Abusing the System

Abusing the System

Michael Nishida, Staff Writer

Bruce Steward, 34, was a man with a loving and caring family, who resided in Colton, Oregon.  According to The Seattle Times, on February 15th, Steward made a 911 call and claimed to have been stabbed by an armed man. But when the police arrived, they found Steward uninjured, holding a hatchet. The deputies tried to get Steward to stand down, but after he repeatedly ignored  the orders of the policemen, the deputies opened fire. It was later discovered by the Oregonian that Steward was severely depressed and wanted to die.

Steward’s behavior resembles a national trend that has developed in recent years labelled by major news outlets – Huffington Post, Daily Mail, and more –  as “suicide by cop.”

According to Slate, “suicide by cop” is  performed by provoking police officers through violent acts which ultimately results in the police officer killing the person who instigated the situation.

 Los Angeles Police Department’s Inspector General Alex Bustamante stated that he “reviewed 35 cases in the past 30 months where people appeared to purposely provoke LAPD officers to shoot.” Basically, American citizens are forcing their protectors, the police, to open fire on the people they have to shield because they do not want to commit suicide themselves. This puts an unfair amount of stress on the police officers because more officers are being forced to defend themselves.

Sometimes the person who commits “suicide by cop” does not even leave a note detailing the motives behind his or her actions. And without a message, the officer is left to dwell over the scarring event and may even feel responsible for it.

  Ryan Schneider (9) commented, “I think it’s unfair for  people to force cops to kill because the cops will be stressed and feel responsible.”

Additionally, police stations have been receiving complaints and threats for not stopping the suicides. In Utah, the members of the Provo Police Department has received multiple death threats due to their inability to stop Cody Evans’ “suicide by cop.” The police officers are being unjustly charged for events that are beyond their control.

  Calvin Kwon (10) said, “I don’t know how the cops would know if someone wanted to die or not, so the police are the victims in these situations.”

This new trend has negatively affected society, abusing the constables who are supposed to safeguard the people. Normal citizens are putting extra guilt and stress upon police officers and have even turned the public opinion against the officers of the law by committing “suicide by cop.” Police officers need to establish a way to single out these “suicide by cop” occurrences in order to protect both their mental well-being and the community.