Officer William Salyers, Officer Lauren Bacha, Officer Zachery Moody, Officer George Romero, Officer Deborah Dennison, and Officer Bryan Wood. Chattanooga Police Department, Chattanooga, Tennessee. A young black man named Alonzo Heyward was drunk and extremely upset after a late-night party. He grabbed a rifle and pointed at himself late at night and started talking about killing himself. His family and his girlfriend were trying to talk him down like civilized people do when someone is not in his right mind and threatening to hurt himself; unfortunately, in the meantime, some bystanders saw what was happening and they called in the Chattanooga city government’s police force — who proceeded to Take Control Of The Situation by means of escalating belligerence, by surrounding Heyward, by pointing guns at him, by hollering orders, and then — when he didn’t snap to and immediately obey their bellowed commands — by tasering him down to the ground. And then lighting him up with 59 shots after he’d already been knocked to the ground when he moved to get up.
they felt threatened by the way he moved his rifle after he’d already been knocked to the ground by a 50,000-volt electric shock. The three non-cop witnesses on the scene (Heyward’s father, his girlfriend, and a neighbor) say they never saw Alonzo Heyward threaten to hurt anyone other than himself. They also say that Heyward was lying prone on the porch on top of the rifle when the cops first opened fire. While the cops were stopping to reload — they fired three volleys of gunfire before they decided Heyward was dead enough — the non-cop witnesses say they heard Alonzo Heyward ask the cops
Why are you shooting me? Since he certainly never posed a threat to anyone other than himself before the cops showed up, and almost certainly posed no threat to the cops, either, in spite of their belligerent escalation of the situation, it’s a good question.
Meanwhile, the six cops who lit up Alonzo Heyward — Officer William Salyers, Officer Lauren Bacha, Officer Zachery Moody, Officer George Romero, Officer Deborah Dennison, and Officer Bryan Wood — were given a seven day paid vacation by the Chattanooga city government’s police force (so that they could take some time to see a shrink at taxpayer expense). They are now back on the streets. The boss cops insist that their hired muscle acted properly; Police Chief Freeman Cooper told a Chattanooga radio station that the hail of bullets used to mow down Alonzo Heyward shows that
our people did what we trained them to do. No doubt. Eugene O’Donnell, a former government cop and government prosecutor who now teaches up-and-coming government cops how to be cops at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice [sic] in New York City, defended the hail of gunfire, saying that there is no
magic number of shots to fire and that
Unfortunately this is replicated all over the country. (Well, yeah.)
When you send the police they bring deadly force with them. They come armed and they come predisposed to use force. No doubt. Which is precisely why legally unaccountable, heavily-armed twitchy government cops shouldn’t be sent into volatile situations where a person hasn’t threatened to harm anyone other than himself.