Seth Adams

Palm Beach Deputy Sheriff "Forced" to Shoot Unarmed Man Checking In on Family Business

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shot by cop
family photo

Seth Adams was shot to death by a police officer on his way home last Wednesday night. As usual, police officials say the officer was "forced" to shoot the unarmed 24-year-old. Here's how the Palm Beach Post described the encounter, from the police point of view:

As Seth Adams drove his truck home to Loxahatchee Groves from a bar Wednesday night, he saw a man in a car parked in the lot of his family's business.
He lowered his window. The man did the same.

Adams said something like, "What are you doing here?" Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said at a news conference Friday about the incident, in which Adams died from gunshot wounds.

The man in the other car was Sgt. Michael Custer, who was doing surveillance [in an unmarked vehicle]. Custer, Bradshaw said, made it clear he was a law enforcement officer. He was dressed in a black sheriff's tactical-unit shirt and showed Adams his badge.

"There's no doubt that the sergeant made every effort to make sure this guy knew he was a deputy sheriff," Bradshaw said.

Both men got out of their vehicles. Adams lunged at Custer and tried to choke him. Custer got away and ordered Adams to the ground. Adams didn't comply, Bradshaw said.

Instead, Adams went to his truck and appeared to be trying to get something out of it, Bradshaw said. After ignoring more orders to get to the ground, Adams turned and faced Custer, a 14-year veteran.

Custer fired at the 24-year-old, who died at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach. 

Bradshaw helpfully added: "There's only two witnesses here: the suspect and the deputy. And the suspect was not able to be interviewed. Why he decided to assault the deputy? We may never know that."

The police officer is on paid administrative leave, standard operating procedure when an officer is involved in a deadly shooting. A vigil was held in Palm Beach Sunday, where residents were not convinced by the police version of events. A state's attorney will decide whether the shooting was justified.

No further details are available right now as to what exactly the police officer was surveilling in the parking lot of Adams' family's business, a garden store whose website now includes a link to a petition demanding a fair investigation into the killing of Seth Adams.

One customer of the family business described Adams: "He kind of went out of his way to talk to me and he just seemed like a great guy, very passive person, a kindred spirit," a description matched by other friends and family quoted throughout press reports.  He was also, however, arrested in 2007 on narcotics charges. We know this because it seems every time the cops shoot and kill someone, the victims' criminal record, no matter how minute, is aired. As for the cop, though he remains unidentified, the police department has noted he's won numerous awards and never been involved in a shooting before.

Bonus points: The sheriff won't even say how many times the deputy shot Adams (four times, according to his family). Nevertheless, he's certain the deputy was right

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63 responses to “Palm Beach Deputy Sheriff "Forced" to Shoot Unarmed Man Checking In on Family Business

  1. “There’s only two witnesses here: the suspect and the deputy. And the suspect was not able to be interviewed.”

    Convenient, that.

    1. Dead civilians tell no tales.

    2. That’s not counting the tranny prostitute in the cop car.

    3. toughtalking a corpse. classy.

      1. He’s inferring the guy caught the cop with a tranny and died for it, dumba**

    4. Passive voice is apparently a hard habit to break.

      1. The officer’s gun discharged, the bullet flying through the air and striking Mr. Adams. Mr. Adams died from lack of oxygen to the brain.

    5. Two men can keep a secret when one man is dead.

  2. So a law abiding person with a business and a whole lot to lose just randomly decides to attack a cop and buy himself a felony conviction and jail time. Yeah, that seems real likely.

    And since when does “lunging at someone” justify shooting them? Cops are supposed to use an escalating scale of force.

    1. Maybe he caught the virus that causes people to randomly join Al Queda and attack America? šŸ˜‰

    2. It wasn’t the lunging that supposedly justified the shoot, it was the truck reaching into. Not that that makes any more sense.

      1. If Adams was shot in the back or the side, wiggle room for the officer. If Adams was shot in the front, not much left for the officer.

  3. **Lights Dunphy Signal**

    1. Yeah, he seems absent a lot lately. Probably because we just don’t get it, and we’re mean to those noble selfless protectors, and that one time a cop was punished for something which invalidates all of our criticism.

      1. I think he’s disappeared from the internet entirely. I’m pretty sure he used to comment over at volkh.com under the name pwhit, and I haven’t seem him there for a while, either.

    2. Dunphy will just say we need more information to make the call. And he’ll be right.

      1. Dunphy will just say we need more information to make the call

        The Sheriff doesn’t seem to think so.

      2. Why? The deputy was on private property. He should have left.

  4. Both men got out of their vehicles. Adams lunged at Custer and tried to choke him. Custer got away and ordered Adams to the ground. Adams didn’t comply, Bradshaw said.

    Instead, Adams went to his truck and appeared to be trying to get something out of it, Bradshaw said. After ignoring more orders to get to the ground, Adams turned and faced Custer, a 14-year veteran.

    Custer fired at the 24-year-old, who died at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach.

    TOTally believable. Sounds like a righteous kill.

    1. Sounds to me like the cop was being a dick, and was shocked when an amiable person who looked like he could be pushed around was pushed too far and stopped being amiable.

      1. With the info in the story above, it makes no fucking sense at all.

        ‘3. ???? 4. PROFIT!’ makes about a 1000% more sense than the description of the event above.

        1. I should explain, and this is rank speculation.

          I don’t know what happened, how the guy ended up with 4 bullet wounds to the chest.

          I speculate, though, that the cop shot him because their interaction was spiraling out of control, and the cop was trying to use physical force to assert control.

          In my experience, amiable people tend to switch to being assertive when their back is up against the wall. So, I am speculating that that switch was what caused the cop to feel a need to assert control.

          In my experience, amiable people give very little warning before they stop being amiable and this can be very shocking to people who are bullying them.

          Again, rank speculation on my part, and I could be 100% off base on this.

      2. How did this not happen in the first 14 years of the cop’s career? Disrespecting the authoritay happens a lot more than we hear about.

        I’m not saying it was a good shoot, just that the cop probably didn’t just randomly shoot a disrespecter.

        1. How can you say it didn’t?

        2. 14yrs, time for a kill

  5. Pffft, this guy was playing life on the lowest difficulty setting, clearly he deserved it.

    1. Goddamnit. I had finally stopped thinking about that and now it’s in my head again. Fuck you, Scalzi.

      1. I had too, but today he released a “response” to his critics that is an epic piece of trolling:

        http://kotaku.com/5911853/stra…..-follow+up

        1. You read stuff that shithead writes?

        2. Privileged white men like to universalize their privilege; it abates their white liberal guilt if they can convince themselves their privilege is not unique to them but shared by their racial and gender cohort. But have Scalzi show up in the Ozarks and tell them their living life on an easier setting than, say, the Obama children.

  6. “A state’s attorney will decide that the shooting was justified.”

    1. Dammit, how’d that happen? The “Whether” was supposed to be crossed out in that quote.

      1. It’s better this way.

        1. More accurate anyway.

  7. Horrible story. What was the deputy servailing?

    1. the back of his lazy eyelids.

  8. So many questions regarding this. Obviously, the idea of someone just randomly deciding to assault a police officer is absurd, but so is a police officer randomly deciding to shoot a civilian. There’s definitely something big missing here. Was the police officer doing something he shouldn’t have been and was caught by Adams? Or was Adams the one under surveillance and attacked?

    One thing that makes me suspicious is from this article where it says his brother found him in the back of the property. Where the hell did the deputy go? Did he not call an ambulance after shooting him?

    1. What I don’t get is how the cop’s RoE don’t allow him to shoot someone who is choking him, but do allow him to shoot someone for reaching into their truck.

    2. That’s bothering me too. Was his brother already on the property? Was the cop investigating the brother? That article said the police seized all the computers at the business. WTF does that have to do with a shooting? There’s a lot that doesn’t add up here.

      1. There was video footage to be examined / destroyed.

    3. He was trespassing for openers. I’m guessing Adams told officer Ric to get the fuck off his property – which started the argument.

      Very rude form to do “surveillance” from private property without permission.

  9. “The police officer has not been named and is on paid administrative leave, standard operating procedure when an officer is involved in a deadly shooting. ”

    Maybe the poor guy just wanted a few days off. Surveillance can be taxing. šŸ™

  10. He was shot 4 times in the torso.

    The deputy was working undercover in a tactical uniform which apparently makes sense in Florida.

    Fortunately, the sheriff’s office confiscated all the computers at the garden shop, including the ones connected to the numerous surveillance cameras.

    1. Yeah, not exactly the best disguise.

    2. Fortunately, the sheriff’s office confiscated all the computers at the garden shop, including the ones connected to the numerous surveillance cameras.

      It’s the only way to be sure that all the incriminating footage is properly deleted.

  11. He was dressed in a black sheriff’s tactical-unit shirt and showed Adams his badge.

    I am always amazed that police think flashing a badge (and wearing a shirt?) is going to convince someone who has reason to be skeptical.

  12. the police department has noted he’s won numerous awards

    They have Special Olympics for cops now?

  13. Did that a hoodie he’s wearing? Were there Skittles nearby?

  14. The man in the other car was Sgt. Michael Custer, who was doing surveillance [in an unmarked vehicle].

    What was he surveilling? A quick check of Google Maps shows clearly that there is nothing else within sight of their business.

  15. Its PUNK cops like this I jsut LOVE to hear about in the news that get clipped in the line of duty. Sadly we will NEVER know what really happened cause all we have is some crooked cops word for it. How pathetic.

    http://www.Privacy-Masters.tk

    1. When you’ve lost anon-bot, you’ve lost America.

  16. Blam! Blam! Halt! Or I’ll shoot!

    1. Damn, haven’t seen your handle around here in a while.

  17. The shooting will be ruled justified. Without any other witnesses or evidence (a personal beef between the two men) I don’t see how it can be ruled any other way. We’ll never know how it really went down, which is almost certainly not how Custer described it.

    1. “We’ll never know how it really went down, which is almost certainly not how Custer described it.”

      Yeah, especially once the cops erase all the surveillance footage they confiscated.

      1. Seriously. There needs to be some way to ensure that evidence videos are duplicated by a third party before confiscation. The best way is to have duplicate records stored off site in real time if you have security cameras.

  18. When your only tool is a hammer…

  19. Imagine the same scenario involving two civilians. The truth, to a large degree, cops have a license to kill, just like James Bond. It’s that simple. And, apparently, people want it that way.

    1. I’m sticking with my earlier recommendation. We take a completely useless federal law-enforcement agency, like the DEA for instance, and relive them of all duties except investigating other police agencies.

      In a case like this, they investigate as a crime immediately. They also treat the erased surveillance recordings as a crime. Lock up the whole department and give them a little prisoner’s dilemma of their own.

      1. They also need to have civil forfeiture powers to confiscate the police dept’s assets.

  20. A “badge” is not ID or convincing proof that the bearer is a police officer. Anyone can get their hands on a badge. Many people have been fooled by impostors in this very fashion and horribly abused, mistreated and killed because they were duped.

    Nobody in an “unmarked car”, ie, “a car” with no ID except some shiny badge one could get from a cereal box, has any expectation of having their “credentials” accepted.

  21. Sad Sad, There were many ways this could have been prevented, but as always ” I fear for my life”. You see a strange vehicle in your driveway. You approched to see whats up, the the cop rsponed aggressively , you went towards your vehicle to get your phone to verifiy if this guys is really a cop. He pulled out a gun and treathen to shoot you, you got shot with your cell phone in your hand.
    Since when you loose that right to enquire when someone is on your property. I spent 10 years in this job, saw many things that i did not like i had to get out. i have family members who are not cops and i want them to be treated with respect too.
    That sheriff Ric Bradshaw is a maggot, and he as no clue what hes doing.

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