Tag Archives: officer involved shooting

Two Officers Arrested in ‘Disturbing’ Shooting that Killed 6-Year-Old Boy

Two deputy city marshals in Louisiana were arrested on the counts of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder last Friday, after video footage from their body cameras showed a shooting that killed a young boy and wounded his father.

Jeremy Mardis, a 6-year-old autistic boy, was killed on Nov. 3 after he was struck by five bullets while riding in the front passenger seat of his father’s SUV. His father, Chris Few, is hospitalized and is in serious condition after the two were the subject of a police chase in Marksville, Louisiana.

However, it remains unclear as to why Few was initially pursued by the officers, due to the fact that State police have said there were no warrants out for his arrest. The officers’ initial report of Few’s vehicle backing into theirs conflicts with newer information, and no weapons were found in Few’s vehicle.

The officers in question are Derrick Stafford, 32, a lieutenant with the Marksville police, and Norris Greenhouse Jr., 23, a full-time marshal in Alexandria, Louisiana.

At a news conference on Friday, State police superintendent, Col. Michael Edmonson called the video footage of the shooting, captured on the body cameras worn by the officers, the most disturbing thing he has seen during his career.

“Jeremy Mardis, six years old, he didn’t deserve to die like that, and that’s what’s important,” Edmonson said. “I’m not going to talk about it, but I’m going to tell you this – it was the most disturbing thing I’ve seen, and I will leave it at that.”

Edmonson also said he believes nothing is more important than the badge police officers wear on their uniforms, and the integrity of why they wear it. “It’s not a right, it’s a privilege,” he said. “Tonight that badge has been tarnished by the following two individuals.” 

On Sunday, Edmonson credited the video footage with helping the department come to its decision on the officers.

“I’ve been a police officer for 35 years, but as a father—much less as a state police—it was a disturbing, disturbing video that I watched,” Edmonson said, “and that really helped move us forward.”

NBC News reported that earlier this year, both Stafford and Greenhouse, along with several other Marksville officers, “were accused in a civil lawsuit filed in federal district court of using excessive force during a Libertarian event July 4, 2014, in downtown Marksville.”

The lawsuit was filed by Ian Fridge, who alleged that after openly carrying a firearm at the event that he thought he was allowed to have, he was tasered by the officers and charged with “resisting arrest, battery on an officer and other crimes,” despite claiming to be “completely compliant.”

Albuquerque Officers Accused Of Killing James Boyd To Stand Trial

Following a preliminary hearing, Judge Neil Candelaria decided Tuesday that one Albuquerque police officer and one former Albuquerque police detective will stand trial for the killing of James Boyd. An arraignment date for Perez and Boyd has not been set yet.

Albuquerque officer Dominique Perez and former Albuquerque detective Keith Sandy, who retired amidst an investigation of James Boyd’s death, are facing charges of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and aggravated battery.

The decision follows a preliminary hearing in which the state prosecution and the defense presented opposing arguments regarding the events of March 2014 that led to Boyd’s death. The state argued that officers instigated the encounter by bringing over a dozen officers for a man accused of illegal camping. The defense argued that Boyd, who was schizophrenic, had a history of violence and that Sandy and Perez made a critical decision to protect a fellow officer at risk of being harmed by Boyd.

On March 16th, 2014, 41 officers were sent to the Sandia foothills to assist in the detainment of Boyd, who had been reportedly illegally camping there. At the time of the incident, Boyd was carrying two knives. After a standoff lasting over four hours, Boyd appeared to agree to leave his campsite before he was shot and killed by APD officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez.

An Albuquerque SWAT sergeant testified that police officers at the scene of the standoff were aware that Boyd suffered from schizophrenia.

[RELATED: Family Of James Boyd And City Of Albuquerque Reach Settlement In Wrongful Death Suit]

Police dash cam audio recorded a conversation between Sandy and State Police Officer Chris Ware while en route to the scene of the standoff. While KOB News 4 claimed that it sounded as if Sandy, who called Boyd a “f***ing lunatic”, said he was “going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second,” the Albuquerque Police Department claimed Sandy said “I’m going to shoot him with a Taser shotgun in a second.” 

[RELATED: Audio Caught APD Officer’s Violent Dialogue Before Shooting]

The charges against Perez and Sandy “appear to be the first against an APD officer for an on-duty fatal shooting in at least 50 years,” according to the Albuquerque Journal. There have been at least 40 officer-involved shootings in Albuquerque since 2010.

The Truth In Media Project has been following multiple reports of police brutality and excessive use of force nationwide, including in Albuquerque. For more information about the James Boyd case, click here. To read more about alleged police abuse in Albuquerque, click here. 

Investigator Says He Was Fired For Finding Police Officers At Fault In Shootings

Former Chicago Police Commander, Lorenzo Davis, said that he was fired from his job as a supervising investigator at Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) after he determined that several officers involved in civilian shootings were unjustified, and he refused to change the status of his reports.

WBEZ reported that 65-year-old Davis was terminated less than two weeks after top IPRA officials accused him of “a clear bias against the police” and claimed that he was “the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,” or officer-involved shootings.

Davis told WBEZ that he worked as a police commander for 23 years, before retiring in 2004, because he didn’t like the direction the police department was going. “It appeared that officers were doing whatever they wanted to do,” Davis said. “The discipline was no longer there.”

Davis said he was then hired to work as an investigator for IPRA in 2008 and for the majority of his tenure, he was praised as an “effective leader” and “excellent team player,” before his final evaluation stated that he is “clearly not a team player.”

“Things began to turn sour, I would say, within the last year,” said Davis, who explained that while his management has no objections when his reports suggested exonerating officers, they did try to step in when he produced reports in six cases that ruled the officer-involved shootings “unjustified.” 

“They have shot people dead when they did not have to shoot,” Davis said. “They were not in reasonable fear for their lives. The evidence shows that the officer knew, or should have known, that the person who they shot was not armed or did not pose a threat to them or could have been apprehended by means short of deadly force.”

Fox 32 noted that since it was created in 2007, “IPRA has handled nearly 400 officer involved shootings, and in every case but one, the officers were found to be justified in shooting someone.” Davis told the Chicago affiliate that he believes IPRA has lost both its independence and the public’s trust.

“With hundreds of cases, the citizens know some of those shootings were not justified,” Davis said. “If the public has no trust in police officers, many of the loved ones of those shot or killed by a police officers say that the police are no better than the gang bangers who are shooting and killing people.”

NYPD Commissioner Bratton: Privacy Advocates Have To “Get A Life”

In a WABC Radio interview with Rita Cosby, New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton confirmed for the first time that the NYPD plans to create a new unit to investigate officer-involved shootings in New York City. Bratton went on to deny that the department’s Shot Spotter technology, now in use, is capable of picking up conversations, and he criticized privacy advocates worried about the devices.

In an exclusive interview on The Rita Cosby Show on WABC Radio late last week that aired on Sunday, Bratton told Cosby that there will be an NYPD unit created specifically for investigating officer-involved shootings:

“I am looking to form a new unit- a force investigation unit- that would have the specific function of taking over what is now a decentralized investigative function that’s handled by, initially by, each of the eight patrol bureaus, instead have that as a unit that would report to the First Deputy Commissioner,” Bratton told Cosby. “It’s modeled after what I created in Los Angeles when I was there and it worked very effectively there. It’s much more cost-efficient. It’s much more timely and I think the overall quality of the investigation, which is already very high as you might expect because it involves officer use of force, but I think we have the ability to enhance it even further.”

Cosby asked how large the unit would be, and Bratton responded that “That’s still in the process we are working on as far as what the staffing would be. We’ve identified some of the lead issue part and I would expect that within several months that we would have it up and running.” Bratton confirmed earlier speculation that Deputy Inspector John Sprague would be leading this new unit. “He will do very well in that environment,” Bratton said. “He’s got a lot of experience. He was recently, most recently, Chief of Detectives over in Staten Island and has a lot of background in the investigative world so Commissioner [Benjamin] Tucker obviously has a lot of confidence in him. He was hand selected by the Commissioner.”

When asked if this unit may serve to restore public confidence in the police, Bratton said he believes that there already is a “high degree of confidence” in police investigations. “We are just seeking to improve the quality of our investigations, the timeliness of it and taking advantage of new technologies that have been developed over the years that we can now bring into these investigations,” he said.

Cosby brought up the NYPD’s recent utilization of the Shot Spotter program, which connects recording sensors that identify gunshot locations to the police. Cosby noted that privacy advocates have been critical of the sensors’ ability to pick up other sounds such as conversations.

“The advocates have to get a life,” Bratton said in response to the privacy advocates’ concerns. “We are not out there eavesdropping. That’s not what the system does, that’s not what it is designed to do, it’s not what it is capable of. So get a life and move on to some other issue. We’re not out there eavesdropping on public conversations. I’ve got enough to do without doing that.”

The full  interview is available below.


This post has been updated.

LAPD Officers Caught on Video Killing Unarmed Homeless Man

Controversy has erupted from downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row as police officers with the Los Angeles Police Department were caught on tape fatally shooting an unarmed homeless man during a physical altercation on Sunday. The above-linked Reuters video notes that police have yet to release the name of the man who was shot, but bystanders told Los Angeles Times that the man goes by the moniker “Africa.”

According to LAPD Commander Andrew Smith, officers arrived on the scene that morning in response to a 911 report of a robbery. Bystander Dennis Horne said that, when police arrived, Africa was fighting with another individual in the tent in which he had been living at the time. Police then ordered the homeless man out of his tent, and, when he refused, officers deployed a Taser and dragged him out into the street. Africa then began struggling with the officers, throwing punches and kicks. The video below, which contains extremely graphic footage and language, shows what happened next.

At the beginning of the scuffle, six officers appear in the video, with four seen overpowering Africa as two others break away to respond to a female bystander who attempted to pick up a police baton that had been dropped. Africa drops immediately to the ground, and four officers hover over him, pinning him down. Then, a sound consistent with a Taser being fired can be heard in the video.

Moments later, an officer reportedly said, “Drop the gun. Drop the gun.” A single shot rang out, then four more, and Africa lay dead in the street, prompting uproar from angry bystanders who immediately noted that the homeless man was unarmed when police shot him multiple times. An unidentified eyewitness told Los Angeles Times that Africa had reached for an officer’s gun.

Others painted a different story. Bystanders in the above-embedded raw video can be heard immediately protesting the shooting, commenting on the fact that Africa was unarmed. Another witness who goes by the name Booker T. Washington told Los Angeles Times that the initial altercation had actually broken out over the illegal placement of Africa’s tent, rather than a robbery, contradicting police accounts of the incident. He said that police would frequently come by and evict Africa from his tent, which was not allowed to remain there after 6 AM each morning.

Ceola Wadell, who witnessed the incident, said it began when police shook Africa’s tent and deployed a Taser on him, prompting him to become violent. Bystander Ina Murphy said that Africa had been living in the area for several months following his release from a ten-year stay in a mental health facility. In response to the shooting, a spontaneous protest erupted at 9:30 PM on Sunday at the scene of the altercation.

Two of the cops on the scene were reportedly treated for injuries, and the female seen picking up the baton in the above video is expected to be charged with a crime.

Police Commission President Steve Soboroff said that it is unclear based on the video as to why the officers used deadly force. Said Soboroff, “To me, [the theory] that [Africa reached for an officer’s gun] would be the only explanation that something would happen that quickly… It escalated right in front of our eyes.”

LAPD Commander Smith says that the district attorney’s office and an independent inspector general will be investigating the case and noted that two surveillance cameras and at least one police body camera also caught footage of the incident. LAPD investigators are asking eyewitnesses to come forward and provide any additional videos that could help with the investigation. Said Commander Smith, “It’s not an incident taken lightly by any police officer. But we are committed to everyone involved and to the public to conduct a thorough and complete investigation.”

ACLU Attorney Says Graphic Video of Officers Shooting Homeless Man Resembles “Firing Squad”

Warning: the above video contains graphic footage that some viewers may find disturbing.

On July 1, 2012, 49-year-old homeless man Milton Hall slipped off the medication that he used to control his mental illness, got into an argument with a shopkeeper, and stole a cup of coffee. Police were called, and the visibly disoriented Hall ended up in the parking lot of a shopping center in a standoff with eight Saginaw, MI police officers. The officers surrounded him at a distance with guns drawn. Hall attempted to call 911 to open a line of dialogue. When a K-9 unit lurched at Hall and snarled, he pulled a pen knife from his pocket. Officers responded by firing 46 shots, fatally hitting Hall 14 times.

In February of this year, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice concluded its investigation into the officers’ use of deadly force and declined to press charges against them. MLive quoted a joint statement by the DOJ, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, which said, “After a thorough investigation, federal authorities have determined that this tragic event does not present sufficient evidence of willful misconduct to lead to a federal criminal prosecution of the police officers involved.” The investigation had been launched in response to the widespread community outrage that followed Hall’s shooting, which happened in a busy shopping center in broad daylight.

Unsatisfied with this outcome, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan presented Hall’s case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights last Monday and released the above-embedded graphic dash cam video of the shooting, which ACLU lawyer Mark Fancher described as resembling a “firing squad.” According to NY Daily News, the ACLU obtained the video from attorneys representing Hall’s family. Audio included from a different bystander’s video recording, seen below and originally released around the time of the incident, appears to capture witnesses loudly protesting and questioning the need for the overwhelming use of deadly force. Some observers have asked why less-lethal alternatives were not used to subdue Hall.

Mark Fancher represented the Hall family and the ACLU of Michigan at Monday’s hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which, as an arm of the inter-continental Organization of American States, lacks legal authority to take action on the issue. The ACLU of Michigan’s legal director Michael Steinberg told Newsweek that his group took the case before an international tribunal in an effort to pressure the US government into abiding by “human rights principles.”

Newsweek quoted Milton’s mother Jewel Hall as saying, “It’s been devastating to our family; it was devastating to the community. And justice still has not been served… There needs to be a change in how police deal with situations like the one that ended my son’s life. Our leaders have to address conditions that allow police to use excessive and deadly force with impunity.”