Richard Moore is a columnist for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Richard Moore: Shootings are truly shocking

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Diamond Reynolds weeps after the shooting of her boyfriend by police.
Diamond Reynolds weeps after the shooting of her boyfriend by police.

While New Zealand has its race issues, they cannot compare with what is going on in the United States at the moment.

Here people get hot under the collar about the Treaty of Waitangi, compensation for stolen land, trauma caused by colonialism 150-plus years ago, reverse racism, tokenism and different rules and standards for Maori.

In America they are shooting people dead on the streets.

Black people are getting shot by (usually) white police officers and now we have severely peeved off black people shooting cops.

This is the toll so far this year and it is shocking. Deadly force has been used by the police 491 times in the first six months of this year. That's up 26 from the previous 12 months.

And there has also been a rise in the number of police officers killed in the line of duty.

I was in Los Angeles two years ago when the streets were blockaded by people protesting against the police shooting of a teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. The victim was painted as a saint by protesters, however his track record was shown to be far less than that.

But feelings - certainly among the black community - were sky high. There was real anger.

That turned into fury over the past week with two incidents - both recorded on mobile phones - where black men were shot dead by police.

The first one was appalling. I have seen the video and you can plainly see a man on the ground with two cops on him, then one officer pulls his gun out and shoots him five times in the chest.

This wasn't a TV drama - it was real life ... and a man's life ended because of it.

The second video was so awful it was stomach-turning.

Diamond Reynolds was filming herself and the front seats of her car after her boyfriend had been shot by police. There was blood all over his shirt. She was calmly talking to the officer - whose gun you could see trained on her - telling him she wasn't going to do anything.

Reynolds had been pulled over for a "busted tail light" and says her boyfriend had told the officer he was carrying a gun - for which he was licensed.

The officer says "I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand out."

She responds: "You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his licence and registration, sir."

The video goes on to show the woman getting out of the car and being handcuffed. A young girl can be seen and is heard saying at one point, "I'm scared, Mommy".

The woman describes being put in the back seat of the police car and says, "The police just shot my boyfriend for no apparent reason."

Then she lets out a blood-chilling cry from deep inside her as she realises her boyfriend - a very popular worker at a school - has been killed.

It is a terrible moment that should be shown to every police officer around America.

Now I know police everywhere have a hard and, at times, very dangerous job, but they are there to protect people. That's all people, no matter their skin colour or religion.

What happened next in the Home of the Rave-ing Lunatics was both astounding but not unexpected.

A black ex-soldier, Micah Johnson, took it upon himself to exact a form of revenge on police when he ambushed them in Dallas, Texas. As officers covered a protest against fatal police shootings Johnson sniped at them killing five and wounding seven others and two civilians.

He said on Facebook he wanted to kill white people, particularly white officers.

Johnson's killing session ended when police used a bomb disposal robot to get near him and then they blew him up.

Over the weekend there was another officer shot - this time in Alabama.

And while I shouldn't have to say it, I will state that it is only a minority of officers whose actions are causing these problems.

They need to be rooted out and dismissed for the sake of their colleagues and people on the street.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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