Usually when I talk about the state’s war against the homeless I’m speaking figuratively. But from time to time the state’s figurative war becomes a very real one:
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has released a disturbing video of a police shooting. It shows eight officers of the Saginaw, Michigan Police Department lined up against Milton Hall, a mentally ill homeless man. There’s a brief stand-off in a vacant parking lot, in which Hall pulls out a pocketknife, then the law enforcement agents fire 45 bullets at Hall, hitting him 14 times, even as he drops to the pavement, but it doesn’t end there.
“One policeman, after [Hall] was on the ground, turned him over, handcuffed him, and put his foot on his back,” says Jewel Hall, the mother of the 45-year-old homeless man. “And his blood is running down the street like water.”
A knife is a deadly weapon, there’s no denying that. But us tax payers are forced to pay for a lot of less-likely-to-be-lethal weaponry for police officers so you would think they would humor us by attempting to use it from time to time on somebody other than small children. Especially when there are eight officers so if something like a Taser fails to be effective you still have seven sets of hands free to either bring in another Taser or a firearm.
As a side note we should also take a moment to look at the hit ratio. 14 out of 45 rounds is approximately a 31 percent hit ratio, which is pretty terrible. Criticizing their poor marksmanship isn’t just my attempt at taking a cheap shot at the officers. Having that poor of marksmanship in a town is dangerous since it means 31 rounds went who knows where. That’s a sizable risk to the people the police are supposedly there to protect.