It seems to me this has to be negligent homicide. I don’t see how you reach for your gun, point it, fire, and kill a person and say “Oops, I didn’t mean to do that.” Before anyone brings up Alec Baldwin, I would say the same thing about that situation, though obviously it was a different set of facts.
I’ve never been in a gunfight, but I’ve been in lots of bar fights working bar security. There’s something to be said about how mindlessly you can revert to your training when the whistle blows and you’re in a violent situation, but even then…
I was always keenly aware of exactly what I was doing and never lost control of the force I was applying to another person. Your training is just muscle and mind memory that shortens the time between the moment you take the situation in via your senses and the moment you act on the situation with your movements after processing the information through the framework of your training. I never accidentally smashed someone’s face in or accidentally deranged a shoulder joint.
Zoning out in a fight is not unlike those highway hypnosis moments where you stop and ask yourself “was I really driving thoughtfully this whole time?”, and yes, you were. You were making all the right decisions, all without accidentally running someone’s puppy over or smashing into Grandma’s Buick.
She was a field training officer who somehow confused a Glock for a taser. Going back to the highway hypnosis example, that would be like confusing your parking brake for your normal brake. Someone’s probably done it somewhere at some point, but most people who’ve zoned out and let their training take over behind the wheel don’t make that mistake because it is such a different motion with such a different feel that probably involves a different foot than what you normally use to slow down.
I have thousands of rounds through Glocks. They feel exactly like Glocks, which have a distinct grip shape, grip angle and weight. I haven’t trained with tasers but they are light and they don’t have Glock grips. They are far lighter than any service caliber gun. They won’t feel anything like a Glock.
My personal opinion here is highly sexist. This probably has no legal bearing on the matter, but she’s a woman. Women aren’t as good at handling violence as men. I don’t think there was any malice involved, but she’s an adult who assumed the responsibility and she ought to have known better. She ought to have trained more.
This seems like such an avoidable mistake that it falls into the egregious category for me. I don’t think she should spend the rest of her life behind bars, but this is 100 percent on her.
Hopefully there will be no prison time. It seems to me that the conviction is appropriate, given that negligence and/or recklessness was the mental state that the prosecutor had to show. But she’ll never be a cop again, and shouldn’t be; adding jail time serves no purpose.
My opinion on it, is that it can’t be proven it’s wasn’t an accident. I don’t think this lady is a danger to society if she isn’t a cop anymore (and gets any guns she owns taken), and I don’t think we should punish for accidents (just don’t let that person do anything that could be dangerous, like being an officer, or having a gun in this case). I just don’t see a prison sentence as helping anyone.
What about accidents to due to negligent or risky behaviors? A drunk driver can say it was an accident, and it might very well be true, when he kills a family in another car. Accidents don’t mean we are not responsible and shouldn’t face consequences.
That about sums it up. She clearly doesn’t have the disposition to have ever been a cop. And when the shit hit the fan, she couldn’t handle it. What am I supposed to do, the verdict is in. If I want to respect the process of other cases, I have to also respect this one. I don’t think she belongs in prison, but I don’t get to decide.
What she did wrong, is immediately admitted guilt and she incriminated herself. She had the right to use deadly force in that situation yet, she’s going to prison for a long time. Why? I think it’s because she was resting her case on it being an accident, but the law doesn’t care and people don’t care.
If you a juror in a racially charged case, you have a defendant admitting she did what they accused her of doing, are you then going to say she didn’t do it? Is it worth having your house burnt to the ground because the defendant is sympathetic and didn’t mean to? A man is dead and she did it. Regardless of the fact he probably deserved it, she stated definitively that she did the wrong thing.
She needed to handle her case very differently, IMHO. Doing the Monday morning QB thing I think she ought to have stood up for herself and definitively forcing the scrutiny to be on the suspect. That he was a danger to himself and others and stopping him was the imperative, regardless of how in the interest of public safety and the fact that she grabbed the wrong weapon is incidental to the situation. In other words, I would go with a justifiable homicide case. That shocked or dead, that guy needed to be stopped right then and there. Ah, but it is what it is. She did it, she admitted it, maybe she should have cut a deal instead.
Maybe not an accidents are the same. I don’t think that drunk driving is a good comparison, because that requires a decision to engage in the activity. I’m not convinced in this case that she didn’t pay attention in training. I just think it was a heat of the moment accident. Iirc, this isn’t the first time a gun has been mistaken for a taser by an officer, but it’s the first time it has resulted in death. I thought I heard it’s happened 9 times in the past.
In some states, the law would say that Wright made the reckless choice to commit Felony Evading Arrest or some Vehicular assault type crime. And that because this happened during the course of the crime, Wright was responsible for the “accident.”
How about this:
She committed no crime, for reasons covered by @twojarslave; however, the Department Command Staff and City/locality have been negligent in retaining her and putting her in positions for which she was a poor fit-I’ll bet just about every Officer and Sergeant there would tell you that she had no business being in that position, if you had a few drinks with them at the local bar. The government that employed her should be forking over money, but she should not be in prison.
Then they would be accused of sexism and no cop wants to say that women, if they are allowed to become cops, should be writing parking tickets or making coffee. There are always exceptions but there’s a reason why they are called exceptions. It’s the same in the military.