Monday, 28 September 2015

BAD POLICE OFFICERS  (Part 1)                         

This article is the first of a multi-part series that deals with bad cops. In this article, I will tell you of some police officers who have killed citizens either carelessly or deliberately

In July 2012, Police in Lake County, Florida accidentally shot and killed a man they assumed was an attempted murder suspect. It happened one early morning in July when several deputies from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office knocked on Andrew Lee Scott’s apartment door in the Blueberry Hills Apartment complex. They did not identify themselves as police when they knocked on the door like they were supposed to.  The 26-year-old man answered the door with a gun in his hand.

Now I realize that opening a door with a gun showing in one’s hand is stupid. He could have held it behind his back so as to not alarm anyone at his door when he opened it. It was that stupidity that resulted in his subsequent death. According to the Lt. John Herrell, Scott’s gun was aimed at one of the deputies, and that's why he was ultimately shot and killed. All apartment buildings have peepholes in the doors. Why didn’t he look through the peephole first before he opened the door? Another act of stupidity on his part.

If that is what really occurred, then the police acted properly. But is that what really happened?  We will never know as it is common knowledge that many police officers lie about what they have done.

The deputies were actually looking for a man called Jonathan Brown, a man accused of attempted murder. Brown had been seen at the Blueberry Hills complex and his motorcycle was parked across from Scott’s front door. Apparently, those signs were enough to assume Brown was in that apartment.

The police were acting in a very stupid manner at that moment. Their first mistake was making the presumption that the man they were looking for was in Mr. Scott’s apartment because of the placement of the other man’s motorcycle. Their second mistake was to not tell the person inside the apartment that they were sheriff’s deputies. The only time police officers don’t tell someone to opened the door is when they intend to smash the door open unannounced.

What they should have done is yell out the name of Jonathan Brown and having done that, Mr. Scott would have realized that the police had the wrong address and told them so. The deputies could then ask him to open the door so that they could confirm that the man they were looking for wasn’t in that apartment. Once looked into the peephole in his door, there would have been no need for Mr. Scott to have a gun in his hand.

In April 2014, members of the Los Angeles Police responded to a hostage situation but instead of shooting the suspect, they shot and killed an innocent hostage trying to escape.  Investigators say John Winkler, a television producer, went to his neighbor’s home during a fight to end it but ended up being held hostage with a knife by Andrew McDonald.

When the police arrived, two men came running out covered in blood and police mistook Winkler for the suspect. Police say he matched the description of the suspect, Andrew McDonald.  If that is so, then what did McDonald kook like? McDonald was later charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder and torture. In some states, if a person commits a crime and the police accidentally shoot an innocent man to death while investigating the crime, the criminal is charged with the homicide. Is that just? Do foxes protect chickens? The answers are identical.

The question that begs to be asked is why did the police fire their guns in the first place? They could have apprehended Winkler as he was running away or at least shot him in the legs.

Vancouver, Washington State police officers who responded to a tip about a wanted gunman on the run did not open fire on the wanted gunman but instead they shot the person who dialed 911 to report that the wanted man was in the area.

The shooting occurred on Halloween morning (2014) as police conducted a manhunt across southwest Washington State for John Kendall, 59. Kendall shot his neighbor, Abigail Mounce, with whom he had a court appointment regarding a civil dispute that morning. During the manhunt, a citizen called police at 9:35 a.m., reporting a suspicious car parked on the edge of a wooded area off Blandford Drive next to a gravel turnout. That car turned out to belong to Kendall. The innocent citizen had also parked his car in the gravel turnout near Kendall's car and remained at the scene after hanging up with emergency dispatchers.

Police officers rushed to the area, and when they arrived, they encountered not Kendall, but the citizen who dialed 911. That citizen is white and in his mid 50s, similar to Kendall. Officers watched as the citizen exited his car and circled behind his trunk. Fearing that he was arming himself, officers opened fire, firing multiple shots at the man to stop him from entering the woods. One round hit the man in the leg, forcing him to take cover behind a gravel pile. Using his own weapon, he fired a single shot in response to the shots being fired at him. That shot went in an unknown direction and no one was hurt. The citizen then made a 911 call to report he had been shot, and a responding officer made contact with him shortly after and confirmed that the shooting victim wasn't Kendall at all. He was released from the hospital the next day.

During the search for Kendall, a number of roads were shut down and people were told to stay in their homes. It turned out Kendall shot and killed himself. He was found in the wooded area off Blandford Drive.

The shooting of Amadou Diallo occurred on February 4, 1999, when Amadou Diallo, a 22-year-old immigrant from Guinea, was shot and killed by four New York City Police Department plain-clothed officers: Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, Edward McMellon and Kenneth Boss. 

The officers fired a combined total of 41 shots, 19 of which struck Diallo, outside his apartment at 1157 Wheeler Avenue in the Soundview section of The Bronx.  Diallo was unarmed at the time of the shooting, and a firestorm of controversy erupted subsequent to the event as the circumstances of the shooting prompted outrage both within and outside New York City. Issues such as police brutality, racial profiling and regular shootings were central to the ensuing controversy.

Diallo matched the description of a since-captured well-armed serial rapist involved in the rape or attempted rape of 29 victims. That is whom they thought Diallo was when they approached him.  The officers were charged with murder and acquitted.

The officers stated that they loudly identified themselves as NYPD officers and that Diallo ran up the outside steps toward his apartment house doorway at their approach, ignoring their orders to stop and "show his hands". The porch lightbulb was out and Diallo was backlit by the inside vestibule light, showing only a silhouette. Diallo then reached into his jacket and withdrew his wallet. Seeing the man holding a small square object, Officer Carroll yelled "Gun!" to alert his colleagues. Mistakenly believing Diallo had aimed a gun at them at close range, the officers opened fire on Diallo.

It was unfortunate for Daillo that he reached for his wallet. He didn’t expect to be shot to death. Never reach for your wallet when approached by the police.

Plainclothes Sheriff deputies encountered Edward Miller, 52, at a Daytona Beach towing company in Daytona Beach, Florida one afternoon in September 2014 following reports of an argument over some dispute.  Employees at the building spoke to two deputies who were already at the towing company on another matter.  The employees told the deputies that they felt unsafe because Miller was yelling when he was talking to them. He was probably talking loudly because he was deaf. Many deaf people sometimes talk this way. They also said that Miller was brandishing a handgun. That was a dumb thing for Miller to do.

Deputy Joel Hernandez and another unnamed deputy approached Miller, The man’s son who was also there told the deputies that his father may have been yelling due to him being hard of hearing, but in no way was he trying to be rude.  Deputy Hernandez approached the 52-year-old deaf man as he sat inside a vehicle in the tow yard. The deputy wouldn’t have seen Miller’s licenced handgun since it was tucked under his shirt when he was shot.

Hernandez ordered Miller to get out of the car. Naturally, Miller didn’t hear him since he was deaf. Miller’s son told Hernandez that his father was deaf. Miller ignored Miller’s son, stood in front of the car, fired two shots at Miller and then he then he fired four more shots at Miller. The man was dead when he was pulled him out of the car.

Hernandez was under no immediate threat of death since Miller’s handgun was tucked under his shirt. Hernandez should have backed away, called for an interpreter who uses his hands to speak to deaf people. I am sure that Miller would have been talked into getting out of the car with his hands in the air especially when his 25-year-old son was there also.

In my opinion, Hernandes had no qualms about shooting Miller no matter what the reason was. He had previously shot another man to death but he was acquitted of that shooting. That was a legitimate shooting since a suicidal man was approaching him with a gun pointed at him. No charges were laid against Hernandez in the Miller shooting however, the Sheriff’s Office said that it would be conducting an internal review to ensure that the deputy’s actions were in full compliance with its policies and procedures regarding the use of deadly force. I don’t know what the results of the investigation were.

This next case is one of really bad police conduct. On April 8, 2015, Officer Michael Thomas Slager of the North Charleston, South Carolina police department was in some form of physical confrontation with Walter Lamer Scott over a broken tail light on Mr. Scott’s vehicle. Mr. Scott broke free and began running away. Slagger didn’t give a warning to Mr. Scott to stop and instead he fired his handgun at the running man’s back eight times with his Glock pistol. Mr. Scott died within seconds. Then Slager tasered him just to make sure he didn’t get up.

Slagger said that he was defending himself and that is why he shot Mr. Scott to death. Slagger didn’t know that he was being videotaped by a bystander.  Slagger is currently facing a murder charge. Let him explain to his jury that he was in fear of his life when he shot to death a man who was running away from him. By the way, he was also fired from the Police Department.

Here is another horrendous story of a police shooting. An 18-year-old man on a stopped Toronto, Ontario streetcar was fatally shot by a Toronto Police officer shortly after midnight in April 2013. The dead man, Sammy Yatim who was mentally disturbed, was alone on the 505 Dundas streetcar near Trinity Bellwoods Park. He had previously pulled a knife and ordered everybody off the streetcar.  Soon after, the police arrived.

While the man was standing alone inside the streetcar at the front of it, he refused to leave the streetcar as ordered by the police. They can be heard on an enhanced video taken by a bystander saying “Drop the knife!” and “If you take one step in this direction, you’re finished.”

While one officer with a Taser in his hand who was among the 22 of them on the scene, entered the streetcar via the opened doors in the middle of the streetcar and approached Sammy Yatim from behind him, another officer who was at front doors of the streetcar, fired nine bullets into the young man, killing him immediately. That officer was Constable James Forcillo.

Are you ready for this? The officer with his Taser in hand then Tasered the dead man. I can imagine what was in his mind at that moment. “Stay down, you varmit!” What a jerk.

The Special Investigation Unit charged the cop with 2nd degree murder. He has been suspended from the Toronto Police Force with pay. He will in all likelihood receive several hundred thousand dollars in pay before he trial is finalized since the trial probably won’t be for several years.

Of course, there are other countries around the world where police officers arrest criminals and take them somewhere where they won’t be seen and execute them with their guns. That is something I will write about at some other day.

There are many other instances where innocent or mentally ill persons have been wrongfully shot to death, unfortunately, time makes it impossible for me to continue writing on this specific topic. 

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