Ohio AG Mike DeWine is releasing evidence from an incident involving Cleveland police officers that took place in November. It started with a car chase. Then, it escalated. Badly.
CLEVELAND, Ohio — A November car chase ended in a “full blown-out” firefight, with glass and bullets flying, according to Cleveland police officers who described for investigators the chaotic scene at the end of the deadly 25-minute pursuit.
But when the smoky haze — caused by rapid fire of nearly 140 bullets in less than 30 seconds — dissipated, it soon became clear that more than a dozen officers had been firing at one another across a middle school parking lot in East Cleveland.
Both the passenger and the driver of the car were killed in the fierce firefight. Neither, it turns out, were armed.
So what happened? Well, it turns out that the 13 police officers who fired were shooting at each other. So when they thought they were under fire, they were — just from their own fellow officers.
It was all a case of mistakes piling up on top of one another.
Officers recounted for investigators seeing guns, objects that looked like guns or one of the suspects loading guns in the middle school parking lot — which could not have been possible at that point in the incident. No gun was found in the car.
Some also believed that one officer who ducked behind a car that was hit by the Malibu was either run over or shot – heightening their fears.
The report also shows that many of the officers’ worries were based on possibly erroneous information broadcast over police radio to the approximately 60 police vehicles involved in the chase.
During the chase, multiple officers indicated that a gun was being fired, that a tire on the Malibu had blown and, at one point, that a police car had been rammed.
All those things, the report indicates, fed into the officers’ perceptions of danger going into the parking lot.
The point of all this isn’t to bash police, for whom I have tremendous respect, but to point out that they’re not infallible and have no more right to firearms than the average law-abiding American citizen. Let that sink in. They don’t. The Constitution makes that clear. The police cannot be everywhere, and even when they are on the scene of a crime, they’re human. They can make mistakes. They can even stage a no-knock raid on the wrong house, endangering innocent people.
And that’s to say nothing of corrupt police and law enforcement officers, like the ones recently busted for allegedly working with the drug cartels on the Texas-Mexico border. They’re human. Mistakes and corruption happen.
During the pursuit of Christopher Dorner, a former cop turned serial killer, LAPD officers were involved in two incidents in which they fired their guns on the wrong people. Dorner himself had passed background checks and had amassed an arsenal. Residents living in Big Bear could easily have found themselves under fire either from Dorner, a vicious killer who did end up taking two hostages, or from the police trying to stop him, some of whom did fire on innocent people by mistake. If the residents of Big Bear did not already own firearms, California’s waiting period would have prevented them from obtaining any firearms for their own protection, until days after Dorner was killed.
Is this right? Should law-abiding Americans be prevented from being able to defend themselves in a crisis? Is there any good reason that the police should have a total monopoly on force?