Monday, April 25, 2005

A story from the Sun Sentinel out of Florida



DELRAY BEACH -- The father of a teenager shot and killed by a rookie police officer plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, his attorney said.A Palm Beach County judge recommended Thursday that Delray Beach Police Officer Darren Cogoni be charged with manslaughter for the death of 16-year-old Jerrod Miller. Cogoni, 23, finished police training three weeks before the shooting. Willie Gary, the attorney for the teen's father, Kenneth Miller, did not say Friday how much money he would seek in damages. But in a letter to city officials, Gary said he is also suing for more supervision of rookie police officers, better training in the use of deadly force, more minority recruiting and a community police liaison.City Manager David Harden declined to comment on the pending lawsuit. Jerrod Miller was shot in the back of the head Feb. 26 as he drove across the Delray Full Service Center high school campus. Cogoni asked to see Miller's driver license, and the teenager, who did not have one, drove off erratically, scattering students gathered outside the school gym, according to witnesses. Cogoni said he fired to protect bystanders mingling in the path of Miller's car. State Attorney Barry Krischer is expected to decide in the next two to three weeks if Cogoni will be charged, a spokesman said.
Usually I post a story about a cop on trial and I explain why we should cut the cop some slack. Usually, I stick up for cops in deadly force situations, giving them the benefit of the doubt. This time, I just can't see how this is defensible. It doesn't even make any sense!

Officer Cogoni fired a gun towards a car speeding away from him in order to protect people in the path of the car? That means that the bystanders were in the path of his bullets! Not to mention the use of force issues involved in shooting a car that's not coming at you, not to mention the fact that killing a driver will not immediately stop the car anyway. If we have a driver trying to run down a cop, then you have assault with a deadly weapon and it makes sense to use deadly force to combat the deadly force being used against you. When you have some brain-dead idiot teenager trying to escape, it's not anywhere near the same thing.

I know Florida has different peace officer standards and training, but I seriously doubt this is how officers are trained. As much as I hate the idea of suing cops and departments, in this case, I don't blame the dad. I'm willing to bet that Cogoni acted outside his training and his department policy, and you just can't do that.


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2 Comments:

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3:42 PM  
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12:48 AM  

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