Fort Worth Officer kills homeowner

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by Sgt127, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. walkinguf61

    walkinguf61

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    The nephew confirmed according to news reports she was holding the gun. He also said they were playing video games before his aunt heard something and went to get the gun.

    just something that I don’t know because we did not hear the cop’s story but we should consider. What did the cop hear? They were playing a video game. Maybe he heard something from the game or the two players that made him want to check through a window before knocking?
     
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  2. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

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    The trial should provide many answers, including,

    Why did he bypass the open door where the lights were on without knocking and announcing/identifying himself?

    Why did he think it was OK to enter the enclosed backyard and peer into windows unannouced?
     

  3. walkinguf61

    walkinguf61

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    We might not know. His lawyer might never let him take the stand and let the plausible self defense things play out.

    He might go for a conviction of a lesser charge and not go for justification .
     
  4. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

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    Personally I think if he fails to take the stand and provide reasonable explanations for his actions he is unlikely to get a lesser charge.

    But that is just my thinking on it. I have been wrong before,and have two ex wives to prove it.

     
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  5. walkinguf61

    walkinguf61

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    After the last trial , his lawyers might go for that . A lesser and more appropriate charge.
     
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  6. knoxvegasdaddy

    knoxvegasdaddy UBER VOL !!!

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    When faced with a truly eminent risk of SBI, given only the 2 seconds of body cam....
    A veteran cop would likely have poured 4 rounds through the window, which would actually look more decisive, and likely bolster his self defense claim.

    I’m ignoring all of the peripheral conditions, like not announcing, etc.

    Only the “reasonable man” perspective. What did the officer see in those 2 seconds? If he saw his life ending, and fired several rounds, that COULD end up helping his defense.
     
  7. CAcop

    CAcop

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    California basically has an aggravating actions element to the manslaughter laws. It popped up in the BART shooting. The jury asked if another officer's actions that caused the suspect to resist which in turn cause the officer to fire his gun when he intended to fire his Taser

    Usually it's if a guy in a bar says **** you to a guy who punches him then the loudmouth punches him back and kills him unintentionally. Basically the law says if you pick a fight be prepared to take a beating.

    I could see them using a theory of if his tactics were better then she would be alive.

    The case as presented now is like the law school hypothetical of "a guy jumps off a building. On the way down another person fires a gun killing the jumper. What law if any has been committed?"
     
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  8. knoxvegasdaddy

    knoxvegasdaddy UBER VOL !!!

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    This smells like the perfect time to choose a bench trial.

    Take the emotion out of it, and judge it on the merits of the officers point of view. ONLY.
     
  9. CAcop

    CAcop

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    A more seasoned cop would know time heals all calls and try to do as much before making contact as possible. Check premise history, check residents' history, run plates.

    Absent sounds or sign of a struggle take your time.

    Did the video game have yelling? Gunfire? I doubt it was too loud because she heard a noise and grabbed a gun.
     
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  10. knoxvegasdaddy

    knoxvegasdaddy UBER VOL !!!

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    Agreed, it is the old bull/young bull thing. Again.

    I’m only saying, if you were looking through the window, and you saw a gun pointed at you, a more seasoned cop wouldn’t have fired just once, and “more than once” would sorta confirm that the threat TO HIM was real, at that moment.

    And that is the basis of reasonable man, at that exact moment.

    Many have pointed out that is could have been handled better, but at that moment for that guy, is SUPPOSED to be the basis of judgement.

    I keep emphasizing “at that moment” for a reason. Criminal defense.

    All the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” surrounding it is civil, and is the city’s problem.
     
  11. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

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    For those that want to emphasize she pointed a gun out the window therefore the officer must be justified.

    Here is the bottom line,

    SHE was in her own home, and responding to what she felt was suspicious/ threatening noises in HER backyard.

    The officers were the INTRUDERS entering an enclosed back yard and peering in windows never once announcing themselves and giving the homeowner an opportunity to respond to police presence.

    Now one can argue under certain circumstances officers can legally intrude onto private property, that is a given.

    But that does not give legitimacy to their every action or excuse poor tactics and bad choices.

    People don't deserve to be killed in their own homes by cops for seeking to protect themselves from what they reasonably could believe we're intruders in their enclosed property spaces.

    And an oops! By the cops Doesn't cut it.
     
  12. amd65

    amd65

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    she should have been holding a gun, since an armed threat was outside her house.
     
  13. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

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    Honestly I don't agree with a decision to establish the merits from one point of view ONLY.

    Would you think the same if she had shot and killed the prowler cop? Should the case be decided on the merits of the homeowners point of view only?

    Wanna forget all the "periphials" like the officer being dispatched there or any other reasons for him to be in her enclosed back yard at 2:20 A.M.?
     
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  14. Sharkey

    Sharkey

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    I am surprised that so many here are saying to make your presence known at the open door especially if it was dispatched as an "open structure" as has been reported. I personally would not have done that 20 years ago especially at 2:30am.

    No doubt and this is a tragedy and clearly society expects to be safe in their home especially from their local police officers (no need to mention race and income levels because the shooting is not about those things). Everyone should take notice but this is not the first time an armed homeowner has been shot by the police (granted being inside is an anomaly) and how many times have residents shot family members in a mis-identification? It is a tragedy that happens.

    Now we find out in the arrest warrant that the nephew clearly stated she grabbed her gun from her purse after hearing a noise and when she heard additional noise pointed the gun at the window. The cover officer stated the officer had his light shining thru the window at the time. So again, it doesn't sound like murder to me and there seems like there was a rush to judgment from the mayor and chief because the "optics" look bad.
     
  15. Triple Taps

    Triple Taps Previously k9patrol

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    Not only an armed threat outside her house, but then an armed threat inside her house, with no notice that it was police.

    One might say that the armed officer inside the house was not a threat to her.

    Send her a copy of that opinion.

    I know stuff happens, but no excuse for these mistakes at all.

    If I heard some unusual noises outside of my home, there would be a weapon in my hand too. Then, if I saw someone in my home with a weapon, it would not go well with one of us, probably me.
     
  16. Sharkey

    Sharkey

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    That was kinda asked by some defense lawyers on talk shows reference the Guyger case. IF the scenario above happened, I would want an investigation to see how it all transpired but I would not be calling for her to be charged with murder because she shot thru a close window you can still see out of IF she saw an ARMED intruder outside.
     
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  17. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

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    I am one of those that believes in announcing your presence under these circumstances,

    "open structure" is basically an open door complaint. Maybe where you worked an open door with the lights on in the house is somehow sinister. It is not automatically so where I worked.

    People leave their doors open all the time in hot climates. Is it worth checking out and being cautious in your approach? Of course, but playing ninja creeping around entering enclosed back yards shining flashlights in windows?

    I fail to see how any safety, officer or homeowner is being served by acting like an intruder at 2:20 A.M.

    Here is something I never forgot while working, when on someone else's property, particularly THEIR home. They were not relegated to non persons with no rights in their own homes and on their own property.

    Creeping around in the dark on someone's property just because their is an open door is an invitation to disaster.

    Anyone think the officer now charged with murder wishes he had announced himself?
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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  18. Terry G

    Terry G

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    This really gave me pause. I live in a rural area. I have a sizeable chunk of land, no close neighbors. Now if I see flash lights or see someone moving around my home especially at night I'm going to be armed and not with a handgun. BUT, a few years ago I did see someone moving in the rear of my home maybe 75 to 100 yards away during the day. It turned out to be a Game Warden tracking a poacher. He was legally justified in coming on my property but he probably should have notified me and we were two strangers both armed. His uniform shirt was covered by a parka. I was open carrying a handgun but was wearing my uniform jacket so I at least could be identified as a LEO. That's the stuff tragedy's are made of.
     
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  19. golls17

    golls17 Lifetime Newbie

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    We all agree that his actions were not ideal from the moment he showed up, but in light of the nephew's statement bringing forward new (and I think very important) details, let's break this down and look reasonably at this piece by piece:

    Did the officer have a legal right to be where he was at the time of the shooting?

    Yes. We can question his tactics all day, but he was dispatched there for an open door and it is reasonable to check for other open doors, especially when you have a partner that can stay with the first door.

    When the officer looked in the window and saw somebody, is it reasonable he knew it was the homeowner?

    No. It would be reasonable to consider the person an intruder until proven otherwise, just as it would be reasonable to consider her the homeowner until proven otherwise. Either way, she was going to be talked with.

    When the officer saw her with a gun in her hand (I would imagine this is the case based on his immediate escalation), is it reasonable that he would draw down on her and issue commands?

    Absolutely. The problem I see here is what the commands were (and we can insert the lack of self-identification in here, as well). I would be incredibly curious what he was taught in the academy (drop the weapon vs show me your hands vs identifying first etc).

    And finally, is it reasonable that the officer, once the gun was pointed towards him, began shooting?

    Yes. We can argue about tactical retreats, cover/concealment, etc until we turn blue, but a pointed firearm is weapon, intent, and delivery system all in one instant.

    Furthermore, I would say that even if he didn't verbally announce he was the police (although he should have if given the time), it would be reasonable that he assumed she knew he was the police. He's wearing a uniform with a badge, and probably thought she saw his uniform when she looked outside. Let's face it... how many times do we walk into someplace and we're NOT immediately recognized as the police? It's ingrained to the point that most of us are probably preparing for the "it wasn't me" or "it was him" comments before we walk in the door. The splash back of his flashlight against the light wall and the window certainly illuminated him enough that the uniform would have been seen, but by then it seemed too late for her to realize he was the police and put the gun down before the officer began firing.

    Is it reasonable to think that she would have fired on the officer had he not fired first?

    We'll never know for sure what she would have done, but I would say it was a reasonable fear in the officer's mind.

    I'm curious what the department used as their reasoning he would have been fired so quickly had he not resigned, and even more curious about the same speed of criminal charges. Seems to me that most of his actions, while not ideal, were within the realm of reason.

    I'll end my "reasonableness" conversation as I bring up a case my own department had a few years ago. We had an officer, while patting down a mentally ill suspect, have his baton taken from him and used against him. The officer drew and fired, killing the suspect. I don't remember the exact verbiage for his termination, but it was something to the effect of "A lawful use of deadly force that resulted from an out-of-policy pat down" and the gravity of the outcome played a huge role. As Dragoon mentioned earlier, along the lines of "Fruits of the poisonous tree." In my department's case, they didn't view the pat down as reasonable. dWe can all speculate, but I'm curious what specific aspect the FWPD Chief saw as unreasonable in this case.
     
  20. CAcop

    CAcop

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    I am a big believer in that if you wear clothing as an openly armed officer you need to have patches with your agency or police or sheriff on your uniform. Even detectives need to have a raid jacket or even just an old patrol jacket in their car when they go for lunch.

    We got to wear watch caps at night because it gets cold just off the water as the fog rolls in. The chief made sure it said police across the front and out badge numbers on the back.