Sheriff’s office accountable for shooting death

I am writing this letter about the death of Robbie Ramirez. Robbie was mentally ill and he did not deserve to die at the hands of law enforcement. Derek Colling chose to pursue and corner Robbie over a traffic violation knowing full well that Robbie was Schizophrenic and afraid of law enforcement. I am weary of the adage that police officers must make split second decisions during a confrontation to save their own lives. First of all the time for that decision was before Derek Colling decided to pursue Robbie in a chase. He knew who Robbie was, where Robbie lived, that Robbie was afraid of law enforcement, and that Robbie was mentally ill. He could have handled the situation in a variety of different ways. There was no need to FORCE a confrontation with Robbie. Law enforcement has got to recognize when a pursuit is unnecessary and when it is likely to escalate the situation. So many unnecessary shootings by law enforcement in Laramie: The deaf man that couldn’t hear officer’s commands, the mentally ill man in the ski area parking lot, the young man that rolled his car because of a high speed chase. Why are officers pursuing and PUSHING situations into these tragic endings? There are OTHER ways to deal with, arrest and prosecute people. I have always been against this hot pursuit at all costs mentality. Secondly, and more importantly, Derek Colling never should have been hired by the Albany County Sheriff’s office. He was already dubbed “America’s most dangerous cop”. You hired Derek knowing he was going to be a liability to your department and the community. Robbie’s death is on your hands. Robbie was a good and kind soul and he did not deserve to die at the hands of Derek Colling. Law enforcement must be intellectual when interacting with the mentally ill and more judicial with pursuits. Honor Robbie’s life and let his death not be vain. Let’s make serious changes in the way law enforcement deals with the mentally ill and end these unnecessary pursuits.

Becky Wills, Laramie

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