Americans are Trigger Happy

It has been a week of confusion and sadness for an Australian family whose daughter was tragically shot dead by a Minneapolis police officer on Saturday 15th of July at around 11:40pm local time. Justine Ruszczyk is the victim of the shooting, which is said to be an accident, that has shocked the US and Australia. Americans seem to be too trigger happy, even the police can’t refrain from shooting until it’s absolutely necessary.

“Americans seem to be too trigger happy”

Justine called 911 at 11:27pm local time to report what she thought were screams coming from a rape victim, the operator ensuring someone was on their way. Justine then called back at 11:35pm to check that the operator had gotten her address right, the operator confirmed they had. Six minutes later police had arrived and changed the situation to a shooting involving one person needing medical assistance, Justine Ruszczyk died from a gunshot to her abdomen, from a man who should’ve been there to help her. It was only a matter of minutes between Justine’s call until her death.

911 Call Transcript
Photo: The start of Justine Ruszczyk’s 911 call transcript (Source: Minneapolis Police Department)

In the days following the shooting, the Minneapolis community has become furious with what has happened to an innocent woman doing the right thing by law. A number of protests have been held and visuals displayed also to remember a woman who was loved by her family and those who knew her.

On Friday the Minneapolis Police Chief, Janee Harteau spoke to the media for the first time, obviously disappointed about what had occurred. She explained that the actions in question go against who Minneapolis Police are as a department, how they train and the expectations they have for their officers. The police chief, however, resigned yesterday morning, a day after her press conference.

Press Conference
Photo: The MPD Police Chief, Janeé Harteau addressing the media on Friday (Source: Minneapolis Police Department)

A statement was released on the police departments Facebook page informing the community of the chief’s resignation, “last Saturday’s tragedy, as well as some other recent incidents, have caused me to engage in deep reflection. The recent incidents do not reflect the training and procedures we’ve developed as a Department. Despite the MPD’s many accomplishments under my leadership over these years and my love for the City, I have to put the communities we serve first. I’ve decided I am willing to step aside to let a fresh set of leadership eyes see what more can be done for the MPD.” That is just some of the full statement released yesterday, it appears not even the Minneapolis Police Chief can handle the pressure.

Justine Ruszczyk
Photo: The victim of the police shooting in Minneapolis (LinkedIn: Justine Ruszczyk)

Protests were seen again yesterday when angry residents the Minneapolis City Hall during the Mayor’s press conference, 9News reporter Alexis Dash was in the hall and she tweeted a video with the caption, “Chaos in Minneapolis City Hall as protesters storm Mayor Hodges press conference. Yelling they want her gone like the Police Chief.”

I can’t imagine what it’s like for those in Minneapolis who can’t even trust their own police department to protect them. Who would want to ring 911 if they knew one of their innocent residents would be shot dead when they responded? It seems those in America – especially the police- are too trigger happy, maybe it’s finally time for gun laws to be introduced, like Australia did back in 1996. That was 21 years ago but still, America hasn’t caught on… how long will it take?!

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