“Assassination,” or Justified Police Shooting?
By Ken K. Gourdin
Family members of slain Ogden UT resident say police “came to kill” him and “execute[d]” him on the night he was shot after police opened fire when Jovany Mercado-Bedolla refused to surrender the knife he was wielding. The family is represented by attorney Robert Sykes, who is well known for taking on agencies and municipalities over alleged inappropriate usage of deadly force.
See coverage of the incident in Salt Lake City’s Deseret News here (last accessed September 17, 2019): https://www.deseret.com/utah/2019/9/16/20868815/parents-of-slain-ogden-man-question-police-use-of-deadly-force. First quoting sections of the article, I responded:
From the article: “Mercado-Bedolla was disoriented and maybe had taken drugs,” the family’s attorney, Robert “Sykes said.”
“Mercado-Bedolla has been convicted of mainly misdemeanor drug possession, intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia several times since 2017 and most recently in April, according to court records.”
So, in spite of Mr. Mercado-Bedolla’s history of drug use, it’s not the drugs, and it’s not Mr. Mercado-Bedolla’s failure (possibly due to the drugs) to obey officers’ commands. It’s the cops. Gotcha.
From the article: “Sykes said Mercado-Bedolla didn’t comply with officers’ commands to drop the knife for five to seven seconds before they shot him. He attributed their actions to ‘panic’ or ‘bad training.’”
So … it’s not the fact that I have a weapon.* It’s not the fact that I refuse to comply with officers’ commands. It’s not me. It’s not my actions (or my failures to act). It’s the cops. They panic, and they’re poorly trained. Gotcha.
There is no “they” and “them”: There is only us—taxpayers. That said, litigation costs notwithstanding, if officers really did act within policy and within training, I wouldn’t settle with Mr. Sykes or with his clients. Doing so sets a bad precedent: “No matter what happened or who’s at fault, agencies and municipalities (taxpayers) will pay you to go away.”
*There’s no such rule as “he only had a knife.” Officers’ job is not to engage suspects with weapons in a fair fight: It’s to neutralize the threat they pose—period.