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American Law Enforcement

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Police ranks often pull together to support their own and when that does not work, the community will justify their actions by not holding them responsible for the outcomes of bad decision making. The ethics within the police rank appears to be teleological, supporting the concept of the means justifying the ends, despite all Constitutional efforts to dissuade this type of thinking. In a world that is becoming ever increasingly violent the service that is entered into by the police should reflect a higher standard of responsibility instead of a shield that protects them from the outcomes of their poor decision making processes. Incidents Death and Justification In the year 2000 Shannon Smith, a mentally disabled man of 27 who often forgot to pay for the gas he would pump into his Cadillac. The $15 dollars in gas was not the first that he had forgotten to pay, but he would remember and go back, or his father would take care of the bill for him when called. On this particular occasion, however, the clerk called the police and a slow pace pursuit began chasing the mentally disabled man across jurisdictions. … Gabor was later charged with his murder (Reynolds, 2001). Despite evidence that Gabor had used his nightstick to pound on the car window and to kick at the car, he was acquitted of the charges. Smith’s family received $675,000 in a wrongful death settlement against Gabor from the police department who settled on Gabor’s behalf (Reynolds, 2002). On August 31st of this year Michael Vincent Allen was shot 41 times after a high speed chase that included a bashed in front end to a police vehicle. Police contend that at the end of a cul de sac Allen tried to make a u-turn which ended in the damage to the front of the police car, but witnesses contradicted that version and stated that it was the police car that rammed into Allen’s vehicle. The officer’s name, that has yet to be released, stood with his fellow officers and fired 41 times at the suspect while the other officers did not fire off a single shot (Peterson, 2012). The initial police reports supported the officer through police accounts, but a wider investigation showed that he was aggressive and that he was the only one shooting is suspicious. Officer Mathew Jacob Marin, who has been a police officer for five years, shot and killed a man with only one arm and one leg in a wheelchair when he was cornered by the man who was waving around a metal object which turned out to be a pen. Marin was involved in a previous shooting death during his career when in 2009 he shot a suspect who was stabbing his neighbor and refused to drop the knife when confronted. In the same year, a poll taken by the Chicago Tribune found that 59% of police officers never fire their gun during their career. While the first incident seems justifiable for Marin,