Reader's View: Police policy on when to shoot needs review

I know police have a very difficult and unpredictable job that most people would not want to be faced with on a daily basis.

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Police officers are justified to use deadly force to protect themselves or another from apparent death or great bodily harm. In Duluth on Feb. 24, Zach Shogren was shot by one of our officers trying to arrest him. Although given immediate medical aid, Zach died later at an area hospital (“ Authorities ID man fatally shot by Duluth police ,” March 1).

I know police have a very difficult and unpredictable job that most people would not want to be faced with on a daily basis. My heart goes out to those officers who had to be a part of this unfortunate event, but I’m also very sad for Zach’s family.

Zach was a veteran who struggled with mental illness, which calls into question whether this situation was handled in the most effective manner. If a Taser and less-lethal sponge rounds were ineffective, as the News Tribune reported, couldn’t pepper spray have been used instead?

Regarding deadly force policy, is a suspect with a knife going to inflict death or great bodily harm to our armed police officers? Could Zach have been disabled and not ultimately killed by police bullets? Video of the encounter will be available to the public only after the case is closed, according to the newspaper.

There are no good or easy answers to why things ended as they did, but I do think it’s fair to ask questions about the officers' decisions. If they followed standard procedure, perhaps police policy should be reviewed for the sake of all involved.


Jane Soukup

Two Harbors

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