Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Officers shoot DWI suspect following police chase

Police officers do not often open fire in the line of duty. When they do, people pay attention. A 48-year-old West Baton Rouge man died last month following a police chase which ended in a confrontation with firearms. The police involved in the incident were recently vindicated by a West Baton Rouge grand jury, who said the officers had acted properly when they shot and killed the man.

The incident began when Baton Rouge Police attempted to pull the man over for suspected DWI. Instead of stopping, the man evaded police, driving to West Baton Rouge Parish on the Old Mississippi River Bridge and turning south on Highway 190. Once at that location, the man pulled his vehicle to the side of the road and emerged for a firearm confrontation.

A dashboard camera shows that the man exited his vehicle holding a revolver and pointing it at police. Police gave several verbal commands for the man to drop his weapon. When he ignored the commands, officers opened fire upon him and killed him.

According to Baton Rouge Police chief Dewayne White, the officers acted with restraint in the incident and would have been justified in shooting the man sooner than they did, since he aimed the weapon at officer before even beginning to aim for a target. White also said the dashboard cam provides "clear and convincing evidence" that police acted with the utmost restraint given the situation.

The officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave, but are back to work following a determination by the State Police that their actions were justified.

Authorities said the man had three previous DWI convictions.

Source: WAFB, "Grand jury declines to charge officers in shooting," Sep 29, 2011.

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