When Shooting at a Minivan Full of Kids is Justified

minivan

I heard this story out of New Mexico where some cops are in hot water over shooting at a minivan with 5 children in it.

At first, I thought this was going to be one of those situations where under-trained cops got trigger happy and recklessly put innocent lives in danger much like the New York City cops that shot up the street near the Empire State Building killing their target in a hail of ill aimed bullets that struck NINE innocent bystanders.

Or some thug cop who felt that they needed to put someone in their place by shooting them like the Houston Texas cop who shot a double amputee at a care home who had waved a pen at him menacingly.

I mention these to show that I am no thin blue line cheerleader and am willing to cast some light on those who would try to hide behind a badge.

But in the case in New Mexico, I find it disingenuous that some people are attacking the officers for their actions.  Fortunately, in the technological world we live in there is video evidence of the events in question:

 

So after watching that, I can only say that I think the police acted with an amazing amount of restraint.  Did the other cop make the right call in firing his weapon at the minivan?

I can see an argument that can be made that he shouldn’t have.  And of course, a law abiding citizen shooting an attacker in the back is pretty much an ez-pass into jail time but lets break it down.

  • This woman gets pulled over and argues with the ticket.  Nothing too uncommon about that.
  • When the cop goes to check on her she speeds away.  That’s not good.  Plus the cop gave no indication that he was going to go on a rape/murder rampage which would justify her fleeing from the routine traffic stop.
  • Then when he pulls her over AGAIN, she says she wasn’t trying to flee and was just trying to pull over more.  Maybe the lady is a bit unbalanced.
  • Even at this point the cop is pretty much keeping his cool and asks her to get out of the vehicle and talk.  I’m not sure if he was going to slap the cuffs on or just frisk her for weapons when he asked her to turn and face the vehicle but running back into the car was probably the wrong thing to do.
  • Then she has her punk son, yeah I said punk, who rolls out of the car FOR THE SECOND TIME  looking to duke it out with the cop, notice how he takes off his hat like “it’s game time”.  Kid is lucky he didn’t get shot right there.
  • Then when backup arrives everyone runs back into the minivan.  The cop at this point seems pretty justified to try and get access to the inside of the car since he was just attacked.
  • At which point this lady speeds off again.  After all, she just wants to show her kids the sites.

Now for the cop who opened fire.  He rolls up on the scene, his fellow officer was all ready attacked and the woman had led them on 1 chase.  When she speeds off again, the officer doesn’t pepper the back window with bullets but lowers his stance and aims for the tires.  Once again, a Hollywood type move that wouldn’t fly if a law abiding citizen were to try it but i’ll set that aside for now and give him the benefit on this one.

How do I know he was aiming for the tires?  Two reasons.  First, his body position and where the muzzle of the gun was pointing was downward at the target and secondly there were not bullet holes in the car and no shattered glass.  Now, I know some police departments (like NYC) are pretty lax when it comes to target practice but the term “hitting the broad side of a barn” comes into mind when taking aim at a MINI-VAN.  The fact that it can be seen on the video that their were no bullet holes anywhere on the van means that the officer was aiming low in order to not only to try and hit the tires but also make sure not to risk the occupants.

This woman came off as a bit deranged, her son violently attacked an officer and she repeatedly sped off.  The fact that she was a danger to others seems pretty well established and only strengthened by her reckless driving that nearly killed some other motorists along the way.

Think about that, if she ended up in a fiery wreck that cost an innocent family their lives the cops would probably be chewed out for not doing ENOUGH to stop her and people would have WISHED the second officer had hit one of those rear tires.  I’ll even toss the terrorist card and say what better cover than a minivan full of kids with a roof full of C4 is there?  Usually I wouldn’t go there but she was acting REAL strange and while that is not a crime in and of itself, repeatedly fleeing from the cops and coming up with inane cover stories might reach to reasonable suspicion.

This woman was a menace and her son is some punk and both were arrested, rightfully so.

As I’ve shown in the past, I’m not afraid to call a bad cop bad and I am no thin blue line apologist, but in the same turn I am not going to rail on a pair of officers for doing their job well just because it can be sensationalized by tossing in a headline about kids in a minivan.

I hope the video exonerates the officers in whatever capacity of punishment they may face.

 

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  • porterv

    Why don’t you travel on down to NM. The cops there will provide you with multiple anal probes including a colonoscopy and will only bill you $6000 fot the privilege.

    • beelp

      That happened in Texas, NOT N.M. Get your facts straight.

      • porterv

        Hidalgo County, NM. http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S3209305.shtml You should get your facts straight.

        • beelp

          OK, sorry. Wasn’t there a similar case in Tx?

          • winki

            I read about two different ones in New Mexico. None in Texas.

          • beelp

            ok, thanks. 🙂

    • chamuiel

      The woman, if she had not fled would have received a speeding ticket for doing 71 in a 55mph zone. If she did not want to be confronted by the police, then why was she speeding at all?

      as to the colonoscopy story, there is more to it than you are telling.

  • Lester

    This is a case that show me why I decided against a career in law enforcement after retirement from the military. I had a very good friend that was the sheriff of the Parish (County) where I lived and could have gone to work for him and even thought long about it, but decided that I did not want to place myself in a dangerous position, but also what I would do to others that tried to resist arrest. This policeman does exactly what he should have done and that is stop the vehicle before the woman ran over a person or hit another vehicle. I know some will say it was racist, because she was black, and the cops were not, but she brought all of this on herself and placed the kids in danger because she could not keep herself under control while the officer finished his job, either by a ticket or arrest. She should be fined quite heavily for her stupidity and willful misconduct.

    • stevie3x

      Lester, if you will play the video again I believe you will find the first 2 LEO’s to be white whereas
      the LEO that actually started the shooting was , in fact Black, the other white LEO at the right front , pulled his weapon after the Black LEO began shooting, can’t if he actually fired
      or not ?
      So , definitely Not Racist , unless / untill Obama, Sharpton or Jesse Jackson gets involved.

      • Martin Medina

        I fully agree that based on the video it was not a racist act, but I would just like to point out that you just said that it could not be a racist act because the officer that fired shots at the minivan was black. …?! I would argue that it was not a racist act because, as far as we know, they didn’t do anything racist. I do not think that appearing to be of the same race as someone else automatically exemplifies someone from being racist.

        • stevie3x

          last I heard was race, refered to Same color , as in black, or caucasian [ white]
          asian [ yellow] or latin [ brown]
          so the black officer may be a racist when it pertains to white, brown, yellow etc.
          but certianly not another black

  • David

    The woman ran away from the Cop so she must have been afraid that her Van was going to be searched. Maybe she was using the Van to transport Drugs, and she had her Kids with her to keep from looking suspicious. I hope the Cops searched her Van.

    • Bullets First

      Great point david. Something just wasn’t up to snuff with the way she was acting. Either she was hiding something or was off her medication because really, who does that? At the very least if she just drove off the first time and kept driving until she reached the hotel or some other populated area and said she was afraid of the cop and wanted witnesses then maybe she gets some consideration.

      But stopping a second time only to run again seems like she was panicking and the first drive away was possibly to hide something in case she was searched. Police have yet to release anything more on the situation save for the driver and her son being arrested.

      • USCAVSCT

        Farrell was charged with five counts of abuse of a child, aggravated fleeing an
        officer, resisting an officer, reckless driving and possession of drug
        paraphernalia, according to court records.
        Farrell’s son was arrested on charges of battery of an officer and resisting arrest.

        • Bullets First

          Thanks for the update USCAVSCT.

  • Joseph111

    .
    what’s really scary here is that this woman had 5 kids…
    .
    I mean, she is butt ugly, and somebody actually slept with her at least 5 times….
    .
    now that is scary ….
    .

    • chamuiel

      Maybe, she paid them.

  • Billca

    This will make for a good police firearms instruction scenario in the future. There is no 100% “right” answer. I think it was a mistake to fire at the van at all, but that’s just me and my late 1970’s police training (vs. today’s militarized mindset). Shooting at the tires is risky. It might cause her to stop or it might cause her to try to flee on a flat tire and cause a serious accident that puts the kids at higher risk of injury. And there is always a risk of a stray shot hitting an occupant (child).

    In my view what do we have here? A speeder who argues about the ticket then drives off. We don’t see how long that 1st chase lasts, but it’s not too long. But it’s enough to justify removing her from the driver’s seat (if not for his own safety, then to safeguard those kids). But at this point errors by the officer and the van occupants mount up quickly.

    Note that viewing this from such a heavily edited video means relevant facts or observations may be omitted which have an important bearing on the officer’s performance.

    In getting her out of the car the officer’s anger (at her “contempt of cop?”) had him yelling at her and what appeared to be forcing her out of the vehicle in front of her kids. It took ALMOST 2 whole seconds for him to tell her to get out of the car AND scream “get out of the vehicle RIGHT NOW!” and just shy of 4 seconds before he began reaching inside (for keys or the driver? Don’t know). But who reacts that swiftly to a command (less than a second)? And herein lies a SERIOUS POLICE PROBLEM. The officer will state that she “failed to comply” to exit the vehicle at his order, yet there was almost no time for her to comprehend and react to his command. Secondly, IF she had suddenly exited the van after stopping before he opened the door, what do you think the odds are he would interpret that as an “aggressive” or “hostile” move? Instead he’s right in the doorway of the van and we can infer he’s trying to extract her from the van physically. That leads us to the 14 y/o son.

    How many young 14 year old males would sit passively while a cop manhandles his Mother? We don’t see the result of the officer pointing the Taser, other than the young man apparently returned to the passenger side. We lack the visual for that encounter and the audio which might be informative.

    Once she refused to face the van (for search or handcuffing officer?) things go out of control completely. The son assaults the officer, breaks off and gets into the van. Back up arrives and the side window is broken almost immediately (20 seconds elapsed between the kid jumping back in the van and smashing the window). The impression is that there was a sense of immediate urgency for the officers to open the van to arrest the young man and his mother. Unless there was a weapon observed or other danger to the children, there should NOT have been such a sense of urgency. Simply blocking the front of the van would prevent her from fleeing and a more measured approach used.

    Plenty of failures on both sides here, given this version of events.
    If officers charge her with child abuse or endangerment for her driving and trying to elude police, then by the same token they should face charges for firing on the vehicle and smashing the window glass into the van.

    I’ll venture to guess that this was because she worried if she was caught with drugs in the van that she would lose any custody rights she had then. Regardless of whether the drug stuff belonged to her or her oldest kid, she probably panicked.

    • Mr. Redbull600

      I agree 100%. Your exactly right about the main officers giving commands to the woman, there was no time allowed for her to react, however I doubt given enough time that she would have followed his commands. There was no reason for the 3rd officer to draw his firearm, the 2nd officer should have blocked the van in. Done, situation would have been handled.

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  • Jhomas Tefferson

    The cops needed to get their monthly fix of killing innocent kids for thrills.

  • TopCat_Texas

    OK, I agree that the lady was way out of line and should have been stopped from leaving the scene. Parking a patrol car in front and one in the rear would have been easy and less risky than breaking out windows and shooting at the van. I saw an effort of the driver to attempt to leave the scene and get away, but no intent to do harm to the officer or any ability/opportunity to harm to the officer. Her son probably does not have as strong a case, but I can see where the kid would think he was defending his mother. The officers did not behave in a professional manner and there is no excuse for them keeping their jobs. There just was no justification for breaking out windows of the van, that was just being angry and out of control. My take is that if the officer would have approached the van in a “controlled professional manner” he could have avoided the entire conflict, issued a ticket and both of them would have been gone in less than 10 min.

  • reggiec

    The article failed to state that before she drove off the second time the cop went a little nuts and was swinging his baton wildly, shattering the window next to her 14 year old son. The baton can be seen shattering the window and going inside the car right where her son was sitting. Beside shooting at a car full of kids for what was initially a speeding violation is against every police policy I have ever heard of.

    • Bullets First

      Wildly? The kid bumrushed the cop and attacked him, then ran back into the car and locking it behind him. At that point it seems the cop had a right to bash open the window to get at the person who just assaulted him.

      Your notion of “initially a speeding violation” is baseless. That’s like saying I just pulled over an ax murderer with a bloody corpse in the front and and 3 kids tied up in the back. Just because i pulled him over for a busted taillight doesn’t limit my response to everything that happened next.

    • chamuiel

      He had told her to stop again, and only broke the window when she attempted to drive away again. He had told bother her and her son to exit the vehicle, which they refused to do?

      what was he supposed to do, according to you> smile and wave bye bye?

  • scootersbikeshop

    After looking at the video, She left once, and they stop her twice, why didn’t the second or third police car pull in front of her to block her in?

    • Bullets First

      I was wondering that myself scooter. It would seem that that would be the wisest thing to do.

    • chamuiel

      because it had not arrived, yet.

  • Robby777

    Bullshit. That was reckless. The policeman who fired, not knowing whole story should be fired for use of excessive force. There are too many trigger happy cops now! Look at their qual scores. In any case if he knew there were innocents in the car , he is not allowed to fire!

  • rwp24382

    What I find hilarious about the situation is the teenage boy getting out of the vehicle and taking his hat off, only to find another one on his head. What is this kid a double bagger? The hat under the other is his fighting cap or something? Does he use the other hat when he goes trick or treating? I laughed and laughed when I saw that. How can you take someone seriously that has that mentality? Well, other than the fact he came out to try and hurt the cop for his mother being an idiot. The nut didn’t fall too far from that tree, did it?