There have been many sordid police-criminal/non-criminal confrontations in recent years and we haven’t shied away about condemning the police from time to time. However, recently in Atlanta, there was an incident where a family has come out in anger blaming police for the death of one of their own… and the police don’t deserve the guilt trip.
Alexia Christian was a pretty, small-time criminal until the day she died in a hail of bullets with police in downtown Atlanta. She had been arrested several times for stealing cars and other various criminal activities, but this arrest would be different, because this time Alexia would be packing a firearm.
It all started when police in Fulton County pulled Christian over while she was driving a stolen Ford pickup truck. They arrested her, cuffed her and placed her into the back of their cruiser. Everything seemed normal until Christian managed to free one of her hands and grab a stolen gun that she must have concealed from officers, firing three shots at the police seated in front of her. She missed and the officers returned fire, killing the young woman. Major Darryl Tolleson of the Atlanta Police Department said that the two officers “missed getting killed by an inch.”
Now the family of Alexia Christian is calling for the police officers who killed her to be punished because she didn’t deserve to die. The family seems to believe that even though Christian was shooting at police, it was their own fault for not patting her down and making sure she wasn’t carrying a weapon.
Seriously… it’s not her fault she shot at police, it’s their fault.
Her mother Felicia Christian said, “If you look at her arrests, she was not in there for no violent crimes. She might have stolen a car here or there; she was a wild child. She didn’t do anything that would deserve her to be dead. She did nothing to deserve death.”
Alexia Christian’s grandfather Lucius Christian added, “She wasn’t supposed to be gunned down like that. That was very ugly. They were supposed to have searched her. She didn’t even weigh 100 pounds. You can’t see a gun on a 100-pound person? That was just ridiculous. It shouldn’t have never happened.”
The grandfather isn’t even sure if he believes that she had a gun. “She shouldn’t have, if she did. If she did, it was their fault. It wasn’t hers. She was in city police custody. The minute they put handcuffs on her, the minute she entered the back seat of that police car, she was in police custody,” he said.
The officers were obviously negligent in searching her, but her actions are not their fault. Atlanta police Chief George Turner admitted that, “It was clear to us the officer did not search her prior to putting her in the back of the car.”
They should be reprimanded if they did not follow proper police protocol before placing her in the back of their cruiser, but they shouldn’t be punished for her criminal actions. However, with the investigation into how this all played out still happening, it doesn’t seem like we’ll get answers anytime soon.
The one thing that I am sure of is that the officers deserve no blame for the criminal activity of another person. Christian’s family can and should grieve, but it’s never okay to place the burden of someone’s death unfairly upon the shoulders of another person… especially when the death was the person’s own fault. Christian didn’t have to die that day; she chose what would happen the moment she drew that weapon and began firing at the police officers.