Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mobile County Sheriff's Department Involved in Questionable Shooting of Marijuana Suspect

Travis Perryman, Shot by Mobile County Sheriff's Deputy
By Ron Crumpton

An undercover drug investigator for the Mobile County Sheriff’s office shot a man in the face as he sat at a red light on Government Street in Midtown Mobile.

Travis Perryman was shot in the cheek and sent to University of South Alabama Medical Center. His injury was not life threatening and he was later released from the hospital.

According to Perryman, he was looking down texting on his phone when his friend, the driver of the vehicle, stopped at a red light at the intersection of Government Street and Bradford Avenue. He saw the flash from a riffle and saw the deputy hanging out of the van. Moments later, he realized he had been shot in the face.

Perryman said there was no warning, no sirens.

He asked to use his cell phone to call his mom to tell her he had been shot. According to him, he was told that he could not use the phone; you are going to make problems for us as it is.

A representative for the Sheriff’s Department said the deputies were conducting an undercover marijuana investigation and were attempting to pull over the car.

Perryman was not charged.

Lorenzo Turner charged with 1st degree possession
The Driver, 33 year-old Lorenzo Turner, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.

Deputy John McLain, the shooter and a veteran of law enforcement with over 30 year’s experience, has been placed on administrative leave until the pending investigation is complete.

This story does not coincide with the reports from deputies that they would not stop. Remember it was Perryman’s Story that the car he was in was stopped at a red light when he was shot.

According to reports from the Mobile Press Register, “Without going into details as to what precipitated the shooting, Tucker said one shot was fired through the driver’s side window as the vans boxed the Caprice in. Perryman was struck as he sat in the front passenger’s seat.”

“Somewhere during the stop the deputies felt threatened,” Tucker said.

Tamika McGaster, who told the Press-Register she was in traffic behind the deputies, said she saw one shot fired through the car window, and then she saw men pulling the driver through that window.

Carla Goodson, who said she was standing just outside the Krispy Kreme, said she did not see the blue lights in the undercover vans come on until after the gunshot rang out.

I was unable to obtain details on the police vehicles from the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department. However, in an email conversation with Renee Dials of Fox 10 News in Mobile she said, “According to the sheriff’s office the deputies were in unmarked vehicles.”

Tucker said a quantity of marijuana, which he said was pre-packaged for street sale, was found in the car, along with a pistol in the trunk of the car that was not involved in the incident.

This brings many questions to mind.

Why did the police feel threatened, and did it justify firing through the window of a car in Midtown Mobile?

If police fired the shot through the driver’s side window and struck the passenger in the cheek, the direction and angle of the bullet would have sent it toward the sidewalk and possibly endangering pedestrians.

If this was an ongoing undercover investigation as the police have stated, why would they jeopardize the public’s safety by trying to apprehend the suspects at a Midtown location?

It would make much more sense for the safety of officers and the public to  wait until the suspects stopped and exited the car. With the suspects out in the open in a less public place, it would have been much safer for everyone involved.

If officers found marijuana packaged for resale, why was Perryman not charged? Why was Lorenzo Turner only charged with 1st degree possession?

It only seems if police could make a case for distribution or any other charge, they would have damn well filed them. It would have at least made the suspects appear more dangerous and help justify the shooting.

The whole thing sounds just a little bit odd. According to Perryman, they had no idea that they were being followed by the police until they stopped at the red light. Witness Carla Goodson, who says she did not see the lights of the police vehicles until after shots were fired, and according to a statement from police to Fox 10 News, police were in unmarked vehicles, corroborated this.

This is not to imply that deputies are guilty of anything, but there is enough evidence that this should be looked into by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Bureau of investigation.

There has been nothing provided by the MCSD to suggest that this shoot was justified. “Officer’s felt threatened” does not cut it. What was the manner of that threat?

Eyewitness accounts suggest that it was not.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me sick! How is it that these shooting by police, which are often fatal can be justified, when the substance in question, marijuana, is never fatal. How can it be legal for them to kill us over something that won't kill anyone?

    I hope to see a slew of letters to the Mobile Press Register condemning the actions by the trigger happy narcs.