david cohen wrote:My read of the eye witness account, coupled with the forensic evidence that the gun was 2-4 feet away when fired, is that Heenan was closing on the officer for a second time...
This is pure conjecture on your part.
At the point that Heimsness and Paul were separated, which was after a struggle between them, it had to be clear to Heimsness that Paul was unarmed. The guy didn't even have as much as a toothpick to use as a weapon. Hell, Heimsness could have run away from a totally drunk Paul. Instead, he decided to put three bullets in Paul.
Let me repeat to make this clear. There was a struggle in which Paul was unable to get Heimsness' gun. Then there was 5 to 6 feet between them. Heimsness had to know that Paul had no weapon. But he chooses to kill Paul anyhow. If Paul had any sort of a weapon then Heimsness would have been justified in killing Paul. But Paul HAD NO WEAPON! And he was unable to take Heimsness' gun. I mean, Heimsness could have just cold cocked him.
At the very least this is a terrible judgement call. When considered in the context of Heimsness' propensity to use violence and to exercise poor judgement in two previous incidents, I have to conclude that he sucks as a police officer.
Now what I am going to say next is pure conjecture on my part. Based on Heimsness' past record of losing his temper and reacting violently, I believe that Heimsness just lost his temper at Paul, blew his cool and blew this kid away. I don't believe for one second that Heimsness feared for his life. This was a cop with many years of experience. You're going to tell me he couldn't handle an out of control UNARMED drunk without killing him..
Of course, I have no way of proving this but I have not read one argument anywhere that has even come close to changing my mind.
It is clear that the defenders of Officer Heimsness are friends of his. I understand that they want to stick up for a friend. But I didn't know Paul and I don't know Heimsness. My opinions are based on logic and reasoned analysis of the facts.
I respect police officers. I understand that it is a difficult and dangerous job. But this does not give them license to kill unarmed people and justify it by saying they were scared.