This in the letter section of a Minneapolis Paper. It points our that Officer Yanez could have retreated – and should have, if there was any question in his mind.
There was nothing about the stop that indicated that Castile posed any danger to the public. The “crime” he was stopped for was a basic traffic ticket – and in a lot of jurisdictions, would result in no fine if the driver went and got the issue fixed
I have been a police officer for 19 years. I love my job and serving my community. I have learned over the course of my career to never assume anything. As I watched the events unfold on July 6, 2016, on a Facebook Live feed, I thought that there must be more that happened. There must have been such a threat that…
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Dominique Heaggan-Brown (25 years old) is a former Milwaukee police officer. He shot and killed 23-year old Sylville Smith in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood on August 13, 2016. On December 15, 2016, Heaggan-Brown was charged with one count of first-degree reckless homicide. If convicted, he can be sentenced to a maximum of 60 years in prison.
At the time of the shooting, Sylville was armed with a semi-automatic pistol. Heaggan-Brown and his partner wore body cameras which show that Sylville threw the gun over a fence into a yard. Heaggan-Brown shot Sylville, who fell to the ground on his back and had his hands near his head. Heaggan-Brown then shot Syville again, center mass. At the time he fired the second and fatal shot, Sylville was unarmed.
In his interview, Heaggan-Brown said that he fired once at which time he observed the pistol fly out of Smith’s hands and over the fence into the backyard of the residence. Smith then fell to the ground and Heaggan-Brown believed he was reaching for his waist so he discharged his weapon a second time. At no time after the shooting did Heaggan-Brown or any other officer search Smith for a second firearm. Read the rest of this entry
Ray Tensing is a former University of Cincinnati officer who shot and killed Samuel Dubose during a traffic stop in 2015. A mistrial was declared on November 12, 2016. The straw poll by jurors was unanimous for murder. After 25 hours of deliberation however, four jurors were ready to convict Tensing of murder, four were ready to convict him of voluntary manslaughter and four were ready to find him not guilty. The jury consisted of 2 Black women, 4 White women and 6 White men.
The trial was covered on this blog.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said that how jurors went from unanimously agreeing on a murder conviction in their straw poll to being unable to reach a verdict on any charge is unclear. He talked to the jurors and said that he learned a lot.
On November 28, 2016, Deter announced that he was retrying Tensing on the charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter.
The jury for Tensing’s retrial has now been seated. It consists of 7 White women, 2 White men, 1 Black man and 2 Black women.
Opening statements are anticipated for this morning. The trial is being live streamed at this link. I’ll update in the comment section below.
On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, when he was fatally shot by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer. Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter were passengers. Diamond live-streamed Philando’s dying moments and the aftermath on Facebook. The officer shot 7 times, hitting Philando Castile 5 times, twice in the heart.
Yanez’s attorney, Thomas Kelly, said Yanez stopped Castile because he matched the description of a suspect in a robbery a few days earlier. (Castile was found to not be connected to the robbery.)
Today, prosecutor Dusterhoft told the jury;
“What he could see were dreadlocks, eyeglasses and the fact that Mr. Castile was a black man,” Dusterhoft said. “Based on that glimpse” he stopped the car in Falcon Heights.”
Jeronimo Yanez has been charged with three felony counts; second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.
On June 5, 2017, a jury was seated and opening statements were made. The jury consists of 9 men and 6 women which includes 3 alternates. There is one Black man and one Black woman on the jury.
Michael Tyree was 31-years old when he died on August 26, 2015. He was bi-polar and was arrested for misdemeanor theft and drug possession. Tyree was jailed in a section of the Santa Clara County Correctional facility that is reserved for inmates with special needs. There, he was beaten with the coroner finding the cause of death as internal bleeding due to blunt force trauma. There were lacerations to Michael’s liver and spleen, which was nearly severed in half. Michael was found in his cell naked and covered in vomit and feces.
Three guards, Matthew Farris, Jereh Lubrin and Rafael Rodriguez, were charged with second degree murder. Jereh Lubrin was also charged with assault under color of authority and the three guards were charged with assault under color of authority for allegedly beating inmate Juan Villa. Read the rest of this entry
Opening statements were made today in the trial of police officer Betty Shelby, accused of fatally shooting Terence Crutcher on September 16, 2016 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Shelby is charged with manslaughter and faces four years to life in prison if convicted.
The jury consists of two black women, seven white women and three white men. The alternates are one black man and one white woman.
Shelby, 43, shot and killed Crutcher, 40, after approaching him on the street after his car broke down. Video shows him walking away from her with his hands up.
The Tulsa County District Attorney’s office claims Shelby “reacted unreasonably by escalating the situation from a confrontation with Mr. Crutcher, who was not responding to verbal commands and was walking away from her with his hands help up, becoming emotionally involved to the point that she overreacted.”
Shelby’s defense attorney Shannon McMurray told the jury it was a rush to file charges.
Shelby has been on unpaid leave since the shooting, and said that she fired her weapon because she thought Crutcher was going for a gun.
The prosecution’s first witness was Tulsa police officer Tyler Turnbough. He described coming to the scene and said that he saw Shelby had drawn her gun, so he drew his Taser in order to offer up a less-lethal option. Turnbough testified that he told Shelby he had drawn his Taser, but Turnbough said he wasn’t sure if Shelby acknowledged that she heard him.
Turnbough said he saw Crutcher reach his left hand into the window of his Lincoln Navigator, which prompted him to fire his taser at the exact moment Shelby fired her gun.
Trial is expected to take about a week. News on 6 has notes from the opening statements. I’ll do my best to update the trial in the comment section below.
Just a quick note to update. The introduction to the video says:
Dylann Storm Roof who shot and killed nine black parishioners at a historic Charleston church in 2015, pleaded guilty Monday to state charges stemming from the massacre as part of a deal with prosecutors to spend the rest of his life in prison to avoid a second death-penalty trial.
Roof already had been sentenced to die earlier this year for his convictions in federal court on hate crimes charges, though the state could have pursued a second such penalty in its murder case against the young man.
Roof was charged both federally and at the state level after the June 2015 massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, when nine black parishioners were shot and killed down during an evening Bible study.
The federal death sentence still stands!
After impact statements and Roof’s grandad speaking on Roof’s behalf, the Judge sentenced Roof to 9 life sentences on state charges.
Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager was charged with murder or voluntary manslaughter in the killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man. Walter Scott was shot in the back 5 times. Slager’s state trial began on November 3, 2016, with closing arguments on November 30, 2016. It ended with a hung jury. Slager is scheduled to be retried by the State of South Carolina, and also by the federal government. His trial was reported on this blog.
Meanwhile, three men had filed lawsuits against North Charleston for being wrongfully or excessively tased by Michael Slager. Two have reached settlement. Mario Givens was awarded $27,500 and Jerome Stanley $50,000 for their 2013 run-ins with Slager.
The Post Courier reports:
“They were among three people who filed actions in 2015 amid intense scrutiny of the city’s police force. An eyewitness video of patrolman Michael Slager shooting the fleeing black man sparked the frenzy.
The men alleged excessive use of the stun gun, though Slager’s lawyers have defended his record as exemplary.”
Mario Givens is quoted as saying,
“If they’d listened to me Walter Scott might not be dead’: Man who filed excessive force complaint after being tasered by ‘killer cop’ in 2013 speaks out – and announces he’s suing.”
Givens was initially charged with resisting arrest, but was later released without charge. He filed a police complaint but Slager was exonerated. Read the rest of this entry
A jury of 12 and 2 alternates have heard opening statements and is hearing testimony in the trial of Derrick Stafford. The trial is taking place in Marksville, Louisiana. Stafford, along with his partner Norris Greenhouse, Jr. are charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the November 2, 2015 shooting death of 6-year old Jeremy Mardis. Jeremy was the in the vehicle with his dad, Christopher Few, who was wounded when Stafford and his Greenhouse, Jr. opened fire.
Greenhouse, Jr. is scheduled for a separate trial later this year.
“Video from a police officer’s body camera shows the father had his hands raised inside his vehicle when the officers fired their semiautomatic pistols. At least four of their 18 shots ripped into the child’s body while he was strapped into the front seat.
Relatives of the victims wept as jurors watched the graphic video from the shooting. Several jurors were also seen wiping away tears.”
Stafford and Greenhouse stated that they opened fire on Few because he tried ramming his car into them. A state police detective has testified there isn’t any physical evidence that Few’s car collided with Greenhouse’s vehicle.
Ballistics evidence shows none of the 18 shots fired by the two deputies hit the front or back of Few’s car. The prosecution is using that as evident that neither deputy was in danger. “Cars don’t move sideways,” the prosecutor said.
In December 2016, we followed the trials of Michael Slager and Dylann Roof. There was also another trial.
In August 2012, Officer Patrick Tuter of Garland, Texas led a vehicle chase of unarmed 25 year old Michael Allen. Tuter fired at Michael 41 times, reloading several times and hitting Michael 3 times. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Officer performed the autopsy and determined that Michael suffered gunshot wounds to his upper back, side, and left elbow.
Tuter’s official report was that he opened fired after Michael rammed a patrol car. The dashboard video however, showed that it was Tuter’s patrol car that rammed into Michael’s truck. Tuter fired his gun from the back, left-side of Michael’s truck.
Michael Allen’s body was pulled out of the cab of his truck by a K9 who chewed his face.
In March 2013, Tuter was fired for violating department policies on pursuits and use of force. He had been on the force 7 years.
On August 18, 2015, East Point, Georgia police officers Cpl. Howard Weems and Sgt. Marcus Eberhart were indicted on charges related to the April 11, 2014 death of 24-year old Gregory Towns. Eberhart resigned and Weems was terminated after the incident. Their trial began on December 5, 2016.
On April 11, 2014, Weems and Eberhart responded to a domestic violence call in the Atlanta suburb. Another officer was also present. Gregory Towns ran and was apprehended. According to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, after apprehending Gregory,the officers handcuffed him. They demanded him to stand and walk to a waiting patrol car. Gregory indicated that he was out of breath and could not stand. Both officers used their tasers on Gregory, and even after attempting to walk but collapsing, the officers continued to tase him.
Gregory was tased 13-14 times. Read the rest of this entry
The jury in Dylann Roof’s federal trial deliberated less than 2 hours, and convicted him on all counts of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and weapons charges.
The panel of nine Whites people and three Blacks will reconvene on January 3, 2017 to decide whether Roof is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
Minutes after the verdict was read, Roof told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel he wanted to represent himself during the penalty phase.
On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof went to the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina where they were holding Bible Study. He shot and killed 9 people. A manhunt resulted, and Roof was found and arrested in North Carolina. He confessed to the killings.
Roof is an avowed White supremacist who perceived that he had to save the White race from Blacks. He wanted to start a race war. Roof waited until parishioners closed their eyes to pray before firing his Glock .45-caliber pistol. When it was over, Roof had fired more than 70 shots, striking his victims 60 times.
The 22-year old is charged with 12 federal counts of hate crimes, 12 counts of obstructing the exercise of religion, and 9 counts of firearm violations. Federal prosecutors seek the death penalty.
Discarding empty magazines and reloading his weapon, Roof found survivor Polly Sheppard hiding as she prayed. Roof told her to shut up, before asking if she had been shot. Sheppard was then told that she would be left alive so that she could tell others what had occurred. She will likely serve as the final witness for the prosecution in the guilt phase of the trial.
Since he was arrested, there have been numerous pleadings and hearings in the case. To report on each one would be tedious. The most recent included a motion to find Roof mentally incompetent to stand trial. The court denied that motion. The LA Times reports that Judge Gergel found Roof capable of standing trial on the basis that he completed the 9th grade and had an “extremely high IQ” and was able to understand courtroom proceedings. A legal expert however, stated that there is a clear difference between intellectual ability and judgment.
It is not known what type of mental illness or emotional disturbance Roof may or may not have because the hearings were closed to the public.
Roof’s attorneys offered to change Roof’s plea to guilty in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole. Federal prosecutors turned down the offer.
Just before jury selection, Roof motioned the judge to release his attorneys. He wanted to represent himself. The judge granted Roof’s motion. After jury selection, Roof asked the judge to rehire his attorneys, but he wants to represent himself during the penalty phase. The judge granted his motion. Read the rest of this entry
Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager was charged with murder or voluntary manslaughter in the killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man. Walter Scott was shot in the back 5 times.
A by-stander’s video was released shortly after the deadly encounter that shows Slager unholstered his weapon and fire as Walter ran away. Slager’s attorney then withdrew his representation and Slager was terminated from his job and charged with murder.
On Friday, the jury told judge Judge Newman that one juror was holding out for a not-guilty verdict. Subsequently, the jury told Judge Newman that with further instructions on the law, they might be able to come to a unanimous decision.
After sending questions to the court this morning, and receiving answers to those questions, the jury sent a note saying they were deadlocked.
Judge Newman declared a mistrial.
Michael Slager also faces federal charges, including violation of Walter Scott’s civil rights. That trial is scheduled for next year.
Michael Slager took the witness stand at his murder trial today. Following him were defense witnesses who tried to explain how Slager has selective memory.
Before watching Slager’s testimony, and if you have not yet watched it, here is the video captured by a bystander. It shows when Slager fired his gun at Walter Scott as Scott was running away.
Here is Slager’s testimony, giving his non-video version.
The murder trial of ex-cop Michael Slager began on November 3rd, and you can find the videos of the trial at the following link up to Thursday, November 10th. There was no trial on Veteran’s Day.
Post and Courier reports that the trial has been contentious. Judge Clifton Newman has cautioned defense attorneys to not testify themselves, but the defense continues using that tactic.
During trial, you hear “SLED” allot. That is the acronym for South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
Here are some highlights of the trial;
- The bystander who filmed the killing, Feidin Santana, has testified. He stood strong against the defense trying to get him to agree that there was a “fight,” and Santana continued correcting the defense that he saw no fight.
- Slager’s former colleagues have testified that he told them that Walter Scott managed to wrestle his taser away from him and pointed it at him, prompting him to fire his service weapon.
- On Tuesday, Almon Brown, a state crime scene investigator, testified that he was concerned when he examined Scott’s body because what he saw didn’t match what he had been told about how Scott died.
- Levi Miles, a private investigator for Michael Slager’s former defense lawyer, testified that Slager showed him during a re-enactment that Walter Scott was coming toward the officer before the gunfire. When he compared that with what he saw in a video of the shooting, Miles said, “That part of it seemed to be a lot different.”
Caterpillars, butterflies, moths, a certain roach, and all creatures great and small,
Here’s a heartfelt welcome and thanks to all subscribers and visitors. Your support and interest is greatly appreciated. I do try to get around to visiting new subscribers who have blogs as soon as possible, but have fallen behind. In the last month, we have picked up 50 new subscribers in which the majority are bloggers. I’ll be around to visit as soon as I can.
I’m not on Twitter much, but when I am I tweet links to other blogs of posts that my Twitter followers might find interesting. If you have a Twitter account, please consider following me on Twitter @XenaBb7. I will follow back.
I was humbly blessed by blogger supabutterfly who honored me with a post of accomplishments. He dug out things I did not know, such as having this blog cited in a footnote in a book published by the University of New Mexico Press. Here’s a huge thanks to supabutterfly for his encouragement and support. Read the rest of this entry
If you’re unfamiliar with the case, please see coverage of the trial at this link.
The jury of 10 Whites and 2 Blacks deadlocked. The decision came on the fourth day of deliberations.
Ohio Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Megan Shanahan accepted the jury’s deadlock Saturday morning. The case is now back in the hands of prosecutors who must decide whether they will retry the case or dismiss it. Ray Tensing remains free on a $1 million bond.
Cincinnati.com reports that after the judge lifted the gag order, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters revealed the jury voted eight to four in favor of a voluntary manslaughter conviction. Three jurors were willing to find Tensing guilty of murder.
The deadlocked jury is not rare in cases involving police officer shootings of unarmed citizens. The jury deadlocked in the trial of Charlotte, North Carolina police officer Randall Kerrick for killing unarmed Jonathan Ferrell. The jury deadlocked in the trial of Baltimore police officer William Porter, in the death of Freddie Gray. In New Mexico, two officers stood trial for the killing of James Boyd, a White homeless man. The jury deadlocked. Richmond police officer David L. Cobb was put on trial for killing of 18-year-old Paterson Brown Jr. The jury deadlocked.
In the Ray Tensing trial, the defense said Dubose used his car as a weapon, and Tensing pulled his gun when he feared for his life as he was dragged. Prosecutors maintained that Tensing was not dragged. They presented bodycam footage and frame-by-frame photos showing that Tensing shot Dubose in the head before Dubose’s car moved.
On April 4, 2015, in North Charleston, South Carolina, at approximately 9:30 a.m., Walter Scott was pulled over for a non-functioning brake-light. At some point, Walter got out of his car and ran. He was pursued by police officer Michael Slager. The situation ended with Slager shooting 50-year old Walter 5 times in the back as Walter ran away from him.
A by-stander recorded the portion of the incident where Walter ran, Slager fired his gun, and then picked up a taser and placed it by Walter’s body. Slager’s defense centered around the taser. He alleged that Walter used the taser on him and was coming towards him, causing him to shoot Walter. Slager’s original lawyer, David Aylor, withdrew as counsel within hours of the release of the video. Read the rest of this entry
On July 19 2015, Sam DuBose was shot and killed by now former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing. Hamilton County prosecutors say that DuBose’s death was unwarranted and it was murder. Sam did not have a weapon or appear to be reaching for a weapon.
Tensing’s defense is that DuBose dragged him with the car.
Prosecutors say that Tensing’s bodycam shows that he was not dragged. A grand jury indicted Tensing on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. Tensing was terminated from the police department.
The murder charge carries the possibility of life in prison. The voluntary manslaughter charge carries the possibility of 3 to 11 years in prison.