Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Police kill Fort Bend man holding boots

A Fort Bend County grand jury yesterday declined to indict Rosenberg, TX police Sgt. DeWayne Logan, who shot and killed an unarmed man while executing a warrant in October. Officers were told the suspect had a pistol, and the shooter said the suspect appeared to be reaching into his boot, but no weapon was reported to have been recovered, and now the family is comtemplating a lawsuit.

According to the Fort Bend Herald-Coaster: "The officer who fired the fatal shot saw a man standing there with an object held over his head and he indicated he wanted the person to drop what he had in his hands," according to a police spokesperson. The deceased had a Latin surname and Grits cannot determine from this or prior press coverage whether he spoke English.

In any event, it turns out, what he was holding above his head were his shoes. The suspect "would not drop the object, and the man appeared to be reaching into a boot he was holding in his hands." The officer, "fearing for his life, thought (the suspect) may have been reaching for a weapon. He fired two shots, one striking him in the arm and chest," the spokesman said.

Shot for holding his boots above his head. What a tragedy. It's possible he didn't even understand the officer's commands.

Earlier this month we learned that Harris County grand juries are stacked with cops and prosecutors' employees who more or less do what the District Attorney tells them. In Fort Bend County, it appears, grand juries are pretty sympathetic to police officers as well. I don't have enough details to argue this officer should be indicted, but if not, he deserves significant departmental discipline. Law enforcement must begin to rid itself of trigger happy cops.

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