THE PEYTON STRICKLAND SHOOTING
News & Observer's Excellent Coverage
Published on Thursday, February 22, 2007
Our View: New Hanover Sheriff’s Office needs to rethink its SWAT training.
Permission granted to shake your head and wonder what, if anything, they were thinking. They, in this case, are supervisors in the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. Specifically, supervisors of the Emergency Response Team.
That’s the group that shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old Cape Fear Community College student in December, when they bungled a no-knock search. According to reports of the incident, former Emergency Response Team member Christopher Long heard the team’s battering ram hit Peyton Strickland’s front door. Long thought it was a gunshot, coming from inside the house. He opened fire. Strickland was killed. Long was subsequently fired, but the New Hanover district attorney failed to get a second-degree murder indictment against him. State prosecutors are reviewing the case.
Meanwhile, Maj. Arch Jones of the Sheriff’s Office says there are no plans to change the emergency response team’s training or policies because of the shooting. “It was a mistake,” he said, “and I don’t see how you could prevent a mistake.”
That’s a statement that should strike fear into the hearts of New Hanover’s law-abiding public. Trigger-happy “mistakes” are OK and there’s no reason to do anything to prevent them in the future.
Sorry, but we see plenty of training opportunities here — important, life-saving training opportunities.
For one, there’s the matter of communication. Making sure all the members of the entry team know when that battering ram will hit, so they know the difference between that sound and gunfire. There’s also the matter of training team members to recognize whether or not a suspect is armed before they open fire. That’s hard to do in forced-entry situations, but that’s why only the best-trained, most competent cops belong on those teams.
More important, there’s the matter of guidelines for when to use forced entry. The technique is overused by many departments. Granted, the cops had reason to believe that Strickland had guns. But he was suspected of stealing PlayStation 3 game consoles, not items — like drugs — that could be quickly disposed of if the suspect knew a search was imminent. What was Strickland going to do? Flush the video-game consoles down the toilet? The police could have announced their presence and ordered Strickland to come out. They could have waited for days, if need be. And no one would have died.
The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office has some housecleaning to do. Starting with top officers who still don’t get that what happened to Peyton Strickland was wrong, and so preventable.
Star News 2-19 article - Major Arch Jones head of ERT
Peyton Strickland's autopsy reveals that the bullet that struck the 18 year old Strickland
in the front of the head traveled through "an intermediate
target" prior to striking Mr. Strickland. Peyton was
facing his killer when he was shot.
• There was no alcohol
in Peyton's system when he died
• The head shot is what
• Evidence EMS attempted
• Both bullets past thru
• Neither bullet was
found prior to the autopsy
• Bullet that struck
Peyton in the middle of the forehead was tumbling and traveled
in an up/down path thru the brain. The hole in the forehead
was 1 inch by 1.5 inches in size.
Powder, stippling and tattooing in the center of the chest
indicates an intermediate range gun shot wound and that the
door was open when this shot hit Strickland
& OBSERVER BREAKING NEWS
bullet that hit Strickland in the chest was likely fired
from no more than 2 feet away. This means that Strickland was potentially close enough to
touched by Deputy Long when he shot him in the chest. Considering
there must be room for the door to have swung open, it is
possible that Peyton was at the door when
he was shot in the head, falls backwards and is shot again
in the chest once the door was forced opened. Either that
or Long entered the house after shooting Strickland thru the
door and then shooting Strickland in the chest. But the official
statement is that Long never entered the house. Instead, according
to the official statement, Long backed off the stoop, into
the yard, and cried out for Jesus.
Grand Jury has a deputy sitting on it.Timothy
randomly selected this month to sit on the grand jury for
a year, has worked as a detention officer at the county jail
for two years. Lougher did not return calls Wednesday.
It would be the second potential conflict on a grand jury
in the case. In December, the wife of a New
Hanover sheriff's detective sat on the grand jury and voted on Long's indictment.
Loche's N&O 1/25 article
YEAR OLD STUDENT SHOT AND KILLED BY NEW HANOVER COUNTY SHERIFF'S
was an heavily armed paramilitary strike force ordered to
assist UNCW Campus Police to serve a seach warrant for the
recovery of evidence in the robbery of a Playstation 3 video
Why was the bullet that struck Peyton Strickland determined
by Dr. Kelly, a state Medical Examiner, to have passed thru
the front door prior to hitting Strcikland in the head and
want to assure our readers and listeners to wait until Monday,
when the real story begins to unfold.
to speak out about this?
to our blogsite. crime.blogs.com
RESTLESS - Wanting Sid Causey to be removed from office
has been a good deal of discussion on the internet about the
shooting death of Peyton Strickland. One such site is calling
for the draft of a petition to remove Sheriff Causey from
office. Some are tlaking about a peaceful protest at a Commissioner's
meeting, and a few are talking about taking to the streets.
Causey vows to take responsibility
New Hanover County Sheriff Sid Causey vowed Thursday to take the heat if a State Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the shooting death of 18-year-old Peyton Strickland reveals mistakes on the part of his office's Emergency Response Team.
"It's all my responsibility," the sheriff said. "And whatever happens - good or bad - I'm going to take responsibility for it."
STAR NEWS 12/08
Remove Causey from Office (below from the petition)
North Carolina statute that allows for a resident superior court judge to rule on any petition brought by five or more citizens and approved by either the county attorney or district attorney.
"The statute provides for the various factors that could cause a sheriff to be removed."
According to that statute, those include:
Willful or habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of his office
Willful misconduct or maladministration in office
Upon conviction of a felony
Intoxication, or upon conviction of being intoxicated.
The procedure is neither a criminal nor civil one and does not require a jury.
I think it wouldn't be difficult to prove, Willful misconduct or maladministration in office , all we would need is the County Attorney or District Attorney to sign off on it.
The county has a liability issue at stake. Showing a corrective attempt at fixing the problem may go a long way in the penalty phase, in both Rummer and Strickland civil trials. I seriously doubt the DA will sign on. It would be a political mess for him. Both Democrats, both elected officials, not many have the nerve to do something like that. But the County Attorney would be showing good faith.
After all this man receives 30 million dollars of tax payer money and hands us an unarmed dead teenager as his legacy. If this was the only time death came as a result of improper training and authority it would be one thing, but there is a history here.
Time to round up the troops and make a go at getting rid of this man and his staff.