The Police Beat: Shot in the back
Detective Jeremy Hendricks. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Las Vegas, Nevada. Here in Vegas, Jeremy Hendricks, a cop working for the Las Vegas city government’s police force, shot John Paul Hambleton in the back while Hambleton was running away. Hendricks was questioning Hambleton (who was 32) about an alleged sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl; Hambleton decided to leave. Hambleton was not under arrest; he was not accused of a violent crime; he also was completely unarmed. But Detective Jeremy Hendricks wasn’t done with him, and, seeing how running away from a cop is apparently treated as a capital offense in this country, Hendricks started out by tasering Hambleton twice. Then he tried to force Hambleton down on the ground. Hambleton managed to get away Hendricks’ taser, and then started to run away again, so Detective Jeremy Hendricks shot him in the back. Hendricks claimed in court that Hambleton turned around and pointed the taser at him. If so, nobody else who saw what happened — not Hendricks’s own partner, not four non-cop witnesses who watched what was happening — ever saw Hambleton turn around or point the taser at Detective Jeremy Hendricks. But thanks to the magic
split second, which absolves all sins and justifies all cop shootings in the eyes of the Law, somehow, this supposedly belligerent Suspect Individual who supposedly was threatening Detective Jeremy Hendricks’ sacred hide with a taser shock, ended up getting shot in the back anyway. Oops.
If you tore off chasing after someone, and then shot him in the back and killed him, allegedly in order to avoid the alleged threat of a
less lethal taser shock, which threat, if it even existed, was solely the product of a confrontation that you yourself had created and escalated, then you would probably be in jail for years. Of course, Detective Jeremy Hendricks is a cop, working for the local government’s police force, so the local government’s coroner’s inquest ruled last month that he was justified in shooting a fleeing suspect in the back.