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Did An NC Cop Kill An Innocent Man?

Society & Culture  (tags: )

Sir Walk
- 3164 days ago -
Smith, a 21-year-old junior at UNC Chapel Hill, was shot just before 5 a.m. Sunday after being stopped by police in Archdale, southwest of Greensboro on Interstate 85. A police report states that Smith was stopped after he called 911 and was suicidal.

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Sir Walk F (124)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 11:18 am
From the article

Employees at Camp Mondamin in Henderson County are trying to cope with the loss of a longtime counselor killed in a confrontation with police.

“Courtland Benjamin Smith endeared himself to everyone who knew him,” Robert Danos, assistant director of the summer camp for boys in Tuxedo, said Tuesday. “He was just a phenomenal guy both as a kid and as an adult.”

Smith, a 21-year-old junior at UNC Chapel Hill, was shot just before 5 a.m. Sunday after being stopped by police in Archdale, southwest of Greensboro on Interstate 85.

A police report states that Smith was stopped after he called 911 and “indicated that he was suicidal.”

Danos said Smith, who was from Houston, spent eight summers as a camper at Camp Mondamin, starting at age 9, then worked as a counselor there following his freshman and sophomore years at UNC. Smith was an accomplished whitewater canoeist and kayaker and served on the camp's paddling staff. “He was highly involved with the kids here as a mentor and a counselor in the real sense of the word counselor,” Danos said.

The slain man's mother, Susan Smith, said her son was in good spirits just hours before police said he called 911.

“His best friend was with him at 2 a.m. and said he was fine,” she said.

Archdale is in Randolph County, just over the Guilford County line. Smith's 911 call went to a dispatcher in Guilford County, and that alert reached the Archdale police. “Once the vehicle came to a stop, a confrontation ensued,” a police statement said.

The chief assistant district attorney in Randolph County said he got a court order Monday to seal the 911 tape. “There is a valid reason related to the investigation for not releasing it,” Andrew Gregson said.

Archdale Police Chief Darrell Gibbs said the officer who shot Smith, Jeremy Paul Flinchum, 29, has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Marion Y (322)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 11:21 am

Nancy M (197)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 11:27 am
This is very sad. Thanks SWF.

Sir Walk F (124)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 11:37 am
It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds. The more attention it gets, the harder it will be to potentially attempt to sweep this under the rug.

Faith M (161)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 12:54 pm
That sealing the 911 tape sure sounds fishy and it is sad to learn that a man so loved ended up this way.
Ur right Sir Walk F This needs to be known and investigated.

Bill C (353)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 3:46 pm
If you wish to hear the 911 call, the call is 15 mins long:


Sir Walk F (124)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 4:09 pm
great find, Bill.

Why was it released?

Sir Walk F (124)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 4:18 pm
The article Bill linked to makes no mention of the 911 taped originally being 'sealed'.

What changed?

Bill C (353)
Friday August 28, 2009, 4:53 am
My guess is inter county issues. One has to realize the cops who came up of this man were not from the police department on the phone, they only knew suicidal, drunk and gun. The 911 dispacher was not in contact with them, the minimal info they had was a relay from one dispacher to another then to the police. 911 calls are only heard by the county you are calling

My guess is a sad one and that when the guy got out of his car in the dark holding an object and refusing to obay commands the officer felt their life was in danger. I have to look at this from both sides of the coin.

Arild Gone for now (174)
Friday August 28, 2009, 9:06 am
Do these policemen only get a two week csash course? Sad story.

Past Member (0)
Friday August 28, 2009, 10:35 am
There are many ways to stop this madness----I know some of them and many of you do too. But not much is going to change till we take our country Back
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chris b (2474)
Friday August 28, 2009, 11:00 am
Did the guy have a weapon ? Did he threaten the officer? Can we can assume he was part compliant but until more detail emerges it does sound like trigger happy cop syndrome! The 911 tape is very detailed he sounds drunk and at one point claims to be driving at 95 mph and wanting to get to 110 mph he states he has emailed his parents any detail they need to know and continually avoids divulging his name as he chats to operator, his speech is slurred as he tells the operator the mile marker numbers etc and he claims to have 9mm pistol, he pulls over you can hear the sirens approach, what sounds vaguely like a shouted warning or challenge, then odd unintelligible bits of conversation and eventually the sound goes! So if this was suicide by cop confrontation we may never know.You know what I'm going to say now don't you! You bet; ban guns as even the police cannot be trusted with them, ban all other weapons air guns, bb pistols, crossbows, shotguns, rifles, catapults and like stuff. They have no place in a so called civilised society! Follow the UK lead, ban guns and as you maybe aware our cops are seldom armed and when they are they inevitably from time too time kill innocent and unarmed civilians! Save lives ban guns period!

Sir Walk F (124)
Saturday August 29, 2009, 11:59 am
Oh, absolutely, bill. I am not trying to 'blame' the police. What grabbed my attention initially, was the fishyness of the story,a nd the fact the 911 tapes were 'sealed'.

But then another news group posts the 911 tapes, and makes no mention of them ever being sealed.

The original story i read STILL, today, claims the tapes were sealed.

Certainly the police acted well within reason considering the information they had access to.

My question is why the tape was supposedly sealed according to one news source, and another news source makes no mention of the fact.

chris--for me this has nothing to do with 'banning guns'.

chris b (2474)
Saturday August 29, 2009, 12:14 pm
If guns were banned this guy would still be alive QED

Sir Walk F (124)
Sunday August 30, 2009, 10:42 am
True, chris. But you could say the same thing about cell phones, cars, or alcohol in this incident. If he hadnt made a drunken call to 911, he wouldnt be dead. If he hadnt been driving, there's a good chance he'd still eb alive. Should we ban cars and alcohol, too?

chris b (2474)
Sunday August 30, 2009, 1:20 pm
Cell phones, cars and alcohol do not have the specific purpose of manufacture being to kill. True drinking can kill either by its effect on the drinker or if he or she chooses to drive while impaired through drinking it is more than likely to kill an innocent bystander or other innocent driver if they lose control or drive inappropriately and this guy who certainly sounded either drunk or drugged on the 911 tape was at one time claiming to be driving at 95 and going for more speed at 110 so yes we can make a good case for banning alcohol ask any officer who has to deal with alcohol related misbehavours in any UK city on a Saturday night and they would happily agree to ban it and I'm sure it's little different in US cities Our NHS could spend the time dealing with deserving cases rather than the alcohol induced injuries that pour in around closing time which account for more than 80% of the ER workload at most of our hospitals so yes ban alcolhol. What's interesting about alcohol and indeed nicotine is if they had not already been aroung before drug controls where introduced neither would have gotten a licence because of there toxic properties so if they came onto the market plece tomorrow they would get suppressed immediately! Cars well the answer to that one is thereare too many being driven by an alarming untrained collection of people who are not suited to driving because of there predisposition to violence and therefore using there vehicle as a weapon and there are those that simply are incompetent drivers and then there are those that are allowed on the raods with far too little driving experinence such as new drivers going solo should be put of for a much greater length of time . Children driving cars or certainly people with childish traits driving cars is something that our traffic officers and fire and rescue service along with paramedics are dealing with every minute of the day in the UK and again I doubt there is much difference across the pond Driving is a privelege not a right it has to be treated with the respect it deserves so fools that drink, text and make phone calls whilst driving should not have a licence in the first place and managers that harrass there staff while those staff are driving, via mobile phones should be charged with a criminal offence of inducing driver inattention! Well thats a few of my thoughts but guns should be consigned to the history of the wild west etc not displayed as some macho symbol by otherwise inadequate neanderthals!!

Sir Walk F (124)
Sunday August 30, 2009, 5:32 pm
Well, Chris, you make some good points, but not the right context. Your statement was that banning guns would have prevented this situation. What I am saying is, Guns really had little to do with what happened here. No more than alcohol or cars. If the kid really was suicidal, he would have found another way to die.

did the police act wrongly in this situation? How would your beloved UK police respond to an apparently drunken man calling 911 saying he wants to kill himself? Let's assume all is the same, minus any guns.

As for your last statement about 'inadequate neanderthals', you really show your stripes there. Although i love the idea of banning some guns outright, worldwide, i also recognize that isnt going to happen. And i see no reason for disposing of useful tools like hunting rifles.

I think a better solution would be to allow criminal charges be placed on the gun manufacture's hands when a crime is committed, but we have seen extensive legislation attempting to prevent that. In the meantime, we have billions of automatic weapons, assault rifles, handguns on the market, that will always be around. Until we successfully get rid of ALL of them, who decides who gets them and who doesnt?

Also, notice how paragraph breaks make for an easier read? Thirdly, do you always regurgitate talking points instead of looking at the specifics of a situation?


chris b (2474)
Monday August 31, 2009, 6:26 am
The 911 tape is probably the only reliable witness in this scenario and if you listen to it you will hear all the points I have previously mentioned. It is worth pointing out that when police respond in any situation part of the responce includes a risk assessment and the risk perceived here was manifold, involving a speeding, apparently drunk person claiming to have a gun and not wanting to stop as well as being intent on taking his life. The police response takes all of that on board danger to themselves and the general public being their priorities whatever police force is involved. A fairly standard procedure. As the car had come to a stop by the time police arrived the problem had been reduced and the next problem becomes the presence of a gun whether fact or simply a report the officer on the ground would have to assume the existance of a gun. His responce is another gun. My point being if there had indeed been no gun and no report of a gun the officer would not have to have factored the risk into how he dealt with the situation therefore his responce would not have required lethal force or whatever it might be determined as when the ton of paperwork is completed!

I'm not sure how you determine "Beloved UK Police" but the procedure would have required the tasking of a high speed persuit vehicle some of which carry arms and are manned by specially trained drivers and or firearms personnel. Dependant on which police force area the incident happened in and the assistance of dog units and force helicoptors as well as the sometimes assistance of passing truck drivers to use as road blockers. The reasoning would be no different to the US except the first responce officer would not be armed unless the first responce was taken by an armed unit or the threat level was ascertained before officers were dispatched. If you have read my post else where you will know the often outcome of sending an armed responce is someone getting killed and that unfortunately has alo resulted in unarmed and innocent individuals being shot like the Brazilian electrician shot seven times at close quarter by the Met TFG on the London underground because they thought he was a terrorist and looked a bit foreign. or the charity worker that drove his van the wrong way up a motorway and was shot dead by Humberside police.

Violence begets violence and is if we are going to get religious those that live by sword shall surely die by the sword and as I have pointed out many times the use of or aquisation of firearms for say personnel protection simply invites the perceived threat ie the criminals or gangs to tool up with bigger and more weaponry to which you alluded there is a whole pile of weaponry out there Some have equipped themselves with bigger vehicles to feel safer. The end logic of this is all of us driving around in military tanks toting huge belt fulls of guns etc. As for not apparently taking to my remark about inadequate neanderthals you may have misinterpreted that. By that remark I mean anyone who by displaying weaponry seeks to gain the respect of either his or her peers or community clearly demonstrates their inadeguacy by having to substitute these symbols of death and destruction for nobler attributes. The caveman although much maligned perhaps had to show who was boss by having the biggest club To me that is one of the downsides of US culture that there appear to be a signifcant number of relics from the caveman culture that the UK must have inadvertantly exported to America a couple of centuries or so ago when we were having a spring clearout sale of part worn rednecks. For this I humbly apologise to the caring and wonderfully generous warm hearted people that most Americans are! PS we don't want them back! And I make no apology for regurgitating something that makes me sick! One of the US's finest attributes is it's patriotism something we are not allowed in the UK in case it offends anyone so we would like to import that from you!
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