Officer Shoots and Paralyzes Unarmed Man
Paradise, California 11-26-15 | A police officer who shot a unarmed man after a deadly roll over accident will not be charged.
Newly released dashcam footage shows the officer approaching the vehicle and removing his firearm and firing into the alleged drunk driver Andrew Thomas.
Authorities have ruled that the shooting was “an accident”.
The shot hit Thomas in the C7 and T1 vertebrae, and could lead to him being paralyzed for life, reported KHSL-TV.
WARNING: Some viewers may find the video disturbing
Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, who investigated the incident, said that the shooting was “not justified, but also not criminal.”
“The dash cam video shows Officer Feaster was not prepared for and was surprised by the guns firing,” Ramsey said. “The pistol discharges in mid-stride and the officer both flinches his head to the right and does a stutter step indicative of an officer not prepared for nor intentionally firing his pistol. Additionally, officers normally train to fire a minimum of two shots. There was no second shot and the officer immediately holstered his weapon after the discharge.”
Feaster’s “reaction on the dash cam video and his statements to protocol investigators confirm an honest belief that he did not intentionally fire his pistol,” Ramsey added.
According to the investigation, Feaster had spotted a Toyota Four-Runner speeding with its headlights off, and followed the car as it ran through a red light, hit a median and flipped over, killing 23-year-old Darien Ehorn, Thomas’s wife.
Feaster told investigators he drew his gun when Thomas “popped” out of the car, thinking the driver intended to flee. However, he did not mention having fired his weapon to other officers who arrived on the scene, and only told his commanding officer after the gunshot wound was found on Thomas. Nearly 11 minutes passed before any officers, medics or firefighters responding to the scene learned that Thomas had been shot, according to Ramsey.
Paradise Police Chief Gabriela Tazzari-Dineen said that Feaster remained on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation. Meanwhile, Thomas is facing charges of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter, KHSL reported.
Paradise is a town of about 27,000 in northern California, about 85 miles (137 km) north of Sacramento.