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Sean Bell shooting the result of poor training, not prejudice

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The not-guilty verdict in the Sean Bell shooting case seems like a travesty. The law, however, protected the officers based upon their belief that their lives were in danger. State law codifies that a people may use deadly force to save themselves when in threat of being killed.

The reality of the Bell case is not the number of shots fired by the officers, but their belief that their lives were threatened. Given the terrifying circumstances the police confront daily, it is easy to accept that they view any act contrary to their dictates as provocative.

Officers are allegedly trained professionals who should be held to higher standards than the general public. The police should only use a firearm as a last resort, not as a first response.

The fault for the Bell shooting and other infamous killings by the police is not the result of prejudice. The fault is in the training and education by the police department. It is remarkable that the greatest city in the world has a third-rate training program.

Perhaps when the starting salary for police officers is $25,000, the best recruits are not forthcoming. Budgetary shortfalls that affect performance are to be expected. When the realities are that the dangers of the street are not offset by earned experience, tragedies like Sean Bell are natural consequences.

Edward Horn

St. Michaels

E. Elmhurst

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