Duluth Cop’s Account Of ‘Almost Shooting An Unarmed Black Man’ Goes Viral

Duluth police protesterA Duluth, Minnesota, police sergeant’s harrowing account of nearly shooting an unarmed black man went viral after he posted it on Facebook, prompting both support and backlash, as well as an apology from his police chief.
In an Aug. 27 post to the Duluth Police Local 807 Facebook page, Sgt. Matt McShane described the split-second decision he had to make when he and his partners were called to respond to a shooting from which people were fleeing after 17 shots were fired.“I am going to share like I have never before,” McShane began. “I am going to do so because so many people truly have no idea. This story is not an anomaly and happens across this country day in and day out. All I ask is that you pause and read what it is truly like out here in the real world. Not how the media spins it or some keyboard warrior tweets about a world they do not live in and know nothing about.”
McShane went on to recount the chaotic episode in which he was within a fraction of a second from shooting a suspect who was not complying with his orders and trying to run away.
Believing him to be armed, McShane said, “I level my pistol at him. I put my finger on the trigger. Is this it? Is he going to shoot us? Am I going to have to shoot this man to save myself and others? Will my wife wake up a widow, will my children no longer have their father? Is our community going to change forever because of me? Will everything burn only because we want to help? Because we want to live and not die?”
McShane said his partner attempted to tackle the suspect, leading to a fight in which McShane almost pulled the trigger. “I almost shot an ‘unarmed black man,'” he wrote. “Why was he unarmed? Because (unknown to me at the time) when he ran and turned the corner in front of me, he threw the stolen gun he was carrying in the bushes.”
Noting the complexity and danger of the situations police daily face “as the media, professional athletes, politicians, and social media warriors bash us day in and day out,” McShane urged his readers to “take a day in our shoes and see what it is really like.”
The post, which received 72,000 reactions and 15,000 mostly supportive comments as of Wednesday, was shared by Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken, who later removed it and issued an apology.
“I have received messages from members of the community including our communities of color whose lived experience with police is one that is guarded to trust and rooted in experiencing historical trauma at the hands of police from past and present,” Tusken said in part. He also noted, however, that he shared the post “from the perspective of sharing the struggles officers face that is seldom seen.”
Tusken went on to explain how many “good officers” are quitting and that he has “witnessed more tears from officers this year than from all my years past.”
Community organizer Jordan Moses, who is black, told the Star Tribune, “When communities and citizens push, institutions push back. We’re supposed to be grateful the cop didn’t pull the trigger. That’s kind of your job. You have tools, you have training.”
Duluth is about 150 miles north of Minneapolis, where George Floyd’s death while in police custody sparked nationwide protests, riots, and calls to “defund the police.”

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