"Justified" is a strange word to use about the mistaken, unnecessary death of a homeowner. “Justified,” sounds almost triumphant – or self-satisfied – about tragic incompetence.
Yesterday afternoon the Pima County Attorney’s Office said Pima County SWAT members who fired 71 shots at Marine veteran, Jose Guerena (and into a surrounding neighborhood) were “reasonable and justified”. Chief Criminal Deputy David Beckman reported, "Under the circumstances, and based upon our review of all the available evidence, we have concluded that the use of deadly force by the SWAT Team members was reasonable and justified under the law. Accordingly the Pima County Attorney's Office finds no basis to prosecute." (KGUN 9 TV) http://www.kgun9.com/story/14900676/tucson-swat-officers-cleared
A County Attorney states the obvious, and Tucsonans are expected to sigh in relief.
The County Attorney has confirmed there was no intentional criminal act committed by SWAT on May 5th. More important, the County Attorney specified there was not enough evidence to charge the SWAT team with a crime.
For criminal prosecution, intent must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in court. Not a chance.
But there never was a question of criminal liability. The question was of incompetence and reckless disregard for the safety of innocent civilians. The question was about the briefing, timing, method and training of an assault team on a disastrous search warrant.
The team did not commit a crime. No one with real knowledge of our justice system and our laws ever accused the ill-chosen SWAT team of committing a crime. Their actions, statements and video showed a badly prepared and poorly led group of men placed in a deadly situation by incompetent superiors. Community condemnation is not for those who shot Jose Guerena in his home, but for those who implemented those policies of clumsy overreaction and needless overkill in pursuit of an erratic drug investigation.
A Marine veteran with no criminal record was shot in his home; a young widow and two small sons are without a husband and father; a residential neighborhood was sprayed with bullets. And Tucsonans are told the SWAT raid and responses were "reasonable and justified”?
Where is the remorse, admission, and abject apology from our County Sheriff?
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