On December 14, 2009 Toledo police officer Diane Chandler shot and killed Linda Hicks. I've written about the shooting of Linda Hicks or referred to it twice, once in Police State and again in Here's an offer you can't refuse. I believe that the shooting was completely unjustified.
When a friend of mine started his training to become an Ohio Highway Patrol officer, he was told by his instructor that "You'll take an ass whippin' before you pull that pistol. If you have that gun out, you'd damned well better have a set of bruises to go along with it." I think the implication was that if you didn't have the required signs of a serious fight, you'd soon have them. The Toledo Police don't follow this procedure, and there are very few examples that are better than the Linda Hicks shooting.
If you believe the news from the Toledo Blade, here's what officially happened.
Toledo police detail fatal shooting (12/16/2009)
When one of the mentally ill people who Tanya Murphy cares for in her home on Fernwood Avenue became agitated and violent, she called 911 and immediately asked for a crisis team.
Minutes later, 62-year-old Linda Hicks, one of two residents staying in the state-licensed Marria's Adult Family Home was dead - shot in the head Monday night by one of the two police officers dispatched to the central Toledo address because she was threatening people with scissors.
Police Chief Mike Navarre identified the officer who shot Ms. Hicks as Diane Chandler, 33, who has been on the force since 2006. The second officer at the scene was Rebecca Kenney, 34, who has been on the force since 2003.The Toledo Free Press showed about the same story: 62-year-old woman killed after threatening officer with scissors
A female police officer shot a 62-year-old woman described by police as “schizophrenic” yesterday after she brandished a pair a sewing scissors and refused to cooperate, threatening to kill the officer.
Officer Diane Chandler, a 33-year-old patrol officer certified with crisis intervention training, shot Linda Hicks multiple times, killing her instantly, said Chief of Police Michael Navarre at a press conference today.Linda Hicks was 62 years old and looked every single day of it. I'm talking high mileage here. The woman was 5' 2" tall, was about 100 pounds overweight and under normal conditions was the least aggressive resident in Marria's Adult Family Home. Linda Hicks had schizophrenia and hadn't taken her medication that day. She was having a psychotic episode.
When the police confronted Linda Hicks they escalated the stress during the confrontation instead of defusing the situation. They encountered Linda while she was lying down on her bed in her own bedroom. They screamed instructions and when Linda failed to obey with suitable alacrity and enthusiasm, they used their Taser on her twice. After the second dance with the Taser, Linda jumped up out of bed and raised the scissors over her head, screaming a threat. That's when Chandler killed her.
The blog Electronic Village does a fair job of reporting the entire sordid business in Taser Death: Linda Hicks (Toledo OH) and in Taser Lawsuit: Linda Hicks (Toledo, OH)
Ms. Hicks was, at the time of her death, a 5’2”, 62-year-old woman who suffered from schizophrenia and a heart condition that required a pacemaker. She was a resident at Marria’s Adult Family Home. Police were summoned to that location because Ms. Hicks was reported to be agitated and holding a pair of craft scissors in her room.
Crisis police were requested, but Officer Chandler and another officer, who were not crisis police officers, responded to the scene. Disregarding their lack of proper training with crisis situations and with the mentally ill, Marria’s Adult Family Home allowed the officers to approach Ms. Hicks with weapons drawn.
When the officers arrived at her room, Ms. Hicks was laying facedown on her bed with her hands under her pillow. She was asked to show her hands, and when she did not comply the officers proceeded to Taser her twice (without regard to her pacemaker). After the second shock, Ms. Hicks got out of bed and approached the two officers with the craft scissors in her hand.
At this point, Officer Chandler and the other officer successfully exited the bedroom into the hallway. For a moment, both officers were in the hallway while Ms. Hicks was still in her room. The second officer descended down nearby stairs and exited the scene, while Officer Chandler chose to remain in the hallway. As Ms. Hicks approached Officer Chandler, the officer proceeded to shoot and kill Ms. Hicks.These two officers have Hicks outnumbered two to one. I can't speak about officer Kenney, but I've seen Officer Chandler and Chandler is a full head taller than Hicks, is athletic and we should presume has been trained in unarmed combat. That's slang for 'Chandler knows how to fight'. Both officers had weapons other than firearms, and they had options that did not include shooting an old, mentally ill woman to death. They could have stayed outside the bedroom, or they could have shut the bedroom door until Hicks quieted down. Better yet, they could have waited around outside until a qualified intervention team arrived. They didn't, and in Chandler's case I wonder if it's because she has more fun resorting to violence as perpetrated on people who are not likely to retain a high powered law firm that will swing into action at the slightest sign of any violation of civil rights.
Chandler's case was brought to a grand jury, but the grand jury declined to indict Chandler. No surprise there, as most grand jury members have no experience with the mentally ill, firearms or abuse of authority. Here's the link from The Blade: Indictment declined in slaying by Toledo officer (1/9/2010)
A grand jury Friday reviewed the fatal police shooting of a mentally ill woman brandishing a pair of scissors and declined to indict the officer involved on a charge of murder.
Linda Hicks, 62, was shot and killed Dec. 15 by a police officer responding to a call of a mentally ill person who had become violent. After a confrontation, Officer Diane Chandler, 33, who has been a member of the department since 2006, fired at least three shots, killing Ms. Hicks.In my opinion Chandler should have been indicted, tried, convicted and sentenced to twenty to life. I took some solace in the inevitable civil suit that was guaranteed to follow, but again the system provided Chandler and the City of Toledo a free pass. Here's from yesterday's paper: Suit against city dismissed (5/2/2012)
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the City of Toledo and its police department that was filed by the family of a woman who was fatally shot in a group home.
In a 12-page decision released late last week, U.S. District Judge James Carr granted the city's request for dismissal. The lawsuit named the city, the police department, and Officer Diane Chandler, who had been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the 2009 shooting death of Linda Hicks.
"Officer Chandler was confronted by an individual advancing toward her with scissors in hand and reasonably believed she was in imminent danger of being stabbed. Her decision to exercise deadly force was objectively reasonable," the judge ruled. "No rational trier of fact could find that she acted wantonly or recklessly."To which I say, Stable Dressing! Chandler acted with a blatant disregard for life that is criminal, no more nor less. It's easier and safer just to shoot them, and the justice department will always let you off.
Another incident that Chandler is involved in is running over a suspect with her car while he was busy surrendering to other officers. Here's the story as published by Lisa Renee of the Glass City Jungle:
Death of Linda Hicks and injury of Nathaniel Lewis create lawsuit filed against officer and Toledo
As Mr. Lewis [the alleged perpetrator - MJ] stood in the driveway with his hands up, Officer Chandler approached him in her police cruiser. She was traveling at approximately 35-40 miles per hour as she turned into the driveway and struck Mr. Lewis. He was thrown 10-12 feet in the air and was transported by LifeSquad to St. Vincent’s Hospital for treatment. He suffered severe head, neck, back and other injuries.
Disinterested witnesses who watched the whole incident have stated that Officer Chandler appeared to intentionally run into Mr. Lewis without slowing down or making any attempt to brake.
If you're curious about how to handle a crazy, violent criminal, here's an incident that happened to an officer out West, a female police officer writing under the unlikely pseudonym Momma Fargo who writes about one of her encounters in Running with the Bull. Here's an excerpt:
When she charged at me, I told her she would be in big trouble for trying to hurt the PoPo. As she got closer, I told her to stop.
When she was close enough, I stepped aside and shoved her to the ground with one hand.
By now... a bigger crowd had gathered and the show must go on.
Anycraziness, she got up and continued again. Each time, I stepped aside and shoved her to the ground. On the third fit of her rage after brushing herself off, she decided the PoPo had had enough.Note that no one got shot. Now, Momma Fargo is a truly exemplary police woman and so is well worth her weight in hundred dollar bills - actually, she's worth my weight in hundred dollar bills, but I want to keep this amount believable. We, the Great Unwashed, need more officers like Momma Fargo, and at the same time we need to get rid of officers like Chandler. That isn't going to happen until those people in charge of the police force decide to make it happen.
The civil case against the city, et al, can be appealed and I hope it is and that the case moves forward to a jury. This kind of abuse is happening too often, and the casual attitude of Toledo civic leaders over murder and attempted murder is far and away too casual.