Shooting near BC sparks debate

Elizabeth Fernandez, Editor in Chief

OK, let’s get one thing straight. When it comes to the topic of police brutality there is no pro and con. It’s a matter that shouldn’t exist in our society. I was asked whether I believed the Bakersfield City Police Department was currently suffering from a case of cops gone bad, and my answer is no.

Footage from other places recently exposed, like a pregnant mother with her eye severely mutilated, don’t even come close to being rivaled, as far as the level of current brutality goes in this town. As citizens we aren’t walking around in utter fear from the cops; I’ve witnessed the opposite.

I recently participated in a ride-along, where a civilian signs up and spends an entirety of an officer’s shift with them. Every time the officer arrived at a scene, an oftentimes aggressive suspect tried to rebut the officer’s presence.

A middle-aged woman with drunk 15-year-olds in her home for her son’s loud 23rd birthday gave the cop attitude and asked what the problem was, a man found hiding in his bleeding and scared wife’s home stood, naked torso and beer gut exposed, dignified and proud, and a documented gang member who robbed a defenseless gas station employee at gunpoint told the officer handcuffing him he was being too rough. These are the criminals these men and women deal with on a daily basis, and the citizen’s they end up protecting are claiming they have issues.

I interviewed the officer for a little while, and I asked what the most horrific scene he ever arrived on was. The officer became visibly uncomfortable and quiet before disclosing what had occurred in our town two days prior: A child under foster care, about 6 to 7 years old, had been bound and gagged to a chair while her guardians abused and starved her for days. And although the officer was uncertain, it was also possible the child had or was suffering with cancer.

Forgive the officer who witnessed this scene or carried the dying child for not placing handcuffs on the recently mentioned gang member’s wrists more delicately, or speaking a little kinder to the man who beat his wife, or for having a little more patience with the rude woman who refused to turn down the music for her 23-year-old’s house party, complete with drunken minors stumbling out and complaining neighbors making 911 calls as often as they could.

The recent altercation between the BDP and the civilian that resulted shot and killed is indeed deplorable, but I’d like to ask all of my online friends and acquaintances posting hateful and judgmental verdicts on the officer’s guilt, how many of them were actually witnesses to the event as it unfolded. “Details are uncertain,” even witnesses who were actually on the scene have conflicting accounts.

I don’t think officers would be willing to risk their entire careers for the sake of street justice, especially with the events currently unfolding all around our country.