Saturday, September 18, 2010

Impunity Rules Supreme

Times-Standard's Matt Drange reports today that: “Fatal shooting ruled to be justified; report found no unlawful conduct in police shooting of Eureka man.”

This judgment was expected, but it is no less the tragedy. Not because another person is summarily shot down by the police, but because of the defacto license it gives all local police to continue and expand their assault on the general public.

Look at how the District Attorney Paul Gellegos and Assistant District Attorney Wes Keat's use of “after-the-fact” information to demonstrate unsubstantiated and unprovable “intent” to justify the killing, if not murder.
"Sequoia's system helps explain how such a senseless thing takes place,” Keat said in an e-mail to the Times-Standard. “He made it clear in an intense physical struggle over the gun that he intended to use it on the officers. It is a tragic thing but no part of the outcome was the fault of the officers.” [Emphasis added]
Previously EPD Chief Garr “Neilsen said that the report came back as he expected, adding that Sequoia would have killed Coon had the officers not reacted the way they did.”

There is absolutely no proof that what they say was justified at the time of the killing. 

The last time I checked, all law-abiding citizens possess the legal right to own and carry firearms for legal self-defense and other purposes. The reality however, is that in these Northern Counties, the mere possession of such a weapon will get you summarily dead. The police position and implementation, that is continued and justified in this ruling is that WITHOUT any proof of intent, other than simple possession, they are legally justified to act with lethal force.

Since the death of this boy, not one letter was published in the Times-Standard that addressed some of the outstanding issues and questions involved. As far as this community is concerned, no doubt due to how the Times-Standard used “after-the-fact” information to bias their reports, the police were totally justified right from the start.

What they reported is that David Sequoia was, without any justifiable provocation, physically assault by Kris Coon. At that point, Sequoia had the legal right to resort to a weapon in his self-defense. That's point number one. Point two is, neither one of those police officers knew for an absolute fact at the time they shot Sequoia that it was actually his gun. They just plain got lucky. To say he was going to kill Coon or the police officers is an unsubstantiated assumption that led to his unjustified death.

Point three is, Kris Coon's unwarranted and unjust actions mixed with police knee-jerk reaction to use lethal force as a first response caused that boy's untimely death. He is responsible and needs to bear some accountability too. Problem is, the only way you can justify what the police did is justify what Coon did.

The bigger problem that faces everyone, whether they like it or not, is that when people like Kris Coon can get away with going at their neighbor in the same way he obviously did, pits neighbor against neighbor. More than that it tends to make the police the enemy, rather than a friend to call on in a time of need.

The Joe Blow Report has written extensively about this right after the incident. The Report raised some questions, conflicts and contradictions about the incident as reported by the Times-Standard. They reported this outcome as a foregone conclusion - no harm no foul. The cozy relationship expressed in this kind of continued reporting exposes compromised reporters. This community deserves better. Here is the list, starting with the first article:

  1. Who Really Killed David Sequoia? – March 19, 2010
  2. Basic Freedom: No Right To Touch
  3. Personal Safety in Eureka is an Illusion
  4. Stacking the Deck – March 24, 2010
What we'd like to know is WHY no one at the Times-Standard or anyone else has not asked these outstanding questions and got some explanations for the rank contradictions. Everyone (mostly) seems to think EPD Chief Garr Nielsen is doing a good job with the police department. How that is justified when he can make this kind of a statement is beyond reason: "It appeared to be a pretty clear-cut case,” Nielsen said. “It seemed from the outset that the officers used necessary force given the circumstances.” When he answers and defines these "circumstances" maybe then he'll have some credibility. Until then, Impunity Rules Supreme.

No comments:

Post a Comment