WV Civil Rights Lawyer

Police Misconduct, Civil Rights Law

Cops Shoot Homeless Man 47 Times

As reported by Fox News, citizens in Inglewood, California are outraged about this latest police shooting (the fourth since May). A homeless man carrying a toy gun in his waistband was shot 47 times when he appeared to reach for it.

Is this not disgusting? Cops want to be treated as if they are military. If one of our brave soldiers in Iraq was confronted with this situation, he either would have disarmed the guy, or would have shot him three times in the chest. Even with an M-16, no solider would waste a 40 round clip on one person. But here we are talking about a homeless guy in California. 47 times? 47 times with a toy gun still in his waistband? It’s like these cops develop a culture among themselves where they roam the streets thinking they are soldiers in Iraq. They think they are above the law, and that all of us citizens are their subjects, and that they can kill us at their whim.

And unfortunately, our brave soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, through ridiculous rules of engagement, can’t fire on an enemy until they’ve had a bullet practically ricochet off their helmet.

Now, as I have said before, I’m not saying that this is true of all cops, or even many cops in West Virginia. Many of our cops in West Virginia, at least around here, are brave soldiers who have been to Iraq at least once. But I’m sure this is true of many, many police organizations in California, as it is in Florida where I grew up. It is a culture of law enforcement. Especially in Florida where you have a large elderly population. They love cops. They want 10 cops for every one retired person. And for some reason, California just breeds bad cops and incompetent agencies.

And then you have those poor embattled cops in liberal areas of the country, such as Oregon. There, the far left loonies distribute decks of playing cards with cops’ names and faces, encouraging violence against them, when they are only trying to do their job.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney.

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September 10, 2008 - Posted by | Police, Police Misconduct

6 Comments »

  1. I believe that the key to analyzing these incidents is finding out how the cops made the decision to shoot. The number of shots fired is usually misleading, and often represents the cop’s training, not his attitude.

    There have been incidents in the past where a cop’s life was threatened, he pulled his gun and fired two shots like he was taught on the range, missed the target, and was gunned down by the bad guy. Consequently, many departments train their cops to keep shooting until the bad guy goes down. That works great until they fire at someone who has nowhere to fall. That’s how some cop pumps 15 rounds into a guy in a wheelchair.

    Soldiers are trained differently. I suspect they’re more concerned about conserving ammunition than cops are.

    I’ll bet when the details come out, the homeless guy with 47 bulletholes will turn out to have been sitting down or lying down or something that would prevent him from falling.

    Comment by Windypundit | September 10, 2008 | Reply

  2. These are some possible explanations, but I don’t think any of them are valid excuses. I don’t believe you will see anybody but these officers – and maybe their lawyers – running to their defense claiming they acted correctly. There is probably a case to be made that they were deficiently trained if this was their gut reaction to this incident.

    Comment by johnbryanlaw | September 11, 2008 | Reply

  3. Received via email from jeremyjbrown98@aol.com:

    John Bryan:

    You don’t know me but you happened to catch me on a very bad day, and I thought I would respond to you since you are a lawyer in West Virginia, as per your website. I happened to see a story on AOL via Fox News, regarding a shooting of a homeless man in Inglewood, CA on 09/10/08 who was ARMED WITH A TOY GUN.

    I first investigated the incident by watching the story on Fox News LA, which mostly concerned citizens of Inglewood saying they wanted to be able to shoot the police??? Apparently there have been lots of police shootings in Inglewood, CA, and the citizens believe the police are using excessive force.

    The story reported that witnesses confirmed the police responded to a report of a homeless man who was walking down the street with a “gun in his waistband”. He was confronted by the police, refused to obey their commands, and reached for the gun. The gun, it was later found, was a realistic looking toy gun. The story reports that he was “unarmed” because this gun was in fact I toy gun (I’ll address this later). The story reports that 7 police officers fired 47 shots at this man. The story reports he was hit (no idea how many times) and killed. Let me sum up the “facts” here by saying I don’t know the real facts, I am writing what the news reported, but we’ll assume their reports were accurate.

    After reviewing the news reports, I looked (I am bored today for reasons I will not reveal to you ) at the comments on AOL blogs regarding this incident. The majority of the comments suggested the following: that cops were criminals and should be shot and other inflammatory remarks directed at the cops, that the cops should have disarmed the man instead of shooting him, that the cops should have “shot the gun out of the guy’s hand,” remarks by so-called “military sniper vets” that they could have definitely shot and killed the guy with just one shot or somehow disarmed him with their bare hands, there were a few inflammatory remarks directed at these people by others claiming to be in law enforcement, remarks that the cops/police should have “realized that the homeless man wasn’t firing his toy gun at them” and other such nonsense.

    I then searched “Google” for this incident and came up with your website westvirginiacriminaldefenseattorney.wordpress.com ! I notice that you are a lawyer (I’ll take you at your word on that one) who lives in West Virginia. You wrote:
    “As reported by Fox News, citizens in Inglewood, California are outraged about this latest police shooting (the fourth since May). A homeless man carrying a toy gun in his waistband was shot 47 times when he appeared to reach for it. Is this not disgusting? Cops want to be treated as if they are military. If one of our brave soldiers in Iraq was confronted with this situation, he either would have d isarmed the guy, or would have shot him three times in the chest. Even with an M-16, no solider would waste a 40 round clip on one person. But here we are talking about a homeless guy in California. 47 times? 47 times with a toy gun still in his waistband? It’s like these cops develop a culture among themselves where they roam the streets thinking they are soldiers in Iraq. They think they are above the law, and that all of us citizens are their subjects, and that they can kill us at their whim.

    Mr. John Bryan, I am not normally a “blogger” but I want to respond to you and all the other idiots. First of all, you are the disgusting one and every other LIBERAL idiot who thinks like you.

    Secondly, as a person with substantial law enforcement experience and some limited exposure to the military, let me address your points. First of all, many cops are veterans or reservists in the military as you point out. Second of all, do you really think a soldier, sailer, or Marine in Iraq wouldn’t shoot any enemy who pointed a gun at him, as many times as he wanted to until he believe that this person pointing a gun at him was DEAD, DEAD, DEAD?

    Legally, you should know that when police are confronted with an APPARENT deadly attack and are in imminent danger of losing their lives or someone else is imminent danger of losing theirs, than can use deadly force (i.e., shoot the threat). They can shoot the threat until the threat is neut ralized (this usually means DEAD, but not necessarily). In this situations, the police obviously didn’t know the gun was a toy gun. Secondly, 7 police officers shooting simultaneously 47 total times (6-7 shots per officer) would take about 2-4 seconds, not that long. If a couple of police officers arrive and tried to talk the suspect and he wouldn’t comply they probably called for backup and the situation escalated. The homeless man (many are mentally ill or otherwise unstable) for some reason reached for the gun. I can easily see 47 shots from 7 different individuals in this situation. I have heard personal accounts by people I know in the military of similar incidents where enemy in a combat zone has pulled something stupid like this and gotten MUCH worse (the enemy was shot at maybe hundreds or thousdans of times). What should be asked is why 47 times, how quickly was the 47 shots, what happened when they shot him, did he go down, and HOW MANY TIMES DID THE OFFICER HIT THE SUSPECT? This would tell me how well/not well the officers were trained and whether they reacted as they should.

    From a tactical perspective: any person who suggests that the police officers should have shot a certain number of times then figured out if they hit the guy or not or gone and done first aid, or shot the gun out of his hand, or disarmed them with tasers or their bare hands is an IDIOT.
    Most people in the military I know would never do this.& nbsp; If you are in a job even the military and have the ability to neutralize someone who is shooting or about to shoot at you, you are not going to screw around with it. If you decide to use your weapon, you are going to do it until the threat is neutralized, bottom line. As to the idea that the cops should have been able to hear whether the guy was shooting back at them, that is ridiculous. How could they hear his gun over their own or the other officers? The officers probably couldn’t tell right away whether their shots were even hitting the guy. It is my understanding that sometimes in combat, military personnel don’t notice this right away, and fire discipline is learned through experience only after they have shot several people (they learn what a bullet hitting a person looks like, IT’S NOT LIKE THE MOVIES).

    Maybe the cops shot a little too much, MAYBE, but if they did I don’t think it was that much, since it likely took only about 2-4 seconds. More likely, the homeless man is lucky that with 7 police officers he didn’t get shot more than he did. Do you really think that 7 police officers would committ murder in front of their police dashboard cameras (the FOX NEWS story reported the existence of multiple police dash camera videos which have not been made available to the public).

    John Bryan you and the people like you are disgrace!

    Comment by johnbryanlaw | September 12, 2008 | Reply

  4. You are right that liberals, by definition, attack and smear cops. But liberal I am not. I am a member of the NRA, and I’m sure I have more firearm experience than any of these cops involved here. The fact is, that there is no excuse for shooting any one man 47 times. We talking about 47 bullets flying through the air, and probably ripping this guy’s body apart.

    Also note that the article stated that the toy gun was in the homeless man’s waistband. Therefore, it is unlikely that he ever pointed it at the cops. He didn’t get shot to pieces and then put it back in his waistband as he lay dying.

    Comment by johnbryanlaw | September 12, 2008 | Reply

  5. Where did you get the idea that a police officer should wait until someone POINTS a gun at them to shoot?

    If you are going to wait for them to point it at you, then you might as well wait for them to shoot you. If they REACH for an exposed weapon, which apparently according to the article this guy did, then it is time to shoot before it’s to late.

    As far as the legal reasons regarding the # of times you should shoot, there are none, AS YOU WELL KNOW. You shoot until the apparent imminent threat to life is neutralized. It doesn’t matter whether that’s 1000 or 1. Someone who is shot and killed by 1 bullet is NOT ANY LESS DEAD THAN SOMEONE SHOT AND KILLED BY 1000.

    Regarding tactical reasons to shoot/not shoot multiple #’s of times those have been addressed in comment #3.

    Finally, the information I have received says that the police (7 officers) fired 7 rounds in 2-3 seconds striking this person 41 times. I think YOU SHOULD APOLOGIZE TO THESE OFFICERS AND AGREE TO REPRESENT THEM SHOULD THEY BE SUED, SUBJECT TO ANY BIVENS ACTION, DOJ INVESTIGATION, IAD DEPARTMENTAL ACTION, OR CRIMINAL ACTION.

    If you are truly a proud American that’s what you’d do. Otherwise, you should be quiet about this thing.

    Comment by jjb98 | September 14, 2008 | Reply

  6. Received anonymously via email:

    Hi Mr. John Bryan,

    I have read your article concerning the shooting of the “Homeless Man” and I totally agree with what you stated. I am a former Army soldier that served in the Infantry in a NATO Rapid Reaction Force deployed with multi-national forces. I do not condone the actions of the “Civilian Cops”. 47 times is really excessive to take out one person. 7 to 1 odds in favor of the cops advantage and using 47 rounds is a complete JOKE. With my military training I would of neutralized the target within the first 2 shots if not the first round. I have shot 40 out 40 with a M-16 A2 with targets as far as 300 meters away and I have done that several times while in the military, so for cops to shoot 47 times really shows that they are not professionals that can not handle the situation in a stressful environment or that their marksmanship is really lacking or the combination of both. I do not know what type of trainingg cops go through only what I see on TV on that Fox reality show “THe Academy”. And if that is any indication of the training they go through, basic training though Ft. Benning makes the police academy a joke. Hmm, must be nice for a trainee cop to go home at night, while the soldier does not see their families until they graduate after 11 or 16 weeks depending on what 11 series Infantry they qualify. I would of never wasted 47 rounds, these cops are lucky they are not in a war in Iraq or Afghanistan, because in a tactical situation every round counts. Case in point look at what happened in Somalia, where the Airborne Rangers & Delta Force was surrounded by the enemy and ammunition was running low…. to use 47 rounds out of stupidly would be futile & very stupid. So my next few comments are directed to Jeremy J. Brown, the third person that posted a comment to you stating that:

    “Second of all, do you really think a soldier, sailer, or Marine in Iraq wouldn’t shoot any enemy who pointed a gun at him, as many times as he wanted to until he believe that this person pointing a gun at him was DEAD, DEAD, DEAD?”

    And I say there are rules of engagement for situations. And in a Infantry Army or Marine Platoon, Marines & Soldiers has direct orders when and when not to engage the enemy. LOL, the only thing that I agree on what he said is when he stated:

    “Secondly, as a person with substantial law enforcement experience and some limited exposure to the military” He is clueless and can not speak for us in the military or prior service veterans.

    Also this person can not spell because he misspelled the word “Sailor”… Just a observation, “attention to detail” which obvioulsy these cops are lacking as well. To not know if they hit the person or not after the few rounds is beyond me. I just shake my head and think that am glad I never joined these Krispy Kreme Cowboys. As I write, I think that maybe perhaps the cops were just scared “SHITLESS” at that moment, but 7 to 1 odds and 47 rounds after the fact is really……I am running out of words & adjectives to say… I just laugh. Actually 7 to 1 odds is wrong… LOL, I almost forgot to mention about the harmless dog that they also shot at that time, so can we say 7 to 2 odds… 7 cops up against one homeless man & a dog??? I read in another article they shot a dog and now the dog is recovering from the bullet wounds, which I think that particular police dept. should be taking care of the Vet bills.

    Regards,
    Bouncer

    “Follow Me, I am The Infantry”

    Comment by johnbryanlaw | October 6, 2008 | Reply


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