A drug sting operation turned deadly when uncover police shot a man fleeing the scene of a cocaine deal. Last January two men had intended to purchase one kilogram of cocaine. What the two men did not know was that the two suppliers were undercover cops and the cocaine wasn’t real. When the undercover police revealed themselves to be with the local police department, the two suspects panicked. The suspects rammed their car into the police officers’ vehicle causing minor injuries to the officers’. After ramming the officers’ car suspects tried to flee in their battered vehicle. Police then opened fire on the driver striking the man and ending the pursuit.
Due to the minor injuries sustained by the officers some would consider this to be a successful drug sting. However, community leaders are outraged due to the fact the setting of the drug deal was orchestrated in a McDonald’s restaurant parking lot just yards away from an elementary school. The undercover police chose the location of the drug deal to assure harsher punishment for the potential drug buyers. To make matters worse, a “small metal fragment” was discovered near the window of a classroom leading the police commander of the arresting officers to answer questions regarding the students’ safety. There were no reported injuries to students or bystanders in the area.
One suspect is being charged with 40 years behind bars for his involvement and this is without the enhancement due to being in the proximity of a school yard. A judge can still however apply the enhanced charge latter if felt needed. The other man is still being hospitalized and has not had charges filed against him. Charges are said to come upon release.
The issue is whether or not such drug sting tactics should be allowed. Community members spoke out against such tactics saying that it puts the community at an unnecessary risk. The local police commander stated that it was certainly possible that the metal fragment found just outside the school window could be a fragment of a bullet.
The flip side of the argument is that it insures longer sentences, which results in longer periods of community safety. Orchestrating drug deals within 1,000 yards of a school is common practice by law enforcement and is no way special to this suburban Chicago police department. Special agent Will Taylor of the Drug Enforcement Administration praised the sting saying “It is a very effective tool in the (DEA's) investigative toolbox utilized to infiltrate drug trafficking organizations”.
So is this drug sting tactic ethical? Utilitarianism seeks to find the greatest possible balance of good over evil. No matter how you look at it the police have an ethical duty to find drug pushers and arrest them. So would be getting the harsher punishment and locking the individuals up maximize good for the community? Or do we maximize the good of the community by keeping stings like this one out of public eye and away from schools and high traffic areas where harsher punishments cannot be set. In this case community leaders and officers alike are looking to maximize good for the community in a just way.