MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - John Pilz has 25 years of experience as a sergeant for a Twin Cities metro area sheriff’s office. He’s also recently written a book examining police use of force, and the strained relationship police have with some in the African American community.
On Sunday, he offered his perspective on the police killing of Amir Locke. Locke's death is a prime example of what is causing the divide that Pilz studied in his book "Finding Shared Understanding between African Americans and the Police through Simulated Experiences.
Pilz believes the limited body camera video he’s seen so far of Locke's death does not show any wrongdoing on the part of Minneapolis Police officers.
"I don’t want to downplay what happened to Amir," Pilz said. "Seeing the things I’ve seen and all the search warrants I’ve done; this could’ve happened to me dozens of times. And it’s not based on the ethnicity of the person we’re going in on… you’ve got one option, well you’ve got two: either, you take a bullet, or you give a bullet; and as sad as that sounds that is the fact of life."
With growing public pressure for the officers involved in Locke's death to be fired and prosecuted, Pilz says if that happens he thinks it would send ripple effects across a profession that is already seeing officers leave in alarming numbers, and struggling to replace them.
"It’s getting to the point where cops won’t do their job. And if we get that bad, we’re not going to have cops, we’re going to have chaos," Pilz said. "They’re scared to death to do their job, I’ve talked to more cops that are not doing their jobs now because if I pull the trigger or I get into a situation where I have to pull the trigger I’m going to go to prison."
Now more than ever, Pilz believes both sides need to come together. Until then he thinks things will only get worse.
"We need to sit down and have conversations and understand each other better. We do we have to sit down and talk, period," he finished.