In a speech filled with platitudes such as “protest is this idea of telling the truth in public” and “power is this idea of impact and agency,” Black Lives Matter leader DeRay Mckesson told an audience at San Diego State University on Saturday that “he cannot think of an instance where it would be acceptable for a police officer to kill a person.”
“When is it okay for someone to kill their child? That is the only way I can think about this. Somebody’s kid is being killed.”
Mckesson has used a similar line before. During an interview with The Daily Beast in 2015, he was asked if a police officer is ever justified in using lethal force “if someone points a gun at an officer (and even fires it).” He replied:
“If someone killed your child, what would it take for you to say it was justified?”
Here are five times lethal force was used against police officers:
1. Multiple Shots Fired
After a man shot a pizza shop employee 15 times in the back, NYPD Auxiliary Police Officers Yevgeniy Marshalik and Nicholas Pekearo were in pursuit. During the chase, Officer Pekearo took cover behind a car. The suspect came up behind Pekearo, and shot him six times. The suspect then approached Officer Marshalik and shot him in the head. Both officers died as a result of their wounds.
2. Car Accident
Salt Lake City PD Officer Douglas Barney was simply responding to a call regarding a car accident when he saw a male and female walking away from the scene. He approached them, and the male pulled out a gun a shot Officer Barney in the head, killing him.
3. Suicide Call
After someone called the police because their intoxicated friend was allegedly contemplating suicide, multiple officers from the San Jose PD responded. When the officers approached the apartment of the suicidal man, he opened fire on them, killing Officer Michael Johnson.
After handing a domestic violence injunction to a man in Shalimar, Florida, Deputy Sheriff William Myers of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office was shot in the back and head multiple times, killing him.
5. No Struggle Gunshot
When NYPD Detective Peter Figoski and his partner arrived at the scene of a robbery, they were unaware that the suspects were still in the vicinity, hiding in the basement of the home they had invaded. As the suspects made a break for it, one of them came into contact with Figoski’s partner, and a struggle ensued. The other suspect returned, shot Figoski in the head, and fled the scene. Figoski died at Jamaica hospital shortly thereafter.
These are merely five instances in which police officers were murdered by suspects. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 521 officers have been killed by firearms over the last decade.
These were men and women who volunteered to protect and serve and, in the process of doing their jobs, were killed. Deadly force would certainly have been warranted in the cases mentioned above, not to mention all the others.
Yevgeniy Marshalik was someone’s child; Nicholas Pekearo was someone’s child; Douglas Barney was someone’s child; Michael Johnson was someone’s child; William Myers was someone’s child; Peter Figoski was someone’s child, yet they were all gunned down by violent criminals.
What would DeRay Mckesson have to say about that?