There was a story in the news recently in Las Vegas regarding the arrest of several people for using sidewalk chalk to deliver anti police messages in front of the courthouse. These people were there demonstrating against police violence which has left several dead in recent times in the city. The police arrested the individuals. The city then proceeded to hire a company to use a pressure washer to remove the chalk. The pressure washer was hired rather than simply spraying the chalk with a hose so that the police could rack up the associated price tag with the incident thereby increasing the charges they could press as well. The arrest was actually made after the people in question had received permission from the Marshall’s office to write on the sidewalk during their peaceful demonstration. A lawyer has been retained and now the arrested people are bringing action against metro police dept.
While reporters, such as myself, were hanging around to get some additional information about the legality of the arrests, I heard a heated discussion started by two reporters regarding online gambling and the initial decision to make online gambling in the US illegal. Since 2006 when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed by Congress, online gambling in the US has actually skyrocketed. There are dozens of online web sites that offer all sorts of games including legal slots for US players. After the initial flurry of panic from the banks and credit card companies which resulted in their denying online gamblers the ability to use them for depositing or receiving monies, it now seems easier than ever to play for cash online. Certain online gambling site actually cater to the US player. Just as I was about to step in and add my two cents worth of opinion, a press meeting was announced and we all hurried into the briefing room.
Some people believe that the police shoot people with no provocation because there will be little consequence. They get a paid vacation. There have been few judgments levied against an officer involved in a shooting, if any. They are always cleared of any wrong doing. One of the last cases of public inquest hearings looking into the shooting death of an unarmed man concluded with a recommendation to terminate the police officer involved but the Sheriff still decided to do more extensive training with him and his other officers. The town ended up retaining the officer anyway. This created much tension between the public members of the investigation team and the sheriff which ended when several members of the board resigned in protest.
Many people in the area feel there is not enough police liability when they have been involved in a shooting & this has encouraged a rash of police shootings in recent times. This argument would be dismissed if it were possible but the increased number of shootings looks as though it could support the theory. The truth of the matter is that police officers are in danger every day. They place themselves there for the greater good of society and they have every reason to be concerned with there own well being. They have to defend their own life when it becomes necessary, but they also need to be held accountable for their actions. Any incident of police officers firing upon a citizen should in fact be met by a public inquiry into the facts. That group of individuals not only should be able to thoroughly investigate the facts and come to a conclusion of fault in the incident, but also offer a recommendation for action. Or the district attorney’s office needs to take the information before a grand jury.
There must be a system to check facts. If this is not the case there is really no way of keeping the system in balance.