No one is going to jail
"Ok...get it together."
He was 24 years old and it was first month on the police beat. He was in disbelief. He was numb but his partner kept talking.
"Look, let's just wait for the Captian."
He looked up at the news headline, Police shoot and kill unarmed man. His partner attempted to turn of the television. "Keep it on. I can't run from this."
"No Pete, we have options."
"It isn't we. It was we when we got the 211, but when I pulled the trigger it became I. You have options."
This partner was restless, pacing the office while his partner sat somber. "Look it was dark, that guy came out running and you asked him to stop and he didn't. Simple as that."
"Did I, did I ask him to stop?," Pete asked.
"Pete, don't get into your head," his partner Nick walked over to him and lifted Pete's head. "We are going to get through this."
Pete shook his head acknowleding his partner's empathy but in his head he said, no I'm not.
This wasn't suppose to happen to him. He arrived at the academy with tours in both Afganistan and Iraq with a comendation as a Marine. He had a graduated with a degree in criminal justice. Lastly, police was in his blood. He was a third generation cop, with the spirit of grandfather still permanting at the station.
"Turn it up," Pete finally spoke.
"Turn it up." and Nick turned the volume on the television.
A young African-American male was shot by the police tonight. Reports are saying the young man was unramed. It happened on the corner of 54th Street in the downtown area. We have a reporter live. Thomas can you...
"Enough of this shit," Nick muted the television off. "Look your not the first cop to have fired a weapon at somone.
"Did I kill him?," Pete said in shock.
"I don't know, but that's not the point."
"What...that is the point. If I killed him..."
"Serious, Pete. Stop this. This isn't going to help you." Nick kneeled next to Pete and looked at him. He was gathering his thoughts.
"Ok.," Nick spoke carefully holding his emotions. "We don't know if the guy you shot is dead. We don't know. Look rook, this is what is going to happen. They are going to investigate this, you will get our union rep to come over. Don't say a God damn thing, let them coach you through this. You will be on admin leave and knowing who you know you will be out of sight from the press and it will cool off."
"I could go to jail," Pete said with his eyes closed.
"No one is going to jail," Nick said.
"Son listen to him," came from a tall man with authority in front of the door. Pete and Nick didn't notice him come in. Nick got up and his anxiety returned.
The Captain walked over to the television and turned it off.
"Captain, I have been with him throughout. We split up when we came to the business store front but I was quick..."
"Nick you did fine. I got this. Why don't you get some decaf and get a nap. You are making me anxious and I am not an anxious man."
Nick said nothing and obeyed. He closed the door.
"Get up," he ordered Pete.
Pete was helpless. He found strengh and got up.
"We are going to get through this...but I need you to be strong."
"Is he dead?" Pete hoped it wasn't so.
Pete placed his hands over his face in anguish.
"This is going to sound horrible but it is true. It is better he is dead than alive. Others speak for the dead, but the living can tell their own story."
"Look, this is a lot for you. We are going to get you home and your going to let your brothers in blue take care of this."
"It was a mistake..." Pete started to cry.
"I know Pete..." the Captain got close and put his hands on his shoulder. "Listen, your a good cop just like Nick and the others serving our community. I need you to look at me and focus on this one thing..."
Pete wiped his tears, took a breathe and found his resolve.
"Pete, your a good cop and you will have a great future as a cop."
"What...if I go to jail?"
The Captian bit his lip. "No one is going to jail. Look Pete, your a good cop." He leaned in close and slowly said, "Your a good cop and you were scared for your life and you made a split decision."
"No buts," the Captain squeezed Pete's shoulderand leanded in, "You were scared for your life and your life was being threatened."
Pete shook his head "I can't say that."
"What...this isn't Afghanistan, where shoot some habbib in the desert, that one cares about. This is a young man shot in a black community an the press with their news vans are feeding a narrative. Not the truth."
"But...I made a mistake."
"You didn't made a mistake. This police station doesn't make a mistake and we don't make mistakes."
With those words, Pete was silent and just shook his head in agreement.
"I am going to take care of this. Nick will take you to your home."
The Captain walked to the door to leave.
The Captain turned around to acknowledge Pete.
"Thank you, Dad"
"Your welcome son."
Pete was then left alone.