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Police officer killed responding to fleeing suspects.

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Posted

The more I think about it, the more I think that 100MPH on a city street to join a chase is completely ridiculous.

A lot of guys become cops because they are thrill seekers - the odds are even that this guy liked the idea of driving that fast, and didn't want to be "left out" of the chase. Trained or not, going that fast on a local road is a very dangerous thing to do - not only to himself but anyone else out on the road. What if he had lost control and hit another car and killed a family? Would he be charged with murder? Or would the suspect have to face that charge as well?

And charges aside, common sense should dictate that going that fast to join an already managed persuit is not that great an idea, unless there was say, a kidnap victim or something similar involved where a citizen faced an immediate threat to their life. And in that case, the officer was taking a calculated risk in driving that fast, which is not the direct responsibility of the persued - who, according to the Constitution, is innocent until proven guilty.

If this case makes it anywhere I would be surprised but what do I know.

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Posted

The more I think about it, the more I think that 100MPH on a city street to join a chase is completely ridiculous.

A lot of guys become cops because they are thrill seekers - the odds are even that this guy liked the idea of driving that fast, and didn't want to be "felt out" of the chase. Trained or not, going that fast on a local road is a very dangerous thing to do - not only to himself but anyone else out on the road. What if he had lost control and hit another car and killed a family? Would he be charged with murder? Or would the suspect have to face that charge as well?

And charges aside, common sense should dictate that going that fast to join an already managed persuit is not that great an idea, unless there was say, a kidnap victim or something similar involved where a citizen faced an immediate threat to their life. And in that case, the officer was taking a calculated risk in driving that fast, which is not the direct responsibility of the persued - who, according to the Constitution, is innocent until proven guilty.

If this case makes it anywhere I would be surprised but what do I know.

I completely agree with your assessment. I know that road and 100MPH in daylight without traffic would be dangerous... it's got a ton of sideroads and drives accessing it AND it is very rough, as in needs a lot of repair. AT 100MPH, he has got to be well out driving the range of even his high beam headlights, which is why he saw the box so late and swerved (too hard) to miss it. From everything I've read about the crash there was no legitmate reason for him to be driving that fast and his speed directly caused the crash.

I suspect that a good defense lawyer will get these 2nd degree murder charges dismissed or at least reduced. I can say that based on the facts that I've seen, if I were on that jury I could not convict that guy of murder in this case. Hopefully the jury will get it right, but sometimes they don't.

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Posted

I have no doubt that one of the questions the Grand Jury asked, re-asked, and then asked again was whether or not the officer in question was operating within the guidelines, regulations, and laws that govern the Wilmington Police Department. If he was outside any of those prescribed limits you can bet your bottom dollar that the Grand Jury wouldn't have returned the indictment. Remember, this isn't some over zealous DA looking to make a splash, this was a Grand Jury that heard testimony for two days before choosing the charge the guy with the 2nd degree murder.

Got a problem with the pursuit laws and regs? Fine. Work to have them changed. But for today, the officers speed seems to not be part of the equation.

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Posted

I have no doubt that one of the questions the Grand Jury asked, re-asked, and then asked again was whether or not the officer in question was operating within the guidelines, regulations, and laws that govern the Wilmington Police Department. If he was outside any of those prescribed limits you can bet your bottom dollar that the Grand Jury wouldn't have returned the indictment. Remember, this isn't some over zealous DA looking to make a splash, this was a Grand Jury that heard testimony for two days before choosing the charge the guy with the 2nd degree murder.

Got a problem with the pursuit laws and regs? Fine. Work to have them changed. But for today, the officers speed seems to not be part of the equation.

I certainly don't know about the GJ deliberations, and I hope that they did ask about those things... this is what the latest newspaper article says...

The grand jury met Monday and Tuesday, watching videotapes and hearing testimony from witnesses from the Wilmington Police Department and State Bureau of Investigation, prosecutors said Tuesday. It indicted Pierce on the second-degree murder charge under an “implied malice” theory, District Attorney Ben David said in a news release.

Implied malice holds that a “defendant who intentionally engages in reckless conduct that is inherently dangerous to human life can be charged with murder if he should have foreseen the actual harm his conduct may have caused,” David wrote in the release.

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20090310/ARTICLES/903101994/1037/NEWS01?Title=Pierce-indicted-on-murder-charge-in-police-officer-s-death

That theory of "implied malice" seems very thin to me for convicting this guy of 2nd degree murder particularly given the fact that the officer who crashed wasn't actually involved in the chase, but was in route to it.

Even the DA who's prosecuting it seems to have his doubts...

David acknowledged that there has been no second-degree murder case in North Carolina with facts similar to this case and that a legal precedent would have to be set for Pierce to be convicted.

“But we are prepared to do everything within the bounds of the law to hold the driver fully responsible for the death of Officer Matthews. …If we have to fight to make precedent in this state, frankly, we believe this is a fight worth having,” David said.

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Posted

If a officer is responding to a domestic disturbance call, and goes 100MPH and dies en route, can the person who the call was made against be charged with second degree murder?

Even if it turns out he was innocent later?

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Posted

If a officer is responding to a domestic disturbance call, and goes 100MPH and dies en route, can the person who the call was made against be charged with second degree murder?

Even if it turns out he was innocent later?

no, but chances are the woman involved can be charged with first degree should've shut the fug up.

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Posted

If a officer is responding to a domestic disturbance call, and goes 100MPH and dies en route, can the person who the call was made against be charged with second degree murder?

Even if it turns out he was innocent later?

If I recall correctly most jurisdictions in NC require approval from the dispatcher to exceed a standard limit over posted and that permission can be rescinded in mid pursuit.

So

If the officer was driving 110 miles per hour to a domestic disturbance with the prior approval required, and the suspect in the call was found to be acting in a dangerous manner that showed no regard for human life - then yeah they too could be indicted with 2nd degree murder. Convicted? who knows but indicted yes.

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Posted

no, but chances are the woman involved can be charged with first degree should've shut the fug up.

Haha

Really, this just seems wrong. I don't care if he was in his guidelines (if he was) it's not the criminals fault for those laws. In this case, whoever put the guidelines in place should also be charged.

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Posted

The city streets are not built for ANYONE to drive 100+ miles an hour on. They can't give you enough timing tests in the police academy to be able to do that.

FWIW, where I live you're likely to find cardboard boxes and debris and other poo littered on the streets.

I don't get how anybody says the criminals are directly responsible for his death, without undeniable proof that that box was planted by them or whatever.

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Posted

you cannot swerve around things at 100mph. Not on street tires, not in a road boat police cruiser.

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Posted

If I recall correctly most jurisdictions in NC require approval from the dispatcher to exceed a standard limit over posted and that permission can be rescinded in mid pursuit.

So

If the officer was driving 110 miles per hour to a domestic disturbance with the prior approval required, and the suspect in the call was found to be acting in a dangerous manner that showed no regard for human life - then yeah they too could be indicted with 2nd degree murder. Convicted? who knows but indicted yes.

Wouldn't the dispatcher who allowed him to go 100MPH plus without knowing there was a box in the middle of the road be just as culpable?

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Posted

you cannot swerve around things at 100mph. Not on street tires, not in a road boat police cruiser.

As the proud owner of a Crown Vic Sport model (the closest thing you can get on a car lot to the P71 police car), I fully disagree with that statement. Assuming the road is dry and the tires are not really worn too much.

How I know that is none of your concern. :P

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