Police shoot man with hose

I usually come down on the side of the police on things like this – it’s a tough job and unlike, say, your average politician who helps himself to a nice fortune while providing ‘public service’, it’s a genuinely dangerous and self-sacrificial thing.

But, this story disturbs me:

“The officers had a position of cover and were observing the suspect while other officers were en route,” said Sgt. Dina Zapalski, a spokeswoman for the Long Beach Police Department.

Zapalski said Douglas Zerby had been sitting on a stoop playing with what appeared to be a weapon and pointing it at objects as if it were a gun. He extended his arms and pointed in the direction of an officer. Police said they did not have time to make their presence known or to tell Zerby to drop the weapon before opening fire because they believed he  was a threat.

The bolded portion is what bothers me. As near as anyone can tell, the dude got smashed, waved a hose around, then two cops showed up and killed him without saying a word. To use a cliche, he probably never knew what hit him.

‘What, so cops should get shot so they can give some sumbag gang member a warning??’ I know, I know. But still. I think there has to be a bit of an alert before shooting citizens on private property.

I thought people were crazy for picketing the police for shooting a guy with a knife who was told to back down several times.

But this? Not so clear cut, at the very least.


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One response to “Police shoot man with hose

  1. I saw the headline for that, but didn’t get a chance to read any articles yet. It does sound like the officers were more than a little jumpy that day. Shouldn’t cost someone his life, though.

    Oddly enough, one of my co-workers was telling a story Friday about how he once paintballed a cop car in high school as a stupid jock prank. I commented that if his kid did something like that these days he’d probably get shot. Apparently I was more right than I realized.