3 weeks, 6 days ago
There was no warrant and no reason to suspect the apartment resident in Lake County, Florida, of a crime. But police officers who said they were investigating a speeding motorcyclist, to which the man had no links, pounded on the door at 1:30 in the morning.
When Andrew Scott, 26, answered the door, carrying a weapon for defense because of the vigorous knocking at an unlikely hour, an officer shot and killed him.
Now, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has given the officer a pass for the killing, prompting an outraged dissent from four justices on the panel.
The judges contend the outcome “makes it more likely that tragic police shootings will continue to occur.”
Stop right there. At issue in this case isn’t whether these shootings by cop will continue in the future. They will, and this case just makes that more likely, but judges should not be deciding cases based on their social import. In other words, there is an objective standard against which their actions should be judged in this particular case, and that doesn’t change one iota based on what may or may not happen in the future. Judges aren’t social workers, soothsayers or witchdoctors – or at least, they shouldn’t be.
The warning, written by Justice Beverly Martin and joined by Charles Wilson, Robin Rosenbaum and Jill Pryor, said: “Andrew Scott and his girlfriend were in their home playing video games late one night when police arrived outside. The police had no warrant and no reason to suspect Mr. Scott or his girlfriend had committed any crime. The officers acknowledge both of these things to be true.
Even so, the police tactically surrounded the home’s only exit, drew their guns, repeatedly slammed on the door without identifying themselves as law enforcement, and then shot and killed Scott when he opened the door, as he was stepping back into his home, they wrote.
Stop again. Consider what just happened. If you bang on my door in the middle of the night, more than likely you’re going to be met by the muzzle of an AR-15, and you might just get shot. Furthermore, consider what we’ve witnessed concerning people who bang on doors, even those who announce they are the police.
A man, woman and cable repair worker were tied up as two young children witnessed two armed men raid a home in Miami-Dade on Sunday afternoon, police said.
Jennifer Capote, with the Miami-Dade Police Department, said a Comcast cable worker was inside the home at 2203 NW 104th Terrace doing repairs when the robbers, claiming to be Miami police and dressed in body armor, stormed into the home about 3:30 p.m.
Police said the intruders tied up the cable man, mother and father as their children, ages 3 and 12, looked on.
To which I said the following. “For those of you who are LEOs, do you understand? Does this ring any bells with you as home owners and family members? Does it make any sense to you that this is number 18,399 on the list of reasons not to conduct home raids, even if they are intended to find evidence of wrong-doing?
Well, does it? I hope a LEO weighs in, because it’s crystal clear to me and most readers. In addition to your felt need to “go home safely at the end of your shift,” we have an equivalent need to be safe in our own homes, to prevent flash-bang grenades from being thrown into our toddler’s cribs, to prevent your reflexively shooting our family dogs, and to prevent street thugs like this from raiding our homes under the guise of being police officers.
You see, we can’t just lay down and let people screaming “police, police, get the fuck on the floor, police, police” … come into our homes without countering those efforts with close quarters battle. Because they may not be police.”
Continuing with our report from Bon Unruh, where he details the problems the dissenting judges had with the decision.
First, under no standard was it reasonable for the police to kill Mr. Scott when he answered the knock at the door to his home. He was not suspected of any crime (much less a violent crime) and he was standing inside his own house without threatening them. Second, the police were not engaged in a permissible ‘knock and talk’ when they killed Mr. Scott.
In other words, there was no warrant, and this wasn’t a “Terry Stop” in the open. That’s all well and good, but the dissenting judges are still missing my fundamental point (other than these actions were and are and will always be unconstitutional). Even if a warrant had been issued – after all, this means nothing more than a phone call and rubber stamp from worthless judges – I cannot entrust the safety of my family unless I first know who is at the door and what their intentions are, and I have verified all of this via independent means. I don’t give a shit about officer safety. I’m concerned about my own and that of my family.
The judges who voted to give cops a pass for the killing were Ed Carnes, Gerald Tjoflat, Frank Hull, Stanley Marcus, William Pryor, Adalberto Jordan and Julie Carnes.
They concluded, in the shooting by officers from the Lake
CityCounty police, that, “No clearly established federal law gave clear and fair notice that Deputy [Richard] Sylvester’s conduct was unlawful.”
William Pryor is on Donald Trump’s short list for the Supreme Court. So here’s a note for Mr. Pryor concerning the laws that have been broken. The officers violated the fourth amendment and the fifth amendment (right to due process), and at the state level are guilty of at least second degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon, trespassing, breaking and entering, brandishing a deadly weapon to the terror of the public, disturbing the peace, and conspiracy to commit murder.
Finally, note that by granting them a pass, along with hundreds like it every day in America, police in America are operating under rules of engagement and rules for the use of force not even given to Soldiers and Marines in war. Murderers are free and running around Lake
City County, Florida, shooting peaceable men in their own homes. If you needed any other indication that the police are at war with the public, I don’t know what it would be. And here’s a quick note to the police. You aren’t heroes. When the public treats you like the enemy, you’ll know why, and you’ll know why no one cares any more if you get to go home safely at the end of your shift.