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Another Police Officer Shooting?

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All of the facts are not in but the community is talking and waiting for the investigation of last week’s shooting that took the life of Lamont Volner Stokes. We have received many inquiries and Rev. Bernell Butler has been called to start protesting the shooting.

Stokes was the 31 year old Black man who was shot and killed by two Riverside Police officers. It has been reported that four minutes after the officers arrived on the scene Stokes was shot. According to Felix Medina, Public Information Officer, the responding officers felt threatened when Stokes raised the knife he was holding in one hand and a screwdriver in the other and started toward them.

Stokes reportedly kept advancing toward the officers in spite of the fact that they ordered him to stop. The two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues.

We will not speculate on what the officers should or should not have done in this situation, however I still cannot believe a better way cannot be found to handle people. Many of the people I have spoken with are concerned that something is lacking in police officer training.

This was one of the areas highlighted in every investigative report found around the country during the Tyisha Miller shooting. The training component in Attorney General Bill Lockyer’s, consent decree was stated as an area for improvement in the Riverside Police Department. We would suggest that Police Chief Leach, City Manager George Caravalho, and the city council make a status report to the community regarding the training of police officers.

In addition we would ask the governing body of the city require the investigators give them a total report that includes the good, bad and ugly of the officers’ action. I am not suggesting that any officer’s rights be violated or any information be given to the public that should not be given to the public. I'm saying that as an elected representative of the public make sure you have all the information.

I am also suggesting that the Riverside Police Department seriously examine new technologies in the non-lethal weapon industry. Many of these “threatening” situations that occur for a variety of reasons can be diffused without fatal injury.

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