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Scott Case Looking More Like a Justified Shooting

Unless you believe there are multiple individuals who are all involved in a conspiracy to cover up the improper death of a person, Erik Scott isn’t turning out to be any kind of poster child. Generally speaking, if you buy the notion that most people will do the right thing most of the time (which is really what allowing carry is based on), that rules out broad conspiracies. Based on the Las Vegas Sun story on the inquest:

Dr. Alane Olson, a medical examiner in the Clark County Coroner’s Office, testified that Scott had a number of drugs in his system when he died. The levels of morphine and xanax found by a toxicology screen conducted after his death were very high and potentially lethal, she said. The levels also indicated that he had likely built up a tolerance to the drugs over time, she said.

This includes testimony from multiple doctors who said he had an issue, with even his most sympathetic doctor agreeing he was trying to wean him off narcotics. While this doesn’t have a whole lot of bearing on how things actually went down, and while there’s still conflicting statements from witnesses, but they all seem to agree on this:

Every one testified they saw Erik move his right hand towards his waist. It gets unclear as a few recall him pulling his gun out; pictures show the gun never left its holster.

There more here. I’m not sure it really matters if he drew or not. All witnesses seem to agree he made a move for his waist, and he was known to be armed. So far there have been more than twenty witnesses. I think we should be careful about drawing conclusions, and playing armchair jury. I certainly don’t absolve myself of jumping to conclusions here, in suggesting it looks liked it could be a civil rights lawsuit. So far, this is looks like a justifiable shooting on the part of the officers.

24 Responses to “Scott Case Looking More Like a Justified Shooting”

  1. Kevin says:

    Other then multiple witnesses who say he had nothing in his hands and not resisting when he was shot 5 times in the back by two police officers. And at least one round entered by his buttocks and ended up in his chest, which means he was laying prone when he was shot from behind.

    Can you articulate a reason for why you would need to use deadly force on an unarmed man laying motionless, prone and facing away from you with his empty hands visible?

    If you shot someone 5 times in the back after they collapsed to the ground empty handed would you expect the DA to shake your hand or indict you for murder?

    http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/sep/25/erik-scott-inquest-day4/
    She saw Scott raise his right hand toward the officer with something in it, she said.

    An officer then shot Scott, and the item dropped out of his hand. It was then that she saw it was a gun holster, she said.

    After Scott was shot, “he was stumbling back, with his hands up, empty,” she said, with her elbows bent and her palms up, demonstrating what she saw.

    Her voice cracked. “His hands were empty” when he was shot by the other officers, she said.

  2. Brad says:

    Still waiting for the release of the video and audio tapes.

  3. Awelowynt says:

    It’s a father defending his son, so it’s not exactly an impartial account, but it does offer a reasonable explanation: a back injury.

    http://erikbscottmemorialblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/erik-scott-medical-misdirection.html

    While it’s not a perfect comparison, I figure if the guy was considered coherent enough to drive, he’s coherent enough to carry. (Though I don’t know if it’s mentioned if he was or wasn’t considered alright to drive.)

  4. Brad says:

    Well isn’t that interesting. The blog of mikeb302000 links to one of the Erik Scott stories, and following that link I discovered our old ‘pal’ mikeb seems to have partnered with the hateful anti-gun fanatic “jadegold” (AKA Guy Kevin Cabot). Why does that not surprise me.

    http://whoisjadegold.blogspot.com/

  5. Tam says:

    It sounds like exactly what I’ve been saying all along:

    Panicky mall ninja makes call that results in 8 squad cars, a chopper, and a partridge in a pear tree being deployed.

    Three officers surround our (already agitated) guy, yelling “Freeze! Get down on the ground! Don’t move! Drop the gun! Freeze!” He tries to either drop the gun or get out his permit, and officer doughboy lights him up.

    If this is justifiable to you, we disagree.

  6. Andy says:

    I agree that this may be a justified shooting. Of course, it may not be. The problem is that the inquest isn’t exactly fair and is definitely one sided. What angers people is that they’d face a real trial for defending their lives, but the police never have to answer for their actions via a transparent and fair process.

  7. Mobo says:

    So long as regular “civillians” are brought up on charges for just about every self-defense shooting, the same should apply to cops.

  8. Sebastian says:

    Tam:

    I’m speaking of justifiable in the legal sense, not in “the guy got what he deserved” sense. To me this is like the proverbial case where the cops shoot a kid with a toy gun that he thought was a real one. It’s a shame it happened, but it’s what the officer reasonably believed that’s at issue /wrt the law.

  9. btr says:

    If an officer told him to “drop the gun” and he was shot because he was trying to do that, that does not appear justified to me.

  10. I agree with Tam, and it’s my opinion that the 911 call fomented the whole over-reaction.

    And Confederate Yankee has a vastly different analysis.

  11. I almost forgot – Vin Suprynwicz has an excellent post about trying to attend the open-to-the-public inquest, only to find out (not by anyone telling him, of course) that it had become invitation-only.

    I can’t recommend enough the analysis by MikeM at Confederate Yankee, starting here, here, and here, ending with the link in my previous post.

    Go … read …

  12. Stan says:

    Even with a tolerance built up if the guy had a “near lethal” amount of morphine in his system how was he walking, let alone doing anything else?

  13. Sebastian says:

    The inquest process Nevada seems to use is worthy of criticism, I think. But that’s a separate issue as to whether the shooting is justified (legally).

    I also don’t think the solution to the problem of ordinary citizens and police being treated differently is to treat police more poorly. We should strive that everyone gets treated fairly, and justly.

    If this were the case of an ordinary citizen, say, a store owner, who had confronted a guy, who had a lot of drugs in his system, and appeared to make a move for his waist, we’d probably all be arguing it’s not right to ruin his life in a jury trial. We’d probably say that even if he turned out to have no weapon on him at all.

  14. Sebastian says:

    Stan:

    What constitutes a lethal dose depends on your tolerance to the drug. People who are addicted can take what would be a lethal dose to someone who is opiate naive. That is evidence of tolerance which is evidence of addiction. Every once in a while, a cop pulls over a DUI where the guy will blow a .50, which is enough to kill a normal person. If you spend enough time sauced, eventually your tolerance is such you can take what for most people is a lethal dose.

  15. Sailorcurt says:

    Even with a tolerance built up if the guy had a “near lethal” amount of morphine in his system how was he walking, let alone doing anything else?

    I’m no expert, but I can also repeat something that I was told by the doctors while my dad was in the final stages of terminal cancer.

    Not only does tolerance have an impact on how much morphine or other opiates the body can tolerate, but actual pain level does as well.

    According to the doc, because my dad was in such severe pain late in his disease, he could safely tolerate amounts of morphine that would kill a healthy person.

    The point being that if Mr. Scott was actually in severe pain and needed the pain relief, along with the tolerance built up with long term use, that would also be a factor in how much he could handle without being physically impaired.

    Having a wife that’s been suffering with back and nerve problems for over two years now and is been on varying levels of opiates for that whole time, I can say that it is very possible for someone in that condition to be taking, with no obvious impairment at all, amounts of opiates that would render a “normal” person “stoned out of their mind”.

    And I’m with the group that contends that, in the heat of an adrenaline filled encounter like that, it is not unreasonable for a person to be reaching for his gun when reportedly at least one of the officers was shouting energetically for him to do so.

    It’s easy to sit in the comfort of your office chair and think “that was a stupid thing to do, no matter what the cops were yelling”, but it’s entirely different matter when you’re there, in a completely unexpected situation, with mass confusion, guns being pointed at you and conflicting commands being shouted at you, and less than a second to decide what action to take.

    The reported corruption of ALL the video of the incident is, in my mind, prima facia evidence that the authorities know they blew it and are engaging in cover-ups and damage control.

    Which also explains testimony by the government agent reporting on the autopsy reports that was obviously intended to paint a damning picture of the victim.

  16. Alpheus says:

    “If you spend enough time sauced, eventually your tolerance is such you can take what for most people is a lethal dose.”

    The poison was in both goblets. I spent the last several years developing an immunity to iocane powder.

    Sorry, I just had to say it!

  17. Bram says:

    If the cops were really feeling so strong about their case, those tapes would be found in working condition.

  18. Amiable Dorsai says:

    Sailorcurt’s explanation is pretty much identical to what my mom’s doctor told me when Mom was dying of MS. Mom was getting enough morphine to kill an average person, but she was still lucid.

    This looks more like an effort to smear Eric Scott than a real inquest into the truth.

  19. Sebastian says:

    My mother was on high doses of narcotics when she was dying of cancer. I wouldn’t say she was totally out of it, but the drugs made her weird. Probably like alcohol, it has different effects on different people.

  20. denton says:

    Just my armchair opinion, but even if Erik did remove a holster with a firearm in it, and the police thought he was preparing to fire, I think the police are still at gravely fault. They are at fault because without proper basis, they created the situation that led to his death.

    Erik was in a place that was apparently not posted with a “no firearms” sign. Absent that, until/unless he was told to leave, he was in a place that he had a right to be in, doing nothing that should have caused concern. Being in possession of a firearm in those circumstances is common, safe, and legal and probably does not even constitute a basis for a Terry Stop. If they can’t even legally compel him to give his name and address, what gives them the right to point guns and yell orders at him? He may or may not have acted strangely, but acting strangely is not the same as threatening people. There is no claim that he threatened anyone.

    If the police had not provoked a situation, Erik would have undoubtedly paid for his merchandise, gotten in his car, and gone home.

  21. Steve in TN says:

    The police and Costco created a bad situation and should be found liable, IMO.

    That aside, the impact on how we as carriers act in a potential situation bears examination. Scott’s murder convinces me that what I had planned should anything like this occur to me is correct: Upon challenge from a business or their agent I intend to leave immediately – while announcing in no uncertain terms that I am leaving – and then dial 911 as soon as practical.

    1) GET AWAY.
    2) Get your side of the story on the record ASAP.

    One of those little video/audio recorder pens seems a decent idea as well. They hold up to 8GB and last for 12 hours and record video of everything they are pointed at; everything in front of you, and all audio. Might be better than a 911 call…

    If I am UNABLE to get away, when confronted in the manner of this case by police my hands will either be up in the air or fingers laced behind my head. And I’ll be like that until the police either move my hands themselves or convince me they no longer view me as a threat.

    One additional note: For every Scott that is killed, there is a Dinkheller that is killed. We need to learn the lessons from both types of deadly encounters.

  22. Drang says:

    “Justifiable”/= “Justified.”
    The Man may be able to construct a case showing that Eric Scott was a danger to society and himself, but that does not mean that he was, that he did anything wrong, or that shooting him was The Right Thing To Do.
    OTOH, Monday Morning Quarterbacking is easy, and relatively safe.
    It is pretty clear to me that Costco overreacted, as did the LVPD. At a minimum, as Tam points out, if two or more Five-Oh are shouting mutually exclusive instructions, what a poor peasant to do? I suspect that Clint Smith, Massad Ayoob, et al, would have trouble dealing with that one…

  23. Diomed says:

    The inquest process Nevada seems to use is worthy of criticism, I think. But that’s a separate issue as to whether the shooting is justified (legally).

    While I agree with the sentiment, that should not apply here. If one is basing an assessment of justifiability from a proceeding that is, bluntly, rigged in favor of the state’s agent, that assessment is fatally flawed. All we the public see are the things (witnesses, statements, evidence) most favorable to the police and completely without challenge from any other interested party, making them little better than hearsay.

    Is evidence presented in a kangaroo court really evidence? I say it isn’t. The whole thing is a sham.

  24. Alpheus says:

    Yes, I agree: The Inquest process needs to be separated from the police department. At the very least, it would reduce the appearance of conflict of interest!

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