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,