Your Comments: Readers react to NAACP president Talbert Swan’s call for indpendent probe into police shooting of suspected car thief accused of running down officer

By Conor Berry, The Republican, November 13, 2011

Talbet Swan, left, and Tahiem Goffe.

SPRINGFIELD — Frantic calls of “shots fired,” followed quickly by reports of a gunshot victim and an officer down, elicited a swift response from Springfield police during the wee hours of Nov. 6.
When the dust settled on Taylor Street, an 18-year-old driving a stolen car was shot once by police, who claimed the teen struck and injured an officer while attempting to mow down cops with a sedan.
The Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, Springfield branch president of the NAACP, has called for an “independent investigation” into the shooting of Tahiem Goffe, who later died from his gunshot wound.
Swan said the local NAACP chapter “is requesting an independent investigation to ensure that proper police procedures were employed and that the investigation will not be compromised.”
Police officials said the officer involved in the shooting acted in self-defense, or as Springfield Police Department spokesman Sgt. John M. Delaney put it, the officer fired “to possibly save his life.”
Meanwhile, Hampden District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni has pledged to review the shooting to determine if the officer’s use of lethal force was justified. “My policy is to review all police shootings,” Mastroianni said last week.
The Springfield Police Department Detective Bureau is doing an internal investigation, and a Massachusetts State Police ballistics team is looking at the evidence, according to Mastroianni. “We will review the police investigation,” the district attorney said.
At a minimum, Swan has said that he hopes the results of Mastroianni’s review are transparent and made available to the public.
What do you think? Are the local probes, including the Springfield Police Department’s own internal investigation and a standard review by the district attorney’s office, enough, or does the Rev. Swan have a point? Should an additional outside investigation by an independent body be conducted? If so, which agency should handle such an inquiry?
Here are a few reactions to the Goffe case thus far, with many people criticizing the reverend for “stirring” the racial pot. The officer involved in the shooting is white, and Goffe was black.
Feel free to chime in below. The latest installation of this ongoing story is available by clicking here.
SCGrad opines:
I think there is something here that everyone is overlooking, especially Rev. Swan: There were THREE people in that car that night. The 15- and 16-year-olds escaped unscathed. There was reportedly only one shot fired into the car, and it ONLY hit the threat: the driver (Goffe). The car was not riddled with bullets, and none of the other occupants were injured. Those two kids should be counting their blessings. They are alive today because of the restraint and training of the Springfield Police Department. This city has a lot of problems, but I am grateful for the men and women that protect ME. My neighborhood stays safe, they are responsive and friendly. If you’re not a criminal, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to SPD.
WESTY107 writes:
Mr Swan: would the NAACP have the same demands if Tahiem succeeded in murdering the police officer?
notindahood writes:
Can we get Bill Cosby down to the Good Reverend’s church for a guest sermon? Reverend, you’re a little late to help Tahiem. Maybe he’d be alive if you had kept him out of the gang life before he decided to steal a car and tried to run over a cop. But you didn’t do that. So spare us the phony baloney outrage. The Springfield cops who tried to keep Tahiem alive until the ambulance arrived probably showed more concern for him than “community leaders” like Rev. Swan ever did.
texasgal writes:

How can anyone think that this is anything more than it is? A kid steals a car. He’s told to stop and instead chooses to try to run down a police officer and is shot and killed. This young man made all the wrong choices, which is so sad, and he ended up paying for the wrong choice that he made. For politicians – and that’s what these people are – to try to capitalize on this is so reprehensible that I cringe. This is nothing more than opportunists seeking to advance their own political agendas, much like Gloria Allred and Al Sharpton. They’re bottom feeders and should be treated much the same as “Rock Snot”. And if you don’t know what Rock Snot is then you shouldn’t have the right to post to this forum. [Editor’s Note: “Rock snot,” or Didymo, is the common name for Didymosphenia geminata, an invasive species that can form extensive mats along freshwater stream beds that can smother native algae and other aquatic life.]
GetaFrigginClue declares:
Thank you, Mr. Swan. Thank you for yet again making this racial. Thank you for helping your community by inspiring hate and calling every police act a conspiracy. If you want independent studies, pay for them. SPD (Springfield Police Department), state police and the DA are investigating. But wait, they may all lie! Grow up! You’re obviously seeking media attention. Before you call me racist (which I probably would qualify as by your standards), I dislike any clown stirring the public for his own agenda. I call you ‘Mr. Swan’ because you obviously are not a ‘Rev.’
grayman says:
Here we go again. People like Swan (and Sharpton, and Jackson et al.) preach an end to racism. They don’t want racism to end; they NEED racism for their life and livelihood. If racism ends, then so does the gravy train and their purpose. They need racism like AA needs alcoholics. That is why they stir the pot every time a black suspect is so much as confronted by a white cop. And because it is such a highly charged emotional issue, it grabs the front page, keeping racism and hatred alive and well. Thank you, Mr. Swan. Thank you very little.

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