In a recent outbreak of law enforcement shootings in America, police have used lethal force to subdue and ultimately kill Nicholas Robertson in Los Angeles, Mario Woods in San Francisco, and Gilbert Flores in Texas. Each of these police killings were captured on video.
Over the weekend, Los Angeles police officers fired 33 shots at Nicholas Robertson as he was walking away. Robertson was “reportedly wielding a gun.”
After cops began firing on Robertson, cell phone video captured at the scene depicts Robertson falling to the ground “crawling on his stomach as he is repeatedly struck by additional gunfire from police.”
On Friday, a graphic video was released of the fatal police shooting of Mario Woods. According to ABC 7 San Francisco, Woods was “shot by officers who say he was wielding a knife in a threatening manner.” Woods’ family is reportedly filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
On August 28, Gilbert Flores was shot and killed by two Bexar County deputies responding to a domestic disturbance. Flores was allegedly holding a knife. According to DailyMail.co.uk, Flores’ hands were raised just before he was gunned down.
On Monday, Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discussed these disturbing encounters with law enforcement officials and whether lethal force was necessary.
Speaking about the police shootings, NewsOne Now panelist Laura Coates, a former federal prosecutor, told Martin that “police officers are not gauging with an objective eye.”
“They’re gauging with an overzealous attitude that is more than just culture. The law is on their side to do just that,” Coates said.
When asked if a non-lethal approach can be used in cases that resemble Robertson’s, Woods’ and Flores’, Cleo Manago, a behavioral expert, said there is “a culture of how people see men of color … where they’re disposable.”
“This is not new,” Manago, who previously worked with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said. “One of the reasons why I left the force was because I tried to combat these kinds of incidents as an insider and it was not working and nobody cared, and that culture of nobody caring gets beyond the police department. Even in our own communities when we see a brother (with his hands cuffed behind his back) we are eating our popcorn — there is no alarm, nobody is concerned.”
“And now because of the humane issue that has come up because these murders are on tape, people are starting to act like they have some concern,” said Manago.
“I’m extremely concerned when there are institutions within our government that have the ability to use any type of force necessary, regardless of accountability of being transparent,” NewsOne Now panelist Shermichael Singleton said.
Watch Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the use of lethal force against people of color in the video clip above.
Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.