Are you listening carefully?

A deaf man, one Magdiel Sanchez, aged 35, has been shot and killed by Oklahoma City police officers as he approached them holding a metal pipe after a hit-and-run incident. Police Captain Bo Mathews says the two officers did not hear half-a-dozen neighbours screaming “he can`t hear you” before opening fire. The shooting is now being investigated by city homicide detectives to determine if it was legally justified.

Sep 27, 2017

A deaf man, one Magdiel Sanchez, aged 35, has been shot and killed by Oklahoma City police officers as he approached them holding a metal pipe after a hit-and-run incident. Police Captain Bo Mathews says the two officers did not hear half-a-dozen neighbours screaming “he can`t hear you” before opening fire. The shooting is now being investigated by city homicide detectives to determine if it was legally justified. Captain Mathews has been accused of taking a less than balanced view after explaining: “In those situations, very volatile situations, you have a weapon out, you can get what they call tunnel vision…you can really lock into just the person that has the weapon that`d be the threat against you.” Well, perhaps you can, as well as simultaneously going deaf. His response is doing nothing for relationships between American Football players and their President who has taken to Twitter to chasten sportsmen for dropping to one knee when the national anthem is played, partly in protest at police shootings. Captain Mathews does not exactly attempt to justify his officers operating in dangerous situations on the basis of smell, taste and touch alone, but there are also issues about whether the officers deployed force in the correct sequence, as Magdiel was simultaneously shot and Tasered. This leads to questions as to who would choose to arm an officer who goes both blind and deaf under pressure and does not give his colleague with a Taser first go. The pressures and dangers experienced by officers responding to calls are of course considerable. Only this week a Wyoming officer was shot in the foot after responding to a domestic disturbance and engaging in a scuffle. A 26-year-old suspect has been taken into custody while the unidentified officer is in a stable condition at the Cheyenne Regional Medical Centre. The identity of who fired the damaging shot has not been disclosed, and will perhaps remain unknown, especially if the officers in attendance were rendered blind and deaf by the excitement. These events are not unique to our American colleagues, the Metropolitan Police Service in particular has come in for criticism this week when it comes to discharging firearms. One of its officers has accidentally shot himself in the foot while responding to a call during an early morning visit to an East Acton property. Press officers explained that the team had been carrying out a “welfare check” on the property’s occupant, but were unable to explain why this involved a regrettable discharge and self-harm. It could, of course, be due to the officer suffering from tunnel vision and deafness, we must be grateful that he only shot himself, and merely in the foot. The Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed, and I can see a visit to the Oklahoma City homicide department looming. Finally, for this week at least, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has attempted to silence Nick ‘has not’ Hurd, by continuing her strained relationship with statistics. Ahead of his expected announcement of extra funds for policing and fire services, she has called for, yes, extra funds for policing and fire services. Her justification for recruiting 3,000 fire officers is the claim, with no apparent evidence, that “hundreds” died in the Grenfell tragedy. She has not as yet been asked why 3,000 is an appropriate number nor, thankfully, has she been asked how much they might cost. Never let the figures get in the way of a good argument. Yours, Stitch stitchley@policeprofessional.com @SOStitchley

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