Members of the Rockford Police Department will participate in a new task force formed by the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office and Illinois State Police to investigate local cases of officer-related fatal shootings and in-custody deaths.” “Aldermen voted 12-2 Monday night to join the Winnebago County Integrity Task Force, an idea that’s been kicked around since last summer’s fatal police shooting of Mark Anthony Barmore.” (Curry, Corina; 6/22/2010, Rockford Register Star, Rockford aldermen OK joining proposed integrity task force, Retrieved from www.rrstar.com).
“Mark Anthony Barmore, 23, was shot and killed by Rockford police officers Stan North and Oda Poole on Aug. 24, 2009.” “Police were seeking Barmore in connection with a domestic violence complaint from a woman who told police the day before that Barmore tried to wound her with a knife.” “Barmore fled from police, who were informed by dispatch that he might still be armed with a knife.” “Police spotted Barmore outside the House of Grace Church, home of Kingdom Authority International Ministries.” “Barmore ran into the church basement and into a boiler room, which was across from an open play area where children were present.” “North and Poole followed Barmore into the church” with weapons drawn. “As officers attempted to get Barmore to come out of the boiler room an altercation took place during which Barmore grabbed Poole’s weapon” with both hands. “Barmore was shot four times, once in the neck and three times in the back.”
After the shooting, “the city hired Independent Assessment & Monitoring of Oakland, Calif., to assist in the administrative review of the incident” at a cost of “$25,000 to $35,000.” “The review stated that the actual shooting was consistent with Police Department policy, but that the officers violated department policy and training and used poor tactics.” “The Illinois State Police conducted the criminal investigation into the shooting” and it was “deemed justified in December.”
As former law enforcement and a “arm-chair” quarterback, I could easily find things wrong on both sides of this issue but the one which stands out more than anything else is the fact that once officers were sure that Barmore was inside of that boiler room/closet, those children and the innocents should have been forced out of the room immediately before any other actions were taken. It should have been blatantly clear that the children and teachers were not the alleged offender that they were seeking. Other than that, it is a good thing that these types of incidents will not longer be under the control of the City of Rockford to determine guilt or innocence but an independent group which may give the Rockford community some sort of comfort. Choosing to defer to others instead of investigating your self is always a good thing but that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.