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  • Not a good time for LPD.

    (LOUISVILLE, December 6th, 2002, 5 p.m.) -- After responding to a cry for help, police say a detective fatally shot a handcuffed man 12 times because he wouldn't drop his weapon.

    James Taylor, 50, was shot multiple times at 6:02 p.m. Thursday in his one-room apartment in downtown Louisville. Taylor, a convicted felon, was pronounced dead at 6:14 p.m. by Jefferson County deputy coroner Rick Siclari.

    Louisville Police detective Michael O'Neil was placed on routine administrative leave pending an investigation, Police Chief Greg Smith said.

    Detective Brian Luckett was also placed on administrative leave. He was with O'Neil when they responded to the disturbance at Taylor's apartment. Luckett did not fire a weapon, Smith said at a news conference Friday morning.

    O'Neil and Luckett, dressed in plain clothes, were searching for a witness in an unrelated case at a residence next door to Taylor's apartment. After hearing a commotion, the officers walked into the apartment complex, heard a woman cry for help and saw Taylor's door ajar, Smith said.

    Two women and two men, along with Taylor, were in the apartment.

    "He (Taylor) was in a very agitated, very aggressive state. He was ready to fight," Smith said, adding that O'Neil and Luckett saw crack pipes in the room upon their entry.

    The officers then handcuffed Taylor and set him in a chair to calm him down. One of the women then told the officers that Taylor had a knife.

    O'Neil and Luckett then told Taylor to stand up. After resisting, O'Neil pulled him up by his arm. That's when it's believed that Taylor pulled a knife with a 3-inch blade from his pocket, Smith said.

    "He then began slashing from his hip," Smith said.

    O'Neil ordered Taylor to drop the knife, but instead the victim lunged at O'Neil. O'Neil fired his gun one time, Smith said.

    The bullet did not stop the victim. He continued pursuing O'Neil, backing him into a corner of the room, Smith said. O'Neil responded by shooting his gun 11 more times -- the gun held 16 bullets.

    Smith said as Taylor lunged at O'Neil, Luckett tried to take him down by kicking him.

    Taylor, who served 10 years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter in 1984 in Louisville, was believed to have been under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time of the shooting, according to witness statements.

    "Witnesses said Taylor had been drinking vodka and smoking crack all day," Smith said. "Put both of those together and you have a very dangerous situation."

    The statements of all four witnesses were consistent with the detectives stories, Smith said.

    Along with the manslaughter conviction, Taylor had been charged with alcohol intoxication, probation violations and drug offenses. Taylor was released from a second prison term in June 2001 after being convicted of cocaine possession, according to Debbie Linnig Michals, spokeswoman for Jefferson County Circuit Court.

    Both O'Neil, 27, and Luckett, 25, joined LPD in 1999. This is the first time that either officer has been put on administrative leave for shooting incidents, Smith said.

    Neighbors say there were always a lot of people coming and going in the apartment. One neighbor says she's "been getting nervous because there are so many different people that I've been seeing in and out and stuff, so that's been making me nervous, even without the shooting."

    The shooting is under investigation.

    Thursday night's shooting was the fourth police shooting in our area this year. In April, a man was shot after a standoff with police. After police tried to serve a warrant on Terry Hines at his apartment on Nob Hill Lane, Hines refused to be arrested and threatened them.

    A SWAT team sent in a canine unit and Hines stabbed the dog with a butcher knife. That's when an officer shot him.

    This is getting really ugly folks, there have been protests outside of LPD headquarters asking for Chief Smith to resign. Here is an update:

    (LOUISVILLE, December 13th, 2002, 4 p.m.) -- Jefferson County's coroner and prosecutor are expressing concern over the fatal shooting by Louisville police of a handcuffed man, and questioning whether it was necessary.

    Jefferson County's coroner says an autopsy report shows the handcuffed man who was killed by a Louisville police detective was hit by eleven bullets and not seven as previously reported.

    Taylor, 50, died within a minute of being shot, said Dr. Richard Greathouse, the Jefferson County coroner.

    Greathouse said it was the first time he can recall since being elected 29 years ago that police had "riddled with bullets" a suspect who was already handcuffed. "The circumstances are very troubling, to say the least," Greathouse said. "It is a really great cause for concern why this was necessary."

    Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Stengel also said he was "devastated" by the shooting, which he expects will be presented to a grand jury after police investigations are concluded.

    "I haven't seen (all) the facts yet, but on its face, it looks so horrible," said Stengel, whose office decides if such cases are presented to the grand jury.

    "This looks like one that will go," he said.

    Police Chief Greg Smith has said that Detective Mike O'Neil fired 12 shots at the handcuffed Taylor after he threatened O'Neil and Detective Brian Luckett with a box-cutter knife. Smith said the detectives were unable to disarm or subdue Taylor, who had backed O'Neil into the corner of Taylor's one-room apartment near downtown.

    Offering the first public defense of O'Neil, his lawyer, Steve Schroering, said, "Detective O'Neil was clearly in fear of his life at the time he fired and police are trained to fire until the threat is stopped."

    Luckett's lawyer, Scott C. Cox, declined to comment.

    Greathouse said seven bullets and two bullet fragments were recovered from Taylor; all hit the front of his body. The preliminary autopsy report doesn't say how far away O'Neil was from Taylor when he fired.

    Greathouse says the autopsy and toxicology showed Taylor was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine.

    The bullets lacerated Taylor's heart, lungs, spleen, diaphragm and liver, and fractured a rib and Taylor's left shoulder, Greathouse said. Taylor was so severely injured that he would have died even if there had been an operating room next door, the coroner said.

    He said he gave a copy of the preliminary autopsy report and a coroner's report to the FBI, which also is investigating Taylor's death.

    The Rev. Louis Coleman, executive director of the Justice Resource Center, said the preliminary results show the shooting was "an execution of an individual with his hands behind his back. This was horrific."

    Aubrey Williams, who is co-counsel for Taylor's estate, said Taylor couldn't have charged the officers with the knife unless he came at them sideways. And if he was doing that, Williams said, the bullets should have entered Taylor's side, rather than the front of his body.

    [ 12-16-2002, 12:40 AM: Message edited by: Piper ]

  • #2
    It was his fault for attacking someone with a gun while he was handcuffed.

    Coked and boozed up, manslaughter? Oh yeah, he was definately a victim, it's so obvious.

    [ 12-16-2002, 12:35 AM: Message edited by: n567 ]
    Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn't any. But this wrongs the jackass.
    -Mark Twain


    • #3
      Isn't it a rather standard and acceptable practice to search someone before handcuffing them?


      • #4
        or right after? It's interesting. A year ago, before I became the proud owner of firearms, I would've thought it was unnecessary to shoot someone 12 times. Since I began practicing, I see how it would be very easy to unload one's firearm into an attacker. I've actually pondered what it would appear like to an outsider. I know most people can't fathom the idea of shooting someone 12 times. I'm afraid I can't fathom the idea of only shooting someone 1 time.

        I hope this whole thing works out and nobody tries to bring a lawsuit against the officer.
        Have you ever noticed? Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.


        • #5
          Grrr...they find it so easy to pick apart a split-second scared-****less action!
          But, James Taylor???? not the one I'm thinking of, of course...LOL
          I hope the guys make it through this, tell them we're praying for them!


          • #6
            Where is it any of the coroner's business to editorialize and stir up trouble? His duty is solely to determine cause of death. It is the duty of the police and district attorney to determine if any laws or procedures were violated in causing the death.

            The crackhead shouldn't have pulled the knife. He learned that you shoot the threat until it is abated.
            Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

            I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq


            • #7
              ateamer is right about the coroner.
              A swift kick to the abs may have brought him down without shooting. But that F$#K was all cracked up. it is not the first time a doper had to be shot many times. Plus he did time for manslaughter. I think he did the human race a favor.
              It is just sad that arm chair quaterbacks have to make the "real" decisions.

              Taylor's estate....
              Since when did a crackhead living in the projects have an estate?

              Disclaimer: The writer does not represent any organization, employer, entity or other individual. The views expressed are those only of the writer. In the case of a sarcastic, facetious, nonsensical, stirring-the-pot, controversial or devil's advocate-type post, the views expressed may not even reflect those of the writer [This sig stolen from Brickcop who stole it from Frank Booth].


              • #8
                I got a question Piper, are the **** eating, carcas picking vultures, otherwise known as Jefferson County's coroner and prosecutor, elected officials?? Cause it sure sounds like they are pandering for votes by publicly crucify two cops, before the investigation is even finished!

                And let's not forget the Rev. Louis Coleman, it doesn't sound like he has an agenda at all!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by C in a J:
                  Isn't it a rather standard and acceptable practice to search someone before handcuffing them?

                  It is ABSOLUTELY NOT a standard practice to search BEFORE handcuffing an arrestee. The Dept. of Criminal Justice Training in Richmond, KY does not train officers to search before handcuffing. Searching is always done afterwards. Terry frisks notwithstanding, there should never be an exception.
                  I agree 100% that a coroner should not be making public statements about how a case looks. All he/she needs to do is report the cause of death. I'm surprised the Commonwealth Attorney commented the way he did as well. Why give opinions about a case in the same breath as saying that you don't have all the facts yet?
                  There is no doubt these officers are in for a rough ride (not due to their actions but because of race issues/political pressure/etc.), but they do have some things going for them. The fact that all four of the witnesses support their story is huge. The deceased having cocaine and alcohol in his system is important as well.
                  My thoughts and prayers are with the officers and their families.

                  [ 12-16-2002, 08:10 AM: Message edited by: Deputy757 ]


                  • #10
                    11 shots into a charging, ARMED suspect. There's a term for that: Panic Dump. It's taught in all the major firearms training schools nationwide. It's an acceptable response to the situation the officer found himself in.
                    "When you guys get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she's dating a *****."
                    -Commanding General, 1st Marine Division


                    • #11
                      God Bless the officers. Sounds like the coroner and the prosecutor are trying to take advantage of this situation.

                      Cocaine is some wicked stuff. I would much rather deal with someone on mj.

                      Wouldn't you think that by age 50 people would grow up? No matter what happens with this, at least the officers made it home safe.
                      Drug Recognition Expert


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SpecOpsWarrior:
                        I got a question Piper, are the **** eating, carcas picking vultures, otherwise known as Jefferson County's coroner and prosecutor, elected officials??
                        And let's not forget the Rev. Louis Coleman, it doesn't sound like he has an agenda at all!

                        They are elected officals. ::sigh::

                        And don't even get me started on the "Rev.Coleman". He was arrested last week during a protest regarding the shooting. He is really a thorn in the community's side.

                        I'll keep you all updated on this, let's hope the officers are treated fairly. What gets me most, is all this second, third and fourth guessing. The officers did what they felt they needed to do at the time to save their lives. [Frown]


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by That Guy:
                          Taylor's estate.... Since when did a crackhead living in the projects have an estate?

                          Someone's gotta get the Lincoln Navigator...


                          • #14
                            I hope the detective is a member of the PBA, FOP or some other organization that will be footing the bill for his legal defense.

                            It is amazing how much the family of the deceased cares about him now that he's dead. They didn't show much interest before if they're letting him smoke crack all day.

                            Like the old story goes: Don't bring a knife to a gun fight!


                            • #15
                              Cops (and CCW Holders) need to do a better job of getting the word out on how firearms are used.

                              You shoot until the attack stops. That could be one shot or a thousand...and it completely justifies this situation.

                              I'd love to see a little pamphlet down at the local PD, right next to the one that tells me to keep my gun locked up and way from children. Call it "When police use deadly force" and use real small words to let the general public know how LE is trained.

                              I think it would go a long way to helping this type of situation be understood by the general public...

                              My .02

                              [ 12-16-2002, 05:44 PM: Message edited by: Lictalon ]
                              I haven't felt this good since we stole the 2000 elections!--Ned Flanders


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