The killing of Tommy McClain; No, we won’t be quiet.

tommy rip

At Commenter “JP’s” suggestion we’ve cobbled together these two comments from “Not a native” which we think clearly state the case.

I agree that the split second decision Linwood made isn’t what we should be debating nor second guessing. The confrontation was set up by the police, they sent the patrol car past to ‘force’ McClain into the house, but that didn’t work and they escalated their intimidation. But McClain was doing nothing wrong other than making the police feel uncomfortable. To me, it’s a kind of paramilitary mentality, absolute control of the ‘theater’ is necessary to ensure force protection. It’s just a wrong tactic in an urban area. If the situation becomes too dangerous, the police should back down rather than increasing the pressure and inciting a more violent outcome.

Mills made some heartfelt statements about how police feel obligated to intervene when something is amiss and even said it’s their sworn duty to do so. I think it’s those statements of his that need to be discussed, not simply accepted as a given. There are many ways to conceptualize police work; absolute control at all times just isn’t a good premise, IMO. It shouldn’t be us against them. If it becomes that there’s no safety for the public or the police.

Of course police deserve reasonable safety on the job. That why they get special training and equipment that other public employees don’t get. And they are given weapons that are illegal for the general public. But having said that their first priority should be to protect the lives of citizens and put themselves into harm’s way to do that. And police are compensated to do that and given large amounts of discretionary power as well as personal stature within their communities. The police’s role is very different from the military whose first priority is always ‘force protection’ in order to retain ability to achieve a tactical objective, even if collateral causalities are likely.

The police are hired to maintain order, not to take possession of the streets eliminating any possible disruptive citizen interactions. In this situation if the person McClain argued with had asked the police to intervene, they would have an obligation to respond to maintain order. But that didn’t happen, that person didn’t feel the argument rose to a level requiring police protection. As it did happen, the police, on their own initiative and without any reasonable suspicion of illegal activity, endeavored to control who is on the street and who isn’t. If the person they were seeking was a danger to the community, the police could have evacuated nearby residents to protect them. But that wasn’t their thought. If they say they were worried about McClain having a gun, that’s ridiculous because he would still have the gun after going inside his house. The Mills statement that McClain ‘puffed up’ was therefore suspicious is prejudicial and indicates to me Mills is simply trying to justify excessive police use of force.

What happened here is the police set up an operation and when it didn’t go as they wanted they tried to force it to happen their way regardless. They were more committed to their arrest objective than to protecting the lives of citizens in the vicinity. That’s the essence of a military mentality. A successful mission is more important than collateral casualties. Submitted by “Not a native”

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38 thoughts on “The killing of Tommy McClain; No, we won’t be quiet.

  1. This what the public debate should be about. To bad Peter Levalle isn’t the mayor again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It would be important to have a public hearing on police policy in Eureka. We need to demilitarize our cops.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Very nicely said. This whole incident smells really bad. So many unanswerd guestions. .Things to not add up here at all. I hope they are able to show this police officer for what he really is. Taking life should never be that easy. . “JUSTICE FOR TOMMY McLAIN” Alicia

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  2. Thank you TE. I think NAN is right on point with his analysis.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree with all this, and yet I still see the grey area where the police in this case could have decided that the sought warranteed individual said to be armed may be arriving at any moment and wanted him out of THE way and HARM’S way, because of possible gunplay and confusion…all good reasons…..and that is where the problem began to quickly escalate to the point that you have made again, so well.

    Sad and bad decisions on both sides, the result shouldn’t have killed him.

    I think the officer that shot was unfortunately perhaps too ready to rock, the two others had him well organized and I think Tommy would have survived, but the too fast on the trigger AND that way too close and intense tactical situation left no wiggle room.

    Now me, older and perhaps wiser and less inebriated I might have retreated to my porch and been careful to not expose the replica gun, knowing that the sight of it could well cause a shitstorm with the police. I probably wouldn’t have engaged in debate but retreated.

    But when I was younger…this could have been me in several times and places.

    I hope his sacrifice was not for nothing here.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I don’t at all agree with that narrative. A soft answer turns away wrath. This article is biased. Whatever happened to respect for authority? The shooting was brought on by a punk attitude from a transplant with no respect for our police. I’m a native son and raised my two sons to be respectful and law abiding not puffy and arrogant towards older people, any authority and be gentlemen when around the opposite sex.

    Apparently this young man wasn’t taught to be respectful and he is the one who escalated his demise and not the police officers doing their duty.

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    • Michael:

      Be respectful or die?

      Seriously?

      The other thing you need to consider is respect is earned… NOT automatically given. Just because one has a gun and wears a uniform does not earn instant respect.

      The sad thing is long ago the EPD lost the respect of the citizens they are sworn to protect and they can’t see that.

      That ‘s not to say the victim was without fault. He screwed up big time.

      But to suggest being drunk and disrespectful while standing on one’s own front yard deserves a street enforced death penalty is way out there.

      Oh, and yes, we are biased. As are you. So what? If any person is still breathing then they have a set of biases in place.

      Liked by 3 people

    • The officers duty that night was to apprehend dangerous felon known to carry a firearm. they diverted your attention to some kids standing in his yard.

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  5. Mola42, How did he screw up? He dropped his hands because they told him to drop his gun.

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    • He argued with people armed with real loaded guns. Not a good idea when you are carrying an unloaded fake gun.

      One may not respect the EPD… but only a fool does not respect the damage a loaded gun can do.

      Again, not a death penalty worthy mistake but still a mistake that got him killed.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Where is it reported that he argued with real loaded guns? He may have been a fool, but that does not justify being killed. No one should be subjected to fatal mistakes, not when dealing with sane police officers. I don’t see the justification here blaming the victim.

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    • Anonymous:

      We agree… he shouldn’t have been killed. I said that.

      As for arguing with armed cops… that’s in the record. Again, he should not have been killed for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Where in what record? Am I supposed to just take your word for that? Show me the record. It might be in some record I missed, but I don’t think so.

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  8. Tactically speaking, Linwood fucked up. In one of the first posts about this tragic outcome I wondered who was in charge of this screw-up. Info given at that time was that Tommy McClain was being given conflicting commands from different officers, all at the same time. Looking at the position chart now furnished it is apparent that Sgt Stephens was doing the right thing in a clear command position. He was giving commands to Tommy in center, but not too close (in front of his squad car) and officers H & M were his well spread out flankers. Then Linwood literally blows into the scene out of nowhere directly in Tommy’s face and within 12 feet or less of him, gun drawn. That stunt usurped the command position that Stephens was in and most likely startled Tommy too. Linwood also may have usurped voice command as well when he should have just stfu and backed off. I have a feeling that Sgt Stephens, though he now is in the unenviable position of having to defend his junior officer, Linwood, could not have been pleased by Linwood’s performance. He’ll never say so, of course.
    From a military point of view – we are concerned about the militarization of the police aren’t we? -well, this is not even how a well trained military fire team operates. Linwood had no business being where he was. He was hot-shotting, in more ways than one.

    Wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Linwood gets early retirement due to emotional trauma, whatever, and his fellow officers will be damn glad to be rid of him. 13 years experience? Doing what?

    Liked by 4 people

    • “Stephens was doing the right thing in a clear command position. He was giving commands to Tommy in center, but not too close (in front of his squad car)”

      Here comes tactical Billy Bob with his POV. Apparently, officers not using cover or concealment is now the preffered Milt method. Even with a perfectly good round stopping engine, Dirty Harry put himself right in FRONT of the car.

      Stephens was either a tactical retard, or didn’t see Tommy boy as a threat. Either way….stupid is as stupid does.

      Keep reading the Bourne series Milt!

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    • Milt, this is the most concise and cogent statement about Linwood’s behavior I have seen so far…I was trying to say this but just could not get there, thanks for it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hey Yogi and Milt it’s Linfoot not linwood. I think Milt is right about Linfoot, but totally wrong about Stephens. It was Sargent Stephen’s bad decision to engage in the first place and everything that happen after that is on him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, keyboard warrior, you’re partly right: “Stephens was either a tactical retard, or didn’t see Tommy boy as a threat.”

      The latter part of that sentence is most likely the correct answer. Thank you. Stephen’s most likely did not see Tommy as a threat at all. Neither did the other two officers at his flank. Why do I say that? Well, who fired off 7 rounds all by his lonesome and who didn’t fire off any?

      Got to believe after the gunsmoke had cleared around Linfoot’s blazing countenance, the 3 other officers must have had that WTF? glaze over their eyes.

      So, kw, explain why Lightfoot Linfoot was the only one with an empty chamber and 7 shells around him after all was said and done.

      Liked by 4 people

  10. When all is said and done, we have a problem across the country of militarized cops, at best, exercising poor judgment resulting in dead people who shouldn’t be dead; and/or, at worst, evidence that a segment of law enforcement is out of control, the judicial and legislative systems are covering for them and the majority of Americans approve or are too intimidated to speak out against it. It looks like we’re heading toward a 3rd world style fascism.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’ve transcribed a few of Mills’ comments made during the Wednesday press conference and have put my concerns about them after each one. I’ve tried not to parse them in a way that takes them out of context. The entire press conference in online if you want to check me. I’ve got only part way through Mills’ statement, I can do more if it seems worthwhile.

    “Decisions that are made in seconds will last for eternity…such is the nature of policing”

    resp:This is a true statement but is it relevant to the incident? I think it isn’t because there were many decisions made by the police over an extended time. The last seconds were an almost foregone result of those choice made with time to consider the implications.

    “McClain appeared to be puffing up, pushing his sleeves up, intently watching where the man had walked, tracking him to the home where he had gone. He indexed…at that point a weapon was not seen however….they were concerned if the driver came back they were going to have an armed confrontation.”

    resp: There is an inconsistency here. Since a weapon was not seen how could the police expect an armed confrontation? At that point they didn’t know he was armed. And the police speculated on ‘if’ the driver came back. Did they have any eason to think he was likely to?

    “”in a police officier’s mind it is a moral responsibility to try to prevent violence”

    resp: Well this is just a self serving statement that could blankly justify almost any preemptive behavior. It also prejudicially introduces the word ‘moral’ to cast the police as inherently moral in anticipation of characterizing this as good vs. bad to put the onus on McClain.

    “…drive by the aggressor’s location in an attempt to force the man with the gun back into the house”

    resp: This is a conclusion from the previous inconsistency. From the earlier statement, the police didn’t know at that time McClain was armed. And McClain here is now described as ‘the aggressor’ to begin to cast doubt on his innocence and reduce his moral standing. Thats prejudicial. I’ve already commented about the tactic of forcing people who’ve not done anything illegal indoors. Are people expected to run inside whenever a police car drives by slowly? If so, that seems like people are supposed to be in fear of the police and feel a need to hide from them. I think that’s a problem

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree, and want to add a little more perspective. Sgt. Stephens was standing out in the open telling McClain he saw “the gun” and was going to shoot him if he reached for it. If the Sgt. was truly afraid, why was he out in the open? It seems his escalation of violent words, coupled with Officer Linfoots lack of info besides the Sgts words, and quickness to shoot a “threat” based on the Sgts words led to a tragedy. Some above are justifying Stephens in this situation, but if not for his command of the scene, poor tactics, and violent commands I don’t believe the outcome would have been the same.

      I’m not a police officer, so I can’t speak from experience. However, it seems like common sense to believe that officers must depend on other officers information in high stress potentially deadly situations. If the Sgt wasn’t really too afraid, which his physical actions seem to indicate, why would he use such harsh commands? Why would the officer coming into the scene distrust his commanding officers words? Poor command seems to run through this tragedy.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve read what Mill’s said in the paper and on blogs and I saw nothing that suggested that the boy was a fool for arguing with those cops that lead to his death. If what Mola42 says is true then he can back it up with a copy of the words that proves what he says is true. If he or someone else can’t then his statement and effort to blame the victim has no credibility. Simple as that.

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    • Anonymous:

      I didn’t say he was a fool. I called no one a fool.

      The victim made a mistake. I make mistakes constantly (I think I’m in the middle of one right now) but fortunately for me I’ve not made them around people armed with guns. Arguing with cops while carrying a replica toy weapon was not a good idea.

      If you prefer a different wording, then let’s say he verbally declined to go inside his house when requested by authorities. That he had the replica toy gun on him presented a problem for the afore mentioned authorities that lead to his death.

      He should not have been killed by the authorities but there it is. The authorities should be held to at least the same standard of the law that we all must abide by.

      How’s that?

      If you are claiming the victim was totally blameless and made no mistakes at all then fine… that’s your view and bless you for holding true to it.

      But you are seizing on a very minor point I made while suggesting to another commenter that his basis for the thought that the victim needed killing was less than rational.

      I mean, really read what I actually said. Okay?

      Liked by 1 person

    • We all have right. Are you saying that arguing with some one give you the right to shoot them? I bet you go in side when the street lights come on to

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  13. Mola42 this is what you said, “He argued with people armed with real loaded guns. Not a good idea when you are carrying an unloaded fake gun.” In response to my question, “Mola42, How did he screw up?” Is this not what you “actually said?”

    I’m not claiming anything or asserting and view, you are. I’m simply asking you to prove what you said, where he argued with the cops where that action directly got him shot like you say.

    What’s your problem?

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    • It appears you didn’t notice I answered your question when I responded to you. He was asked by officers to go into his house and he refused, saying something like, “You can’t make me go back inside.”

      You look it up, I’m tired of goofing with you JB.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. That’s not what got him shot. And no you did not answer my question. Your double-talk, double-speak nonsense does nothing for your credibility. I still don’t see any transcript proving what you say you said to me. You’re just trying to justify your right to vilify and blame the poor dead kid. Those cops killed that boy because people like you empower and protect them. Since when do people not have the right and obligation to argue with the police when they threaten you? People like you make me sick. Who’s JB?

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  15. According to the autopsy the bullet entered through the bicep and into the chest, meaning his arms weren’t raised. what biased crap.

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    • Tommy was shot 3 times, just because he was shot in the arm/chest doesn’t mean his arms weren’t up when he was shot, I’m pretty sure that if I got shot in the head or my a** my arms would go down. I thought Mills was going to wait until the investigation was over before he made up his mind on what he’s going to do, it seems to me he’s not only made up his mind that it’s a “good shooting” he’s also already decided to put officer Linfoot back on the street.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. In May, Alecia Phonesavanh and her son were visiting relatives after their Wisconsin home burned down. In the middle of the night, a Georgia SWAT team burst in the home and tossed a flash grenade that landed in the boy’s playpen, critically injured her 19-month-old son:
    Officers were conducting the raid after an informant said he bought $50 worth of drugs from someone in the house. No money, no weapons of any kind were found in the home.

    Compounding the family’s tragedy after the raid, Georgia officials said they would NOT pay any of the toddler’s medical bills.

    Now the family is rightfully outraged at the latest injustice: no charges for any of the officers involved in the military-style SWAT raid.

    No drugs. No guns. No charges. A permanently scarred family and a young boy who spent five weeks in the hospital clinging to life. All over an alleged $50 drug buy. Isn’t it time for this war to end?

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/10/07/1334884/-No-charges-for-officers-involved-in-raid-that-left-a-toddler-severely-disfigured?detail=facebook

    Liked by 2 people

    • Did any one look at the blood spatter on the bb gun ?? If it was in his wastband the handle would have been stiking up!! But the blood is a long the hole top of it spatterd down .. thats not right is it???

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  17. The confrontation was set up by officer Stevens. Both Stevens and Linfoot on their own instigated the occurrence That led up to the death of Tommy MCclain And with out any reasonable suspicion of illegal activity.
    When officer Stevens chose to confront Tommy in the front yard” BY HIMSELF” while sending officer Linfoot to drive by slowly. that tactic was not used because the police wanted Tommy to retreat inside it was to force him to run. Everybody knows that.
    Because At that time Officer linfoot had already stationed himself in the alley behind the house.
    Tommy did not threaten anybody he did not commit any crime nobody’s life was in danger. The police are hired to maintain order, not to take possession of the streets. PLEASE. There is no justified reason for Tommy MCclain to be shot and killed like a common criminal. He was loved and now mist by so many. It was a bad decision on his part when he chose to bring a broken unloaded BB gun out side but in no way did he show it/grab/reach for when confronted by officers

    Liked by 1 person

  18. This is all so said that kid during like that is it true that Linnfoot only assess the situation in 2 sec.

    Like

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