From the Sacramento Bee: An Elk Grove police officer acted lawfully in January when he fired his AR-15 rifle at a handcuffed suspect, seated in the back of a patrol car, who officers thought may still have been armed, according to Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully…
No weapon was found on then-32-year-old John Hesselbein when officers searched him for the second time after the shooting.
In her 11-page letter to police Chief Robert Lehner absolving the officer of any criminal liability, Scully argued that the officer had reason to believe Hesselbein was dangerous and that the officer “had the right to act in self-defense and in defense of his fellow officers.”
Hesselbein was shot Jan. 30 after his wife called police to report he was drunk and abusive. His cheek was grazed by the rifle round.
I’m not sure what’s more surprising here. That the officer found it necessary to shoot Hesselbein with a rifle while cuffed in the back of a squad car. That the shoot was found justified. Or that Hesselbein was only grazed by the bullet.
It is one of the final officer-involved shootings that Scully’s office will review. After grappling with a $6.9 million budget shortfall – and the layoffs of 31 prosecutors – Scully disbanded the unit assigned to such investigate criminal liability in such shootings.
Probably just as well.