Peachtree City, GA (TFC) – Peachtree City Councilman, and former Police Captain, Terry Ernst, says that police officers should have the authority to ‘shoot looters.’
Peachtree City is located in South Metro Atlanta, with a population of approximately 34,000. Ernst, originally from Sioux City, Iowa, served 19 years with the Peachtree City Police Department, advancing to the rank of Captain. Ernst was to be dismissed as part of a department downsizing in 2013. Ernst then decided to run for the City Council seat that was vacated by the present serving Peachtree City Mayor. Ernst was elected to the City Council later that year and is still presently serving on the council. Ernst and his wife Joan are both also retired from the Army. Ernst has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from St. Leo University in St. Augustine, Florida.
A couple of days ago Ernst, co-authored an opinion piece for The Citizen. In it, Ernst openly advocates for lethal force to be used by any police officer who sees a person or persons looting as part of civil disobedience or during a natural disaster. Ernst also advocates that while the police are using lethal force, the National Guard be present to back them up. Here is the excerpt from the article:
Now the unrest is spreading to Washington, Philadelphia and other cities. We hope demonstrations are peaceful, but hope hasn’t delivered so far. Our country needs a national law giving the governor of every state the authority to approve lethal force by law enforcement and the National Guard to stop looters and arsonists whether in riots or in the aftermath of a natural disaster such as hurricane or earthquake.
We need to stop the insanity of law enforcement standing idly by while thugs violate private property rights and destroy public property.Televised images of thugs being arrested, or shot dead while resisting, would go a long way in putting a stop to this uncivilized behavior. It is worth noting we don’t care whether the looters are black, white, yellow or brown, the remedy remains the same.
The word would spread like wildfire the police mean business, you can’t get away with this stuff any more while police stand around and watch, and it would stop. Dead looters on TV news would spread mortal fear in the hearts of opportunists causing the trouble, and would likely stop that behavior cold.
While some leaders make excuses for the mobs, others might challenge authorities that using force against the looters might seem extreme. But it is time for the Daddy-State to step in where the Mommy-State has failed.
We need to stop coddling fringe elements that cause destruction in our society, regardless of their race, gender, class or neighborhood. We need to hold criminals to account for actions that try to disrupt or destroy civilized life.
Authorizing police to stop looters with force, with National guard backup, would be a good first serious step in restoring order and balance. It would deliver the message there are consequences for ignoring the rules of civilized behavior.
As a former law enforcement officer, as well as a serving elected official, Ernst has taken an oath of office many times, which includes following the U.S. Constitution. It’s something he also had to do when he joined the Army. To advocate the use of lethal force in this way, Ernst is stating that people should not be afforded the Constitutional protections that are clearly stated. His proposed policy perpetuates a continued and growing police practice of using lethal force first, in any type of encounter. By stating that the National Guard should be present as backup at least implies that Ernst would prefer our own military be mobilized in order for the police to be able to enforce this shoot on sight policy that he advocates. One can only wonder what made Ernst decide that the laws of our land should be exchanged for a national law authorizing lethal force as the “consequence(s) for ignoring the rules of civilized behavior.”
When a person allegedly breaks the law, the police are supposed to arrest them, not shoot them dead. Innocent until proven guilty is the law of the land, and it appears that Councilman Terry Ernst wants to do away with that.