Alonzo Heyward carried a rifle around his low-rent neighborhood one day last month, ranting about suicide and ignoring the pleas of friends for hours before six Chattanooga police officers surrounded him on his front porch and decided it had to end.
His father says Heyward told the officers, "I'm not out here to hurt anybody."
But the police, who tried unsuccessfully to disarm Heyward, fired 59 rounds to kill him on July 18. The medical examiner found 43 bullet wounds in his chest, face, arms, hands, legs, buttocks and groin. Police contend Heyward was a danger to others and threatened the six officers.
Chattanooga police spokeswoman Jerri Weary described the case as "suicide by cop."
To me, this sounds quite excessive. I can understand the police acting with this kind of force after a hair-raising chase when the adrenalin his pumping, but this sounds different. This sounds like those cops were itching to blow him away. Even if Mr. Heyward pointed the rifle at them, 59 shots fired sounds like a lot. What do you think?
Heyward, a 32-year-old moving company employee, was black. The six officers are white. They were temporarily placed on administrative leave but have since returned to work.
What's your opinion? Was this a racially motivated shooting? Does "temporary administrative leave" and being returned to work sound about right to you?
Please leave a comment.