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Deputy orders unarmed man to ground, then kills him.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by hammer4nc, Dec 12, 2003.

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  1. hammer4nc

    hammer4nc Member

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    http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/1203/12columbus.html
    Deputy orders man to ground, then kills him

    Associated Press

    COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Asked to explain how an unarmed man was fatally shot in the head by a Muscogee County deputy, Sheriff Ralph Johnson said: "This one turned out bad. I can't sugar-coat that."

    Kenneth Brown Walker, 39, of Columbus was pronounced dead at 2:30 a.m. Thursday after he was pulled out of his vehicle on Interstate 185, ordered to the ground and shot. Authorities said Walker failed to comply with the deputy's commands to show his hands after he had been ordered to lay down on the ground.

    Walker and three other men were riding in a gray GMC Yukon that authorities believed was seen leaving an apartment complex under surveillance for drug activity.

    However, the three men with Walker were not arrested and were released and Johnson acknowledged there was no information that Walker was involved in any criminal activity.

    Johnson was flanked by Columbus City Manager Carmen Cavezza, City Attorney Clifton Fay and other sheriff's officials during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

    Johnson called the incident "a tragic day for the family of the deceased and for my office and for the city of Columbus."

    The deputy who shot Walker has been placed on administrative leave. Authorities say he is a veteran deputy who works with the department's Special Response Team. His name was not released.

    When the vehicle was stopped around 9 p.m. Wednesday night on Interstate 185, Johnson said all four occupants were taken out of the vehicle.

    Though Walker's friends complied with the deputy's commands to get down on the ground and reveal their hands, there was "some resistance by Walker," Johnson said.

    "He was placed on the ground but his right hand couldn't be seen," Johnson said. "That hand wouldn't come out."

    When asked if he thought the shooting was justified, Johnson said, "What I can tell you is that when (the deputy) shot him, he did not try to shoot him in the head. I can't tell you what was in his head other than that it's a pure judgment call if he felt like his life was in danger."

    No gun was found inside the Yukon.

    Johnson said he had met with Walker's family.

    "They're very upset and they should be," he said. "I'm very upset and nothing I can say or do will change any of this."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Perhaps this officer will receive a few days paid leave, in addition to an oral reprimand? That sounds about right.

    When will these loonie rednecks learn to submit? Ah well, sometimes things "just turn out bad". On to the next case....
     
  2. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

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    It sounds very sad. And I am sure it is.

    It sounds too bad. And I am sure it is.

    It sounds so simple. But I am sure it's not.

    It IS a tragidy and I am sure the officer will never be the same. Once you shoot someone, no matter what the reason, your life changes.

    It is always tragic when an innocent person is killed.


    I wasn't there, neither were you and this one article doen't have nearly enough information to form an educated opinion.

    I believe that this post and the comments following it are just bait to start a flame war.

    And I for one am not falling for it.

    You have a nice day now.
     
  3. Edward429451

    Edward429451 member

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    :banghead:
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2003
  4. cookhj

    cookhj Member

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    what if he would've had a gun and shot the officer? the way i see it, the officer believed that the individual was reaching for a weapon, and shot him in self defense. it's a tragedy that it had to happen, but if a cop tells you to show him your hands and get on the ground, you do what he tells you. he's the one with the gun, and as you can see in this instance, he will use it.
     
  5. WilderBill

    WilderBill Member

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    Anyone want to try to explain the difference between administrative leave and paid vacation?
    What do you want to bet that if the victim had felt his life was in danger (which it apparently was) and it ended up going the other way that he would not be getting paid to do nothing right now?
    If it is as it appears, I wouldn't feel too bad about this deputy giving up every cent he makes for the rest of his natural life to support this guys family.
     
  6. hammer4nc

    hammer4nc Member

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    Very cogent posts, very sad situation indeed.

    Excellent point: whatever happens we should be acutely concerned with the feelings of officers.

    Still, the situation probably happened very fast...maybe just a few minutes or less.

    One wonders, if the situation had been reversed, would we be reading how the shooter had a "plan" to ambush the deputy, on a routine traffic stop? How the victim was executed by cold blooded murderers? Sentimental eulogies of how the victim liked to have lunch with his wife? Interviews with the shooter's disgruntled neighbors? Selective reports of the reading materials found in their house? Perp walks and orange jumpsuits, instead of concealing the shooter's identity?

    "Paid administrative leave".

    A study in contrasts.
     
  7. Harold Mayo

    Harold Mayo Member

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    Doesn't sound like the sheriff is standing very firmly behind his man...

    :uhoh:

    That doesn't bode well for the deputy in the investigation OR in the civil case which is sure to come from this.

    Was it justified? Dunno. I wasn't there. It sure sounds bad, though.

    BTW..."loonie rednecks"? How insulting is that? If the guy was black, would you be saying "stupid n*****s"? I thought this was the High Road.:cuss:
     
  8. HABU

    HABU Member

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    Officer Stadanko is in a high stress situation AND has his finger on the trigger when he has an ND. Oops, think fast. "I was afraid for my life.":rolleyes:
     
  9. Ian

    Ian Member

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    Another victim of the War on Freedom.
     
  10. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    Sounds like the perp was only guilty of getting in the way of the officer's bullet.:uhoh:
     
  11. jacketch

    jacketch Member

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    I smell major lawsuit.
     
  12. Carlos

    Carlos Member

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    You can count on that.

    Sad that the officer lacked the patience (or whatever) and had to shoot the guy in the head.
     
  13. Quartus

    Quartus Member

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    There's a big difference between NOT moving your hand out from a concealed position and MOVING your hand toward a concealed position.


    It OUGHT to be the difference between life and death.


    I watched a cop do it right one time, from up close. (like 15 feet close) Just 2 months after I was married, my young bride and I heard gunshots. Oh, back up... Evening before was a drive by kittycorner from us, across the intersection of a major boulevard and a small side street. Nobody hit, perp fired blindly into an apartment complex. That was the FIRST drive by shooting in Buena Park, California.

    Sunday night about midnight came the payback. 6 shots, sounded like a .22. Car pealed away, some shouting. Waited for quiet, dialed 911, went outside to check for wounded.

    A kid had run across to our complex looking for a hiding place. (No outside lights in our complex.) After the shooters left, he went to my neighbor's door looking for help - he'd been hit in the left shoulder area. Cops arrived (rolling hard on the second ever drive by in Buena Park) and find an obvious 'ganger sitting with his right hand inside his denim jacket. Cops had guns drawn, of course, shouting at the kid to show his hands. Kid was dazed, and didn't respond right away. It took three or four orders for the kid to connect what was going on, and slowly remove his hand. The cops didn't execute him for daring to wait - they had a potential threat to their life, but they acted with restraint. They did what they OUGHT to do - held their fire because there was no immediate threat to them. Had the kid moved suddenly I'm sure I'd have seen a 12 year old kid killed in front of my eyes. And rightly so. But he moved slowly, and the cops acted rightly.


    Yes, they can't get it right every time. Yes, it's a high stress situation. But there is a standard, and not moving is not supposed to be justification for shooting someone.


    BTW, the kid's buddy didn't do so well. Dead on the sidewalk, 50 steps from my front door. We moved the next Saturday.
     
  14. Carlos

    Carlos Member

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    :( Should have happened in this situation. Execute is a good word for it.
     
  15. clint1911a1

    clint1911a1 Member

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    What would you have done had you been the officer? Adrenaline pumping, it's dark, the guys buddies watching your every move from the suspect vehicle. What kind of reputation did the suspect have?
    And why in the :cuss: are the stories of murdered police officers never covered as in depth as civilians being killed by officers?
     
  16. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    None at all, apparently.


     
  17. Quartus

    Quartus Member

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    Except in a police state, officers ARE civilians.


    As for what I would have done, I hope I would have done the RIGHT thing, which is NOT shooting someone who isn't moving.
     
  18. Ankeny

    Ankeny Member

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    Ditto BluesBear.
     
  19. PWK

    PWK Member

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    How about shooting the fellow laying on the ground in leg or shoulder or buttocks. I mean you're only a few feet away and can't aim well enough to not shoot in the head.

    Aren't these police officers trained to think fast and be in control of the situation.
     
  20. sendec

    sendec member

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    The difference between a paid vacation and administrative leave is that when you are on vacation your hands dont shake all the time and everytime the phone rings you dont worry about who is threatening to kill you now and when other officers from your agency walks up to your front door you dont wonder if they are there to arrest you and you dont wind up vomiting so frequently that your esophagus erodes and therere are 3 or 4 newsvans in front of your house and your girlfriend comes in crying because reporters followed her home and wouldnt leave her alone and you dont spend every second second guessing yourself and wondering what should have been done differently and every once in a while you get absolutely euphoric becasue you are still alive

    Unless someone here is all-knowing and was present at the scene or at least privy to all the investigative material none of us are in the position to say who was right and who was wrong. Sometimes cops screw up, most of the time they dont - same for everybody else.
     
  21. stevelyn

    stevelyn Member

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    The worst thing that can happen is for an unarmed person to be killed in a situation like this. But look at the information given in the story without extrapolating on anything else.

    1) You have a vehicle that is being stopped based on information that the vehicle occupants are/were under surveillence for drug activity.

    2) You have one officer initiating the stop and finding there are four adults in the vehicle. Four against one are not good odds and is certainly higher risk.

    3) Four people exit, the vehicle three comply with officer instructions and show their hands, one does not even after repeated warnings and commands to do so.

    4) No information on whether these are small time harmless dope peddlers, gang-bangers with turf and marketshare to protect, or a simple case of mistaken identity.

    Given the above "facts" the officer appears to have been justified. I don't like the WoD anymore than the next thinking, objective guy and I'm a DARE certified officer with libertarian views on the subject.
    Reality is this, officer with gun out issues instructions, the instructee risks grievious bodily harm by not complying especially in a four against one senario. Regardless of whether the suspect was found to be unarmed, his actions at the scene gave an indication that he possibly was armed and about to shoot his way out of an arrest.
    Given the fact that there were four people in the vehicle they could have hatched a plan of action before the stop and the non-complying suspect on the ground could be a diversion for the others to act once the officer's attention was focused on the non-complying suspect. Throw in adrenaline, darkness, and the suspect's non-compliance and you are asking to get shot.
    My opinion is this was a simple case of "Darwination" in progress.
    The only problem arising out of this is the decision of the officer to handle 4 suspects before back-up arrived.
    Someone said once that ignorance is cured through education and stupid is terminal. Rather proves the point, don't ya think?:scrutiny:
     
  22. dsgrntldPW

    dsgrntldPW Member

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    What would I do if I was the officer who just pulled over a Tahoe with four visible, and possibly more unseen, suspects leaving an area known (Under police surveillance no less) for drug activity? I would at least try to get more officers there before trying to take down anyone. This was a classic scenario for a felony stop procedure. That was the deputys first mistake, then it went downhill from there. My guess is by now the deputy was quite scared, realizing he did not have control of the situation and overracted.

    The amount of publicity involved when police kill civilians depends on circumstances of the incident. If a cop kills an armed adult suspect who is threatening with a weapon you don't really hear much more about it than the initial reports. But if you have 3 or 4 cops shooting dead a drunk 14 year old kid who is all of 5'5" and 130 lbs, but has a knife, there will be many who will question the judgement and tactics they used. Many people feel the police should be able to end a situation like that in a non-lethal manner; and they may be right. It's those situations that linger in the media long after the incident. Police are given by the state the power of life and death over people as a part of their daily duties. They had better exercise that power with great care and deserve the scrutiny they receive. I am one who believes that the police are actually given a greater latitude in many situations when it comes to shooting someone, than any member of the civilian population.

    Conversely, the perceived lack of publicity when an officer is killed by a civilian is, like it or not, that is one of the risks they take with the job. The population expects that there will be a certain number of cops killed on duty and react as such. If the police are not willing to accept that risk, find another career.

    I realize that police have to tread a fine line between self-preservation and overreaction, but they should never use deadly force unless they are 100% sure their life, or some innocents life, is in danger. To me that means they must see that gun or knife, not just "I couldn't see what was in his hand." or "I thought he was going for a weapon.".
     
  23. seeker_two

    seeker_two Member

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    I hope that a proper & thorough investigation of the incident is done & that the truth comes to light soon...

    Railroads & cover-ups need not apply...
     
  24. ranger7

    ranger7 Member

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    If you believe the LEO was justified in shooting because the suspect didn't show his hands, consider that suspect might have been hearing or other wise impaired and didn't comprehend the order or was unable to comply.

    Not implying the guilt or innocence of either party. Just something else to consider.

    Alan
     
  25. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    Sendec, you said a mouthful there.

    Literally, because it's all one sentence. Punctuation is your friend.

    And that's an interesting point, because guess who doesn't even have the option of second guessing themselves or getting euphoric over being alive? :scrutiny:

    And I cannot believe people here have already called this a justified shooting, with so little information being released.

    Pee Ess: I'm not a civilian, won't be for a couple more years, and I call cops civilians to their face. They, for some odd reason, have always agreed with me. Must be my uniform or something. :rolleyes:
     
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