Police Abuse

Police Arrive for Suicidal Dad, Shoot Him 11 Times as He Lay in Bed, According to Family Lawsuit

A family is taking the WV state police, a sergeant, and a trooper to court over a 2014 police shooting.

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family photo

Another cautionary tale about thinking twice before calling police. The Charleston Gazette-Mail out of West Virginia reports:

Donna Spry called her husband's doctor, crying.

Curly Spry was refusing to go to his appointment. He was suicidal, off his medication and had a gun, his wife said.

Call 911, the doctor's staff instructed her.

Less than an hour later, Curly Spry was dead. He had been shot 11 times by troopers with the West Virginia State Police, according to a lawsuit filed by Donna Spry last month in Kanawha County Circuit Court.

The family is suing for $11 million—their attorney told the Gazette-Mail that the agency's insurance covers $1 million per incident.

Spry was shot in the head and chest, and his family claims in the lawsuit he was lying in bed when police shot him. At the time, police claimed Spry had pointed his gun at them. Spry's wife says she called 911 and requested an ambulance, not cops, for her husband. She was on the phone with 911 when her husband was shot, and according to the lawsuit one of the troopers forced her to hang up the phone after he shot her husband.

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  1. Dude was a nail that clearly needed hammering.

    /copmentality

  2. Never.
    Ever.
    Ever.
    Ever.
    Cal the cops.

    1. She didn’t.

      They came anyway.

      1. That overtime doesn’t accrue itself, you know. Although it’s possible (likely even?) that EMS requested they come. Volunteer paramedics are probably not keen on disarming people.

        Although I am a bit of a loss as to what exactly is “the best” thing to do here. Obviously, not what happened, but what, exactly? Let him lie there until he either pulls the trigger or decides to live?

        1. Generally, if you call 911 you get asked:
          “Police, Medical, or Fire”.

          She asked for medical (I assume) but also mentioned a gun (I assume) causing the dispatcher to send Police too, which I’m sure is procedure.

          And I don’t have any problem with the dispatch procedures.

          However, there are some other procedures which seem to be (recurringly) problematic.

        2. Let him lie there until he either pulls the trigger or decides to live?

          Why do anything else?

          1. Ultimately, any decision you make is going to be based on your own emotional health as much as, if not more so than, for the other person’s emotional health.

            So, for strangers, that seems like a perfectly fine option. I would actually praise the police for saying “look, we’re not doing anything unless he a) starts threatening other people or b) decides to come out unarmed” and then left with EMS in tow.

            However, from the wife’s perspective, losing her husband is (probably) a less desirable option than “forcing” him to live. The problem though is the enlistment of unrelated third parties into accomplishing that objective.

            The whole handling of “suicide” in this day and age is a bit fucked up. We’ve basically accepted that drugs and/or mental “issues” strip a person of moral agency.

            1. “They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice; that only a madman could be guilty of it; and other insipidities of the same kind; or else they make the nonsensical remark that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every mail has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.”

        3. Volunteer paramedics are probably not keen on disarming people.

          OK, TFA doesn’t mention the EMS responders, so not sure if they were volunteers or government. Generally, EMS protocol is to protect your own safety. Every time I’ve had the domestic violence training they say make sure the cops are there and secure the scene before EMS goes in. Also, remember that there is a high level of “incest” between police, fire and EMS communities so the EMS people are not necessarily your friends.

          So, don’t call 911 for any reason unless you’re willing to have somoneone or something shot.

          1. ” Also, remember that there is a high level of “incest” between police, fire and EMS communities so the EMS people are not necessarily your friends.”

            Not in my experience. EMS and Fire got along swimmingly. Police were useless pricks.

            1. Werd.

              I’m a firefighter and EMT. I hate cops.

      2. Well, shit.

      3. My guess, the ‘g-word’ came out of her mouth while she was on the phone, and the cops got added to the roster.

      4. I’m pretty sure the cops always roll out on 911 calls. Especially if someone is reported to have a gun. They can’t pass up the opportunity to shoot someone and then claim they acted in self defense. It gets them harder than a diamond in an ice storm.

  3. Doctor my nuts
    Tell me what is wrong
    Was I unwise
    to let Ed punch them for so long?

    1. And it’s not even Friday.

      At least Balko had enough class to wait for the weekend to unleash M. Bison-level testicular trauma.

  4. …and according to the lawsuit one of the troopers forced her to hang up the phone after he shot her husband.

    There might have been another person waiting on the line to 911 who also needed police help.

    1. ^This. The dude was already dead. There might be alive people who need help.

      1. A cynic might conclude that law enforcement professionals knew that what had just transpired was likely captured on the recorded 911 call and they wanted to end that recording to minimize the damage.

        1. I await the body-camera footage.

        2. I’m sure that is exactly it. They didn’t want any recordings that would contradict the lies in their reports.

        3. As you can clearly hear from the recording, the victim?ahem, the assailant?clearly made a furtive motion, as evidenced by the rustling of bedsheets just before panic fire.

  5. It’s almost impossible to get emergency assistance for someone having psychological issues without calling 911.

    When my ex was getting evicted and getting essentially thrown out on the street, I called a bunch of shelters looking for someone to take her in. Nobody would talk with me. They all said, “call 911, and the officers will make the referral”.

    It’s a real shit sandwich. Because when someone is scared that the world is against them, nothing calms down like seeing a cop who is in fear for his life coming up the hallway.

    1. Next time call 211. That patches you into social services.

    2. Because when someone is scared that the world is against them, nothing calms down like seeing a cop who is in fear for his life coming up the hallway.

      ^This. Srsly.

  6. OT: Local cult member curries favor with dear leader.

    “Clinton is a toiler and a doer. She wants to work for all of us ?women, men, children, the unemployed and underemployed, the disabled, blacks, Latinos, veterans, the homeless, the addicted. I do not doubt her sincere desire to fight for the American people and her competence to do so. Surprisingly, this desire to get things done for the people is the problem.”

    1. The American people want to be asked to join in a cause bigger than themselves, and to contribute to that effort.

      *reaction*

      1. As much as I might pretend to hate to say it, with that video it might be time to take away HM’s Youtube access.

      2. You have the weirdest YouTube history.

        1. As do those of us dumb enough to click on his links.

      3. What’s the option for those of us who want to join a cause smaller than ourselves? The keep your bloody mitts off caucus.

      4. If that’s either cummies or twerking, I’m giving you up forever, HM.

        1. OK, that forgives 2 cummies videos.

          1. I don’t think I want to know what that is.

    2. That’s my answer to the interview question: what’s your biggest fault?

    3. this desire to get things done for the people is the problem.

      when has this alleged desire manifested itself? The only desire I’ve seen from Hills is that for self-enrichment. And some self-aggrandizement.

    4. How many hours a day do you spend trawling the internet for crackpots and imbeciles? Are you paid to do this, or is it somehow pleasurable to see the variety of non-pornographic ways in which people debase themselves?

    5. “Clinton is a toiler and a doer. She wants to work for all of us ?women, men, children, the unemployed and underemployed, the disabled, blacks, Latinos, veterans, the homeless, the addicted. I do not doubt her sincere desire to fight for the American people and her competence to do so. Surprisingly, this desire to get things done for the people is the problem.”

      This is the other side of the “What’s The Matter With Kansas” coin. Voters, inexplicably, keep voting against their best interests! The thing that absolutely annoys the hell out of me is that leftists seem to be incapable of taking a conservative or libertarian view at face value — they just can’t (or refuse) to believe that a libertarianish view can be sincere.

    6. *barf*

      I’m not reading the rest of that tripe. Just that one paragraph was enough to make me lose my lunch.

    7. “Clinton is a toiler”

      In his defense the “r” and the “t” are right next to one another.

  7. See how helpful police are? This man was having trouble killing himself, and they helped him! Why don’t you libertarian police haters give the police credit when they do good things?

    1. [narrows gaze in the Swiss fashion]

  8. And now he’s not suicidal anymore. Mission accomplished.

    /cop lover

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, making that joke made me sick to my stomach.

  9. Spry’s wife says she called 911 and requested an ambulance, not cops, for her husband.

    If she mentioned gun or suicide, the cops will beat EMS every time.

    1. “Woo hoo! A chance to kill someone! Gotta get there before anyone helps him!”

    2. See above. If EMS perceives there is a threat, they wait until LE “secures” the scene. Many organizations, especially government-run EMS, actually have that as a procedure – it’s a firing offense to endanger yourself by entering an unsecured scene.

      1. There’s not enough here to tell what order it happened in, but in my experience, the police beat EMS by at least 5 minutes and interfered with treatment after they arrived to shout questions that I had already answered 3 or 4 times.

        1. *they* “after EMS arrived”

  10. “No no, dispatcher, I said I need assistance, not assassins!”

  11. Next on Ow, My Nuts!

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  13. Call 911, the doctor’s staff instructed her.

  14. Jesus, I’m already burned out from the downright glee some have expressed over Scalia’s passing. This is even worse and I can’t handle more.

  15. Spry was shot in the head and chest, and his family claims in the lawsuit he was lying in bed when police shot him. At the time, police claimed Spry had pointed his gun at them.

    You ever get the feeling that when these mouth breathing assholes respond to a call where they know someone’s armed, they go in planning on shooting them and claiming “he pointed the gun at us”? It’s almost like they know full well they can get away with shooting anyone that way…

    1. Hey – they did prevent a suicide.

  16. Dude should not have had a gun.

    There is quite literally nothing the state can do except shoot him to prevent him from shooting anyone else. So, if you don’t want the state to shoot him, then don’t call them.

    If she didn’t think she could safely diffuse the situation, it’s not really fair of her to ask some other poor schmuck to risk life and limb to do it.

    So, without reading the fcking article, I feel sad for this lady, but I am not outraged.

    If I were a cop, I’d order all the bystanders out of the house, take up an exterior position and shoot him if he came out armed.

    But that is hindsight.

    1. Keep Bubba away from an open carry protest.

      1. Keep Bubba away from an open carry protest.

        Derptastic.

        How many open carry protests involve the participants brandishing guns? Like this guy would’ve had to have been doing here, if he was threatening to kill himself with a gun?

        See how fast your “open carry protest” stays non-violent if the protesters start pointing guns at themselves or the cops.

        Further, bullets go through stuff. The walls of your house are concealment, not cover. Who is to say that a suicidal guy with a firearm isn’t going to start shooting at other people? Or that, when he shoots himself, he doesn’t send a spent bullet through someone outside or in the next room?

        I’m sympathetic to the plight of the suicidal and depressed. I fully realize that the cops often makes things a lot worse, with their hyper-vigiliant attitude these days to anything possible resembling a threat to their skins.

        But someone mentally unstable, brandishing a gun, and threatening to hurt themselves (and possible others), for the safety of everyone around him/her, can’t be allowed to continue to threaten other people.

        It sucks. Don’t have guns available in the house if you or your loved ones are suicidal or suffer from depression. Lock the guns up.

        (This isn’t advocating for denying the right to own firearms to anyone with depression.)

    2. They could have tried talking to him.

      I think it’s perfectly fair to ask the poor schmuck if he has volunteered for a role where he understands his life is in danger. I think it’s also fair for that schmuck to refuse.

    3. If I were a cop, I’d order all the bystanders out of the house, take up an exterior position and shoot him if he came out armed.

      The article says “troopers, plural. There was more than one of them. You should say “shoot them if they came out armed”. (I know, English has some weird grammar rules when it comes to plurals.) If you’re going to start shooting people who are armed and dangerous it helps to know how many of them there are.

  17. Never, ever call the police dude, EVER.

    http://www.Anon-Net.tk

    1. You said it, AnonBot.

      1. it’s getting pretty good!

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