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Yesterday, Wed. 4/12/06, Hilo, Hawaii, a 24 yr. old, convict leaving a courthouse where his probation was revoked (sentencing him to 10 yrs.), is greeted/handshake by a friend before entering a Corrections van to be transported to jail. While at a stoplight, the con is relieved of his cuffs, supposedly with a handcuff key that was passed to him in the handshake. He is able to exit the vehicle, is thrown to the ground by a Corrections Officer, where he rolls under the van to the opposite side, rises and starts to run. The Corrections Officer draws his piece and shoot him in the back of the head. Convict dies. Officer is now on paid leave, awaiting investigation.

BTW, another officer (personal friend) claims it is part of their training to fire upon fleeing con, as they do not know at that point if the con has a firearm or not, which is possible as, if he was passed a key, he could of easily been passed a small handgun/knife, etc.

I will post more information as it becomes available.
 

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Apparently this guy has never heard of Tennessee v. Garner; which held that shooting a fleeing felon was unconstitutional, and that officers could only shoot if they felt an immediate danger to themselves or the community. I doubt one can argue he was a risk, simply because he was a convict. The article never mentions a weapon. I don’t see this turning out good for the correctional officer.
 

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Here in Maine at the State Prison the guards can fire on an escaped/escaping inmate after a verbal command. It is the only jail/prison in the state where the guards can do so. Once the inmate is in the custody of the MSP guards he can be shot if escaping. I think this has to do with the status of part of the prison as "Super Maximum Security".

Also in the event of an escape, State Prison guards have the power of deputy Sherriffs in all counties to effect the capture of the escapee.

This is Maine State law, but I am sure there are similarities between states as the ACA has standardized many of the practices in corrections.

I don't know about Hawaii law, but I'd say the guard did the right thing.
 

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It will be interesting to see how this goes. I guess a lot of future escapees will be watching with interest also. :icon_neutral:
 

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I suppose "danger to the community" could be defined by his past. If he's in for theft, probably not. If he has a long history of assault/robbery/rape, maybe. Let us know how it goes if you would.
 

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I hope it goes well, but guessing how Hawaii treats guns (3.5 year stint there in the Marines) I'm thinking it won't.
 

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srfl <--------- waiting to hear the outcome of this one for the CO.
 

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TN and CA both allow 1 fire-to-warn, followed by fire-for-effect, at prisoners going over the wire. During transport, it depends on the surroundings and officer judgement(no warning shots). He should not be found at fault, as it sounds like he was acting w/in pretty standard guidelines.

Keep us posted.
 

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Likewise - interested to hear future developments.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Update: from the Hawaii Tribune Herald (local Hilo newspaper)

Police spokewoman Chris "Loos said she had not heard anything about a newspaper report regarding the possibility of a key being found in the floor of the van. Such a key, if true, would be a focal point in the investigation because some witnesses stated that Leialoha had no restraints on him.

Department of Public Safety Frank Lopez said previously that standard inmate transportation procedure calls for a waist chain, handcuffs, and leg irons. Lopez also said the situation is more complex than the intention to shoot at one particular area of the body and that his agency does not train to shoot in the head or other extremeties. Rather, he said, the officers are trained to shoot at the center of the body mass to increase the chances of a successful shot. The officer who shot Leialoha has been placed on paid administrative leave."

I will post updates as they become available.


Wes.
 

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BCurry1 said:
Apparently this guy has never heard of Tennessee v. Garner; which held that shooting a fleeing felon was unconstitutional, and that officers could only shoot if they felt an immediate danger to themselves or the community. I doubt one can argue he was a risk, simply because he was a convict. The article never mentions a weapon. I don’t see this turning out good for the correctional officer.

Check your case law. In Florida COs are not bound by that rule,,,HE IS A CORRECTION OFFICER not bound by that case law. Nice job CO
 

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Another comment to note is that the subject is a danger to society and a convicted one at committing a forcible felony,escaping,resiting an officer with violence. A weapon- Those hand cuffs hurt if you get hit by them. That right there shows a threat to society and the public around him, Again nice job for the CO. Hell be just fine.
 

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I would think that they could shoot an escapee otherwise what keeps them from running. Any chance they get just run. If they can't shoot at you your free. It has always been the threat of being shot that kept them inside the fence. What good were the armed guard towers of the past?
 

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Different for a fleeing suspect and fleeing/ escaping/ resisting convict.

ROE varies from state to state and even institutions within the state, but generally shooting an escaping convict is acceptable... usually after a verbal warning, and sometimes warning shots... again dependant on the ROE.


BCurry1 said:
Apparently this guy has never heard of Tennessee v. Garner; which held that shooting a fleeing felon was unconstitutional, and that officers could only shoot if they felt an immediate danger to themselves or the community. I doubt one can argue he was a risk, simply because he was a convict. The article never mentions a weapon. I don’t see this turning out good for the correctional officer.
 

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tanksoldier said:
Different for a fleeing suspect and fleeing/ escaping/ resisting convict.
A suspect is considered innocent until proven guilty, a convict/prisoner was already proven guilty, so should be fair game.
 
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