Hold Officer Bullock Accountable

Saturday, December 2, 2006

We thank The Post for continuing to press for accountability from Fairfax County police on how our unarmed and cooperative son, Salvatore J. Culosi, could be recklessly shot and killed by a SWAT team officer while being served with a search warrant for allegedly taking sports bets ["A Killing Without Cause," editorial, Nov. 30].

Anyone who knew Sal or cares about this community will see the penalty proposed for Officer Deval V. Bullock -- a three-week suspension without pay and transfer out of the SWAT unit -- as a lenient and insulting response. Mr. Bullock demonstrated that he cannot maintain proper control of his weapon in a non-threatening environment. The results were deadly. He should never carry a gun or work in law enforcement again. Who in Fairfax County would feel safe encountering this officer or allowing him to protect his or her family?

Those who call our son's death an "accidental" shooting gloss over the facts. It is no accident to draw a weapon with a finger on the trigger of a gun pointed at an unarmed, compliant optometrist who did not own a weapon or have a history of violence.

Yet apparently the police union believes a verbal reprimand is sufficient consequences for killing a man without cause. Good unions advocate for best practices across the board -- not for standards that fall far below the minimum of peer agencies.

We challenge Fairfax Police Chief David M. Rohrer and the county's Board of Supervisors to demonstrate leadership. Adopt a policy to use SWAT teams only in imminent-threat situations. Reject the lenient punishment recommended by internal affairs. Hold Mr. Bullock to higher

standards that reflect the severity of his actions, the best interests of this community and best practices in law enforcement. Anything less is unacceptable.




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