Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Police Shootings Under the Microscope

Police shootings of suspects has received a lot of attention lately. There are the never ending cries for greater oversight, more scrutiny and stricter policies when it comes to use of force. Police critics want quicker reviews by prosecuting agencies and demand more criminal filings on officers involved in controversial shootings. The shootings themselves are investigated by the police agency itself, the district attorney’s and/or state prosecutors office and oftentimes by the FBI. Each second involved in the incident, from the moment the officer arrived at the scene till the last shot is fired, is minutely gone over.  Police officers feel under siege, and resent the fact that their job, career and freedom could hinge on the view of an appointee to a police board who has never spent a minute in a police car or has ever been confronted by a violent suspect.

I’d like to tell you about a personal experience I had years ago when I was a young police officer.  I was still on probation and working in a high crime area in Los Angeles.  It was late in the afternoon on a warm day when my partner and I received a radio call of a man with a rifle, shots fired. As we drove up and parked near the location, I saw it was a group of about six small bungalows in an inverted U.  The address of the call was one of the middle residences.  As we deployed towards the house, I took the shotgun with me.  If a situation involves a gun and an indication that shots have been fired, you want to be ready if things quickly escalate. 

As I walked towards the center bungalow, out of the corner of my eye I saw movement near the residence to my immediate left.  At the same time, the front screen door of the residence flew open and hit the front of the house.  As I turned towards the movement and the noise, I saw a person in the doorway holding what appeared to be a rifle, followed by an explosion like a gunshot.  As all this was going down, I was instinctively raising the shot gun to my shoulder to engage the shooter and started to pull the trigger.  As I sighted in on the target, I saw it was a seven year old child with a Daisy air rifle. I immediately let go of the trigger. 

To this day I can still remember how weak kneed I felt with the realization that I almost shot a child.  I didn’t have any time to think, it was over in a micro second. I was acting strictly on training and instinct.  It was only by the grace of God that a terrible tragedy was averted.  A dangerous situation, coupled with instinctual reactions is something to ponder the next time you hear about another controversial shooting.  

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Clinton E-Mails, Bryan Pagliano & Immunity

With the current 2016 election season heating up, there has been lengthy scrutiny by the media regarding presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails.  More specifically, the question of Confidential and Top Secret information being routed through her private server. The recent turn of events finds the media reporting that Bryan Pagliano, the individual who set up Mrs. Clinton’s private e-mail server, has been granted immunity by the Justice Department lawyers investigating this matter. The first thing to look at is whether the information has come from official sources or from ‘leaked’ sources.  If it’s from the latter, than you can’t tell whether it is true or not. 

What I do know from experience is that an individual and their attorney only approach law enforcement and prosecutors to discuss immunity for two reasons.  The first is that they feel they are or may be criminally exposed to prosecution.  The key words there are ‘criminally’ and ‘prosecution.’  The second is that they have information and/or evidence on other individuals involved, oftentimes at a higher paygrade than themselves, that they feel would enhance the investigation enough that the prosecutor would offer them some type of immunity in exchange for it. 

Whether this is true or not in this case, only time will tell.