It is my editorial position that bad public policy (i.e. the Drug War, Civil Forfeiture/Policing for Profit ala Ferguson, MO), has led to an “Us vs. Them” institutional mindset within many police departments. Combined with lax civilian oversight, this has led to many civilian deaths which could likely have been avoided. Add a significant amount of political pandering and media sensationalism to the mix, and cops have needlessly been shot in “revenge” killings by sociopathic individuals who have no defense or justification whatsoever. It becomes even harder to ask police to show restraint.
I am not saying that the vast majority of officers involved in shootings were not acting legally at the moment they fired their weapon, rather that in many instances the need for deadly force could have been avoided. A prime example is the St. Louis shooting of a knife-wielding man shortly after the Ferguson situation blew up.
In that example, the video clearly shows that the officer was justified at the point he pulled the trigger. However, he rolled in extremely close to a volatile situation. He did not allow himself time to really understand the situation, or having pulled in too close could have attempted to shield himself with his vehicle and attempted to use a less-lethal option. Contrast that with this recent example from NM.
Another new example of admirable restraint has emerged from Oceanside, CA. From UTSanDiego: