Chron bashes Harris County law enforcement

The Chronicle's editorial board writes a ridiculous editorial today about the Brazilian man who was killed by London police after he refused to follow police directions:

When British police fatally shot an innocent man, Brazilian national Jean Charles de Menezes, the outcry was loud and sustained. The shooting, coming in the wake of the London subway and bus bombings that killed 52, made international headlines. Mistaken for a terrorist, Menezes was shot at point-blank range. His killing raised the question of how far British police should go to thwart terrorism.

And leave it to the idealists to find a way to bash Houston-area law enforcement:

According to reporting by Chronicle writers Roma Khanna and Lise Olsen, an astonishing 193 police officers from 18 law enforcement agencies in Harris County killed or wounded 189 people over a five-year span ending in 2004. In 65 cases, the victim was unarmed. In some cases the officer fired into the suspect's back or into a moving vehicle. Twenty-three cases involved the mentally ill.

That's referring to the "special report" on police shootings the Chronicle ran last year. What the Chronicle fails to point out whenever it mentions its "special report," is this:

Earlier this year, Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal invited members of the editorial board to the basement of the Harris County Court House to experience the Shoot/Don’t Shoot Course – a state-of-the-art virtual reality program used to train law enforcement officers how to deal with a variety of simulated, life-threatening scenarios. According to those who witnessed the exercise, a majority of the editorial board members “killed” both innocent citizens and unarmed suspects. One reportedly shot a child – and was, understandably, so upset by their decision they could not continue the course.

Of course, sitting in an office at 801 Texas Avenue is much easier than being on the street, having to make split-second, life-and-death decisions.

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Posted by Anne Linehan @ 07/29/05 10:54 AM | Print |

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