Saturday, August 22, 2009

Salt Lake City Policeman Justified reports on the decision to exonerate Officer Louis Jones of all wrongdoing in the shooting death of Christopher Joseph Tucker on August 6th.

The low-speed chase ended on I-80 near the Great Salt Lake. When officers tried to take Tucker into custody, he reportedly rammed a patrol car and then pointed the car at officers who were on foot. Officer Louis Jones opened fire, fatally striking Tucker in the neck and torso.

Additional details about the incident are found in this article from The Salt Lake Tribune.

Salt Lake County sheriff's Lt. Don Hutson said UHP joined the chase to stop Joey Tucker as the man drove on State Road 202. Joey Tucker continued driving erratically at about 30 mph and got onto Interstate 80, where police used a pit maneuver, forcing Tucker's vehicle to turn sideways and stop against a highway barrier.

Hutson said Joey Tucker tried to resume driving, moving the truck forward and backward. As the Salt Lake City police officer walked toward Tucker, he observed Tucker fiddling with the steering column, Hutson said.

"[Tucker] looked like he was going to put the vehicle toward the officer and that is when the shots were fired," Hutson said.

That's a pretty shabby justification for shooting the guy, in my opinion. I realize there may be more to it, but based on the description of Sheriff Hutson, I find it hard to believe Officer Louis Jones was cleared.

What's your opinion? Are there too many of these police shootings? Do you think this could be an example of what the pro-gun guys often say, that civilian concealed carry permit holders are better trained than your average policeman? Is that what accounts for these shootings, a lack of training?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. Anytime ya run from the po-po, you run the risk of getting shot and killed.

    Your best bet, if you've done nothing wrong is to comply with their orders given and fight them in court.

    It's called due process, perhaps you've heard of it?

  2. We all know that no one has ever been killed, injured, or maimed by a car, right? Only guns do that.

    Come on mikeb, you are hopeless. What is the officer suppose to do, dodge out of the way? Ask the man to put his hands up again? Your typical handgun is not going to disable the engine block of a vehicle. You need a good 50 cal for that, and I don't think you are advocating officers lugging around 50 caliber assault weapons are you?

    By ramming the patrol car, he has shown that he is willing to use the car as a weapon. Accelerating towards an officer shows intent to assault again. This doesn't show lack of training. This shows training combined with judgement has worked.

    If all of these criminals would quit trying to assault police (and other people), then a lot less of them would be killed.

  3. Good shoot. simple as that mike.

    Don't want the police to shoot you, don't try to ram them with your car.

    What do you want the cops to do? let the guy run them down with his car?

  4. I don't know, guys. It still sounds a little like trigger-happy cop shooting unarmed guy. I can't accept the scenario of a cop having to shoot someone using a vehicle as a weapon. That happens in the movies, not in real life. I can picture a drugged driver erratically ramming his vehicle into other cars who is a real danger to himself and others. But shooting such a guy dead is like a pre-emptive strike. That's like killing him because he might hurt someone the way he's driving. For me, it's just not acceptable.

  5. Mikeb,

    He rammed the patrol car. Which means he has a 3000 lb battering ram powered by at least a 125 hp engine. At only 15-20mph, that is the same energy (35,000 J) as more than 100 rounds from any of the officers sidearms. And you still question whether it was legitimate?