Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Was lethal force justified?

Some Question Whether Deputy Was Justified In Shooting:
Some people have been leaving comments on my site asking if lethal force was justified in the police shooting of Christopher Penley. Maybe this article will answer some of those questions...

Mike Weippert received the Purple Heart after he was stabbed in the line of duty and needed more than 200 stitches on his face. Ten years later, Weippert is again being attacked, this time for his use of lethal force on a 15-year-old student.

"Twenty years on sheriff's office, 17 years on SWAT. It's a difficult situation for a lot of people," said Sheriff Don Eslinger.

The decorated SWAT member, who volunteered to talk with elementary and middle schools, isn't talking. But others are wondering out loud, why not a Taser instead of a gun?

"I understand the distance wasn't conducive to the utilization of a Taser and, plus, when I guess a firearm is pointed, a Taser is not necessarily the most appropriate means to deal with that," Sheriff Eslinger said.

Now I'm not a cop but think about it. Christopher Penley brandished an authentic looking gun. Before the standoff with police he had held another student hostage. Then when confronted by police he held the gun to his own head then raised it at police like he was going to fire. The police had no way of knowing if the gun was real or not even if Christopher Penley's father did get word to them. His dad can say it's a fake but there's no real way of knowing until the weapon is in police hands. And even if the distance was conducive to using a taser if an officer used a taser on an armed subject there's no way to guarantee the suspect wouldn't pull the trigger firing wildly.

It was an unfortunate and tragic incident but I think the police did the best job they could.


  1. I think some people just don't realize that it's just a reflex for cops. Somebody points a gun at you, you can only assume the worst. Then you nail the kid. Not much else you can do. I know I would.

  2. Guns are not the only tools at SWATs disposal

    I’m certainly not defending the boys actions.
    However, might I suggest some tear gas, stun grenades or a tazzer(there all the rage) next time SWAT is called to subdue a 15 year old child. Especially when no shots were fired and no one had been injured.
    How about letting the kids father try to talk to him?

    SWAT moved to fast in this case.
    I know you think I’m some kind of "Criminal apologist". I’m not.
    I’m also not so Ignorant as to think that every action of a COP is just and done with “protecting and serving” in mind.

    Let the name calling begin.

  3. He painted the gun to look like a real
    gun, he pointed it at a law enforcement
    officer with the intent to cause him to
    fire. Pure and simple case of suicide,
    and the fault lays solely with the
    deceased for the consequences of his
    own actions. If you don't want to be
    shot by police, don't point guns at them.

  4. I should add that it's unfortunate a
    few more school shootings didn't end
    quicker with the Swat team shooting the
    shooters. Columbine's body count might
    have been lower if Swat would have put
    Dylan and Eric down with some accurate

  5. The police used extreme force. It's completely unacceptable. The Rebel was moving the gun in all directions, very fast. He didn't once point, steady, stance and aim it. He was just swinging it around. And everyone knows you can't kill someone like that, if you're moving it around, at the sky, and whatever. No shots were fired by the young Rebel, he didn't even hurt anyone.

    That cop is a coward. He was attacked earlier in his life. And ever since that he has become paranoid, and scared. Like a girl after she gets raped. Afraid of everything and everyone. The police had been told earlier that it wasn't even a real gun. They didn't even mention that on T.V.

    The police kill another innocent person :evil:

  6. "He was just swinging it around. And everyone knows you can’t kill someone like that,..." You most certainly can, and are even MORE likely to kill someone that way.

    "No shots were fired by the "young Rebel", he didn’t even hurt anyone." What, a cop is supposed to let a dangerous person shoot him first? That idiot applied lethal force first, by waving a lethal weapon (as far as anyone knew) around in a threatening manner. To avoid dying himself, or someone else being shot, the cop did what ANY responsible person should do. He ended the threat as quickly and as effectively as possible. With a hundredth of a second to make his decision, the cop did what his training and his instincts directed him to do. And given the facts, as I've heard them here, the cop made the only choice left to him by the kid: kill or be killed.

    Actually this kind of behavior (by the kid) is more common than you'd think. It is called "suicide by cop" It is when a suicidal individual who lacks the guts to do the deed himself threatens a police officer with deadly force, thus forcing the cop to kill him.

    "The police kill another innocent person" There is no way, with any twisting of words, you could ever claim that kid was an "innocent person".

  7. Rogue...if I use your thought process...I come up with this. Another set of parents raised a cheesedick of a child,forcing the police to do their job and thus bringing great trauma to the officer that has to live
    with this. What the hell is wrong with you? Leave it alone. You have grieving families on both sides othe this.And trust me here...that officer didn't pull the trigger because he wanted to. He had to.I think it's enough that he will be second guessing himself everyday for the rest of his life....for doing the RIGHT thing.Oh...one more tiny little thing you must not be aware of. COPS ARE PEOPLE,TOO. Now shut up and go to your room.

  8. I think Christophers' death, his families loss, as well as the shooting officers feelings of after math is an absolute tragic!

    This young man made a wrong call. He was only fifteen, but he knew better.
    I'm sure at age fifteen he's watched lots of criminal shows with similar situations/outcomes.
    I know some police officers have been known to be "trigger" happy, but it has not been mentioned, (that i'm aware of) this officer having a past history of shooting/killing in the past. I think it was a tough call for him to pull that trigger. (No, I was not there)...He did his job, protected and served our community, as well as himself. I'm sure the shooting officer will have these haunting images for the rest of his life...Who knew the gun wasn't real?What if the gun had been real, and the officer had not of fired? Christopher could have shot and killed a fellow student. How do you explain that to their parents? We send our children to school, in hopes that they will be "safe". Christopher made a bad judgement call when he decided to take his gun to school. Had he of left the gun at home, this would have never happened.

    With all the violence today, one can never be too careful...
    I can only hope that this incident will make an impact on other children so that this terrible, tragic, outcome will not repeat itself.

  9. Rogue is obviously a fucktard. Plenty of people have been killed by someone wildly waving a gun.

  10. I am an ex-cop.I was lauded as one of the most community-minded and easy going cops on the street of a very tough city. I am also a person who can speak for the Character of Lt. Weippert, as I know him. Many of you bring the obvious to the table, and that is, regardless of what crybaby kids and liberal minds want to think, cops ARE in charge in an incident and ---until they can hash out the details, time stops.There truly needs to be a return to common sense that dictates that there are others more qualified to make the decisions than oneself. If you haven't been privy to the hardships of law enforcement, it is best to keep your ignorance under the lid. Quit the armchair quarterbacking of authorities who want to help you. A threat is a threat, and no... this was not random pistol waving- this was a threat that a veteran cop read as a deadly threat and took measures to end the continuation of that threat.Research before cop-bashing usually prevents looking like an idiot, if it is backed by an understanding of law and how and why cops are trained to do what they do. Previously, Weippert was attacked by a subject he was attempting to apprehend during a foot chase. this person nearly removed Weippert's face with a knife. Weippert's handgun was out and ready to encounter the threat, but he was surprised (at night in a wooded area in seminole county, fla). as he heard the suspect flee, he could have shot AT him if he were "hot-headed".(this is attempted murder on an LEO, if your gonna try to kill a cop, you will kill anyone to get away) Instead Weippert calimed he was in pain and not sure of his target and refused to shoot in the direction of the "close, but fleeing" suspect.If this doesn't illustrate resraint, I am not sure what does. Weippert is a really nice guy in and out of uniform, has a family and a son that is not far from the same age as Penley. It is killing him inside his head that the kid forced his hand, but bear in mind, the kid was thinking only of himself, and the adult was thinking of everyone else. People often forget that if the cop gets hit, others most likely will be hurt, and we cops have a hard time dealing with that failure.
    As far as Tasers... you have heard the knife to a gun fight analogy? Officers must keep one level of force above the threat in order to keep control if the situation escalates.
    It is a sad situation. I am sorry Penley chose this route. My heart goes to his loved ones and the to Lt.Weippert and his troubled family. God bless you all
    P.S. Rogue... they found out the gun was a pellet gun 45 seconds After the kid was shot. His dad was not telling cops otherwise AFTER the kid was shot all this info came to light.. your vocal ignorance is humorous.

  11. Speaking of common sense, whatever happened to the very good, age old advice to never play with guns? And certainly never point a gun at anyone unless you plan to use it--especially if the one you point the gun at also has a gun. Bad things tend to happen when you don't follow the rules.

  12. Arrow is 100% correct.The man was doing his job.The kid put himself in that position.It's not like the cop picked some random kid to shoot.What if that gun was real?The cop can't sit there and think hmm,should I wait till he fires it before I shoot?Think about it.And give the police some slack.They do their god damn jobs.

  13. Yup, thank you, Arrow. If only the trolls would listen to sense. :mrgreen:

  14. It's clear and simple enough that those
    that start the 'the cops murdered another
    innocent person' mantra are simply
    immature, angst ridden children who are
    really just expressing their 'I hate
    all cops, and all authority for that
    matter' emotions. They're clowns, and
    deserve to be ignored as such.

  15. The cop assassinated Chris; that was his intent all along;
    he is probably very proud of himself and his actions; after all he got shoot another person in the head; second time for this cop; he should be forced to watch video of Chris's funeral, over and over. Do you wonder why there is no word from this cop? Because he is thrilled by his actions and his boss doesn't want him to make a statement.

  16. trench; say what you will; insult me all you want; #15 does not describe me; it only servers your goals. I am entitled to my opinion; I do not hate cops and think they do a good job, most of the time. They did not do a good job at Columbine and he failed here. There were other options; and until I read or hear a statement from the cop, I will believe he enjoyed the shooting and is glad the kid is dead.

  17. And if you think all cops are good guys, read this:

  18. Did the cop put the gun in Penley's hand? No he didn't. If Penley didn't have the gun the cop would have never shot him.

    And like a site with that name isn't going to be biased.

    Loosen the tin foil hat kid.

  19. I also worked for an agency that was full of corruption bobby.There are bad cops. Duh. Take another hit dude. Get real. If you wanna sit and troll fine, but damn, have an arguement. As for your really educated comments on the character of Lt. Weippert, I can tell you this. You, unlike me, are not qualified to make a judgement call on that subject. That's like me calling you a pederast (look it up). I don't know you So I do the right thing and keep my ignorant mouth shut. This is a neat tip to keep my arguement legit. Try it!

  20. You infer that I am a child molester? Why? I am nothing of the sort
    I am done here; you seem to have no compassion. I am in the wrong place
    I agree that I don't know the cop, and don't know his personality

  21. I guess I'm just amazed that no one seems saddened by the death of Chris.
    That is what bothers me. Have we become so indifferent as a sociey?

  22. Bob, Your last comments are not pertaining to the original the issue.... Neither you being a molester or Chris getting shot. I think you need to understand what is written prior to commenting.--- I said making claims about someones character is like me calling you a pederast. I don't know you, so I don't comment on your character.--- Your comments about assassination and Lt. Weippert being very proud at having killed Penley do not lend creedence to your "where's the love" change of attitude. Re-read the entire post, and tell me about your golden heart. Individual cops do not make statements after officer involved shootings, it is the responsibility of the agency. The reason this officer has had to use deadly force twice is that he is on the CRT or SWAT team. They are those individuals who go to really bad stuff like people who have killed others... like the first guy who had already killed a woman and was threatening to kill another officerwhen Lt. Weippert (in accordance with all laws and policies) shot the man. There is more to bothof the stories, but I am sure you don't want facts to cloud your judgement. As far as saddened by the death of Penley... read #11 again.

  23. I don't know about being "glad the kid is dead", but as a parent, I can assure you that I am "glad" that the police acted as quickly as they did. I have a 15 year old daughter. And while I am aware that teens brains aren't fully functional, she knows not to bring a "gun" to school, and certainly not to aim it at anyone. Frankly, my 3 year old knows this. If this wasn't "suicide by cop", then why make sure the plastic at the end of the barrel was painted black? I don't know what is wrong with children, why they do the seemingly horrendous things they do, but I am forever grateful that the officers involved were there, and did their job. I am extremely saddened for this young man's family. My heart goes out to them. But the police didn't go looking for their son...........he went *screaming* for them.

  24. Sorry Soobs, your comment tripped the spam filter for some reason but I recovered it.

  25. ACK! :lol: Sorry Trench, but thanks for lifting me out of the Spam gutter.

  26. Wow. "Bob" has decided to slander a cop he doesn't know anything about. Making up emotions and actions that aren't even hinted at any where by any one.

    Well, guess what? We are left with the same choice. Let's see if we can figure this out.

    Bob hates cops. Bob was extremely defensive about a pedophile comment. Obviously Bob hates cops because of his prior arrest for criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Those cops just won't leave you alone, just because you like little boys.

    Bob, if you don't want the cops to hassle you anymore, quit hanging out at the elementary schools with your pants around your ankles! It isn't the cops' fault that you're a pervert!

  27. You are an idiot on so many levels it's mind boggling, CaptainDan. Bob may be myopic in his views, but that doesn't make him a pervert. Hell, anyone would be defensive about being called a child molester, given what it means.

    Do I believe that the LEO was justified in his decision to shoot Christopher Penley. Yes. Am I saddened that Chris Penley essentially commited suicide, and that no one saw the pain that must have driven this young man to act as he did before it was too late? Absolutely.

  28. Let's be clear... I didn't call him a child molester, or otherwise slander his character, I was illustrating a point in the maturity of keeping judgement to facts alone.Iwas refraining from casting aspersions and name calling even though I vehemently disagreed with Bob's insensitive banter

  29. Oh, come on. I never said ANYONE called Bob a child molester. I said he got defensive about the mere mention of the term!

    Anyways you two missed the point of my post. I merely pointed out, to Bob, what it would be like if someone slandered HIM using the same total lack of information, as he did towards officer Weippert.

    Bob had absolutely no justification for slandering the officer. I did have two points (admittedly twisted and leading) which backed up my "speculation".

    My post is what is called "sarcastic" (look it up, Morpheus, we'll wait). I thought it would be obvious, but apparently not.


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