Pubdate: Sun, 09 Jun 2002
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 2002 Newsday Inc.
Author: Vera Rupolo


John Rasanen was neither armed nor committing a crime when he was 
killed by police in Aquebogue ["Shooting Justified, State Police 
Say," News, May 19].

He had no history of violence when police say he lunged at them, 
"making contact" with Daniel Brown, the officer who shot him in the 
chest at close range.

Police never claimed Rasanen reached for Brown's gun or any other 
weapon, and Brown was not injured. It is plausible, by this account, 
that Rasanen merely grazed Brown and was subsequently killed in his 

Police are legally required to act reasonably in their use of deadly 
force. But isn't it reasonable to suppose that Rasanen acted 
reflexively and instinctively, perhaps to show his hands, at the 
instant when he was startled awake in his dark bedroom by unknown 
figures who pointed guns at him?

I seriously wonder if Brown would have reacted differently in that 
situation. Before we rush to justify Brown's actions, police should 
answer why two highly trained officers, with the element of surprise, 
could not subdue an unarmed man whom they had just awakened by their 

Vera Rupolo

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