PHOENIX (CN) – A homeowner says a Phoenix police officer shot him six times in the back during a 911 home-invasion call, and the 911 tape recorded the officer’s partner saying, “That’s all right. Don’t worry about it. I got your back. … We clear?” The family says the officers were not aware that the 911 call was still recording as they spoke about covering up the shooting.
In their complaint in Maricopa County Court, Anthony and Lesley Arambula say an armed intruder “crashed through the front window” of their home on Sept. 17, 2008 and ran into one of their son’s bedrooms.
Anthony, worried about his son who was still in his bedroom, says he “held the intruder calmly at gunpoint” and called 911.
Phoenix Police officers already in the neighborhood heard the crash of the Arambulas’ window. When they approached the house, Lesley says, she told Sgt. Sean Coutts that her husband was inside holding the intruder at gunpoint. Lesley says Coutts failed to pass on that information to the two other officers.
Inside the house, the Arambulas say, Officer Brian Lilly shot Anthony six times in the back while he was still on the phone with the 911 operator – twice when he was on the ground.
The officers ran into the bedroom after Anthony told them, “You just killed … you just killed the homeowner. The bad guy is in there.”
The complaint states that Officer Lilly “admitted that it was only after Tony was laying, bullet-ridden, on the ground that he assessed the situation. The 911 tape continued to record what happened even after Officer Lilly unloaded his weapon into Tony, including Officer Lilly’s post-shooting, one-word ‘assessment’: ‘Fuck.’
Mikheil Saakashvili’s decision to use the opening of the Olympic Games to cover Georgia’s invasion of its breakaway province of South Ossetia must rank in stupidity with Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s decision to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships.
Nasser’s blunder cost him the Sinai in the Six-Day War. Saakashvili’s blunder probably means permanent loss of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
After shelling and attacking what he claims is his own country, killing scores of his own Ossetian citizens and sending tens of thousands fleeing into Russia, Saakashvili’s army was whipped back into Georgia in 48 hours.
Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to kick the Georgian army out of Abkhazia, as well, to bomb Tbilisi and to seize Gori, birthplace of Stalin.
Reveling in his status as an intimate of George Bush, Dick Cheney and John McCain, and America’s lone democratic ally in the Caucasus, Saakashvili thought he could get away with a lightning coup and present the world with a fait accompli.
Troy Molde awoke at 3 a.m. Thursday to police flashlights shining in his face. Two uniformed Lakeville officers were in his bedroom, knocking on the wall to wake him up.They were there, they said, to warn him to keep his doors closed and locked.
Their surprise visit was part of a public service campaign. Officers had fanned out across the city, leaving notices on doors to remind residents how to prevent thefts by keeping garage doors closed, not leaving valuables in cars and locking windows or doors.
But at Molde’s house, they went further. His two sons, ages 5 and 7, and 5-year-old twin nephews were having a sleepover in the living room. They awoke to find the officers in the house.
“I was violated, but … I wasn’t physically damaged,” Molde said of what he considers an invasion of privacy.
The officers told Molde his garage door was open, the TV was on, keys to his truck were left in the ignition and the door to his house was ajar.
Police said the intrusion was justified because the officers’ initial door knocks went unanswered. Police went inside to check if anything was wrong, Sgt. Jim Puncochar said.
He said the kids were afraid to wake their dad, so the officers went upstairs.
“It really was suspicious,” Puncochar said. But Molde, 34, said he went upstairs to bed at midnight. Molde didn’t shut the garage door, and he remembers leaving the doors to his house closed — but unlocked.
The kids fell asleep watching TV. Three hours later, he had police in his bedroom. He immediately thought something was wrong. “I was just dazed,” said the 34-year-old dad.
“It’s not a safe way of (police) protection.”
An invasion of privacy? I’d say so. I’m curious as to if the door was left ajar in the first place, especially since the owner said he left the door to his house closed. I’m also interested if the police even knocked at all. My suggestion is that the town of Lakeview rethink this “program” before someone gets injured. Neighborhood inspections like this one have the capacity to escalate quickly and violently if a homeowner hears an intruder, feels threatened and grabs a weapon for protection–a baseball bat, a lead pipe, or a gun. I also fear that if this program continues, more doors may be left “ajar” as a means of excusing a warrantless search.