Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Opps! I Did It Again!

Last night, in the City of Champions, Inglewood, CA, former home to the Los Angeles Lakers, current home to The Great Western Forum and Faithful Central Bible Church at the Forum. There was an officer involved shooting resulting in the killing of 19 year veteran United States Postal mail carrier, Kevin Wicks. According to various news agencies Inglewood Police officers answer a domestic disturbance call sometime after midnight. They knocked on Mr. Wicks door and he answered, the officers allegedly stated "show us your hands" at which time Brian Wicks raised his hands, one in which he was hold a handgun. Officers fired striking Mr. Wicks, he was transported to a local hospital where he died.

Mr. Wicks was alone in his apartment and according to neighbors had just arrived after working his normal shift. Neighbors and family members believe officers responded to the wrong address and go onto explain that in the neighborhood where Mr. Wicks resided you don't answer your door after midnight without something in your hand.

One of the officers, Brian Ragan, a five year veteran of the force, was involved in a controversial shooting this past May 13, 2008 and was until recently placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. According to various news agencies and the Inglewood Police Department that investigation is still ongoing.

Why was Officer Ragan allowed back out on patrol if he had not been cleared of any wrongdoing in the previous shooting?

Officer Ragan, was previously involved in a shooting in the early morning of May 13, 2008. Officers advised that they were responding to a call, exited their vehicles, saw a Black Male running across a parking lot and then heard multiple shots. They opened fire on the nearby car killing Michael Byoune, 19 and wounding another and a third passenger was unhurt. Upon investigation, there were no weapons or shell casings found and the victims accounts and witnesses advised that the young men had just purchased food from a Rally's Hamburger shop. According to the night manager Vidal Garcia, there had been shots fired in the area all evening.

On the May 13 shooting: Officers heard shots fired. Officers returned fire. No problem.
Officers had not confirmed that it was they who were being fired upon. They had not ascertained a direction the fire was coming from. Problem!
There were no holes in the vehicle or shell casings found near the officers. Problem!
Officers saw a Black Male running across a parking lot of a Rally's.
They fired without knowing if the young man was just getting in the car from getting a hamburger. Problem!
All of these questions should have been answered definitively before Officer Ragan was allowed back onto active patrol duty. Now, Officer Ragan is involved in another controversial shooting.
Could it be just a tragic mistake in both cases? Sure, it is tragic but more tragic than that is allowing Officer Regan to go back out on the street.
One opinion, not confirmed advised that the city police department is shorthanded and so Officer Regan was allowed back on duty. If that's true then Problem! Officer Ragan has not been cleared of wrongdoing in the other shooting! And let's face it for all we know Officer Ragan is as jumpy and unstable as Barney Fife!
So, you are shorthanded, I understand but you go shorthanded when you have an officer or officers involved in an ongoing controversial incident! That's justified that you would be shorthanded! That overtime may occur!

Officers have a dangerous job but they also receive intensive training. If an officer is trigger happy or skittish both which may be the case, then the department needs to know and handle it accordingly. If the officer holds any bias towards the community then the department needs to know that too.

Now for y'all unfamiliar with the City of Champions, Inglewood is located in LA county, ten minutes from Los Angeles International Airport. It has a large Black population, a Black mayor, Roosevelt Dorn, and a Black Woman police cheif, Jacqueline Seabrooks. In spite of that Inglewood Police department have had a number of problems involving arrests in recent years before Chief Seabrooks and currently under Chief Seabrooks.

One of the most famous or infamous is the arrest of then 16 year Donavon Jackson, a slightly retarded Black kid, (His retardation has been disputed) who was filmed being choked out on the trunk of a police cruiser then the officer was filmed using his fist to punch an already handcuffed Jackson. That officer was relieved of duty and to my knowledge no longer with the department. The officer testified that Donovan Jackson had grabbed and yanked his testicles and that is why he punched him however the film did not show any such occurrence. It showed that Donovan could not have since he was already handcuffed.

I would hope that Officer Ragan would be relieved off all duty and placed on administrative leave until the department and hopefully other outside agencies have thoroughly investigated both shootings. Furthermore, I would hope that if the shooting are declared to be unjustified that he, officer Ragan would be brought up on criminal charges and the city gets its act together. But I would say it would be safe to say Officer Ragan should not be out on patrol again and maybe just maybe should not be a police officer.

Be Mindful! Be Prayerful! Be Careful!


Daisy said...

WOW, that is something else. My mother always said never answer a door with a gun, because "they might have a bigger one"...but my aunt always did anyway. But you know, THE COPS????

(PS: Just added your blog to my blogroll, finally!)

Mista Jaycee said...

Cool beans!