The travesty of justice is complete. A jury of seven, made up of citizens of Coeur díAlene, found that the killing of Jeanetta Riley by the Sandpoint Police was legally justified. This brings to an end a nearly five-year search for justice, for this family of five, now four, torn apart by five bullets shot by three officers called to the hospital by hospital staff. Needless to say the death of this woman was the result of a cascade of mistakes by everyone involved.
Since this incident, mental illness awareness has been brought to the forefront. We now have a hotline for anyone in need of assistance, mandatory training for police officers as well as family and community.
When lives are on the line, we turn to the professionals with the training to de-escalate the situation. Of the three officers dispatched to this call only one had been trained in tactics to handle mental health issues. Somehow the one without any training decided to open fire with an AR-15. Jeanetta was dead before she hit the ground. The gunning down of this mother of three shocked the Sandpoint community. A husband takes his wife, in the throes of a manic episode, to the hospital and 12 seconds after the police arrive sheís laying dead in the street. Not only does every investigation of this incident exonerate the officers, we now have to live with a civil judgment, that also claims that lethal force was the ONLY option.
I was shocked by the outcome and felt that now that itís over, those who feel itís just not right, should gather where the shooting took place (across the street outside the emergency entrance to the hospital). Look for the large white memorial on the pole Saturday, Aug. 17, at 5 p.m. Please come and share your thoughts.