$4.5 Million Settlement for Family Of Unarmed Man Killed By Police with Submachine Gun

The city of Downey will pay the family of Michael Nida $4.5 million after he was shot in the back by police officer Steve Gilley in 2011 with an MP5 submachine gun. According to the autopsy, he died of multiple gunshot wounds. Nida was unarmed at the time and was detained twice before the shooting. According to an investigation from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, while Nida was detained officer Gilley threatened to "blow [Nida's] head off." The settlement came a day before a civil trial was to begin.

"We would have liked to hear a guilty verdict, but we had to weigh the pros and cons [...] Money is not justice," said Teri Teramura, Nida's sister, to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, noting that she hoped the Department of Justice would get involved.

The L.A. district attorney's office found through their investigation that Gilley was justified in using deadly force against Nida. From the LA Times:

Prosecutor Stephanie Sparagna, however, wrote that Nida repeatedly resisted arrest and ran from police three times. He also ignored warnings from police, including one from the officer that he would "blow his head off" if Nida did not show his hands.

Sparagna found that Gilley reasonably feared Nida and was armed and dangerous, even though he eventually was determined not to be the robbery suspect and was unarmed. Sparagna said Gilley was required to make a split-second decision.

"Given the rapidly evolving, dangerous situation that confronted Officer Gilley, we conclude that Officer Steven Gilley was justified in using deadly force to prevent Nida's escape," she wrote in the report released Tuesday.

In Reason TV's Cops with Machine Guns: The Killing of Michael Nida Jean Thaxton, Nida's adoptive mother, took issue with use of the submachine gun itself asking, "Why would he have a machine gun? We’re not in a war zone, I didn’t think. I didn’t think this was a war zone."

"An ordinary patrolman isn’t going to be carrying something like a submachine gun," said Timothy Lynch in the piece. Lynch is the director of the Project on Criminal Justice at the CATO Institute. He says that even if they have those types of weapons, they should only be using them in rare situations.

"At first when they got it, the idea was, yeah, this is extraordinary weaponry, we’ll have it just in case we’ll ever need it.” But as decades went by, police started to use them to enforce drug warrants and then started carrying them on routine calls.

Militarized weaponry is acquired by law enforcement from a number of different places but often it includes the Pentagon and politicians. For more, watch Cops with Machine Guns: The Killing of Michael Nida:

  

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  • MJGreen||

    "Given the rapidly evolving, dangerous situation that confronted Officer Gilley, we conclude that Officer Steven Gilley was justified in using deadly force to prevent Nida's escape"

    We had to make sure the innocent person didn't escape.

  • WTF||

    If the police let innocent people escape, there would be nothing but lawlessness!

  • robc||

    Its been said many time before but needs to be repeated:

    We need to demilitarize the police and depolicify the military.

  • ||

    What does "depolicify[ing] the military" entail?

  • sarcasmic||

    Not playing world policeman.

  • Steve G||

    as in world police -- nation building

  • deified||

    No more endless nation-building commitments?

    Wars, when fought, should be maximally lethal and short, short, short? (Now where did we misplace those tactical nukes?)

  • LTC(ret) John||

    We really are better at going, breaking things, killing bad guys and leaving shortly thereafter.

  • WTF||

    The city of Downey will pay the family of Michael Nida $4.5 million after he was shot in the back by police officer Steve Gilley in 2011 with an MP5 submachine gun.
    The L.A. district attorney's office found through their investigation that Gilley was justified in using deadly force against Nida.

    Yeah, that totally makes sense and is not at all contradictory.

  • ||

    What is more contradictory is this part, in my opinion:

    The settlement came a day before a civil trial was to begin.

    "We would have liked to hear a guilty verdict, but we had to weigh the pros and cons [...] Money is not justice," said Teri Teramura, Nida's sister, to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, noting that she hoped the Department of Justice would get involved.

    So money is not justice, but instead of going to jury with this case and having 12 normal human beings hear the case and find in your favor, you took the money?

    Justice is taking this to trial and screaming the facts of this case from the rooftop so that every single one of the scumbags involved in trying to brush over this is known and made public. Unless the $4.5 million (which will undoubtedly be subject to taxes... more bullshit) is used to further the cause of justice in these kinds of cases, taking that settlement is cowardly.

  • $park¥||

    I think you're misreading this. Instead of having a civil trial, a settlement for $4.5 million was reached. They would have like to have heard a guilty verdict, but instead:

    The L.A. district attorney's office found through their investigation that Gilley was justified in using deadly force against Nida.

  • ||

    Just the fact that the city is willing to settle AT ALL, says to me that they knew they were unsure of how good their case was. I think that's to the advantage of the plaintiff (Nida's family), to know that the city is willing to settle to avoid going to trial.

    I don't know, though, ultimately. Who knows what the money will be used for?

  • $park¥||

    I guess if I heard that the investigator had found the guy justified, that would have tipped me off to not even bother pursuing the criminal case and hope for the best with the civil. I don't know, you have a good point too.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm sure they were told that if they did not take the settlement, that there was still a very good chance that the jury would back the police. They tend to do that more often than not.

  • ||

    Who is Paul Detrick and why does he hate heroes so much?

  • $park¥||

    "Given the rapidly evolving, dangerous situation that confronted Officer Gilley, we conclude that Officer Steven Gilley was justified in using deadly force to prevent Nida's escape," she wrote in the report released Tuesday.

    ATFPAPIC this was a good shoot. the scumbag basically signed his own death warrant when he decided to run even after the officers threatened him. there is no way you can tell me he didnt deserve to be shot. the officer clearly followed the continuum of force and only fired when he was given no other choice.

    hth

  • WTF||

    Needz moar 'totality of circs'.

  • Andrew S.||

    And more acronyms made up on the spot.

  • Andrew S.||

    Actually, looking back, his real post was far worse than this. He called the victim a coward.

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/10.....nt_3334813

  • $park¥||

    *facepalm* Fucking Dunphy...

  • WTF||

    Yeah, his real post was vile.

  • SugarFree||

    He's always just been a troll and nothing else. The libertarian cop is a sick fantasy too many indulge in.

  • Pencotron||

    It's very much a fantasy. Otherwise I'd still be a cop.

  • PapayaSF||

    I would not go so far as to say he was "justifiably shot." However, this is another case where not being an idiot about the police would have saved his life.

    He tried running from police but was detained. Nida ended up breaking free from police custody twice, resulting in a foot chase....

    Common sense should tell you that running from police searching for an armed robber is stupid. Breaking free of custody, twice, is even more stupid.

  • SugarFree||

    "If that bitch would have just stopped talking back to me I would have never hit her. It's her own fault he jaw got broke. Why you so stupid, bitch?"

  • PapayaSF||

    That's not really an apt comparison. To adjust your metaphor, it's more like knowing that there's a hot-tempered guy down the block who you rarely have any interaction with, but deciding to repeatedly provoke him instead of just keeping your mouth shut.

    This is not one of those cases when somebody is sitting calmly at home and a SWAT team busts down his door (the wrong one). I have 100% sympathy for people wronged by police in such circumstances, when they did nothing wrong. But it seems inarguable that Nida contributed to this outcome. If he had just let himself be questioned, he'd have been fine. But no, he had to act guilty around armed people who were looking for someone dangerous. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

  • SugarFree||

    I don't think the way to disprove his fear of the police hurting him was to fill him with bullet holes.

    The police create a culture of distrust and fear and then kill you when you react in the manner they generated. The police shot and killed an innocent, unarmed man. I don't give a shit what they think makes that a justified action.

  • PapayaSF||

    True, this is not the way to disprove fears of the police, and again, I am not saying this was justified. I am only saying that Nida did three stupid things in a row, and that those things contributed to what happened. He didn't deserve to die. Similarly, the guy who left his convertible in the bad neighborhood late on Saturday night with the top down and the keys in the ignition and the engine running didn't deserve to have it stolen, either.

  • ||

    Is that a chapter in your upcoming PUA manual? "NEGGING...WITH FISTS."

  • Homple||

    Hey PapaySF, are you sure that being stupid is a crime punishable by immediate summary execution?

  • Zeb||

    That's not what he said at all. More like the guy should have known that many police are violent pussies who get a little trigger happy when any hint of danger or lack of respect for authority is in the air, so he might have known that trying to run again might get him shot, especially after he was explicitly threatened with being shot. No justification of the police behavior is necessary at all to make that argument. IT is foolish to provoke a dangerous animal. That doesn't mean that it's a wonderful thing if that animal eats you (or shoots you in the back) when you do.

  • PapayaSF||

    Thank you, yes. I have noticed that these police wrong-doing stories seem to fall into two categories: the sort in which the victim did nothing wrong, and the sort in which the victim did something stupid (or a series of stupid things). Pointing out the contributory stupidity is not the same as supporting the police wrong-doing.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Hey look, it was my comment that led to that little outburst.

    I bring out the best in others.

  • Steve G||

    So "escape" is punishable by death. got it..

  • sarcasmic||

    The L.A. district attorney's office found through their investigation that Gilley was justified in using deadly force against Nida.

    Investigator: "Did the fucker deserve it?"
    Officer: "Fuck yeah! Killing people is awesome! I can't wait to do it again!"
    Investigator: "Justified!"

  • ||

    Fuck. The. Police.

  • deified||

    I know that this will probably end with me in jail or, if I'm lucky, up against the wall and facing execution by firing squad but i would just like to take this opportunity to say: Fuck you, America. FUCK. YOU.

  • Tim||

    Nobody needs a machine gun.

  • WTF||

    Nobody needs a machine gun to kill a deer. Suspects, on the other hand, need lotsa shootin'.

  • SugarFree||

    It was unreasonable for him to try to escape. What, did he think the officers might hurt him or something?

  • Brett L||

    Well fuck. I saw this coming when that company in GA said they could do this. Fuck off, slavers!

    Under his bill, guns made in the United States would have to be built with this technology two years after the bill becomes law. Older guns being sold by a business or individual would have to be retrofitted with this technology after three years.

    The bill says the cost of retrofitting these older guns would be paid out of the Department of Justice's Asset Forfeiture Fund, where confiscated assets from criminal investigations are placed.

  • General Butt Naked||

    That's terrible. Not that I care, as I lost all of my guns in a freak boating accident months ago.

  • Tim||

  • General Butt Naked||

    That sounds awesome.

    Paley Anderson, who moved from Los Angeles five years ago and runs a tile store in Middlebury, 10 miles from the lake, thinks the sport of fish-shooting is ``like, well, shooting fish in a barrel.''

    ``Just because you've done something for decades doesn't make it right,'' said Anderson, 36. ``Centuries of slavery? Doesn't make it right.''

    Can't these fucks just stay in California. Christ, they're like a spreading fucking disease.

  • Tim||

    Yeah: shooting fish = slavery. Nice.

  • Brett L||

    You too?

  • General Butt Naked||

    It's an epidemic. I've been hearing the same story from guys all over the country.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Yeah. I now use my gun safe to house a colony of rabid wolverines, so I'd be careful about opening it.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Did I say "rabid"? I meant "Ebola-infected."

  • $park¥||

    James Bond? Apparently these people never saw Judge Dredd.

  • Andrew S.||

    The good one from last year, not the terrible Stallone one, right?

    And don't give them that idea. Please. That's probably the punishment for anyone other than a police officer using a gun in the future.

  • ||

    Are you kidding, Judge Dredd is a statists wet dream.

    A world in which an enlightened supercop is empowered to dispense justice on the spot...oh.ohh..ohhhhhhhh.

    ...I need a shower.

  • Andrew S.||

    This story and ones like it would seem to indicate we already live in that world.

  • sarcasmic||

    Yep.

  • $park¥||

    The good one from last year, not the terrible Stallone one, right?

    How DARE you! I haven't seen the new one yet, but don't you call the original terrible. Next thing you know, you'll be saying The Fifth Element sucked too.

  • Andrew S.||

    I love Fifth Element. But the original Stallone Dredd is just terrible. It's not so bad it's good, it's just... bad.

  • $park¥||

    Sorry but having Karl Urban play Judge Dredd is like having Thomas Jane play the Punisher. In a sane world stuff like that just wouldn't be done.

  • Brett L||

    Seriously. Rebecca Romain would have made a better punisher.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    "Agents demanded the phones of all officers at the scene the night of the capture of Dzhokhar be confiscated to avoid the photos becoming public before being used as evidence at trial, according to two law enforcement officials.
    A FBI spokesperson said agents cannot confiscate phones without a warrant and officials said none of the police approached would agree to turn over their phones to the FBI."

  • sarcasmic||

    Cops aren't little people so they don't have to obey.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Sparagna found that Gilley reasonably feared Nida and was armed and dangerous...

    While I suspect that first "and" was a typo, it speaks truth.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    RESISTANCE IS FATAL

  • JeremyR||

    Was it fully automatic? If not, it really wasn't a submachinegun, but a carbine.

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