Mistaken Identity or Trigger Happy?


Guest post by David Garber


Facts: according to CBS news in L.A.

1.     A former cop (an accused whistle blower on his fellow officers) shoots and kills three people after posting a revenge manifesto on Facebook.

2.     Police put protection on the house of a potential target.

3.     Suspect is identified as being Black, male, heavy set and 33 years old.

4.     Two women delivering L.A. Times newspapers, one 47 and the other 71 are shot by the police as suspects.

5.     The two victims are unarmed, both are female and neither is 33 years old. 


For this they are shot.  Mistaken identity? Or overzealous cops who need a mental reevaluation as to whether they’re responsible enough to carry weapons?

Police Chief Charlie Beck claims the cars were a match for the one they believe the perp was driving.  Okay, that’s a good tip, solid police work.  But then it turns out the vehicle is a different color. The license plate doesn’t match.  It’s occupied by two women obviously delivering newspapers.  So informed with this and their service revolvers, what do the cops do?  They don’t attempt to pull the car over.  They open fire.

Now a short time later, the cops locate the suspect’s car over a hundred miles away, two counties over and they shut down a whole town – a resort city which is struggling to keep itself afloat under an unfavorable, economic climate.  Over zeal again?  Maybe.  This former cop was smart enough to elude them, drive two hours away – couldn’t he have stolen a car and be even more hundreds more miles away?  Nah just shut down the struggling town and go house to house causing more panic. 

Would they have gone house to house if this hadn’t been a vendetta against the police?  What if this crazy ex-cop had been a former plumber,  gardener or accountant who had sworn vengeance on all of his former clients?  Would these trigger happy cops have taken over?  Would their gun slinging, “shoot first, ask questions later,” attitude have prevailed? 

In this time of trying to push for background checks on law abiding citizens who wish to legally arm themselves in accordance with the Second Amendment, mental health and stability is an issue.  Yet the leading cause of disability for the police is related to stress and mental issues – not injury.

Maybe it’s time the cops start facing a psychological testing annually to determine if they’re stable enough to carry guns…  These two cops certainly are questionable.  And what about the NYC cops who a few months back shot 13 innocents while trying to take down a fleeing suspect on the sidewalks of the city?

The police are under huge stress and deserve our respect… but also our watchful eye.  Obviously if these cops can’t tell two women from one man, can’t tell the color of the car they’re seeing and they can’t discern that the car has different license plates, then they have some judgment issues.  Any of us could be their next victims.  If we don’t police the police – no one is safe.


For the past 25 years, David Garber has been serving as the show runner and or writer on some of television’s biggest hits… Saved By The Bell, Power Rangers, 227, Bill Cosby Show and many other network series. His writing and producing have also netted David two very prestigious awards:the PRISM AWARD and the TV CRITICS AWARD – TV SPECIAL OF THE YEAR. Currently he’s authoring a short story series called “A Few Minutes With…”