“We’re Not Perfect” Is Not An Excuse

“Nobody is perfect” is a facile excuse made by someone who screwed up.  And it works because it appeals to our biases. I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. So why should cops be “perfect”?  Except the problem isn’t that cops weren’t perfect, but that they were failures. Massive, huge, inexplicable failures.  The De Kalb County police officers who responded to a possible burglary call aspired to be “not perfect.”

Shortly after 7:30 p.m. Monday, three DeKalb County police officers were dispatched to a burglary call on Boulderwoods Drive, just off Bouldercrest Road, about a mile south of I-20. Derek Perez, the man who made the 911 call, wrote on Facebook that he’d told police about a possible burglar outside of “the farthest house at the end of the street.”

The officers, however, stopped at Chris and Leah McKinley’s home — the second house on the street — because it matched the “physical description” given, according to a release from the GBI.

The scenario begins with a possible crime at a possible location.  It’s all possible. What it’s not is definitive.  When something is possible but not certain, there are two ways for police to approach it.  The first is slowly, with caution, to investigate and ascertain what is happening so that they can take the appropriate action as they gain information upon which to make reasoned determinations of what that action might be.

The other way is to close their eyes, pull out their guns, and start shooting.

According to neighbors, that’s when Chris McKinley — who’d been watching a movie called “Serendipity” with his wife and 1-year-old — walked into the room with his dog. Authorities said two of the officers opened fire after they “encountered a dog.”

“He says, ‘I opened the door to see what the dogs were barking at, and I see black uniforms and I hear pop-pop-pop-pop’,” Colson said, relaying McKinley’s words.

McKinley, 36, was shot in the leg, and his dog, a female boxer, was killed. One of the officers — identified Tuesday afternoon as Travis Jones — was shot in the hip by a colleague, the GBI said.

Chris McKinley, enjoying an ironically named movie in the sanctity of his home with his family, ends up with a dead dog and a bullet in his leg.  That an officer was shot as well may be viewed as karma, but serves as a reminder that stupidity and incompetence know no boundaries when a finger is on a trigger.  The First Rule of Policing can have a nasty bite in the hands of violent morons like Police Officers Quhanna Lloyd and Timothy Harden.

That there is no question but that these three De Kalb County police officers challenge Darwin’s theory is too obvious to state. How the De Kalb police chief reacted to the obvious, on the other hand, is worth noting.

Interim DeKalb police Chief James Conroy said the incident has prompted the county to review its when-to-shoot training protocol — but he also said police have difficulties when people call 911 from cellphones but aren’t able to provide an accurate address.

No, police do not “have difficulties.” Police have incomplete, and potentially erroneous, information.  That means they would need to do something that they are either untrained or unwilling to do. Investigate.  If your “when-to-shoot training protocol” fails to take into account that it’s a bad idea to shoot innocent people and dogs in their house for no reason, real or potential, under the sun, then you have deeper problems than the nuance of training.

“Without getting into the specifics of this case, that’s one of the challenges when people call 911, we often don’t know where they are,” Conroy said. “We want officers to go out and investigate crimes like this rather than react. We want to go out and actually apprehend criminals and help people.”

Why not get into the specifics of the case?  That would seem like a particularly appropriate thing to get into, given that you killed a dog and put bullets into two human beings.   As for wanting police officers to do the sort of things police officers manage to do on those TV shows that make them look pretty darned smart, why raise it now?  Shouldn’t that be the sort of thing you tell your officers before they enter the home of a guy and his family watching a movie, minding their own business, and kill their dog and put a bullet in him?

“None of us should be speculating or assuming anything at this point,” he said. “There needs to be an investigation. There was a police officer who was severely injured and had a great deal of blood lost. We’re going to continue to pray for the officer and the homeowner.”

There’s nothing to speculate about. Your cops fucked up. Royally. And a dog is dead and a homeowner was shot.  As for your officer “who was severely injured,” at least he stood a chance, pal.  Sorry if that fails to show sufficient respect for the hard job cops do, but he was on the shooters’ team. What chance did the dog have?

And as for your appeal to religion, maybe your time would better spent finding cops who didn’t shoot first than praying.  Clearly, god didn’t help you up to now, so it’s time to find a better way to not shoot and kill.

But this shooting isn’t the only one that’s put the De Kalb County police under scrutiny. It’s the fourth controversial shooting in the past two years.  They just can’t seem to not shoot the wrong people.

Alexander defended officers in DeKalb and throughout the country, saying they “have a tough job.”

“In light of everything going on in the country right now, anytime officers have to respond to a call, they’re checking and double checking themselves,” he said Tuesday. “A lot of the criticisms and mockeries they’ve sustained across the country and even locally is just unfair.”

And the coup de grace.

DeKalb director of public safety Cedric Alexander added “Are we perfect? Absolutely not. But when we find a mistake, we own it. We own the fact that we were at the wrong house. We didn’t hide it. We didn’t mismanage it.

It’s hard to cover up a bullet in the body of a guy watching a movie with his family and a dead dog.  And criticisms and “mockeries” are, at the very least, more than fair.  No, you’re not perfect. You’re dangerous and incompetent. And De Kalb County police officers shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near guns. Or people. Or dogs. Because you’re not perfect.

8 thoughts on ““We’re Not Perfect” Is Not An Excuse

  1. John Barleycorn

    No one ever prays for the animals they kill anymore…not even the ones we like to eat, which in and of itself might say something.

    Anyway, if there was ever a post that could have included the word zemblanity this might have been it but I shouldn’t really speculate or assume seeing as how I am not a cop or even a guy who trains cops that if they don’t speculate and assume the bad guys will win.

    P.S. James Conroy would in fact make a good name for television show cop.

  2. kenm

    Someone needs to be asking the cops some serious questions here…

    Like did any of them have two brain cells to rub together, or had they been watching Lethal Weapon (or Hot Fuzz) one too many times?

    The article suggests they “announced themselves”, but was that before or after they started shooting.

    And why did the neighbor have to provide first aid, instead of the officers?

    1. SHG Post author

      Some people announce by knocking on a door or ringing a bell. Some announce by yelling as they break into a house and kill a dog. People tend not to find the latter method particularly informative when they weren’t expecting company.

  3. sorrykb

    If I’m interpreting his statement properly, the DeKalb director of public safety apparently expects us to be grateful that they “owned” this, rather than, say, covering it up by murdering everyone in the house and blaming the “burglar”.

  4. KP

    They should have had a Cop in a Kilt with them.. Maybe sending them in without guns will allow Darwin to raise the average IQ of cops there.

    Oh wait, going in unarmed just “won’t go down back home”

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