Statement from William P. Cervone, State Attorney, Eighth Judicial Circuit
1. "First, I believe that the decision to enter Adu-Brempong's residence was legally justified by legitimate concerns for his well-being."
That is why those "legitimate concerns for his well-being." is expected of them under the law. Surely William P. Cervone, State Attorney, Eighth Judicial Circuit is not trying to suggest that the best way to ensure his purported "well-being" is to shoot at him in the face in close range with an M-4 Bushmaster, a military assault rifle, and blow away a good part of his jaws, the roof of his mouth, explode his nasal cavity and cut his tongue into two? That this act was committed by a certain University Police Department (UPD) Officer Keith Smith, who had "previously been reprimanded for an incident in which he allegedly harassed and threw eggs at African Americans while off-duty", according to press reports should have made the point more pertinent.
Is there no legitimate basis to believe in the interplay of motivations other than the much-touted "legitimate concerns for his well-being" such as racism and a residual urge to "shoot the nigger"? Is that what the State Attorney is giving his blessings to? What kind of crap is this? By refusing to the request for "An Independent Grand Jury investigations into the shooting" to clear the police officers, Bill Cervone has made himself a part of the problem rather than the solution.
"Police could of very easily backed out of the room, closed the door, and called for a mental health expert or negotiator. How is taking a kill shot any better for him than letting him kill himself. Where was his taser? If there was ever an instance for non-lethal control, this would have to qualify."
2. "That alternatives to entry may have existed is immaterial."
If the legal basis of entry included "legitimate concerns for his well-being." then the alternatives to entry is material to the legal justification especially so, since his mental condition was already known to the police. You cannot simply approach a mentally disturbed person anyhow and blame your victim for your own stupid blunders, intentional or unintentional. This is a license to kill every genuinely disturbed citizen even when their mental conditions are known to the police.
In a related article published on Monday, March 15, 2010, Nathan Crabbe of the Gainsville asks: "Was UF shooting avoidable?" and answers it in the subtitle: "Mental health experts: If police had used Baker Act, things may have ended better". Betty Strayer, who deals with Baker Act admissions as vice president for emergency services at Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, said she sees a difference in officers who receive the training. Those officers tend to show more knowledge about the Baker Act and mental illness, she said. She said law enforcement need to be aware that they can use the act without threat of lawsuit or repercussions. "If we decide after the evaluation that they don't meet the criteria, then we release them," she said.
Is the ignorance of the police an excuse under the law?
3. "It is also not the role of my office to direct policy decisions that may be involved in responding to crisis situations such as were involved in this matter as opposed to reviewing the legality of the course of action that was chosen... is best accomplished through public debate and dialog."
"The only thing missing in this tragedy was the Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) to transport these cowards to the war zone." DowntownGator, Read more...The use of excessive force is illegal under the law. It is not a subject of public debate. That is why "the legality of the course of action that was chosen" is not merely a matter of public debate. The police must be given the opportunity to contest this before a Grand Jury and be seen to be openly restoring its shattered image, as a result of this incident. The police had been informed of Kofi's mental problems the previous day, March 1st, 2010. According to a police report issued after the shooting, Geography Professor Peter Waylen contacted police to say that Adu-Brempong had sent an e-mail with troubling statements, which were redacted in the police report. Waylen told police Adu-Brempong had been having delusional thoughts for at least a year and that he had previously received help from a UF counselor because he was upset over a belief that the U.S. government was not going to renew his student visa, the report stated. Waylen and an officer spoke with Adu-Brempong at his apartment Monday. University of Florida police released a report from a police visit on Monday to the student and graduate assistant.
4. "No one else, civilian or otherwise, was in a position to see or hear anything directly relevant to those events other than Adu-Brempong, whose credibility is adversely affected because he was suffering from a significant mental health crisis at the time, although his subsequent statements to the media are generally consistent with the reports of the law enforcement witnesses, as is the physical evidence, which includes a metal table leg and a knife recovered from the immediate area of the confrontation. While differing from witness to witness because of their differing vantage points and focus of attention, the evidence is consistent with a circumstance where an individual armed with an object that could have been an effective and possibly deadly weapon threatened or appeared to threaten harm to others. Under Florida's self-defense laws, in such a circumstance, anyone, law enforcement officers included, has the right to use force, even deadly force, in self-defense."
Comment:"They didn't need to be there in the first place. If there was a medical reason for them being there, why couldn't they wait until he was willing to receive medical care? Are you saying that if the police decide to kick in my door, they then have the right to shoot me if I have a knife in my hand when they kick in my door, regardless of why the knife is in my hand?" philnotfil, Read more...