The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Conference Center > Law and Civil Rights

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old November 11, 2011, 01:25 AM   #1
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
Shooting in defense of property... potential problems

Today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an article about some things that can go very, very wrong...

http://www.ajc.com/news/man-facing-1...s-1221252.html

Georgia is a very gun-friendly state; Fulton County is not typical of most of Georgia. Even so, the distinction between "in the house" and "on the property" is coming into play in this case.

I also have to wonder if the DA's office felt pressure to file charges in order to cover the police officers who shot the property owner... Because they offered a plea deal that would have been a misdemeanor, but are charging with 105 years' worth of felonies.

On a non-legal note, it appears somebody has burned down the property owner's home while he was in the hospital and/or jail...

Think long and hard before shooting in defense of stuff.
MLeake is offline  
Old November 11, 2011, 04:38 AM   #2
therealdeal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 15, 2010
Posts: 627
This is a sad story about a man who is unable to defend himself, MLeake. I am referring only to the disrespect, stealing, littering, fire, etc aspects of the story so far. I am not sure how this came to be for this man, but I feel his pain and all of these parts upset me.

As far as the trial, I believe the man is wrong not to accept the plea deal. The risk is just too much. However, his pride and/or principles are leading him to go to trial. I think you might be right also about your specualtion, MLeake(as to the plea deal offer, the cops, and so-on). Thanks for posting the story.

This man was being taken advantage of. For whatever and unknown reasons, someone was willing to just show up and start rummaging thru sheds, tools, and ready to steal a lawnmower?! The man didn't seem to care that a man yelled from the top floor balcony. The man did 4 tours; I just hope he isn't a lonely alcoholic or drug user with a good heart. These people are taken advantage of like this sometimes.
__________________
NRA Distinguished Life Member

"Abraham Lincoln freed all men, but Sam Colt made them all equal." (post Civil War slogan)
therealdeal is offline  
Old November 11, 2011, 10:03 AM   #3
Stressfire
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 16, 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,497
Quote:
“Looters have taken everything,” said Sturdivant's friend from childhood, Bill Erquitt. “Now it’s the biggest trash heap. ... If it’s metal, it’s gone.”
Quote:
Pipes, tires and trash are scattered all over the property once owned by David Sturdivant on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011. His deceased father's house is on the property but it also has been looted.
So how unfounded were his fears of being robbed...?

I agree that he should have taken a good long look at the offered plea, but I can also understand the man standing by his principles that he was not in the wrong.
__________________
"The best diplomat I know is a fully charged phaser bank" - Montgomery Scott
Stressfire is offline  
Old November 11, 2011, 10:05 AM   #4
Patriot86
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 23, 2010
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 1,293
I am confused by this whole story; a lot of questions are left in my mind.

Did he at any point aim his weapon at the officers or otherwise act in a threatening manner towards him? They mention shooting at him multiple times for peaking his head over his balcony; unless he is brandishing a weapon in a threatening way what is the probable cause for shooting this guy on his own property? The article does not mention if the "bait car" cops were uniformed, or plain clothes it also does not make mention of the officers identifying themselves as police officers before saying "drop the gun" and shooting him.


I think he was wrong for shooting at the guy who was PROBABLY there to steal from him; but the police look on face value equally wrong for shooting him on his own property then failing to properly secure the scene allowing his personal property to be stolen.

This sound like this guy had an ongoing thing with people in the neighborhood he suspected of stealing from him and that those people have been left free to run amok after he was sent to jail. This all sounds like a story where the bad guys win.

After searching the Fulton County area's jail records for a Dennis Alexander (the guy the homeowner shot at) I can't help but wonder if the "pressure" put on the DA in this case was racial, as David Sturdivant is White and Dennis Alexander is African American.
Patriot86 is offline  
Old November 11, 2011, 10:21 AM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,791
There's a lot of things wrong here but the most glaring lesson to me is that this guy shot at someone to protect ONE thing and ended up losing EVERYTHING.

Certainly there are many questions but it all started with a single gun shot and ends with total loss of everything he was trying to protect.
__________________
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
---
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
-----
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old November 11, 2011, 01:27 PM   #6
sigcurious
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 25, 2011
Posts: 1,755
“Did he pop up?” asks a second officer, still wearing a microphone from the television taping.

“Did you guys see a gun? Did he see a gun? I hope it was a gun.”


Not sure how to take that, either the one cop was hoping the other cop saw a gun and it was a proper shooting, or it could be taken as the cop was looking to get into a gunfight. Either way the reading of the article is not encouraging for either side. Seems like the homeowner is going to get the full penalties while the responding officers may have been over eager for whatever reason. Hopefully the court allows the audio and video from the tv crew to be admitted into evidence as that will provide a good timeline for jurors to make a decision on whether he presented a weapon to the cops or not and as to the sequence of shots fire and decisions being made by the cops.
sigcurious is online now  
Old November 11, 2011, 01:43 PM   #7
Rifleman1776
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 25, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 3,309
A lot of unanswered questions from that news account.
Sounds like he may have been a hard head.
Shooting to protect property, and not life, is usually an iffy situation, at best.
Rifleman1776 is offline  
Old November 11, 2011, 01:48 PM   #8
secret_agent_man
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 25, 2011
Posts: 463
APD has had similar issues before:
http://reason.com/archives/2007/11/2...n-a-year-later
secret_agent_man is offline  
Old November 11, 2011, 02:48 PM   #9
BillCA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 28, 2004
Location: Silicon Valley, Ca
Posts: 7,087
Over 7 months to close a police shooting inquiry?
Egads! And there was even a tape of the incident?
Can you say cover-up? I think APD is waiting for this guy's trial to finish before releasing any findings.
__________________
BillCA in CA (Unfortunately)
BillCA is offline  
Old November 11, 2011, 06:05 PM   #10
ltc444
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 3, 2011
Location: Vernon AZ
Posts: 1,195
Sounds like a high profile lawyer aught to be jumping on this case.

Has anyone set up a defense fund for the victum?

As to the looting, in many neighborhoods it is not unusual for some of the neighbors to strip a property when they find out that it is unocuppied.

When my brother died we had to hire a guard to secure his property to keep the tweekers from stripping his property in Apache Junction, AZ

An elderly gentleman who had no enemys, was confined to the hospital for three days. In that time the druggies stripped his home even stealing the aluminun siding off his home.
ltc444 is offline  
Old November 11, 2011, 06:25 PM   #11
hermannr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 24, 2011
Posts: 730
I don't know about anyone else, but I am with this guy. No plea bargin, let a jury decide, and if a jury sides with the accused (I think there is a good possibility) then recover everything that he lost from that governmental entity for malicous prosecution, the loss of his kidney, pain and suffering and everything else a good lawyer can think of.

I am surprised that a good ambulence chaser wouldn't help him pro-bono just for a chance at the potential civil suit.
hermannr is offline  
Old November 11, 2011, 11:15 PM   #12
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
Things just got more interesting...

... as the DA's office dropped all charges.

http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/char...n-1223433.html

Of course, Sturdivant is still disabled, down one kidney and several inches of colon; he's lost his home and his workshop, and all the belongings that were in them; he's even lost the security cameras he had around his property.

Now he needs to get a new driver's license, etc.

But apparently he'll at least get his guns back...
MLeake is offline  
Old November 12, 2011, 03:26 AM   #13
therealdeal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 15, 2010
Posts: 627
That is awesome his charges were dropped! That guy had some major cajunas to stand tough on that one because a misdemeanor isn't a felony.
__________________
NRA Distinguished Life Member

"Abraham Lincoln freed all men, but Sam Colt made them all equal." (post Civil War slogan)
therealdeal is offline  
Old November 12, 2011, 03:33 AM   #14
therealdeal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 15, 2010
Posts: 627
read latest article

that's intense
__________________
NRA Distinguished Life Member

"Abraham Lincoln freed all men, but Sam Colt made them all equal." (post Civil War slogan)
therealdeal is offline  
Old November 12, 2011, 01:25 PM   #15
ltc444
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 3, 2011
Location: Vernon AZ
Posts: 1,195
justice is served. goodluck
ltc444 is offline  
Old November 12, 2011, 03:23 PM   #16
JerryM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 1999
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 1,884
It can be seen that even if the charges have been dropped, the man has lost a lot more than whatever would have been stolen.
As for me the moral is call the police and do not get into a shooting for property.
Does anyone think the man would have made the same choice in 20/20 hindsight?

Jerry
__________________
Ecclesiastes 12:13 *¶Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 *For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
JerryM is offline  
Old November 12, 2011, 04:52 PM   #17
Aguila Blanca
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 6,501
It's going to get worse. In the town where I used to work, the building inspector did a final inspection on the electrical work on a Friday. Monday morning he got a call from the police to come down to the house (which was less than a quarter of a mile down the road from the town hall). Over the weekend, ALL the wiring had been stripped out of the house.

I know many people sincerely believe that property is not worth taking a human life over, and I acknowledge that I once believed that way. I'm evolving. My house has been burgled. The scum who will strip a person's life-long possessions just to sell for pennies on the dollar to feed a drug habit don't qualify as humans. The police cannot possibly control it -- all they're good for is showing up after the fact and filling out a report.

We need to have the right to defend what we have worked hard to obtain. When someone steals from me, he steals not only a thing, he also steals however much of my LIFE was expended in earning the money to buy that thing. I no longer think it immoral to use deadly force to protect MY property.

Texas has it right. The other 49 states have it wrong.
Aguila Blanca is offline  
Old November 12, 2011, 08:14 PM   #18
JerryM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 1999
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 1,884
While I agree, it is the law that prevents us from defending our property. We have a right to own property, and fight wars over that right as part of our freedoms.
The law zeros in on the value of life, but not the right to own and defend our property. I don't agree with the law.

However, since the laws are what they are, and the cost of defense is more than most of us have or can accumulate, I will just let my insurance pay me for the loss. Of course if you are home and your home is broken into that is another story, but I would not have fired a shot under the same circumstances.
I just do not think that the property is worth the cost and stress that is almost sure to occur in cases such as this. Even in Texas there is going to be a lot of stress and maybe cost to defend yourself. For what? a couple or three thousand dollars worth of property?

Regards,
Jerry
__________________
Ecclesiastes 12:13 *¶Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 *For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
JerryM is offline  
Old November 12, 2011, 08:32 PM   #19
secret_agent_man
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 25, 2011
Posts: 463
Quote:
Texas has it right. The other 49 states have it wrong.
In Texas, that law is rooted in the frontier logic that if a man lost the tools of his trade, he and his would become a burden on society in general. Texas decided early on that ain't gonna happen, even if it means killing people to preserve the means of livelihood. Priced any tools lately? A valid point. In post industrial society, emphasis naturally shifts to other personal possessions which make up sort of "tools of life".

This philosophy could be seen in the future on the platforms of candidates for public office in the other forty-nine states. The law in Texas has stuck a nerve with many Americans.
secret_agent_man is offline  
Old November 13, 2011, 01:16 AM   #20
therealdeal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 15, 2010
Posts: 627
I noticed nobody patroled his property to stop these scumbags. You have the right to ask this by the way. As an example, if you go on vacation, you can ask for increased patrols in your area OR on your property if you are not worried about bringing attention to yourself.

My thing is this...slight tangent but that is why I would have no problem shooting someone who invaded my home while my wife and kids were home. My dog is worth more. Harsh- I don't think so. I read on the news all the time how people are killed for NO REASON. If a clown puts himself in the box, I'm throwing a ball @ the button. I'll get over it. I don't have time to take chances when it comes to my children and/or family.

Jerry, 20/20 is easier always, but I understand where you are coming from. This guy might've done this on numerous occaisions(other solutions). On this day he got some hyped up cops on a reality TV detail - go figure
__________________
NRA Distinguished Life Member

"Abraham Lincoln freed all men, but Sam Colt made them all equal." (post Civil War slogan)
therealdeal is offline  
Old November 13, 2011, 01:20 AM   #21
hermannr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 24, 2011
Posts: 730
Now he needs a good personal injury lawyer, on contingency. This illegal operation by the police was the cause of his loss, now he need to recover that loss to be made whole, and maybe a bit of punitive damages to slap the depatment's hand...hard.
hermannr is offline  
Old November 13, 2011, 12:21 PM   #22
ltc444
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 3, 2011
Location: Vernon AZ
Posts: 1,195
Fulton county and each of the "OFFICERS" involved need to open their collective check books.

How can you make a man whole after suffering the trama of an incident of this nature.

His record, Marine, Vietnam Vet, Purple Heart reciepent and by VA definition a PTSD sufferer make him extremely vulnerable to this incident.

This incident will increase the effect of PTSD. A man who struggled to make a marginal living and not be a burden on the Nation he served will probably be unable to function at other than a basic level.

I do not like to use the word owe, but in this case this man is owed more than what anyone can pay.

Perhaps the individual(s) who shot him should be required to forfeit a kidney. If this were possible then some good could come of this incident.
ltc444 is offline  
Old November 13, 2011, 03:29 PM   #23
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
hermannr, while I think the police may have shot too quickly, I am not sure what you mean by "illegal operation."

They were responding to multiple shots fired within city limits. Nothing illegal about running to the sound of the guns; on its own, that is actually admirable.

They then saw an unarmed guy on the ground, and a semi-nude guy with a rifle, who had apparently fired those shots in the direction of the guy on the ground.

(Edit: on the ground as in not shooting down from the house, not lying in a pool of blood. Shots fired had been warning shots, to that point.)

I haven't seen the video, but apparently its audio has about one second between the order to drop the gun, and the first shots fired by the police. So they did give the order first, then shoot, even if the gap wasn't great.

OTOH, if I were taking a handgun against an M1A, I probably would not be inclined to give the rifleman too much chance to bring up the rifle, either.

(Edit: I am not sure if the officers only had handguns, or also had a patrol carbine; I think one article I encountered may have indicated that at least one officer had a rifle of some sort. Even so, an M1A is a serious threat at any reasonable distance.)

The angle the bullet followed when it hit the rifle proves nothing. Surprise could very well have caused Sturdivant to start turning toward the officers, to see who was yelling at him; he could easily have thought the burglar's friends had arrived.

I don't think the officers were necessarily wrong in how they reacted, based on the way the situation would have appeared to them. I definitely don't think their actions were criminal.

That doesn't mean I couldn't see the city or county trying to cover their collective butts, though, as there probably is a lawsuit here.

Now, if you were referring to the bait car operation as being somehow illegal, that doesn't really bear on this incident. It's merely the reason the officers and camera crew were in a position to hear and respond to the shots fired.
MLeake is offline  
Old November 13, 2011, 03:54 PM   #24
therealdeal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 15, 2010
Posts: 627
Very Good points, ltccc...not to mention how the PTSD can be affected when he feels th epolice can't help him w/the 'shadows in the night"(the real shadows I might add).
__________________
NRA Distinguished Life Member

"Abraham Lincoln freed all men, but Sam Colt made them all equal." (post Civil War slogan)
therealdeal is offline  
Old November 14, 2011, 01:16 AM   #25
tyme
Staff
 
Join Date: October 13, 2001
Posts: 3,179
Just so I have this straight...

The police can't be bothered to patrol to keep Sturdivant's property from getting stolen, his house burned, and his yard turned into a dump, but they can find time to film reality TV shows?

And they criticize citizens who take the law into their own hands?
__________________
“The egg hatched...” “...the egg hatched... and a hundred baby spiders came out...” (blade runner)
“Who are you?” “A friend. I'm here to prevent you from making a mistake.” “You have no idea what I'm doing here, friend.” “In specific terms, no, but I swore an oath to protect the world...” (continuum)
“It's a goal you won't understand until later. Your job is to make sure he doesn't achieve the goal.” (bsg)
tyme is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:40 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13280 seconds with 9 queries