Discretion is basically one person’s decision over another. In policing, discretion is used to determine which laws will be enforced and which suspects will be arrested.
The reason discretion is used is for one, there are several laws that were passed that don’t really require permanent enforcement. For example, in Utah birds have the right of way on all highways. That is a documented law, but how can you avoid hitting a seagull going 60 mph or faster while it’s diving for food? You can’t. Even if you tried, you run the risk of seriously injuring or killing yourself or someone else. I’ve spoken to officers who say they would rather scrape a dead bird off the highway, be it a sparrow or the state bird, than responding to a fatal car accident because the driver was “following the law.”
The officer in the Appendix C scenario didn’t use the right type of discretion in my opinion. Yeah, the suspect was acting a little strange, and later suspicious, but is a stolen bike really worth getting beaten and then killing over? I personally don’t think so. It is a crime to steal anything, but it’s not worth killing someone over.
The factors influencing the officer’s decision were she thought he needed medical assistance. When he refused, she assumed the bike was stolen and chased him. Then the suspect fell, and attacked her. She then shot and killed him.
As stated above, no I do not believe she used the appropriate course of action. For all we know, the suspect could have just been startled or mentally challenged and that’s why he attacked. He may not have known what was going or could have possibly had a minor warrant. Whatever the reason, he did not deserve to be shot, or even chased in the first place.
One way to control discretion is to make sure you really know, or at least have a very good suspicion you know what is going on. Police officers are also considered investigators, and without investigating these types of situations, something...