Justifiable in Eureka; 2nd degree murder in New York

Tale of Justice in two Cities: Eureka, Ca & New York NYnew york akai

While the exact particulars are different, there are some striking parallels between this shooting and the unjustified killing of Tommy McClain. The Examiner believed, and still believes that a second degree murder charge was and is appropriate for Linfoot and Stephens.

A New York City police officer was indicted Tuesday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in a Brooklyn public housing complex stairwell in November, several people familiar with the grand jury’s decision said.

Officer Peter Liang, 27, who had been on the force for less than 18 months, was patrolling a darkened stairwell at the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York when he fired a single shot that fatally struck the man, , as he walked downstairs. Less than 12 hours after the shooting, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton called Mr. Gurley, 28, “totally innocent” and characterized the shooting as an “unfortunate accident.”

A grand jury impaneled last week decided it was a crime. The jurors indicted Officer Liang on several charges, including second-degree manslaughter, said a law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the indictment had yet to be unsealed. The other charges are criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault and two counts of official misconduct, the official said.

Reform advocates and some elected officials welcomed word of the indictment. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who campaigned on improving police-community relations but who has been battered by revolts among officers, offered a more muted response.

“We urge everyone to respect the judicial process as it unfolds,” the mayor said, calling Mr. Gurley’s death “an unspeakable tragedy.”

There was no encounter or words exchanged between Officer Liang and Mr. Gurley before the fatal shot, the police said.

Officer Liang and his partner, Officer Shaun Landau, entered an eighth-floor stairwell in the Pink Houses at about 11:15 p.m. on Nov. 20. Officer Liang had his 9-millimeter gun drawn, according to the police, not uncommon for officers walking the interiors and rooftops of public housing complexes in so-called vertical patrols. His partner kept his gun holstered.

At the same time, Mr. Gurley and his girlfriend, Melissa Butler, entered the seventh-floor stairwell, 14 steps below.

According to the police account, almost as soon as Officer Liang opened the door, his gun went off. He immediately moved back onto the rooftop, the door closing in front of him and his partner. Officer Liang then uttered words to the effect that he had accidentally fired, the police said at the time, citing the partner’s account.

Ms. Butler ran from the sound, but she turned when she noticed Mr. Gurley was no longer following. She found him near a fifth-floor landing. Then she rushed to the apartment of a friend, who dialed 911.

Legal experts and former prosecutors said the case was different from that of Mr. Garner in several basic respects. For one, while officers are given broad discretion to use deadly force, the police have described Officer Liang’s actions as unintentional.

Unlike Officer Pantaleo, who took the stand on Staten Island to tell grand jurors why he moved to restrain Mr. Garner, — an encounter captured on video — Officer Liang did not take the stand in the Brooklyn case, the law enforcement official said.

“What’s he going to say?” said James A. Cohen, a law professor at Fordham University Law School and expert in criminal procedure. “ ‘It was dark; I was scared.’ That’s not going to hold up in front of a grand jury.”

In seeking a top charge of second-degree manslaughter before the grand jury, prosecutors had to demonstrate probable cause that Officer Liang was aware of the risks posed by brandishing his gun, that he consciously disregarded them and that it was “substantial and unjustifiable,” according to the penal code.

“That’s bold,” Bernard E. Harcourt, a professor at Columbia Law School, said of the manslaughter charge.

Experts said that to demonstrate probable cause for one of the lesser charges, criminally negligent homicide, prosecutors had to show only that Officer Liang failed to perceive the risks that his actions posed.

Full story here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/11/nyregion/akai-gurley-shooting-death-officer-indicted.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

In the New York case, an officer made a rash decision based on an unjustified fear.Tommy McClain & puppy That officer will now face serious charges for killing an innocent civilian. In Eureka, Tommy was killed by Officer Linfoot because of a rash decision caused by mistakes and unjustifiable fears. Unfortunately, the only avenue of justice left for the relatives of Tommy is through the Civil Court system. While the cop apologizers will cry “Payday for the greedy family”, the fact is that suing the city is the only way for the family to have any of the truth brought to light. Thank you for talking that hard step and we are confident that in the future there will be at least some “Justice for Tommy McClain”.

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24 thoughts on “Justifiable in Eureka; 2nd degree murder in New York

  1. “the fact is that suing the city is the only way for the family to have any of the truth brought to light.”

    yep, well said TE.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree. The family has lost someone they love dearly, and I’m sure would love nothing better than to have their loved one alive and home. That can’t happen, and the local justice system didn’t work. Now, they’re left with civil court. Even if they win and get a “pay day”, it still won’t cover the true loss that they’re left with. However, some light may be shed upon the murky stories that have come out so far. A worthy cause I believe.

      Sad that some would like to make it seem as though a family is greedy, when all that they want is some sort of justice in a system so broken that the civil courts are the last recourse for most families.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Go to the feds? What juice would they hold? Go try on their behalf, and see how far that gets you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How is the shooting in New York, described in the article, ANYTHING like the McClain shooting???

    The officer in New York stated that his weapon “accidentally” fired as he opened the stairwell door. He never even saw the persons in the stairwell, as they were a floor below. The New York shooting was purely accidental. The officer has been indicted, but will most likely only be convicted of an accidental death.

    McClain has a BB gun, that resembled a real gun, on his person, and confronted the EPD while drunk. Witnesses already stated they saw the weapon, officers saw the weapon. McClain was drunk.

    If TE wants to say that these to shootings are similar, then the shooting of McClain must be viewed as an accidental shooting.

    Thanks for clarifying your position TE. All of Eureka now knows that the McClain shooting was only an accident!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • …….if the facts don’t fit the “get the cops” crusade, they don’t get mentioned. Had it been anything other than an accidental discharge, the cop would have empied his clip.

      Like

    • I took the point to be theres a full and public trial in New York, In Eureka there was a cover up and lies.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Tommy McClain did not confront the Police THEY confronted him. Tommy was already near the entrance to his house. The similarity between these two tragedies is Reckless Actions on the part of the Officers involved. Yea…right…the gun went off “accidentally”…….Yea right…Linfoot “feared” for his life. Both Officers made reckless choices that resulted in a death of an innocent victim. But closed minded creeps like yourself will only accept one version of this tragedy….the story the Police provide, and thus you will continue to blame the victim. I have news for you bud….there are many of us in this community who believe that the Police were responsible for this tragic death and we totally support the family, in their pursuit for Truth and Justice.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The McCain family was horrified at the reckless disregard for Tommy’s life shown by officers Linfoot and Stephens. That horror was compounded by the complete failure of the local justice system from the DA, DOJ and to the Police Chief.
    Worst yet, for the most part the local media has signed off on Mills concocted version of events.
    That bogus troll Eureka Citizen on this blog tried impune the family’s wish for some form of justice as a money grab or “payday”.
    All the money in the world can’t fill the void left by the sudden and unjust departure of a loved one. Only justice can provide any measure of relief.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Where did Eureka Citizen ever say anything negative toward the McClain family?

      I’ve looked, and can’t find a single comment from Eureka Citizen regarding this tragedy.

      I’d be careful making false assumptions about a group that, apparently, has deep enough pockets to sue you for slander.

      Like

  4. Your an idiot. Tommy McClain had a gun

    Like

  5. For Argument sake lets go a long with the story he had a gun. He did not brandish it
    The DA said the officers observed what they believed was Tommy moving his hands towards the BB gun. Obviously to a police officer they believe that ever one is a potential dangerous criminal. If they made a reasonable observation the officers would have concluded that Tommy was scared, confused and wasnt a potential danger. The only danger that occurred that night was initiated by the EPD

    Liked by 2 people

  6. To just a PayDay
    Your sick” you definitely need to seek some kind of help, it’s a high price to pay for some compassion
    Or should I say having no compassion

    Liked by 1 person

  7. No one can take a post seriously that keeps repeating how “every law enforcement agency investigation absolved the officers”….

    So why worry about a civil trial, it’s cut-and-dry, right?

    No, it’s the thin blue line watching its back in good old boy country.

    The NY comparison is apt.

    In both cases we have inexperienced and terrified officers that probably joined because there were no other “pay days” available to them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Got to love how comments are “moderated” on TE.

      If comments are posted that appear to be “out-of-line” with TE’s twisted form of “justice” for the McClain family, they are mysteriously left out until “reviewed by moderator”, and then never appear.

      I’ll bet, if there is a civil trial, and the McClain family loses, you folks will still scream “No Justice!” from your high horses. What does it take to satisfy your definition of “justice”?

      Like

      • They are not going to lose. The cops will get that dimwitted attorney who so screwed up the Cotton case so bad it was an embarrassment. That cost the City $4M. This gets heard in the Bay Area, not corrupt Humboldt County.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. An autopsy conducted over the weekend determined the cause of death for 22-year-old Thomas McClain to be from a gunshot wound or wounds sustained after being shot by a Eureka police officer on the morning of Sept. 17.

    Humboldt County Deputy Coroner Roy Horton said the autopsy was performed on Saturday and determined the cause of death to be “death by gunshot,” but he said he was unable to release how many times McClain was shot or provide any other information.

    “We can promise that the facts in the case will come out,” he said. “We want all the facts together, all at once, and someone from the CIRT (Critical Incident Response Team) unit will make a statement.”

    McClain was fatally shot by a Eureka police officer at around 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 17 as officers were searching the area for two suspects wanted on felony arrest warrants. When the officers were on the 1600 block of Allard Avenue, they noticed two men arguing in front of a residence, according to a release from the department.

    One of the arguing men was McClain, who allegedly had a handgun, according to the Eureka Police Department. A gun was found at the scene during the investigation, according to an earlier statement from Eureka police Chief Andrew Mills, but no further information on the firearm was provided. As the argument escalated, the department said more officers were requested. The officers commanded McClain to drop the gun. McClain allegedly tried to grab for the gun instead before he was shot by a Eureka police officer, according to the department. McClain was taken to St. Joseph Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    The name of the officer involved is currently being withheld from the public. Eureka police Sgt. Steve Watson said that Mills is scheduled to hold a press conference regarding the incident on Wednesday in what he said will be a “fairly significant update” on the investigation.

    “We’re trying to get as much information out as soon as we can,” he said. “There is a fair bit of information that he’s going to share on Wednesday.”

    Mills said two officers were initially placed on administrative leave after the incident and one currently remains on leave. He said he would not answer any more questions until Wednesday.

    The fatal shooting is being investigated by the Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team, which is made up of investigators from the district attorney’s office, sheriff’s office, Arcata Police Department, California Department of Justice and the Eureka Police Department.

    McClain’s cousin Nichole Mottern said that family and friends will be holding a funeral service in Fresno on Friday.

    “We’re just pretty much together right now with family and we’re just frustrated,” she said.

    Mottern said the frustration is due to a lack of information.

    “It’s just really a sad, sad thing we’re going though right now,” she said. “The police have not been keeping any of us in the loop. I don’t know anything, I wish I did. I feel like we’re all sitting in the dark with this.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. TE – unprecedented speech, apparently, by a FBI Director on race.

    We are clearly not experiencing the bias of race which is a distinct and important problem, however the racial bias James Comey discusses and the income/social standing/drug abuse bias we experience is analogous in many ways.

    Some highlights from this article…

    “We need to come to grips with the fact that this behavior complicates the relationship between police and the communities they serve,” Mr. Comey said in the speech, at Georgetown University.

    One remedy, Mr. Comey said, would be for the police to have more interactions with those they are charged to protect. “It’s hard to hate up close,” he said.

    But this is what compelled me to post this here. I really think we need these numbers and we should be speaking to City Council members and, importantly our state and national leaders. This seems to me to be a no-brainer and the only possible opponents would be police unions, NRA advocates and reactionary conservatives. This is the type of information we need though to move the dialog forward so we don’t have to put up with this character-annihilation each time one person becomes a victim of our justice system. Here’s the boring, stats-related quote from the Director of the FBI…

    He said that law enforcement agencies across the country needed to be compelled to report shootings that involve police officers so there can be a baseline to measure the issue.

    “It’s ridiculous that I can’t tell you how many people were shot by the police last week, last month, last year,” Mr. Comey said.

    Yes, it is absolutely ridiculous and this needs to change…yesterday.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/13/us/politics/fbi-director-comey-speaks-frankly-about-police-view-of-blacks.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=photo-spot-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tommy McClain was unarmed and posed no threat to anyone when he was shot dead in front of his home, Sept 17, 2014, by multiple EPD cops.

    Liked by 2 people

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