Police Abuse

Cops Shoot Suicidal Kansas Teen Sixteen Times

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Joseph Jennings
family photo

Another body in the "war zone" cops operate in. Via KCTV in Kansas City:

Ottawa police were called about 7:50 p.m. on Saturday to Orscheln Farm and Home at 2008 S. Princeton St. on a report of a person reportedly armed with a gun.

Deputies with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office also responded to the call.

When officers arrived, they made contact with the person, later identified as Joseph Jennings, in the parking lot.

During the encounter, officers with the Ottawa Police Department and Franklin County Sheriff's Office were involved in a shooting.

Jennings was treated at the scene for gunshot wounds and transported to an Ottawa hospital where he later died.

"Why did it take them shooting him 16 times at least for them to bring him down and go and take care of what they needed to take care of?" Jennings' aunt, Brandy Smith said.

Ottawa Police Chief Dennis Butler said officers did what they were trained to do.

"They reacted based upon the training that they've been given from the academy," Butler said. "We were thankful that no officer was injured from protecting themselves from risk of great bodily harm."

Jennings' aunt insists the 18-year-old was unarmed but might have made a movement cops mistook as reaching for a gun. Jennings was suicidal and had just left the hospital three hours earlier—she says she yelled at police not to shoot and that they know the teen, who police dealt with the day before. She says her husband tried to intervene to tackle Jennings but cops wouldn't let him.

Cops won't comment while the Kansas Bureau of Investigation investigates the shooting. The county attorney reportedly told Jennings' aunt they "certainly feel bad for your loss."

The police chief claims cops were protecting themselves from bodily harm, a condition under which he says it is legal for police to use deadly force.

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85 responses to “Cops Shoot Suicidal Kansas Teen Sixteen Times

  1. Ottawa Police Chief Dennis Butler said officers did what they were trained to do.

    “They reacted based upon the training that they’ve been given from the academy,” Butler said. “We were thankful that no officer was injured from protecting themselves from risk of great bodily harm.”

    I think I spotted the problem with the Ottawa Police Department.

    1. Really? Because I spot TWO:

      1. They reacted based upon the training that they’ve been given from the academy.

      2. We were thankful that no officer was injured from protecting themselves from risk of great bodily harm [and apparently don’t give a fuck about a dead kid].

    2. We must subject police and all government officials to the same laws and punishments as regular citizens. No more special immunity, no more tribal-loyalty masquerading as discipline, no more looking the other way when misdeeds occur.

  2. In another story I had read the guy’s dad was close enough, within arms’ length, and wanted to tackle the kid. The officers threatened to shoot him if he tried.

    1. Bet he regrets not just ignoring their bullshit order now.

      1. But if he had ignored them, he would probably be dead.

        1. I’d take the risk to protect my kid from the cops.

          1. I’d take it even if was a certainty.

          2. Well, it’s possible he just couldn’t fathom the cops shooting his kid once, let alone 16 times…

            He’ll have to live with what happened and the “what ifs” for the rest of his life. As a father, I can’t even imagine what he’s going through.

            1. Can’t take the chance that there would be a living, speaking victim. Much more sympathetic figure than a mere picture.

      2. Why? They’d both be dead, and the police chief would be talking about how unfortunate it was that both the kid and his father had tried to attack the officers, that the father did not listen to their lawful orders, and that they unfortunately, for their own safety, had to shoot them both.

        1. “If you don’t want to get tased, hit, shot….I forget what all…OBEY!”

        2. If my choice is watch my kid get shot to death by the cops or intervene, probably get shot myself, but significantly increase the chance my kid survives, I’m intervening.

          Anywise, I fail to see how a dad tackling his son to subdue him would be considered an attack on a police officer. Police can’t just order you to do things and then shoot you if you don’t obey – you actually have to pose a real threat to them. Maybe I’d be dead, but at least I’d leave behind a nice chunk of settlement money for my family, which hopefully would include the kid I managed to save.

          1. Police can’t just order you to do things and then shoot you if you don’t obey – you actually have to pose a real threat to them.

            /re-reads above article.

            Hmmm..

            1. As I said, at least there’s going to be money for my family from the inevitable settlement.

          2. I fail to see how a dad tackling his son to subdue him would be considered an attack on a police officer.

            That’s because you don’t have that academy training.

  3. Silly Reason, it is only a big deal when cops shoot black men. Killing evil white men is never an issue. Didn’t you get the memo from Obama? What the fuck does the cops killing some cracker have to do with getting the base out in November?

    1. Not that it matters, John, but he doesn’t exactly look white to me.

      1. Really? He doesn’t look like Obama’s son. So again, what does this have to do with getting the base out in November? I didn’t think so.

      2. Doesn’t matter?

        Tell that to the Sharpton/Jackson dynamic duo.

      3. Huh? He looks pretty damned white to me.

    2. He looks off-white to me – might get some national attention.

  4. So did he have a gun or not? This is kind of an important detail, and not one that even a bunch of cops should have a hard time figuring out, once they have a corpse to search.

    1. If he didn’t have one before he was shot then I bet he had one within moments thereafter…

    2. If he’d had a gun, the first thing out of the police spokeshole’s mouth would have been “the subject was armed”

    3. What Megalo said. What a poorly written article.

    4. That information will be released in good time.

      1. It takes time to find the right gun.

    5. That is the question. If he was brandishing a gun, it may well be just a case of suicide by cop.

    6. It’s possible he had a pop tart shaped like a gun before he finished eating it.

  5. They did keep him from committing suicide. So there is that.

    1. This is such a sad story and you made me laugh at it you sick bastard LOL!

    2. +1 dead baby joke

    3. Too soon…

  6. Proposed: Unless there is somebody or something you want to die, calling police is an extremely negligent act.

    1. Funny – that’s EXACTLY what my dad taught me as a yute about guns. “Do not point it at anything you do not want to kill.” Exact words. I’ll never forget them.

      You’re right – it applies precisely to cops, too. Troubling, that…

      1. I don’t even own a gun (only a few times at a range; I’ve been considering a purchase lately) and I know that rule. It’s pretty much the number one fundamental rule of guns, isn’t it?

        Why aren’t police officers taught that rule (see: Culosi, Sal)? Is there any reason except FYTW?

        1. Actually, I believe they are taught that rule. And the fact that they are willing to point the thing at anyone, even children, is very telling.

        2. They are taught the rule. The difference is, the cops want to kill whatever they point their guns at.

          1. Do they really want to kill or did the police academy make them that way?

            1. Why else would someone seek out a job where they carry a club and a gun, and face no consequences for using them?

      2. That’s why cops point their guns at everything.

  7. Failure to obey causes great bodily harm to police officers, and thus justifies the use of deadly force.

  8. When officers arrived, they made contact with the person, later identified as Joseph Jennings, in the parking lot.

    During the encounter, officers with the Ottawa Police Department and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office were involved in a shooting.

    Jennings was treated at the scene for gunshot wounds and transported to an Ottawa hospital where he later died.

    The hell? Only one side in this encounter had guns! Just fucking say they shot the kid! What’s with this tortured construction to make it sound like it was a peaceful chat when a shootout spontaneously arose and “involved” the officers?

    1. The use of passive voice really has become the media’s way of saying Fuck You that I Why. I really can’t express how much I loath those boot licking bastards.

      How fucking hard is it to write in the active voice?

      1. Back in my LTV Steel days one of my coworkers took down an entire line. Killed it dead with a series of ill thought out console commans to one of the servers that controlled it.

        So one of my bosses (we had two bosses a guy running the mill and a guy in charge of the computer geeks, kind of like haveing both a type and operational commander in the Navy) demands a memo explaining WTF?

        What my coworker produced was an incredible memo. About three sentences in, it switched to the passive voice. Servers were shutdown. Alarms went off. They were started into the wrong mode. It was incredible the number of bad things that happened with nary a sign of who did these terrible things.

        I really wish I had kept a copy.

        That coworker, BTW, now works for NASA designing experimental space drives. And by “work” I mean “spends time at the Crazy Horse boozing while his coworkers breathe a sigh of relief at his absence”.

      2. It’s not as if there is even a question about who shot who here. Even supposing the police were completely in the right here, they shot the kid.

  9. Just another day in the land of the free.

    But we aren’t “militarizing our police”. Redeye Radio told me so, multiple times! We just don’t want them to be “protected” and have “the best equipment” to take on the bad guys.

    Nope, no militarization going on here. Nothing to see – move along. OR PREPARE TO DIE!

    1. In fairness, it seems this guy was shot with side arms and is just as dead.

      1. MIlitarization isn’t just about equipment though. It’s about a mentality, and a fundamental shift in officer mentality versus how it was in the past. All this despite things being far safer today than in the past.

        1. I think you have to look pretty far back before you find a non-‘militarized’ police force. In my understanding, the LAPD was the first to essentially become a para-military force in the 1930s.

      2. Indeed. The gear is just the most visible and camera-friendly manifestation of a much deeper problem. It amps it up, but the real problem is the dominate-and-control, go-home-safe-at-any cost, us-against-them mentality.

    2. “My name is Officer FYTW, you have disobeyed my orders, prepare to die!”

      1. I thought it was Officer GoFuckYourself.

  10. Scream it from the rooftops! Never, ever, ever call the cops to help with mentally unbalanced/suicidal person unless you want that person dead.

    1. Even if all you call an ambulance the police may still come along.

    2. Sad but true. Some police officers are competent dealing with the mentally unbalanced; most, however, are not.

      Considering they have a HUGE amount of discretion in what they do in any given situation — tell the guy to beat it, place him in a 3-day protective psych custody, or simply arrest him and send him through months-long hell (likely without access to meds or professional help) — it’s safer to not call the cops if somebody you know is having a psychotic break.

  11. “We were thankful that no officer was injured from protecting themselves from risk of great bodily harm.”

    Sign up for your local PD!

    Job description: keeping yourself safe. Shoot people who may (or may not, we don’t care!) threaten “bodily harm” (all touching is harmful). Retire after 20 years with a full pension (and then take another job!). Regular paid vacations.

    1. I was thinking it might be fun to join the KCPD then just wander into traffic and start shooting at cars coming right at me.

  12. I don’t see what the big deal is. The cops were called to prevent an armed lawbreaking peasant from committing suicide and they did just that. Most importantly of all, all of the cops involved made it home safe and sound after theor shift, which should be the highest priority of any American citizen.

    Medals and commendations all around.

    1. Not only did they prevent the suspect from committing suicide, they guaranteed that the he will never attempt it again!

  13. “They reacted based upon the training that they’ve been given from the academy,” Butler said. “We were thankful that no officer was injured from protecting themselves from risk of great bodily harm.”

    That must be one simple goddamn class. Apparently every situation can be dealt with by pulling your weapon and firing indiscriminately.

    1. I can’t imagine how much firefighters must resent cops. Two groups of civil servants: one whose job is literally to assume risk to protect the public from great bodily harm, and the other whose job is to reduce all personal risk by harming the public.

  14. A recurrent theme I’ve run across a lot lately on the debating interwebs is this idea that cops are encouraged to finish off the citizen if the trigger is pressed mainly because a wounded citizen is messier in terms of liability and you just don’t point unless you plan to kill.

    Is something seriously wrong in the gun world with this broad notion of only pointing a gun when the intention is to kill? It strikes me as simplistic and unethical if this is the case. I may intend to kill but that shouldn’t be my only vector when dealing with human life.

    1. The idea that one only points at something one intends to kill keeps most gun users from pointing their weapons until they are sure they need to kill something and suffer whatever consequences. It slows them down.

      For cops, facing no consequences of … consequence … there’s just one consideration: “I’m scared, so I’ll draw and shoot. I could use the vacation.”

    2. These are the four basic weapon safety rules, as taught in the Corps, in the order they are to be recited (so, one could infer, of logical importance):

      1. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded

      2. Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you intend to fire

      3. Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot

      4. Keep your weapon on safe until you intend to fire.

      I know that a lot of Marines morph “shoot” into “kill” to be hard core, but the wording up there is pretty damn accurate. Most of the time when one shoots a gun it is not with the intention of killing. Most of the time it should be spent practicing so that in the future you can kill something (human or animal).

    3. Here’s the deal, Agile:

      If you shoot at someone, you have to assume you are going to kill them. The idea that you can reliably “wing” someone without killing them is a fantasy.

      Further, you should never use deadly force against someone (that is, shoot at them) unless you are allowed to kill them. A gun is absolutely the wrong tool to use on anyone who doesn’t need killing.

      Thus, the rule of thumb that you should never point your gun at someone unless you intend to kill them. Because you probably will kill them, and they need killing.

      As a pragmatic matter, you don’t want to have the person you shot hanging around to tell “their side of the story”. Its nothing but trouble for you. So make sure they are dead. Remember, they needed killing, and you are attempting to kill them by shooting at them, so finish them off already.

      1. Exactly.

        In a warfare situation, Marines follow the same principle. You might be riddling that building with bullets from a machine gun or lobbing 40mm grenades from your m203 because your squad leader told you to do so. In reality you are trying to suppress an enemy in a tactical situation. Make no mistake however, your ultimate goal is to kill the fuck out of those rag-heads (or chinks, or gooks, or which ever racial epithet is appropriate for the enemy the state wants you to kill, because the state needs you to dehumanize them). If they wanted you to do something less lethal, you wouldn’t have that MG or M203 in the first place.

        So, never point a weapon at anything you don’t intend to shoot still works in the Corps.

  15. It’s a good thing there were multiple cops shooting. Otherwise one of them may have to live with the fact s/he took a life. God forbid.

  16. More ‘assisted suicide’:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..story.html

  17. DO NOT read the comments in the linked article. This one was an interesting twist, regarding CCW, though:

    I have to asked the people bashing the police on here what do you think would have happened if this kid had confronted a person with a CCW. He would have been killed anyways. So I ask, why is it people feel that the common citizen can shoot to kill but the police can’t use deadly force at any time. Sorry, the kid got what he wanted. Case Closed.

    Burn strawman, Burn.

    1. Possibly like my oldest son did when his friend went slightly off the deep end and started fucking shit up. He knocked him the fuck out with a punch to the jaw, dragged him home and sat with him til he woke up and calmed down.

    2. what do you think would have happened if this kid had confronted a person with a CCW.

      Unarmed 18 year old, father on the scene ready, willing and presumably able to subdue him?

      No frikkin’ way anybody but a cop greases the kid.

  18. Thank God they called the police, otherwise the kid might have hurt himself!

    1. And we wonder of all crime stats get reported to the cops.

  19. The people of Ottawa, Ks. should have the same balls as the people of Ferguson, Mo. Get out in the street and protest this bullshit (not that the media would care). And the cops that did the shooting should be looking over their shoulders for the rest of their lives wondering if and when the father is coming for his revenge.

  20. “I’ll never be able to grow a proper mustache! Shoot me now!”

  21. He’s suiciding right at us!!

  22. “Why did it take them shooting him 16 times at least for them to bring him down and go and take care of what they needed to take care of?” Jennings’ aunt, Brandy Smith said.

    Maybe he had marijuana in his system.

  23. According to the story, they bean-bagged him 1st. Why they then switched to bullets, I don’t know.

  24. As long as cops keep standing up for other cops,they are going to do whatever the hell they want and get away with it. The only thing that will make them think twice before reacting to call, is if people start killing cops.Then cops won’t be so quick to try and be a “hero “.

  25. Another 18-year-old “teen?” I don’t come to Reason for spin. I view the “teen” meme as an attempt to make police shooting incidents seem somehow worse because of the victim’s youth. The fact is the tragedy of an illegitimate police shooting death is not reduced if the victim is 20 or older. Please stop with this nonsense.

  26. If I were the dad, and thought the kid had any good him whatsoever, I’d ignore the cop and tackle him. Cause, if said kid had a gun and was uncontrollable, the cops were gonna CONTROL him in such a way as to ensure a return to their families after work. Furthermore, they have a right to life, even to the level of taking such action that is the most certain they won’t be harmed. None of this, well a tazer could’ve worked. Police dept.s go by data that empiracally gives them the greatest certainty of safety, as it should be.

  27. Calling the police for “help” was a huge mistake. They may as well have shot him themselves. Maybe the wouldn’t have shot to kill.

  28. Another example of why EVERY uniformed cop(and every Prison Guard)should be required, BY LAW, to wear a camera and microphone… and the recorded imagery be unavailable to the Police until investigated and released by an independent source.

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