Cop who Shot Boy while trying to Shoot Dog Granted Qualified Immunity in Appeal

The Georgia sheriff's deputy had ordered children down on the ground at gunpoint before trying to shoot the dog.

Chances are, if you pull out a gun in an attempt to kill a curious dog, only to miss and strike a child less than two feet from you, your actions would be considered negligent and unreasonable.

But that is only because you're not a cop.

As we keep learning, cops have the right to pull out their guns and fire at anything and anybody that makes them fear for their lives as long as they can claim their actions were "reasonable" under the given circumstances.

And what is reasonable for a highly trained cop paid to enforce the law does not mean it is reasonable for your average citizen who has not gone through six months of training that may include a lesson or two about gun safety.

The latest case to highlight this absurdity comes out of the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals where judges ruled last week that a Georgia sheriff's deputy named Michael Vickers acted reasonably when he fired his gun at a wandering dog only to strike a 10-year-old child who was laying on the ground.

The court determined it was an "accidental shooting" and dismissed the lawsuit against Vickers on the basis that he is protected by qualified immunity because they believed his actions to be reasonable.

The incident took place July 10, 2014 when Coffee County sheriff's deputies were chasing a man named Christopher Barnett who had shot and wounded a Douglas police officer in an earlier armed robbery attempt.

Barnett, 21, ran into a front yard where several children were playing with the deputies close behind. The deputies ran into the yard and ordered everybody down at gunpoint, including Barnett and six children as well as an adult named Damion Steward who was watching over the kids. Two of the kids were less than three years old.

This is what took place next, according to the lawsuit filed by Amy Corbitt, the mother of Dakota Corbitt, the 10-year-old boy who was shot, who is referred to as "SDC" in the suit:

While the children were lying on the ground obeying the orders of Defendant Vickers, said Defendant unreasonably, maliciously, negligently, and without necessity or any immediate threat or cause, discharged his firearm at the family pet named “Bruce” twice. The first shot missed the animal, who retreated under the residence. At no time during the interim did Defendant Vickers ask someone to restrain the animal and at no time did any other agent or employee of Coffee County attempt to restrain or subdue the animal. Approximately eight to ten seconds elapsed since the first shot and Defendant Vickers then discharged his firearm at Bruce a second time as it was approaching his owners. He again missed the animal and struck Plaintiff Amy Corbitt’s minor child, SDC, in the back of his right knee. 29.

At the time of his injury, SDC was readily viewable to Defendant Vickers. In fact, SDC was approximately eighteen inches from Defendant Vickers, lying on the ground, face down, pursuant to the orders of said Defendant. Other minor children were also within only a few feet of Defendant Vickers. No officer or agent at the scene was required to discharge a firearm. With a large number of innocent bystanders, mostly children in the immediate area, no use of force should have been used aside from the arrest and physical restraint of Christopher Barnett, who was visibly unarmed and readily compliant with Defendants. No agent or employee at the scene had the need to shoot at the family pet, nor did anyone appear to be threatened by its presence.

In dismissing the suit, the judges stated "there is no clearly established right to be free from the accidental application of force during arrest, even if that force is deadly."

The above video is from the initial news report about the shooting. James Barnett, the suspect deputies were chasing, was sentenced to life in prison in 2015.

Comments (14)
No. 1-12
krinkov74
krinkov74

I agree they need to repeal those two laws. And to quote my school resource officer from high school"if you aren't doing anything wrong why do you need immunity.

Billythekiddscat
Billythekiddscat

This has become an epidemic! Cowardly trigger-happy police kill on the average 25 dogs a day in North America. That's insane!

Chrome Dome
Chrome Dome

Ok,even though the kid is white how do the majority of Caucasians or(German Americans)feels about Kolin Kaepernick kneeling down now because to him it didn’t matter what color people were he was kneeling down in protest of what happened to this kid and others by the ones who raised up their hands to serve and protect but he was blackballed by the NFL and hearing a whole lot of backlash so how ya like him now.

wickjohn
wickjohn

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shannon107
shannon107

I would hunt the cop down and fire a 22 up his ass if this was my family or friends family.

HumboldtRick
HumboldtRick

Why was this scumbag trying to shoot a "wandering" dog? WTF is WRONG with cops these days? Are they all frightened little children? They shouldn't be cops. We need severe POLICE REFORM in this country and need to prevent these sociopaths from becoming officers.

Mikeh
Mikeh

There should be no qualified immunity when cops use guns or force which causes injury or death. Coward cop Bastards.

THack
THack

It is reasonable when approached by a thug with a badge to assume your life and the lives of others are in imminent danger. I will use all reasonable force to protect myself and my family, this includes deadly force.

Nick Nitro
Nick Nitro

Police officers also have a job that comes with an immense amount of power. And with that power comes great responsibility — most notably, to use only that amount of force that is reasonably necessary under the circumstances.

OttmanG
OttmanG

Qualified immunity and civil asset forfeiture, two of the most dangerous concepts in the American "justice" system. Contrary to popular opinion it appears that badges do grant extra rights!

supervisionrequired
supervisionrequired

highly trained, six months, a lesson or two...... = license to kill, hurt, maim, torture, shoot any thing they want.

time for reform!!!!