TUCSON (AP) – The family of a former Marine who was killed when a SWAT team raided his Tucson-area home in 2011 has settled a lawsuit with four police agencies for $3.4 million, a newspaper reported Thursday.
If they did nothing wrong, why settle? And since a civil lawsuits’ 51% “preponderance of evidence” is basically a mirror-image of the standard for indictment, why hasn’t Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall done anything to prosecute the SWAT officers who broke into Guerena’s home without sufficient warning, shot him, and denied paramedics access until after he was dead? The article says:
“The county attorney’s office later cleared the SWAT team officers of any wrongdoing.”
Notice it doesn’t say “a grand jury cleared the SWAT team.” Because if it had been put in front of a grand jury, whose indictment standards are similar to the culpability standards applied in civil cases, then there’s a good chance that someone involved would have been indicted. This should be plain-as-day in light of the fact that Pima County decided to settle rather than let the lawsuit go to trial. So why hasn’t the Pima County Attorney moved to indict anyone for anything?
Remember the LAPD shooting two completely innocent women in a pickup truck during the Chris Dornan manhunt days? Well, the city has decided to settle and pay them over $4 million:
“The women injured when Los Angeles police opened fire on them during the manhunt for ex-cop Christopher Dorner have reached a $4.2-million settlement with the city, sources told The Times.
Margie Carranza, 47, and her mother, Emma Hernandez, 71, were delivering newspapers in Torrance on Feb. 7 when LAPD officers shot repeatedly at their blue Toyota Tacoma. Hernandez was shot twice in the back, and Carranza was injured by broken glass, an attorney for the women said.”
As a commenter on the article asks, “So what became of the cops that shot up that neighborhood?????”
What became of those cops was that they didn’t get charged with anything, thanks to the conscious, deliberate, and very calculated decision by the Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey NOT to put those cops’ (and/or their superiors if they issued some kind of an unlawful see-something-shoot-something kind of order) actions in front of a grand jury. I mean, 4.2 million dollars, two injured people, and a pickup truck destroyed by bullets ought to be some kind of a signal that some serious criminal wrongdoing took place.
When this kind of thing happens – a wrongful police shooting with no prosecution whatsoever – the very dangerous precedent is set that innocent civilians in an American city can be fired on with less restraint than the US military is often required to use when conducting combat operations (battles) in war zones. I would know – I did three tours in Iraq where US Marines were required to give verbal warnings and other signals (hand signals or pyrotechnics) before firing upon “suspicious vehicles.” You couldn’t just shoot up a car because it matched the description; you had to give some kind of warning, an honest attempt to get the driver’s attention – even in an environment where suicide car bombs were a favorite tactic of an enemy that consisted of far more than one man.