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Old 07 September 2018, 03:35 PM
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Jaded Dallas officer enters apartment she mistakes for her own, fatally shoots man inside

A Dallas man was killed late Thursday when a police officer returning home from her shift entered the wrong apartment in her building and eventually opened fire, authorities said.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news...shoots-n907411
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Old 07 September 2018, 03:45 PM
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I'm trying very hard not to rush to judgement here. I'm not being very successful. The fact that this has been reported as the officer thinking she was entering her own apartment, and the absence of other details, makes almost any attempt to justify the shooting sound silly. Of course, even if it's later revealed that she wasn't mistaken, or that the man she shot was acting in a clearly unwarranted aggressive way, this cop is going to look very guilty.
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Old 07 September 2018, 04:31 PM
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I'm curious what specifically you think she is guilty of? (I'm not expressing an opinion, just asking the question).
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Old 07 September 2018, 04:44 PM
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Well presumable an average civilian would probably be considered for breaking and entering and second degree murder for something like this taken at face value. I.E. entering a person's home and killing them.

I'm not sure how much being a police officer not answering to any official call mitigates that. Personally, "Opps, I thought this was my house" does not carries much weight.

P.S. Large grain of salt as all opinions expressed are based only on headlines and the main talking points I have heard. More details could easily change these thoughts.
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Old 07 September 2018, 05:38 PM
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For me, it's what is expressed by the mother of the victim...
Quote:
"Somebody has to be crazy not to realize that they walked into the wrong apartment," Allie Jean said. "He's a bachelor. Things are different inside."

"And if you try your key and it doesn't work, that should make you realize you're at the wrong apartment," she added. "Every door for each apartment is also numbered."
So unless the "uniformed officer" was drunk, drugged or staggeringly tired, there should have been no reason not to go "Oops, sorry, my bad" and walk out. The article doesn't state any weapon was found, doesn't mention any drugs or criminal activity so the way I see it, the officer walked into an apartment that should have been easy to identify as "not hers" and shot a man as an intruder while she herself was the actual intruder.

I will now end my rant with an inappropriate joke...
"Many Bothams died to bring us this information"
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  #6  
Old 07 September 2018, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
I'm curious what specifically you think she is guilty of? (I'm not expressing an opinion, just asking the question).
I'm not using "guilty" in the strict legal sense of "guilty of a specific crime" but I just mean guilty of killing someone for no reason.

I'm not saying I'm convinced this is the case, I'm saying the way the story is being reported makes one jump to that conclusion. It sounds like she came home, opened the door to the wrong apartment, saw a stranger she assumed to be an intruder in her own apartment, and shot him dead. Some of the comments above appear to be based on these assumptions. The actual facts may be (or may not be) something different.
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Old 07 September 2018, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasFink View Post
I'm not using "guilty" in the strict legal sense of "guilty of a specific crime" but I just mean guilty of killing someone for no reason.

I'm not saying I'm convinced this is the case, I'm saying the way the story is being reported makes one jump to that conclusion. It sounds like she came home, opened the door to the wrong apartment, saw a stranger she assumed to be an intruder in her own apartment, and shot him dead. Some of the comments above appear to be based on these assumptions. The actual facts may be (or may not be) something different.
That's about what it sounds like to me, too. We don't really have details on how she entered, or what exactly occurred, which might or might not matter.

I haven't taken time to think it through, but it was not immediately apparent to me what crime would apply. (This doesn't mean I think no crime would -- I just want to think through the.elements). I do think that the fact that she is an officer is almost completely irrelevant.
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Old 07 September 2018, 06:21 PM
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According to this article the police are seeking manslaughter charges against the officer.
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Old 08 September 2018, 03:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
That's about what it sounds like to me, too. We don't really have details on how she entered, or what exactly occurred, which might or might not matter.

I haven't taken time to think it through, but it was not immediately apparent to me what crime would apply. (This doesn't mean I think no crime would -- I just want to think through the.elements). I do think that the fact that she is an officer is almost completely irrelevant.
Based on just a quick search and the reported facts that the officer seems to have voluntarily admitted, it seems like it would be voluntary manslaughter at a bare minimum (unless she claims she shot him without intending to kill him, which seems unlikely to be a convincing defense, especially for a trained police officer). (From Wikipedia: "In voluntary manslaughter, the offender had no prior intent to kill and acted in 'the moment', under circumstances that could cause a reasonable person to become emotionally or mentally disturbed. Examples could include a defender killing a home invader without being placed in a life or death situation.") In particular, it seems like this might be a case of the "imperfect self-defense" example of involuntary manslaughter, where the person honestly believes that they are killing in self-defense even though that is not the case--in this case, she may have thought she was responding to an intruder in her home who she perceived as threatening, when she was actually the life-threatening intruder in the victim's home instead. And it being manslaughter instead of murder would seem to hinge on how "reasonable" her thought process was--managing to enter someone else's home accidentally and get to the point of actually shooting the occupant without noticing the error seems like an awful lot of "mistake" to justify with a reasonable thought process.

I think some form of trespassing charge might apply to her entering the apartment in the first place. In my understanding, breaking and entering requires intent to commit a crime, but trespass doesn't necessarily require intent.
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  #10  
Old 08 September 2018, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onyx_TKD View Post
managing to enter someone else's home accidentally and get to the point of actually shooting the occupant without noticing the error seems like an awful lot of "mistake" to justify with a reasonable thought process.
Indeed.

Did these apartments come pre-furnished with the same furniture? That seems unlikely.
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Old 08 September 2018, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Indeed.

Did these apartments come pre-furnished with the same furniture? That seems unlikely.
She probably didn't really notice the furniture. The door was most likely not locked, which might have made her nervous when she realized that her apartment was not secured. She opened the door to her apartment, saw a strange man there, pulled and shot him. That is incredibly bad police work on her part, since she went straight for lethal force when there is no indication that he started anything. I really, really hope police officers are not trained to shoot first, ask questions later.
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Old 08 September 2018, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfresh View Post
She opened the door to her apartment, saw a strange man there, pulled and shot him. That is incredibly bad police work on her part, since she went straight for lethal force when there is no indication that he started anything.
Not that I think it matters much at this point (though depending on the circumstances, who knows, particularly when fine points of law end up before a jury) but where are you getting those details from? She entered the wrong apartment, she shot the rightful occupant; those are the only details I’ve been able to gleam about what went on inside. Did I miss something with more details about what happened in between those two events?
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  #13  
Old 08 September 2018, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfresh View Post
I really, really hope police officers are not trained to shoot first, ask questions later.
That is precisely what they're trained to do--aside from the part about ever asking questions--at least in much of the United States.
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Old 08 September 2018, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfresh View Post
I really, really hope police officers are not trained to shoot first, ask questions later.
I'm not sure if that is a serious question or not, but no they are not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
That is precisely what they're trained to do--aside from the part about ever asking questions--at least in much of the United States.
No it isn't. It is absurd to suggest that it is.
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  #15  
Old 08 September 2018, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
That is precisely what they're trained to do--aside from the part about ever asking questions--at least in much of the United States.
No Avril, that is not correct in any way shape or form. I have been through an abbreviated police training course as part of qualifying for CERT (Community Emergency Response Service) that included a simulated shooting scenario. During my time trying to catch the bad guy (thought to have robbed a store at gun point), I shot him 4 times when he jumped out of hiding. Afterwards, I could not even remember if he displayed his weapon. I think he did as my partner also fired his weapon. The officer playing the bad guy looked very put out and had 5 paint splotches on him as we walked out. But I still don't know if he displayed a weapon or just hollered boo.
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Old 09 September 2018, 12:20 AM
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I'm not saying Avril is correct, but I'm wondering how your anecdote about CERT contradicts her position. How were you evaluated on the training exercise given the way it played out? Was an alternative approach suggested? Not being snarky, seriously asking here.
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  #17  
Old 09 September 2018, 03:47 AM
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I live in a block of 8 apartments. When I first moved in about 20 years ago all the apartments had the same doors. That is a screened wrought iron door and wooden door. All pretty much identical*.

I went to the local hardware store to get a copy of both door keys to have a spare set and for the screen door he just picked a pre-cut one of the shelf from a selection of about five. The wooden door has the "proper" lock. I just double checked and our front doors do have numbers but the are at the very top of the door and unless you are looking for them I doubt you would notice them.

On one occasion I walked up an extra flight of steps and it wasn't until I looked the door and thought "That not my door!" that I realised. I was tired. Another time I heard some trying to unlock my front door. It was the upstairs neighbour. He apologised when I opened the door to see what the heck was happening, I must have given him a look, but as a woman who lives alone I was understandable nervous.

Now unusually for buildings of this size and age, this is a secure building, you need a key to get in. So in summer many people leave the wooden door open and just lock the screen door to get flow through of air.

So, basically I can understand how this happened. Or at least how she got in.




*That has since changed.
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  #18  
Old 09 September 2018, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicgeek View Post
I'm not saying Avril is correct, but I'm wondering how your anecdote about CERT contradicts her position. How were you evaluated on the training exercise given the way it played out? Was an alternative approach suggested? Not being snarky, seriously asking here.
No evaluation was given. We were told we were in pursuit of an armed person. This was a simple shoot out. This type of training session was not repeated. I am not sure what we were supposed to learn. A better example of real police actions during a CERT training came the next year. During a police ride-along, there was an armed robbery at a fast food place. The officer and CERT civilian happened to be very close to the scene. They managed to actually stop the robbers. One of the robbers jumped out of the car and ran. The other stayed put. The officer pulled his shotgun from its bracket and handed it the CERT person. He told her don't fire unless directly attacked. All ended well with both robbers in custody and no shots fired. The directive to not fire unless attacked is how the police operate. Of course that is simplified as the police will also fire to protect others.

I told of my experience to try and explain the stress of being in a situation like that the police may face.
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Old 09 September 2018, 01:39 PM
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Does Texas have a "Stand Your Ground" Law? Because if the guy in the apartment came after her, she could shoot him and claim self defence.

It may not convince a jury, but it may.
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  #20  
Old 09 September 2018, 01:57 PM
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Texas has had a variety of gun laws. In the fictional westerns, the sheriff would tell the cowboys to check their guns before going into town. I'm not sure but I think this was true. I do know the 1886 Texas constitution banned concealed carry for everyone except police. There were lots of exceptions such as need. Thus when I had to go to Fair Park in Dallas after dark to study the lighting, I was legal to carry a firearm as the park was a hot bed of drug dealing. Plus the lighting designer who I was going with had been held up there previously. She said she would not go unless I was carrying a gun. Texas allows shooting in defense of property if it is dark but not if it is daylight. This allowed a guy to get away with killing a woman who he had payed for a sex act. When she backed out and left, he went outside in the dark and killed her but got off because it was dark. Self defense has always been an acceptable reason to shoot. Today I'm not sure if there is a 'stand your ground' law similar to Florida's. Open carry is now legal but I think it requires the same training as previously for concealed carry. My license read 'Right to Carry', not 'Concealed Carry,'
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