Saturday, March 01, 2008

The aftermath of a screwed-up SWAT incident

The handwritten settlement reached this week that resolved the fallout over the shooting death of 18-year-old Peyton Strickland included just three main points, officials say.

They were: $2.45 million, headed to a scholarship fund; an apology, issued Wednesday; and an audit of the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office's Emergency Response Team. On Thursday, county officials said plans for the review aren't set but they are open to outside advice.
Attention turned to the office's Emergency Response Team on Dec. 1, 2006, when Cpl. Christopher M. Long mistook the sound of a battering ram for gunfire during a raid.

He fired through a door, killing Strickland, a student at Cape Fear Community College, who was wanted in connection with the robbery of video game equipment. Strickland wasn't armed. Causey said Wednesday that Long mis-evaluated the threat. A grand jury considered the case but chose not to indict.

On the face of it the most basic point is that the officer screwed up: he heard what he thought was gunfire and shot through a door. SERIOUS violation of basic firearms rules, the kind that generally has police and prosecutors trying to hang a citizen who does such. I dug around in some earlier stories and found this:
His gear included a hood, earpiece and helmet that he said muffled his hearing.
So part of his excuse(and I have to use that word) for shooting through a door is he had so much equipment on he couldn't hear very well. Wonderful.

Yes, I am being snarky. The biggest factor of this is a SWAT team was used when it wasn't called for. Again. And again, somebody wound up dead.

One of the reasons I get so damn tired of hearing about cases like this is I get tired of seeing things like that illustrated below:

A New Hanover County Sheriff's Department ERT member walks through Taylor Homes during a search for escaped inmate Joseph Corbett Wednesday afternoon.

I understand the armor, etc. But would someone please explain, in simple terms my mind can wrap around, why they're wearing masks? They're searching for an escapee, not undercover agents who need to keep their faces hidden, dammit: WHY do they have to hide their faces?



Anonymous said...

They hide their faces to avoid being recognized. No Storm Trooper wants his neighbors to know who he is.

Gerry N.

Jennersen said...

Masks remind me of another enemy. The one over in the Near East chanting to some deity in a language I cannot understand. Aren't we at war with people hiding behind masks?

Fire said...

Kinda like "just put a paper bag over the head" thing.

Anonymous said...

They wear masks because they are (rightly) ashamed of what they do.