Police explain "proper procedure" for stops

Earlier this week Attorney General Eric Holder said he understands why many black Americans do not trust police. Holder made those remarks during a visit to the St. Louis suburb overwhelmed by weeks of protests since the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown.

The events in Ferguson have triggered a national discussion on the public's trust of law enforcement that's being echoed in Southeast Texas.

"When they see a police officer in their rear view mirror they're more frightened than protected," community activist Alonna Francis said. "That's how the community here is starting to feel; they're doing more harm."

Port Arthur PD Detective Marcelo Molfino said sometimes force is necessary in order to control a situation.

"We're trained to meet a level of force one level higher so that we can take care of the people we're trying to protect," Molfino said, " but you show the officer your hands and the situation will de-escalate quickly."

Molfino said officers are taught in defense training to enforce a "21-foot rule," which states, in the time it takes an officer to recognize a threat and draw his firearm a subject charging at the officer with a weapon can cover a distance of 21 feet.

According to Molfino that training is especially necessary these days, since so many officers are worried about being judged that they're hesitant to use force. Molfino said this may lead to more officers putting themselves in deadly situations.

Despite the bad rap of law enforcement Molfino said at the end of the day cops are just people too.

"We're officers not super heroes," he said. "We hurt, we bleed and our goal is to go home at night."

When it comes to citizens taking videos or recording officers Molfino said it's your right to do so, but he said recording officers is a fine line, since they don't want anyone to place themselves in danger or cause problems with the situation.

 


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