The Minutes of Our Last Meeting – How Not to Shoot Black People

The Minutes of Our Last Meeting – How Not to Shoot Black People

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By Joe Janes

Midlothian Police Department

Midlothian, Illinois 

8:30am Morning Meeting Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Attendance: Chief Daniel Delaney, Officers Stewart, Nathaniel, Crump, Lawrence, and Haggard

Donuts provided by Dunkin’ 

Chief – Well, folks, I never thought it would happen to us. You read about it happening all over the country and it finally came to our village. One of our own shot and killed a black man.  

Stewart – Statistically speaking, it was bound to happen. 

Chief – To us?

Stewart – To the black guy. 

Chief – Well, regardless, it did not have to happen here and I’m going to put an end to it.

Nathaniel – Are we banning black people from Midlothian, again?

Chief – We never-

Crump – BUILD THE WALL!

Chief – There is no wall. Black people are allowed to roam freely in Midlothian. 6% of our population is black. 

Lawrence – That’s not very many. We can probably take them all out before anyone notices.

Chief – No! We won’t!

Haggard – Can’t shoot any black people if there are no more black people to shoot. 

Chief – That is not the solution I am looking for. Listen, just use common sense. You come upon a scene and you see a black person-

Stewart – Shoot first, ask questions later.

Chief – This isn’t the Old West, Stewart. 

Nathaniel – I see what you are getting at, Chief. Ask questions, then shoot. 

Chief – How about no shooting? Ask questions, find out what is going on, and don’t shoot at all. 

Crump – What if they shoot at us?

Chief – If they shoot at you, then, yes, go ahead and shoot.

Crump – If I shoot them before they shoot at me, then no one has to get hurt. Except the black guy. 

Chief – Two things you need to find out at the scene is 1) Are they really holding a gun? Make sure it is not a cell phone or a toy. 2) Find out what is going on? Talk to them first. The last possible decision you should make is “shoot the guy”. In fact, let’s take that option off the table.

Lawrence – Are you saying we shouldn’t shoot bad guys?

Chief – I’m saying you should give black people the same consideration you would give anyone of any color, particularly white. Give them every possible opportunity to not be shot. 

Haggard – So, if shooting a black guy is off the table, does that means it’s on the floor and I just need to scoop it up before the dog gets it? 

Stewart – If you don’t want us to shoot people, why do we even have guns? I know how budgets work. If we don’t use our guns and bullets, the city will stop giving us money for them.

Nathaniel – I’d feel naked without my gun.

Chief – You are naked, Nathaniel. Put your uniform on before you go out on patrol. 

Nathaniel – Damn. I shouldn’t dress in such a hurry. 

Crump – Your badge is making your nipple bleed.

Lawrence – Put a donut on it. 

Chief – Okay. Just to be clear. From now on, shooting someone, especially a black person, is no longer the first option in trying to de-escalate a situation. It is the last option to take when you have absolutely exhausted all non-lethal possibilities. Got that?

Haggard – So stuff like, “Hey, put the gun down. What’s your name? Tell me what’s going on? Let’s talk about it.”

Chief – Yes. Exactly, Haggard. 

Haggard – Then when they hand us their gun, we shoot them.

Stewart – That does sound safer. 

Chief – Let’s talk more about this tomorrow. For now, get out there and try not to shoot anyone. And, Nathanial, wipe off your seat. 

 

 Midlothian police officers successfully bring in two dark-skinned suspects without shooting them.

Midlothian police officers successfully bring in two dark-skinned suspects without shooting them.

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