America’s Police Brutality Pandemic

by Paul Craig Roberts

Bush’s “war on terror” quickly became Bush’s war on Iraqi civilians. So far over one million Iraqi civilians have lost their lives because of Bush’s invasion, and four million have been displaced. Iraq’s infrastructure is in ruins. Disease is rampart. Normal life has disappeared.

Self-righteous Americans justify these monstrous crimes as necessary to ensure their own safety from terrorist attack. Yet, Americans are in far greater danger from their own police forces than they are from foreign terrorists. Ironically, Bush’s “war on terror” has made Americans less safe at home by diminishing US civil liberty and turning an epidemic of US police brutality into a pandemic.

The only terrorist most Americans will ever encounter is a policeman with a badge, nightstick, mace and Taser. A Google search for “police brutality videos” turns up 2,210,000 entries. Some entries are foreign and some are probably duplications, but the number is so large that a person could do nothing but watch police brutality videos for the rest of his life. A search on “You Tube” alone turned up 2,280 police brutality videos. PrisonPlanet has a selection of the most outrageous recent cases.

Police brutality has crossed the line from using excessive force against a resisting Rodney King to unprovoked gratuitous violence against persons offering no resistance, such as the elderly, women, students, and elected officials. Americans are not safe anywhere from police. Police attack Americans in university libraries, in public meetings, and in their own homes.

Last week we had the case of the University of Florida student who was repeatedly Tasered without cause for asking Senator Kerry some good questions in the question and answer period following Kerry’s speech. Two days after the Florida student was gratuitously brutalized, Senate Republicans defeated Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy’s bill to restore habeas corpus protection.

A UCLA student was Tasered by police without cause for studying in the university library without having his student ID on his person. Following police orders to leave, the student was walking toward the door when police grabbed him and repeatedly Tasered him.

On September 19, 2007 a young woman was repeatedly Tasered without cause by a large brutal cop in a parking lot outside a night club in Warren Ohio.

On September 14, 2007, Roseland, Indiana, city council member David Snyder was ejected from a council meeting by dictatorial council chairman Charlie Shields. Snyder had protested being limited to one minute to speak. Police goon Jack Tiller escorted Snyder out, and as Snyder exited the building, Tiller, following behind, pushed Snyder to the ground and without cause began beating Snyder in the head with a nightstick. Snyder was hospitalized.

Local TV news stations throughout the US offer an endless stream of police brutality videos, which are then posted on the stations’ web sites, often with an opportunity for citizens to express their opinion of the incidents.

There are many disturbing aspects to police brutality cases.

One disturbing aspect is that the police always arrest the people that they have gratuitously brutalized. There was no justification whatsoever to arrest councilman Snyder, or the UCLA student, or the University of Florida student. The cops committed assault against innocent citizens. The cops should have been arrested for their criminal acts. Instead, the cops cover up their own crimes by arresting their victims on false charges that are invented to justify the unprovoked police violence against citizens.

Another disturbing aspect is that no one tells the police to stop the brutality. “Free” Americans are so intimidated by police that on February 19 of this year male customers in a Chicago bar stood aside while a drunk cop weighing 251 pounds beat a 115 pound barmaid, knocking her to the floor with his fists and repeatedly kicking her, for obeying the bar rules and not serving him more drinks.

Yet another disturbing aspect is that a minority of citizens will justify each act of police brutality no matter how brutal and how unprovoked. For example, WNDU.com’s poll of its viewers found that 64.2% agreed that Snyder was a victim of police brutality, but 27.8% thought that Snyder got what was coming to him. “Law and order conservatives” and other authoritarian personalities invariably defend acts of police brutality. Perhaps the police brutality pandemic will bring the day when we will be able to say that a civil libertarian is a law and order conservative who has been brutalized by police.

The most disturbing aspect is that the police usually get away with it.

I remember decades ago when civil libertarians in New York City tried to stop police brutality by establishing civilian review boards to introduce some accountability into the police’s interaction with civilians. Law and order conservatives at William F. Buckley’s National Review went berserk. Accountability was “second-guessing” the police. The result would be a crime wave. And so on.

Police forces have always attracted bullies with authoritative personalities who desire to beat senseless anyone who does not quake in their presence. In the past police could get away with brutalizing blacks but not whites. Today white citizens are as likely as racial minorities to be victims of police brutality.

The police are supreme. The militarization of the police, armed now with military weapons and trained to view the general public as the enemy, against whom “pain compliance” must be used, has placed every American at risk of personal injury and false arrest from our “public protectors.”

In “free and democratic America,” citizens are in such great danger from police that there are websites devoted to police brutality with online forms to report the brutality.

Nine years ago Human Rights Watch published a report entitled, “Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States.” The report stated:

“Police abuse remains one of the most serious and divisive human rights violations in the United States. The excessive use of force by police officers, including unjustified shootings, severe beatings, fatal chokings, and rough treatment, persists because overwhelming barriers to accountability make it possible for officers who commit human rights violations to escape due punishment and often to repeat their offenses. Police or public officials greet each new report of brutality with denials or explain that the act was an aberration, while the administrative and criminal systems that should deter these abuses by holding officers accountable instead virtually guarantee them impunity.

“This report examines common obstacles to accountability for police abuse in fourteen large cities representing most regions of the nation. The cities examined are: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Providence, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Research for this report was conducted over two and a half years, from late 1995 through early 1998.

“The brutality cases examined, which are set out in detail in chapters on each city, are similar to cases that continue to emerge in headlines and in survivors’ complaints. It is important to note, however, that because it is difficult to obtain case information except where there is public scandal and/or prosecution, this report relies heavily on cases that have reached public attention; disciplinary action and criminal prosecution are even less common than the cases set out below would suggest.

There is no way to hold police accountable when the president and vice president of the United States, the attorney general, and the Republican Party maintain that the civil liberties and the separation of powers mandated by the US Constitution must be abandoned in order that the executive branch can keep Americans safe from terrorists.

Even before the “war on terror,” federal police murdered 100 people in the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, and no one was held accountable.

Who is a terrorist? If the police and the US government have the mentality of airport security, they cannot tell a terrorist from an 86-year old Marine general on his way to give a speech at West Point. Retired Marine Corps General Joseph J. Foss was delayed and nearly had his Medal of Honor confiscated. Airport security regarded the pin on the metal as a weapon that the 86-year old Marine general and former governor of South Dakota could use to hijack an airliner and commit a terrorist deed.

In America today, every citizen is a potential terrorist in the eyes of the authorities. Airport security makes this clear every minute of every day, as do the FBI and NSA with warrantless spying on our emails, postal mail, telephone calls, and every possible invasion of our privacy. We are all recipients of abuse of our constitutional rights whether or not we suffer beatings, Taserings, and false arrests.

The law makes it impossible for Americans to defend themselves from police brutality. Law and order conservatives have made it a felony with a long prison sentence to “assault a police officer.” Assaulting a police officer means that if a police thug intends to beat your brains out with his nightstick and you disarm your assailant, you have “assaulted a police officer.” If you are not shot on the spot by his backup, you will be convicted by a “law and order” jury and sent to prison.

No matter how gratuitous and violent the police brutality, a “free” American citizen can defend himself only at the expense, if not of his life, of a long stay in prison. Osama bin Laden must wish that he had such power over Americans.

September 26, 2007

Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is author or coauthor of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury’s Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He is also coauthor with Karen Araujo of Chile: Dos Visiones – La Era Allende-Pinochet (Santiago: Universidad Andres Bello, 2000).

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Marijuana Raids For The Complete Idiot

(Thanks to Hurherald for the story)

AUTHORITIES COMPLETE TWO DRUG SEIZURES IN CALHOUN
(09/13/2007)
Grantsville State Police with the help of the Calhoun Sheriff’s Department and WV National Guard aircraft have conduced two drug eradication events in Calhoun County, according to Detachment Commander Sgt. Jeff Skidmore.

“Officers confiscated 134 marijuana plants from four different locations near Russett Rd., a short distance from Steer Creek,” Skidmore said.

The plants were spotted with the help of a National Guard plane on July 6th.

Officers continued their efforts in an area near Leading Creek on August 29th.

“We confiscated 60 plants from two plots during that effort,” Skidmore said.

Skidmore asked Calhoun residents to report drug activity to the State Police or the Calhoun Sheriff’s Department.

“All reports will be held confidential,” he said.

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GOOD MORNING, CALHOUN COUNTY!

A bit of WV drug raid history for you this morning. In 1984, the pot choppers began to fly hot and heavy in WV in what was billed the new “DRUG WAR”, an attempt at *eradication of marijuana in the US. Thousands of plants were confiscated during these raids, and the county jails filled to capacity with peace-loving hippys. Every nook and cranny of extra space was utilized to store the evidence, with prisoners using bent coat hangers to fish pot out from under doors of closets and filing cabinets to kill boredom during their stay. A HUGE controversy got started in the “letters to the editor” section of the ROANE COUNTY REPORTER regarding this “war”, brought to the peaceful mountain folks back yards. Apparently, the MAJORITY of people who felt the need to state their opinions were 1. AGAINST the raids, and 2. Were obviously of a higher level of intellect than those who thought the raids were a good thing. The controversy spread to the Charleston Gazette and the Charleston TV station as well. The economy of these poor counties went belly-up over night. I still have nearly ALL the newspaper clippings from this time.

And this is when the REAL agenda of these raids first started to become apparent. Apparently, planes had flown earlier in the year and spotted the huge illegal gardens. Some folks had as many as 300 to 400 plants so they were not hard to spot. But the helicopters and raids did not start until HARVEST SEASON!
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*Eradication – the complete destruction of every trace of something.
obliteration
demolition, wipeout, destruction – an event (or the result of an event) that completely destroys something.

WV marijuana Laws:
Possession of marijuana is punishable by 90 days – 6 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. Possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance is a felony and can result in imprisonment of not less than one year and not more than five years, or a fine of fifteen thousand dollars, or both.

Conviction of possession of less than 15 grams triggers an automatic conditional discharge. Conditional discharge does not apply to a defendant who has previously been convicted of any offense relating to narcotic drugs or marijuana.

Cultivation, delivery or sale is punishable by 1 – 5 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000. Sale to a minor or sale within 1,000 feet of a school requires a two-year mandatory minimum sentence for the sale.

Transportation of marijuana into the state with the intent to deliver is punishable by 1 – 5 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.

Subsequent offenses double the possible penalties.

Operating an illegal drug paraphernalia business is punishable by 6 months – 1 year in jail and a fine up to $5,000.
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Now, if marijuana is illegal, and the MAIN goal is to ERADICATE this illegal PLANT, then WHY do you suppose that the authorities WAIT until HARVEST time to take down the crops? They knew for at least two months that the marijuana was there. But they did nothing. It was not ready yet.

Now, according to these FACTS, the actions by the authorities could be considered to be *COMPLICIT. They could also be considered a set-up. We all know if you get busted with just a small amount of pot you get a smaller charge, but if they can catch you with a LARGE amount, they can get you GOOD! Of course they could LIE about the amounts in order to make you look worse to the “general public” if you are an unlucky victim, but the bottom line is that MAYBE they could spot a patch in JULY or JUNE, and in the WAITING for it to be MATURE before they take it for themselves, the actual grower has plenty of opportunity to harvest it early for whatever reason, which takes NO pot off the “market” at all. It is a gamble on the authorities part. This proves the authorities are not trying to ERADICATE marijuana. They are GAMBLING, and if they WIN, they get the most valuable part of the crop with the LEAST amount of work.
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*Complicit-cum’plisit- adjective
1. Having complicity, involved with a crime or offence.
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We are told that in order for the police to gain a marijuana conviction, only a small amount of the actual marijuana is needed for “sampling”… This leaves room for nearly the ENTIRE remaining harvest to go “missing” with few questions asked.

WV State Troopers – Starting Salary is $2,106 per month; $2509 per month upon Academy graduation. According to my research, one good sized MATURE plant, grown OUTDOORS, should yield about four ounces of PRIMO bud. At approximately $300.00 per ounce (possibly more), 134 plants times 4 = 536 ounces times $300.00 = $160,800 worth of pot in ONE RAID… This same pot, if cut down in June or July when it was first discovered by authorities was worth a tiny fraction of this amount.

It is COMMON PRACTICE for the authorities to spot a pot patch and allow it to GROW ANOTHER 2 to 3 MONTHS before pulling a raid… How smart does one ordinary West Virginian need to be to see there is something FOUL about these practices? Do I need to include the definitions for “organized crime”, or “conspiracy” as well? If you are reading this, you are probably smart enough to figure the rest out by yourself.

Two Prosecutors In The Hot Seat

By Johnny Richards
Matthew Jason Minney, the Prosecuting Attorney for Calhoun County has been subpoena to give testimony in the Circuit Court of Roane County, West Virginia tomorrow at 9:00 A.M. Minney has been subpoena as there seems to be evidence that he allegedly withheld or concealed evidence in a Roane County Murder Case. The testimony is to take place in front of the Honorable Judge Thomas Evans.

According to information in the Case, Roane County Prosecuting Attorney, Mark Sergent, may be claiming Matthew Jason Minney the Prosecuting Attorney for Calhoun County allegedly withheld or concealed crucial evidence and information from Defense Attorneys for Raymond Elswick who is a defendant regarding the Murder Case of Daniel Lee Burns.

The above information came to light when an investigator for the Defendant, Mr. Jonathan Stone who works with United States Investigative & Protection Agency read a news article right here on “The Lone Meth Ranger Newsletter.”

After reading an article on the Hur Herald which was reprinted from a Roane County Newspaper regarding Raymond Elswick standing Trial for Murder, I wrote and published an article on The Lone Meth Ranger entitled, “Truth and Justice” – Documenting Wrong man on trial in Roane Co. Dated April 26, 2007.

It was from this article that current court proceeding are taking place regarding evidence and information which was not turned over to Defense Attorneys during the discover process. The Discover Process is a procedure that allows a defendant and his attorneys access to any and all documents, evidence or witnesses that the State knows about that not only proves the defendant’s guilt but may tend to prove a defendant’s innocence’s as well. In the case at hand, Defense Attorneys are claiming prosecutors allegedly withheld documents, evidence and witnesses which should have been provided in the discovery process to Elswick’s Defense Team.

In tomorrow’s testimony, Matthew Jason Minney is expected to present evidence, documents and testimony that he did in fact provide Roane Prosecutor, Mark Sergent with the documents, evidence and witnesses regarding the Murder Case of Daniel Lee Burns which he allegedly had control of. It is also believed that Mr. Sergent may provide testimony to the contrary.

There is one thing for sure, after all the testimony is in tomorrow, Judge Thomas Evans is the right Judge that will see that the defendant’s rights are protected and without a doubt he will set the record strait.

WV Road Story – Bumpity Bump

This is one of those “back in the day” stories your grandma would probably come up with, but it depends on how old grandma is as to what part of “the day” she is referring to. I’m talking about the early 70’s in the heart of West Virginia. Since it is common for people to forget quickly how things USED to be not so very long ago, I’ll remind you, and if you were only a gleam in someone’s eye at the time, I’ll educate you.
The “roads” back then were incredibly bad. We used to swear the highway department was in cahoots with the local auto mechanics. The main roads were full of pot holes, some of which you could lose a VW Bug in. The back roads were basically two dirt tracks with grass growing in between and saplings growing right up to the edge, and THAT was in the summer! In the winter it was ruts two feet deep, and slithering sideways with someone pushing on the side of the car to keep it from going over a cliff. Bridges tended to be “get-out-of-your-vehicle-and-study-the-situation” deals, then say a prayer and go… The old iron Egypt Ridge Bridge on the Roane/Calhoun line had big holes in it and someone had thoughtfully placed planks lengthwise the entire length of the bridge, UN-NAILED, to drive across the holes. Crossing it required stopping, walking out onto the rotting bridge and re-placing the planks which were warped and moved when driven upon, into their correct spots, then holding your breath until you made it safely with your car to the other side. Living on a back country road, and back when we had “real” winters, you might be “snowed in” for two months or more. Count on it. Spring was probably the worst, with all the red clay mud during the rainy season.

Now there is all the fuss over the Highway Dept. “privatizing” and no money to build new roads or fix existing ones, as if this were something new. I simply suggest you think about how it was “back in the day” and look at how it is now…

SMOKE AND MIRRORS: HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT PRIVATIZING?
(Thanks to Hurherald for these storys)

(09/13/2007)
West Virginia’s highway department is moving toward privatization.

Department of Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox says he will be seeking legislative approval in 2008 with regard to the authorization of public-private partnerships to fund future highway maintenance and construction projects in the Mountain State.

Earlier this year, highway official minimized talk about such a move, after hundreds of pieces of equipment in the 55 counties were placed on the auction block.

Taxpayers are generally told that private enterprise can do the job more efficiently and save money.

Just look at the nation’s private health system for some insight, with nearly 50 million Americans without insurance, millions more under-insured, and unfordable costs skyrocketing from year to year.

The highway department adamantly denied the shift earlier this year after they began to sell off county equipment, focusing on “core maintenance.”

Mattox says the department is unable to finance the overwhelming needs of the state’s highway system, indicating privatization is the solution.

Mattox said under current funding streams, it will take 30 years to complete Corridor H, 160 years to build the King Coal Highway and 126 years to build the Tolsia Highway.

The state’s paved highways are in the worst shape in many years, and it is likely the department will ask for the approval of a new road bond.

Avoiding simple solutions like the state operating their own asphalt plants, the answer is to spend more money with private contractors who obviously have a considerable profit margin.

Mattox said more toll roads are an option that is on the table.

Central West Virginia’s long-planned Little Kanawha Parkway is barely on any state list, after it was proposed in the 1970s to open-up poor, rural counties to greater opportunity.

The LK Parkway has yet to receive minimal funding to essentially hire a lobbyist to promote the cause.

HIGHWAY WORKERS PROTESTING EQUIPMENT AUCTION

(09/15/2007)
Department of Highway workers will be protesting the sale of equipment today in Buckhannon, equipment they contend is needed in counties to provide service.

Members of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America Local 170 say they will hold the rally.

The Highway Department says they’re just trying to unload some equipment the agency can no longer use.

Deputy State Highway Engineer John Walker says “We have some dump trucks. We have some end loaders. We have some old tractors, a few pickup trucks, a variety of things you would see out on highway work.”

Protesters claim much newer equipment is on the auction block, not discussed in press releases. Pickets are expected to appear this morning as the auction begins.

The number of pieces of equipment that was scheduled to be auctioned has been trimmed.

“Most of it’s old, reached its useful life, has a lot of repair work needed,” Walker says. “You try to turn over stuff and get new things when you can and some of it is trying to be more efficient and just do more with less too.”

A number of highway workers contend the sale and the “Core Maintenance Program” is a smokescreen for privatizing the highway department.

The Buckhannon auction will feature 263 pieces of equipment and another 219 miscellaneous items.

The auction marks the second big auction this year for the agency and is expected to raise $1.2 million, said Bob Andrew, the agency’s equipment director.

An auction in May generated about $1.5 million when 306 pieces of equipment and 232 miscellaneous items were sold.

Published in: on September 15, 2007 at 3:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jackson County State Trooper/Murderer

Here are a couple articles about the latest State Police shooting, courtesy of the Hurherald, and one from the Marietta Times. Once again, WV’s “finest” at their best. It is about time that we as citizens come to realize that there is something WRONG, stop discounting these stories as being fabricated, stop assuming that the State Police would NEVER lie about such things! It is time for us to put our foot down in regards to “investigated by the State Police’s internal review department.”

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TROOPER KILLS JACKSON MAN WHO HAD ATTEMPTED SUICIDE

(09/03/2007)
A Jackson County man was shot and killed by a state trooper late Saturday night, the agency said he refused to drop his weapon.

Dead is Michael Fisher, 35, who tried to commit suicide earlier this summer by jumping into the Ohio River after his 4-year-old daughter and 16-month-old son drowned.

WTAP-TV News says members of Fisher’s family are giving a much different account of the shooting than the State Police, asking “Was Michael Fisher murdered by a state trooper?” a claim given by family members.

Fisher was steering a small boat that collided with a barge in heavy fog near Ravenswood. Killed in the accident were his children, Samantha and Jesse Fisher, and sister-in-law Jennifer Posten.

Two days later, Fisher jumped from the William S. Ritchie Jr. Bridge after negotiating with police for 45 minutes, he survived the 75-100 foot fall.

State Police say an unidentified trooper was responding to an un-related call and heard gunshots coming from the Fisher residence on Windale Ridge near Ripley.

In an official statement by Sgt. S. E. Wolfe of the State Police, “The trooper gave several lawful commands to have him drop his weapon and an altercation ensued, which resulted in Mr. Fischer sustaining fatal gunshot wounds that led to his death.”

A report on WTAP-TV said Dustin Haynes, a witness, said the trooper first shot Fisher three times. “Michael hit the ground and the cop got out of the car and shot him three more times.”

Fisher’s family says he was in the front yard firing off some shots into the air when a state police trooper came up the driveway, according to TV-13.

The family said Fisher was “letting off steam” by shooting the gun in the air.

The Charleston Gazette reported father-in-law Johnny Haynes said “He didn’t mean to hurt nobody.”

Jill Fisher said when her husband realized a State Police cruiser was approaching the house, he “slung the gun” to his right before walking toward the trooper with his hands in the air.

Her nephew, 15-year-old Dustin Haynes, alleged that the trooper started firing his gun at Fisher even as his vehicle was still moving, according to the Gazette.

“How hard is it when you throw your hands up, you don’t have to unload a clip in a man,” said Michael’s wife Jill . “Especially when there’s a 10-year-old and 15-year-old standing behind me saying don’t shoot, don’t shoot,” she said.

Dustin Haynes and Jill Fisher allege the trooper then left the cruiser and stood over Fisher, shooting him three times at point-blank range.

“Six [bullets] went in him and three hit the house,” Jill Fisher said.

The trooper involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave while State Police complete an internal investigation.

FAMILY CLAIMS TROOPER IS “COLD BLOODED KILLER” – State Police Say Man Refused To Drop Gun

(09/04/2007)
A Jackson County family is disputing the WV State Police’s version of how a 35-year-old man was shot and killed late Saturday night, calling the officer “a cold blooded killer.”

Jill Fisher, wife of Michael S. Fisher, contends he was unarmed and had his hands in the air when he was shot by a State Policeman who was on his way to another call.

Fisher had apparently been shooting a gun up-in-the-air.

In an official statement by Sgt. S. E. Wolfe of the State Police, “The trooper gave several lawful commands to have him drop his weapon and an altercation ensued, which resulted in Mr. Fischer sustaining fatal gunshot wounds that led to his death.”

Fisher told media “That stupid son-of-a-bith (officer) was trigger happy,” admitting Fisher had been firing-off a gun into the air, which caught the attention of the officer.

Mrs. Fisher contends her husband had been shot and was on the ground when the officer shot him three more times.

She said he had thrown down the gun and everyone was hollering for the trooper not to shoot.

Family members said the trooper, without flashing lights or sirens on the patrol car, unlatched a gate and drove up a one-eighth mile driveway to the residence.

“He didn’t even put his car in park,” according to Fisher, who said the shooting was also witnessed by her two children and a nephew.

Family members are contending nine shots were fired by the trooper, including three shots that hit their house.

“If the cop thought he was in danger, he should have backed off down there some place,” said Johnny Haynes, “He should have presented himself and asked if (Michael) had a gun.”

This summer Fisher had been in a boat on a foggy Ohio River when he collided with a barge, killing his children, Samantha, 4, Jesse Fisher, 16 months, and Jennifer Posten, 33, his sister-in-law.

Two days later Fisher. attempting suicide, jumped off the William S. Ritchie Jr. Bridge at Ravenswood, surviving a 100-foot fall.

The case is is being investigated by the State Police’s internal review department.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

— Time: 8:05:38 AM EST

The family of W.Va. man disputes state’s account of shooting

By Jess Mancini and Jody Murphy, Special to The Times

FAIRPLAIN, W.Va. — A man shot by a trooper Saturday night was killed ‘‘in cold blood,’’ the wife said Monday, disputing the state’s version of the incident.

Jill Fisher said Michael S. Fisher, 35, was unarmed and had his hands in the air when he was shot by the unidentified West Virginia State Police trooper. Mrs. Fisher said after her husband had been shot and was on the ground, he was shot three more times.

‘‘That stupid son of a bitch was trigger happy,’’ Mrs. Fisher said of the trooper.

Fisher was killed at 11 p.m. Saturday by a trooper responding to gunfire from the Fisher’s Windell Ridge Road home.

State Police on Sunday issued a statement saying Fisher refused to put down the gun when repeatedly ordered by the trooper.

The trooper didn’t say anything other than identify Fisher as the man in the boating accident, Mrs. Fisher said. Fisher was involved in a boating accident on June 23 on the Ohio River that killed his two daughters and sister-in-law.

Dustin Haynes, 15, the Fishers’ nephew, also said the trooper made only that statement when he got out of the car to confront Fisher. According to Haynes, the trooper said, “You’re the one who killed those kids.’’

Haynes said he was about three feet away from Fisher when he was shot.

The shooting also was witnessed by the Fishers’ two children, Mrs. Fisher said.

A daughter, Alexis Haynes, 10, said Fisher fired a shot in the air before dropping the gun, the trooper got out of the car and that’s when the shooting started.

‘‘That police officer shot my dad,’’ Alexis said.

Mrs. Fisher said no shots were fired when the trooper was on the property. Mrs. Fisher, who was standing near her husband, said he had thrown down the gun before the trooper arrived and everyone was hollering for the trooper not to shoot.

The trooper, without flashing lights or sirens on the patrol car, unlatched a gate and drove up the near-eighth of a mile long driveway to the home and got out of the car, Mrs. Fisher said.

‘‘He didn’t even put his car in park,’’ Mrs. Fisher said.

A shot from the trooper struck Fisher, which put him on the ground, Mrs. Fisher said. The trooper stood over Fisher and fired three more shots into him, emptying his weapon, Mrs. Fisher said.

Fisher, who didn’t speak but was crying, was still breathing, said Mrs. Fisher. Mrs. Fisher said she attempted CPR on him, but was moved away from him by other officers who arrived at the house.

“I said ‘You … up old boy. You done killed my husband,’” Mrs. Fisher said to the trooper. “He said ’Yes, ma’am, I did.’”

Mrs. Fisher said she was manhandled by the police officer, handcuffed and put in a cruiser.

Johnny Haynes, Mrs. Fisher’s father, who was called by his grandson a few minutes after the shooting, also said he was manhandled by the officers and ordered to leave. He said he arrived 15 to 20 minutes after the shooting.

The family is speaking to a private detective and a lawsuit is planned, he said.

‘‘You better believe it,’’ he said.

Nine shots were fired by the trooper, Mrs. Fisher said, including three shots that hit the house.

“He is a cold-blooded killer,” Mrs. Fisher said of the trooper.

Fisher was piloting the boat on the Ohio River under dense fog. The boat collided with a barge, killing his children, Samantha, 4, and Jesse Fisher, 16 months, and Jennifer Posten, 33, his sister-in-law.

Fisher, distraught over the accident, attempted suicide two days later by jumping off the William S. Ritchie Jr. Bridge. He survived the 100-foot fall.

Mrs. Fisher said her husband often fired his gun on their 10-acre property, even before the boating accident. She said she also fires guns on the property.

State Police Sgt. S.E. Wolfe of the Jackson County detachment Sunday said the trooper ordered Fisher numerous times to drop the large caliber revolver. The trooper, who was in the area on an unrelated incident, feared for his life and shot Fisher, Wolfe said.

A deputy sheriff also responded and officers performed CPR on Fisher, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Members of the Fisher family all dispute that, saying no law enforcement personnel attempted any lifesaving measures on Michael Fisher.

“I was the one saving him,” Mrs. Fisher said. “They didn’t try giving him CPR. I had his airways open. I was breathing in his mouth. He had tears rolling down his face and I told him I loved him.”

Published in: on September 4, 2007 at 3:22 pm  Comments (2)