Never Shoot First

Never Shoot First

Letter to Torrance City Council

I'm a Torrance resident.  I won't call the Torrance police.

Back in May, after the killing of George Floyd, I wondered how my town's police were doing.  I was saddened to find the video of Christopher Deandre Mitchell shot by Torrance police officers, and to learn that D.A. Jackie Lacey considered the incident an appropriate use of force.  I was offended to watch the department's self-serving incident report video.

I don't consider myself a brave person.  I've never been in a situation that requires great bravery.  But when people talk about police officers, we hear the word "brave" a lot.  I want to believe that's true.  Well, the officers who shot Michelle Lee Shirley... 20 rounds fired into her car when she was suspected of drunk driving...  And the officers who shot Desiree Nicole Garza because she was acting erratic and wielding a knife...  And the officers who shot Christopher Deandre Mitchell because he was holding something between his legs...  Those shootings look cowardly.

If officers are indeed brave, maybe it's the use of force rules that need to change, to live up to that bravery.  I lived in Japan where officers don't carry firearms.  I'd certainly vote for that in Torrance.  My understanding is that only one percent of calls to 9-1-1 involve any kind of confrontation.  But if others think guns are essential to policing, how about a "Never Shoot First" rule?

I want some bold change like this... some brave stance by the Torrance Police that is totally trustworthy and serving.  Right now, if I see a car being stolen or a drunk driver, I won't call it in.  Knowing what's happened before, I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I called, PD showed up, and a Black person was killed again.

Kristofer Bergstrom