I am writing in regard to the Aug. 1 editorial entitled, “Police shootings can be justified but not necessary.” Rearranging the editor’s words to read “Police shootings that are justified are necessary” is a more accurate way to look at unfortunate events where it is necessary for an officer to use deadly force.

Justified is a standard that exists in the Maine Criminal Code. The statutes provide an objective definition that an officer’s actions can be measured against. The attorney general’s office, not the police department the officer works for, is charged with investigating and making a determination as to whether an officer was justified in using deadly force.

Objective means having real existence outside of the person’s mind that is not influenced by personal feelings. Conversely, necessary is a subjective term that depends upon personal taste and views, etc. There is no way to measure necessary because it is different for every person who thinks about it.

The editorial’s premise is that more data is needed to measure the officer’s actions. Further, it insults officers by alleging that officers might alter the facts to appear less culpable. Then the editors praise officers because they have to make dangerous decisions to defuse situations. They cannot have it both ways.

So, do we have to analyze police shootings to discover whether they were necessary or not? I would argue that is taken care of by the attorney general’s office when they investigate and determine whether police use of deadly force fell within the statute and was justified.

Anne P. Schaad


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