First, because those three sentences are generally indisputable, it does us little to no good to have that conversation. They are a given. Like gravity. Or that the earth is a spherical planetoid. Or that #mentoo is stupid, and men don't need to interject and include ourselves in women's fights for equity so that we can be included in the 'victim' column. (Women were standing up for male victims of sexual and interpersonal violence before it was cool.) Y'know, obvious shit.
Second, the 'good people' and 'bad people' issue is wholly unnecessary if we're talking about a systemic problem. Systemic problems are not started by just having 'bad people' around doing their 'bad people' stuff. It's a ridiculous argument to make that any police officer who does something shitty is just a 'bad person' and needn't be taken as a representation of a systemic problem. That's also an old argument that just...doesn't work anymore.
Third, if what people were really concerned about (as they addressed the issue of police violence in the US) were 'bad people' becoming and working as police officers, this conversation would be about HR practices and hiring metrics. This conversation is not about that. Humans, please.
The issue of unnecessary, unwarranted, and ultimately unjustifiable violence by LEOs is a systemic discussion. It is one that must start at the beginning (the first 'police' departments grew out of the tyrannically racist slave patrols) and continue through today (police departments as one arm of a criminal justice system that implicitly and explicitly negatively affects our larger society, but much more acutely communities that aren't mostly wypipo). The part of that discussion that no one wants to have is the one where juries of normal people continue to absolve LEOs of such unjustifiable violence. This absolution comes through our Supreme Court holding that the only requirement for the justification of homicide by LEOs is being afraid. On top of that, when juries are counted on to make these distinctions, they are only allowed to place themselves in the defendant officer's shoes within the moment of the violence. No 20/20 hindsight, no reasonable and rational look at whether the violence (often homicide) was reasonable and rational within our societal context. THIS IS A HUGE FU**ING PROBLEM.
First, if we are making the case that LEOs are better people than your average US citizen (as the case has been made during all this police officer hero worship), and we demand that these people receive extensive training about how to do the job well, how can the justification for homicide be, "I was afraid for my life." That is ludicrous. Simply, utterly, ludicrous. I'll even give you that LEOs are generally not better people than the rest of us, but they certainly do get trained to behave better. Even then, being afraid as a highly trained officer of the law cannot be enough to excuse homicide. It just cannot. LEOs ARE PAID TO BE AFRAID AND HANDLE IT BETTER THAN THE REST OF US. Popping off five shots into some guy because you can't handle the stress simply shouldn't cut it anymore. Your job is to deal with the stress the rest of us don't, and shouldn't, need to. The real absolution should only come after this additional jury instruction:
As a law enforcement officer trained in emergency management and subject de-escalation and control techniques, is it reasonable for this officer to have killed this person in this situation?Even this would probably produce some questionable outcomes, but we sure do think police are mighty fine, and if they happen to kill some folks, well, they were probably askin' for it. But to instruct a jury, or anyone else for that matter, to drop rational thought when glaring back at a tragedy to determine whether violence was justifiable; it's idiotic. Humans, please. LEOs in general need to be held to a standard that demands they behave better than early homo-erectus. See a tiger running at you? Being scared is a fine reason to kill that tiger. It's a fu**in' tiger! But a person who's lying on the ground handcuffed or walking down the street while not being a white person? LEOs shouldn't get to fall back on fear as an excuse. Their job is to be better than we would. Their job is to overcome their base instincts, like we sometimes can't. Celebrate LEOs for saving people in burning buildings? Absolutely. And if those LEOs can suppress their base instincts to run into a burning building, they can suppress their base instincts in killing someone out of fear. If we as a society continue to allow LEOs to kill us because they were afraid for their safety while trained to overcome that fear and operate rationally in emergencies, 'public safety' is a joke. ('Public safety' already is a joke in many places where the majority of humans aren't white folks. This is a fact. And the police shouldn't be part of this problem.) This could be different. But it won't be different until our standards line up with our expectations, and our legal system brings accountability to our streets.