Tyler Brockman, a police officer from Boone County, Kentucky, shot and killed a 19-year-old preschool teacher, Samantha Ramsey, when she was trying to leave a field party. He jumped on her hood and shot her four times through the windshield, to protect himself and the people down the road—all of whom were on the road, by the way, being arrested by other police officers.
A grand jury decided that no charges would be filed, since apparently the police officer was just protecting his own life and the lives of others. She did, after all, try to flee in her car. And she nearly hit the officer.
Who cares that the officer jumped in front of her car? Who cares that the police probably didn’t even need to show up at the party in the first place? All of that is unimportant because the police officer is a police officer, and the preschool teacher was not complying with a police officer’s request.
Was Samantha Ramsey innocent here? No. She was underage at a field party, probably drinking. And she probably would have lost her job at the preschool if she had been arrested. But did she deserve to die? No. Get her license plate number. Show up at her house with a ticket. Write it off as a missed opportunity. Get her next time. Anything.
But here’s the thing: there is no circumstance where a DUI, underage drinking, breaking the noise ordinance, etc., would constitute a capital crime. That is the most important factor here, and it is one that is rarely discussed. Police officers need to be trained in this. You may not pull your gun or shoot someone just because they are not complying with your orders if the crime in question is not a capital crime. If the death penalty would not even be in the picture, how is lethal force at all justified? Is resisting arrest a capital crime now?
When a person pulls a gun on an officer, he is in the process of committing a capital crime. But Samantha was not trying to kill Officer Lockman. She was trying to get away. And there are other ways to deal with that situation. I don’t understand why the complete abuse of lethal force continues to be allowed. It’s a shame.