The second there is an officer-involved shooting, the mainstream media explodes. But when officers are shot? Not so much.
Four people, including three law enforcement personnel, were injured while attempting to serve an arrest warrant at an Iowa apartment building.
Three Guthrie County sheriff’s deputies and a Stuart police officer were on scene to deliver a warrant, said Adam DeCamp, special agent in charge with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.
Within minutes, authorities say that Randall Lee Comly, 52, began shooting at law enforcement. Guthrie County Sheriff’s Deputies Steven Henry and Jim Mink were injured in the gunfire.
A third officer was injured with a “non-gunshot wound,” DeCamp said. Comly was also struck in the exchange.
Fortunately, all the officers are expected to make a full recovery.
“It’s tough,” Stuart Police Chief David Reha said at an early-morning news conference Friday. “We’re all small agencies, we work together all the time. This hurts all of us.”
If it wasn’t for the quick response of other officers, it might have been worse.
“They’re doing well,” added Jeremy Bennett, Guthrie County’s chief deputy, referring to his colleagues. “We had good backup and we want to thank all the other agencies that showed up to support us today. We had quite the outpouring of officers.”
Vehicles and officers from several county and local agencies could be seen near the apartment complex as investigators processed the scene.
“There were shots fired inside the home,” DeCamp said during a 5 a.m. news conference at Stuart City Hall. “I don’t know if there were any fired outside.”
Each of the injured were taken to Des Moines-area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. The deputies and the police officer were treated at MercyOne Medical Center.
“Law enforcement officers from local, county and state agencies in the area responded and were able to secure the scene without further incident,” DeCamp said. “Officers negotiated with one of the occupants of the apartments, getting him to leave the apartment and surrender.”
Guthrie County sheriff’s deputies are issued body cameras, Bennett said, but it’s unclear if they were on or working Thursday night.
At 5 a.m., six agents were still active at the scene, interviewing witnesses to ensure officials had the best information possible.
Several residents of the apartment building were asked to leave their homes. People were allowed to return after the incident ended around midnight Thursday.
The apartment building was the same one where an alleged rape took place Monday, according to Reha. He said the officer-involved shooting and the potential sexual assault are not related, to his knowledge. The public is no longer at risk, the police chief said.
The standoff lasted nearly 90 minutes. DeCamp said he wasn’t sure why the warrant was being served so late in the evening, but it’s not necessarily odd.
Both Mink and Henry were in good condition at MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center on Friday, Mercy spokesman Gregg Lagan said.
Comly was also injured in the exchange, according to police and a witness who was in the apartment at the time of the incident. Ashley Richards said that she was hiding in the bathroom during the shooting and came out afterward, only to find Comly bleeding from the abdomen.
Police said he was stable on Friday afternoon and that his injuries were not life-threatening.
Comly is currently under supervision at a Des Moines hospital on outstanding warrants. No charges have been filed, according to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.
Stuart Police Officer Tyler DeFrancisco suffered a powder burn and was released from the hospital early Friday. Guthrie County Sheriff’s Deputy Kent Gries was not reported injured.
This was not Comly’s first run-in with law enforcement, according to court records.
In addition to multiple felony drug charges over the years, Comly had been charged with felony gun crimes in the past, according to online court records.
Most recently, he was charged with first-degree burglary, intimidation with a dangerous weapon that injured or provoked fear, going armed with intent, and control of a firearm by a felon.
According to those court documents, on August 6thof this year, Guthrie County police responded to a report of “a guy down here shooting,” and that Comly’s brother and others were in the house.
Witnesses described Comly beating the door of the house, entering the house and yelling threats at a man while pointing a handgun at him, court documents detail. Witnesses also said Comly raised a firearm above the male’s head and fired.
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
Also on Thursday, with this one in New York, a police sergeant fatally shot a man during a traffic stop after the driver tried to run the officer over.
It happened around 3 p.m. near Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx and was the second deadly shooting by the New York police this week.
Here’s what happened.
The sergeant and two officers in a marked car pulled over an S.U.V. after noticing the driver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
The driver’s name wasn’t released as of the time of this publishing. But the officers determined he had three outstanding warrants for failing to pay fines for violations – one of which was for littering.
— Jessica Cunnington (@JessicaNews12) October 17, 2019
Police say that when officers told the driver they were arresting him as a result of the warrants, he got out of the S.U.V.
But they say moments later, he began to physically resist and then got back behind the wheel of the vehicle. The cops were on the driver’s side of the car, and the sergeant was on the passenger’s side.
They said that with both of the S.U.V.’s front doors open, the driver “initiated a violent struggle”.
That’s according to Terence A. Monahan, the chief of department, who held a news conference near the site of the shooting.
— Chief Terence Monahan (@NYPDChiefofDept) October 17, 2019
That’s when the sergeant fired a stun gun at the driver, but it didn’t stop him. He not only continued to fight, but he then shifted into drive and then reverse “with the sergeant inside the vehicle at all times,” Chief Monahan said.
“When the car was put into reverse, the officer on the driver’s side had to release his grip” on the driver “and jump out of the way to avoid being hit by the car,” Chief Monahan said.
According to the police, one of the officers was dragged by the car.
The entire struggle lasted about a minute and a half, and the sergeant finally shot the driver in the chest when the car started to move.
He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
Videos caught by bystanders captured the series of events.
A male and female officer are seen on the driver’s side of a silver S.U.V., fighting with the driver, before the car moves forward and then reverses.
In the video, you can see as the male officer jumps out of the way to avoid being hit by the open door, which slams shut moments before a shot rings out.
Immediately after, the male officer drags a bleeding man from the driver’s seat onto the pavement. He handcuffs him behind his back and then begins trying to save his life.
According to police, the officers, sergeant and a passenger in the car were not hurt. They also said a large quantity of drugs, including cocaine, heroin and Ecstasy, were found in the S.U.V.
The first officer-involved shooting this week took place on Tuesday in Brooklyn. That’s when they fatally shot a man after encountering him shooting at a second man. Just hours after, police in the Bronx shot an armed man at the 225th Street subway station. He was hit once in the arm.
In the meantime, new information has come to light after the media spent the last week absolutely crucifying a Fort Worth police officer after he fatally shot a woman at her home.
Initial reports said that the officer showed up to Atatiana Jefferson’s house to perform a welfare check after a call came in from the neighbors.
He was immediately demonized for shooting the homeowner. Activists slammed police for being “trigger-happy” and shooting first and asking questions later.
But it turns out, that’s not the case at all.
Now we’ve learned that it wasn’t actually a welfare check that the officer was responding to, but in fact a call about a potential burglary, according to a report from The Post.
During welfare checks, police knock on the door and wait. This situation was considered an “open-structure” call, according to Michael “Britt” London, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.
London says that during these calls, police go in with a much different mindset.
“You are at a higher sensitivity to what is going on with that house,” London said. “You have to be ready for anything. You are taking more of your environment in consideration to be ready for a surprise if there’s one.”
The public and the media took to the internet to demonize the officer, slamming his as a racist killer. They said he shouldn’t have had his gun drawn. They say he should have announced his presence more clearly.
CNN’s first paragraph of their story immediately screamed out their bias:
“A black woman was shot and killed by a white police officer in her Fort Worth, Texas home.”
Way to let the facts come in before ruining a man’s life.
A report from VICE noted that Jefferson’s 8-year-old nephew told police that his aunt was holding a firearm in her hand as the officers responded to the scene.
It was a freak occurrence. It’s a terrible situation. It shouldn’t have happened. But just as the media says police shoot first and ask questions later…. aren’t they doing the exact same thing?
Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was shot and killed by a Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean, who was called to the woman’s home for a welfare check, authorities said.
In a statement, the department said it received a call at 2:25 a.m. reporting an open front door at a residence. Responding officers searched the perimeter of the house and saw a person standing inside near the window, according to police.
“Perceiving a threat, the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot, striking the person inside the residence,” the department stated.
In body camera video released by police, two officers search the home from the outside with flashlights before one shouts:
“Put your hands up, show me your hands.”
One shot is then fired through a window.
Officers entered the house and located an individual and a firearm and began performing emergency medical care.
The wounded woman succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. There were no other injuries.
The department released bodycam footage of the incident “to provide transparent and relevant information to the public as we are allowed within the confines of the investigation”, it stated.
Any video taken inside the house could not be distributed due to state law.
That state law, of course, doesn’t stop CNN from attacking the department, suggesting they are hiding something:
“CNN requested the unedited body camera footage, an incident report and dispatch audio from the dispatch call that prompted the response, but a police spokesperson said nothing additional will be released at this time,” the CNN report said.
The neighbor who called 911 about the open front door told Fox 4 the police officers didn’t announce who they were or knock on the door before searching the outside of the house.
“When I made that non-emergency call, I didn’t say it was a burglary. I didn’t say it was people fighting. I didn’t say anything to make them have a gun. All they needed to do is ring the doorbell,” James Smith said.
Of course Mr. James Smith wasn’t actually there when the officer saw a threat brandishing a firearm. But apparently he knows all about policing, because he once called them.
“They didn’t park up front, they parked on the side. They sent SRT, which is the special response team. They didn’t have a plainclothes officer to knock on that door,” activist and pastor Kyev Tatum said to local media outlets.
Take special note of the word “activist”. ‘nuf said.
It’s crucial that in this age where we are in the middle of a war on police, we take special note of the clear bias in the media reporting that ensures that officers are convicted – at least in the court of public opinion – before they ever get a shot to plead their case in the court of law.According to Jefferson’s family, they were “relieved” that Dean was behind bars.
Attorney Lee Merritt said the family “needs to see this through to a vigorous prosecution and appropriate sentencing.”
On Monday, Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said Dean was placed on detached duty and stripped of his badge and firearm after he was served with his written administrative complaint.
“My intent was to meet with him today to terminate his employment with the Fort Worth Police Department. However, the officer tendered his resignation this morning before we met,” Kraus said. “Even though he no longer works for the city, we will continue the administrative investigation as if he did. The case will be completed and reviewed by the chain of command.
The interim chief didn’t offer any support for the officer, and sought to legally distance the department.
“Had the officer not resigned I would have fired him for violations of several policies including our use of force policy, our de-escalation policy and unprofessional conduct,” Kraus added.
Mayor Betsy Price appeared in a press conference. She said Jefferson was “unjustly taken from her family”. She also said the city has decided to bring a “third party panel of national experts” in to review the city’s police department.
“To Atatiana’s family: It’s unacceptable,” she said. “There is nothing that could justify what happened on Saturday morning. Nothing.”
Dean’s letter read:
“Effective immediately I am tendering my resignation from the Fort Worth Police Department.”
It was released by the state’s largest police union, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.
According to the group’s executive director, Charley Wilkison, Dean has not yet hired an attorney. They also said he will be provided with financial support from the union.
Not that it comes as a shock, but the shooting lead to politicians attacking “use of force”.
“It seems like this police officer made a very quick judgment to shoot her through this window and that makes absolutely no sense at all,” Rep. Marc Veasey, a Democrat, said on Sunday night.
She and others appeared at a candlelight vigil at Jefferson’s home.
“Our welfare check turned into a death, and that should never have happened,” Fort Worth City Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray said. “Our people, our citizens who call the police, should know the police are going to come and answer their cares and concerns in a way that does not result in a tragedy.”
According to Police Lt. Brandon O’Neil, the officer had been on the force since April 2018.
He spoke at a brief news conference at police headquarters, and said the officer did not announce he was a police officer before he fired the deadly shot. He said that’s at the cornerstone of the department’s investigation.
He also said Jefferson’s 8-year-old nephew was in the room with Jefferson when she was shot, and that she was watching her nephew at the time.
O’Neil went on to say representatives of the police department have spoken with the woman’s family and “shared our serious and heartfelt concern for this unspeakable loss.”
The Fort Worth Police Officers Association released a statement to the media as well.
In it, they said they are:
“Urging the Fort Worth police department to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation, and through that investigation, we hope to gain clarity and understanding of what exactly transpired.”
“Police officers take an oath to protect and serve all citizens in our great city and it is every officers’ worst fear to use deadly force in the line of duty. We are thankful for our community leaders who seek to unite during times of grief instead of divide and we hope that collaboration and peace will help guide us forward.”
Dean is now facing murder charges. He started the day as a good guy who wanted to help stop evil and save lives, and is now being portrayed as a cold-blooded killer.
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.