Philadelphia incident shows police restraint
Police officers and sheriff’s deputies are accused regularly — and as a class — of being too eager to use violence, especially against African-Americans. Those who have that attitude ought to consider what happened last Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
During the day, police went to a house with the intent of serving a narcotics warrant. They were met by a hail of gunfire, allegedly from a man named Maurice Hill. He already had a long rap sheet that included firearms charges.
Hill is African-American.
Some of the police officers managed to get out of the house. Two were trapped inside, along with three civilians they had arrested before police say Hill, 36, opened fire.
What happened next? A siege of several hours ensued, with police surrounding the house, evacuating some neighboring residents and trying to convince Hill to surrender.
After about five hours, a SWAT team went into the house, freed their fellow officers and the three civilians — then left. Police Commissioner Richard Ross kept talking to Hill by telephone, at one point enlisting the man’s attorney in an effort to end the standoff.
Finally, late Wednesday night, Hill walked out of the house with his hands in the air. He did not appear to have been injured.
Not so lucky were six Philadelphia police officers. All had been struck by bullets allegedly fired by Hill. One suffered a graze wound in his head.
Miraculously, all six were treated and released from hospitals within hours of being shot.
Let’s stop to consider that. Six police officers shot — and the suspect taken into custody without injury.
Are there bad cops? Of course — just as there are bad people in each and every profession. But in law enforcement, the number dedicated genuinely to serving and protecting is much, much higher than those prone to misusing the badges and guns they carry.
The Philadelphia Six are Exhibit A in making that case.