TN Cops Won’t Face Charges in Road Rage Gun Incident

“Brock Estep, 31, of Knoxville, alleged that two men in a Toyota Avalon attempted to cut him off in traffic as they pulled out of the Waffle House parking lot at the corner of Weisgarber Road and Papermill Drive on Dec. 15. They flipped him off with their middle fingers, Estep returned the gesture, and soon enough all three men had exited their vehicles, according to Estep. The Toyota’s passenger drew a handgun on him and, when Estep threatened to call the police, the two men said they were the police, Estep alleged.”

What’s wrong with this picture? OK, when you heard they were cops, you figured they’d have been coming out of a donut shop instead of a Waffle House, right? But this incident differs from your typical road rage incident in another important way: as knoxnews.com reports, the Oak Ridge, Tennessee flatfoots who drew on Estep won’t face any charges for drawing on Estep.

After reviewing the findings of KPD’s criminal probe, no charges will be filed against the pair, John Gill, special counsel to Knox County District Attorney Randy Nichols, said this week.

“We determined they acted reasonably,” Gill said.

Oak Ridge Police Chief James T. Akagi said this week that he’s awaiting written confirmation of the DA’s decision before Oak Ridge police investigators conduct their own internal investigation.

Granted, we don’t know what Estep actually did. Getting out of his car to face two angry guys jumping out of theirs probably wasn’t the smartest move he ever made. Maybe he made a move at the cops causing them to draw. The question is, why were the cops so stupid as to get out of their car just because they’d been flipped off?

But it seems that, in too many jurisdictions, the police are just like you and me, only better. Yes, they have a tough, dangerous job and we’re glad they’re out there doing it. But when they abuse their power – like drawing a gun, possibly in anger to intimidate another driver, in an off-duty incident – they need to be held to the same standards as the citizens who pay their salaries with their hard-earned tax dollars.

Getting a pass only erodes their public image and diminishes any respect they get from those they serve and protect.

comments

  1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

    “Getting a pass only erodes their public image and diminishes any respect they get from those they serve and protect.”
    —–
    This. A thousand times.

    1. avatar Todd AF Vet says:

      +1

  2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

    Shooting the bird is not an actionable offense as far as I know. Maybe Estep did something threatening after leaving the car, but the cops should not have been in the situation in the first place. They ought to be smarter than that – that’s what they are paid to be.

    Cops who lack the self-discipline to ignore a guy who shoots you the bird need to be fired. Police Chiefs who refuse to come down on cops like this need to be fired.

    1. avatar Dlw says:

      As a police officer I agree one hundred percent. If your manhood can’t handle the occasional middle finger, you have no business in the business.

  3. avatar Mikeb302000 says:

    Estep is just like a lot of you guys. You don’t back down, ever. When confronted with wrongdoing, you cannot back down.

    The two cops should lose their gun rights, just like any other gun owner who does that. That should be the minimum punishment, there might be more depending on a number of factors that a judge would have to review. You know me, I hate to read into it too much.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      “Estep is just like a lot of you guys. You don’t back down, ever. When confronted with wrongdoing, you cannot back down.”

      Mike, you are so full of shit your eyes are brown.

      Do you actually read the same blog I do? How many articles and comments do you see on here that specifically recommend avoiding the fight whenever possible? Most of them. The recent thread where (for about seventh time in the 6 months I’ve been reading this blog) the vast majority of posters said they actively avoid conflict and get in fewer arguments now than before I carried. We are not the bloodthirsty savages you seem to need us to be to further your agenda.

      Your schtick is getting old. In the past few months I’ve watched your posts go from thought-provoking (if disagreeable to me) to something worse. More and more lately your posts are openly derisive, and almost rude. Are you getting nervous because the tide is turning?

      I know you’ll probably use the recent “should we let Mike stay” thread as a shield, but it’s tissue thin, and I’m prepping the water hose.

      1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

        Thou shalt not feed the trolls.

        1. avatar Ropingdown says:

          He’s not a troll, he’s a feature to get everyone’s blood up. laugh. His disrespect for the cops’ right to a trial before being denied gun rights should draw punishment, though. “No Gelato for you, Mikey.” Is Mikey writing from a PC in prison ? Writes as if he’s been frequently, uh, ‘attacked.’

      2. avatar IdahoPete says:

        “Are you getting nervous because the tide is turning?”

        That would be a “yes, he is”. Plus, we are hurting his feelings.

        And by the way, mikeb, your use of the phrase “Estep is just like a lot of you guys” constitutes the stereotyping of individuals as being only members of a disliked class. That is tantamount to racism. Are you a bigot? I am shocked and appalled!

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      Once again Mike substitutes his opinion for facts.

    3. avatar ready, fire,aim says:

      IF YOU DON’T RESPOND TO HIM HE WILL EVENTUALY GO AWAY !!!

      1. avatar Chris says:

        With full credit due to Cracked Forum Member j21, I offer the following…

        http://i244.photobucket.com/albums/gg16/jyrki21/J21/santorum-troll.jpg

    4. avatar Silver says:

      Wait a minute, isn’t this moron the guy who says that ONLY cops should have guns? That only they are responsible enough?

      Caught in a contradictory lie yet again, mikey. Some days you make it too easy. You sure you’re not a pro-gun rights guy in disguise, just trying tot make us look good by having our opponents look so mind-numbingly stupid?

      1. avatar mikeb302000 says:

        No Silver, I never said that and I’ve corrected you on that account before too. That makes you not only a liar, but a tired and repetitious one.

        I repeat, cops and civilian gun owners should be better screened and better qualified. Does that sound familiar to you, Silver? Have you heard me say that before, maybe?

        To some of the other guys who seem to think I’m suggesting immediate and summary loss of gun rights, I’m not. I would like it to go through all the proper channels and due process involved in any other judicial undertaking. But after satisfying the reasonable requirements of due process, I say gun offenders lose their gun rights. No more fucking around with misdemeanor plea bargaining in order to keep the guns, one strike you’re out, says I.

        1. avatar battlewagon says:

          cops are civilians too.

    5. avatar mikeyt95608 says:

      MikeyB, for a while there I was convinced that your mother had taken away your computer. It’s good to see that you have once again found yourself in the good graces of electronics.
      As for the broad statements and insults…
      You really need to find some validation that supports your childish opinion. Not just some emotional plea that grasps at relevance, but actual fact. Until then, you are a troll. Nothing better.
      Come to think of it, that does just about sum you up. All wind, no words.
      Keep wetting the bed, troll.

      1. avatar Taurus609 says:

        Mikeb, considers himself a master debater!

        1. avatar mikeyt95608 says:

          +1
          We see that there are just too many consonants in that statement…

    6. avatar Ropingdown says:

      Who’s the hothead, Mikey? The cops shouldn’t lose their gun rights. They haven’t been convicted of anything. What they should experience is being taken to trial on charges of either aggravated assault (if they aimed at Estep) or the local version of a Brandishing statute. If the facts known to the Chief included that Estep drew a gun… you would know. They would say it. Estep also would probably have actually been shot under such facts. It was unlikely there were indicia supporting a need for lethal force as it was two cops against one Estep. (I’ve never seen more sub-machine guns on cops than in Rome and its airport. Still true?)

    7. avatar Totenglocke says:

      “That should be the minimum punishment”

      For a more severe punishment, the judge could order them to read MikeB’s blog and other inane rants.

  4. avatar ROger.45 says:

    “Estep is just like a lot of you guys. You don’t back down, ever. When confronted with wrongdoing, you cannot back down.”

    Most of, “you guys”, know the first rule in confrontation is to avoid the situation. Getting flipped-off is no big deal.

    “It is much easier to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble.” Estep needs to grow some thick skin and develop a short memory… that helps one go through life a bit easier.

    As for the police officers, they were wrong and should be reprimanded.

  5. avatar JP in Tennessee says:

    Not punishing these cops sets a very poor example.

  6. avatar Chris says:

    Those bestowed with public trust should be held to a higher standard. Doctors, clergy and police should all suff greater scrutiny and consequences for their actions.

    1. avatar Chris says:

      There can’t be two of us. I’m changing my handle.

      1. avatar NR says:

        I suggest a shootout. Tomorrow at noon. Somewhere where there are tumbleweeds.

        1. avatar Bob H says:

          and Nerf™ guns…

        2. avatar David says:

          August 4, 2009 Guess what:There’s just NO selivr lining in all such things as these sterotypes – a lot of people breed on these for purposes of racial discrimination, crab mentality, frame-ups, racial profiling/ripping-offs, etc. – you name it – to the point of no return (could you imagine getting to that point?)In some countries (the United States as a major example) there is this called hate crimes – criminalities (whatever it is – murder, assault, foul play, etc.) founded on bias/hatred bullshit due to stereotypes or whatnot. Because they hate a particular group such people perpetrate crimes that sends a powerful message (smacked to your face if you belong to that group in which the victim belongs) from that alone – the victim getting a “taste of his own medicine” from the hands of the ruffians. It’s a very deep message that has a very drastic (to the point that is unimaginable) effects. Why? to find out (the “Psychological Effects” section is the important part)Frankly the Americans (possibly to include Canadians) are big-time racists.About the #8 in the list I could have wished that something else must be done there (too bad that the original has been deleted but that what you have – and the original URL where it originally was) can serve to be a good evidence (this usually require investigative autopsy to track down the culprit and be able to report it to the right authorities). Why? As a Filipino myself I think we cannot stand being compromised (to the point of no return – a few miles we just might get there) – in case you didn’t know, the world would be a better place without Filipinos. Sorry but I did not say this – I am speaking from a racist’s perspective (especially not less than 20% of the world population in my guess).The thing is I cannot stand these racists anymore because public apologies don’t even do the trick – such people need to go to jail and die there! Even if they apologize, the whole world had themselves influenced by the racially discriminatory remark and might pay no atttention to the apology (if they ever apologize, that is). That’s where we get these sterotypes. If you want click my name and message me we’ll make an online petition to defend our country – real thing!

  7. avatar Vincit Veritas says:

    “they need to be held to the same standards as the citizens who pay their salaries with their hard-earned tax dollars.”

    No, they need to be held to higher standards.

  8. avatar GS650G says:

    Once again just put Joe Citizen in the situation and see what would have happened.
    Yeah, that’s right, arrest on the spot. Guns taken. Lawyers. Jail. No good old boys network to protect him.

  9. avatar HAVE GUN says:

    I’m going to keep tabs on this.

    “Oak Ridge Police Chief James T. Akagi said this week that he’s awaiting written confirmation of the DA’s decision before Oak Ridge police investigators conduct their own internal investigation.”

    Perhaps the Chief will have a different take on this. I would think so.

    It’s his department’s reputation on the line. If nothing is done it may come back to haunt him.

  10. avatar Skyler says:

    Although I’m not one to favor the cops much, I have to say that if the guy got out of his car, it was perfectly reasonable for the two officers to draw their weapons.

    The guy poked a hornets nest and got the hornet. What’s his beef? If he didn’t want to have a fight, he shouldn’t have misbehaved and he shouldn’t have gotten out of his car. What was the point of that? Was he expecting a nice tea party? Two against one is not good odds for him even if they weren’t armed.

    Getting out of one’s car is often considered threatening. He’s lucky they were cops and had some self-control (albeit not very much).

    He ought to just keep his mouth shut from embarrassment if for no other reason.

    1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

      So turn it around. Off-duty cop gets out of his car first, and the other guy pulls his gun. Guess who’s going to jail. No matter how stupid Mr. Estep is, the cops are wrong.

      1. avatar Skyler says:

        But that’s not what happened. Different facts result in different conclusions.

        1. avatar Matt in FL says:

          But they shouldn’t. Equal treatment is equal treatment.

          Off-duty cop who doesn’t identify himself as an off-duty cop who gets out of his car headed for me is at that point just some guy intent on doing me harm.

          If you believe he should have been prosecuted for pulling a gun, fine. If you believe he should not have, fine. But in either case, the law should be applied consistently.

          Based on the info here, we don’t know who got out first. We don’t know how they ended up on the side of the road (who forced who off the shoulder, or who followed who to a stop). There are many details to this story, all of which change its complexion. Making flat pronouncements of who was right and who was wrong without those details is pointless.

        2. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

          Huh. I thought the law was supposed to apply to all individuals equally. Silly me, I guess.

        3. avatar Skyler says:

          Of course. But we’re not talking about what if’s. We’re discussing a specific occurrence. We can’t know what would happen if things were different.

        4. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

          It would seem to me that a reasonable person, knowledgeable in how the current system works, could easily come to the same conclusion I did in the situation I described. If you disagree, that’s cool.

  11. avatar Henry Bowman says:

    Sometimes I’m baffled by the mindset of most on this site. We carry guns precisley because we know that police cannot protect us. In fact, SCOTUS has even ruled that police have no obligation to protect individuals from harm (Castle Rock v. Gonzales). So what exactly is the “tough, dangerous job” that “we’re glad they’re out there doing?” Stories like this one are the rule, not the exception. Police skate by on any number of crimes that any one of us mere mundanes would be crucified for, simply because they carry a badge. One would be hard pressed to find the one good apple amongst so many rotten ones. Is it really so hard to recognize? Why are they not viewed with the contempt they are due, especially by people here who supposedly take their natural rights and responsibilites so seriously? I just don’t get it.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      So what exactly is the “tough, dangerous job” that “we’re glad they’re out there doing?”

      Well, most donuts are very high in cholesterol and sugar. That covers the dangerous part. And as long as they’re doing the job out there, they’re not doing it in here, for which I will be eternally grateful.

  12. avatar Dewayne says:

    Anyone remember that great line from the movie Blade Runner? “If you’re not cop, you’re little people.” Apparently it’s true.

  13. avatar Ralph says:

    I don’t know what happened because I wasn’t there. There’s no video of this incident, no shots were fired, and there’s no dead body clutching a comb or cell phone like there usually is when cops throw down on an innocent person.

    I’m naturally distrustful of cops (note a slight touch of understatement there) but it seems to me that “innocent until proven guilty” should apply to cops, too. Since this comes down to one person’s word against another, I don’t see any basis to condemn the officers.

    All the participants in this little fiasco were lucky.

  14. avatar mikeyt95608 says:

    The dangerous aspect has to be the legal precedent that could be drawn from this lack of decision. What becomes the dividing line for a DGU in Tennessee after this?
    Then again, there are a number of details absent from this story that would undoubtedly clarify many questions.

  15. avatar kWood says:

    Speaking as a normal, badgeless citizen, I have a feeling that if I drew on a pair of undercover cops they would find a way to charge me with something. Or shoot me. I think these guys should be charged with brandishing, for a start.

  16. avatar 101abn says:

    It is not about earning trust and respect. It is about justifying that trust and respect. My friends, that works both ways, and more. If you just go to charm school to learn to say “Marvelous” instead of “Bullshit”, you are missing the point.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      If you just go to charm school to learn to say “Marvelous” instead of “Bullshit”, you are missing the point.

      Marvelous.

  17. avatar Totenglocke says:

    “Yes, they have a tough, dangerous job and we’re glad they’re out there doing it. But when they abuse their power – like drawing a gun, possibly in anger to intimidate another driver, in an off-duty incident – they need to be held to the same standards as the citizens who pay their salaries with their hard-earned tax dollars.”

    Here’s the problem – as long as people like you keep putting the police / military / politicians on a pedestal as being superior to us peasants, they’ll continue to act as such. Treat them as human beings all the time and they’ll learn some humility.

  18. avatar US Paratroop-Mil Pol says:

    As a LEO if what we have here is the whole story then the LEO who drew his weapon should lose his credentials and the other LEO should be disciplined. Ok you had a dumb moment and cut a guy off … no need to flip him off when you did the dummy move.. but then to exit your vehicle and draw a weapon… with no mention of ID’ing yourself has Law Enforcement is a recipe for a gunfight… What if Estep and moved for cover drawn his legally carried weapon and engaged the officers… years of training and conditioning as a Soldier and Military Policeman has taught me to do just that.. move and engage the threat… what if Estep had stayed in his vehicle and used it as his weapon …. If they had done this to the wrong law abiding citizen the outcome could have been quite diffrent. There are alot of Veterans that would react exactly the same when presented with a threat..

  19. avatar Tom says:

    Cops should drive with courtesy.

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