Reassign Officer Mason!

The story of the 13 year old boy shot by Columbus Police last Wednesday night is a tragedy of the first order. I beg the community to wait for the investigation to be completed before rushing to judgement.

Regardless, I am troubled by one particular aspect of the event that Chief Jacobs needs to consider. Most police officers serve their entire careers without ever firing their weapons in the line-of-duty. Yet the officer shooting the 13 year old suspect has been involved in 4 such deadly encounters in the past 6 years. That is really unusual!

I suspect that an objective investigation will demonstrate that Officer Mason was fully justified in his actions as the previous investigations have. Nevertheless, when that kind of pattern develops it is important that something change. For both the future safety of the officer and the public’s confidence in Columbus Police I encourage the Department to reassign Officer Mason to other duties or to less volatile locations.

If nothing changes one of two things will probably occur, neither of them good:  Officer Mason may become more hesitant to use force in the future for fear of eventually making a mistake. That could cost him his own life. Or he may become much more suspicious in public interactions and possibly someday overreact. Having faced deadly encounters as often he has I doubt any human being would not be adversely affected, even a seasoned professional as Officer Mason likely is.

 

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