Keith McLeod Was Killed by Baltimore Police Because of a Drug Law, Period.

By on September 27, 2015

by Ezra Van Auken

Baltimore County Police recently came under investigation when their officer, Officer David Earomirski, pulled his firearm and shot 19-year-old Keith Harrison McLeod after the local pharmacy, “Nature Care Pharmacy”, called the police over McLeod’s forged prescription. McLeod was pronounced dead after being shot in the torso three times. The details of the case itself are general and not fully known, but what we do know is that McLeod tried to ‘forge’ a prescription – it is not known if he used someone else’s identification or totally made up something.

Police were called. McLeod was in the parking lot of the pharmacy store when police arrived, but then ran across the street – away from police officers. He ended up in an alley with no outlet and was then cornered by Officer Earomirski where the altercation began; at least what almost became physical. Seen in the security camera footage, the Baltimore Co. officer holds his weapon at McLeod as they sort of dance and dodge back and forth for a few moments, maintaining about four to five feet from each other during that time. McLeod finally gets close enough to Earomirski and then makes a motion in the back of his waistband, then making a motion forward, simulating whipping a weapon out.

Unfortunately, the officer fired at the 19-year-old and killed him. McLeod was not actually armed, and in fact just acted as if he were armed, or at least that is what it seemed to be. While this footage plays a way too familiar story in the U.S. today, it makes for a very interesting debate, because factions of thought are seeing how it was rational for the officer to at least defend himself.

Note: It was only until the officer pursued the individual and the individual realized he had nowhere to relocate that he began to go after the officer. However, lethal force is debatable considering the individual was not armed, and could have been handled with a taser. That, like I said, is debatable, and I’m not here to debate those points; but what I do want to debate is the actual issue with this altercation.

The debate I’m referring to is why the police officer is even being used in this situation to begin with. In fact, this 19-year-old was doing nothing violent or aggressive prior to the officer being called to the scene. Of course, there is a law of some sort that this young man broke – it’s America. So, what did he break, or better yet, why were the police called? Well, McLeod tried to buy Promethazine or medical cough syrup, and was denied.

According to reports, he forged his prescription, but it is unclear if he used a completely fake name or someone else’s prescription – who knows. What needs to be understood though is that if McLeod had been able to freely purchase that syrup and Codeine, then he would’ve never been suspected of a crime, had to run from police, or been killed that day.

This is the root of police uncertainty today in the U.S., with more brutal encounters and riots that ensue, the way we look at policing has become more magnified and debated. It appears though that debate has been lost in a broad sense. While it is important to examine how the officer responded and handled the alleged perpetrator, we also have to look at why the officer was responding in the first place.

Getting carried away over the violence, blood, and hostility of a policeman versus an individual will shield away attention from remembering the unseen consequences of State policy itself. When race-war, anti-police, pro-police factions become the norm, legitimate debate over State drug policies, such as the one that got McLeod killed, go completely ignored.

After all, it’s the officer who did the shooting, but the law who did the promotion. So, while we say that the officer shot McLeod in ‘defense of himself’, in actuality, he was shooting McLeod because the individual wouldn’t comply to State command. You cannot claim self-defense, but be the enforcer of law; by nature, you coerce the individual to implement an edict – no matter how insane that edict may be.

Law itself requires forcible monopoly, or violence, to be imposed onto the individual, unless that individual submits entirely. Understanding this will help the observer of police/individual confrontations much more, as they try to understand where aggression in the situation comes from. That is why it’s important to ask, should we kill an individual over said law? Once we absorb that law must be backed by literal death, then finding rational discussion is actually possible, as the pro-statist of policy acknowledges the unforeseen consequences of that law itself.

In McLeod’s situation for instance, you are either allow him freedom to buy what he wants with his own wealth, whether it may be codeine or Cheerios, or you force him by law to provide a prescription notice from a doctor – a prohibitory regulation. That is why McLeod is dead. The officer was the enforcer of that prohibitory regulation. Now we have to beg the question, should we have killed McLeod over that law? My answer, in short, is no. McLeod did not deserve to die because he tried to purchase Codeine and cough syrup.

If we are going to address police brutality then let’s not forget the policy that created brutality to begin with, because after all, we want to cut off the root of the issue – not just its branches. My defense of McLeod is not the defense of Codeine and cough syrup highs, it is the defense of his personal freedom, and the defense of freedom against careless drug policies that turn individuals like this 19-year-old into prison careerists or dead men.

Image Reference

Associated Press

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