Target: Salinas Deputy Chief of Police Terry Gerhardstein
Goal: Immediately address increasing incidences of fatal police violence
Another man has been shot dead at the hands of police officers in Salinas, California. The man was shot on a street near a storefront, in front of several bystanders as well as children.
Video evidence of the shooting shows a distressed 44-year-old man, Carlos Mejia, walking away from two armed police officers with a tree-cutting tool. Police officers were pursuing the man, trying to question him, and suddenly shot him several times when he refused to talk to police. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Though police officers claim that the man was threatening them, two separate videos show that the man was walking away from the officers as they followed him. At that point, he was not a direct threat to the officers and could have been apprehended with other, non-fatal methods, including tasers that both the officers carried.
With occurrences of fatal police violence becoming more common throughout many cities in America, it is imperative that police departments take greater care to reduce violence toward citizens. The police service is sworn to serve and protect, and must therefore go to every length possible to avoid escalating situations to a fatal point. Your signature will denounce police actions in Salinas, California, and demand that measures be taken to further train officers in avoiding escalation.
Dear Deputy Chief Terry Gerhardstein,
Recently, a 44-year-old man was shot dead in Salinas streets. Video evidence shows Carlos Mejia walking away from two armed officers when he is shot several times. Though officers claimed to have been endangered by the man’s leaf-cutting tool, the man was walking away as they followed and shot him. At that moment, the officers were under no immediate threat and could have employed a non-fatal method to apprehend the suspect, including the tasers with which they are armed. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Fatal altercations with police are increasing in Salinas and America in general, and must immediately and aggressively be addressed. In order to prevent further unnecessary fatalities at the hands of police, officers must be educated in how to handle and de-escalate potentially violent situations and make every effort to diffuse situations without the use of fatal armed violence. We, the undersigned, denounce the recent police violence in Salinas and demand that it be stopped immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Augustas Didžgalvis via Creative Commons