Sunday, January 25, 2009

Police shooter must face trial

On Friday, a police officer shot and killed courier driver Halatau Naitoko during a confrontation with an armed offender. It looks like a tragic accident. But regardless, the officer should be prosecuted and made to face the judgement of their peers.

Look at the precedents: hunters kill their mates in tragic accidents fairly frequently. They are usually made to stand trial for careless use of a firearm, or in cases where there is clear negligence, manslaughter. Some are discharged, some are convicted, some end up on home detention, some (in very serious cases) end up in jail. We do this, despite the tragic circumstances, because we as a society have decided that people who play with guns need to exercise the utmost care and responsibility when doing so.

The same rules should apply to the police. Otherwise, it looks awfully like there is one law for them, and another they enforce on us. And we've had quite enough of that already.