When Shooting at a Minivan Full of Kids is Justified

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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