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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Residents Want Police Force Disbanded After Cop Shoots Neighbor

Elgin, Ore., Residents Want Police Force Disbanded After Cop Shoots Neighbor
The Seattle Daily Weekly by Curtis Cartier - August 29, 2011

​In the aftermath of the John T. Williams shooting, Seattleites voiced outrage in many ways, some calling for charges against the officer who shot him, others calling for a residents' oversight board to monitor the police, and others calling for SPD Chief John Diaz to resign. Compare that reaction to the town of Elgin, Ore., where a similarly suspect police shooting has made the residents there call for much more drastic action. Specifically, many of them want the entire police department abolished.

The AP reports: . . . the incident has so angered residents that many are demanding the small police department be disbanded, even as other communities across the country struggle to maintain police forces amid budget cuts. "It was murder," said John Thibodeau, 78, who retired to Elgin from Reno, Nev., 27 years ago. "I absolutely think they need to go."

The "murder" Thibodeau speaks of is the death of Richard "Dickie" Shafer. Shafer was recently killed by Ofc. Eric Kilpatrick, who had responded to a domestic disturbance call and found Shafer and his wife fighting. According to Shafer's wife, her husband had a loaded AR-15 assault rifle that he told the officer about, then asked if he could unload it and put it in his truck. The officer supposedly agreed, but while Shafer was emptying the magazine, Kilpatrick became agitated and Tased Shafer, then shot him in the chest. Shafer's wife says her husband was never aggressive with the weapon. The police department says Shafer pointed the gun at the officer. Ofc. Kilpatrick, as it turns out, has been complained about by residents before for apparently acting nervous and always keeping his hand on his gun. So now residents are left to decide whether to keep the police force at all or to contract with the county sheriff's department instead. No doubt there were a few people in Seattle who would have liked to have made a similar decision after the John T. Williams case.

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