The Difficult Realities of Lethal Force

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from The Hill,

my column in the Hill on the spate of recent police shootings and the resulting calls for reforms and criminal charges. Two new incidents have occurred in the last week and both raise serious questions that must be answered on the use of lethal force. In North Carolina, Andrew Brown Jr., 42, was shot and killed during execution of an arrest warrant. He was reportedly shot in the back while trying to flee but no gun was found. In Virginia, Isaiah Brown, 32, was shot more than six times by a deputy who appears to have thought that a cellphone was a gun. The officers had previously given Brown a ride home and they were later called back to the home due to a disagreement. The tape shows Brown saying that he was going to kill his brother with a gun, but Brown told the 911 operator that he did not have a gun. These and the prior cases capture the dangerously uncertain and chaotic context of such cases. Both Brown cases raise serious questions that need to be answered on the use of lethal force.

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