision, decreased fine motor skills and almost a tunnel-like vision. These factors all influence the ability to control a firearm -- and this is the case for a police officer, just like any other human being."

TRANSLATION: Studies have shown that when Peace Officers are scared, their body actually goes into genocidical mode whereby they shoot the nearest minority or working class threat. When the shots are fatal, it's not the Peace Officer's fault, it's chemistry. This is the case for a Peace Officer, but this defense is not extended to every other human being.

###

PIG: "To use deadly physical force means the officer might take a life, something that is foreign and horrific to us."

TRANSLATION: When we murder people, being held accountable for our actions is something foreign and horrific to us.

###

PIG: "Mr. Mejia, armed with a metal bar, advanced on officers, who were trapped in front of a locked door. Having exhausted other means, an officer fired in defense of a fellow officer's life."

TRANSLATION: The Peace Officer who shot Mejia was not only the victim in this event, but the unsung hero.

###

PIG: "Mr. Meija was arrested after attempting to assault the responding officer. It is not clear whether Mr. Mejia was having an epileptic seizure or suffering from some other mental disorder."

TRANSLATION: Don't act strangely in public. You will be arrested and shot.

###

PIG: "This highly regarded, decent officer and his family will forever be affected by this tragic event."

TRANSLATION: Again, this Peace Officer is the true victim in case, and nevermind about Mejia and his family.

###

PIG: "This tragedy has shaken the community, and it is imperative that people understand the facts and are not misled by false reports or wrong information."

TRANSLATION: This murder is bringing bad press and community outrage, and it is imperative that people be kept under control and we put our false spin on this so that the people will be misled.

I hate corporate media, but... 15.May.2001 14:45

Lucy Parsons

Thanks for posting Kroeker's trashy excuses. But I have one request: Could we all find some better way to put down the Oregonian than by calling it the "whOregonian"? "Whore" -- whether we like it or not -- is a gendered term used to insult someone, and it perpetuates sexism. We're a creative, vibrant movement -- let's think of some gender-neutral insults to hurl!

sorry 15.May.2001 17:48

Josh

I'm sorry, you're right, it is sexist. The meaning in this article is that the Oregonian is a "corporate whore", and it was not intended to degrade women in any way.

The "bOregonian" didn't have quite the same -zing!- to it.

the Oregonian 16.May.2001 14:01

biljrat

How about "the Ignorian"? I heard this one somewhere, and think it makes sense (alas).