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We asked attorneys in the United States what their legal opinions were about the recent police killing of a thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez. He was holding a toy weapon. The shooting took place in Santa Rosa, California and made national news. We wanted to share their legal analysis with our readers.
As the 2001 founder of www.familylawcourts.com, for the past 12 years I have warned the public about criminal cops, i.e., thugs wearing badges. Ironically, the shooting of innocent people of all ages is an outgrowth of cities competing for grant funds and more fire power equipment from, Homeland 'Security.'
Additionally, in the case of trigger-happy cops, the 'get out of jail free card' is a simple line in his or her follow up report wherein the police officer writes 'I was in fear of my life.'
(This is a direct result of legislators making the police largely immune from prosecution.)
Another increasingly mammoth issue is also rarely addressed.
Reporters would be hard-pressed to find a district attorney who doesn't label each shooting 'justifiable' - including one famous San Diego case involving a dozen so-called 'highly trained, elite' SWAT team members (dressed in full armor and protective shields) who rained down a hail of bullets on a mentally ill homeless man in a cross-walk, waving a stick.
Every single member of this 'highly trained, elite team' then filed a report stating they were 'in fear of my life.'
Every single one. Are you seeing a pattern?
Compounding the issue is the District Attorney. The DA's basic job function is "to search for the truth." And the truth is generally the first casualty. However, the DA's willful failure to meet this basic job criteria meets the now watered-down test for corruption. The baseline definition of corruption in public service, is:
'A failure to provide basic honest services.'
(Ironically, every attorney running for the job of District Attorney is slavishly devoted to acquiring endorsements for law enforcement.)
Increasingly I have also discovered departments hiring misogynistic cops. See below. It turns out women are paying taxes for police services the police refuse to provide. http://www.familylawcourts.com/kendra_beebe.html
The problem begins with the hiring practices of police departments from a psychological viewpoint. Reporters seldom ask about the individuals conducting psychological evaluations prior to hire, or counseling during employment, citing, 'confidentiality.' This must change as the psychologists themselves are suspect.
But it is a failure of media that not a single case reported identifies the police department psychological expert.
Worse, is the state psychological board which take no action for perjury. The basic function of these boards are to provide oversight. Instead p, boards often protect the bad actors.
This may be why in 2013 one Californian legislator recommended disbanding these oversight boards.
After detailing years criminal activity by police officers, the bottom line remains the same. The tax paying public is in harm's way and clearly at risk. Every law enforcement agency or office created to protect, largely does not, except in extreme examples.
Unfortunately, media chooses to cover each ongoing example of failure as a separate issue, rather than focus on the entire, systematic breakdown of safety, first from the inside, then continuing with 'oversight' agencies rubber-stamping failure with their approval. Wish the news was better, but it is not.
Usually, toy guns have a red tip to let police know it is a toy. Did this toy have a red tip? Could the police tell he was only 13 years old? Perhaps a toy gun is not the best gift for a child. An investigation will be conducted to determine if the police used excessive force. It will depend on all the circumstances. Police sometimes have to make life or death decisions in a split second so that is taken into consideration.
Requiring toy guns to be made only in bright colors is a good idea, but like anything involving gun control there is opposition. In determining whether the officer used excessive force, all the circumstances will be considered including the officer's background with the police department, whether he should have realized it was a boy with a toy gun, whether he identified himself as a police officer, etc.
I think one issue to look at is why the police officer shot the boy 8 times.
-Glenn Litwak, founding member of The Law Offices of Glenn T. Litwak
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