Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Did Prince Georges County Officer Gary Allen lie about getting hit by a car?

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Case: Jones v. Allen, Dist. Court, D. Maryland 2016


According to the Plaintiff, Barksdale, and Battle, the Honda at all times drove away from the officers and never made contact with an officer or any other object. . . . In fact, the Plaintiff testified that neither officer was ever around the Honda, and that Plaintiff had jumped in the passenger seat of the Honda, Allen was to the left of the Honda close to the rear of his cruiser. Battle also testified to having seen the officers in front of the Honda about five to ten feet away when the shooting occurred and that while Allen fell at some point, Battle did not see the Honda hit him.

Defendant Officers recount these events differently. They testified that as the Honda drove out of the driveway, the vehicle struck Allen, Deposition of Gregory Powell, According to Allen, he fired after the vehicle hit him “when the vehicle was directly beside” him, because Allen feared he “could have got [sic] ran over by the rear of the vehicle.” At Barksdale’s criminal trial, Powell also testified that he was about ten feet away from the vehicle when he saw the driver’s side front of the vehicle hit Allen, prompting him to shoot at the vehicle. (“My reason for firing is because he [Allen] got hit by the car. He [Barksdale] used the car as a weapon.”).

Comment: As I best understand this portion of the opinion, Officer Allen is claiming that after the front of the car hit him he was standing beside the car worried that the rear of the car would hit him, prompting him to shoot at the car. This seems incredible on its face for at least the reason that if was worried that the car would hit him then it would have been much safer to get out of the way than to aim and fire. The kind of magical thinking that Officer Allen is trying to get us to engage in is mirrored by deposition testimony of one of his fellow officers (Officer Gregory Powell) who testified that he shot at the car while it was driving away because he feared that it was dragging Officer Allen. Think about that for a second . . . a car is dragging a fellow police officer and that makes it acceptable to shoot at the car!!!

Another Comment: While Judge Paula Xinis did not buy into the police officers’ testimony, I think she could have expressed more incredulity towards the police officers than she did.

Written by Burgers Allday

September 24, 2016 at 9:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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