This commentary is as much about the way our news media shirks its responsibilities and fails to ask serious questions affecting the public interest and safety and instead, takes things at face value when the police investigate their own people. This commentary is equally critical about law enforcement's use of excessive and deadly force and then tries to justify it. As in many cases, the evidence is incomplete and the citizen eye-witnesses, who are usually ignored, have a different account of the events than the police officials. And it is well known that virtually every police department finds justifiable excuses for bad cop conduct. And to make matters worse, Grand Juries fail to indict and trial juries almost always side with the cops. I have a great deal of respect for our law enforcement in Northern Kentucky. They are polite and courteous. But I am growing tired of hearing that so and so officer "followed procedures" or "felt threatened" when a cop shoots an unarmed civilian. But I am also growing tired of journalists taking their notes from police handouts and failing to view what facts are known and who seem reluctant to ask pointed questions. Case in point, a local 19-year old girl named Samantha Ramsey was shot to death by a Boone County Deputy Sheriff after leaving a field party shortly after 2 AM on April 26th in Hebron, Kentucky.
According to the newspaper and TV stories that reported the incident, and according to Tom Scheban, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department, Samatha Ramsey of Covington, KY failed an order to stop given by Deputy Tyler Brockman and instead, accelerated her 2001 Subaru and struck him with her car, knocked him up onto the hood of the car where the deputy then fired four shots through the windshield and killed Samantha Ramsey, the driver of the car. There were three other passengers in the car with Samantha Ramsey and one of them, 20-year old Chelsey Pendleton, of Ludlow, KY told a reporter from the Kentucky Enquirer that it did not happen that way. She said the deputy was on the side of the car and jumped up onto the hood before firing his weapon. Pendleton, who was a passenger in the back seat, said one of the bullets fired by the deputy almost struck her and imbedded itself in the back of her seat.
TV station WLWT posted the complete 46 minutes dashcam video on their YouTube web site channel. You can watch it here:
The last frame of the video that shows Deputy Tyler Brockman just before the shooting is time-stamped at 02:13:07. In this frame Deputy Brockman is standing several feet away from the driver's door of the 2001 Subaru with the driver Samatha Ramsey staring up at him through the side window. At that point the car was not moving. Deputy Brockman is also several feet back from the front of the Subaru and it appears to substantiate what the rear seat passenger said.
Following the shooting, which happened out of camera range, the next frame from the dash cam video in which Deputy Tyler Brockman appears is at 02:15:19, two minutes and twelve seconds later. He is seen walking into view pointing his weapon at various people who had escaped from the car. It was not stated by the police spokesman or inquired by the media what actions Deputy Brockman took in the immediate seconds after he fired into the car. If he checked on the condition of the driver or passengers it is unknown. It was stated by the police that Deputy Brockman radioed for assistance saying he was struck by a car and shots were fired. None of the TV stations or newspaper asked about this. The police said the car slowed then rolled backward into a ditch and the passengers got out on their own and made it across the road. They also mentioned the audio was not working on the dashcam.
But more interesting is that from the frame time-stamped 02:15:19 until the frame time stamped 02:19:14 when then second Sheriff's Deputy arrives on the scene, Deputy Tyler Brockman is seen walking around pointing his pistol at everyone, holstering his pistol, drawing his weapon again and still walking around but with not the slightest indication of a limp or any injury that would suggest he had been struck by an accelerating car with enough force to propel him over the hood as he alleged.
And if, as Deputy Brockman said, the Subaru was driving away from him, how did he get from his position by the side door to in front of the car where he says he was hit and propelled over the hood?
It is vitally important, in the name of public safety, for the news media to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions and to begin independently reviewing the facts and asking pointed questions and not taking the word of police spokesmen in cases of deadly excessive force. It is equally important for police shootings to be investigated by independent agencies not related to law enforcement. I would like to read about the medical treatment Deputy Brockman received that described his alleged injuries and whether or not they were consistent with being struck by a car or falling off of one. FOX19 TV reported: "Scheben said Ramsey hit the brakes, Brockman fell off the car and Ramsey backs into a ditch. She later died at St. Elizabeth in Florence. Brockman was treated for a leg injury at another hospital."
The web site for radio station WVXU posted the following police report on the incident:
On Saturday, April 26, 2014 at approximately 2:10 a.m. a Boone County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed the driver of a car from the hood of that car after the driver hit him and continued to accelerate.
Deputy Tyler Brockman, 28 of Boone County, Kentucky had stopped in the 6,600 block of KY-8 (River Road) to investigate a report of a field party. Brockman was out of his cruiser and ordered the driver of a car that was leaving the party and just starting out on River Road to stop. Instead, the driver accelerated hitting Brockman and causing him to land on the hood of the car. Brockman fired four (4) rounds through the windshield. The driver stopped and then backed up a short distance coming to rest in a ditch on the side of the road.
The driver, Samantha Ramsey, 19 of Covington, Kentucky was transported to Saint Elizabeth Hospital in Florence, Kentucky where she was pronounced. Brockman was taken to Saint Elizabeth Hospital in Edgewood, Kentucky where he was treated for a leg injury and released. Samantha Ramsey has no past record with the Boone County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Brockman, one of the department’s canine deputies, has served since June of 2010.
Sheriff Michael A. Helmig ordered a full investigation into the incident and placed Deputy Brockman on administrative leave as policy dictates.
The story is receiving worldwide coverage. The Daily Mail newspaper web site in Great Britain has extensive coverage with many photos no other paper has published.
My name is Nelson Abdullah and I am Oldironsides.
Update November 6, 2014
It was reported tonight that a Boone County Grand Jury, after hearing testimony and reviewing evidence, refused to indict Boone County Sheriff's Deputy Tyler Brockman in the shooting death of 19-year old Samantha Ramsey on April 26th this year.
Read More at: http://www.local12.com/template/cgi-bin/archived.pl?type=basic&file=/news/features/top-stories/stories/archive/2014/05/QPCXT3j1.xml#.VF2eeVdu2So
Update November 7, 2014
Cincinnati TV station WCPO has posted additional information on this shooting on their web site. Evidence in Brockman/Ramsey case released to public. The story broadcast on the stations 6 o'clock news contained photos of Deputy Brockman's injured foot.
The story as reported yesterday and today seems to differ from the original police version from last April. In the original police report it says "Instead, the driver accelerated hitting Brockman and causing him to land on the hood of the car." Now it says that Samantha Ramsey's car rolled over Deputy Brockman's foot. Quoting from Deputy Brockman's statement on the WKRC Local12 web site:
One minute Deputy Brockman is trying to get the driver's window down and then next he is in front of her car all while it is still moving. The obvious question is how does one get their foot run over if they are in front of a vehicle. Granted the toxicology report said that Samantha Ramsey had marijuana in her system and had a blood/alcohol level of .012, making her legally drunk and impaired. Shooting someone under those circumstances is not justified.Brockman said one car did stop for him, but another car didn't, it was the vehicle that Samantha ramsey was driving
"I think she's going to stop, like the first car,” said Brockman. “I shine my light… when she looked at me her eyes were glassy, watery, she looked back she starts to slow down, I’m trying to run up to the car put the window down... I’m telling her… I remember she looks at me, looks forward, takes off, and goes off camera… I was at the front of the car… I didn't want to get pinned. I jumped, landed right on the hood"
I suggest that anyone interested in this watch the dash cam video. Pay attention to the digital time stamp and in particular note that at 02:13:04 the front bumper of the Ramsey car is just at the white line on the edge of the road and at time stamp 02:13:07 the rear bumper has just crossed the same white line on the edge of the road. Given the length of the car at 15' 4" and the fact that a speed of 1 mile per hour is equal to 1.47 feet per second you can calculate that in the 3 seconds it took the Subaru to cross the white line when Deputy Brockman approached on the driver's side, the car was slowing to stop. The Suburu may have accelerated after it passed beyond the view of the dashcam video after Deputy Brockman approached it but he did not get in front of it. Several witnesses recalled that he leaped onto the hood and began shooting directly against the windshield. Deputy Brockman's foot may also have been run over after he leaped off the car but this was not reported.
Days after the shooting WKRC reporter Brad Underwood interviewed Ohio Attorney Al Gerhardstein. Attorney Gerhardstein said,
From the evidence and testimony reported, it appears that Deputy Brockman may well have create the danger that he experienced."When this is all over and you look at the quality of this investigation it better be impeccable, because the stakes are high and it's a tragic loss and law enforcement's gotta do it right."
Gerhardstein says in a case like this where you have a Deputy shooting and killing someone, the investigation must have integrity and be correct, no matter what it looks like.
"Look at the officers' conduct and say, alright. Did you do it the way you were trained? Did you follow the rules of the road? Did you create the danger that you then experienced? And if that's the case then the officer sometimes is in real trouble. I don't know if that's what happened here."
TV station WLWT has additional details.
Evidence in Brockman/Ramsey case released
Read More at: http://www.local12.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/evidence-brockmanramsey-case-released-public-20371.shtmlEvidence in Brockman/Ramsey case released
Read More at: http://www.local12.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/evidence-brockmanramsey-case-released-public-20371.shtml