Killing of Mylene De Leon-Scott
By Alex P. Vidal
“Force always attracts men of low morality.” ALBERT EINSTEIN
We don’t know what rules of engagement (if they are covered by the rules) did the American cops use when they responded to a commotion that resulted in the killing of Filipino-American Costco warehouse worker Mylene De Leon Scott on May 29 in Virginia, USA.
Either the life of the lawman who fired the shot or the lives of others present in the crime scene were in danger that the situation warranted the use of excessive force, or the cops were unfit to deal with cases involving people with emotional and mental disability (Mrs. Scott had been suffering from nervous breakdown, according to a Canada-based relative).
Based on initial reports, it appears that the cop who shot and killed Scott may have panicked after efforts to calm her down with a taser failed. She was reportedly armed with a knife and scissor and was acting hysterically.
The question that boggles the minds of many people is this: if the cop failed to neutralize the 38-year-old Scott with a taser, was it necessary to fire a gun five times and fatally hit the woman amok? Rules of Engagement are rules or directives to military forces (including individuals) that define the circumstances, conditions, degree, and manner in which force, or actions which might be construed as provocative, may be applied.
If Scott’s actions were “provocative” was it necessary to kill her in order to stop her from committing a violent act? Rules of Engagement supposedly do not normally dictate how a result is to be achieved but will indicate what measures may be unacceptable.
It is given that cops in the United States, or any other countries for that matter, are trained to overpower hostage takers or individuals who run berserk, with the use of lesser force like taser, bat, or physical contacts proportionate to violent acts. But not the capital punishment of death!
In the case of Scott, extra caution should have been observed since firstly, she was a woman; secondly, she wasn’t carrying a high-powered gun; and thirdly, she was not known to be a hardened-criminal. Responding deputy sheriffs don’t respond to a call for commotion alone. They arrive in crime scene as partners. They have back ups and armed with walkie-talkies, cuffs, bats and service firearms. A knife-wielding woman doesn’t have a chance versus two male cops in any confrontation.
We just hope Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman will leave no stone unturned in the investigation now that the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC has asked US probers to focus on concerns by Phil-Ams that “law enforcement officials may have responded with disproportionate force” when they shot dead Scott.
We just hope Chapman meant well when he said during the press conference that “It’s a very unfortunate situation for everybody. I just want to make sure our deputies are safe and everything gets investigated properly. Ultimately, we’ve got to go through and interview all the witnesses … I don’t want to speculate on minuscule details at this time.”
Meanwhile, in a statement posted at the official website of the Embassy, Philippines Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. extended “deepest sympathy to the family of Mylene De Leon Scott . . . who was shot dead by police officers responding to a reported disturbance inside the Costco Wholesale Store in Sterling, Virginia, on Wednesday, 29 May 2013.”
Cuisia added: “The Embassy stands ready to extend its assistance to the family of Ms. Scott. We will continue to coordinate with police authorities in Loudoun County to secure more information on this case.”
The embassy said it shared “the concerns expressed by Ms. Scott’s family in the Philippines and the members of the Filipino-American Community that law enforcement officials may have responded with disproportionate force.”
The statement concluded: “We request authorities to conduct a thorough, impartial and expeditious investigation of the incident.”/MP