Opinion Your Views — 02 August 2013
Officers who fired indiscriminately at Taft Sellers deserve criticism

To the editor:

We would be remiss if we failed to respond to the comment from O. Johnson that appeared in the July 25 edition of the Alexandria Times (“From the web”).

To begin, we wish to inform Johnson and others that the Virginia Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability is a statewide, grassroots resident advocacy group that is dedicated to making the commonwealth a better and safer place for all of its inhabitants. One of our primary objectives is to promote police accountability.

We are a pro-police group whose membership includes retired local and federal law enforcement officers. As we made it known, we fully agreed with Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Sengel’s decision not to prosecute the officers who fired the fatal shots that killed Taft Sellers on February 18. We concur that the officers who fired their weapons did so in self-defense and that pressing criminal charges against them was not appropriate.

However, the fact that five officers fired their weapons indiscriminately is a cause of concern for our coalition and others for good reason. According to Sengel’s report, some 25 shots, which missed Sellers, hit railings along the wall, the stairs, the stair railing, concrete and brick areas, and a residence.

This in itself indicates that these officers acted inappropriately, failed to use good judgment and fired in a reckless manner. This is clearly a case of abuse of power.

We would hope Johnson would express his or her remorse for the former Marine who was killed and not criticize our coalition for its input in this tragic event.

- Nicholas Beltrante
Executive director, Virginia Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability

(Photo/File Photo)

Related Articles

Share

About Author

(3) Readers Comments

  1. Missing a man pointing a fun at them makes it abuse of power? Are you kidding? The Virginia Citizens for Police Accountability is just another anti-law enforcement group.

  2. *gun

  3. Mr. Beltrante -

    Thank you for admitting you were wrong and spoke in haste prior to the facts of the case being known. Surely you would agree that the officers did not provoke this altercation; instead Mr. Sellers chose to provoke armed officers by brandishing his own firearm.

    To say that officers must always hit their mark 100% of the time is an unrealistic statement, one that cannot be taken seriously. I would refer you again to Mr. Sengel’s report.

    It is a shame a man is dead but that is what he chose, and I wouldn’t simply judge one man’s choices and give immunity to another. Mr. Sellers had time to flee before arrival of the police or simply give up upon their arrival. If someone is responsible for the actions of that day, it is not the police.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*