North Central MA Is Scene Of Police Shooting Death In Drug Investigation – Attorney Sam’s Take

In Massachusetts, anything can be considered a dangerous weapon if it is used to commit assault and battery or homicide. We have discussed this many times. There are things, however, that should be clear to anyone to be a potential weapon. This would include an automobile and a gun. In the north-central part of the state, the town of Asby, these two weapons came confronted each other.

The gun won.

The gun was fired by a plainclothes State Police trooper( whose name has not been released and hereinafter, “Mystery Trooper”). Mystery Trooper shot and killed a man who was allegedly driving a motor vehicle in his direction…placing Mystery Trooper in fear, according to the authorities.

Mystery Trooper had been conducting a drug surveillance in the area, when he noticed activity he deemed “suspicious” from a silver Nissan Maxima inside of which was a lone lone male occupant.

Mystery Trooper tried to pull the car over, but the driver tried to drive away. Mystery Trooper followed until they reached a cul-de-sac. Mystery Trooper got out of his plainclothes vehicle and decided to stand in front of the vehicle, ordering the driver to get out of the car.

According to Mystery Trooper, the car lurched toward him instead. So, Mystery Trooper shot him. The 20-something-year-old male was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mystery Trooper was not was not injured but was evaluated and released from Leominster Hospital.

No word on any contraband or “suspicious” items discovered in the car.

When I see cases like this, I have mixed emotions. After a quarter century practicing criminal law, one unfortunately sees a lot of them. In both New York and Massachusetts.

So far, the authorities have not released the name of either Mystery Trooper or the deceased. I think you will find that the deceased’s name will be released first. In fact, often the deceased’s name is released right away and the officer’s name is withheld.

We do not know much about the deceased, except that the officer believes he had acted “suspiciously”. Unfortunately, we have no idea what that means. It presumably made Mystery Trooper feel that he had enough to pull him over and force him to leave his car. On the other hand, we know that the officer was not in uniform and not in a marked car. Therefore, for all the deceased knew, someone was demanding he leave his car and was quite aggressive about it.

It is obvious that Mystery Trooper had another choice. The driver clearly simply wanted to get away from him. As the car came “lunging” toward him, he could have stepped aside instead of shooting the driver.

“But, Sam, the driver would have gotten away!”

Really? How about shooting the tires after the car passed him? How about calling in so that other police vehicles could continue the pursuit? Describing the car and the license plate can do wonders for such a cause.

“One would have to be pretty cool and quick thinking to do those things”.

Yes, and that is the rub. As a prosecutor, I remember feeling frustrated that in the warm cozy courtroom, one really did not get the feel of the reality that police officers deal with every day. Their lives are constantly in danger and this must be considered.

However, they are trained to think coolly and quickly on their feet in such a situation. Further, I do not think that the idea of stepping aside and using his radio (if he hadn’t already before he left his car) is really a stretch of consciousness requiring a Mensa member. True, there are emotions in the moment, but officers are trained to deal with that.

Further, we give a great deal of latitude and considerations to police officers…particularly in court. They need to be deserving of it. More importantly, we, the society, need to oversee the latitude in order not to blindly nod and smile when officers tell us that the sky was falling.

Knee-jerk reaction to such a case is normal. However, such a reaction, in any direction, cannot rule the investigation. It is no more fair to crucify the officer because he is a cop than it is to simply assume that what he says is the gospel.

Assuming you are neither a police officer or in conflict with one, what does this have to do with you?

Plenty. Remember all my warnings about stopping when officers tell you to stop. Do not assume that the officers will or will not do anything. This is how you protect yourself on the street.

If you are either an officer or someone else with criminal charges facing you, get an experienced criminal defense attorney to get involved as soon as possible. The prosecution will already have its bias. That’s why they are investigating you.

You want fresher eyes on your side that are used to defending against such matters.

This is how you protect yourself in court.

If you would like it discuss such a matter with me, please feel free to call me to arrange a free initial consultation at 617-492-3000.

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