Police Abuse

Cop Who Fatally Shot Wii Controller-Wielding Teen Had Been Fired Before

The time to start firing problem cops was yesterday

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fatally shot a teenager
Euharlee PD

Three weeks ago, Beth Gatny, a police officer in Euharlee, Ga., fatally shot 17-year-old Christopher Roupe after he opened the door for cops. According to the family and some witnesses the teenager was holding a Wii controller (which is a white stick, more or less) when he was shot once in the chest. Police claim Roupe was holding a handgun, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has not yet completed its report on the incident. Gatny remains on paid leave. Now, 11 Alive, the NBC affiliate in Georgia, reports that Gatny, who has been employed with Euharlee police for less than a year, had been fired from her last job:

Gatny worked at the Acworth Police Department for 10 years prior to that and personnel records indicate that she was written up and suspended a number of times for various infractions.

In a timeline, her supervisors say she "refused to follow orders" on everything from filing paperwork to carrying her walkie talkie.

Other details:

Gatny was involved in four car accidents in two years.
In 2007, she reportedly "left her duty belt, along with her weapon..with a civilian employee" while she had her picture taken with someone.

In 2008, while confronting three suspects, she fired her service weapon.  An internal investigation found the suspect was trying to remove his backpack. She was convinced he was going for a gun, but a fellow officer said he never thought the suspect was armed.

Internal Affairs concluded she should not be punished because the initial call for service said the suspects could have been armed. 

We've covered many police officers with the type of records and background that ought to, by common sense alone, end their law enforcement careers and preclude them from future employment as police officers. I've suggested zero tolerance for cops. Every time an irresponsible gun owner does something stupid or someone commits a prominent enough crime using a gun, the incident is used by anti-gun activists to challenge the notion that individuals have the right to arm themselves for self-defense. Yet the right to a gun is heavily restricted. A prior felony, for example, led to a 20 year sentence for a Philly man who shot his gun into the air. In the meantime, when former law enforcement officers are involved in acts of "gun violence," their background is often not highlighted. For example, the Florida man who shot a fellow moviegoer for texting in the theater was a retired police officer, but it didn't stop this anti-stand your ground editorial cartoon from using the incident to draw a broader point. Yet, even in states like New York with restrictive gun laws, politicians have carved out exemptions not just for law enforcement but former law enforcement, like the Florida man who fatally shot a texter. Police officers around the country are pushing back against the NFL's no guns rule, not because they believe we all have the right to bear arms, but because they believe they do. How sick is that worldview?  

Beth Gatny shot and killed a 17-year-old boy. She should be presumed innocent in a court of law until proven guilty, a right that needs to be preserved for all accused. But Gatny isn't enjoying those rights right now, but privileges carved out for her and other police officers around the country, in union contracts often signed by local government officials long out of power. Earlier today, for example, I wrote about a Baltimore cop who choked his girlfriend's puppy to death and then sent pictures of the dead dog to her. He admitted as much, and has been charged with animal cruelty. But he, too, remains employed with the police department. Unlike Gatny, he is suspended without pay until he is convicted. But the fact that a police officer can choke a puppy to death and admit it, or shoot a 17-year-old in the chest after he opens the door, or brutally beat a homeless man to death, and expect to keep their jobs until they have their "due process" is a perversion of the term. Being fired by a police department is not the same as being treated as a guilty person, it would be an acknowledgement that police officers are held to an extremely high standard because government has decided to give them costumes, guns, badges, and the wide discretion to use them. In too much of the United States, that higher standard simply doesn't exist.

Beth Gatny and Alec Taylor, the puppy-choker, and every other cop with obviously poor character ought to be fired, and the police departments and municipalities that employ them should have that power. Only then will it not be Orwellian to call them "public servants."

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  1. She was actually fired? Honest-to-God fired? How bad to you have to be that they can and will terminate your ass?

    But it’s good to know some department will always be willing to take someone else’s trash.

    1. The only reason she was fired is because she was trying to scam the medical disability system. All of the other misconduct and gross negligence probably wasn’t even a factor.

      1. So to cops, scamming the medical disability system is worse than shooting an innocent teenager in the chest. That’s what we can take away from this.

        1. Sure. The first one threatens all the “honest” disability scams they have going. You know, like this one and the guy in California who beat that man to death who had a disability pension and was double dipping.

          The second one is just another future scum bag dead.

        2. Correct. As far as police management is concerned, you can do whatever the fuck you want as long as you aren’t stealing from the department.

      2. I thought scamming the disability system was a requirement for the job.

  2. In 2008, while confronting three suspects, she fired her service weapon. An internal investigation found the suspect was trying to remove his backpack. She was convinced he was going for a gun, but a fellow officer said he never thought the suspect was armed.

    Someone shoulda Barney Fife’d her. “okay, you can have a gun, but you only get one bullet, and you have to keep it in your shirt pocket.”

  3. teenager was holding a Wii controller (which is a white stick, more or less)

    They sell these in more than one color!

    1. It was the new magpul edition Wii controller in flat dark earth with a picatinny rail and an acog.

      Honest mistake by this fine officer.

      1. It was the Wii zapper. Who can blame her?

  4. 1. Dems sum CRAY CRAY EYES!

    2. Where is Dunphy? This is like THE Dunphy signal of all signals.

    1. I think he finally took the hint and fucked off.

      1. He was the only person i absolutely would not reply to…I broke that promise only once.

    2. She’s not hot enough to have eyes that crazy. Jeeze.

  5. Fat cops tase people at the drop of a hat because they’re not in any shape to run after and grapple with the unbadged people they encounter. Women like this one tend to shoot first because they’re terrified an interaction will escalate to the point of physical confrontation.

    Discuss.

    1. If you are so physically unable to subdue a suspect that you immediately resort to deadly force there is no fucking way you should be a cop.

      1. There goes about half the police work force.

      2. Sexism, straight-up.

    2. He might have challenged her to a game of Wii Tennis.

  6. Yet whistle blowers get fired immediately, usually on bullshit charges..

  7. This is an A+ rant.

  8. Sent this to my cousin (who may have worked with this model officer) who took exception to the fact that I said that cops kill far more people in a year than are killed by criminals or citizens.

    For the year 2012

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L…..tates_2012

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L….._duty#2012

    500+ vs 127

    Of course, some of those motherfuckers were hardened criminals that deserved exactly what they got, but the flip side is that a lot of “deaths by cop” are never even listed in the official stats and the number of LEO deaths in the line of duty is at a 30 year low.

    Take from it what you will- I truly doubt I will change your mind, but you aren’t on their side anymore. And they can treat you the way they treat any of us….which is, as an invading army holding enemy territory. That is bad, no matter how you look at it, and that is their mindset.

  9. Sent this to my cousin (who may have worked with this model officer) who took exception to the fact that I said that cops kill far more people in a year than are killed by criminals or citizens.

    Well, if you phrased it like that I can kind of see why. It sounds like you were claiming cops killed more people than the total number of murders in the US by non-cops, rather than that cops killed more citizens than citizens have killed cops.

  10. Internal Affairs concluded she should not be punished because the initial call for service said the suspects could have been armed.

    Easy fix for this. Make sure all service calls indicate suspects “could be armed”. Therefore, any police shootings that occur after that are automatically in the clear.

  11. which is a white stick, more or less

    Pardon my Tulpa, but aren’t the 3D-printed gun pictures all white? The barrel of a gun is basically a hollow stick, so if that’s the only criteria that is in question, you aren’t exactly describing something that obviously isn’t a gun.

    The police are trigger-happy nutjobs that think everyone is out to get them, and their reputation and actions have now escalated everyone’s fears, especially their own. THAT is what the basis of the problem is, not the mere inability to improperly identify a gun – if the police weren’t trigger-happy, violence-escalating, pants-wetting sociopaths, they probably would be able to tell the difference between a gun and a Wii controller in a matter of seconds.

    In other words, all you’re doing is giving them the “more training” excuse.

  12. Another example of why to never, ever answer the door, especially if there is a cop knocking. Haven’t these people heard of peepholes or security cameras? Never answer the door unless you know for certain who is on the other side. The cops are just criminals with a license to kill. At least the real criminals will steal your shit or rape you THEN they shoot you!

  13. This article captures my feelings exactly. We can all agree cops have a difficult job at times. But being judge, jury and executioner isn’t one of them. Recently, Iceland had their first killing of a person by the police in their history. Ever. Sure, they are a country of only 450,000 people, but in that time I would venture to bet that the US has at least 100 police kills when adjusted for population.

  14. On a separate note: They must be running out of dogs, cops are now shooting cats.

    1. They don’t want to get their boots dirty by stomping on the kitty.

  15. Unfortunately, the few terrible officers make a bad name for the really good ones (who typically don’t make the news). I’m an officer myself, and I’d like to see them charged and punished accordingly, but some cities appear hamstrung by rules and agreements that are contrary to upholding the public trust. Currently, the only real fix appears to be publicly shaming the officers/departments into changing the status quo.

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