Calif. Police Officers Kill Man Pointing Water Nozzle, Not Gun

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by JBean, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    I am sure the locals here are following this case; I am personally really drawn to it. It is gaining steam and won't be going away any time soon.

    Long story short, man sitting on his front porch, drunk, holding a water nozzle to a hose. 911 call in says a man is possibly holding a gun. Long Beach police come in and blow him away with shotguns and gunfire.

    I understand the whole idea of things looking like weapons. I understand that LE cannot always tell if it is a real gun and if people are in danger. I understand that this garden nozzle does look like a gun. I get that.
    In this case, LE snuck up, surrounded him as he sat cross legged in a lawn chair on his porch. No contact with him whatsoever.

    He had no idea they were there. He raised the water nozzle in the direction of LE and they blasted him. They blasted INTO an apt complex and it is a wonder that no innocent bystanders were killed. It is reported that the area was pretty isolated and it would have been extremely difficult for LE to see what the man even had in his hand. his family has been all over the media bringing attention to this killing.

    No, "this is the police-freeze" no "put down your weapon you are surrounded" nothing. Just shot him on the porch.
    What are your thoughts on this?

    >>
    LONG BEACH, Calif. (CBS/AP) Long Beach police officers shot and killed a man Sunday when they apparently mistook a pistol-grip water nozzle he was holding, for a gun.

    Now family members of the man, 35-year-old Douglas Zerby, are lashing out at the police, saying they made no attempt to contact him before opening fire.>>

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20025657-504083.html
     
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  3. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    The 35-year-old Long Beach man killed in an officer-involved shooting Sunday was holding a water spigot, not a gun, Long Beach Police officials said Monday.
    Two Long Beach police officers responded to a 911 call at 4:40 p.m. Sunday from a neighbor reporting an intoxicated man holding a "six shooter" that looked like an antique gun in the 5300 block of East Ocean Avenue.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lan...-beach-police-was-holding-a-water-nozzle.html
     
  4. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    Open letter from mom:

    I am the mother of River Thomas, Douglas’s son. Although Doug and I have not been together for some time now, we have always remained in love with each other. He had a way of lighting up the room wherever he went. His love and energy for life was what attracted me to his shinning soul. He was a swimmer, a surfer, a snowboarder, a traveler, and was into the yacht business, but most of all he was the father of our son. The officers that took his life will never understand the emptiness and pain my son will endure for the rest of his life. I cannot even tell him the truth about what happened because I do not want him to have phobias of cops. I do not want him to be scared that a police has the right to open fire on anyone without notice.


    I am shaking while I am writing this. I am so angry that my son will never have the opportunity to surf or skate with his dad, build legos, or share one more memory of his dad. I wanted to remind River that his dad loved him so much even though we live so far away, so I just played him voice mails of Doug telling us how much he loved us, and couldn’t wait to see us for Christmas. Thanks to that cop my son will most likely have tears in his eyes while he opens his gifts because Christmas will never be the same for River. If the officers has kids I hope they are thinking of my son while he celebrates the holidays. If they have any empathy at all they will write me a formal apology discussing their reasoning behind their actions.

    Much More at Link
     
  5. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    LBPD chief expresses condolences to family of man shot by officers in Belmont Shore


    snip

    When the first officers arrived on scene they saw Zerby -- who appeared intoxicated -- sitting on the landing on the staircase to an apartment that was not his residence, the chief said.
    The officers also saw what appeared to be handgun and could see Zerby playing with the handle, which sounds similar to that of a handgun. The officers immediately called for back-up
    and began trying to contain the area in case the subject fled and posed a danger to the public, McDonnell said.

    Among the units called in were the LBPD helicopter, K-9 units and the department's Mental Health Evaluation Team.
    As they were preparing to confront the man he put his hands up and pointed the item with both arms straight forward, as though he were taking aim with a gun, in the officers' direction, the chief said.
    The officers never spoke to Zerby, but opened fire, "due to the actions of the subject," McDonnell said.
    Later, they found the item in Zerby's hands turned out to be a "black pistol grip water (nozzle) with a metal tip," McDonnell said. A total of eight shots were fired, the chief said, two from shot guns and the other six rounds from a handgun.

    More at link
     
  6. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    I'm usually sympathetic to the police in this sort of situation; I know they have to protect themselves and aren't, after all, mind readers.

    But opening fire without a word to put down the weapon!? Even if it had been a gun the victim was holding, last I heard, gun ownership was still legal (with certain restrictions).
     
  7. shana

    shana New Member

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    So, they call-in for reinforcements and then do an instant shoot, regardless?

    Plus...no shout-out, no notice, and they ignore collateral damage to innocents in the line of fire.

    Son River will receive a major financial settlement, but he will never have his father back. There is no price tag on such a loss.

    Tragic story...and I hope instructive for LE for future cases and training.

    RIP Douglas Zerby

    ~jmo~
     
  8. kgeaux

    kgeaux New Member

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    I doubt they're going to learn too much from this "incident." Reading one of the articles, I stumbled across the fact that the chief of police reached out to comfort Douglas's family before giving a little statement to media.

    A little statement that included this tidbit: However the chief noted that if there was a lesson to be learned from the deadly incident it was that "you are responsible for your own actions…"

    I may be wrong, but I am reading this as: "The only lesson to be learned from this is that LE did nothing wrong, the guy got shot because of his own actions. HE is responsible. End of Story"

    There are so many wrong actions on the part of LE that it is hard to believe the Chief won't acknowledge them. Is it ok that police officers did not identify themselves before shooting? Is it ok that this man was never told to "put the gun down"? Is it ok that officers shot powerful handguns and SHOTGUNS into what was a residential building without concern for the safety of anyone who was in the building?
     
  9. miss u daddy

    miss u daddy Barack the Vote!

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    I heard this on the news and it is so sad. To just shoot someone without positively knowing he had a weapon. They didn't announce themselves or anything. Aren't there ways to disarm someone without blasting two rounds from a shotgun and several gunshots from a handgun? Can't they at least aim for a "non-kill" area or use pellets? This has to stop. Cops are becoming dependant on their guns instead of other means. Now Doug will never get to do the dad stuff I'm sure he wanted and his son will never be able to be with his Dad again. Cops seem to forget suspects are people and yes most of them are bad, but shouldn't they have known more of the situation before murdering someone?
     
  10. shana

    shana New Member

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    Well, I'm quite sure he meant the officers, riiiighhht?

    Thank you for bringing that quote to our attention. :-/
     
  11. LolaMoon08

    LolaMoon08 Active Member

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    Did they not have any tasers? Not saying they should have tasered him either, but it would have been better than killing him! And to not even give the man a warning? Yell out to him? Speak to him? Try and unarm him first? Makes no sense. Very sad!
     
  12. kgeaux

    kgeaux New Member

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    The officers were on the ground, and Douglas was on the 2nd floor. Tasers don't reach that far. Still, the response was so overboard and had such permanent horrible consequences that you'd think the chief would have been at least "exploring" the possibility that his officers overreacted, or could have done something different. It is truly scary and arrogant that he is not!

    When an unarmed person can be shot and killed by police officers who haven't even identified themselves or made their presence known, every American citizen should take note. At the very least, this incident tells us that police officers are not being properly trained. At worst, it tells us that LE will not be held accountable when they overreact and kill an innocent person. And the chief's statement tells us that they don't even see that what they did was questionable!
     
  13. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    Indeed. What's the lesson here? Never ever hold anything that might in the dark be mistaken for a weapon? I suppose that would include one's own fingers in certain positions...
     
  14. i.b.nora

    i.b.nora I am polka dot

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    Death of man shot by Long Beach police is ruled a homicide

    "The death of a 35-year-old Long Beach man shot by police officers was ruled a homicide by coroner's officials on Thursday.'

    AND

    "The coroner's definition of a homicide means that it was a death at the hands of another. It does not necessarily mean that a crime was committed. An autopsy was conducted Wednesday, but a complete report will not be available for another two weeks, said Ed Winter, a coroner's spokesman.'

    MORE...
     
  15. reb

    reb New Member

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    Oh, please!! Cry me a river. You don't want to get shot,, then hello-!! DON'T point anything that looks like a gun or act in a threatening manner to a policeman. End of story. NO way am I going to participate in another session of picking apart a police officer's actions-- for DOING HIS JOB-- which is to keep society safe-- and he has a right to go home alive to his family too. I'm tired of seeing everyone give the criminals the benefit of the doubt, always. No way. The cop is the hero here... NO sympathy for the one who was the aggressor. I don't care 'what a great person' he was--- great people don't point things at cops.
     
  16. drip~drop

    drip~drop kiss a fuzzie

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    oh GEEZE!!!
     
  17. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    Hi Reb, you might want to take a moment to re- read what happened.
    He was sitting on the front porch of an enclosed yard with no idea anyone was around or watching him. he couldn't have made a threatening gesture towards the police, because he had no idea they were there. they had not let him know they were watching him and they had him surrounded.
    LE, in an effort to safeguard the community shot INTO the apt complex, (without clearing the area or making their presence known to any occupants or the victim) 2 shotgun blasts and 6 handgun rounds.

    So who was the aggressor ,what was the man's crime and this protected the community and the officer's how?
     
  18. miss u daddy

    miss u daddy Barack the Vote!

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    Hi Reb,
    I just want to say that while cops do sometimes get picked on, there are also times when they are wrong. They are still humans and ALL humans make mistakes. This incident was definitely a BIG mistake on the part of the cops. They never let themselves known. Doug was waiting for his friend to come home and was waiting on the porch. For all we know he didn't point it toward the cops he could've been pointing it to the ground near them to possibly drink from the hose. I'm just saying there are many factors surrounding this case. I also don't think that cops need to riddle this poor man's body with shotgun and handgun bullets. That's too aggressive. Yes, the cops had a family to go home too, but Doug had an 8 year old son as well. It's sad all around.
     
  19. cluciano63

    cluciano63 Well-Known Member

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    I would guess that regardless of the public/official stance, the officers involved are suffering privately, I doubt very much they lack human feelings about what happened, and some may never get over it.
     
  20. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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  21. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    LONG BEACH -- The attorney for a man killed by Long Beach Police Officers called the shooting a "flat-out ambush" and "massacre."

    http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_16885718

    I heard on the radio that the Coroner has sealed the autopsy pending litigation. The family spoke up early on as to the locations of the shotgun blasts and the story they tell as to how Zerby was seated.

    The family is also saying that LBPD is flat out lying because none of theri stories can be corroborated by eyewitnesses.
     

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