Police Abuse

Never, Never Call the Cops For "Help" Unless You're Willing to Risk Someone Being Shot and Killed

74-year-old North Carolina Man Shot and Killed by Cops as They Bust Through His Back Door on a "Welfare Check"


The police say that 74-year-old James Howard Allen had drawn a gun on him after they busted into his house near midnight on Saturday, so they had to shoot and kill him.


The grim lead-up details from Raw Story:

Gastonia police Chief Robert Helton explained at a press conference on Sunday that a family member had asked officers to check on James Howard Allen on Saturday afternoon, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Helton said that Allen's family had asked for the welfare check because the 74-year-old veteran had recently undergone surgery.

An officer first visited Allen's home at 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, but there was no answer.

Gastonia police then contacted the Gastonia Fire Department and Gaston Emergency Medical Services at 11:30 p.m. and a "decision was made to enter the house, concerned that he may be inside in need of emergency assistance," Helton said.

According to the chief, Gastonia police Officer Josh Lefevers announced himself before coming through the backdoor of the home, but Allen was pointing a gun at officers when they entered…

"(He) probably woke up, someone's breaking in on me, so when you're by yourself you try to protect yourself," Allen's brother-in-law, Robert Battle, told WSOC.

Otis Thompson, a friend of Allen's, said that his first reaction would have been to "grab a gun too."

"You kicked the man's door in," Thompson remarked. "He's disoriented and he's in his own house, privacy of his own home."…

Helton told reporters that the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation had been asked to investigate the shooting. The Gastonia Police Department followed its standard procedure for officer involved shootings and placed Lefevers on administrative leave.

Another such story of calling the cops on your relatives gone awry. The chances of things going awry, from misunderstanding or even, sometimes, from the citizen just maybe doing something they shouldn't do, but which wouldn't have been a problem had amped-up armed men vitally concerned with their own safety not been on the scene, is so high that it is rarely worth any imagined upside. If you think your relative needs a welfare check, ride over yourself.

Video from local Fox News.

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  1. What the hell were the cops doing there at 11:30 at night? All the old geezers I know are in bed by nine.

    1. The concern is that he’s fallen, he can’t get up and might be slowly dying of a broken hip or some thing like that. The relatives called during the afternoon according to the article, so like most police responses, when seconds count the cops are only hours and hours away.

      Other than the timeliness of their response, that’s not really the issue.

      Also, gotta love the all passive voice cop giving the statement: “a shot was fired that fatally wounded him”, etc.

      It’s RawStory so most all of the commenters are utterly determined that it’s racial issue and the NRA is to blame. Not saying that there wasn’t a racial issue at play here, but this shit has repeatedly happened before when it wasn’t.

      If you’re not willing to put your ass on the line from time to time, don’t be a fucking cop. I really wonder just how much time passed between him getting told to put down his gun–and there have been numerous incidents where people breaking in claiming to be police are not, so I would hesitate there myself–and him getting killed. He’s a 74-year-old man recovering from cardiac surgery, probably not at his sharpest, “put down the guBLAM BLAM BLAM” is a situation I find sadly plausible.

      This officer safety ?ber alles mindset combined with the militarization of police forces is no good.

      1. and the NRA is to blame

        I’m struggling to come up with a scenario where blaming the NRA isn’t victim blaming: “this never wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t have a gun that the NRA protected his right to have!” I thought victim blaming was bad!

      2. Furthermore ? 10 hours ago
        Since the NRA has been doing everything it can to put a gun in every hand, police must assume that when they break into peoples’ homes, homeowners will have guns.

        Victim blaming indeed!

        1 ? Reply?Share ?
        Furthermore disqus_Hk6bAV5M1R ? 10 hours ago
        You haven’t noticed any difference in the rate of gun ownership by civilians in our country since the Second Amendment was passed? You don’t think the NRA has had anything to do with the recent proliferation?


        1. Dude, you need to borrow Derpetologist’s tongs to handle derp like that…

      3. There are 500+ comments on that story, and most of the ones I read were about how cops are incompetent, trigger-happy racists that should never be called under any circumstance.

        1. Sorry, that was phrased imprecisely. You’re right in regards to “most all”; I would consider it a rather significant fraction that were blaming the NRA/private firearm ownership. Also hilarity like this, bold in original:

          OK Libertarians – here’s your chance to be outraged. Here is the government breaking into a citizen’s home in the dead of night and murdering him. He had every right to point a gun and even fire it at someone breaking down his door I appreciate the police, and have a nephew who is a cop, but it has gotten out of control. All you hear every week is someone (usually black) gets a warning shot in the head for something a white person would easily walk out of. There needs to be Federal guidelines put in place as obviously the local police force cannot be trusted to do the right thing (assuming you could trust them . I was recently reading where US police are being trained by Israeli Military police and this might account for some of the militarism we see in the police force, but there is no excuse for stupidity. http://america.aljazeera.com/o…..icies.html

          We haven’t heard a peep from Rand Paul on this issue. Duh. Note: the HQ of libertarian philosophy central is located in … guess …. why Alabama, of course!

          1. Huh. Does that person specify what exactly is located in Alabama that we supposedly take orders from?

              1. lololololol I mean I would at least understand saying that the Libertarian Cabal World Headquarters is Cato or Koch or maybe Reason. But the LvMI is a…stretch to say the least.

                1. The mostly anarchist Mises Institute is not as prominent as Cato, but they make no excuses for statism and statist injustice unlike the minarchists over at Cato.

              2. That was my first thought as well.

                If you look carefully, squinting progressively harder, you will see Lew Rockwell’s eyeglasses morph into a monocle.

        2. Shades of “but you guys never complained when Bush was President!” and Lawrence O’Donnell responding to a Reason article complaining about how the police are never criticized.

          Also, whoops, forgot to close my bold tag there before the Al Jazeera link. Preview working–and a more robust comment system in general–would be nice.

      4. “If you’re not willing to put your ass on the line from time to time, don’t be a fucking cop.”

        Will this lie ever die? Truckers and roofers and a plethora of other occupations are far more dangerous than being a cop.

  2. What the hell were they doing knocking on his door at 10 PM? They couldn’t wait until daylight hours the next day?

  3. Oh WELFARE check. We thought you said “Warfare check”.

    1. He doesn’t need it now. Problem solved.

  4. Pointless. When are people going to learn?

    1. Not everyone has time to read Reason. Most still think the police are there to “Serve and Protect”.

      1. “Saturday I tried to explain to a couple of buddies why they shouldn’t call the police unless they wanted to see the victim or another innocent person arrested, or have somebody get assaulted, battered, and/or killed.

        I gave examples. They remained skeptical. Unfortunately, unless they experience such an event I don’t think they’ll believe me.”

        I typed that yesterday on a different thread. I will use this tragic example as evidence.

  5. Well, at least now they know his condition.

    WTF is with family calling cops in for welfare checks anyway? You really can’t go knock on your aging relatives’ door yourself and see how they’re doing?

    1. Oh, you silly libertarians and your self-reliance. Don’t you know that we’re supposed to depend on the government to solve our problems?

  6. Leaving all other issues aside, I am still stunned that they never think to simply retreat. Taking everything else at face value, why does anyone involved think that it is OK for the police to open fire at the first perception of a possible weapon? Absent a clear prior threat, shouldn’t the correct protocol be to retreat and seek cover?

    How many of the roughly 500 unarmed people who are killed by police each year would still be alive if they took this path? How many more of those who were asked when they were killed would still be alive?

    For some reason we have decided that every encounter need to be handled the way SWAT should handle the apprehension of a desperate kidnapper/murderer. Worse, they explicitly place the threat of destruction of evidence above human life. The leadership of the police thy country, both internally and from our elected representatives is morally bankrupt.

    1. Every story like this convinces me more and more that the police should not be allowed to use deadly force until they have already been fired upon. The police volunteer and have the choice to not take the job. The rest of us don’t have a choice about being target practice for panty wetting babies whose only goal is to get home safely.

      1. Considering civilians are held to the Bernie Goetz standard I would think it appropriate that the cops are not held to a lower standard.

    2. I kept thinking that when watching the dashcam video from the Montana police shooting. The cop was standing next to the car’s door screaming at the occupant to show his hands, and I kept thinking, “just disengage and wait for your fucking buddies to show up.”

    3. They don’t retreat because their job is to force people to obey them. To retreat is to admit that they are not being obeyed, and that is not acceptable. They are trained to issue orders, then threats, and then death. That’s how they protect and serve.

    4. ^This is the very heart of the issue.

    5. Do we know that retreat was available as a reasonable option in this encounter?

      My friend Dave Lindelof once showed me on video the movie Reservoir Dogs. Afterward he asked me why the undercover cop shot & killed the robbery victim who’d pulled a gun. I said that when somebody suddenly points a gun at you, you’d better shoot 1st.

      Without knowing more, I can’t blame anybody in this incident. The police are told to check on somebody’s safety, and getting no response, they break in. They shouldn’t wait until morning, it may be an emergency. The guy doesn’t hear what’s going on, so first thing anybody knows, he points a gun at the cop. Cop may not have any option but to out-draw the guy.

      1. Oh fucking horseshit. When you try to rob someone (undercover or not) or break into someone’s house in the late hours (without even fucking knocking first) YOU are the fucking criminal and deserve to get shot.

  7. Amped-up armed men vitally concerned with their own safety. That pretty much says it all.

  8. We are winning!!!!



  9. Eric Holder’s “single failure”: Didn’t pass any new gun laws…


    Fucking unbelievable…

    1. Truer words have beer been spoken

  10. Nut punch #1, more to come I’m sure.

  11. …and nothing else happened.

  12. On the bright side his family will never be worried about his welfare ever again. Mission accomplished and our heroic boys in blue went home safely.

  13. If the cops are going to behave like Barney Fife, we need to restrict them like him. They get to carry one bullet apiece — in their shirt pockets.

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    ????? http://www.netpay20.com

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