The big lesson of KC cop killing firefighter: Don’t resist arrest

02/25/2014 3:55 PM

02/25/2014 9:03 PM

Take this test: Watch the soon-to-be-viral video of an off-duty Kansas City police officer fatally shooting an off-duty Kansas City firefighter.

It’s at the bottom of this post.

Now provide your own answers, agree or disagree, to the following statements about what this video indicates, all part of a

larger Star story on the Dec. 1 incident

:

1. Do not resist arrest.

Agree.

Firefighter Anthony Bruno would be alive today if he had not resisted arrest by officer Donald Hubbard.

2. The police officer was too violent in trying to arrest Bruno.

Disagree.

On the videotape, the shallow-sounding observers can be heard talking about police in a derogatory way, and at one point say that’s why they are videotaping, to show the aggressive nature of the arrest.

Eventually, a female is heard saying she wants to “intervene” in the scuffle going on in front of her. A male voice says don’t do it, just seconds before firefighter Bruno flips on top of Hubbard and starts hitting the officer.

The male voice says, “Don’t fight the cop!” just seconds before the fatal shots ring out.

3. Releasing videos like this hurts the Police Department.

Disagree, to this extent:

We must have transparency when these kinds of incidents go down.

Releasing this one, to me, shows the tremendous strain that the police officer was under in the mini-seconds he had to make a decision to use lethal force.

Making sure Kansas Citians know their Police Department does not use such force lightly is somewhat reassuring.

In particular, this video is needed because of the years of friction that have existed between some elements of Kansas City’s public safety forces. The firefighters, in particular, need to see what actually happened the night of Dec. 1.

But it is also true that, no matter what the circumstances, some people will always think the police overreact in these kinds of situations, so showing the video can put the agency in a bad light.

I absolutely understand that point.

Here, however, the good of releasing what occurred just before the fatal shots was the right thing to do.