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Old June 10, 2013, 10:06 AM   #1
Dashunde
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Road Rage

This story caught my attention...

Quote:
the two cars pulled over to the side of the interstate after the alleged road rage incident, and Harvey and his passenger allegedly got out of his vehicle and approached Walker.
Walker then allegedly exited his car, brandished his gun and announced he was a police officer. Harvey continued to approach Walker in a allegedly aggressive manner, and Walker fired at Harvey, fatally wounding him.
That reads like self defense to me? Two aggressors who continue forward progress towards a identified officer with a gun drawn and his family in the background... his options become limited rapidly.

It was obviously unwise to stop and fight with these guys. Dialing 911 and asking for backup would have served him better.
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Old June 10, 2013, 10:09 AM   #2
zTimbo
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Road Rage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dashunde View Post
This story caught my attention...



That reads like self defense to me? Two aggressors who continue forward progress towards a identified officer with a gun drawn and his family in the background... his options become limited rapidly.

It was obviously unwise to stop and fight with these guys. Dialing 911 and asking for backup would have served him better.
He should've gotten back into his car, called police and left. Sure, he might have a gotten a ticket for leaving the scene but that's a whole lot easier to deal with than a 2nd degree murder charge.
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Old June 10, 2013, 11:57 AM   #3
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Dashunde, I agree about the self defense claim, but it depends on MD law, if there is a duty to retreat.

Personally, I'd never pull over to engage someone in a road rage issue unless there was an accident, which wasn't mentioned in the article. Even then I'd be on the cell phone with police before getting out of my car.
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Old June 10, 2013, 12:33 PM   #4
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Unless there was contact between the vehicles do not pull over. Never exit the vehicle and confront anyone. It takes two drivers to play the stupid road rage game. If one driver refuses to play, the game is usually over.

One man is dead and another may be going to prison in MD because they played the road rage game.
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Old June 10, 2013, 12:41 PM   #5
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Without knowing all the intricacies of the law it does sound like he may have been overcharged. However, he made a conscious decision to engage in a road rage incident which ultimately lead to the death of another person, so he probably shouldn’t be allowed to just walk away.

This is an excellent example of the responsibility that goes along with carrying a firearm. Since I’ve made the decision to carry I go out of my way to avoid confrontations with people especially road rage related incidents.
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Old June 10, 2013, 12:42 PM   #6
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^^^^ This

If the officer had just stayed in his car and called the authorities this all could have been avoided. "Civilian" or off duty LEO, its stupid to ruin your life over a little road rage.
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Old June 10, 2013, 01:34 PM   #7
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There are more details about the incident here. Apparently the incident started when Walker cut Harvey off while they were both making a turn; Harvey reacted, and things escalated to the two drivers "swerving at each other."
Pidel told police that Harvey eventually pulled over on the shoulder about a mile up the road at the on-ramp for I-97, with Walker pulling over a good distance behind them. Harvey started to walk toward the van, and that's when Walker got out, went back for his gun and fired a shot from a .45-caliber Glock at Harvey, hitting him in the leg. Pidel said he was ducking for cover when he heard several more shots.
Two things stand out in this description of what happened: first, it was Harvey who pulled over first (perhaps to let Walker go by); and second, that Walker went back to his car for his gun while Harvey was walking toward him. He could have broken off the encounter at either of those points by driving away, and instead he chose to escalate it, not once, but twice.

That doesn't make for a good self-defense case, IMO.
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Last edited by Vanya; June 10, 2013 at 02:02 PM.
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Old June 10, 2013, 01:45 PM   #8
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He couldn't back up, stay in the car, keep driving, let the guy cut him off and slow down a little? From the small amounts of info he seems like an aggressor to me. Hard to prove "self defense" when you are a roving agro thug.
I see prison in his future and it looks like his place of employment is not going to help him much.

Seems like the newbe cop thought he could just shoot anyone, sad thing is he probably would of got away with it if he had been on duty.
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Old June 10, 2013, 01:52 PM   #9
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From the available information it does not look like legit self defense to me, and for the reasons pretty much stated.

There was no reason for the encounter to have ever occurred. Disagreements on the road do not need to become out of vehicle encounters. With no vehicle accident they did not need to ever be face to face.

There was ample opportunity to leave the situation... for both parties. Either could have continued on their way. Both chose to stop and confront each other.


Ultimately, I see a negative example here serving as a reminder for all of us to go the extra mile to avoid confrontations. If that means letting the guy in or whatever, so be it.
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Old June 10, 2013, 02:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
He should've gotten back into his car, called police and left.
He should have never stopped. Never got out of his car. Never brandished his firearm.

I learned a long time ago that road rage will get you nothing but trouble. There's no way yelling and screaming at another driver will benefit you in any way. There is certainly no good outcome of pulling over and facing off with some angry driver who probably caught his girlfriend cheating 15 minutes earlier and has decided to go on a meth binge.
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Old June 10, 2013, 04:19 PM   #11
Dashunde
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All good points.
Of course we civilians should make every effort to get away from these types of altercations, however cops are trained differently...they are supposed to confront, subdue, and arrest those who have it coming.
He's not trained to run away.

I wonder if Walker was under the impression he witnessed a felony, drunken or other compromised behavior and felt compelled to stay with the situation?

It doesnt really make sense overall... this guy pulls people over for a living, how did this one go so badly?
Perhaps no uniform and the respect that comes with it, no taser or his other tools?
Most certainly having his family behind him played a role in how aggressively he defended his area.
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Old June 10, 2013, 04:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
....this guy pulls people over for a living, how did this one go so badly?
Maybe not. He works for the prosecutors office.
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Old June 10, 2013, 04:53 PM   #13
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Applying the reasonable man test here I think we should consider his family was with him.

Yes, he shouldn't have chosen not to engage in the swerving and maybe not even stopped. But once he was there, I can see him doing it in self defense. He doesn't know if the other people might block the car if he tries to leave. If it's a busy highway they could very easily force the car into traffic if he got into to drive away. A risk I would take alone, but with family, I can't say how I would react.

I see manslaughter being a more reasonable charge
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Old June 10, 2013, 05:52 PM   #14
Vanya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakota.potts
Applying the reasonable man test here I think we should consider his family was with him.
<snip>
But once he was there, I can see him doing it in self defense. He doesn't know if the other people might block the car if he tries to leave.
No, he didn't know that. But shooting people because of what you think they might do, in the absence of an imminent threat, isn't justifiable as self-defense.

The car being driven by the man he shot stopped first. All he had to do was keep going, rather than stop behind the other car and escalate the situation; if the other car came after him, he could have driven to a police station, hospital, or pretty much any populated place, and stayed in his car.

There were any number of ways he could have removed himself from the situation. Maryland doesn't have a "stand your ground" law -- he had a duty to retreat, he had several opportunities to do so, and he didn't.

Had he been concerned about his family, the best thing to do would have been not to engage in a swerving contest and put them at risk of a car crash. Next best would have been to disengage, rather than escalating things. As it is, his concern for his family, if any, just lost them their breadwinner, husband, and dad, perhaps for a very long time; not to mention their house and savings... murder defenses cost money.
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Old June 10, 2013, 07:14 PM   #15
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Let's not forget that (according to the reports) it was Walker (the cop/shooter) who initially cut off the other driver. But it was Harvey (the victim) who pulled over. At that point, Walker could have just kept driving. It's axiomatic that you can't enter into "mutual combat" and then claim self-defense when you decide to shoot the other guy.

I don't see self-defense here. I see either second degree murder, or at least manslaughter.
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Old June 10, 2013, 09:16 PM   #16
Dashunde
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^ The start of the ordeal strikes me as someone driving in unfamiliar territory and running out of lane or not understanding how that particular intersection works, hence the perceived cutting off that led to Harvey blowing his stack.

Harvey's temperament is obviously aggressive as evidenced by his advancement towards a identified officer with a gun... I have little doubt that Harvey played a very significant role in his own demise from the start. He very well may have been obnoxiously combative by blocking Walker that led to the cut off in the first place.

While Walker clearly got himself into a unsavory position I'm inclined to give the family man LEO on vacation the benefit of the doubt here. At least for now.

A couple of points..
- Mutual combat did not commence until Harvey came at Walker on foot.
- Its unlikely that Walker could realistically get away from the Honda while driving a mini van full of kids.
- Continuing to try to drive out of this could have led to more than just Harvey ending up dead. I think Walker knew this and stopped well short of the Honda he could not evade.

Quote:
But shooting people because of what you think they might do, in the absence of an imminent threat, isn't justifiable as self-defense.
Harvey was aggressively closing on a identified LEO with a gun, he is an imminent threat. Whether Harvey is armed or not, Walker can not afford to end up in a brawl and possibly loose the gun.
As I see it, an unarmed person who continues to advance against someone pointing a gun at them can only be considered potentially lethal.

Last edited by Dashunde; June 10, 2013 at 09:24 PM.
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Old June 10, 2013, 10:21 PM   #17
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dashunde
A couple of points..
- Mutual combat did not commence until Harvey came at Walker on foot.
No, mutual combat commenced when both drivers began to engage in vehicular jousting. And I am far from likely to assume that Walker's initial cutting Harvey off was just due to being unfamiliar with the road, as opposed to the more obvious reason, which would be that Walker might just be a normally aggressive driver.

There is plenty of blame to go around here. Unfortunately, one of the parties is dead, while the other needs to face the consequences of his actions. Walker is NOT (IMHO) squeaky clean here.
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Old June 11, 2013, 12:09 AM   #18
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So far, all we have is the side of the officer, the other guy can't give his side of the story, but I would like to hear from the family of the deceased.
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Old June 11, 2013, 07:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Of course we civilians should make every effort to get away from these types of altercations, however cops are trained differently...they are supposed to confront, subdue, and arrest those who have it coming.
He's not trained to run away.
Was he a cop? I don't think so. I believe he worked for the District Attorney - that doesn't make him a trained cop - that could make him just a lawyer who carries a badge. Because if he was an off-duty cop, he would have called for backup before confronting a raging idiot.
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Old June 11, 2013, 07:55 AM   #20
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I read this story yesterday, and they said he worked for some district attorney in New Jersey, so he was probably an investigator. He had no authority or jurisdiction in Maryland, because he was not on duty, he should be treated like a civilian. This guy made some very bad decisions that will affect the rest of his life and his families. He should have not stopped and called the cops. Self defense would be hard to claim in this incident, due to him having several opportunities to exit the situation, before force was used.
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Old June 11, 2013, 07:57 AM   #21
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Full of fail all the way around (ex. why would you move toward another person brandishing a gun? Why not just drive away with your family?) Personally I'm waiting to see more facts over time. So far everything appears to be based on initial reports heavily slanted toward "the victim"..Who really cut off who to start with? Who escalated the road rage? It's quite possible that Walker was trying to get away/create distance and Harvey kept cutting him off (or vice-versa)? Did Walker exit his van with a gun, or retreat to his van and grab when threatened by Harvey? We shall see
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Old June 12, 2013, 02:13 AM   #22
Ignition Override
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If everybody decided that they don't own the road, and tried to always Allow room in front of their car to let somebody change lanes, their would be fewer problems.
Memphis TN.

Using a turn signal is polite, but real mean don't need turn signals.
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Old June 12, 2013, 06:45 AM   #23
Dashunde
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Quote:
No, mutual combat commenced when both drivers began to engage in vehicular jousting.
I think your two descriptions - jousting & combat - sum and separate the two circumstances very well.
Swerving around and acting badly without any contact falls short of "combat" for me.

Regardless of any events leading up to it, Harvey approaching Walker on foot crossed the line into combat and it cost him his life.
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Old June 12, 2013, 07:51 AM   #24
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"Approaching on foot" ??? With empty hands??? I sincerely hope no one here thinks that is justification for the use of deadly force. Most likely the victim's objective was to speak harshly to the other guy. Now, if the approach was to a group of Hell's Angels or LA street thugs, you might expect to get shot. The "Wild West" scenario is one the antis love to push, and you can bet they will be all over this one. And they're reading our posts.
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Old June 12, 2013, 08:34 AM   #25
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