Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Return of Fleeing Felon? Louisiana Shooting of Running Teen Justified


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In Shreveport, on the afternoon of 30 October, 2017, three suspects are alleged to have been breaking into a car behind a restaurant. The restaurant owner surprised the suspects.   He felt threatened, and fired at one of the suspects, hitting him in the head. The suspect later died. The other suspects fled the scene. Two police officers, a Lt. and the police chief, also fired at the suspects.  From
Tacorey Banks, 17, was one of three teens allegedly breaking into a car behind a restaurant when the car's owner confronted the teens and shot Banks in the head. Banks died of his injuries at University Health in Shreveport.

The other two teens, Darrien Miles and Xavier Thomas, ran, pursued by Police Chief Alan Crump and other officers.

Crump is on routine paid administrative leave after shooting at the suspects. Crump didn't hit anyone.

Lt. Matt Prunty also shot at a suspect. He remains on duty.
A grand jury refused to indict the victim, businessman Marcus Jackson,  who fired at the suspects and hit one of them, Tacory Banks. From
Jackson's attorney, Shante Wells, said his client was justified in his actions.

"What he did was what I would have done, or you would have done, or anyone who wanted to protect his life would have done. Thanks goodness he was ready, able and prepared to defend himself," Wells said. "It was obviously what the grand jury saw.
It does not appear that the fleeing suspects shot at the victim or at police officers. They clearly were running from the crime scene and refused to stop. The police chief and the Lt. were both cleared of wrong doing.  From
In an interview with detectives about why he fired, Crump said he perceived the suspect as a threat. He had heard shots being fired seconds earlier, although it turned out those were fired by another police officer chasing Miles.

"I yelled to him to stop, and as I yelled to him to stop I had my weapon drawn and he slows and turns back... not fully toward me... but he slows and kind of looks back," Crump said. "And as he slows and begins to make that turn, I fired."

Video of the incident, from a camera in one of the police cars in the area, does not show Miles turning. It turned out Miles did not have a gun.
 In 1985, in Tennessee vs. Garner, the Supreme Court held that laws authorizing the use of deadly force to stop fleeing felons were unconstitutional. In practice, using deadly force against someone fleeing a crime scene depends primarily on how the person attempting to stop the suspect perceives the situation.

In this case, both the businessman and the two police officers believed themselves to be in danger, before they fired at the suspects. When they arrested one of the remaining suspects, Xavier Thomas, they impounded a handgun they found at the residence.

The grand jury and the town administration both accepted the victim and police were reasonable in their belief they were in danger. No charges were filed or discipline administered. The Police Chief was put on administrative leave while the shooting was being investigated.

The attitude of the public toward armed defense of self and property appears to be shifting back toward the common attitude of 70 years ago. At that time, shooting at suspects fleeing a serious crime scene was generally accepted. Farmers fired at suspects stealing their produce at night. A person who fired a warning shot to prevent intruders from coming near to a country house was considered to be acting reasonably.

Self defense stories are making their way into alternative news sources. The major media are no longer able to spike almost all mention of armed self defense.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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