Brickbats

Brickbat: Crushing Blow

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The state of Pennsylvania has agreed to pay $475,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a man run over by a bulldozer as he was being chased by Pennsylvania State Police. The police had caught Gregory Longenecker growing a handful of marijuana plants on public land. He fled into some dense bushes, and police used a Pennsylvania Game Commission bulldozer to chase him. His body was found beneath the treads of the bulldozer. The prosecutor investigating the death found police acted reasonably.

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  1. This will be used as an example on their DARE program. ‘See how dangerous pot is kids, it can kill you’,

    1. Just say no!

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  2. I would never want to live in a place where it wasn’t reasonable to run over a pothead with a bulldozer.

    1. Hubba hubba, Gubba Bump! I, too, cut my butter with a chain saw! Also, “nuclear weapons for urban renewal” is my fave slogan!

  3. The prosecutor investigating the death found police acted reasonably.

    Drug involvement makes any police action justified. It’s in the Constitution.

    1. The damned courts won’t execute the plant growers, so the police gotta do it instead.

  4. [Skwisgaar]That’s pretty brutal.[/Skwisgaar]

    Didn’t have a cousin named Corrie, by chance?

  5. Leathal force is justified in response to any level of defiance, apparently.

    1. I recall a case a while back of a woman shot and wounded by police after she tried to flee from some minor traffic violation

      The police argument was that it wasn’t excessive force because she still got away

      1. Actually, they argued that because she got away, it wasn’t a “seizure”.

  6. Chasing and crushing someone to death with a bulldozer and pretending it was reasonable just about captures the insanity of all this.

  7. If they acted reasonably, why the payments?
    Was the lawyer related to someone?

  8. “The prosecutor investigating the death found police acted reasonably.”

    I wonder what unreasonable would have been?

    1. $500,000.

    2. Billing the family for the cost of cleaning the bulldozer’s treads?

      1. Guts make for good tread lubricant.

  9. Authorities have publicly contended that Longenecker was high on methamphetamine, crawled under the back of the bulldozer when it stopped briefly, and was crushed to death when it started moving again and made a left turn.

    See https://apnews.com/article/pennsylvania-lawsuits-reading-marijuana-c721b8b7780b732a11ca13aeff6e9691

    Perhaps there is more to this case than Reason’s brief summary suggests. Still, the point stands that State Police chasing an unarmed druggie into the woods with a helicopter and bulldozer is batshit fucking insane.

    And, another question comes to mind. If Longenecker was, in fact, deliberately or even negligently crushed to death by a fucking bulldozer, isn’t that worth at least $27 million George Floyd dollars?

    1. “Perhaps there is more to this case than Reason’s brief summary suggests.”

      Or perhaps the authorities are lying to cover their own asses.

      1. Perhaps.

        But how do we explain the meager settlement with a fact pattern where the police are alleged to have deliberately crushed a man with a bulldozer? Is that not outright murder? The reason I am raising questions about what happened is because the settlement does not jive with the fact pattern.

  10. police used a Pennsylvania Game Commission bulldozer to chase him

    I certainly hope the game commission’s equipment operator filed a grievance with his union. That cost him overtime, for sure.

    1. I’m wondering if the police asked the Game Commission for permission to use the bulldozer? If yes, would that put some of the liability for the police running someone over with it on the Game Commission?

  11. So did the bulldozer just happen to be nearby and handy [hey let’s use this thing!], or did they have it brought in on a trailer? And under what circumstances is a bull dozer and appropriate tool to chase a felon? And a seemingly minor one, at that?

    Rhetorical questions, of course,, as they will never be answered.

  12. And, apparently, there is no clear police guidance that running over an un-armed pot grower with a bulldozer is against policy. Qualified Immunity.

  13. $475,000? Life is cheap in PA.

  14. If sending armed men to put someone in a cage for growing plants is reasonable, so is shooting him for resisting arrest. And if they can’t see him to shoot him, then running a bulldozer through where he might be hiding is also reasonable.

    It’s a slippery slope.

  15. From the linked story
    “Berks County District Attorney John Adams said his office stands by its investigation, “and to date we have not been provided with any evidence contrary to our investigative findings.”

    From the linked story in the linked story
    “The lawsuit called that explanation ludicrous, and witness statements cast doubt on the official version of how he got caught under the machine. The chopper pilot said he had Longenecker in view the entire time, noting in his deposition “that it would be impossible for Mr. Longenecker to crawl under the back of the bulldozer before the bulldozer turned left,” the lawsuit said.”

    Shirley it wasnt impossible for this master criminal…

  16. Much as I love to criticize the drug war this is one incident where the guy has nobody to blame but himself. I’ve used the types of dozers used in forestry work. They are extremely loud, slow, and have numerous blind spots. It’s easy for an operator to miss someone intentionally hiding, and they move so slow that Longenecker could have easily moved if he’d wanted to. He didn’t, and that’s on him.

    The people who were pursuing Longenecker had every right to do so. This isn’t because of ‘drugs are bad, m’kay,’ but because drug production trashes the land.

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