Archive for the 'Police' Category

Police Officer Who Killed Woman During Training Exercise Charged With Manslaughter

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 4 weeks ago

News from Florida:

In August, Punta Gorda police Officer Lee Coel fired the fatal shot during a drill involving civilians at the police academy facility. Mary Knowlton, a 73-year-old retired Minnesota mother of two, died at a hospital.

Coel was charged Wednesday with one count of felony manslaughter.

“I don’t see how the facts as we know it would amount to criminal negligence as opposed to simple negligence,” attorney Jerry Berry told CNN affiliate WINK. CNN reached out to Berry but didn’t get an immediate response.

Chief Tom Lewis will face one count of misdemeanor culpable negligence.

“Looking at the totality of the facts and evidence brought our office to this decision,” State Attorney Stephen Russell said.

Coel shot Knowlton during a “shoot/don’t shoot” role-play scenario in which officers make decisions on using simulated lethal force, Lewis said at the time.

The retired librarian was playing an officer in the scenario, which was held just outside the police complex, officials said. Coel was playing the role of a “bad guy” when he opened fire as nearly three dozen people looked on.

The gun the officer used should have had blanks but mistakenly had a live round in it, Lewis said.

“Lee Coel absolutely, positively did not know there was live ammunition in that gun,” Berry said Wednesday.

But remember, boys and girls.  Only law enforcement officers are trained and trustworthy to own and operate firearms.  You can’t be trusted.

Deputy Accidentally Fires Gun Into Occupied East Athens Apartment

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 3 weeks ago

Athens Banner-Herald:

A sheriff’s deputy late Wednesday reportedly accidentally shot his gun into a neighboring home occupied at the time by two residents at an eastside apartment complex, Athens-Clarke County police said.

No one was injured by the gunshot, which resulted in a bullet passing through a bedroom wall and a TV before lodging in a wall separating the bedroom and living room, according to police.

The 24-year-old deputy was an employee of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office and lived at the Cedar Shoals Drive complex with his girlfriend, who was identified as a rookie Athens-Clarke County police officer who was attending the police training academy.

The rookie cop told police she was outside walking her dog when she heard the gunshot, and upon returning home found her boyfriend “crouched on the floor, obviously upset,” according to a police incident report. When she asked what happened, the deputy said he had a “negligent discharge” of his duty weapon.

The deputy explained the incident occurred as he was putting out his equipment in preparation for going to work in the morning. When placing the gun on a counter. The weapon discharged “either because of the jarring of the gun being put down or because of where he had his hand” on the gun, according to police.

Gosh, I hate it when that happens to me.  I remember the last time I slammed one of my guns down on the table and caused it to fire.  People had to be taken to the hospital, but after it was all over we laughed and laughed and laughed about it.

Actually, I’ve never slammed a gun down on anything and caused it to discharge.  With modern grip safeties, triggers with brush guards, and other safety features, I’m betting it had something to do with “where he had his hand.”  Yep, I’m sure of it.  I’m sure he had his finger inside the trigger guard and he pulled the trigger.

Stolen FBI Submachine Gun Once More Highlights Government Double Standards

BY Herschel Smith
3 months ago

David Codrea:

“The submachine gun was a Heckler & Koch MP5 10mm,” the report elaborates. “An ammunition magazine for the weapon was also taken. Officials did not say how the weapon was secured.”

I want to know that information.  I was shopping at Lowes several months ago and happened upon a smaller town chief LEO who was looking for a case for a patrol rifle.  I suggested several brands (which wouldn’t have been able to be located at Lowes), or shopping on Amazon.

Either way, it goes to show that putting your patrol rifle – or in this case an NFA weapon – inside a secure case, bolted to the floor of the vehicle, is the least a LEO can do to secure his weapons.

But we can’t be trusted with machineguns, because laws are for little people, not LEOs.

Another SWAT Raid, Another Flash-Bang Thrown At A Baby

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 1 week ago

Remember that we extensively discussed the idiotic and immoral raid on baby Bou Bou’s house in search of someone who wasn’t there?  The horrible and inept “criminal justice system” didn’t even hold the people who perpetrated that evil act accountable for it.  A grand jury couldn’t even convince themselves that they should have continued legal action against the police, and the raid ended up crippling the poor child and causing multiple surgeries.

The police state in America is so screwed up that it can’t even learn from such a disaster as that.  “Officer safety” must return home at the end of his shift, and the war on drugs must go on.  True to form for the police state, I missed that yet another flash bang was thrown at a baby in Indiana after the raid on baby Bou Bou.  This time, at least the court had doubts and threw out the evidence collected in the raid.  Fortunately, no one was harmed.

The Evansville (IN) Police Department has seen a drug bust go up in a cloud of flashbang smoke. A search warrant for drugs and weapons, based on an informant’s tip, was executed perfectly… if you’re the sort of person who believes it takes a dozen heavily-armed officers, a Lenco Bearcat, and two flashbangs to grab a suspect no one felt like arresting when he was outside alone taking out his trash. (via

The state appeals court decision [PDF] hinges on the deployment of a flashbang grenade into a room containing a toddler. Fortunately, in this case, the toddler was only frightened, rather than severely burned. But it was this tossed flashbang that ultimately undoes the PD’s case. The evidence is suppressed and the conviction reversed.

Scattered throughout the opinion are some amazing depictions of the PD’s SWAT team at work — and how those officers seem to believe the violence of their entries during warrant service are somehow just the new normal.

Things like the following paragraph. First: some background. In some cases, it’s (theoretically) more difficult for law enforcement to obtain no-knock warrants. Facts need to be asserted that show that warning the occupants of a residence in any way would most likely result in the destruction of evidence and/or an armed response. Some judges are more willing than others to hand these out, but either way, the standard warrant boilerplate can’t be used.

So, here’s the difference between a “knock and announce” warrant and a no-knock warrant, as deployed by the Evansville PD.

The SWAT team rode in a Lenco Bearcat that followed a patrol vehicle to the residence. At least a dozen officers were involved. Upon arrival and prior to entry, three officers and a police vehicle approached the rear of the residence and at least nine officers, most armed with assault weapons, approached the front of the residence. At 10:30 a.m., the police knocked on the residence and one of the officers announced, “Police – Search Warrant – Police – Search Warrant,” and another officer announced over a loudspeaker “Search Warrant. 314 Illinois.” State’s Exhibit 1 at 3:55-4:00. One second later, the SWAT team knocked down the door with a battering ram.

ONE SECOND. Technically, still a knock-and-announce warrant, even though the residents had been given no chance to respond.

Within the next couple of seconds, a flashbang grenade was tossed into the front room, which contained a playpen and a baby’s car seat. The toddler was in the playpen.

After the flash bang grenade was deployed, Detective Gray entered the residence and picked up a nine-month old baby crying on top of blankets in a playpen just inside and “very close to the door.” Id. at 332. The room also contained a baby’s car seat and a toddler’s activity center in the line of sight of the front door. One of the officers moved the car seat with his foot to proceed further into the residence.

The officer who tossed the flashbang said he could see more than what was captured by his helmet cam, but still admitted he could not see everything in the room into which he tossed the grenade. This grenade was thrown within two seconds of the officers’ announcement that they had a warrant and roughly one second after the door was breached.

Officer Taylor testified that his perception of things involved a much wider view than what the camera could see. At a time stamp of 4:01 on the video, a member of the SWAT team rammed the door open several inches with a battering ram. From an angle to the right, Officer Taylor tossed the flash bang into the house at 4:02, and it detonated at 4:04. The video at 4:02 shows only a portion of the right rear of the couch and the wood floor on which it sat. The video reveals that about five minutes after the initial entry someone stated: “Make sure you get a picture . . . are you taking a picture of that?” State’s Exhibit 1 at 8:50-8:55. This appears to be a reference to a charred stain on the floor. The person then stated: “Because the baby was in this room, but I put it right there for a reason.” Id. at 8:55-9:00.

The lower court found these tactics unreasonable on the whole and granted suppression of the evidence obtained during the search. The state argued that suppression wasn’t the proper remedy and anything resulting from the “unreasonable” use of a flashbang grenade in a toddler’s room was something to be addressed in a civil lawsuit.

The appeals court disagrees, finding nothing justifiable about the SWAT team’s violent entry into the home.

The video shows almost no time lapse between when the door was battered in and the tossing of the flash bang. The door was barely opened when the flash bang was immediately tossed into the room, and the angle at which Officer Taylor was standing to the door did not allow him an opportunity to see what was inside the room. Indeed, Officer Taylor acknowledged that he could not see portions of the room in which the flash bang was placed. Specifically, he testified that he could see “from the couch over to the left, I can’t see the corner, the left corner inside the room and I can’t see the hallway in front of it, that’s why the flash bang goes in the threshold.”

That’s the flashbang, delivered two seconds after the police announced their presence. This is only part of it. The attempt to salvage the fruits of the search with a claim that the house potentially contained dangerous criminals also receives no judicial sympathy. The state makes assertions, but cannot back them up.

The State does not point us to any other evidence indicating the criminal history of Watkins or the other occupants of the house. The record contains no evidence that law enforcement could not have safely presented the person matching Watkins’s description with the search warrant during the time that he was outside the house and before he re-entered it.

The court basically gets it right in terms of the correct way to do this kind of police work.  Observe the residence, proceed with entry when no one is at home, and then present an arrest warrant to the perpetrator when he returns.

Or better yet, we could give up this ridiculous war on drugs.  Either way, it will never be necessary to throw grenades into homes towards babies for any reason under the sun, unless you’re immoral and a coward.  As for the objection that they didn’t know a baby was there (if that is indeed the objection), that is no excuse.  They should have done the rudimentary investigative work to find out.  That’s what detectives are for.

The smart people are supposed to work as detectives.  Call them first.  They can think about smarter ways of doing this sort of thing.  Finally, rather than just throw out evidence, the court should have imprisoned the officers who did this and the judge who approved it for violation of the Fourth and Fifth amendments to the constitution.  They deserve to be in the state penitentiary with the general prison population.

The constitution is a covenant under which stipulations we are all supposed to live.  Failure to do so means that the covenant has been broken, and breakage of the covenant means that punishments are supposed to ensue.

Kansas Cop Uses Taser Gun On 91 Year Old Man With Alzheimer’s

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 4 weeks ago

Tech Times:

However, Lee still didn’t pay attention to what the officers were telling him and briskly walked away. This was when Thornton took out his Taser gun and used it on the old man.

Lee fell to the floor screaming in pain as staff from the nursing home watched in shock at what was going on.

Oh, they shouldn’t have been too much in shock.  They are the ones who called the police to deal with what a nurse should have dealt with – or a qualified worker rather than the goobers who apparently work there.

The video is even worse to watch than reading the account.

Hey.  Be glad they didn’t use the SWAT team or queue up a designated marksman, who might have used .308, done “high fives” with his colleagues, and bragged about “going home safely at the end of his shift.”  Elderly folk can join the ranks of dogs now as immediately shot if they get Alzheimer’s disease and get the cops called on them.

Rural Deputies’ View Of Gun Control

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 4 weeks ago

Charleston Gazette-Mail:

Rural law enforcement officials have complex, subtle views about gun control and frequently favor more limited access to guns, according to new research from West Virginia University.

Sociology professor Rachael Woldoff said, for her paper, published this month in the academic journal Rural Sociology, she asked more than 20 sheriff deputies in a rural county about their views on gun control.

“It goes against this narrative that people from West Virginia are just ignorant. The NRA wants you to believe that, but they don’t really have views like that,” Woldoff said. “They’re much more nuanced.”

Their lengthy responses and discussion emanating from the questions was the first type of qualitative research of its kind, according to Woldoff.

Because of the limited number of responses, she is unable to make broad claims about rural law enforcement in the report, but Woldoff said further research is needed in the area.

The paper proposes rural police officers’ views on gun control stem from two competing influences: the culture of rural places where hunting and guns are usually integral parts of community life, and an officer’s responsibility to protect people from gun violence.

Woldoff began the study expecting the law enforcement officials she interviewed would favor fewer restrictions on guns, but that wasn’t the case.

Nearly all of the officers said they were against gun control, only later to contradict themselves, Woldoff said. Several officers told Woldoff people who have been diagnosed with depression should be barred from owning a gun, even if that meant compelling doctors to release medical records to the government.

Other officers who had served in the armed forces thought people who own guns should have to be better trained on how to use them. Every officer said there should be more thorough background checks of a person before he or she is allowed to own a gun.

“Many things about place identity are symbolic,” Woldoff said. “For instance, in West Virginia, it is important, symbolically, that you say you believe in certain things and to identify with the whole state, which is unusual.”Meanwhile, officers maintained they were “pro-gun.”

“Saying you’re pro-gun is just an identity,” Woldoff said. “A lot of people who are pro-gun still think our controls are not appropriate right now. Clearly they would say they were pro-gun, then two seconds later they’re asking for insane gun control measures.”

The professor’s own narrative gives us a glimpse into her bias, which is that the NRA wants to control a narrative on guns and hopes for idiots, while people are more “nuanced” than we give them credit.  Perhaps we can believe her research, perhaps not.

But let’s assume for the sake of argument that we can.  None of this is really surprising.  LEOs perpetuate the myth that they are there to “protect people from gun violence.”  Officers aren’t there to protect anyone from anything, regardless of that bit of hyped propaganda.  It would have been much more interesting if the professor had taken a deep dive into that psychology and ascertained whether the officers really believed that or if this is simply play-acting.

If the answers are truthful, it is certainly the case that these LEOs support draconian gun control measures, from universal background checks to forcible release of medical records (while it is a demonstrable fact that mental maladies have no connection to propensity to violence).

Being pro-gun is just an identity, says the researcher.  Very well.  Remember that the next time you hear it from a LEO.  You’re educated enough to know how to drill down on this issue and find out the truth from them.

Court: Police Can Shoot A Dog If It Moves Or Barks When Cop Enters Home

BY Herschel Smith
4 months ago

Washington Examiner:

A ruling from the 6th Circuit Court serves as a warning to dog owners: Teach your dog to sit still and be quiet or risk police justifiably shooting the dog.

Mark and Cheryl Brown petitioned the court to hold the city and police officers from Battle Creek, Mich., accountable for shooting and killing their dogs while executing a search warrant of their home looking for evidence of drugs. The plaintiffs said the police officers’ actions amounted to the unlawful seizure of property in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The circuit court on Monday agreed with a lower court ruling siding with the police officers.

“The standard we set out today is that a police officer’s use of deadly force against a dog while executing a warrant to search a home for illegal drug activity is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment when, given the totality of the circumstances and viewed from the perspective of an objectively reasonable officer, the dog poses an imminent threat to the officer’s safety,” Judge Eric Clay wrote in the court’s opinion.

In the case of the Browns’ two pit bulls, the imminent threat came from the dogs barking and moving around. One officer shot the first pit bull after he said it “had only moved a few inches” in a movement that he considered to be a “lunge.” The injured dog retreated to the basement, where the officer shot and killed it as well as the second dog while conducting a sweep of the residence.

“Officer Klein testified that after he shot and killed the first dog, he noticed the second dog standing about halfway across the basement,” the court’s opinion explained. “The second dog was not moving towards the officers when they discovered her in the basement, but rather she was ‘just standing there,’ barking and was turned sideways to the officers. Klein then fired the first two rounds at the second dog.”

After the wounded dog ran into a back corner of the basement, another officer shot the dog rather than seeking help for it.

“Officer Case saw that ‘there was blood coming out of numerous holes in the dog, and … [Officer Case] didn’t want to see it suffer,’ so he put her out of her misery and fired the last shot,” Clay wrote.

The court decided that the plaintiffs failed to provide evidence showing the first dog did not lunge at police officers and that the second dog didn’t bark.

Judge Eric Clay, Officer Klein and Officer Case are all pussies.  To a man.  They deserve to get the shit beat out of them.  And then they deserve to spend court mandated time working on a farm around horses, dogs, goats, cows, chickens and other animals, until they have learned to work with animals without killing them.  Hand gestures, physical gate and posture, voice inflection and timbre, and body language.  It all matters, dumb ass.  Learn it.  Do it.  If you live in a city where you don’t have access to farm animals, then MOVE.  Pussy.

Within five minutes I would have been playing with those dogs in the back yard, them having earned my trust and me theirs – because I’m not a pathological brute and I have a brain and experience.  And as for that matter, if a father doesn’t take his son backpacking, doesn’t teach him to raise animals, and doesn’t teach him to live in the outdoors, he also deserves to get the shit beat out of him.

Seriously folks.  Many, many problems that appear in front of courts could be solved by good friends, deacons of the church, and co-workers who took responsibility for their colleagues and took them out behind the wood shed like their father should have done and forced them to grow up.

I’ve said before that the righteous man has regard for the life of his beast and the beasts of others.  The wicked man does not.  I would like to see the Supreme Court strike this down on any of a number of violations of the constitution.  I’m not sure they will, and in fact I would bet against it.

So here is my question for cops.  Riddle me this.  When is the last time a cop was killed by a dog in America?

I’m waiting.

Easley, S.C., Homeowner Shoots Man Trying To Steal His Guns

BY Herschel Smith
4 months ago

News from Pickens County, S.C.

EASLEY, S.C. (AP) — Pickens County deputies say a man killed this week in an Easley house was a burglar who was caught by the homeowner stealing several guns.

Chief Deputy Creed Hashe said in a news release that the homeowner fought with 27-year-old Justin Smith and managed to get a rifle from him and fired several shots at the intruder.

Deputies say Smith tried to leave, but collapsed and died on a deck.

Hashe says evidence collected agrees with the homeowner’s story. Prosecutors are reviewing the investigation to see if the homeowner should be charged or can legally claim self-defense.

I have just two comments about this.  First of all, if a man is in your home, you have a right to treat him as a threat to your life.  You don’t know otherwise, and it’s foolish and dangerous to pretend you do or to wait for validation of that assumption.

Second, the homeowner interacted with the police.  As I’ve observed before, here are the steps.  (1) I shot in self defense, my life was being threatened, and (2) any further communication will have to occur with my lawyer.

Never talk to the police.

Update On Man With Dementia Shot By Bakersfield Police

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 1 week ago

CBS News:

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A 73-year-old man with dementia fatally shot by police had a crucifix – not a gun – as officers were led to believe, Bakersfield police said Wednesday.

A coroner found the plastic crucifix on Francisco Serna well after an officer fatally shot him near his home just after midnight Monday, Sgt. Gary Carruesco said.

It’s still unclear if a 911 caller who had reported a man with a gun may have mistaken the crucifix for a weapon, as Serna’s family speculated.

Officer Reagan Selman fired at Serna seven times after the grandfather refused repeated commands to take his hand out of his pocket and stop walking toward police, incoming Bakersfield police Chief Lyle Martin said at a news conference Tuesday.

In addition to the 911 caller, Martin said two people who had encountered Serna hours before the shooting thought he was armed.

Meanwhile Serna’s family is calling his death murder. They say they want an independent investigation into the shooting and for the U.S. Justice Department to look into whether police violated Serna’s civil rights.

“It’s difficult to accept that our dad’s life ended so brutally, abruptly and with such excessive violence,” according to a family statement. “Our dad was treated like a criminal, and we feel like he was left to die alone without his family by his side.”

Officer Selman, who had been on the force about 16 months, was placed on routine administrative leave, as were the other officers at the scene.

Martin said it was an extremely difficult set of circumstances for an officer fearing a man with a gun and a terrible situation for everyone involved. “This is a very tragic incident for their family, for this community as a whole and for the police department,” he said.

Martin could not say how many of the seven shots hit Serna.

The shooting came about 20 to 30 seconds after a woman who had encountered Serna pointed him out to police as he walked out of his house across the street and toward them, Martin said.

Earlier on Sunday afternoon, Martin said another neighbor encountered Serna, saying his hand was in his jacket pocket as though he had a gun. Serna tried to force his way into the house of the neighbor, who called his behavior bizarre, Martin said.

Serna left, and the neighbor, who had recognized him, did not immediately report the incident.

Then about eight hours later, the woman who lives across the street from Serna was getting out of a car in her driveway when he came up behind her and asked her to get back into the car. The woman also saw Serna’s hand in his jacket pocket and thought he had a gun, Martin said.

The woman and a friend she was with ran into the house, and her boyfriend called police and said a man in the driveway had a revolver and was brandishing it at the women, Martin said.

So our suspicion was correct and there was no gun.  The officer reacted prematurely, and as for the caller, this sounds like the story you tell in a circle when you’re teenagers whispering mouth to ear, mouth to ear, and by the time it gets to the last person the message is so garbled it doesn’t even resemble what was said to begin with.  You’ve played that little game in church youth group, yes?

Except in this case someone died.  And I consider this no different than Swatting, which is a crime.  The caller filed a false police report giving information he didn’t really know.

So will the caller be held responsible?  Will the police officer be held responsible?

Bakersfield Police Shoot 73 Year Old Unarmed Man With Dementia

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 1 week ago

Courtesy of Wynn, this:

An unarmed 73-year-old with dementia who was shot and killed by police early Monday was struck nine times, the man’s son said in a video posted to Facebook. However, police say the son is “misinformed.”

The officer was answering a report of a man brandishing a handgun around 12:30 a.m. in Bakersfield, Calif. When a witness pointed to Francisco Serna, who was standing in a neighbor’s driveway, one officer fired and killed him, Bakersfield police spokesman Sgt. Gary Carruesco told CBS Bakersfield affiliate KBAK-TV.

No gun was turned up in a search of the scene, Carruesco said.

So where is the gun?  If he was armed, then a gun was recovered.  Where is the gun?

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