Suicide by Cop – Police Officer Grants His Wish (video)
A Carrollton Police Officer fatally shot a man outside of an Atlanta area gas station Thursday night.
Carrollton, Georgia is located about 50 miles from central Atlanta. Carrollton P.D. Corporal Chad Cook responded to a call about a man with a gun. Corporal Cook rolled up on a man later identified as 40 year old Kenneth Joel Dothard.
Police officers have come under scrutiny lately. It seems police are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Following the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson rioting ensued for over a week.
A Grand Jury cleared Officer Wilson of wrong doing in the shooting, but the meme ‘Hands up, Don’t Shoot’ persists. The meme has been disproven, but not before the myth was repeated by NBA players, Hollywood celebs and even members of Congress on the House floor.
Though cleared, Officer Darren Wilson was forced to resign from law enforcement. Fearing they may become the next Darren Wilson, cops across the country are hesitating, second guessing themselves. The Ferguson Effect is real, placing both cops and law abiding citizens in danger.
Suicide By Cop
Corporal Cook, recognized Dothard as someone he had previous contact with. When Cook approached Dothard, he noticed he had a gun in a holster.
A 7 ½ year veteran of the Carrollton Police Department, called on his radio for backup. Dolthard became visibly agitated when Cook called for another unit.
The event was captured on nearby surveillance video. From the audio portion of the recording,
Dothard becomes agitated and asks why a backup unit is necessary.
Corporal Cook: “I’m going to have to have another unit to come out here with me right now because of the questions I’m asking you. You’re making me feel like you know you shouldn’t have a gun on you.”
Dothard then puts his hand on his gun.
Corporal Cook: “Don’t take that gun out! Do not take the gun out!”
Dothard: “Do not touch me.”
Corporal Cook: “Don’t take that gun out or I’ll shoot you.”
About two seconds later, two shots can be heard.
Corporal Cook: “Shots fired! Shots fired! Shots fired! Suspect is down.”
Dothard was killed after being struck in the head. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is investigating the shooting. Investigators found a .38 caliber revolver at the scene and a box of .38 caliber ammo in Dolthard’s pocket. Corporal Cook is on paid leave.
Hesitate or Die?
Corporal Cook can be commended. Placing his own life in peril, he attempted to resolve the situation without deadly force. Dothard was repeatedly warned. Many officers would have shot Dothard the moment he placed his hand on the gun. Corporal Cook wrestled with the suspect attempting to subdue him. Ultimately, deadly force was necessary.
Corporal Cook will always question if he could have done more to avoid having to shoot Dothard. By all indications the shooting was justifiable. But did Corporal Cook act appropriately? Did recent events in Ferguson and Baltimore influence his decision to physically confront Dothard? We may never know.
Police have been criticized for being too quick to use deadly force. Often there are non-lethal alternatives, tasers, take downs, even negotiation. Just because a shooting may be justified, it doesn’t mean it is necessary.
Fortunately, Corporal Cook was able to go home that evening without injury. But events could have ended much differently. Dothard, who had two felony drug related convictions on his record, went to the morgue.
Placed between a rock and a hard place, Police officers are walking on eggshells trying to do a difficult but necessary job.