National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Police Officer Shoots a Trainee

From the Baltimore Sun:

According to sources familiar with the investigation, Kern was at the Rosewood Center for a training exercise when recruits peered through a window from another room. He playfully pointed a weapon in their direction, the sources said, and did not intend to harm anybody.

The shot struck the trainee — who remained in critical condition Thursday and has not been identified — in the front of the head, and a second officer was injured from broken glass, police have said.

Looks like an accident, not a (real) crime.  Should he still be a trainer?  Still be a cop? Probably not, but let the investigation proceed and let his full record be taken into account as higher-ups decide how to handle the incident.

But let’s consider how an ordinary citizen would be treated under similar circumstances.  Let’s say an NRA instructor had been “playing around,” picked up a loaded weapon, and accidently fired at some spectators during a training session.  Would reckless endangerment charges be brought?

If a Virginia gun owner drove into Washington,DC and forgot that his rifle was still in the trunk from his time at the shooting range over the previous weekend, DC prosecutors would bring charges if the gun was discovered during a traffic stop.  Even if no one was harmed.  Even if it was an accident.  And even if the owner had a stellar reputation for integrity.

People do get criminal records and go to jail for having unregistered guns (no one hurt).    The “universal background check” sounds nice, but it means that if one hunting buddy tells another “Hey, I’ll give you $300 for that shotgun you never use anymore” and the other says “You’re right. I don’t use it much anymore and I could use that money to fix a problem on the house.  Here you go.”   Federal crime–”unauthorized transfer.”   Recently, here in DC, a man saved the life of a boy who was being attacked by pit bulls.  The man saw what was going on, ran into his house, got his gun, ran back out and shot one of the dogs.  That man saved a life and instead of being praised, he’s under criminal investigation.

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