SWAT team murders burglary victim because burglar claimed he found meth

South Carolina is insane. A few months ago the police in another South Carolina town went to a friend’s home after they had been told she locked herself in a bathroom with a knife and was threatening suicide. They shot her seven times. Claimed she came at them with the knife after they entered her home. While that’s a possibility, why they felt the need to put seven bullets into a 110 lbs woman is beyond me. Given that they knew before entering the apartment that she was suicidal and had a knife, seems like a situation where a Taser would actually make sense. There was no one else in her home so she wasn’t a danger to anyone other than herself.

Two of the three officers are back on duty. Apparently all seven shots came from a single deputy who is still on leave. The investigation has been finished but the underfunded local solicitor can’t review the file until after the trial he’s working on now is finished. I fear the whole thing will simply be swept under the rug. I can’t imagine why the deputy who put seven bullets into a petite suicidal woman would ever be allowed to handle a gun again.


An uttery awful turn of events - but not murder.

Stupid, senseless, outrageous, and demonstative of the absolutely abyssmal state of modern policing, replete with completely absurd priorities, overbroad powers, and incompetant decision making - but not murder.

Maybe it should be. Maybe the laws ought to be changed. But as it stands, if you draw a gun on a police officer, they are essentially always considered justified in using lethal force against you, and consequently such a homicide can’t be considered murder.


Unfortunately, seems somewhat common:
Here are a few from the past two months – there were a few other suicides where they did go after the cops, but the ones below seemed rather vague. (there were a heck of a lot of police suicides in Aug).
List of killings by law enforcement officers in the United States 2014 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

- Responding to a call for help with a drunk man threatening suicide, Davenport Police Department officers first negotiated and then shot and killed the man. - Wasilla Police Department police officer Andrew Kappler shot and killed a man early Monday following a 911 call reporting a domestic dispute that ended with an abrupt hang-up. Bonty's mother told reporters her son was attempting suicide. - Officer Daniel Young and Officer Lara Bradshaw responded to a suicide in progress call shot and killed Friedman in his bedroom.

This shooting was about as justified as a no-knock warrant served on the wrong house. Guns don’t kill people, cops with typos on the warrant kill people.

It may not be strictly legalese, but I’m perfectly comfortable with calling this a murder.


What’s worse is the list isn’t even complete. My friend isn’t on the July 2014 page even though that’s when she was killed. Wonder what the real number is.


Those Wiki lists are just crowd sourced, so hardly complete.
FWIW: @Mindysan33 has a topic that identifies a couple other lists and there are a few more in the comments there.


Because a no-knock warrant served on the wrong house automatically means a firearm is being pointed at the police serving it.

No, I’m pretty sure guns do kill people - particularly when you point them at police officers.

Even with a no-knock warrant, the police do still declare themselves to be police.

Now, yes, people make bad decisions when awoken in the middle of the night after their home has been burglarized earlier in the day - but grabbing up your gun in such a situation is the kind of bad decision that gets you killed.

Anyway, you might be comfortable with calling this murder, but I personally am not. Without “malice aforethought”, it really can’t be murder. Manslaughter, sure. Wrongful death, certainly. But not murder.

Let’s turn the tables and take the opposite scenario. Suppose that an ordinary citizen opened fire on and killed a police officer who they mistook for a returning burglar. Would you want the citizen to be tried for murder? Or would you actually make the distinction between self defence and premeditation and class the act as a lesser form of homicide?

Treat others how you would wish to be treated. Suspect of others what you would have others suspect of you. If you would call someone a murderer who lacks malice aforethought, expect to be called a murderer yourself in the same situation.

1 Like

Wow, call lawyers, really?

Try to match these cretins in their response. If one of them was shot dead for some stupid reason, do you think they would just call a lawyer and complain, hope for the best?

People need to get over their fear of dealing forcefully with police and other violent bureaucracies. Play by their rules, instead of those which are long known to be ineffective. Don’t be afraid to demand to know who they are and what they’re doing. Or following them home if they cause problems in public. Or restraining them if they are endangering people. Or scrambling their radio so they need to deal with you personally. Or searching “their” car if they are uncooperative.

As public servants, they really only have whatever autonomy you give them.

1 Like

Somehow, I don’t see that happening.

If armed intruders break into an innocent persons house and shoot him it is murder in the colloquial sense of the word, and it doesn’t matter if they are burglers, police, or anyone else. Also, it doesn’t matter if the police announce themselves. The victim may have been asleep, hard of hearing, or not able to hear amist the other noise. Even if the victim had a gun, it is his house, and it is prudent and reasonable for him to be holding a gun when there are armed hooligans breaking into his home.

There is a very high chance when the police break into someones house that one or more occupants are going to end up dead. They can and should know that. They are willingly committing an act that they know will likely lead to someone’s death. If they do that incorrectly, it certainly should legally be considered malice aforethought. They had all the discrition to choose the time and manner of their assault. They chose the path most likely to end up with a dead innocent citizen.


Forgive me if I consider matters of life and death unfit for the employment colloquialisms.

1 Like

I would call breaking into someone’s house malice aforethought, personally. The police are supposed to declare themselves to be police, but that doesn’t mean they do.


It doesn’t matter what you personally would call malice aforethought. What matters is what actually is considered malice aforethought.

I ordinarily would point out how ludicrous your stance is when taken at face value (suppose a fire-fighter breaks into a burning home, hmm?), but I feel you’re set on maintaining your stance regardless of actual legal definitions and terms, so I’ll save us both the effort of a senseless discussion and wish you a good evening.

1 Like

I know that the cops can’t commit murder in the technocal legal sense because they are essentially above the law.

But in any commons sense understanding of the terms, this constitutes murder, and legally it would be as well except for the immunity granted to police officers, which apparently applies even if they were completey unjustified in their actions. So yes, I am going to call this murder. So will lots of other people. They cops won’t go to jail, they probably won’t even be tried. They will be put on administrative leave during an investigation, and if we the citizens are extremely lucky they will be taken off the force so they can’t kill again.

Now I wish we could get the laws changed so that what is commonly and morally known to be murder is also legally considerd the same. But I won’t hold my breath.


These cop threads on boingboing are great examples of the huge difference between “because” and “as an eventual consequence of”.

Yes, lets:
Assume an armed member of the public breaks into a house, and shoots the homeowner dead. Murder/Not Murder?

Before you answer, though, you might want to ponder this, and in particular the phrase “a killing caused by dangerous conduct and the offender’s obvious lack of concern for human life.” Granted that there will as always be extenuating circumstances, but that affects the sentence rather than the verdict.


Why not? What you got to lose other than your agency? Your other viable option is basically to become a pet of the state. Good luck with that.

Police do not have any special insights or powers. They have weapons and radios. They are in communication with each other and act in concert. When you cut their communications they lose a lot of swagger and it becomes a very different game.

Instead of complaining about police, why not learn to model their tactics? After all, they worked well against you, didn’t they? Don’t wait for them to approach you about something. Watch them and ride them, hard.

Produce evidence of premeditation and it is murder. Doesn’t matter if the perpetrator is a police officer on duty, if you can demonstrate malice aforthought, you can get murder charges to stick.

This is, of course, putting aside matters of corruption, tampering with evidence, et cetera, as in any case where you can produce evidence of premeditiation, these are moot points.

1 Like

Murder comes from a root meaning death not deliberate unlawful killing of those protected by the law by those subject to the law, anyway.


Are you using the singular or plural “you”?