Sunday, January 9, 2011

Police Murders Innocent Men, Women and Children

I.   Murders — Cold Blooded Killings that would get an ordinary citizen convicted of first or second degree murder.
  1. Ruby Ridge, Idaho: In 1992, the FBI and four hundred armed federal agents conducted a siege of Randy Weaver’s mountain home because of his failure to appear in court to face weapons charges. First the federal agents killed Weaver’s dog, then his 14-year-old son Sammy, and then his wife Vicki as she stood in the doorway, holding their 10-month-old baby. In a 1993 trial, Randy Weaver was found innocent of weapons and murder charges, but was found guilty of not appearing in court on the original charges. The Justice Department’s own report recommended criminal prosecution of federal agents; the surviving Weavers won $3.1 million in civil damages, and the federal government also paid $380,000 in September 2000 to Kevin Harris. A federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that dismissed state criminal charges against Lon Horiuchi, the FBI sniper who killed Vicki Weaver and wounded Harris. 
  1. Malibu, California: Early on the morning of Oct. 2, 1992, thirty-one officers from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Border Patrol, National Guard and Park Service came roaring down the narrow dirt road to Donald Scott’s rustic 200-acre ranch in an alleged attempt to arrest him for running a 4,000-plant marijuana plantation. When deputies broke down the door to Scott’s house, Scott’s wife screamed, ‘‘Don’t shoot me. Don’t kill me.’’ That brought Scott staggering out of the bedroom, hung-over and bleary-eyed – he’d just had a cataract operation – holding a .38 caliber Colt snub-nosed revolver over his head. As Scott began to lower his arm, one deputy later said, he ‘‘kinda’’ pointed his gun – which he initially was holding by the cylinder, not the handle grip – at deputy Spencer who, in fear for his life, killed him.
           Despite a subsequent search of Scott’s ranch using helicopters, dogs, searchers on foot, and a high-tech Jet Propulsion Laboratory device for detecting trace amounts of sinsemilla, no marijuana –or any other illegal drug – was ever found. According to Ventura County District Attorney Michael Bradbury, the purpose of the raid was to seize Scott’s ranch under asset forfeiture laws and then divide the proceeds with participating agencies, such as the National Park Service, which had put Scott’s ranch on a list of property it would one day like to acquire, and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, which heavily relied on assets seized in drug raids to supplement its otherwise inadequate budget.
           Scott’s widow subsequently filed a $100 million wrongful death suit against the county and federal government. For eight years the case dragged on, until attorneys for Los Angeles County and the federal government finally agreed to settle with Scott’s heirs and estate.
  1. Detroit, Michigan: On November 5, 1992, Police officers Larry Nevers and Walter Budzyn approached a parked car and asked the occupant, Malice Green, for his drivers license and registration. As Green reached into the car’s glove compartment, he held an object clenched in his hand that Budzyn suspected was crack cocaine. Even though Budzyn did not have a search warrant he asked Green to open his hand. When Green refused, officer Budzyn tried to force Green to open his hand by hitting it with a flashlight, and then began to straddle Green. Officer Nevers went to help his partner and began to strike Green on the head with his flashlight. Nevers claimed that he struck Green because he was grabbing for his gun. Robert Lessnau, a third officer who arrived at the scene, pulled Green out of the car. Budzyn and Nevers later testified that they had kicked and punched the 150 pound Green while he was being handcuffed and laid face down in the street before paramedics arrived. Green did open his hands while he was being arrested — and he didn't have crack. He was holding his car keys and a piece of paper. A state medical expert testified that Green died because of blunt trauma to the head, and four EMS technicians at the scene saw Nevers strike Green with a flashlight even though the victim did not appear to resist. Prosecutors believe Green was beaten to death by the officers. When EMS officials tended to Green, his head was covered in blood — his scalp had almost been ripped apart by repeated blows. Despite efforts to save him, Green suffered a seizure and died on his way to the hospital. Nevers and Budzyn were both convicted of second degree murder in August 1993. Lessnau, however, was acquitted of assault. Budzyn was sentenced to 8 to 18 years in prison while Nevers received a 12 to 25-year sentence. Both have since been granted new trials, at which Budzyn was convicted of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to time served in prison. Nevers trial was still pending the last I heard. 
  2. Waco, Texas: Between February 28, 1993 and April 19th, 1993, approximately 86 men, women, and children living peacefully in their home near Waco, Texas, were killed by the combined efforts of the US Defense Department and other government paramilitary units: the US Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Most of them were incinerated in a fiery holocaust. None of the survivors were found guilty of murder of the four federal agents who also died, but five of them were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and weapons charges for defending themselves. Nine federal court lawsuits seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages were filed by the survivors.

  1. Dinuba, California: In 1997, a SWAT team wearing black masks and camouflage burst into a small house and surprised a 64-year-old farm worker Ramon Gallardo and his wife, who were asleep in bed. The man jumped up and grabbed a folding knife. Invading officers, armed with MP-5 submachine guns, shot him 15 times, killing him. The gun they sought, allegedly belonging to the farm worker’s son, was never found. In May 1999, a federal jury in Fresno awarded the family $12.5 million in damages in a brutality suit filed against the city of Dinuba, population 15,269. The damages are more than twice Dinuba’s annual budget; the city’s insurance policy covers only $9.5 million.

  1. Texas: In July 1998 Pedro Oregon, an unarmed Mexican national, was fatally shot by six Houston police officers during a drug raid on his home. He reportedly died in his bedroom with six gunshot wounds to the back, two to the head and another in his hand. Only one officer was indicted, on a criminal trespass charge. However, after an outcry from the Hispanic community, a police internal inquiry found the officers guilty of ‘‘egregious misconduct’’ and they were fired.

  1. Santa Ana, California: On Sept. 7, 1998, Santa Ana police officer James F. Tavenner fired a .45-caliber round through an open car window that hit Jose Campos in the head. Campos and his girlfriend were sitting inside a parked car reported stolen when they were approached by Tavenner, who was on foot. According to Tavenner, Campos began driving away, and Tavenner was brushed by the left side of the car. Lucia Margarita Torres, Campos’ girlfriend, disputed Tavenner’s version of the shooting. Campos’ family filed a $10-million wrongful death lawsuit against Tavenner and the city. On February 11, 2000, the city of Santa Ana paid $205,000 to Campos’ family. Tavenner had also been named in two previous allegations of using excessive force on Latino suspects. He was cleared in one, in which the suspect died after being hogtied by officers. In the other case, Santa Ana paid $200,000 in 1993 to Cresencio Ruiz, who said he was beaten by Tavenner after a hit-and-run accident.
  1. Philadelphia: In October 1998, 19-year-old Donta Dawson, an unarmed African American youth, was shot dead by a police officer who approached him after seeing him sitting in a stationary car with the engine running. The officer opened fire, shooting Dawson in the eye, after he said Dawson leaned forward and raised his arm. The officer was twice charged with manslaughter (voluntary and involuntary) but city judges dismissed the charges each time. He was fired from the force but is currently seeking to get his job back through arbitration. In July 1999 the city agreed to pay Donta’s family $712,500 in settlement of a civil action.
  1. Sallisaw, Oklahoma: On October 23, 1998, a drug raid took place and a private residence was swarmed by a team of police to ‘‘serve’’ a drug related arrest warrant. Inside the residence was a 13 year old teenage girl, a 5 year old girl, a 4 month old infant, their mother, dad and another couple that had stopped by for a cup of coffee on their way to a fishing trip. Armed agents poured in screaming and waving guns at people. The mother reached for her 5 year old to keep her from running in terror and as she did her shoulder was blown off by one of the SWAT team members. No firearms were in the house and the mother was in the kitchen several feet away from the armed and dangerous gestapho goons. The 13 year old passed out at the sight of seeing her mother shot down in her own home and the 5 year old went into total hysteria. The mother, Pat Eymer, was sent to the Sparks hospital in Ft Smith, Arizona. The dad, Steve Eymer, and the couple that thought they were going to go fishing were sent to jail. The children were held by the state.

  1. Kansas City: In November 1998 a 13-year old black child, Timothy L. Wilson, driving a friend’s pick-up truck, was shot dead after a brief chase. Six officers had pursued the truck for several minutes after seeing Timothy driving erratically. All six surrounded the truck when it came to a halt in mud. Four white officers opened fire after, they said, he tried to reverse then drove towards them, a version disputed by an attorney for the Wilson family. The officers were cleared of criminal wrongdoing by a local grand jury.

  1. Riverside, CA: On December 28, 1998, Tyisha Miller, a 19 year-old black woman, was fatally shot and killed by three white and one hispanic police officers. Early Monday morning, Tyisha Miller was in her car waiting for relatives to come help her change a flat tire. When the relatives arrived at the Riverside gas station shortly after 2 a.m., the two cousins were unable to wake Miller in her locked car and called 911. Officers responding to the call found the white Nissan Sentra locked and the engine running. According to The Associated Press, police said Miller was unconscious and foaming at the mouth, presumably as the result of an epileptic seizure, and appeared to be unconscious. Officers then saw a handgun in Miller’s lap, which according to later police reports, belonged to a friend, and was inoperative. Relatives said she probably had the gun to scare off would-be muggers because it was late at night and in a dangerous part of town. The officers decided that paramedics would not be allowed on the scene until Miller’s gun was retrieved. Police attempted to rouse Miller by ‘‘screaming and hollering’’ and pushing and banging on the car. Police say Miller reached for the gun and that was when they opened fire. District Attorney Grover Trask told a news conference that of the twenty-three shots fired by the police, Miller was hit 12 times. Four of the bullets struck her in the head. A coroner’s report indicated all the bullets entered her body from the back. The officers were subsequently fired and Police Chief Jerry Carroll later stepped down from his position. Attorney Johnnie Cochran said he will file a wrongful death lawsuit and civil rights action on behalf of the family.
  1. New York City: On February 4, 1999, Amadou Diallo, an unarmed Guinean-born street vendor, was killed by six members of the NYPD’s Special Crime Unit. The NYPD officers said they ‘‘accidentally’’ fired 41 bullets, hitting Diallo 19 times. Police said they thought he was pulling out a weapon, but actually he was unarmed and was pulling out his wallet. The six policemen were acquitted of all charges.
  1. Kansas City: On February 13, 1999, at 1:30 a.m. early Saturday morning, police shot and killed Willie Heard in his bedroom during a late night ‘‘no-knock’’ raid. Mr. Heard would have been 47 the next day. Willie and Linda Heard were asleep in their bedroom. Their 16-year-old daughter, Ashley, was sleeping on the living room couch. Shortly before 1:30 a.m., officers burst through both doors to the house. Ashley jumped off the couch and called for her father. Police pinned her and her mother, who had rushed into the living room to assist her daughter, to the floor. Then the officers burst into the bedroom, and when Willie Heard grabbed his rifle the officers shot and killed him. Ashley Heard said later that she believed her father was reacting to her cry for help and that he probably assumed someone was breaking into the house. The police searched the house twice for drugs but didn’t find any. Kansas Bureau of Investigation spokesman William Delaney claimed he did not know whether or not the police had gone to the wrong house, whether or not Heard had a criminal background, or whether or not officers had identified themselves as police before entering the house. A report is available from the News Library archives of the Kansas City Star.
  1. Cincinnati, Ohio: On March 19, 1999, police shot 30-year-old Michael Carpenter after stopping him for driving with an expired license tag in Northside. Although Carpenter was unarmed, the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office found the shooting ‘‘legally justifiable’’ and noted that Mr. Carpenter had a lengthy criminal history. The city’s civilian Office of Municipal Investigations called for Officer Brent McCurley - who fired nine of ten shots at Mr. Carpenter - to be disciplined for tactical errors, but it noted no criminal wrongdoing. Only two of the shots hit Mr. Carpenter - one in the left arm, and one in the back of the head.
  1. Las Vegas, Nevada: On April 12, 1999, John Perrin, 32, was accosted by Las Vegas Metro Police Officer Bruce Gentner as Mr. Perrin crossed Rainbow Boulevard in suburban southwest Las Vegas at 11:30 that Monday night. Officer Gentner says he stopped and questioned Perrin – who was armed only with a basketball – because he looked ‘‘suspicious.’’ The officer says Mr. Perrin then ‘‘made a gesture with his hand inside his jacket,’’ at which point the officer – from behind the shelter of his cruiser door – emptied the magazine of his service pistol at the suspect, striking him six times, including three times in the back. There was no known evidence Mr. Perrin was wanted for any crime. Based on the recent record of the Las Vegas police department in such matters, the chances of criminal charges being recommended against the officer are virtually nil.
  1. Connecticut: In April 1999, a 14-year old unarmed African American Aquan Salmon, a suspect in an attempted street robbery, was fatally shot in the back by Hartford, Connecticut, police officers during a foot chase. The officer was cleared of criminal wrongdoing but a separate investigation by the state attorney was pending at the beginning of September 1999.
  1. Los Angeles, California: On May 21, 1999, after radioing for back-up, police officers shot and killed Margaret Mitchell, a frail 55-year-old, 5-foot-1, 102-pound, mentally ill homeless woman because she threatened them with a screwdriver during an attempt to detain her for questioning about whether she was pushing a stolen shopping cart. Two eye-witnesses flatly contradicted the police version of events. After months of deliberation, the Los Angeles Police Commission held in a close 3-2 vote that the killing was ‘‘out of policy.’’ The commission’s ruling comes at a time when the department is dealing with the ever-expanding Rampart corruption scandal, in which more than 70 LAPD officers are under investigation for either committing crimes or knowing about them and helping to cover them up.
  1. Chicago: In June 1999, La Tanya Haggerty, a 19-year-old passenger in a car pulled over by Chicago police after a short chase, was shot dead when officers mistook the cell-phone in her hand for a gun. In September 1999, the Chicago Police Board (a police adjudicatory body) opened a hearing to decide on a recommendation by the police chief that the officers should be dismissed from the force. A day after the Haggerty shooting, Chicago police officers shot dead Robert Russ, a former college football player, after he refused to get out of his car after a pursuit. He was shot when an officer smashed the car window and pointed his gun directly into the car. The case was still under investigation at the time of writing. Both Haggerty and Russ were black.
  1. New Jersey: In June 1999, Stanton Crew, an unarmed African American, was shot dead in New Jersey, after he tried to manoevre his car out of the way of two police cars which had boxed him in after a car chase. The officers fired 27 shots at his vehicle, as he tried to drive back and forth. A female passenger in the car suffered police gunshot wounds to her leg. The case (which remained under investigaton in September 1999) is the latest in a series of questionable police shootings of unarmed motorists in New Jersey.
  1. Wilburton, Oklahoma: On July 31, 1999, Floyd Wayne Houston, age 22, was shot twice by Officer Tom Mosely after a 10:30 a.m. traffic stop. Mosely told investigators that he smelled marijuana and ordered Houston out of the car. At that point, Houston ran into a wooded area. The officer chased Houston and said he found him holding a brick as if to throw it and ordered him to drop it. Mosely told investigators he fired when Houston acted as if he was going to hurl the brick. At a public protest following the shooting, Houston's mother and 4-year-old daughter both carried signs. ‘‘Justice for my daddy,’’ the little girl’s placard read
  1. California: In August 1999, in an early morning narcotics raid, a SWAT team from the El Monte police department burst into the home of a Mexican immigrant family and shot the unarmed and elderly Mario Paz, while his was in his bedroom. An autopsy revealed that he had been shot twice in the back. No drugs were found in the raid. In fact, the police had raided the wrong house because a different name than that of the residents was on the search warrant.
  1. Denver, Colorado: September 1999, during an intended ‘‘crack house’’ raid, police officers broke into the wrong house and shot to death Northwest Denver resident Ismael Mena, age 45, leaving behind a widow in Mexico and nine kids. Denver paid Mena's survivors $400,000 to settle a lawsuit. The only officer charged was Joseph Bini, age 31, who pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge that may allow him to keep his badge. The official misconduct charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, but his plea agreement does not require jail time. Followup: Officer Bini was placed on administrative leave on September 29, 1999. In January 2001, he was taken off administrative leave and given his job back, as well as receiving nine-months back pay for part of the time he was on administrative leave. In effect then, his ‘‘punishment’’ for murder was a one year paid vacation.

  1. Dallas, Texas: In December 1999, Troy James Davis, 25, was shot after several North Richland Hills tactical officers broke into the Davises’ one-story brick home in the 8200 block of Ulster Drive as the result of a ‘‘confidential informant’s tip.’’ Officer Allen Hill, 37, shot Mr. Davis twice, and he died at a hospital. Mr. Davis was innocent.
  1. Providence, Rhode Island: On January 28, 2000, Providence police officers Carlos A. Saraiva and Michael Solitro III, shot and killed pistol-wielding suspect Cornel Young Jr when he did not heed their demands to drop his gun. So what's wrong with officers shooting someone who is holding a pistol? Well, the catch here is that Young was an off duty police officer who was trying to subdue his own pistol-wielding suspect. Young Jr was also the son of Providence Police Major Cornel Young Senior. Officer Young junior, was 29 years of age, and had worked for three years on the job as a Providence police officer. He was off duty and had stopped by Fidas diner for a late-night snack, then drew his weapon and ran outside when a fight broke out and was holding his gun on Aldrin Diaz, age 33. Officers Solitro and Saraiva said Young ignored their commands and did not identify himself as a police officer when they arrived and ordered him to drop his weapon. Obviously it was all a tragic mistake, but the reason this incident is listed here is that if the police are so trigger happy that they shoot first and ask questions later, even to the extent of killing their own, what chance does a normal citizen have against them?
  1. New York City: March 16, 2000, Patrick Dorismond, an unarmed security guard, was confronted early Thursday by undercover police officers who asked if he had marijuana for sale. Exactly what followed is unclear, except that Detective Anthony Vasquez, 29, fired one shot from his service weapon, killing the victim. Dorismond, age 26, was an African-American father of two daughters ages 1 and 5. Detective Vasquez was placed on desk duty pending the outcome of a grand jury investigation. This was the third fatal shooting by plainclothes officers in the city in the past 13 months, noted Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields.
  1. Gulfport, Mississippi: On April 8, 2000, A Gulfport police officer shot and killed a man who was visiting the Coast on Saturday for Black Springbreak 2000. Mitchell L. Virgil Jr., 20, of Columbia, was shot three times in the chest, according to witnesses and one family member. Virgil was the passenger in a black Chevrolet pickup that police stopped near the intersection of U.S 49 at 27th Street about 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Eyewitness accounts of the shooting varied as did reports from witnesses as to whether Virgil had a gun. Police put the driver of the vehicle in handcuffs, said Scott Maccio, who is white. When Virgil got out of the vehicle, he was met on both sides by two police officers. ‘‘They looked like they were struggling for a few seconds. All three of them separated, then one of the officers pointed his weapon at him’’ for a few seconds, Maccio said. ‘‘Then he fired three shots, point blank into his chest,’’ he said. Virgil was shot while running and reaching for something, Maccio said. The Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol and the District Attorney’s Office are investigating the shooting.
  1. Orange County, Florida: On July 23, 2000, Christopher J. Savard, 34, an 8-year police veteran who had been a certified SWAT team sniper for more than two years, shot and killed 40-year-old Andrea Hall who had been taken hostage by Jamie Dean Petron. Although this killing was accidental, the victim is nonetheless dead, and would probably be alive today had it not been for the ‘‘help’’ of the government’s SWAT team.
  1. Bloomington, Illinois: On July 26, 2000, police officers shot mentally retarded Shannon L. Smith, age 27 but with the mental age of an 11 or 12-year-old child, in the back five times over $15 worth of gasoline. Authorities refuse to give any details of the murder. Follow-up: On August 2, 2000, Illinois State Attorney Charles Reynard charged police officer Jeffrey Gabor, 23, with first- and second-degree murder in this slaying.
  1. Albuquerque, New Mexico: On July 31, 2000, police officers let Kevin Eugene Boyer, age 25 and who suffered from asthma and had been Maced by the police, suffocate to death while lying in the gutter of a city street handcuffed and leg-shackled. Boyer was an ex-convict and had attempted to evade the police by running away when they stopped him in his pickup truck for questioning. He shouldn't have ran, but does that make it Ok for the police to let him lay handcuffed and leg-shackled in the gutter for more than an hour while ignoring his plea's for help and gasps and screams that he couldn't breathe?

  1. Fairfax, Virginia: On September 7, 2000, two police officers from the West Springfield police station arrived at the home of Ji Young Yoo and his wife, located in a quiet neighborhood at 5223 Stonington Drive in the Kings Park West development of Burke, about 6:20 a.m. to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance. The officers fired pepper spray at Yoo and then shot him in the chest, killing him. Police declined to say whether the man was armed or not, so you can bet he wasn’t. In an unrelated incident the previous week, a Prince George’s County police detective trailed a man from Maryland into Fairfax before shooting him. That incident is under investigation by local and federal authorities.
  1. Modesto, California: On September 16, 2000, at 6:21 a.m., Modesto SWAT officers, speaking in English and Spanish, demanded entry into the home of 33-year-old Moises Sepulveda at 2524 McAdoo Avenue, to serve a search warrant and arrest him on a drug charge. Twenty seconds after demanding entry, the officers saw movement inside the house near a front window. Ten seconds later, the SWAT team members forced their way inside the front door. Officer David Hawn, an 18-year SWAT team veteran, was the second SWAT officer to enter the home. Moments after entering the house, SWAT officers tossed a smoke bomb into the living room, and it exploded near a couch. The officers found Moises Sepulveda standing near the front door. He did not resist arrest. He was ordered to lie on the floor, and was handcuffed. Officer David Hawn then found 11-year-old Alberto Sepulveda in a bedroom, and ordered him to get face down on the floor. Alberto immediately complied. Hawn trained his shotgun on the boy on the floor, illuminating him with the shotgun’s light. A few seconds later, within 30 seconds of the SWAT team’s entry into the Sepulveda home, Officer Hawn shot the boy in the back with his shotgun, while the boy was still lying face down on the floor. Police Captain Ron Sale said the boy was killed instantly by the shotgun slug which entered the boy’s body behind the right shoulder and ended up almost exiting the body near the boy’s left nipple. Hawn was placed on paid leave, which is the usual procedure when an officer is involved in a shooting, and is expected to return to duty in about a week.
  1. Lebanon, Tennessee: On October 4, 2000, five plain clothed police officers broke down the front door at 70 Joseph Street shortly after 10 p.m. to serve a search warrant for drugs and fatally shot John Adams, who police say fired at them with a shotgun. Adams was 62 years old, disabled, and had poor eyesight. Friends and relatives said John Adams believed it was a home invasion when police kicked in the door after refusing to identify themselves. ‘‘They made a mistake, and he was trying to defend his home, and they shot him,’’ said Edward Bell, Adams’ nephew. It was the wrong house, police had mistakenly shot and killed an innocent man. The officers raided the correct address according to the search warrant, but the warrant should have been for the home next door. Lebanon’s Police Chief Billy Weeks said it was simply a mistake by officers who didn’t know they were at the wrong house. The two officers directly involved in the murder, Greg Day and Kyle Shedron, were temporarily placed on administrative leave. Follow up Tuesday, December 19, 2000: The reports that ‘‘Lebanon officials, including Police Chief Billy Weeks and Mayor Don Fox, had admitted publicly that there was no defense for the incident in which Adams, 64, was shot by police after they said he fired a shotgun at them,’’ that former Police Lt. Steve Nokes was fired shortly after the incident and that Nokes ‘‘... was indicted last month on charges of criminal responsibility for reckless homicide, aggravated perjury and tampering with or fabricating evidence. He goes to trial April 10.’’
  1. Los Angeles, California: On October 28, 2000, shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday, a police officer at a Halloween costume party shot and killed 39-year-old actor Anthony Dwain Lee, after the man pointed a fake gun at him, police said. Lee had appeared in small TV and film roles, including the character Fred in the 1997 Jim Carrey movie, ‘‘Liar Liar.’’ Police said several hundred people, many of them in costume, were at the party. Officer Tarriel Hopper and his partner went there in response to a noise complaint, and were looking for the mansion's owner as they walked along an outside walkway, when the officers looked through a window and saw Lee and two other people in a room. Lee looked up toward Hopper and allegedly pointed a gun that looked authentic in his direction, police Officer Charlotte Broughton said. Hopper responded by firing several rounds from his weapon through the window. Investigators later determined Lee's gun was fake. ‘‘It does not appear that (the officer) did anything wrong,’’ Broughton said. Follow up Tuesday, December 5, 2000: In an article titled Officer's Bullets Hit Actor in Back, Autopsy Finds, the Los Angeles Times reports that according to the coroner's report signed by Deputy Medical Examiner Jeffrey P. Gutstadt, the victim (Anthony Dwain Lee) was shot once in the back of the head and three times in the back. Cameron Stewart, an attorney retained by Lee's family, says ‘‘He could not have withdrawn a gun from his waist and pointed a gun at the officer and then have been shot four times in the back. It's impossible.’’
  1. Upper Marlboro, Maryland: On November 2, 2000 The Department of Justice has decided to launch a civil rights investigation of the Prince George's County Police Department, officials said. The full-scale probe comes amid growing complaints about police brutality and other misconduct in the fast-growing suburban county north of Washington. Among other things, investigators will try to determine whether officers routinely use excessive force or engage in racial discrimination. Over the past year and a half, the FBI has reviewed more than 20 shootings by Prince George's police and numerous reports of abuse, including police dogs being used to terrorize citizens. In the last 15 months, Prince George's officers have shot 12 people, killing five. In two of those cases, officers were indicted. The latest controversial shooting came in Fairfax, Virginia, in September 2000, when an undercover officer fatally shot a college student in the back after trailing his vehicle from Prince George's County into Virginia. Prosecutors say the victim was mistaken for a man being sought by police. For more details, see Feds Launch Probe of Md. Police in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinnel.
  1. Conway, Arkansas: On January 12, 2001, Carl Ray Wilson, age 60, was murdered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, with assistance from the Conway SWAT team and Faulkner County Special Response Team. The gestapo squad entered at dawn, unannounced, dressed in dark clothes and black masks. When an alarm clock went off, the SWAT team started firing. The police had a search warrant for Mr. Wilson's home so they could look for a rifle, and they claim to have heard shots prior to entering the house. The family is adamant that Carl would not have drawn or fired a weapon at any police officer, but like many, he would have defended his family against intruders, and for that he was gunned down in his own bedroom, and bled to death on his own bed. Was the Faulkner County Police Department and the SWAT team possibly mislead, perhaps used as pawns, to satisfy a personal vendetta? A lot of questions are left unanswered. Carl Wilson has been painted out to be an explosives and weapons outlaw, instead he was, in fact, a retired construction worker, father, and grandfather on disability. His favorite pastime was playing dominos. Mr. Wilson had testified for the prosecution in the infamous Mary Lee Orsini case, in which Mr. (Bill) Buford, of the ATF, was an investigator. Mr. Buford was heard saying to Carl Wilson after the Orsini case, ‘‘I'll get you.’’ During the last two months Carl sold Christmas trees and pecans to the public along the roadside. Why couldn't the police have just arrested him there, if they had a surveillance team investigating him? 
II.   Manslaughter — Killings in which the victim protested, tried to escape, or threatened the government agents in a non-lethal manner, but that would nonetheless get an ordinary citizen convicted of either murder or manslaughter.
  1. Boston, Massachusetts: On March 24, 1994, during a raid on the wrong house, officers chased seventy-five-year-old Reverend Accelyne Williams into a bedroom and handcuffed him; he then had a heart attack and died.
  1. Albuquerque, New Mexico: On December 16, 1996, Ralph Garrison, 69, awakened to hear the sounds of someone breaking into his rental property next door. Garrison went outside to ask who these people were and what they were doing. The men – dressed in black with no visible identifying marks, wearing black ‘‘balaclava’’ hoods which may have been pulled down to conceal their faces, shined lights in his eyes, brandished rifles and yelled at him to get back in his house. Ralph Garrison called 911. When Garrison come to his back door with a gun in one hand, and cellular phone in the other with the 911 operator on the line, three of the intruders opened fire with their AR-15 assault rifles, discharging at least 12 rounds. They also shot and killed Garrison’s Chow dog, when the animal tried to protect his master after he was down. The intruders turned out to be Albuquerque Police Officer H. Neal Terry and county deputies James Monteith and Erik Little – displaying no badges, dressed in unmarked dark SWAT gear and possibly wearing their black hoods pulled down over their faces. Police Chief Joe Polisar said it isn’t department policy to notify 911 dispatchers before serving a warrant. Garrison was not suspected in connection with any crime and no one was arrested that day.
           Albuquerque police officer Howard Neal Terry, one of the three ‘‘lawmen’’ involved, has been a defendant in three federal excessive-force lawsuits in the past six years, the local daily reports. The city of Albuquerque has paid more than $375,000 to settle the three lawsuits. In one case, Terry kicked an unarmed man in the head, causing permanent brain damage, and then contended the 64-year-old Mexican man ‘‘resisted arrest.’’ In another case, the city argued (before paying up) that another Mexican man, whose home Officer Terry has invaded, was responsible for his own injuries since he failed to obey the officer’s orders. In March 1993, Terry was one of two officers involved in the fatal shooting of Randy Libby, a 30-year-old man who supposedly threatened them with a locomotive-shaped cologne bottle. The city paid off the Libby family to the tune of $100,000.
  2. Tucson, Arizona: On January 10, 1997, a few days after residents of the neighborhood had been informed by law officers that a convicted sex offender was moving into the area, David Aguilar, 44, noticed a man was sitting in a car parked alongside the road bordering Aguilar’s property, just sitting and watching. After the man refused to leave or to identify himself, Mr. Aguilar returned with a handgun, with which Aguilar’s children later said he was simply trying to scare the man away. When the stranger saw Mr. Aguilar returning, he opened fire with his own weapon and fired multiple rounds through his own windshield, killing Mr. Aguilar. The shooter later turned out to be undercover agent of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Although David Aguilar and his family were not the target of any drug investigation, the unnamed agent was staking out their neighborhood.

  1. Kansas City: On January 12, 1998, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed pregnant woman during a routine traffic stop. Carol A. Kerns, age 37, had been pulled over for running a red light. When the officer asked Ms. Kerns to step out of the car, she tried to drive away from the officer who then fired a shot at the front left tire, and then into Ms. Kerns abdomen. There were several witnesses. Kerns had a record of minor offenses. Dennis Hoyle, Kerns’ boyfriend, said Kerns was determined not to return to jail after her release from the Johnson County Jail on May 5, 1998. ‘‘She was petrified of jail, of being locked up again,’’ Hoyle said.   ‘‘... She was so scared. If she had the choice of going back to jail or dying - well, that’s what she chose.’’

  1. Austin, Texas: On March 2, 1999, officer Troy Brown shot Herbert Vences, 33, in the chest and stomach because he said that Vences had attacked him with a tree branch. Vences’ shooting is the third in the past two months involving city patrolmen.
  1. New York City: In May 1999 unarmed 16-year old Dante Johnson (black) was shot and critically injured after running away from three police officers who had stopped to question him and a friend while they were standing in the street. The officers were from the same street crime unit which had shot and killed Amadou Diallo om February 4, 1999 (see above). Johnson’s case was under investigation by the Bronx District Attorney at the time of writing.

  1. Fresno, California: On September 27, 2000, a Tulare County Sheriff’s Deputy shot an unarmed Selma man during a traffic stop near Avenue 384 and Highway 99 in Kingsburg late Wednesday night. Brian Hugh Lane, 36, was shot twice in the stomach when he tried to run away, then stopped and turned around. Officials said the deputy shot Lane because he had some concerns that Lane was not complying with his orders and felt threatened. The shooting is under investigation. Lane underwent surgery at University Medical Center in Fresno and was listed in fair condition.

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