It's time to take a deep breath.
Burlington’s latest shooting, coming on the heels of a string of shootings, has raised tensions and tempers in our community.
A distinguished police officer chased a wanted man and it took a tragic turn.
These things should never happen. There is no need to run if our police pull you over. And there are non-lethal ways to arrest someone on a nonviolent warrant.
The rash of shootings plaguing our community — last Sunday, Sept. 10, Sept. 6, June 24, May 10 and on and on — heightens an already-tense scenario and creates unease in our beautiful city.
Such tension rarely yields to rational, patient discussion, but maybe it should. Perhaps we as a community could rise above the noise, the rumors and the falsehoods and talk about solutions to the rash of violence in Burlington.
Unfortunately, such productive conversations rely upon an informed populace and a transparent government. And yet we still have more questions than answers about what happened a week ago today that led to Marquis Jones being shot and killed by Burlington Police officer Chris Chiprez.
Why would investigators let the officers — rookie Josh Riffel also was at the scene — go home and go to sleep before interviewing them about the shooting? It is well known, certainly by the police themselves, that information is best remembered directly after an incident.
The autopsy results came back quickly. Yet in June, there were problems with a backlog of evidence at the Iowa Medical Examiner’s office. Has that issued already been solved? If not, how is this conclusion — that Jones died of a single gunshot wound to the chest — so immediately arrived at?
To compound the situation is the institutional lack of transparency on the part of Burlington’s police, which dates back nearly three years to the Jan. 2015 shooting of an unarmed Burlington mother named Autumn Steele.
Instead of openness, transparency and public accountability, details in the Autumn Steele shooting were kept secret, and officials continue to pour out untold buckets of taxpayer money to keep that information hidden from the public.
Meanwhile, a mother mourns the loss of her son, an officer deals with his actions and a community is strained.
During this heightened time of unease, it is best we let the officials gather the evidence and show the facts to support their findings. If they choose to hide evidence rather than reveal it publicly, we can cross that bridge when we come to it.
But until then, it does no one any good to spread false allegations by word of mouth or on social media. Rather, It's time for mourning and healing.
It's time for a pause.