Unfortunately, I'm not talking about Ryan Frederick.
More than a year after a law enforcement officer’s mistake left a teen dead and a family in grief, Peyton Strickland’s parents finally have found closure.
That closure came on Tuesday evening with a settlement of $2.45 million and a public apology from New Hanover County [North Carolina] Sheriff Sid Causey. Additionally, Causey agreed to an independent review of the heavily armed team responsible for Strickland’s death.
Strickland’s parents, Durham lawyer Don Strickland and his wife, Kathy, had two years from the time of their son’s death on Dec. 1, 2006, to file suit. Former New Hanover County Sheriff’s Cpl. Christopher M. Long was not charged with a crime, leaving Strickland’s family without closure.
Long shot Strickland to death in the process of a raid. The sheriff’s Emergency Response Team was in the process of arresting Strickland for armed robbery. Long mistook the sound of a battering ram for gunshots.
His gear included a hood, earpiece and helmet that he said muffled his hearing.
I don't think Long should have been charged, either, though it's good that he's no longer part of the police force. I just wish prosecutors and grand juries would show the same sort of deference to the people targeted by these raids that they show to police officers. After all, unlike the police (allegedly), the targets of these raids aren't well-trained. They don't have the advantage of knowing the raid is about to take place. And the raids use tactics whose specific aim is to disorient and confuse the people they're raiding. Yet Ryan Frederick, Cory Maye, and others sit in jail cells. Long merely lost his job.
Of course, the better solution would be to only use home invasion police tactics against people who present an immediate threat to others.