Fair Enough?

While I appreciated your recent lengthy article on the life of the late Prince Jones Jr. (“Black Victim, Black Cop, Black County,” 9/22), it raised more questions in my mind than it purported to answer. Where, for example, is the “known drug area” in D.C. in which Jones’ vehicle was supposedly seen? Since when is simply being seen in an area grounds for being stopped, let alone killed, by police? By what authority was the Prince George’s County officer who killed Jones pursuing him outside of the officer’s jurisdiction? Does Maryland law in fact allow plainclothes officers in unmarked cars to stop people without any marked backup? If so, why and under what circumstances? (It is my understanding that some jurisdictions have restricted this practice to protect citizens from the obvious danger of being harassed—or worse—by someone posing as an officer.)

The article also left unchallenged the officer’s contention that he shot Prince Jones (six times, in the back) because he feared for his life. It is vitally important for people to understand that no theory of self-defense—anywhere, ever—allows someone to shoot an unarmed citizen in the back as he is fleeing. As described by your reporters, this clearly was not a case of self-defense. To suggest otherwise is absurd.

Capitol Hill