Sonoma County Deputy Erick Gelhaus cleared in shooting of Andy Lopez

So, the California criminal case of Sonoma County Deputy Erick Gelhaus’ shooting Andy Lopez has been resolved, as the DA has declined charges against Gelhaus.

“Prosecutors said Monday they will not file criminal charges against a Northern California sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a 13-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun he mistook for an assault rifle. The parents of Andy Lopez decried the decision, saying “it is impossible” to accept and they felt as though their son “had been killed again.”

Erick Gelhaus shot Lopez on Oct. 22 as the teen walked in a Santa Rosa neighborhood with the pellet gun. The deputy told investigators he believed the gun was real and opened fire out of fear for his life.

 

Gelhaus fired eight times, striking the eighth-grader seven times with his department-issued 9 mm handgun. The district attorney said Gelhaus had 18 rounds in his gun and stopped shooting when he felt the threat had ended. Lopez was declared dead at the scene.” – via http://www.policeone.com/officer-shootings/articles/7355600-No-charges-for-deputy-who-killed-teen-carrying-replica/

The FBI is still looking into possible Civil Rights violations, and the family will sue. So this is far from over. But let’s look at why Deputy Gelhaus was not charged, even though there was tremendous political pressure.

Graham V Connor (http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=490&invol=386) states that police use of force must be reasonable given the circumstances available to the officer at the time the trigger is pulled. The Fourth Amendment “reasonableness” inquiry is whether the officers’ actions are “objectively reasonable” in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation. The “reasonableness” of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, and its calculus must embody an allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation. Pp. 490 U. S. 396-397.

Monday morning quarterbacking may show different circumstance, but THE OFFICER IS JUDGED ONLY ON THE FACTS AVAILABLE TO THE OFFICER AT THE TIME. When the trigger was pulled, Deputy Gelhaus had an “armed individual refusing multiple lawful orders to comply”. That is what Gelhaus saw, and that is what Gelhaus had a split second to react to. The facts uncovered during the subsequent months long investigation are real vent to the case, but not to the issue of the reasonableness of the use of force.

So was this tragic? Yes. Do police want to kill people? No. Was the suspect in control of the amount of force used? Yes. Did the suspects actions (whether or not he intended) cause the officer to feel threatened? Yes.

The family wants answers. I would too. I would want answers to questions like “why did my son purposefully remove the mandated orange tip on the replica rifle and the replica pistol he was carrying?” “Why was my 13 year old son high on marijuana, and in possession of marijuana at the time of his death?” “Why was my son not in school at 3:12pm when the school let out at 3:30?”

Perhaps the parents don’t want to ask those types of questions. 13 year olds are just kids. They make poor decisions sometimes. It is up to the parents to teach right from wrong. This is tragic for all parties involved.

-Jason

From the police “WTF are we supposed to do?” files…Open Carry rights versus reasonable police response.

http://lawenforcementtoday.com/2013/08/06/another-aurora-prevented-by-flint-michigan-police%E2%80%99s-adept-action/

“On Tuesday, July 30, 2013, police were called to the Trillium Theater in Grand Blanc Township (Michigan) on a report of a man wearing a bulletproof vest (BPV) and in possession of a gun was in the theatre. Cassidy Delavergne was found wearing a BPV and in possession of a gun as he sat among theatre goers. Delavergne was held for a mental examination after his arrest.

 

The police located Delavergne as he was watching a movie. Delavergne did not outwardly threaten any of the movie goers. The oddity of an armed individual wearing a BPV among a crowd of people required a quick and prudent police response to circumvent a potential. As the police approached Delavergne, he identified himself to be a federal agent and produced a fake CIA ID badge.

 

Delavergne was taken into custody without incident. He was in possession of a 9 mm semi-automatic firearm and 34 rounds of ammunition. This led to a search of Delavergne’s car, where an additional 111 rounds of ammunition was confiscated.

 

Of greatest concern is that Delavergne is licensed as a Michigan concealed carrier. His arrest is based solely on a federal offense of possessing fraudulent government identification. Charges were not filed against Delavergne for wearing a BPV when he was considered armed and dangerous. Once processed, Delavergne was released on a bond.”

Now, this can be viewed as either A) a tragedy prevented, or Nazi Thug Cops harassing a man who has committed no crime and is exercising his rights.

Well, what do you you folks think? Should cops have responded? Should they have left him alone until he acted out? No crime had been committed when they responded. So, should they have even responded at all? (Remember, the ONLY crime committed was providing false ID, which only occurred after the police response.)

This is the problem I have expressed on the air about folks who simply want to “prove their point” about gun rights. Every fool that walks around with his gun displayed for the SOLE PURPOSE of filming the inevitable police response is clouding the future police response to someone who may very well be an active shooter about to begin. I can only assume that the suspect in this story exposed his pistol for all to see, otherwise, how would they have know to call the police? Unless Michigan is open carry friendly, which I do not know off the top of my head…

In Texas, is it legal to own/wear body armor? In most instances, yes. Is it legal to carry your pistol? With a valid CHL, yes. Is it legal to carry your rifle around? In most cases, yes.

But know that the police will probably be called if someone sees a gun, and the police will respond, and the police will probably treat you as a potential threat because they can not read your mind. They only know there is a “man with a gun” call being dropped. If they say, “well, carrying a gun around IS perfectly legal” and slowly respond, and it turns out to be an active shooter, lives are lost. If they respond fast and treat you as a potential threat, the worst that usually happens is bruised egos and the gun owner sues the cops… You could either end up with another Aurora Theater tragedy or another Mark Worley / CJ Grisham type incident. I wish cops were perfect. I wish cops could predict who is harmless and who is harmful. But we can’t. Should cops be polite and professional when confronting armed folks? Depends on the situation.

I know everyone has rights. I am pro second amendment, pro CHL, pro standard capacity magazines, pro AR rifles, pro ordering ammo online, pro gun in general and pro self defense. I just ask folks to look at the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation you place the police into by walking around in some type of open carry. You have the right to do so, just be aware of what actions may result.

You tell us… Did the Michigan police handle this properly? Was a tragedy averted? Or, were this man’s rights violated?

-Jason

Army reverses ban on P-Mags

I guess the Army is actually listening to the troops for once.  No Mags are perfect, but P-Mags are far better that most of the mags out there.

From Military.com…
“The Pentagon has clarified the Army’s stance on a recent safety message that effectively banned a certain high-performance, commercial M4 magazine, which means soldiers can keep using their PMAGs.

The confusion began when Army officials from the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command issued a message in April, declaring that the only government-issued aluminum magazines were authorized for use in the M4 and M16 rifles.”

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/06/07/army-now-says-no-ban-on-rifle-magazines.html?comp=1198882887570&rank=1