NEW YORK, December 31, 2013 – Today, after months of “utter” silence by government officials as well as an exhaustive review of all publicly available data, the Carey family has concluded the shooting of Miriam I. Carey was “NOT JUSTIFIED.” While the United States Department of Justice continues with its criminal and civil rights investigation, the Carey family calls for immediate identification and termination of all officers involved in this matter including the officers who discharged their service weapons, as well the supervisors who failed to properly supervise these officers.
“While, we understand police shootings must be carefully investigated because of their social and political ramifications, by now, there should have been a preliminary analysis released in the public venue. After several months, quite frankly, by now, the ‘Use of Force’ policies, particularly related to discharging service weapons towards moving vehicles as implemented by the United States Secret Service – Uniformed Division and the United States Capitol Police should have been released in the public venue. These public disclosures are absolutely necessary because Miriam’s death unfolded right before the international community via live television.” says Eric Sanders.
Based upon the facts and the law many troubling questions remain. But, the main question is: Were the federal law enforcement officials’ discharge(s) of their service weapons leading to Miriam’s death “justified?”
Unfortunately, the facts and circumstances surrounding Miriam’s death have not been vigorously challenged by the media or public. More disappointingly, neither President Barack Obama nor the entire United States Congress has even uttered a public word about this American tragedy. Now that we have the sworn affidavit filed in this case by the Metropolitan Police Department in federal court, we are more confident than ever these police officers’ completely mishandled this simple “street encounter” and one or more of them should be criminally prosecuted for violating Miriam’s civil rights.
First, basic common sense tells you that this matter was completely mishandled. Quite frankly properly trained professional law enforcement persons such as Valarie Carey and I both retired NYPD will tell you moving vehicles are not defined as “deadly weapons” under department Use of Force guidelines. This decision is based upon a whole host of scientific and philosophical reasons. Quite frankly, just about every major police agency in the United States including the District of Columbia “strictly prohibits discharging service weapons towards moving vehicles” unless the person operating the moving vehicle is using “deadly physical force by means other than a moving vehicle.” See, the burden is on the United States Secret Service – Uniformed Division (USSSUD), the United States Capitol Police (USCP) or any other law enforcement agency involved to justify their use of force against Miriam. If the government’s legal argument is, they were protecting the United States Capitol, White House or any other “high value target (property),” well, you know the result the actions are NOT JUSTIFIED. Remember, police use of force guidelines consistently value life over property.
Secondly, from a law enforcement point of view, Miriam’s case is not very “complex.” These officers completely mishandled at best, a simple “suspicious vehicle” car stop, such car stops are handled professionally by police officers all over the world every day without incident including other cities with so-called “high value targets.” Using the term “high value target” is nothing other than an emotionally charged red herring to distract the public from demanding relevant answers from government officials who obviously violated Miriam’s civil rights under the guise of protecting the Nation’s capital from “Terrorism.” I sarcastically call it the new civil rights Qualified Immunity defense. To suggest somehow in the District of Columbia there should a different legal standard is intellectually disingenuous.
Thirdly, the Department of Homeland Security, established with the passage of Public Law 107-296, which in part, transferred the United States Secret Service from the Department of the Treasury, to the new department effective March 1, 2003.
Under the old guidelines, while part of the United States Treasury, the United States Secret Service discharge of their service weapons would NOT be justified… Read the old regulations.
Although I have not reviewed the current guidelines under the Department of Homeland Security, I am quite confident the result would be the same, NOT justified. http://www.treasury.gov/about/role-of-treasury/orders-directives/Pages/to105-12.aspx
With respect to the sworn affidavit filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the affiant sought to obtain a Search Warrant for Miriam’s person, places and things. The affiant clearly says on Page 1 “A USSS-UD (meaning United States Secret Service Uniformed Division) officer attempted to block the vehicle with a bicycle rack, however, the vehicle pushed over the bicycle rack, knocking the officer to the ground.” It is important to note, Miriam’s actions occurred after she allegedly “refused to stop” at the vehicle checkpoint and made a U-turn and allegedly began to “flee.” There were no laws violated as Miriam was under no legal obligation to enter the checkpoint, turning around and leaving is not violative of any laws. The question is: Why did the police pursue Miriam? On the surface, the sworn facts are internally inconsistent. Further, there is NO MENTION Miriam struck any officers either.
Over two and one-half months ago, Miriam, an innocent unarmed African-American United States Citizen traveling with her minor child was killed right in front of the international community in the Nation’s capital. The facts and circumstances surrounding the police use of force still shrouded in secrecy. As civilized law abiding people, if we do not see a problem with that, we as a country are in very serious trouble.
Last month after having a brief conversation with a United States Department of Justice Attorney, they assured me the investigation into Miriam’s death is on-going. Unfortunately, that is not enough. The United States Congress using its legislative powers must investigate Miriam’s death. It is in the public’s interest to ensure our government acted responsibly not only from a criminal or a civil perspective but, from an internal agency perspective. It is also in the public’s interest avoid a similar tragedy in the future.
The framers of the United States Constitution through the Bill of Rights ensured our basic natural rights codified as human rights, would forever be so important. Somehow, the Bill of Rights did not apply to Miriam. Miriam’s did not seem to be so important. Thus far, Miriam’s death is being treated as simple “collateral damage” in the government’s zeal to protect itself from “Terrorism.” We need to change that because personal legacies are not more important than human life. The framers of the United States Constitution fought for, died for and demanded it. We should expect no different in today’s society either.