Unfortunately, deadly violence against police is not unique to the U.S. Officers everywhere are targets.
While not at the same frequency as we see here, it does happen. Police Constable Andrew Harper, 28, died at about 23:30 BST on Thursday in Berkshire in the UK.
Thames Valley Police said 10 males, aged between 13 and 30, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in custody at various stations.
New British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the BBC the officer’s death was a “mindless and brutal crime”.
Thames Valley Police Chief Constable John Campbell said the death of PC Harper, an Abingdon-based roads policing officer, has left the entire force “shocked and saddened”.
He told a press conference that although the cause of PC Harper’s death had not yet been confirmed, he was out of his police car when he was “dragged along by a vehicle”.
Mr Johnson said the officer’s death was “an absolute tragedy and the most powerful reminder that police officers up and down the country put themselves at risk every single day to keep us safe”.
“My thoughts are with PC Harper’s family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time,” he added.
Chief Campbell said Harper was a “highly regarded, popular member of the team” and his death was a “significant loss” to the force and also to his colleagues and friends.
Maureen Shrimpton wrote on social media:
“Just a really horrible day. Our grandson Andrew was killed last night while doing his police work. So proud of him. Our love goes to his lovely wife, mum and dad, brother and all of his family and friends.”
Andy Fiddler, from the Thames Valley Police Federation, added: “This is totally devastating news. All our thoughts – and the thoughts of the entire police family across the UK – are with the family, friends and close colleagues of PC Andrew Harper who died last night.”
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it had been made aware of the officer’s death, because of possible issues around a police pursuit, but is not investigating.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
“PC Harper died in the line of duty protecting the public and his incredible bravery and extraordinary sacrifice will not be forgotten.”
Thames Valley Police said it was still trying to establish the exact circumstances that led to Harper’s death.
Forensic investigators are at the scene, where two forensic tents have been put up.
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The constable’s office indicated it would fly its flags at half-staff “in honour and memory of Andrew”.
Unlike the United States, where an officer is killed in the line of duty 150 times a year, the UK has only seen 10 deaths in the last 10 years in occurrences dealing with a criminal suspect.
The most recent case was the murder in 2017 of Constable Keith Palmer, who was stabbed during the Westminster terror attack in 2017.
In 2012, Greater Manchester PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were killed in a grenade and firearm attack, while investigating a hoax burglary call.
Violence against officers is a common occurrence. In the year to March, there were 30,977 assaults on police officers and a third of these resulted in injury.
The attack on PC Harper is the third time in recent weeks an officer has been seriously hurt in the line of duty.
Metropolitan police constable Stuart Outten was stabbed in the head on 8 August.
Back here in the U.S., Law Enforcement Today has learned that multiple officers in the Moss Point, Mississippi area may be targeted by associates of Touissant “Dime Sack” Sims following an officer involved shooting earlier this month.
Intel reveals there may be a coordinated effort to kill officers involved in the shooting.
A Criminal Activity Bulletin from the Moss Point Police Department name several of Sims’ family members known to have made “threats of causing harm to members of Law Enforcement agencies” and that these individuals have information on where local officers reside.
The bulletin also states that Sims’ relations are believed to be travelling to the Moss Point area from California and Florida.
All departments are being warned in the bulletin stating:
“Those of you working in narcotics divisions, investigations, and corrections are equally at risk.”
Officers are strongly encouraged to demonstrate extraordinary situational awareness and to:
“Be alert and be cognizant of your own safety as well as that of your partner…. Be mindful of your environment at all times, especially when you are in your police vehicle.”
The shooting resulted after Sims, who was wanted on several felony warrants, fled from police in a vehicle resulting in a chase.
Sims crashed the vehicle he was operating and continued on foot. Officers pursued hoping to use a taser to subdue to him, however, when Sims reached for a gun in his waistband, one of the officers responded with gunfire.
Members of the local community claim that the officer was racist and intentionally murdered the 27-year-old.
WXXV’s Kristen Anzuini reports that Sims’ great aunt Lakeisha Hardmon says of the deceased:
“He had a good heart. He had his flaws. I mean, we all do, no one is perfect. You show me a perfect person, I show you a lie. He had a lot of growing to do, but he still did not deserve to be done the way he was done.”
Meanwhile other members of the deceased family have staged a sit-in at Moss Point City Hall demanding that a meeting is held to address their demands, which include the termination of the officer who shot Sims as well as the police chief.
However, Moss Point Mayor Mario King has made it clear that City Hall had no authority over the employment of the officer and calls for a meeting will not be entertained.
Attorney Moore was frustrated with the lack of response from City Halls and said of Mayor King:
“He’s a young black male. While it’s Diamon Sims today, who is five years younger than the mayor, it could be him tomorrow.”
The City of Moss Point received a letter of intent to sue for $10 million dollars. Attorney Carlos Moore, who represents the family of Sims says:
“My client suffered and continues to suffer monetary losses from the injuries, including mental and emotional pain and anguish.”
According to Moore, an eyewitness claimed that she saw the officer shoot the man and then fire an additional four or five rounds into him as he lay in the street, Sun Herald reports. Yet video evidence proves that to be a blatant lie.
In the hours and days that followed the shooting, the officer was publicly labeled a racist, murdering cop who planted evidence in order to get away with killing Sims.
Jim Glennon of Calibre Press uses real life scenarios to teach members of law enforcement. He said that because of the spread of rumors and lack of public evidence, the officer lost any chance he had at a fair investigation.
“What we’ve seen here was a massive rush to judgement. Without any evidence whatsoever, this officer is being called a murderer,” Glennon said. “His right to due process was completely eliminated.”
We have a dangerous armed suspect fleeing in a vehicle and on foot that allegedly attempted to escape by any means necessary – including using a loaded gun against police. But on the other hand, we have eyewitness testimony that swears the suspect was unarmed and shot in the back while running away.
The family’s defense attorney, who has since stepped down from representing them, said he spoke with one of those witnesses who claimed to have seen the entire scenario play out.
“I received a message on Friday morning. Someone reached out to me from Moss Point. It was an eyewitness, so I spoke to her as soon as I woke up Friday morning around 7 a.m., and she told me she had witnessed the entire shooting, from the time the young man jumped out of the black vehicle and started running,” Attorney Carlos Moore said. “She saw him running, about to jump a fence and saw him shot in the back multiple times by the white cop. She said the young man had nothing in his hands, nothing that could be misconstrued as a weapon. Nothing was in his hands. He was running full speed from the cops, away from the cops.”
Moore said that he drove over 100 miles to interview witnesses.
“A lot of times you the cops’ words against nobody because there are no witnesses, but this was in broad daylight. People clearly saw what they saw, and they have come forward. One of the witnesses will speak with the media tomorrow during the press conference and tell what she saw, and I’m going to ask that the officer be immediately terminated based on the witness’s testimony.”
When asked if he thought he was prematurely condemning the officer, Moore defended his statements.
“I decide on information based on evidence, and a lot of time it’s not video or audio. It is based on eyewitness testimony, and I made a judicial termination of the facts of who I believe is telling the truth. So in this instance, I am acting as an attorney, but I’m doing the same process. I have heard an eyewitness account of what happened. and I have not seen anything to dispute it, and based on that I believe, this boy was murdered.”
While that witness testimony seems damning for police, others say that’s not at all what happened.
— Betsy Brantner Smith (@sgtbetsysmith) August 12, 2019
The attorney for the officer in question has reviewed the body cam footage from the incident. He says it very clearly exonerates the officer’s actions.
Attorney Calvin Taylor said the video clearly shows suspect Toussaint Diamon Sims had a firearm capable firing dozens of rounds. He said that a loaded gun was found near Sims’ body and that people who had claimed to ‘witness’ the incident were wrong.
“The video makes it clear there were no witnesses,” Taylor said. “That’s why the video is so important . There are people that are providing information that may not be what they thought they saw.”
A Facebook live video even went out right after the fatal shots were fired as onlookers claimed to see Moss Point police planting evidence.
Glennon argues that there should be some kind of repercussion for supplying false testimony.
“Why are there no ramifications for people who can call someone a murderer without any evidence other than what they thought they saw? They publicly condemned this officer without a shred of real evidence.”
He says we need to wait for all of the facts to come out before a proper assessment of the situation can be made.
“Let’s wait for the facts,” Glennon said. “With the current news cycle and quick spread of misinformation, our officers don’t stand a chance. We need to wait and allow the investigators to properly do their jobs.”
Moss Point Mayor Mario King says he’s here to help “move forward.” He “understands the movements” like Black Lives Matter and Blues Lives Matter, but says he can’t comment on the investigation. pic.twitter.com/Jo53jwKA45
— Alyssa Newton (@AlyssaKNewton) August 12, 2019
After Sims led police on a chase in excess of 100mph and crashed into a ditch, he jumped from his car and began to flee on foot. The officers then drew their tasers “because he wants to apprehend Mr. Sims in a non-lethal situation,” Taylor said. It was only after Sims reached for a firearm in his waistband that officers dropped their stun guns and drew their service weapons.
“And you can see Mr. Sims on several occasions as he’s running, he’s turning back toward the position of the officer,” Taylor said, “and (my client) felt like he was attempting to shoot, and we know that the firearm was loaded and had a round in the chamber.”
So, we have a pursuit and a non-lethal attempt to apprehend the suspect before weapons were drawn. If you ask us, this officer followed his training to a T.
Why did Moore step down? He claims it was due to the fact that he was related to the family in the case, but it appears that he removed himself from the trial after viewing the body cam footage from the officer.
“This is my last press conference. I believe it’s in the best interest of the family to have an attorney that’s not related to them,” he said.
The investigation into the shooting is ongoing. District Attorney Myers-McIlrath released the following statement.
“I am confident the circumstances surrounding the death of Toussaint Sims are being thoroughly investigated by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations. While I understand this is a matter of public concern, the Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct limit what information can be released.”
— Sun Herald (@sunherald) August 13, 2019
“I am truly saddened by the events that occurred involving the August 8, 2019, incident. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this tragic incident. We are asking for the media and the public’s assistance while this investigation proceeds.
It is extremely important that we do not make assumptions about what occurred based on preliminary and conflicting statements. We all want an investigation that is professional, thorough, timely, and credible.
I am confident that the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and the Jackson County District Attorneys office will complete such an investigation. We will release names of the individuals involved when we can. At this time, no other information will come from the Moss Point Police Department.”
The officer’s name is being withheld until the case is presented to a Grand Jury.