It is beyond tragic that a young and troubled man lost his life as a result of his actions at Union Station Plaza.

When an officer goes on duty each day, he or she doesn’t know what lies ahead for human drama during the next eight or 10 hours. Please remember that Sgt. Nicholas Goodman didn’t choose the circumstances that led to this tragedy. Nor was he involved in this man’s life and personal decisions of the last 20 years.

Sgt. Goodman was assigned to the call to assess the danger to the public, to his fellow officers and to himself. No rational officer wants to take another human life. I urge people who haven’t “been there” to withhold criticism or judgment in this case.

I find it especially troubling that Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine are exploiting this situation to push their respective political agendas. How would these people possibly understand what an officer goes through when facing a disturbed individual, with what was thought to be an actual rifle? Most police officers are knowledgeable about weapons and realize that since most bullets travel at approximately 2,000 feet per second (muzzle velocity), they have to make a decision to shoot or not shoot in a nanosecond.

I am not necessarily opposed to the use of body cameras for police officers. I would, however, be opposed to the mayor or ACLU lawyers dissecting each frame of the footage, trying to second guess an officer who puts his life on the line each and every day.

Michael G. McDonough

Criminology instructor, Husson University; retired bureau director, Portland Police Department

Cumberland Center