Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Village Voice Questions Police Shoot of Alleged Zombie Like Attacker

As incredible as it may seem, The Village Voice, has come out, questioning, and as I see it, apparently in opposition to, the police shooting of Rudy Eugene as he allegedly was attacking Ronald Poppo by reportedly eating off his face. Yes, they ask a lot of questions, but it sure seems they are, in the least, implying the officer was wrong to have shot Eugene. See this article.

Here is my opinion on that:

I almost cannot believe the outright idiocy of those on the ultra-left who think that the police using deadly force to stop an apparent raving lunatic's brutal attack on another man - one in which he allegedly had brutally injured and seemingly was about to further severely injure the victim - was unjustified. They claim that the Eugene was unarmed. They question the shooting and seem to imply that police should not have shot him because Eugene having been unarmed must have been a mitigating factor even though allegedly killing or severely injuring another. The Village Voice claims that the police ordered him to stop and he did stop "sort of"  because he looked up at the police while chewing the other man's flesh and growled. Thus they imply that at that moment Eugene was no longer an imminent threat to the victim (by law imminent being the end all be all as far as use of deadly force by the officer went when a person is in danger of death or serious bodily injury) and that the officer should have used a different degree of force other than deadly force. Then they back up that claim with a partial quote from a witness:

"The guy just stood, his head up like that, with pieces of flesh in his mouth. And he growled."

Then the Voice says: "Then police started shooting."

But that is not exactly how it happened according to other reports. Funny how maybe the Village Voice would show it with a little less of what was said so as to fit their viewpoint, isn't it? According to another report, this one here at The Huffington Post, it happened just a little bit differently, as per an on the scene witness:

"Vega later told news outlets that when Rivera yelled at Eugene to back away, the naked man merely raised his head "with pieces of flesh in his mouth," growled, and began chewing again."

Did you catch the little bit of difference, which probably did not matter toward justification of use of deadly force (the officer already had enough) but certainly that gave the officer even more cause to use deadly force. The assailant allegedly "...began chewing again". So, the officer fired one shot at the point when Eugene reportedly ignored his order and started chewing on the victim's flesh again. To me, the fact that, the alleged bad guy reportedly started chewing on the victims flesh again, would indicate - he had not stopped as lawfully ordered by the officer but had intended to continue to assault Mr. Poppo. Therefore, the victim's life was still threatened by imminent death or serious bodily harm. That imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death was all the justification that the officer needed to be justified in using deadly force. Then the officer shot him - once.

What happens next, right after the first shot, only goes to support the officer's mindset that Eugene posed a continued and imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death to Mr. Poppo. Also from the Huffington Post article was this:

"Rivera reportedly then shot Eugene once, but Eugene still continued to attack Poppo's face, prompting the officer to shoot multiple times until he was dead."

Eugene allegedly continued to attack the victim and the officer, then and only then, fired additional shots beyond the first shot until Eugene stopped (the officer was justified to shoot until Eugene stopped and it does not matter legally if justifiably shooting to stop results in the death of the assailant). Get that, the guy had supposedly been shot and then allegedly continued his attack on the victim! What does that tell you? It tells you that if the officer had believed that Eugene posed an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the victim, at the moment he fired his first shot, then the officer was absolutely right in said belief as evidenced by Eugene's alleged further actions. That the alleged assailant had still posed an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death to the victim was upheld by the alleged assailants further actions. so why second guess the officer when his apparent mindset was proven correct? Bear in mind, the officer did not have to 'know' that more serious bodily harm or death was going to happen, he needed probable cause to believe it was about to happen. If the facts of the alleged assault and that Eugene allegedly ignored the officer, remained atop of Mr. Poppo and then continued chewing on the victim's flesh was not enough to constitute such probable cause - heaven help us. Yet, the Voice then goes on in essence to say that, the moment when the alleged assailant looked up would have been the opportune time for the officer to have (now get this):

"...whip out the "non-deadly force" -- or a boot to the face, or a baton to the skull, etc. "

Maybe the folks at the Village Voice should learn exactly what constitutes deadly force because they most certainly advocated using it on Eugene even though they question the officer for having used it. A kick to the face definitely would be the use of deadly force and a baton to the skull absolutely would be the use of deadly force. So, what non-deadly force are they talking about when they actually give examples of deadly force and say that the officer should have resorted to it their way?

Maybe they were confused with regard to what is deadly force. Maybe they meant something like a TASER. They claimed that the police love TASERs and thus maybe should have used one of those because it is non-lethal force (true in most cases but sometime lethal). I don't know about TASERs that much but do indeed know that not every officer carries one. I also know that, in many cases, TASERs have not proved effective on the first shot against crazed assailants. Heck, even the officer's first gunshot did not stop Eugene from allegedly continuing to rip apart the victims face with his teeth.

There is no doubt in my mind, that if the facts are correct as reported by sources other than the Village Voice, the officer was fully justified in his actions and in fact, probably chose the best action to have taken. I think that it is about time that the ultra-liberal folks at the Village Voice, and any ultra-right wing anti-government types who also oppose this shooting, ought to realize, there is no reason for any officer, in such a situation, to put himself into harms way by getting as close as suggested so as to be able to strike the alleged bad guy with boot or baton. There also is NO reason for the officer to allow the victim, Mr. Poppo, to be continuously placed in harms way, not for even one moment longer, because you wanted the police to treat the alleged assailant in a gentler, less lethal, manner. Face it, the officer dealt with this alleged zombie like kook the only way he should have done so. It is about time you honor the officer, Miami Police Officer Jose Rivera, for saving a life instead of questioning him as if he is suspected of having done a wrong. Shame on you Village Voice, is all I can think.

All the best,
Glenn B


Anonymous said...

Only one comment.....any time there is a use of force, it is potentially deadly. Therefore, the proper term is "less-lethal" use of force. Think Taser.

Glenn B said...

That is not legally correct. There are varying degrees of force, that under the law and departmental regulations, an officer can use in certain sets of circumstances and this officer was justified in using deadly force.

All the best,

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, your opinion is based on the version of the facts as written by the Huffington Post, rather than the Village Voice, right? Perhaps this could have just been left at "I think the Village Voice has the facts wrong."

If you assume the facts as laid out by the Village Voice, do you still think lethal force was justified?

Glenn B said...

Aah, another complaint and of course it was left by that frequent visitor to my site, Anonymous. It is amazing to me that it is almost always this person Anonymous who complains and tells me, or suggests to me, what I should do with my words.

No I did not depend solely on the Huffington post for the alleged facts. I read about this story on at least 5 news sites such as Fox News, CNN, MSN, Huffington Post and at least one local Miami news site; I also saw it on televised news reports. All of them that reported the quote of the witness had it exactly the same. I think it strange how, among the articles I read and reports I watched, only the Village Voice apparently edited out some of what was quoted by the other reports and I think it stranger still how that edited quote then seemed to fit in with just the point they wanted to make.

I could have written just what you suggested but then I am not you nor was that one sentence the point. Maybe if you read it a little more slowly this time, then give it just a bit of thought overall, you will see I made several points - one of them being that the Village Voice said lethal force should not have been used but then recommended other types of lethal force in place of the force that was used.

I wrote it my way, based on my opinion, not yours. If you would like to write it up, write it how you like. You can rest assured, if I read and comment on your material, I will have the respect not to do so anonymously.

All the best,
Glenn B

Victor said...

My name is Victor. I have a last name as well and can provide the first initial upon request should you find it necessary. To suggest that my use of Anonymous was anything other than an attempt to keep my own life private is simply unfounded. I am a first-time reader of blogs generally (and, thus, a first time commenter) and your above entry is probably the third I've ever read. Therefore, should you wish to cite me for the use of "Anonymous," perhaps unintentional ignorance is more suitable than intentional disrespect.

I am of the belief that, no matter how clear one can explain their position, it is arrogant to assume that each word I choose will be construed in the exact manner I had intended. Thus, even if I were to "read [your blog] a little more slowly," I suspect, based on my individual perspective, I would come up with similar questions over again.

Thank you for addressing my questions. It was nice to meet you Glenn B.

Victor said...

... and I am still left wondering whether, had this cannibal actually stopped chewing, you believe that the police should have shot to kill the cannibal as he stood there.

If so, then your argument is one of proximity, yes? The cannibal posed a threat of serious bodily injury/harm in simply standing with his "weapon" (i.e. his mouth/teeth) too close to the victim.

If that is the assertion, then should child rapists, caught in the act, who stop when told but are still in close proximity to their victims be shot dead as well? Their bodily "weapons" are still in close proximity when caught.

Glenn B said...


You apparently missed the point about when an officer is justified to use deadly force. It is based upon his determination that there is probable cause (or possibly merely ‘reasonable belief’ depending on the law in Florida) to believe there is an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death to an innocent. If that PC exists, then he is well within legality to defend the person being attacked by use of deadly force against the assailant.

In this case, he had PC, in my opinion, and was justified to use immediate deadly force. The assailant, reportedly stopped momentarily, looked at the officer and growled. Note, he did not say "I surrender" and apparently did not take a submissive stance nor move away from the injured victim, but evidently remained poised to continue the attack. He also did what a raving lunatic or wild animal might do to warn off the intrusion of the officer into the scene, he growled. Sorry but a growl, in such an instance, could only signify, to me, that he was not about to comply with the officer but that he was defying him and that not only was the victim threatened but so too was the officer. Add that to all of the other facts, as seen in the eyes of a reasonable man (taking into consideration his training and experience which is an important part of PC), and then tell me in all honesty that there was not PC to believe that the attack would continue imminently. The officer determined that the threat was real and was indeed imminent based on his split second assessment of the situation only after he used the first two steps in the Use of Force Continuum - 1. Mere Presence 2. Verbal Commands. The fact is, he was not even obligated to use step 2 before going immediately to the ultimate level of force because of the immediacy and nature of the situation. But he did take the extra step, saw it was not going to work and did what was fully justified. He shot once and what did the guy do, reportedly he immediately started to resume biting the face of the victim. Thus more shots. It is clear to me, as it most likely was to the officer, and as it should be to any reasonable person who is experienced or trained in such matters that the attack PROBABLY was going to continue. You seem to keep missing the importance that it is PROBABLE cause that justified his use of deadly force...

As for your other comment claiming being a first timer and ignorance about how to be respectful in replying to a blog post (it is the same as respect in any other situation) and about posting anonymously - come on now, all you had to do was write this as closing words:

"Best regards,

You chose to be anonymous. I think you chose to be disrespectful too. You can say all you want about protecting your privacy but posting something like the above closing in no way would jeopardize your privacy. You chose to butt into my life, my blog, my words and post a reply and that makes one wonder why you are leaving very public comments for the whole world to see if you are so worried about privacy. Nope, that does not seem like a privacy concern but more like disrespect - just like blind siding someone...

Glenn B said...

...It also amazes me how you came here and left a comment apparently chiding me for writing my opinion in the amount of words I chose to write. You suggested I should have done it in a mere single sentence. The thing is, then I would not have expressed the points I had wanted to make but just the watered down single point you evidently saw fit for me to have made. I am not your mouthpiece, I express my views, not yours. Yet you come here, suggesting to me how much or how little, I should have written while at the same time writing several paragraphs in reply to me. Amazing and I think also very telling as to lack of respect too.

Yet, even though your initial comment was anonymous, and I think less than respectful (not only because of anonymity but because you had the gall to suggest I censor my own words while spewing your own), I decided to publish it. Sometimes though, I wonder why I allow anonymous, and what I think are disrespectful, comments in the first place. Many, if not most bloggers, whose sites I visit, likely would have deleted it immediately.

All the best,