10 months, 3 weeks ago
FRAMINGHAM — Two weeks before he officially left the Framingham Police Department, outgoing Chief Steven Carl disbanded the department’s SWAT team, about two and a half years after an accidental fatal shooting during a raid.
In a memo sent to the department on Sept. 26, Carl, whose last day was Friday, announced that the SWAT team was no more. Carl left to take a job as the new Assumption College director of public safety and campus police chief.
The head of the SWAT team, Deputy Police Chief Craig Davis also had his last day with the department on Friday. He starts as the new Ashland Police chief on Monday.
“Chief Carl disbanded the SWAT team and one of the main reasons articulated was that myself and Deputy (Steven) Trask did not have the training needed to lead the team,” acting Chief Kenneth Ferguson said on Friday.
The team came under scrutiny in 2011 when a Framingham man was accidentally shot and killed by SWAT team member Officer Paul Duncan in a drug raid on Fountain Street.
On Jan. 5, 2011, Duncan shot Eurie Stamps Sr., 68, who was laying on the ground, when Duncan lost his balance and tripped, firing the M4 submachine gun once. The shot killed Stamps.
Police arrested Stamps’ stepson, Joseph Bushfan, who was the target of the raid that night.
The Middlesex district attorney’s office ruled the shooting was accidental. The Stamps family has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against Duncan and the town, partially blaming the town’s “policy or custom of grossly inadequate training and supervision of its police officers.”
After the shooting, Carl assembled a community panel to look at the shooting, and the chief instituted several policy changes after an independent probe of the team by SWAT expert Steve Ijames.
Some of the changes included reducing the team from 18 members to 12, increasing training and a mandate for officers to keep a firearm’s safety on until the weapon is needed.
Yes, you read that right. After defending their SWAT team and its tactics, they disbanded the team because they didn’t have the necessary training to lead the team.
Briefly recall what happened. Completely innocent Mr. Eurie Stamps was prone as he was instructed to be by the invading police, and Paul Duncan tripped over his prone body causing a sympathetic muscle reflex and firing his rifle into Mr. Stamps, killing him.
And yes, you read that right. Rather than call the SWAT team murderous thugs, or Keystone Cops with rifles, “SWAT expert” Ijames recommended that weapons’ safety be put on.
Let that wash over you again. In order to keep from shooting people, SWAT teams were then instructed to put their weapons on safe. He found no fault with anyone involved with the event. Think … about … that. If this wasn’t true it would be so laughable as to be bad fiction. IJames isn’t stupid – just a dishonest and awful man. As for the leaders responsible for this awful invasion and murder – eh, off to new jobs. Good as gold. Got to tie up loose ends before riding off into the sunset.
In other news, Mr. Eurie Stamps couldn’t be reached for comment.