Darren Wilson avoided indictment, like many police officers involved in fatal shootings do, in large part because he claimed to fear for his safety. Cops almost universally make this claim after a shooting, and it almost always helps in avoiding any criminal charges. This claim by cops that they fear for their safety has become such a go-to claim it was even made by a 300 pound probation officer in Georgia who shot a 12-pound Jack Russell terrier. That officer also insisted he gave the dog "verbal commands" before shooting.
But officers in Colorado this week may have provided the clearest example of how the claim of "officer safety" is used to cover for police lack of thinking. The Daily Sentinel reports that police arrested a man from Fruitvale, Colorado, for allegedly pointing a banana in them as if it were a gun. Via the Sentinel:
The deputies, Joshua Bunch and Donald Love, said they feared for their safety when the man, 27-year-old Nathan Rolf Channing, pointed a banana at them while crossing the 29 Road bridge on foot, according to Channing's arrest affidavit.
Both deputies said they saw that the "gun" was yellow, but feared for their lives nonetheless, the affidavit says.
"I immediately ducked in my patrol car and accelerated continuing northbound, fearing that it was a weapon," Bunch wrote in the affidavit, which lists Love and him as victims. "Based on training and experience, I have seen handguns in many shapes and colors and perceived this to be a handgun."
Channing was jailed for "felony menacing." Time to start raising IQ standards perhaps. Happy Thanksgiving.