Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What In Hell Were The Police Thinking...

...or were they simply not thinking at all and just reacting? In July 2014, police officers in Stockton, CA had a running gunning battle with three bank robbery suspects. The surviving suspect apparently fled with a woman he had taken hostage at the bank. Somehow, for some reason known only to the officers, they decided to keep pursuing the vehicle in close proximity, then got into a blazing firefight with its occupants firing at the vehicle over and over and over again with a hostage in it. In all, some 33 police officers fired at least 600 rounds that hit the car (just over 18 rounds each on average). The female hostage was killed and it reportedly has been determined that all of the ten shots that hit the woman had all been fired by police officers.

My source is this brief blog post and this video  (it came out last week) of the attorney who represents the victim's family:

Did you pay attention. The police reportedly had a helicopter following the vehicle, yet the officers reportedly broke protocol and, were in hot pursuit of the vehicle and somehow wound up in a final gun battle with the suspects while firing upon the vehicle with full knowledge that there was a hostage within the vehicle. What the fuck ever happened to backing off, letting the chopper do the following, and calling in the hostage negotiations team???? What in Hades ever happened to not firing if it endangered the lives of innocents.

In my mind, if these officers actually did that of which they have been accused, if they knew a hostage was in the vehicle, they should be facing manslaughter charges at the very least. Of course, there has got to be another side to this story, so I am not going to condemn anyone in my mind just quite yet. I sure would like to find out though, what is the other side and how they arrived at the conclusion that they needed to fire 600 shots into a vehicle containing a hostage whom they knew was there instead of doing something seemingly more reasonable and safer for the hostage!

I just did some looking, here is what I could find of the other side. The police reportedly wanted to call in hostage negotiators but did not have the chance (attributed to Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones) to call them in. One has to wonder if they did not get the chance because they continued the hot pursuit and possibly forced or caused a final shootout with the alleged bank robbing - kidnapping -  hostage taking  - dirtbags. The police reportedly also feared that the bad guys might take more hostages or take over a school (again attributed to Chief Jones). (Source)

As to additional hostages, the reported facts are that the suspects took a total of three hostages from the bank, two employees and a customer, one Misty Holt-Singh, the woman who was killed. The other two hostages were somehow ejected from the vehicle during the chase; either by being thrown out, falling out or jumping out, it was not determined in the linked article at the time it was written. Now don't go thinking that the police officers thought all three hostages had gotten out of the vehicle before the shootout. According to the same linked article above, this one, the police knew that the suspects were using one of the hostages as a human shield at the time of the final shootout! The real irony of that is that the surviving suspect was allegedly reported by the police as the one using Mrs. Holt-Sing as a human shield. They shot her dead but not the bad guy using her as his shield - there is something major wrong with that in my mind, something terribly unjust and unfair and very sad indeed.

So, the thing is the police reportedly admitted they knew there was a victim in the bad guys' car and that she was in fact used as a human shield. Why on earth would they get into a gun battle with the dirt bag scum if such was the case and if already engaged why would they continue to fire at least 10 bullets that struck the hostage instead of ceasing fire for her protection and taking cover or backing off? Remember the helicopter when you think about that. Why did they not back off and let the chopper follow it or the suspect if he was out of the car at that point. Why did they not avoid a violent confrontation in the first place in order to protect the hostage? How did it devolve to the police killing the hostage in a hail of their bullets?

Did her life mean that little to them? What would my life or yours or our kids' lives mean to them? I would like to get some answers, see some valid justification as to why it was allowed to evolve into a blazing gun battle with a hostage in the car, to see something that could justify it all because I don't want to believe the police were as fucking stupid and as outright callous and unconcerned about the life of a citizen as they seem to be accused of. If however, it turns out that they broke protocol, that they were reckless, that they needlessly caused a situation that likely could have been avoided by following tired and true methods in such cases, and that is what led to her being killed - manslaughter charges will be too good for them.

All the best,
Glenn B

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