Recent police brutality events have converged with advances in technology to reach a fever pitch. Camera phones make it possible to record the actions of state officials like never before, and the internet and social media allow these images and videos to reach and impact the entire country in a matter of hours. This unprecedented access to and circulation of information has lead the public to rightfully demand greater accountability and transparency into the activities of state officials in light of numerous killings of civilians by law enforcement. Everyone understands that police officers must sometimes use deadly force in the line of duty, but much of the available information shows that at least some of these shootings may have been unwarranted.
Protests against police brutality towards African Americans and demands for accountability in the criminal justice system reached a critical mass in Baltimore last month after the death of Freddie Gray. Gray was arrested by Baltimore Police and sustained serious injuries during transport that left him hospitalized and in a coma. He passed away days later after protests against his mistreatment had already begun. Although the six officers involved have all been charged with murder, peaceful protests erupted into riots in Baltimore amid concerns over institutional racism that continually ends in the death of unarmed African American civilians. During the riots, many were injured, hundreds were arrested, and the city declared a state of emergency. With contentions already high between police and residents in Detroit, the recent death of yet another unarmed black man may prove to be the tipping point for our city.
Just weeks after the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Detroit resident Terrance Kellom was shot to death by a federal agent who was trying to arrest him pursuant to an arrest warrant for armed robbery of a pizza delivery driver. Accounts of the incident are conflicting. The agent says Mr. Kellom was shot when he charged officers with a hammer, and Mr. Kellom’s father says his son had no weapon. Small protests began in the neighborhood shortly after the shooting, and neighbors alleged police officers used excessive force because they fired 10 shots.
Despite the current national call to end police brutality and excessive force against African Americans, police work sometimes requires use of deadly force, but officers may use only as much force as is reasonable under the circumstances. It has already been several weeks since the death of Terrance Kellom, and it has not sparked the fervor of the country or even the immediate metro area. Although every loss of human life is a tragedy, at the hands of police or not, some deaths are warranted for self-defense. Because of the conflicting testimony about the deceased charging law enforcement with a hammer, this particular shooting hasn’t been understood countrywide as an unwarranted case of police brutality.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of Detroit police brutality, you may have a case. Davis Law Group PLLC is committed to helping people fight police brutality. Call us today for a free consult with one of our attorneys at (313) 818-3238.