Back on November 25th 2015 officer Patrick Feaster of the Paradise police department in USA, California, shot an unarmed man in the neck as he was climbing out of his crashed vehicle.
Andrew Thomas had allegedly been drink driving and crashed his vehicle after a small police chase. His wife, who was in the car with him, was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene. Thomas in this regard is not an innocent man.
However, the police are there to protect and serve and you would expect the police officer to attempt to detain the driver initially after assessing the threat level or indeed helping the man from his overturned crashed vehicle. After all, this was only a drink driver he was dealing with. You would not expect a police officer to pull his weapon within a moment of exiting his police vehicle and shooting the driver as he clambered from the wreck. Thomas may be paralysed from his injuries.
Incredibly just a couple of days ago prosecutors have said that officer Feaster will not face criminal charges. Stating;
“…(Feaster) did not intentionally fire his pistol” and that “he was in shock at the scene and not certain his weapon had actually discharged.”
He faces an internal investigation.
It’s interesting that the prosecutors can decide that the officer did not “intentionally fire his pistol”. Shouldn’t that be for a jury to decide?
And “not certain his weapon had actually discharged”. That is incredible, how could you possibly not know?
The fact that the officer even withdrew his weapon should be serious cause for concern in the first place. To then pull the trigger and not know you pulled the trigger has to scream incredible incompetence or it is just an outright lie.
Questions have to be asked of police protocol and training. Time and again we see these reactions from officers and even if it is legal to withdraw the firearm in these circumstances then that legality needs to be looked at again because once again we see another citizen needlessly shot.
What the prosecutors have done in this case is essentially given all police officers a defence that will allow them to shoot anyone at anytime with impunity. So long as they use the excuse that they “didn’t intentionally fire the pistol” because you can’t prove intent can you? But should the intent matter? Surely all it would need is a charge of criminal negligence?
Either way, this is the message that it sends out. Claim your ‘intention’ wasn’t to shoot the suspect and you may just get away with it.