Derrick Foster Speaks
Foster, remember, is the former Ohio State University football player charged with shooting and wounding two police officers during a drug raid in Columbus. He had no prior criminal record, had a conceal carry permit for his gun, wasn't involved with any illicit drugs, and has a spotless record of employment as a code inspector for the city of Columbus. Foster admits he was at the house the police raided to shoot dice, but says he had no idea the raiding officers were cops.
"What I heard was a boom," said Derrick Foster. "Like somebody was trying to kick in the door."
Foster, who played football at Ohio State, told 10TV News that he never heard anyone identify themselves as police officers.
"The first reaction from everyone inside was we were being robbed," Foster said. "We're being robbed."
Foster admitted that he went to the East Rich Street house to gamble. He also said he brought his gun—which he had a license to carry—for self-defense.
"My whole mentality was, if there were robbers, I want them to know somebody's in here with a gun," Foster said. "Go away."
According to Foster, someone else inside the home fired the first shot.
"Whoever was outside fired back in, and that's when I un-holstered my gun and I fired two shots," Foster said. "Basically, I was firing two shots, like a warning shot."
"They feel like, hey, this guy's a criminal," Foster said. "I'm not that. I'm not that—and I want them to know I'm not that."
"I'm more remorseful than any person could ever be. This is something that has to stick with me for the rest of my life."
The police don't seem to have any such regrets.
Officers Garrison and Gillis did not comment on the pending court case, but said anyone who opens fire on another person needs to be held accountable.
"I think any person that has a firearm and is willing to shoot at any person is a dangerous person," Garrison said.
I wonder if that would include the officers who blindly fired back into the house.
Incidentally, this was the third drug raid of the night for the Columbus narcotics SWAT team. The police say the house Foster was in was "a suspected crack house." That doesn't appear to be the case. No one in the house has been charged with any drug crime. The only charges stemming from the raid are the attempted murder and felonious assault charges against Foster and Michael Gravely for their reaction to the raid. It looks like there wasn't even enough gambling going on to merit a charge.
It would be nice to see the Columbus media ask some tougher questions, here. Upon what evidence did the police conduct this raid? Why was this "a suspected crack house?" Why no drug charges? What does the affidavit say? Where there any controlled buys at the house? Is it typical for the narcotics unit to conduct three raids in one night? Early reports described a witness who claims to have heard police give an order to smash in the house's windows just prior to the raid. Did that witness hear an announcement? Was it loud enough to be heard by the people inside?