The city of Oakland, California decided to pay a man $1.2 million to settle a Civil Rights lawsuit against the city. The man was shot in the back by an Oakland Police Officer and is now a paraplegic. The rub with many people is that the victim was in the act of committing a robbery when the officer shot him. The cop thought the man had a gun and shot him in self defense. But, the man was unarmed. This echoes back to a case in Louisville a few years ago. A young man was conducting a drug transaction with an undercover cop. When the officer identified himself, the youth ran and reached for what the officer thought was a gun. The kid was shot three times in the back and died. While, the case showed that what the officer thought was a gun was in fact not a gun, the investigation revealed that the young man was indeed armed with a gun. The Louisville Police Officer was charged with murder. The officer in question was acquitted of that murder charge but he was later fired by the city for not following procedure.
These types of cases come up from time to time. The cop has to make a split second decision. In these two particular cases, the men were in the act of committing a crime. In both cases, the cops thought that the suspect was going for a gun. In both cases, neither was going for a gun, though in the Louisville case, the man was armed. In both cases, the officer shot the suspect in the back.
If a man robs a liquor store and, while driving away, accidentally runs over someone, he would most likely get charged with murder because the incident happened while they were committing a crime. How is it that a suspect is held responsible for his actions during the act of committing a crime, yet, is not responsible for putting himself in a position to be shot by police because he’s committing a crime?
Should cops be punished for mistakes made in shootings in which the person shot was in the process of committing a crime? Should those “victims” be able to collect for damages in those situations…in effect get paid for being injured while committing a crime?
These are not isolated incidents. Just recently, a man who was convicted of a violent armed robbery filed a lawsuit seeking monetary damages for injuries he received when trying to flee the scene of the crime. Are cities like Oakland setting a precedent for such payoffs?
On This Date in History: Lost to much of the pages of history are attempted assassinations. (Here is a list of failed presidential assassinations) President Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 was a former President who was running to get his old job back. He had filled the term of the assassinated President McKinley and finished his own term in 1908. In deference to the precedent set by President Washington, Teddy Roosevelt decided against running in 1908, instead promoting his Vice-President William Howard Taft who won handily. Teddy was not happy with the way in which Taft ran things and decided to challenge him for the Republican nomination for the 1912 election but power interests in the party which had fared better with Taft than Roosevelt, backed Taft and Roosevelt did not get the Republican nomination. So, he formed his own party, the Progressive Party, which came to be known as the “Bull Moose Party” after TR’s tough-guy bull-moose image. Roosevelt ended up getting about 12 million votes to Taft’s 8 million but the pair split the Republican vote which led to the election of Woodrow Wilson as President.
On this date in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt got into a car after dining at a hotel in Milwaukee. He was headed to give a speech. When he turned to wave to the crowd, a shot rang out from the .38 caliber revolver in the hand of John Schrank. Schrank had been pursuing Roosevelt for many days over many miles. He had been reported to be having dreams of William McKinley and also felt that no one should get more than two terms as president. When Roosevelt turned to the crowd from his car, it opened up and opportunity for Schrank to shoot the candidate at close range.
The shot his Roosevelt squarely in the chest. But, in his breast pocket, Teddy had the thick, 50 page, folded up text of his planned 90 minute speech. He also had a metal spectacle case. The bullet was slowed by the eye-glasses case and the thick speech. While the bullet entered his body, it did not penetrate his heart. Initially, Roosevelt did not realize that he had been shot but, after he did, he insisted on giving his speech. He arrived on the podium and proudly showed the crowd the hole in his speech and said that it took more than an assassins bullet to kill a bull moose. While the speech (text of speech) was abbreviated, he still stood before the crowd for quite awhile and rebuffed attempts to get him to conclude the speech so he could go to the hospital for attention. He went to the hospital in Milwaukee and reluctantly allowed for a tetnus injection and then went to a Chicago hospital where he was released on October 23. But, that was just a little more than a week before the election and he was prevented from making important campaign stops, which may have influenced the election and leading to Wilson’s victory.
Here’s the kicker. The bullet was never removed.
Weather Bottom Line: Still looks like crappy weather through the rest of the week if not into Saturday. It will be cloudy with off and on rain and showers. We may not see 50 degrees until Saturday afternoon.