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Accidental cop shootings - examples


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#1 DocM

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 10:32

A while back I posted (IIRC in a conversation with FloatingFatMan) about how cops shoot innocents (and each other) at a rate several times that of civilian concealed carry licensees. In the thread I noted some incidents in Detroit to illustrate the point. Here's some news copy to show how a combo of iffy training, and bone-head plays, cause this. Unfortunately, these are not rare incidents.

Exhibit A -

WJBK Detroit....

An FBI agent almost shot a Detroit cop on Wednesday at a gas station while filling up. It wasn't the agent or the cop's fault. It was the cop's bosses, who came up with the lame brain idea to simulate a purse snatching and then invite a TV crew to film your reaction Detroit. The immediate supervisor of these cops had no idea this was happening until they called him.

"The event takes place. The officer takes the purse, runs around the gas station. As he's running, an off-duty FBI agent is pumping gas. He witnesses the whole thing. He gives chase. He pulls his weapon, and as he turns the corner around the gas station, he's stopped by another officer, who identifies herself as a police officer and don't shoot, don't shoot, this is a scenario," said Inspector Shawn Gargalino with the Detroit Police Department.

That is the same description of events we got from four other ranking law enforcement officials, including Lieutenant Chuck Flannagan, a 28-year veteran of DPD.

"It's a tragedy waiting to happen. In fact, I understand an FBI agent did pull a weapon because he didn't believe it was a staged, and some officers had to run forward to prevent him from possibly shooting an officer. We have enough robberies at gas stations that most people aren't going to assume it's a mock robbery," he said.

"You had citizens who could've been hurt. A lot of people out here have CPLs now and carry weapons. They're tired of the crime that's going on in Detroit, and they might want to stand up and help somebody that's in this type of situation. It just so happened it's a gas station where the FBI fills up all their vehicles," Gargalino said.

This is the part of the story where we go to find the principals who put this bone-headed idea together. First, Sergeant Eren Stephens, the head of Public Information for DPD, wouldn't come outside to speak with us on camera.

Inspector Dwayne Blackmon from Homicide was there, but he wouldn't come outside either. He did say by phone that it all went down just like that except for the fact there was no gun. That simply the agent made a move.
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We asked Gargalino what happened after this incident.

"Basically it was do you want to do this scenario again, and the officers were basically absolutely not," he said.

No one in management at WDIV would return calls to explain what happened.

It is also important to remember that right now Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley is on trial for manslaughter for the 2010 accidental killing of a seven-year-old girl, a situation made all the worse by a cable film crew being in tow.

Police were after a homicide suspect, and who was in charge of the Homicide squad back then? Inspector Blackmon, who is in charge of the Homicide squad now, who was at the scene of the fake purse caper.
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Exhibit B - (in this one a 7 year old girl was shot in the head & killed)

...."We have an officer right now fighting for his freedom because someone up the chain decided to accommodate television producers, at least that's the theory of the prosecution, the A&E people. I look at this as more theatrics," Flannagan.

"Somebody could've got hurt, and I think it's my job as the commanding officer of the 1st and 13th Precincts to make sure that anything like this never happens again," Gargalino said.

James Craig, the incoming chief of police, said he was outraged. This could've cost somebody their life, and he promised to get to the bottom of things.


ABC News story on girl shooting....

Exhibit C -

WJBK Detroit....

Sources: Friendly fire may have hit at least 1 officer in Detroit shootout

DETROIT (WJBK) -The shootout that left two Detroit police officers wounded may not have happened as we first thought. Several sources now say at least one of the officers may have been hit by friendly fire.

On Tuesday, a police task force was armed and ready to take down an accused killer, 23-year-old Matthew Joseph. It all went down on the Detroit's west side, but the attempt to apprehend the murder suspect turned into a shootout that ended badly, deadly for the suspect, and tragic for one Detroit police officer, who we are sad to say is still in critical condition in a medically induced coma. He was shot several times in the head.

A Detroit police sergeant was also shot in the leg. As of this time, he is thankfully recovering at his home.

Now, new questions are surfacing surrounding the exact details of what happened moment by moment at the intersection of Linwood and Hooker. There was a flood of gunfire, bullets were flying everywhere.

"It was just a lot of shooting," said one witness, which leaves law enforcement to investigate whose weapon shot who? Police sources are saying friendly fire could have come into play.

"The first thing I thought was how could this guy fire and hit both officers?" said Marty Gaynor.

He is a retired detective sergeant with the Detroit Police Department.

"I've been in about seven different shooting situations between being shot at and shot and exchanging gunfire," Gaynor explained.

We asked the former crime fighter what he thought when studying the video from the scene because he has done this kind of police work in the past.

"He had one officer behind him, one officer in front of him, it didn't make sense to me, and unfortunately now that they're coming out with a theory that it may be friendly fire, it may be possible," Gaynor said.

"You could see that the cars were staggered. They were both going to be shooting at the same guy in the middle. I can't see a guy shooting one officer in front of him, one officer in back of him. This 23-year-old thug is not that well trained. He's not coming out of the military. This isn't TV where these guys are scripted and can shoot anything."
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#2 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 11:47

Thanks for those Doc. That second one especially just makes me angry. :( That poor little girl.. All thanks to an incompetent cop.