City needs to deal with flaws showcased by shooting

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I started thinking again several months ago about the death of Jeanetta Riley. Several weeks ago I asked Mayor Shelby Rognstad for a copy of whatever served as the final, official report of the incident. So far Iíve received nothing and I wonder why. That incident refuses to go away and, I suspect, it will linger for a long time even after the recent trial that exonerated the officers involved. Parenthetically, I was deeply bothered when our local human rights organization quickly declared there was no human rights violation involved. That was way too soon to allow for complete analysis. I have never felt that the officers who shot and killed Jeanetta were guilty of malice of any kind. I think they acted out of intense fear from lack of experience and training. At the risk of sounding over-the-top arrogant, I will say that if I alone, and certainly with any other colleague from my background dealing with seriously tough, adjudicated teenagers from the toughest neighborhoods in the country, Jeanetta would still be alive. She was a pushover compared to occasional incidents I responded to where nobody died.

I donít want the officers berated or shamed. I suspect they will feel plenty of guilt down the road in spite of their exoneration. Their trial, however, seems to exonerate the system in spite of whatever flaws exist regarding training and whatever else led to the bad outcome. Circle the wagons is typical in corporate and government life when bad things happen. Now is the time, without fear since the legal stuff is over, for the city of Sandpoint to deal straight up with the flaws that allowed this death to happen. And why it will never happen again!

LAWRENCE BLAKEY

Sandpoint

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