I watched it go down on live TV. As is my usual practice, I had turned the TV on before pulling my boots off and brushing my teeth. Much to my delight, a car chase was in progress on one of the local stations. You have to love L.A. TV, if there is a car chase and a news chopper is up, you are going to get to see it.
I stood there in my chonies, working on my molars, looking up at the screen. The driver of the pursued car was a real desperado it seemed. It appeared as if he was getting ready to flip a u turn and head back toward the many patrol units that were pursuing him. He was in the middle of his maneuver when one of the black and whites hit him in the driver's side door, causing the car to come to a stop.
The driver crossed over to the passenger's side door, opened it and hopped out. The suspect ran down the freeway, officer's in pursuit, with at least one officer pointing his weapon at the suspect. There appeared to be something in the suspect's hand as he ran.
The suspect stopped a couple of times and pointed the dark object toward the pursuing officers. At one point, the suspect took cover behind a stopped car before resuming his flight and stopping at least one more time to assume a firing stance. I remember thinking "this is going to go bad for someone" and wondered how long it was going to take until someone got shot.
As it turned out, not very long. An undetermined number of officers (probably many) opened up on the suspect, quickly eliminating the threat. The suspect was dropped and cuffed, dying somewhere in the process. The dark object turned out not to be a weapon, but a cell phone. Yet another tragedy, one brought on by bizarre behavior.
If my description was not adequate for the purposes of this discussion, watch the video below. It is exactly what I and thousands of fellow viewers saw.
To be honest, I was not shocked nor horrified. I was glad that no officers were hurt and I felt bad for the suspect, in that he lost his life. However, it appeared to me that the outcome was about what it should have been.
Having been a peace officer for a short time, one that was armed and reasonably well trained, It looks like a good shoot to me, though a tragic one. Either the suspect was really, really stupid, or he wanted to die but lacked the guts or method to do it himself. Either way, a tragedy, someone lost their son, brother or friend. It is not a good thing.
Initially, I withheld commenting on the matter, despite video clips of the suspect's family publicly demanding why their loved one had to die. Despite their ridiculous statements, ludicrous questions and absurd protestations, I figured my lip service on the subject would serve no functional purpose and out of respect for the family, I abstained from expressing my ever humble opinion. That is until yesterday, when the family announced that they filed a $120,000,000 million dollar wrongful death claim against the City of Los Angeles.
The family retained an attorney, I don't know who approached who. Regardless, as the attorney/family partnership has began trying their case in the media, the gloves are off.
Though I am saddened by the loss of this 19 yr old man, I am even further saddened that his lack of intellect or his desire to kill himself has dragged so many others into his mess. This sadness is only surpassed by my anger over the cost to the City that defending this frivolous claim will cause.
Hopefully, this case will get dismissed or dropped before it really gets rolling. In my perfect world, L.A. would fight this at all costs and would prevail, with the plaintiff's attorney getting nothing. As the City of Los Angeles has a history of settling cases rather than fighting them, this is unlikely.
The attorney has probably hit the LAPD lotto, the family will still grieve. The residents of L.A. will all pay.
For those of you who wonder what happens when you wait too long to eliminate a threat, watch the video below. Be warned however that it is very disturbing, I was both shocked and horrified when I saw it and I won't watch it again.
Thanks for reading and allowing me to vent.