An innocent victim's recent lawsuit alleges that two years ago Maui police officers fired 15 shots at a fleeing truck carrying seven innocent bystanders/passengers. The driver was shot from behind, once in the head and three times near the shoulders. Two passengers were shot in the barrage of gunfire (The Maui News, July 20).
An officer placed himself in danger by unsuspectedly stepping onto the road in front of the moving truck, which was transporting an injured passenger to the hospital for treatment.
The driver swerved, apparently avoiding serious injury to the officer. For this, he was shot and charged with two counts each of attempted first-degree murder and first-degree terroristic threatening, first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and attempted first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer.
Responding to the lawsuit, Maui County corporation counsel stated that the officers used appropriate force and that they had "no choice but to use force to protect themselves."
How could officers protect themselves by shooting innocent people in the back? They could have shot the tires, avoiding endangering the lives of the occupants. Self-defense never condoned shooting people in the back.
If a citizen steps in front of a police car, attempting to stop it, and the officer swerves and drives away, would the officer be charged with attempted first-degree murder? Would that justify the citizen in shooting the policeman?
Maui police officers' duty is to serve and protect, not shoot to kill.