“In my world, anything that decreases the power of the police department is a good thing.”
—Legislator Renae Kimble (D-Niagara Falls)
We must confess to being more than a little taken aback when we read in the Niagara Gazette that long-time Niagara County Legislator Renae Kimble was backing a ludicrous bill that would require cops to “shoot to wound.” We had previously trashed this bill, introduced by Francine DelMonte’s Assembly colleagues, some time back. After all, we honestly thought that most people, given a choice between supporting the thugs or supporting the police, would have an easy time choosing sides.
Turns out, we were right. We just never imagined which side Renae Kimble would choose.
Kimble seems to think that, if police use deadly force to subdue an assailant, they should face criminal charges. And not just slap-on-the-wrist stuff, either. Cops who kill perps would face a class C felony charge of 2nd-degree manslaughter. Despite how crazy that sounds, though, our favorite passage in the bill may be this one: “An officer would have to try to shoot a suspect in the arm or the leg. The bill will not penalize a good faith effort to shoot with this intent.” What? Nothing about making them shoot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand?
Kimble’s reason for going gangsta was a resolution introduced by Legislator Paul Wojtaszek of North Tonawanda to oppose the Assembly’s crazy pro-crime bill. The North Tonawanda Republican, who was a successful prosecutor under former Attorney General Dennis Vacco, actually brought the resolution, we are told, to support Democratic Sheriff Jim Voutour, who has been lobbying DelMonte to oppose the Assembly’s shoot-to-wound bill.
Interestingly, the bill passed 18-1. That means Kimble’s, er, logic was so unpersuasive that not even the gaffe-prone Ric Marasco could support her. Heck, even the Greater Niagara Newspapers are running in the opposite direction. Our county should truly be embarrassed that Wojtaszek’s resolution failed to gain unanimous passage.
In the meantime, all we can offer those police officers patrolling Renae Kimble’s neighborhood are the immortal words of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues: