The Georgia Bureau of Investigation reached the conclusion not too long after the incident that Conservation Ranger Chet Powell was acting within the proper structure of his sworn duties when he shot and killed Curtis Wright Jr., 20.

That conclusion has been upheld by a district federal judge who ruled that Powell did not use excessive force, that he had arrest powers as a conservation ranger and there was no evidence to suggest this case should go to a jury.

The judge’s ruling came on a lawsuit filed by the victim’s family. There was both physical and eyewitness evidence that helped lead to these conclusions.

Certainly the family has suffered a loss. And we can sympathize with the family in dealing with such grief. The family had a right to know all the details of the case. Such is appropriate and necessary for the integrity of our system of jurisprudence.

Even their appeal of the judge’s decision is a right and is respected. Unless something significantly new can be deduced from the evidence, one should expect that the appeals court will uphold the judge’s ruling.

A couple of things are illustrated in this case that we as a public that demands law and order should keep in mind.

One is that sometimes our lawmen are put into situations that call for them to make quick decisions — decisions that they would rather not have to make, but they are forced into.

Another point is that the victim in this case could have avoided this situation altogether. He should have submitted to an arrest. In so doing, he could have abandoned a deadly weapon, he could have not assaulted the officer and he could not have tried to escape. Most importantly, he could have not attempted to take the officer’s gun. Whether his use of marijuana impacted this incident is speculative. But having avoided that illicit practice, could have been a very good thing as well.

Based on the evidence and these past two years of investigation and challenge, the young victim made bad choices — choices to which a law enforcement officer was forced to respond.

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