How is this possible? I asked myself this question when I learned Rayshard Brooks had been shot in cold blood by yet another police officer. How many others asked themselves the same question?

Even if this man was intoxicated, he was not posing a threat to anyone else. He spoke of his daughter and his sister, whose house he could have walked to. As so many other competent, thoughtful, helpful officers have done in a variety of circumstances, these officers could easily have bypassed an arrest, followed or driven him to his sister’s house.

I don’t know why Rayshard Brooks went wild when the cuffs were being put on him. Perhaps he feared he would not be able to take his daughter skating on her birthday the following day, and he didn’t want to disappoint her. Whatever caused his behavior, there is clearly no reason he is now dead and that four children will never see their father again.

Described by a co-worker as kind, loyal and a good worker, his life of 27 years has been needlessly cut short.

I will assume that police officers receive training in target shooting, so it continually perplexes me that, even if feeling threatened, an officer cannot simply disable someone by firing at a leg instead of shooting to kill. What gives them the right to believe they have the power to take a life when no one is nearby and under threat of harm? If anything, these two officers in the Brooks killing put a number of innocent bystanders at risk by firing a gun at all.

A final word regarding the murder of George Floyd. The expression on the face of the officer, who took Floyd’s life with his knee, as his disdain fully dismissed the incident’s recording, reminded me of the public lynching of the past. The officer had to be aware the world would be his audience. Still, he had no concern that he would be considered a murderer.

Is it any wonder why we need to hear the refrain “Black lives matter”?

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