3/16/2009

Police Execute Elderly Cancer Survivor

Another police execution has come to light, this time in Louisiana. Not only did they shoot an elderly gentleman who was mute after suffering from throat cancer, they appear to have tampered with the scene to make it appear the man was brandishing a gun.

Bernard Monroe was gunned down as he approached his front door to ascertain the cause of the commotion at his family barbecue.

On the last afternoon of his life, Bernard Monroe was hosting a cookout for family and friends in front of his dilapidated home on Adams Street in this small northern Louisiana town.

Throat cancer had robbed the 73-year-old retired electric utility worker of his voice years ago, but family members said Monroe was clearly enjoying the commotion of a dozen of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren cavorting around him in the dusty, grassless yard.

Then the Homer police showed up, two white officers whose arrival caused the participants at the black family gathering to quickly fall silent. Within moments, Monroe lay dead, shot by one of the officers as his family looked on.

Pam's House Blend has more details about the incident. After shooting the elderly grandfather the police refused to call for medical help until they had placed a gun near the dying man and called for more police officers to arrive.

Guns Drawn in Culver CityImage by seanbonner via Flickr

Recently, psychologists have been taking a hard look at racial prejudices that exist in police departments that are possibly leading to excessive force and lethal force when it is not needed.

Psychologists are stepping up research into the implicit, unconscious racial biases that may be driving such statistics and affecting police behavior.

"If in fact police have implicit biases-if they automatically associate blacks with crime-then that would be relevant to an officer in a split-second, shoot-or-don't-shoot situation," said Lorie Fridell, a criminology professor at the University of South Florida who is creating a new anti-bias police training program with funding from the Justice Department. "Is the officer more inclined to believe he sees a gun in the hand of a black person, rather than a cell phone? I think that is possible."

Lot's more information on this incident at Pam's House Blend.

Of course, the question lingers will these officers be charged with murder or will they, as is usually the case, be placed on "administrative leave" while the incident is "investigated" and then quietly returned to duty when those in charge think the storm has passed?



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