Police Abuse

Constable Shoots and Paralyzes Man While Serving Warrant Over Unpaid Parking Tickets


scene of the crime
via NBC 10

Imagine a company hiring a debt collector that sends armed representatives to customers' homes and threatens to put them in cages if they don't pay up. That's not allowed in America, unless your company is the government. NBC Philadelphia reports on the latest instance of police brutality during petty law enforcement to make the news:

The [Pennsylvania state] constable [in Lehigh County] told the District Attorney he felt his life was in danger as he tried to serve 38-year-old Kevin McCullers.

McCullers, who had 31 outstanding parking tickets, was shot as he tried to back out of his driveway along the 3400 block of Portland Drive in Whitehall Township around 7:30 a.m. Thursday. His girlfriend says McCullers was on his way to Dunkin' Donuts and was surprised by the constable.

"They never knocked on the door! No nothing! I just heard the gunshots! He pulled the car out of the garage and all I heard were gunshots," said Hafeezah Muhammad, who added that McCullers, who was hit in the back, may not walk again. "For parking tickets?! It's insane."

Does Lehigh County or Pennsylvania need to hire constables to serve warrants over parking tickets?* Setting aside for a moment the ethical questions arising from government fining regimes, couldn't local cops flag vehicles with an excessive number of parking tickets for towing? A lot of cops spend a lot of time running plates on shift anyway.

As to the ethical questions, Brian Doherty has written about how the fines attached to petty violations like jaywalking, suspended licenses, or marijuana in public view, and the fines attached to paying the initial fines late, helps the government trap lower income and marginalized people in a cycle of indebtedness and imprisonment. It happens on a daily basis, usually without the use of lethal force. So long as the policing priorities (like using the police as a revenue generator) that create situations where people are shot and paralyzed over their government debts remain unquestioned, incidents like this will keep happening.

*Pennsylvania State Constables are elected, per our unmatched commentariat. 

NEXT: Ronald Bailey on the Moral Case for Self-Driving Cars

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  1. We can not disparage our proud men and women in uniform! Why, if we point to the FACTS that our proud men and women in uniform are not the best nor the brightest and that they are parasites as well as pussies, we run the risk of being called a bigot.

    1. we’re actually just tired of your shallow, one-note posts.

      1. Like you ever add anything other than personal attacks.

  2. The next time someone tries to argue with “all government is force”, I’ll point to this.

    1. But this is just a rare exception to the normally excellent philanthropic work of the police and not an indication of a systemic problem at all.

      1. I stand by the comments I made the other day. But this is a good cautionary tale for those who think that petty fines can’t end in state-sanctioned violence.

        1. I use my tale below as a cautionary example of just how the state will send armed agents for the pettiest of offenses once they go from “failure to follow the law” to “failure to submit to authority.”

          1. In the end, all laws and regulations are enforced by gunpoint.

    2. There’s also this:

      A 55-year-old Pennsylvania mother of seven, sentenced to serve two days in jail because her children were absent too much from school and she couldn’t pay some $2,000 in truancy fines, was found dead in her cell.

      1. Nut punches coming early and often. It will be a rough week.

      2. Another great example of government harming us doing their job of protecting us.

        Unfortunately, it’s really just protecting government employee’s paycheck and power. Why wasn’t the truant office put in jail, for failing to do his job of making sure they got to school?

  3. Did the King’s guard get home safely?

    1. It’s really all that matters.

  4. That guy is going to get awesome parking spots now. See how police can help people?

    1. And an awesome elevator on the side of his van.

  5. “I feared for my life.”

    Magical incantation that, when uttered by a man in a black costume with a shiny badge, justifies murder.

    1. You know who else feared for their life?

      1. Sam and Frodo?

        1. Sam never did. He only feared fir Frodo.

  6. “Aw mai Gerd! He’s driving straight for us! Panic fire! PANIC FIRE!”

  7. A lot of cops spend a lot of time running plates on shift anyway.

    In addition to the license plate readers a lot of municipalities are starting to put all over the place such as toll booths, city lines and around government buildings. IIRC, there,are currently many legal challenges to the cameras, with the police arguing that a right to privacy doesn’t exist outside the home and civil liberties advocates saying they do in a car.

    It will be interesting to see how the current SC rules when the cases get there, as their civil liberties rulings have really been a mixed bag lately.

    Now, as a moral matter,this is abhorrent. But I doubt that surprises anybody here.

    1. A right to travel necessarily means an absolute right to travel unmolested by the state’s credentialed emissaries of violence.

      A right to travel necessarily means an absolute right to travel without having to produce identification for the state’s credentialed emissaries of violence.

      A right to travel necessarily means an absolute right to travel without having to display numbers and stickers and other seals of state approval.

      Any arguments to the contrary are just statist claptrap.

      1. Look,you,don’t need to sell me. It’s the 250,000,000 statist out there in America that you need to convince.

        1. Nor do you need to sell me on Braxton Miller.

          1. If he stays healthy.

          2. Anybody going to the Navy or Maryland games this fall? I’d be up for a tailgate before the game.

  8. Clearly the cop just needs more training. To be fair though, anything less than calling in an airstrike is considered acceptable officer conduct in Philly.

    1. Wait until they have drones.

    2. At least they didn’t burn down the neighborhood THIS TIME!


  9. Does Lehigh County or Pennsylvania need to hire constables to serve warrants over parking tickets?

    Constables in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are, I believe, elected.

    1. No wonder they’re withholding the murderer’s name.

  10. I once had a Sunday afternoon interrupted by a PA State Constable coming to my door with a warrant for my arrest. I had been pulled over for not having a current state inspection sticker on my vehicle. I had had it inspected and the mechanic issued the emissions sticker but failed the car over a hole in the muffler. I was in the process of buying a muffler to.install the week I was pulled over.

    So anyway, I had written a check for the fine and put it in an envelope, but forgot to mail it since I didn’t have any stamps. The envelope got.lost among papers on my desk. Fast forward about five months to when the Constable showed up at my door.

    Interestingly enough, after I paid the fine plus his expenses in cash and he issued me an official receipt, he mentioned he owns a gun shop and commented on my property, which is a nice hunting ground. Dude tried to sell me a gun after nearly arresting me.

    1. He did not shoot your dog = WIN!

  11. PA Constables are ostensibly there to.serve warrants in low risk cases when the use of full time police would be costly or wasteful of resources. They are armed but do not have full authority as LEOs. They are elected and are paid only for their expenses and the time they actually spend on the job. As far as I know they aren’t considered state employees for the purposes of pensions etc.

    The program is actually sort of what you’d want the state to be doing if you agreed it had the power to enforce.laws with low risk violators.

    1. District Attorney Jim Martin said the shooting could have been avoided if
      Constables are not supervised.

      McCullers had entered into a payment plan, but also raised concerns about the training for elected constables in Pennsylvania.

      “Although they receive training, they really operate under no one’s direct supervision,” Martin said. “And that I wish was something that could be cured.”

      1. Talking with the Constable who tried.to arrest me, th a sounds about right. Evidently they get a docket of things they’re supposed to to and basically are left to their own devices on how to schedule them. His thing was to go around to people’s houses during Steelers games because it was likely they’d be there and just want to pay up.so they.could keep watching the game.

        1. Jesus Christ, this guy must have acted dumber than he is to “pass” the IQ test. That’s one of the most sensible ways of serving a warrant I’ve ever heard.

          1. There is no IQ test for PA Constables;it’s an elected position. I heard of one guy getting elected constable because he jokingly wrote in his.own name and no.one else was running for the office.

            1. An acquaintance of mine was elected constable at age 16 after a joke write-in campaign that garnered 6 votes.

              1. That may have been the story I heard.

                1. I think there are several variations on that story. I heard one like it when I lived in Centre County.

  12. And I get laughed at when I talk about men with guns enforcing tax law. I get laughed at and told I’m making some kind of FEMA concentration camps conspiracy reference.

    The issue is that it’s even worse than I tend to say it is.


  14. Till we see a video we have no idea what happened, but if this is true:
    “Whitehall Township Mayor Ed Hozza Jr. said McCullers was shot after he allegedly tried to run over the constable.”

    Attempting to run over someone with a motor vehicle is an act of lethal force and a person, police officer or not, can respond in kind.

    1. Even if it’s true (which I sincerely doubt), getting out of the way of the car is much faster and much more effective than trying to shoot the driver, given that there are two things that can happen if you shoot the driver: either (a) you succeed in your efforts, kill or seriously wound the driver, at which point the car continues in motion, assumedly right towards, you, or (b) you scare (or anger) the driver, and the car, whether out of panic or malice, continues right on its previous course.

    2. I’m sure the officer would never lie, and of course you assume the victim and his wife are the ones who are lying. Are you blissfully unaware of all the documented instances where cops made CYA claims, and then video emerged to show them as liars?

      1. What are you talking about? Cops don’t lie. Video does.

    3. /

    4. Makes no sense. Why would a guy with no criminal record other than a shit ton of parking tickets attempt to kill a cop by running him over?

      The officer is claiming that he showed up to serve the guy a warrant and McCullers decided to go down in a blaze of glory. Right.

    5. Attempting to run over someone with a motor vehicle is an act of lethal force and a person, police officer or not, can respond in kind.

      So next time I’m walking through the parking lot at Home Depot and somebody starts backing out when I’m behind their car because they’re a fucking idiot, I can just grease them on the spot?

      1. Only if you are properly licensed by the state.

  15. Even though nothing will change it’s nice to read the comments at NBC10. Many are very upset.

    There is a police officer saying the shooting is the right call, and getting his ass handed to him by the peasants.

    1. Bleating and babbling
      They fell on his neck with a scream
      Wave after wave of demented avengers
      March cheerfully out of obscurity
      Into the dream

  16. Hey guys I got an email from a self-described libertarian retired LEO who says you represent “the uneducated, borderline anarchist fringe of the libertarian party,” so, uh, keep up the good work?

  17. Actually, this kind of thing is pretty normal nowadays because the government (federal) has become a partner in crime (literally) in a lot of things. Just finished reading an article about “deadbeat dads” in the New Jersey system. Lots of people making money from hurting people in that deal … very well known piece of criminal corruption that started in the 1980s and 1990s. Yes … well known … but that doesn’t mean it’s stopped. The article quoted a judge who seemed proud of it and called their system a model for the nation. Just a crazy old coot who’s too stupid to know he’s been exposed already? Or just too greedy to stop?

  18. It seems like every times something like this happens, including the murder (yes murder) of citizens by cops, the cops all say the same thing, that they were in fear of their life. Of course they say that, otherwise it would be shooting people just for the fun of it. Thugs and cowards, most of them.

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