The Problem with Police Cars

I’ve been swamped with work lately and unable to write very much, but in the meantime a lot has been happening.

  • The Kennedy Center is gearing up for the Page to Stage Festival – a big thing for us playwrights.
  • Michael has started law school full-time, which also means PILPG, Law Review, and working for the dean.
  • I’ve made some winter plans that are worthy of their own post.
  • Oh yeah and a bunch of people have been killed in the back of police cars.

Regarding that last one, I’ve been more than a little frustrated lately.

I’m talking about Chavis Carter, a Chinese acrobat known best for being able to shoot himself in his right temple while being left-handed and handcuffed behind his back in the rear seat of a police car.

Except he’s not a Chinese acrobat, he’s just a dude. And the police investigation of this case seems a bit lacking, to say the least.

Since the event happened near Memphis and Carter used to live in a Memphis suburb, I’ve been able to help my family’s law firm – which handles wrongful death cases in Memphis – to write about this topic. In my opinion, this is a wrongful death whichever way you look at it.

On a side note, if I hear another person argue about how Carter looked like a thug that night, my lost faith in humanity will be cemented and complete. What does a “thug” look like? Was he carrying Skittles, because I’m confused.

I don’t care what he looked like. I don’t care what drugs he’d taken. I don’t care.

I just care that people handcuffed in police custody not be shot in the head, by themselves or by others. Is that so unreasonable?

Anyway, learn more here:

The Wrongful Death of Chavis Carter – an article about the case before much evidence had been released.

Police Brutality and Injury Lawsuits – after a little more information was available, another kid died in the back of a police car.

Current Investigation Information (UPDATE 2/24/13: link broken) – a pretty simple rundown of all the evidence currently released (as of 8/22), with discussion of what’s glaringly missing.

(Photo by Kriss Szkurlatowski)

3 Responses to “The Problem with Police Cars”
  1. Don says:

    I don’t understand how this doesn’t lead the news every day. If he’d shot a cop while in custody with a firearm he was still carrying we’d be having the umpteenth fight about how invasive a search is reasonable when someone is stopped. We have to watch that line constantly because it gets abused into an excuse to turn out someone’s pockets to find pill-sized items in an ostensible effort to “protect officers.” But someone supposedly manages to keep a firearm on him after arrest and restraint, extricate it from its hiding place while in cuffs, and shoot himself? It defies every measure of credulity. I’m sure it can happen somehow but if this isn’t :”man bites dog” I don’t know what is.

  2. Claire says:

    Exciting first thing, upsetting last thing. And yeah… Whatever happen, this is wrongful death.

  3. jpothen says:

    Thank you for writing about Chavis. Stories like this need to be heard.

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