Dereliction of duty

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Dereliction of duty

Shockwaves are reverberating over the deadly violence a man used against a family living downstairs in an apartment building in Incheon on November 15. After receiving a noise complaint, two police officers arrived at the scene but did nothing when the enraged neighbor attacked a mother and two daughters. If the two police officers had responded calmly from the beginning, a woman in her 40s could have avoided a probably fatal attack.

We are shocked that the two police officers did nothing to help three women being brutally attacked. We wonder if the police have any sense of their duty as guardians of people’s lives and safety.

One of the two officers, who was a woman herself, actually fled the scene after watching the offender stab the mother in the neck with a knife. The female officer later said she had reacted that way because she had never seen such violence. She also said she could not remember what happened after the stabbing attack. She should have brought the male officer, who was on the ground floor, up to the third floor to control the attacker. After such an alarming case, netizens attacked the police for using female officers to deal with violent crimes. But this is not a gender issue. Whether they be male or female, the fundamental problem is police officers’ brazen neglect of their duty,

After suffering criticisms for “excessive reaction” and “overly passive reaction” in two cases of deadly violence in January and May 2019, the police drew up — and implemented — manuals of how to behave at crime scenes. According to the manuals, police officers could use a billy club or taser or even a pistol if a case involved a life-threatening attack. In the case in Incheon, the two officers didn’t. The female officer carried a taser and a club, but they were of no use. That constitutes a colossal lack of discipline. It’s not the first time either. Three days ago, a woman under the protection of the police was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend in her house in central Seoul in broad daylight.

The Incheon police commissioner apologized for the officers’ unprofessional reaction, but that is not good enough. The police must find what really happened that day and hold anyone involved accountable for the mishap. Accusing related police officers of dereliction of duty could be a way to help ease deepening public frustration and fear.
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