Saturday, November 07, 2009

Everett Police Officer Charged with First Degree Manslaughter in Shooting Death

I hate reading stories like this one.  It is the old saw acted out – one bad apple spoils the bunch.  Officer Troy Meade, an eleven year veteran of the Everett, WA police department, shot and killed a fifty-one year old man in the parking lot of a restaurant. 

The victim had been drinking at the bar, and patrons called the police when he said he intended to drive home.  An autopsy would later show that his blood alcohol was .26, which is more than three times the legal limit in Washington State.  Police arrived, and upon seeing the man in his Corvette, Meade blocked the car about fifteen feet to the rear.  Cars on both sides, and the a curb kept the man from driving forward or turning to either side. 

Meade approached the man, and was speaking with him when a second officer arrived at the scene.  Meade waved the other officer off, indicating that he didn’t need backup and the other officer began to drive away.  Then Meade radioed and told the second officer to come back.  When he returned to the scene, the officer saw Meade speaking with the driver, standing by the drivers door.  The man was seated in the drivers seat but the engine was off.  Meade was talking to the man and telling him not to try to drive off.  The man’s voice became more belligerent and he refused to comply.  Both officers drew their stun guns and the second officer drew his baton.

People who witnessed the event said that then Meade fired his stun gun into the man’s shoulder and the driver stiffened briefly in response.  The stun gun record showed that the officer had triggered two shocks: one of six seconds and then five seconds.  The driver then started his car and tried to drive off, over the curb barrier and into a chain link fence several feet in front of the parking curb.  The car was stopped by the fence, and witnesses say that it seemed to move slightly as if the engine were revving. 

At that point Officer Meade drew his pistol and said “Time to end this”, firing eight shots into the rear of the drivers seat.  The man died at the scene, having been hit seven times.  The car was found to be running with the transmission in park.

The man’s family is suing the City of Everett for $15 million, and the prosecutor has decided to file first degree manslaughter charges.  And while I agree with the prosecutor, and feel that the city should compensate the family, I also think that this is yet another proof to the old saw, “Never run from a police officer”.  Nothing good comes of running from police.  It is a shame that this happened, and of course Officer Meade ought not have fired his weapon – let alone eight times – when there was no immediate danger from the man and his car.  He was probably too drunk to comply, and the officer should have used his taser, reached in and removed the key once the car was fully blocked.  I can’t see this any other way than shooting was a bad and unnecessary decision, and shooting eight times was a clear sign of the officers depraved indifference to the drunk man’s life.

Photo from Everett Herald, courtesy of Luvera Law Firm – seven shots hit the drivers seat and are circled to make it easier to locate them.

HeraldNet: Snohomish County police officer charged in killing

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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