Justice Served In A Community Shooting

A Personal Perspective

Police Officer Brian Moore’s family got some measure of justice earlier this week when their son’s killer was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Every mother could feel what his mother felt as she made her victim’s impact statement. Every mother can empathize with another mother, regardless of whether they have personally experienced that particular loss. None of us should ever have to endure that pain.

The murder of Officer Moore feels all the more personal because of where it happened—less than half a mile from my home. But it was gratifying to see the neighbors in the immediate vicinity of the 2015 shooting rise up and help the police identify and find the suspect, Demetrius Blackwell.

Officer Moore and his 105th Precinct partner, Officer Erik Jansen, thought that Blackwell looked like he was carrying a concealed weapon and stopped his car to question him. Before they could emerge from the vehicle, Officer Moore, a mere 25, was shot in the head and face. The suspect took off and was captured that same evening in the neighborhood where the crime had taken place.

All of us are upset when officers kill civilians for no compelling reasons. Many of us are equally angry when civilians kill officers who are doing their job of protecting our communities. We are justified in both scenarios. Rev. Jesse Jackson has said that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth “would just leave everybody toothless and blind.”

The difference is that a police shooter will always get his just desserts. A police officer who kills an unarmed person will almost always be exonerated. That’s where the anger and frustration comes in. Blackwell’s sentence fits the crime.

He will never walk among us with a gun or anything else again. He is now 37 years old and his life has been wasted by the stupidity and callousness of his actions.

Two families are now forever changed by the events of May 2, 2015—one by death, one by a lifetime in jail. The mother who lost her son to Blackwell’s bullets will never be the same. And because of Blackwell’s indifference to another’s life, his mother will also never be the same.

At least she will still be able to see him and speak with him. It must be of extreme difficulty for any parent to look at one of their offspring who has done such a dreadful thing. Worse yet, he has shown no remorse.

He sat there in the courtroom looking like he hadn’t a care in the world. The judge reprimanded him for the “stupid smirk” on his face. Perhaps, as has been said, he’s not 100 percent “there.”

This is all the more reason that he should never have had access to a gun. It is redundant to say that there are too many guns on our streets, but there are too many guns in the hands of too many people who should not have them. It is the police’s job to find and rid us of illegal weapons. Officers Moore and Jansen were doing this when the shooting occurred.

As citizens, we should not be afraid to walk the streets, hang out in the park or sit in a classroom or movie theater.

May officer Moore’s family and his 105th Precinct family take comfort in the knowledge that the person responsible for his untimely death is forever off the streets. No one should ever have to experience this kind of senseless tragedy. But justice offers a measure of peace.

Let us pray that 2018 will be a safe and wonderful one for all neighborhoods—and for those who risk their lives to protect ours every day. Happy Hanukkah, merry Christmas and a happy new year to all!

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