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Posted: 2/15/2006 2:57:13 AM EDT
TPD officers cleared in shooting
By Jennifer Jefferson
DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER


Tallahassee police acted appropriately when they shot and killed 17-year-old John Hayes of Thomasville, Ga., according to the results of an internal investigation released Tuesday.

"They were justified in the force they used," police Spokesman John Newland said. "They followed policy and procedure."

The internal affairs investigation cleared the officers, Dan Copelin, Nick Roberts, Bob Todd and Steve Damm, of their last hurdle before returning to active duty. They will go back to uniform status Saturday. They all have received the mandatory counseling.

Hayes' family members are in shock, according to their attorney.

"We don't agree," said Joseph Weathers, attorney for the family. "They're really shocked and saddened that the officers are (being) given firearms and being put back on the streets."

John Hayes died early Nov. 26 in a parking lot on High Road after the four officers fired 15 shots at him because they said they feared he was reaching for a gun. The officers had responded to a report of gunfire coming from a dark-colored Chevrolet Caprice.

A Leon County grand jury found that the police acted appropriately last month.

According to the internal affairs report, here is what happened:

At a felony traffic stop, the driver of a Caprice, Demetrius Ross, complied with the officers and confirmed that a firearm was inside the car.

Hayes, a front-seat passenger, opened his door before being told to do so, got out of the car and dropped face-down on the ground but ignored officers' demands to crawl away from the car.

Hayes kept repeating, "Sir, Sir, I'm saying Sir." The officers said they couldn't understand him.

Officers approached Hayes to subdue him, but he suddenly rose. They fired a Taser weapon at him twice and struck him in the leg with a baton but couldn't stop him from moving toward the car's open door. Hayes was wearing multiple shirts so the probes of the Taser did not make contact with the skin.

When Hayes dove into the front seat, the officers fired simultaneously. All officers, except Todd, who said he fired after he heard shots, said they were unaware someone else had fired their weapon, according to the internal affairs report.

Copelin fired nine shots with his pistol. Roberts fired four shots with a rifle. Todd fired once with his pistol. And Damm fired once with his shotgun. Hayes died almost instantly. Although the report states that officers fired 15 shots, it also states that bullets entered Hayes' body 23 times. He was was struck in the head, neck, back and buttocks.

The officers on scene warned Hayes his movements could lead to him being shot, according to the report.

"Officers may use deadly force only when they reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent great bodily harm to themselves or another person, or defend their life or the life of another person from an imminent threat," according to deadly force guidelines. Also, "when feasible, before discharging a firearm, officers shall identify themselves and the intent to shoot."

The officers felt threatened, and they shot at Hayes until they could stop the threat, Newland said.

Officers later found a 9mm semi-automatic pistol located under the driver's seat within Hayes' reach and a loaded .22-caliber handgun on the rear floorboard in a holster. A toxicology exam found marijuana in Hayes' system and a blood-alcohol level of .25.

"We are not discouraged by all these findings," Weathers said. The family will proceed with a civil suit against the city within 30 days, he said.

"The evidence will prove they have acted improperly," he said. "We are not going to let them get away with it."

...and, surprise, surprise, the civil suit has already been filed. For millions of dollars.

Link Posted: 2/15/2006 3:03:36 AM EDT
1) Live a life of crime.
2) Get arrested repeatedly and walk out the revolving door every time.
3) Finally do something that gets you killed by another criminal or the police.
4) Have your family live off the millions your wrongful-death lawsuit brought them.
5) Burn in hell for all eternity, cocksucker.

I'm sensing a pattern here.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 3:05:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 3:12:11 AM EDT
The article doesn't even mention the fact that they "allegedly" had just driven by a very popular night club and cut loose with a few rounds in the parking lot. Hell, since this occurred, we've had FIVE more shootings at the same club. Two this past weekend.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 3:14:03 AM EDT
"Although the report states that officers fired 15 shots, it also states that bullets entered Hayes' body 23 times"

Lee Harvey Oswald must have been there.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 3:14:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2006 3:20:38 AM EDT by vanilla_gorilla]

Originally Posted By The_Reaper:
"Although the report states that officers fired 15 shots, it also states that bullets entered Hayes' body 23 times"

Lee Harvey Oswald must have been there.



Shotgun blast.

ETA:
9 of .45
+
1 of .45
+
4 of 5.56
+
1 of 00 buckshot (9 pellets)
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 3:15:06 AM EDT
I would have shot his ass too.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 3:28:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By UH_SALT_RIFLE:
I would have shot his ass too.

Yep.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 3:45:34 AM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 3:49:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2006 3:50:29 AM EDT by efpeter]

Originally Posted By Sylvan:

Of course, a BAC of .25 doesn't exactly help the decision making process.




Where does it say that. Do you have another source?




Edit. Okay. I reread it. I guess I missed it.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 3:55:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Swindle1984:
1) Live a life of crime.
2) Get arrested repeatedly and walk out the revolving door every time.
3) Finally do something that gets you killed by another criminal or the police.
4) Have your family live off the millions your wrongful-death lawsuit brought them.
5) Burn in hell for all eternity, cocksucker.

I'm sensing a pattern here.



+1

Max
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 6:55:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:
The article doesn't even mention the fact that they "allegedly" had just driven by a very popular night club and cut loose with a few rounds in the parking lot. Hell, since this occurred, we've had FIVE more shootings at the same club. Two this past weekend.




Let me guess-

is it The Moon
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 7:01:14 AM EDT
Hey, if your dead kid can't get you millions what is he good for?

I'm sure it's all about justice...
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 7:02:00 AM EDT
Keep doing the opposite of what they tell you to do and stick your hands into the car...


Bang.

I wish I could sit on the Jury for that civil trial.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 7:02:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2006 7:03:11 AM EDT by ArmedAggie]
This is a great example of why we need to reform our civil courts. If they lose they should be held accountable for reimbursing the defendant's costs. That's the only way to slow down this lawsuit business.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 7:04:20 AM EDT
When I read articles like this it makes me not regret my decision to leave the LEO field.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 7:07:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:

Originally Posted By The_Reaper:
"Although the report states that officers fired 15 shots, it also states that bullets entered Hayes' body 23 times"

Lee Harvey Oswald must have been there.



Shotgun blast.

ETA:
9 of .45
+
1 of .45
+
4 of 5.56
+
1 of 00 buckshot (9 pellets)



IMO That's pretty good shooting. I seem to remember seeing a statistic that said that 95% of shots fired by police officers in the line of duty miss their intended targets (because of stress, etc.) I do remember a video of an Ohio officer being surprised by a criminal who fired shots at him at point blank range and missed and the cop responded and missed.

These guys must have hit with 100% of their shots and the guy with the shotgun put ALL of his pellets on target.

Investigating a shooting.
Suspect confirms a firearm is in car.
Second suspect lunges for car.

I would have shot at him as well.
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