In the blink of an eye…

This is not a video for the squeamish as we will see a man shot to death. The deceased is James Bushey of Elkhart, Texas. The body camera footage we are seeing here comes from Sergeant Gabriel Green’s point of view of the incident in which Sgt. Green and his partner, Officer Kaylynn Griffin went to detain and arrest Bushey for shoplifting at a nearby Walmart.

The initial contact with Bushey is relatively calm. Green even has his back to Bushey as they walk through the restaurant. Once outside however, things go from calm to downright deadly in less than two seconds as Bushey produces a pistol from his pocket. The officers wrestle with him for a second but, Bushey breaks away and turns toward the officers again, gun in hand. Green and Griffin fire multiple shots at Bushey who turns away to run after Green and Griffin started firing. The officers fire until Bushey hits the ground, rolls over, and stops moving.

The “good news” in this is there’s no racial angle to be played here. So the media never really picked up on it and we get to examine what happens purely on the facts without the usual political/racial noise. There are some folks who will argue these officers are bad cops because they didn’t wrestle the gun away from Bushey and avoid the shooting entirely. And if you’ll notice that Bushey takes a few rounds to the back (or at least the rounds are fired while he’s facing away from Green and Griffin).

The reality is, there is no such thing as a “textbook” shooting. The “gun” turned out to be a “BB gun.” You’re lying to yourself it you think you knew that from the video alone. The whole shooting occurs in less than 8 seconds with at least 12 rounds fired in the course of four seconds. It is even more frightening from Griffin’s camera footage as she momentarily is looking down the barrel of a gun. Real life is ugly and you may not have as much time as you think.

-GM

Thoughts on Dallas PD shooting video

So a friend posted the video below, saying it made her blood boil. Fact is, I am not convinced she’s got anything to be upset about. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always tragic when we as civilians or the police have to use deadly force. While tragic, it isn’t necessarily wrong.

In this video, the decedent’s mother answers the door for the police. When asked what’s wrong, the mother says her son is “just off the chain,” “incoherent, “talking about chopping up people,” and “bi-polar schizo” when the decedent appears right behind her with a screwdriver in hand. That’s a really important fact. The screwdriver is a potential weapon with at least a 4-inch long tip. If you don’t think a screwdriver that long won’t go right through a typical Level IIA or Level III vest and potentially kill the person wearing said vest, you’re wrong. It may as well be a prison yard shank and it’s just as deadly as a knife and unlike a gun, it doesn’t run out of ammo.

When, the decedent appeared at the door with the screwdriver in hand, we clearly hear both officers calmly tell the decedent to put the screwdriver down. We hear the decedent’s mother start screaming his name, “James!” And we see the decedent moving toward other officer in the video. We can’t see the decedent’s hands in the video. However, the change in tone of the officers’ voices and that of the decedent’s mother strongly suggest that the decedent wasn’t putting down the screwdriver as we see him move toward that second officer and his own mother, both of whom start moving away. It’s only then that we hear the first officer fire four rounds in a little bit more than a second. Then we see the decedent on the ground still moving as the officer continues to tell him to “drop the it.” The officers then make radio calls for help and go through the process of securing the scene which is exactly what they are supposed to do.

Now, one MIGHT be able to argue that a taser might have been a better alternative than shooting the decedent. That is debatable. I’d also say it’s an argument ignorant of the fact that tasers are typically a one shot, all or nothing device that doesn’t always work as advertised. If the taser failed to stun the decedent in this situation, the officer wouldn’t have time to insert a new stun cartridge to fire another set of darts in time to prevent the decedent from stabbing the second officer or his own mother with the screwdriver.

Legally and practically, the question will come down to whether the officer reasonably believed the decedent was using or attempting to use unlawful deadly force against the officer himself or a third person. The video, to me at least, strongly suggests the answer is yes. Under the law, the use of deadly force in that situation is justified and you’ll be hard pressed to find a grand jury to return an indictment (true bill) against the officer or anyone else in the same situation. Even if you did get a grand jury to indict him, nothing about this video suggests brutality, racism, or even glee on the part of the officers about the idea of shooting someone.

Yes, it is tragic the man died. And it is truly sad that his mental illness as well as his and apparently his mother’s inability to manage that illness led her to call the police to come deal with it. Mentally ill or not, if he’s moving toward the officer or someone else with a weapon in hand, the officer will react to a threat to their own lives or anyone else’s based on their training, the law, and a human instinct for self-preservation. And again, it will boil down to whether or not the officer’s actions are reasonable. But, if anyone wants to argue that what the officer did was wrong, please, give me a logical and factual counter argument.

-GM

Quanell X goes through use of force training…

Can’t wait to see this! Quanell X, like so many others, has run his mouth for years about what is and is not a justifiable use of force with no knowledge or experience on which to base his assumptions. We’ve seen another “activist” go through this recently and unsurprisingly, he found himself lighting folks up like the 4th of July. I strongly suspect Quanell will have a similar experience but, the question is, will he be honest about his experience and will it cause him to look at things differently?

-GM

Court overturns Raul Rodriguez conviction

On Thursday, Houston’s First Court of Appeals said the jury’s instructions on the law on self-defense were so confusing that Rodriguez did not get a fair trial.

via Court overturns 'stand your ground' conviction – Houston Chronicle.

Some of you may remember Raul Rodriguez, a former Houston Firefighter. In 2012, he was convicted of killing his neighbor after recording a large portion of the confrontation with his own camera. That recording was part of the reason for his conviction as Rodriguez can be heard parroting the phrase, “I am in fear for my life,” over and over again while arguing with Kelly Danaher and Danaher’s father before Rodriguez ultimately shot the younger Danaher, a local school teacher. At the time of the incident, it was our collective opinion on the show that Rodriguez’s own video undermined his claim of self-defense. That opinion still stands.

It is highly likely that the Harris County District Attorney will appeal this ruling. In the meantime, Rodriguez may actually be able to request a bond for his release be set. By overturning this conviction, the appellate court is saying there was a mistake of law that is so egregious that it contributed to Rodriguez’s conviction. Specifically, they are saying the jury instructions were wrong or confusing. Time will tell but, it could be this case will have to go back to trial all over again.

-GM

We shouldn’t talk about Ferguson without talking about guns – Vox

“A well-armed citizenry required an even-better-armed constabulary. Widespread gun ownership creates a systematic climate of fear on the part of the police. The result is a quantity of police shootings that, regardless of the facts of any particular case, is just staggeringly high. Young black men, in particular, are paying the price for America’s gun culture.” Via http://www.vox.com/2014/11/26/7292963/gun-control-police-shootings

I knew it. There is always some anti-gun idiot willing to make hay out of any tragedy. And whether this idiot admits it or not, disarming regular citizens won’t be enough in the minds of like minded individuals.

-GM