Lethal Force: Too Much?

| July 15, 2009 | 0 Comments

Lethal Force Police Shootings On The Upswinggunbarrel

Over the past 4 months in Anne Arundel County, there have been four separate incidents where officers have fired their weapons in the line of duty.

  • April 17, 2009. Ricky Lee Kitzmiller was involved in a domestic dispute and while trying to resolve the situation, he pointed a shotgun at an officer and the officer fired his weapon at Kitzmiller who subsequently died. The name of the officer was not available.
  • June 29, 2009. A man had taken an apparent hostage in a business near BWI utilizing a box cutter . After unsuccessfully attempting to negotiate a release, several officers fires on the suspect and killed him. Two officers fired their weapons, Lt. Harry Peterson a 20 year veteran and Officer Walter Sweeney a 4 year veteran.
  • June 30, 2009. An officer investigating suspicious activity in the middle of the night fired his weapon at a 16 year old male. The suspect had been trying to allude the officer when he backed into the police car and hit the car and the officer. The suspect was exiting the vehicle and made a fast move toward his waist and the office fired two shots. The officer involved in this shooting was Dwayne Raiford, a 4 year veteran.
  • July 12, 2009. Several officers arrived at a house on Deep Creek Avenue to check on a woman upon advice from Anne Arundel Medical Center. When they arrived, the husband became belligerent and refused to cooperate. A scuffle ensued and at one point, the man, Michael Housley,  raised a chair over an officer’s head. Fearing for a fellow officer’s life, police fired their weapons and shot Housley. The names of the officers involved have not been released.

In an article last night, The Capital noted

Officer-involved shootings in the county are rare. Before June 29, there had only been 10 since 2005 – now there have been 13, including four this year.

While this statement is confusing (hey it is The Capital after all),  it does highlight an increase in officer involved shootings.

Certainly some of these are justified. The question remains, was the use of lethal force the right choice? Knowing that decisions need to be made in a literal second, both sides of the discussion can be understood. We have been told that our officers are not all equipped with Tasers. Is this the solution?

There is no doubt that the suspects/victims in each of these shootings made bad decisions. The question remains were they bad enough to warrant getting shot or killed by the police?

What are you thoughts? Please comment.

Category: Crime News

About the Author ()

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.