As an officer begins their basic training, they become aware of how and when to use their firearm. By the completion of the academy, an officer will have enough repetition to be able to recognize a justified shooting. Many situations have occurred where people involved feel that the officer’s actions were not justified. Dallas Police Department recently had an officer involved shooting, in which the family members of the victim suspect, felt the shooting was unjustified. According to a news bulletin, posted on September 23, 2008, a Dallas Police Officer shot and killed a man whom was stopped after a traffic collision. Officials for the Police Department state the victim attacked the officer by continuously hitting him in the head with a closed fist. The Department continued by stating that the victim was 6’4” and 240 pounds.
The threat of serious bodily injury to the officer may have justified using his firearm. However, eyewitnesses to the incident state the victim was not near the officer at the time of the shooting. In fact, the family members (witnesses) hired an attorney to pursue assistance in this tragic moment. This situation develops the notion that perhaps officers need further training in officer involved shootings. If the family members are correct in their statements, that the victim was nowhere near the officer, then the victim would have been subject to an unjustified shooting. The department is forwarding the investigation to the grand jury, and is conducting an internal investigation. This situation poses the question whether officers are receiving proper training in officer involved shootings. The public may not make an informed decision as to the shooting being justified. Of course, the family members of the victim will say the shooting is unjustified, and the Department will say otherwise. The public will not know until an investigation is conducted by a third, uninvolved party.