November 7, 2017 10:34:24 AM
It will take some time for us to know the full story of the officer-involved shooting death during the early morning hours Saturday. We do know it is the second such deadly incident in just over two years.
According to the Columbus Police Department, patrolman Jared Booth shot and killed Raymond Davis, 24, outside the Premier Lounge in Columbus after responding to a disturbance call at the nightclub.
Thoughts immediately turned to the evening of Oct. 16, 2015, when CPD officer Canyon Boykin shot and killed Ricky Ball, 26, after a traffic stop.
First, it appears that one of the biggest errors committed by police in the Ball shooting was averted on Saturday.
In 2015, Boykin violated policy by failing to turn on his body camera. Saturday, city officials say Booth did turn on his body camera and that footage has been viewed by CPD, city and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation officials.
Second, we are pleased CPD and city officials responded quickly in reaching out to the public.
Even the limited amount of information they provided should help diffuse some of the fear, anger and mistrust that emerged so quickly after the Ball shooting.
In that shooting, which happened shortly after 10 p.m. on a Friday night, the only response from any city official was a three-sentence statement released via an email to the media that acknowledged the shooting and said MBI was investigating.
Calls to city and CPD officials about the Ball shooting went unanswered until mid-day Monday -- 58 hours after the shooting. Only then did city officials meet with the media to address the shooting.
In that vacuum, rumors began to spread, citizens became fearful and angry. The tragedy was compounded by the city's failure to reach out to its citizens.
It's clear city officials learned from that failure.
Within eight hours of this weekend's shooting, the city's public information officer, Joe Dillon, had addressed the incident and CPD's social media account had provided updates. Mayor Robert Smith had issued a statement by early Saturday evening and by Sunday, the city council and Citizen Overview Committee had met and a press conference had been held, all within less than 40 hours of the shooting.
Clearly, details of the shooting will be slow in coming as the MBI investigation continues. There will continue to be unrest and rumors among some citizens. Given the history of the Ball shooting, that is to be expected.
It is our hope that the CPD's use of body cameras and the city's quick response in reaching out to the public will be a calming influence in the face of another tragic shooting.
CPD and city officials have obviously learned important lessons from the Ball shooting.
Their response indicates as much.
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