LAPD Urges Officers to Be Community Guardians, Not Warriors on Crime


texas_sherrif_shooting_8-31-15-2 Law enforcement officers attend a news conference regarding the shooting death of Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth, pictured in back, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, in Houston. Prosecutors on Saturday charged Shannon J. Miles with capital murder in the Friday killing of Goforth at a suburban Houston gas station. (Marie D. De Jesus/Houston Chronicle via AP)

No police officer can do his job if he believes everyone he meets will try to kill him.  Nor can he do his job if he forgets that some of them will.  So every day, every police officer out on the streets of America walks the balance between keeping things friendly with the public and keeping himself from harm.  On every radio call, on every traffic stop, in every last interaction for the eight, ten, or twelve hours in his work shift, he scrutinizes the people he meets and asks himself a simple question: “Does this person want to hurt me?”  Of course the answer is most often “no,” a conclusion the officer usually reaches without conveying that the question had even been asked.

But despite this heightened awareness, most police officers assume they can stand in a very public place and put gas in their cars without fear of being ambushed and killed.  Or at least they did until Friday.  It was Friday evening that Deputy Darren Goforth, of Texas’ Harris County Sheriff’s Department, was gassing up his patrol car when a man walked up behind him and shot him.  Then, after Deputy Goforth had fallen to the ground, the man stood over him and continued firing, killing him on the spot.  Deputy Goforth was 47.  He leaves a wife and two children, a 12-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son.

Shannon Miles, 31, has been arrested and charged with capital murder, and if there is any comfort to be found in this sickening crime, it is in the fact that it occurred in Texas, where Miles, if proven guilty, can expect the punishment such a deed deserves.  We are reminded of course that at that this time Miles has merely been accused and is entitled to a presumption of innocence in the eyes of the law.  Fine, and we shouldn’t wish to have it any other way.  But that presumption does not extend beyond the courtroom, and you and I are free to draw our own conclusions.  As for me, I am satisfied with Sheriff Ron Hickman’s assertion that there is a “mountain of evidence” tying Miles to Deputy Goforth’s murder.

So now the question: Why did Miles do it?  As of this writing, his motive hasn’t been disclosed.  Even so, it is hardly unfair to speculate that with no known connection between Miles and Deputy Goforth and no apparent provocation, Miles may have been impelled to kill by a hatred for police officers, which in some circles is currently much in fashion.  So much so, in fact, that according to Breitbart Texas, some black activists are calling for “lynching and hanging of white people and cops.”  The linked story contains an audio clip from an Internet radio show hosted in Texas by a woman known as “Sunshine.”  In the clip, she discusses with callers the desirability of seeing white people and police officers attacked and killed.  “But who would say such things?” you ask.  Click on over and hear it for yourself.  But be warned: there is abundant coarse language accompanied by images of people treating the American flag in a crude and disrespectful manner.