Aberdeen, Washington. On Monday, September 9, Aberdeen police were involved in an incident that ended up with a man being shot several times. The man, Kristopher Fitzpatrick, died at the hospital. To be clear, Fitzpatrick was no saint. He had several felony warrants out for him. According to police, Fitzpatrick was yelling that he did not want to go back to prison.
Watching the video, you can see how agitated Fitzpatrick is. He’s walking around and you can tell he’s yelling. His body language is aggressive and jerky. The official statement from Police Chief Steve Shumate includes the following two paragraphs:
As the officer approached the man, the man told the officer several times that he was not going back to prison. The man started to reach for something in his pants pocket as the officer ordered him to stop. The man then fled on foot southwest toward State Street.
Another Aberdeen Officer was nearby and gave chase on foot. As the suspect neared the East and West State Street area, the suspect pulled a gun on the pursuing officer. The officer had ordered the man to drop the gun before the suspect was shot multiple times. The suspect later died at the hospital from his injuries.
A couple of days later the building surveillance video starts showing up on social media and it doesn’t seem to back up the story given by the officers. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a version of the video that would let me embed it into my post. Click HERE to go to Q13Fox.com to watch the video and read their article.
According to Chief Shumate, in the Kiro7.com article, “He had a firearm on his person, he brandished the firearm, pointed it at the officer, which resulted in the shooting.” If he had just said the suspect was reaching into his pocket for an unknown object, the story would be more believable. Brandishing a firearm? Pointing it at the officer? I sure don’t see that in the video. Fitzpatrick’s arms appear to be hanging straight down when he is shot.
This type of issue is becoming more apparent as we become more and more of a video driven society. Cameras are everywhere. For so long we trusted that what a police officer wrote in his report was the truth. Sure, we always felt there were one or two bad apples who would falsify their reports to hide their own unlawful actions but in general we believed the police.
But we’ve seen this happen too many times now to believe that it’s just a few rogue cops. It seems that there is a concerted effort by the vast majority of police to alter the facts to protect themselves and fellow police officers. This can do nothing but add to the breakdown of trust between the public and the police.
On a final note, the investigators have already claimed to have evidence to show that the shooting was justified. (This statement is also in the Kiro7.com article). Maybe it is justified but that’s some pretty fast work to already come to a conclusion and where’s the evidence? We’d all like to see it.