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Back behind the curtain of derangement you noted in your post, there's a heck of a story.
Derek J. Hale was 25 years old when he was shot by police last Fall. He'd "joined the Marine Corps in 2001 and served for five years, including two tours of duty in Iraq, before he was honorably discharged last year with a service-related disability."
That disability is unspecified and has nothing to do with the story - just explains why he left active duty.
He joined the Virginia branch of the Pagan Motorcycle Club after leaving the military. More than 50 percent of the club’s members are veterans, say club officials.That charity run was in conjunction with the Marine's Toys for Tots campaign.
“There, he found the sense of brotherhood, camaraderie and espirit de corps that he had been missing, and was able to ride his motorcycle in a relaxed atmosphere,” the complaint states.
The Delaware State Police says the Pagans are an outlaw motorcycle gang. Over the years, the Delaware Pagans members have been arrested for crimes of drugs and violence. The club has also sponsored several Toys for Tots runs.
On Nov. 3, 2006, Hale traveled to Delaware to take part in one of the charity events.
Following the toy run, on Nov. 6, 2006, Hale was house-sitting for a Delaware club member who had been arrested, and had his home searched, as part of an investigation into the Pagans by the Delaware State Police.
Shortly thereafter, police (including SWAT members) arrived and killed him.
An early report:
In a written statement, Elliott explained that the man was shot three times because an "officer in close proximity to the developments feared for the safety of his fellow officers and believed that the suspect was in a position to pose an imminent threat. That officer then utilized deadly force."
Earlier Tuesday, Elliott said "there were two items there that were considered weapons, but I haven't been able to confirm whether they were law enforcement or belonged to the suspect."
Asked if the man -- whose hands were reportedly in his pockets --ever threatened the officers, Elliott said: "In a sense, when he did not comply with their commands."
Unfortunately for the killers, there were some impartial observers nearby:
The 25-year-old man shot to death last week by a Wilmington officer never threatened police, according to five witnesses working nearby and a sixth witness standing next to the victim when the confrontation began.Then came to coup de grâce. Recall the original police quote above:
Derek J. Hale, a U.S. Marine who served two tours in Iraq, died on the front steps at 1403 W. Sixth St. after a Wilmington police officer fired three .40-caliber rounds into his chest. He was killed after receiving multiple shocks from electronic Tasers.
"He didn't deserve to be shot. He wasn't any kind of threat," said Fred Mixson, 53, a contractor working in the home next door who watched the shooting unfold from across the narrow street. From the initial confrontation with police to the fatal shooting, only two to three minutes elapsed, witnesses said.
Four members of Mixson's work crew witnessed the shooting from a variety of angles and distances, although Mixson was the only one interviewed by investigators after the shooting and the only one willing to allow his name to be used for this article.
But in interviews with The News Journal last week, all five said Hale did not pose a threat.
"No matter what his background was, he didn't deserve that," Mixson said. "They had him surrounded. They could have grabbed him."
Mixson parked across the narrow street from 1403 and was standing by the driver's door of his work van when a black SUV sped up the wrong way of the one-way street and screeched to a halt in the middle of the road.
Several police officers jumped out and ran to where Hale was sitting on the steep steps of 1403, approximately six feet higher than the sidewalk.
Mixson and his crew had barely noticed Hale before he was confronted by police. Hale, they said, was chatting with Sandra Lopez and two children at the top of a 10-step concrete stoop. Hale was seated on the third step from the top. Mixson and another witness were standing across the street from 1403, while others were on the sidewalk in front of a row house adjacent to the site of the shooting.
The officers ordered Hale to take his hands out of the front pockets of his hooded sweat shirt.
"About a second later, they Tasered him," Mixson recalled. "He was just sitting there. He didn't do anything."
A compressed air charge in the Taser cartridge launched two metal barbs, attached to wires trailing back to the hand-held device, at a speed of more than 160 feet per second. On impact, a strong electric charge was carried into Hale's body, which caused what the manufacturer, Taser International, describes as "an immediate loss of the person's neuromuscular control and the ability to perform coordinated action for the duration of the impulse."
The witnesses said Hale shook violently from the charge, as if sitting on an electric chair. His right hand came out of the front of his sweat shirt and was shaking violently.
Seconds later, police repeated their command for Hale to show them his hands, and they Tasered him a second time.
Mixson and others said Hale, who was still seated on the steps, rolled onto his left side and vomited into a flower bed.
"My brother yelled at the police that this was overkill. That this was crazy," Mixson said. "They told him to 'shut ... up,' or they'd show him overkill."
Hale rolled back to his right, into a sitting position, still shaking, and police Tasered him a third time, Mixson said.
Lopez, who lived at the home where Hale was killed and was talking to Hale when police arrived, told her attorney Hale was trying to show police his hands. Lopez was standing with her two young children until police ordered her to move.
Asked if the man -- whose hands were reportedly in his pockets --ever threatened the officers, Elliott said: "In a sense, when he did not comply with their commands."Apparently the neighborhood was a bit upset
Six city councilmen promised that the investigations into last week's fatal police shooting of a 25-year-old man, who was confronted by several officers while sitting on the steps of a Hilltop home, will be fair and thorough.As were fellow vets:
They urged a crowd of more than 100 people gathered Wednesday night at St. Paul's Catholic Church to show restraint until the investigations into the incident are complete.
Because Hale was a Marine who had served two tours in Iraq, several veterans said they felt obligated to attend.(Note that last story, relying on early police accounts, says Hale had a switchblade. Later versions simply say "knife". According to Hale's brother, he had a Swiss army knife.)
John Connelly served as a Marine officer in Vietnam.
"It would seem to me that if a person other than a police officer shot an unarmed man sitting on the steps of a home, they'd be immediately arrested," Connelly said. "Every member of a motorcycle club is not an evil person. This is a country where you can join any group you want. We're supposed to tolerate freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom to sit on the front steps of a house. It's so obvious that an injustice has been done."
Terry Baker, vice president of the Vietnam Veterans of America's Delaware State Council, met Hale last month.
"He was a good man, a typical Marine," Baker said. "There has to be accountability."
Following the shooting Delaware police apparently attempted to "back date" drug trafficking charges aganst the Marine:
Delaware State Police incorrectly told their Virginia counterparts that a 25-year-old man shot and killed by a Wilmington police officer on Nov. 6 had been charged with drug trafficking two days before his death.They later claimed he had been previously identified as an "unnamed person of interest" in the case.
A special agent for the Virginia State Police then used the inaccurate information as part of the basis to search Derek J. Hale's Manassas, Va., home when he applied to a magistrate -- under oath -- for a search warrant.
"During the weekend of November 4th and 5th, the Delaware State Police secured several arrest warrants for various members of the Pagans Motorcycle Club to include Virginia member Derek Hale," the affidavit states. "On November 6th, Wilmington Delaware Police Department attempted to arrest Hale on drug charges. Hale did not cooperate and was subsequently shot by police and died of his wounds."
Delaware State Police spokesperson Sgt. Melissa Zebley conceded last week that no arrest warrant for Hale was ever issued as part of the 18-month investigation into the Pagans, which resulted in arrests and charges against 12 Delaware suspects for felony-level drug and weapons offenses.
The newspaper had asked the name of the Delaware police investigator who provided information to Virginia.And now his family seeks to clear his name:
"We will not be releasing any names of involved officers or detectives in this investigation," Papili responded in the e-mail.
Why did they provide false information to their Virginia counterpart? "No false information has been provided to anyone during this investigation," Papili wrote.
The News Journal also asked to speak with MacLeish about how this incident could affect the state police and the investigation. "The incident will not have any impact on the investigation or the agency," Papili responded.
The family of a former Marine shot to death by police in November during the investigation of a motorcycle gang filed a federal lawsuit Friday accusing state and local police of violating his constitutional rights.All done!
According to the lawsuit, Derek J. Hale, 25, of Manassas, Va., was left incapacitated and vomiting by three Taser shocks as he sat on a porch step last Nov. 6 before a Wilmington police officer drew his gun and shot Hale three times in the chest.
The lawsuit, filed by Hale's widow and parents, alleges that police failed to identify themselves after surrounding Hale, then used excessive force in Tasering and shooting him three times, even though there was no warrant for his arrest and he posed no threat.
Police have said they found a can of pepper spray and a knife in Hale's pants pockets after he was killed.
The lawsuit also alleges that Wilmington police and Delaware State Police officers did not give SWAT team members information from potentially illegal wiretaps of Hale's telephone conversations indicating that he did not pose a threat and that there was no probable cause for his arrest.
According to the lawsuit, Hale, who grew up in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and served two tours of duty in Iraq before leaving the Marines and joining the Pagans, traveled to Wilmington to participate in a Toys for Tots ride and was housesitting at the residence of another gang member when he was shot.
Police had executed a search warrant at the house two days before the shooting. The owner of the home, Raul Morales, 34, was one of 12 people arrested that day following an 18-month investigation of the Pagans. At the time of the shooting, Hale was talking to Morales' ex-wife and her two young children, who had come to pick up some belongings, according to the lawsuit.
More than 770 civilian contractors working for American companies have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion began March 20, 2003, according to a Labor Department office that loosely tracks the figures. If those deaths — truck drivers, cooks, laundry workers and security guards — are added to the military toll, the death toll in the U.S. war effort in Iraq is nearly 25 percent higher.(Link)
Not that long ago, four of those deaths marked a turning point in the war.
That's not true at all, of course. Photographs of the corpses are what mattered, as evidenced by the less emphatic response to the other 766.
In a blogosphere sideshow shortly thereafter, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga moved the Daily Kos to the position of top blog in the world with his much-maligned (but highly successful) "screw them" post. (I believe that's when I started referring to such sites - when referring at all - as toilets on the left-wing information sewer.)
Him being an actual merc, and all.
3ID boys in DCUs - from previous tour, but they'll be back for a return engagement soon (if not already).
How the heck did he keep a (nearly) straight face?
And read this one, too. Omar and Mohammed, visited by troops:
These are bloggers, dude; cover your face if you don’t want to be seen nude on the internet tomorrow!Which also begs the question: if invited to consume barbeque with Omar and Mohammed, would you eat it?
I know I sure would.
Apparently nobody in Iraq watches Saturday Night Live
The aging of the veteran population is a major challenge confronting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Today, 9.2 million veterans are age 65 or older, representing 38 percent of the total veteran population. The number of veterans age 85 or older is expected to exceed 1 million by the end of 2006 and rise to a peak of 1.4 million in 2033.
Today, VA’s 21 GRECCs lead in gerontology and geriatrics, applying basic research to clinical programs.
I'm all for quality health care for the nations Veterans...but the VA budget is ballooning for the same reason the Medicare and Medicaid budgets are ballooning. People are living longer.
Mental disorders? The real probem is anatomically elsewhere:
As it braces for a flood of war-disabled veterans, the nation's disability compensation system for former troops has become a $26 billion behemoth bloated and backlogged in part by overgenerous benefits for minor maladies barely tied to military service, if at all.I hereby call on my elected representatives to do something about these hemorrhoids in congress! It's not funny - I want to see their plan to lick this problem soon.
Case in point: More than 120,000 vets from earlier eras are collecting lifetime benefits for hemorrhoids, which they are not required to show resulted from their military duty.
In fact, hemorrhoids are the 11th-most-common disability for which U.S. vets are compensated, after such conditions as defective hearing, arthritis, diabetes and hypertension. A conservative calculation of the cost of the benefits to veterans for hemorrhoids alone could be $14 million a year or more.
You are who links you. Today I got linked by a site called Godlike Productions--an odd conspiracy-ish sort for those brave truthtellers who have yet to experience the oppression of AP History.
Anyway, in a thread about something the discussion inevitably turns the war and to soldiers returning from Iraq. Did you know?
One in three that come back, go homeless.
Betcha didn't. But what blew. my. mind. was the following:
The others suffer from post dramatic stress disorder and end up going crazy unless treated.
Yeah, crazy. Crazy Fabulous!
“The United States must use its leadership position within the UN Security Council and elsewhere to ensure that effective action is taken. The members of the United Nations, the Arab League, and the African Union all have a moral obligation to end the genocide in Darfur. The world has been placed on notice; the promise of ‘never again’ made after previous acts of genocide must be redeemed in Darfur.”
I'm glad I agree with the Chairman on something...the ChiComs could stop the genocide in Sudan in about 10 minutes...if one could just point them to someplace else to get their oil.(No War for Oil, Evil Mc Hu Jintao HitlerCinoPec)...like say Iraq...but oh wait...Iraq is teetering on the brink of civil war at the moment....I'm not exactly a rocket scientist...but going to war with the ChiCom's over Sudan doesn't seem like a great idea to me. Maybe we should work on stopping the Slaughter in Iraq...so that the ChiCom's can realistically threaten the Sudanese Government with "No Peace...No Buy Oil".All done!