Police Abuse

Police At DUI Checkpoint "Unloading like Super Trigger Happy…Just Blasting this Car to Pieces"

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Last week a bunch of cops shot two guys (Jerry Melvin and Antoine Graham) at a DUI checkpoint in Brunswick, North Carolina; neither were killed though one is still in the hospital. As this report from WECT-TV, local NBC, has it, they were charged with, respectively: "eight counts of AWDW with intent to kill, eight counts of AWDW on a government official and one count of felony conspiracy" and "10 counts of assault with a deadly weapon with Intent to kill, 10 counts of AWDW on a government official, one count of flee/elude arrest with a motor vehicle, one count of felony conspiracy, one count of possession of marijuana up to ½ ounce, and possession of drug paraphernalia."

Star News Online reports that the men were accused of trying to run over officers at the checkpoint, and also says the North Carolina Highway Patrol says "their office was called in to investigate a collision between a vehicle either Graham or Melvin, or both, were in when a patrol deputy executed a PIT Maneuver, which is used to stop a fleeing car during a police chase."

Some concerned citizens have been complaining to WECT that they are amazed no one else was killed in the incident:

"Every cop turned around and started unloading like super trigger happy as if their training was coming into full effect and they were being able to utilize it," said [Jared] Cleerdin. "Everybody was just blasting this car to pieces. It was absolutely terrifying."

They were stunned with what was happening, as officers reportedly shot dozens of rounds—in the direction on-coming traffic.

"Cops are shooting from the front of the car, back into the rest of the on-coming traffic to the check point, into the rest of the innocent civilians down the road," said Cleerdin.

Cleerdin says he believes the officers acted with no regard for public safety.

"It was way beyond reckless," said Cleerdin. "I couldn't believe it. These are professional people, professional officers, and they're training, they're highly trained and they're not supposed to do stuff like that."

Officials with the sheriff's office are keeping tight lipped about the incident. No one will tell us who shot the two suspects, or what even led up to the shooting….

Modern policing! Public safety!

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  1. And there are comments. Most of them are pretty sane. But there are a few real beauties.

    No reports of other vehicles being hit by stray bullets. No reports of bystanders or passerbys being hit by stray bullets. I would say that these trained officers performed as they were trained to perform. What may look random to the untrained can very well be precisioned and calculated by those who are trained. People can make all the comments they wants out these officers being reckless but they can’t escape these two facts that rebuke such remarks.

    And

    Based on their statements, you would think the Cleerdin’s felt the cops should have foregone their personal safety in order to avoid “terrifying” innocent people. Sound pretty selfish to me. Especially when the two suspects were reportedly posing an immediate threat to everyone’s safety.

    1. Ugh. Unfortunately, we always have the “THANK GOD FOR OUR HEROES IN BLUE!” types to bring down the room.

      I’m just glad no one else was hurt.

  2. A free country shouldn’t have military style police checkpoints.

    1. WHY DO YOU WANT THE TERRORISTS TO WIN??! WHHHHHHHY!??

      1. Wake the hell up, the terrorists have won. What they really attacked on 9/11 was our way of life. They have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in manipulating our [hapless leaders or opportunistic tyrants, you choose] into taking away our freedoms. If we (the American citizens) don’t fight back to reclaim those freedoms, we will no longer be citizens, but subjects much like the colonists were before the Revolutionary War. Time to stop being sheeple and rid congress of the Democrapublican establishment next november.

    2. A rational person’s approach upon seeing a military-style checkpoint in an ostensibly free country is to assume it is a fake checkpoint operated by terrorists/enemies of the state and should either flee or attack anyone operating the checkpoint.

  3. These are professional people, professional officers, and they’re training, they’re highly trained and they’re not supposed to do stuff like that.”

    Hahaha, good one.

    1. Yeah, I was thinking that maybe I see what his problem is.

    2. Well they ARE professionals with a lot of training. Training in dealing with things through force. They are trained and primed to deal with problems through coercion. It’s like the gaming trope, “The Gun Is My Skill List”. For many police departments, every issue is to be solved with force.

      “Compliance” is the word of the day. Failure to comply means an escalation of force, and any fear or sense of danger is call for immediate threats and use of force. If people are given a tool, they will use it, and the only tool they have that ordinary citizens don’t is the discretion to use threats and force to get their way. So they’ll use the tool that they almost exclusively hold when a situation comes up.

  4. Sometimes, it really does feel like posts like this exist just to find a way to target a disfavored group within the libertarian community.

    Look, worst case, the cops here were entirely reckless. Blasting away like it was a movie set. And they should likely be disciplined for it.

    But how this this then elevate it to an H&R post? People who use dangerous tools will on occasion use them recklessly. This is going to happen. They’re human. I’m not trying to defend the cops here. I just think that what H&R should be sniffing out is abuse that’s particular to the public sector. Anecdotal stories of trigger happy individuals with guns is just as likely in both the public and private sectors.

    I think when a cop story displays a level of symptomatic callousness, or when we’re talking about police militarization, or when we’re looking at general trends, then we’re into H&R territory.

    But this. This just seems like yet another “let’s post an anecdotal story that paints the public sector in a bad light” story. Bah.

    1. Look, worst case, the cops here were entirely reckless. Blasting away like it was a movie set. And they should likely be disciplined for it.

      But of course they will not be. There currently is no penalty for cops being reckless and stupid thanks to police unions. That is why these sorts of cases have to be publicized. If cops don’t want them publicized, they should agree to be held accountable for their fuck ups.

      1. That’s the nicest thing you have ever called me.

        1. Like mom taught you, “If you have nothing nice to say….

          …fuck up something in HTML and your post will be DISAPPEARED!”

          /SugarFree

          1. I’m someone’s mom? Wait, wh… where’s my penis! WHERE IS MY PENIS?!? Oh, there it is. Come on out, buddy. No one’s going to hurt you.

    2. I just think that what H&R should be sniffing out is abuse that’s particular to the public sector.

      Military style assault with legal impunity is specific to the public sector.

      Who else gets to unload thousands of rounds (perhaps even with assault weapons) in the middle of public just because they saw a puppy?

      It may be the only time I’ve ever said this: There oughta be a law!

      1. with legal impunity

        You and John are making my point. We haven’t gotten to the “and nothing else happened” phase yet. Until then, it’s not really an H&R story.

        1. Maybe you should get at job with Reason so you can get to decide what is and isn’t H&R worthy. Or you could start your own blog and put whatever you want on there.

        2. I wasn’t aware you were the arbiter of what is an H&R story, as opposed to say, you know, one of the editors.

          1. Dearie me…the gall of a reader giving feedback. Clearly, all readers should simply stay silent and take what H&R gives them and be thankful.

            That certainly explains how Weigel became a verb.

            1. Fine, you gave feedback. And got flamed for it. What the fuck did you expect?

              1. After years in the series of tubes, I actually expect to get flamed every time I make a post anywhere, whether or not I’ve made a rational, cogent statement. Actually, especially if I do that. Getting flamed is the way it goes.

                These days, I also worry about getting audited for posting here.

        3. Yes we are. Nothing else happened. Do you have any evidence it did? While you can’t be expected to prove a negative, you can prove a positive. If something was done to discipline these officers, show me where. If you can’t, then clearly nothing was done, which is what always happens i these cases.

          1. The article says they are on vacation, John. Geez! Don’t you know that there’s no worse punishment for one of the King’s Men than to not let him terrorize the peasants. It’s inhumane, really.

          2. FFS John, it happened Sunday night. Say what you will about a general lack of accountability among the public sector, but it’s more than a bit unfair to expect anything more than a “no comment, we’re reviewing” within 24 hours.

            1. Given the history, it is not at all. Cops are never held accountable for anything. When that changes, they can have the benefit of the doubt again. But until then, they don’t. They have to earn it.

            2. Really? I’m going to go blast at some bad guys in the middle of the street and see if I get to stay out of jail for 48 hours.

              1. They seem to have been able to file all those charges against the guys in the car in a hurry, no review or debate needed.

                IF (big one there) the cops are ever formally disciplined or charged, it’ll be in 6 – 18 months and it will be swept under the rug.

    3. find a way to target a disfavored group within the libertarian community

      If that group is “those who routinely violate our god given human rights, even those which happen to be explicitly protected by the constitution”, then ya I agree. But I don’t see the problem.

    4. It’s just an isolated incident you guys!

    5. The point is the double standard. If a group of my friends and I got into an altercation with someone and mag dropped into a vehicle with innocents in the line of fire, we’d be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Cops do it, and the people they shot at are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

      they were charged with, respectively: “eight counts of AWDW with intent to kill, eight counts of AWDW on a government official and one count of felony conspiracy” and “10 counts of assault with a deadly weapon with Intent to kill, 10 counts of AWDW on a government official, one count of flee/elude arrest with a motor vehicle, one count of felony conspiracy, one count of possession of marijuana up to ? ounce, and possession of drug paraphernalia.”

      This seems a bit excessive. I’m not defending the guys that got shot, they aren’t blameless. But throwing that many charges at them is simply grandstanding by some prosecutor looking to be governer.

      1. I think they are pretty much blameless.

        My take on what happened (take with a grain of salt – I wasn’t there).

        Cops stop these guys at the checkpoint, see the pot, tell them to get out of the car, the driver bolts – possible grazing the ONE cop who was talking to them.

        Then they are charged with a count of AWDW for each cop who was standing around at the checkpoint.

        Oh and the PASSENGER nearly gets killed because the driver sped off – the passenger that, as of yet, the cops don’t *know* has committed a crime.

      2. I’m not defending the guys that got shot, they aren’t blameless.

        I’m not assuming they are guilty of anything. The very fact the charges are trumped up to the stratosphere does strongly indicate the cops have something to hide.

        1. This is a response to Agammamon and Killaz.

          I am not assuming anything about their guilt. As far as the drugs/checkpoint goes, I’m with you guys 100%. I thought I read that they had shot at the cops, though now I can’t seem to find that. Hence, why I said they weren’t blameless. (should have phrased it MAY not be blameless). Maybe I’ve got my “police shoot people” stories messed up. There’s a new one every day.

          If they didn’t shoot at the cops, then it makes it even worse.

          Cops stop these guys at the checkpoint, see the pot, tell them to get out of the car, the driver bolts – possible grazing the ONE cop who was talking to them.

          Then they are charged with a count of AWDW for each cop who was standing around at the checkpoint.

          They should charge them with AWDW for any cops that were in the general direction they were travelling. Never know if they would have run those cops over too.

          1. While we’re at it, charge them with a count for each of the civilians waiting at the checkpoint – no telling how far they could have gotten it they’d thrown the car into reverse.

            1. Excellent idea!

              We should also count each and every bullet fired by the cops against the guys in the car, too. I mean, if the cops didn’t feel threatened, they wouldn’t have opened fire at the car and all the cars behind it. Those evil criminals are responsible for forcing those fine officers to open fire with “civilians” downrange. They should get the chair for making them do such horrible things.

          2. Then they are charged with a count of AWDW for each cop who was standing around at the checkpoint.

            10 cops at a DUI checkpoint?

            Nothing left to cut. Budgets slashed to the bone. Austerity!

            1. 10 cops at a DUI checkpoint?

              I think of DUI checkpoints as invitations commit crimes in other parts of the city/county.

              1. Brunswick County has 110,000 people in it. There’s enough cops to have ten of them with nothing better to do than violate the 4th.

                Of course, rarely do they set up one roadblock a night, to keep people from detouring around it.

          3. And to be honest, I’m beyond caring about guys who shoot at cops enforcing petty drug crimes.

            Shit shouldn’t be illegal in the first place and I can fully sympathize with someone who’s willing to use violence to prevent a bullshit prison sentence.

            I got no love for anyone doing so to evade a real crime, but outside of breaking up DV’s it seems like cops don’t go after real crimes anymore – its all speeding tickets and petty drug arrests.

            The idea that cops are part of the community, protecting it, is gone now – nowadays they’re just like a pack of predators waiting to swoop down for an easy meal and as such don’t get anymore sympathy when one of the mice fights back.

    6. How about

      1. This took place at a DUI checkpoint

      2. The whole incident is triggered by the discovery of a small amount of marijuana.

      So this took place at a police checkpoint that shouldn’t have existed in the first place and was triggered by these guys possessing something that shouldn’t have been illegal.

      How’s that for a libertarian nexus.

      1. Whatever, MP is the sole arbiter of what is and isn’t H&R worthy.

      2. Pulling people over is pretty dangerous. You don’t know who you are going to run into or what they will do. Another reason these check points are idiotic and completely contrary to public safety.

      3. Beat me to it….

      4. How about the writer make that point in their post instead of “Cops fuck up again. Rotten pigs. In Libertopia, this wouldn’t happen.”

        1. Maybe because he assumes that most of us are up enough on libertarian theory to understand the nexus without it needing to be made explicit in every article.

    7. Trigger happy individuals in the private sector get sent to jail – or shot. Trigger happy individuals in the public sector will, at worst, get a slap on the wrist/paid vacation, unless the “totality of the circs was justified”, in which case they may well be commended.

      How is this not “symptomatic callousness”, to shoot in a direction in which if you miss your target there is a more than reasonable chance of hitting a bystander? In firearms safety we’re told we own every bullet we fire – we’re responsible for where those bullets go.

      1. I still say again, forcefully, that movies are behind the times.

        Movies show cops using restraint, watching their background, and rarely call in SWAT for anything less than a crazed man held up in an apartment complex with hostages.

        Modern policing is nothing like Hollywood. It’s considerably more dangerous, and much more likely to unload on your unarmed ass.

    8. There seems to be an epidemic of isolated incidents of trigger happy agents of the government. I think that is the point of H&R bringing some of these to our attention.

    9. I think you miss the point- it elevates to an H&R post precisely because they WILL NOT be disciplined, much less criminally prosecuted as the rest of losers would be.

  5. Any word whether any of those rounds hit anything other than the suspects’ car? I don’t really trust an eye witness to be able to tell where a cop is pointing his gun during an intense event like this.

    1. I don’t even trust the COPS to know where they were pointing their guns during a firefight.

      See [unbelievable number of recent examples]

    2. I don’t even trust the COPS to know where they were pointing their guns during a firefight.

      See [unbelievable number of recent examples]

      1. How many examples? More than two?

      2. True. But bullet holes don’t lie or misinterpret or exaggerate like humans do.

  6. Almost like blatant obvious in-your-face violation of the 4th amendment is a bad thing or something.

  7. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands – Senator Warren.

  8. “Cops are shooting from the front of the car, back into the rest of the on-coming traffic to the check point, into the rest of the innocent civilians down the road,” said Cleerdin.

    Based on what I’ve read of cop behavior over the years, they showed remarkable restraint.

  9. Just as long as those noble officers were able to go home safely at the end of their shifts.

  10. New professionalism.

    1. This is pretty despicable. Two men, minding their own business are shot by a bunch of trigger happy cops, and they’re the ones in jail. It’s sad that dangerous mad men are allowed to run loose just because they have a badge.

      – my post from a minute ago

  11. I think when a cop story displays a level of symptomatic callousness, or when we’re talking about police militarization, or when we’re looking at general trends, then we’re into H&R territory.

    Yeah, okay, because random warrantless searches are in no way symptomatic of a banana republic style of “Fucking civilians, we hatess them” policing.

  12. Hit and Run abhors a Tulpa vacuum, apparently.

  13. If a noble officer had been killed by friendly panic fire, who would be charged with murder, I wonder?

    1. That’s what throw-down guns are for.

  14. Hit and Run abhors a Tulpa vacuum, apparently.

    But- echo chamber!

  15. From the number of cops shooting, it sounds as though there must have been several cop cars at the scene. Surely at least one of the dashboard cameras didn’t malfunction this time.

    1. Yes, but the video was “accidentally” deleted.

  16. Train them to kill. Give them a gun. Send them out on the streets and they kill.

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