Orange County Deputy Michael Higgins loses immunity for emptying his gun into motionless man, then head-stomping him


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/11/06/he-lied-too.html


#2

Wow. A cop being held accountable for doing something murderously illegal.

It must be a thanksgiving miracle.


#3

“Lopez”.

The thin blue line gets thinner when there’s brown skin behind it. See also the case of Mohamed Noor.


#4

Higgins was the officer that shot Zion.


#5

(GoogleGoogle)

You’re right. Corey’s dodgy summaries strike again.


#6

What the fucking fuck? How does “shoot the guy 18 times and jump on his head three times” end up seeming like an appropriate police response? (Applies to both the police officer and the first court.) I suppose I should also be surprised that there’s the possibility he’ll be held accountable, but instead I’m just constantly surprised that cops routinely get a pass on even being blatantly insanely murderous.


#7

Meanwhile, in Britain:

Two cops vs one very angry guy.

Countless videos like this.

This incident horribly seems to be two deranged people meeting eachother in violence. 18 shots - wtf? Really wtf? And stomping.

Poor chap. Horrible death.


#8

But if the suspect isn’t dead, how am I supposed to have that incredible sex the training course said I’d have with my mistahemwife tonight?


#9

Boingboing really needs an actual editor. Dupe postings about topics is just annoying but mistakes like this are a disgrace. BB probably needs to worry about a libel suit with something as egregious as this one.


#10

And worse yet - snark.


#11

Can anyone enlighten me on how this works? The wording sounds distinct from simply declining to convict on grounds that the homicide was justified.

Is it intended to provide cover for civil suits? Does it prevent the matter coming to criminal trial in the first place place?


#12

The head stomp probably did him no favors, especially since the dashcam didn’t ‘malfunction’.

There certainly seems to be the excessive tolerance for both excessive melee force and excessive shooting; but, if you are trying for a “just acting in justifiable fear of my life!” an 'I was so terrified that I voluntarily closed to melee against a guy with a knife, rather than just shooting him some more; or getting totally crazy and just standing back and watching to see if he is still moving/in any shape to get up" argument starts to look even more dubious than usual.

If he had picked one or the other I suspect that things might have gone better for him: “It all happened so fast while I was struggling to subdue the suspect with a totally-not-officially-discoraged choke!” or “He was coming at me with a knife!”; but you can’t really chose both of the above.


#14

I am not a lawyer, but the way that it was explained to me is that if the policeman was doing his job, than it is the government that is responsible rather than him. To some degree, this is not a bad thing. It prevents the government from hiring people to break heads and then denying any responsibility for their actions. There is a strong presumption that police are doing what they are told to do. This allows victims to sue the police department (which has money) rather than just the individual policeman.


#15

New evidence from the officer’s attorney…he had just finished a Walking Dead Marathon.


#16

Obviously an early season, though. Nobody ensures the bad guy is really dead on that show anymore.


#17

Is there anywhere in the 'states where it’s safe to call the cops anymore?


#18

There was an incident in Toronto with some major parallels. Sammy Yatim was clearly having some kind of breakdown on a streetcar and was waving a knife around. A guy managed to use his bike to keep Yatim at a distance long enough for everyone else to leave the streetcar. A cop (James Forcillo) arrived, decided to board the streetcar and shortly thereafter shot Yatim 3 times, killing him. Then, while Yatim was on the ground, Forcillo put six more bullets into Yatim.

In an interesting turn, Forcillo as found not guilty of murder but was found guilty of attempted murder. A lot of people were baffled by that outcome but it makes a lot of sense. The jury couldn’t see their way to convicting a cop who shot a person who was acting erratically and waving a knife around. However, the six additional shots when he was already obviously disabled were clearly for the purpose of killing. Since the coroner concluded the first three shots were lethal, the second volley didn’t succeed in killing Yatim, so it was attempted murder.

I hope the prosecutors in this case take a lesson from the Yatim trial. I was very impressed with the prosecutor in the Yatim case for giving the jury this way out where they didn’t find Forcillo guilty of the lethal shots, but still found him guilty of a very serious crime for needlessly firing at a dead/dying man on the ground.

(After Yatim was shot 9 times, another cop arrived and tasered him, so the head stomp thing is unfortunately parallel as well. The second cop hasn’t been charged.)


#19

We shall see. So far he’s just lost his immunity, meaning he may be held accountable for his actions.


#20

Though it’s pretty encouraging, since him losing his immunity means someone was contesting that immunity is court, someone who is probably next going to be prosecuting.


#21

It’s a good step to be sure. It’s not yet an example of a violent cop being held accountable for his murderous actions, but we can hope.