Ear Hustle

Police Shoot & Kill A New Jersey Man In A Crowded Library

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It looks like you can get killed by police for holding a book as easily as holding a gun if you’re black in America today, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when you can get shot down for nothing more than walking down the street a half-shade darker than a paper bag. Like Bob Dylan sang in “Hurricane,” “If you’re black you might as well not show up on the street/’Less you wanna draw the heat.” This pox upon any notion of a civil society has been going on for at least 40 years judging by that song, alone, and hundreds of years, judging by the nation’s history.

Thirty-six-year-old Kevin Allen of Lyndhurst, N.J., was shot dead by police in the local Lyndhurst Public Library of all places, Friday afternoon, allegedly for menace toward the officers who’d first deemed him “suspicious” and attempted to approach Allen outside the library shortly before the fatal incident took place on the upper-most floor.

Local authorities claim they had no choice but to shoot Allen dead on the spot, despite the fact that civilians were present, including children.

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According to authorities, they’d recognized Allen from a bench warrant that had been issued for him, and therefore approached him, upon which a scuffle of some kind took place. Lyndhurst police claim Allen had a utility knife on him and eventually rushed officers with it. NJ.com writes:

“Chief of Police James O’Connor said 36-year-old Kevin Allen ‘menaced’ police with the utility knife before they shot him around 1:30 p.m. in the library’s top floor. ‘He was aggressive towards them….he charged at them with [the knife],’ O’Connor said Friday night.

“Earlier, a law enforcement source said local police engaged Allen when he was spotted outside the library because he was wanted.

“O’Connor said officers first tried to subdue Allen using non-lethal force, including using pepper-spray and a baton on him. Allen continued to charge at the officers with the large utility knife after police tried to stop him.”

By that reporting, however, it’s tough to follow whether the pepper-spraying took place outside the library and officers followed Allen inside as he fled, or whether that entire part of the scuffle took place on the top floor of the library. And perhaps, as Angela Bronner Helm points out at NewsOne:

“One can take the police version at face value, or maybe just maybe, police followed a black man into said library because he looked suspicious (Lyndhurst is apparently a not-so-welcoming-to-black-people predominantly white community), and just had to shoot to kill because the pepper-spray and baton didn’t work. Hmmmm.”

It’s tough to know what’s what when seeking justice these days – very difficult to simply take authorities’ word for it anymore. Very.

So which is it? It seems that’s still being sorted out. According to authorities, multiple witnesses, including some of the children present, are being questioned regarding the matter.

Still, in a public library filled with average citizens and children – a guy with a box cutter facing multiple officers… doesn’t it seem like Tasers would have been the way to go? What makes that a shoot to kill situation? Surely one officer could land a Taser shot to take out Allen without taking his life, and keep from traumatizing the local community, as well. If you’re so damn cowardly that you have to shoot everything that moves, perhaps law enforcement isn’t the job for you.

We need cops to be cool, not hot under the collar with itchy trigger fingers, quaking like the Cowardly Lion grasping at his tail. Or power-hungry gangs in blue tormenting the community. It’s a dangerous job with many risks. If you can’t handle that and stay calm, rational, professional and fair under that kind of pressure, find another job. There are plenty of ways to carry out your tyrant fantasies without actually killing people. Hell, you could be the next Ann Coulter. Give her a run for her money. Aren’t conservatives always going on about how healthy competition is, anyway?

Allen wasn’t out of place in the Lyndhurst library, either. He was somewhat of a regular, who kept mostly to himself. He liked to quietly watch music videos on a library computer. By such reports, it’s hard to imagine what would make a quiet young man and frequenter of the local public library to suddenly become so violent that police have to shoot him dead even with children present. Once again, something seems not quite right about the shooting death of a black American at the end of the systemically white legal system barrel.

But perhaps J a y n a’s tweet below sums up the national sentiment regarding police brutality well enough:

“These days, no one would even be shocked if that “knife” turned out to be a book. Is there no place citizens are safe from the police?”

Source: Addicting Info

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