Shoot First, Ask Questions Later: Cop Fired For Shooting At Man During Traffic Stop (InformationLiberation)
Wednesday October 2nd, 2013
Fortunately, the five-year veteran cannot shoot straight, so the innocent man escaped with his life.
From The Statesman:
AUSTIN, Texas — A five-year veteran of the Austin Police Department was wrong to shoot at a man who got out of his car during a traffic stop earlier this year, Chief Art Acevedo said Friday while explaining his decision to fire Officer Justin Boehm.Can you imagine what would happen if a citizen preemptively shot a cop because he felt threatened? Do you think he would face charges?
Boehm was driving behind James Barton when the Austin resident ran a red light at the intersection of East 12th Street and Airport Boulevard around 7:50 a.m. on May 8.
Boehm promptly pulled him over, and several seconds later, Barton got out of his truck.
Footage from the dashboard camera in Boehm's patrol car shows Barton walking toward Boehm and pulling a dark object from his pocket — his wallet — after the officer twice told him to "stay in the car." Boehm then shoots at Barton, missing, and starts yelling for him to stay in the car.
After jumping at the gunshot, Barton drops his wallet and gets into his truck. He was unarmed.
Pointing his gun at Barton, Boehm next orders him to get back out of the truck and lie facedown on the ground, where he remains until sirens wail and more officers arrive, handcuffing the 55-year-old and taking him away.
Barton, who is suing Boehm and the city of Austin in federal court, said he thinks Acevedo was smart to fire the officer.
"Austin is probably safer," he said. "The man almost killed me for what?"
Speaking to reporters last month, Barton said he got out of his car because he was taught to do so in driver's ed, to show the officer he wasn't dangerous. During an interview with detectives from the Police Department's special investigations unit after the shooting, he said he thought he was being pulled over for using his cellphone while driving.
"Is that officer off the street right now?" he then asked them. "'Cause he definitely has some issues."
Boehm's chain of command unanimously decided that the officer's use of deadly force against Barton was unreasonable, Acevedo said Friday, hours after Boehm's disciplinary hearing. What was "really disturbing," he said, was how Boehm acted even after he saw Barton had dropped a wallet, not a firearm.
The officer's conduct was not consistent with what the department expects, the chief said. "This is a profession where you don't get a bad day when it relates to deadly force."
Boehm will not face criminal charges.
Sgt. Wayne Vincent, president of the Austin Police Association, said that he agrees the shooting was a mistake but that he thinks firing Boehm was not the appropriate response.
"We believe this officer could have been re-trained, rehabilitated and we should have kept him," he said.
Boehm could appeal Acevedo's decision but Vincent said he's still weighing his options.
Boehm should be charged with attempted murder. Instead, the union says he just needs to be "retrained."
Thank god Boehm wasn't "trained," Barton's life was saved because he couldn't hit a target right in front of him.
Chris runs the website InformationLiberation.com, you can read more of his writings here. Follow infolib on twitter here.