Prosecutor determined death of Bing justified by JSO officer Landreville
By Opio Sokoni
The Florida/Georgia Star
State Attorney Melissa Nelson is turning out to be no different than former State Attorney Angela Corey when it comes to prosecuting Officers that kill black citizens. This week, her office determined that the killing of unarmed black man Vernell Bing by officer Tyler Landreville was justified. Bing was in a car chase where his vehicle hit a wall and came to a complete stop. Bing exited the vehicle injured and was limping away when Landreville sent bullets flying into the streets where children were playing nearby on 9th and Liberty Streets. Bing was struck in the head and died. Based on a major Supreme Court case, JSO officer Landreville was not justified.
In Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985), the U.S. Supreme Court held that when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others. This was decided under the Fourth Amendment. Use of deadly force to prevent escape is an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment.
The Fraternal Order of Police and other organizations serve to protect officers and often find language (false or otherwise) to fit into the narrative that prosecutors need to declare their decision to not prosecute officers.
The words “I was in fear for my life” are the go to language often used by police officers – even when the facts and evidence show the contrary. Officer Landreville and other officers were seen laughing that evening immediately after the shooting.
Police officers enjoy a close relationship with prosecutors which has created major problems around the country.
Often, when officers are indicted, judges then step in to help killer officers. Just recently, protestors in St. Louis marched through an upscale mall protesting a racist killing of a black man. St. Louis cop Stockley made a racist-laced statement just before killing a black man but then said he did not remember making the statement or the context.
The officer received a bench trial. Forum shopping for a judge that will rule favorably for cops in these types of cases is typical. Judge Wilson said that the racist statement was made in stress. Then the white U.S. judge said that just because the dead black man’s DNA was not on the gun and the cop’s DNA was does not mean that the gun was planted.
As racist monuments are beginning to come down around the country, police killings and racism are in the spotlight. Prosecutors doing things the old way are being challenged and removed from office by decent citizens who understand that there are major issues where officers are killing black men, women and children with impunity.
This is one case that will haunt Nelson due to the attention that it has received from local activists.
Prosecutors that are using courage to change the racism in the criminal justice system are being sought by many more voters than ever before. Another question is, where are our black local and state legislators on these issues?
More cops is not the answer – neither is trying to work with police organizations that have shown racism and disrespect towards the very community they serve.