A while back, Miguel wrote a post about the completely fucked Daniel Shaver shooting in Arizona.
I wasn’t about to pick a fight with him on his post, but I thought that shooting was borderline criminal.
I watched that bodycam footage several times. The only one reason I don’t think it was murder was the one clear instruction the officer gave the guy was “don’t touch your pants” which is what the guy did. Other than that, fully sober, I couldn’t’ figure out what the cop wanted the guy to do. Crawl with his legs crossed? Crawl on his belly?
This brings up the question: if a cop is saying “follow my orders or I will shoot you” and then gives confusing or impossible orders, what do you do? To me, that seems like the cop is setting up a justification for a shoot.
“I want you to crawl over to me on your belly, barking like a dog with a thumb in your asshole, or I’ll kill you!”
Sure, it might not be a lawful order, but that only helps your family recover damages because you are already dead.
This may seem absurd, but there have been cases of police giving conflicting or contradictory or confusing orders. This was at the heart of the Philando Castile case.
There was a case (I saw the dash cam footage, but I can’t find it now, if one of my readers knows the case I’m talking about, leave it in the comments) of a traffic stop that ended in a fatal shooting. The passenger (a black man) was given contradictory orders by two cops. One was yelling “don’t move” the other was yelling “get your hands up” and he was shot for not following orders.
That evaluation can become unnecessarily complicated in the aftermath of an incident involving multiple officers and a variety of weapons.
In one incident, a distraught woman wielding a weapon said that she was about to surrender to one officer’s instructions when she was shot and wounded by a second officer for failing to comply with his. Given the sometimes conflicting orders one encounters in the field (“Get your hands up!” or “Keep your hands in your pocket!”), it’s a wonder that such things don’t happen more often.
This is why it’s imperative to leave no ambiguity as to which officer is responsible for verbally engaging a subject.
I bring this up now because of a shooting just recently happened in Wichita, Kansas.
One asshole in LA swatted another gamer. The other gamer gave a false address. The SWAT team responded to the call at a third part address, unrelated to the two gamers, The result was the death of a 28 year old man.
The body cam footage from one of the responding officers was terrible.
One officer was yelling “show your hands” another “walk this way,” then in the middle of a repeated command, a third officer fired. The police were paled across the street, yelling. No one was using a police car loud speaker.
I found the address of the victim from news about a GoFundMe page.
Here is the top down Google maps image of the neighborhood.
That shot was taken across four lanes of traffic, plus the start of a turning lane, an easement, sidewalk, and front yard. By my measure from the Google maps scale, that’s 30-35 yards.
You can barely see the victim in the bodycam footage.
Multiple police, taking cover behind vehicles, with rifles, shouting orders, in the dark, and a guy who was told to come out his front door is shot from 30+ yards, to me is no just a bad shoot but a criminal one.
According to the media:
Several officers arrived and surrounded the home, braced for a hostage situation. When Finch went to the door police told him to put his hands up and move slowly.
I didn’t hear “move slowly.”
But Livingston said the man moved a hand toward the area of his waistband — a common place where guns are concealed. An officer, fearing the man was reaching for a gun, fired a single shot. Finch died a few minutes later at a hospital. Livingston said Finch was unarmed.
“Reaching towards his waistband. Really. I didn’t see that because I didn’t see anything. Was it his waistband or a doorknob? Or just a confused guy wondering why there were a bunch of cops parked across the street from his house yelling at him?
Sure, the department can tell me that this is a breakdown in procedure, but at what point does a breakdown in procedure become criminal?
If a surgeon takes a dump, wipes his ass, and performs surgery without scrubbing or gloving up, that breaks procedure. If the patient dies of an infection because of it, the surgeon goes to jail.
I believe the only way to end these types of terrible situations is to develop a procedure and make disastrous failure of procedure criminal.
A lawsuit is little compensation to a two year old who will grow up not knowing her father because of a bunch of cops collectively fucking the dog over a 911 call.
Maybe if the cops have it in the backs of their minds that if they fuck up, they end up in prison, they will be more inclined to be follow procedure.