Letters to the Editor (Washington Post)
We cannot ignore the need for serious reform of law enforcement
Another police shooting in Fairfax County, this time of a mentally disturbed man who had told a police officer earlier on the day he was shot that he was suicidal [“Family of man shot by Fairfax deputy says he had sought help,” Metro, Aug 25]. Is this going to be the tipping point where we actually make changes so that citizens in crisis don’t get killed and our law enforcement officers don’t kill them?
The fatal shooting of Giovanny Martinez was outrageous. So were the deaths of Natasha McKenna, a mentally ill inmate who died in the Fairfax County jail last year, andJohn B. Geer, who was shot in the doorway of his Springfield home in 2013. Shoot-to-kill is not an acceptable way to defuse a crisis, and the police in Fairfax County (and elsewhere) need better tools and training to serve and protect the community.
Non-lethal technology exists, so why isn’t it being used in these types of situations? There is no good excuse when the alternative is the death of someone’s loved one. The Martinez family is mourning this time, but it easily could be any of us. After the requisite investigation, let’s have the courage to make some real changes this time.
Benjamin W. Glass III, Fairfax Station