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02-06-08, 10:17 AM #1
Jury asked to weigh deputies' conduct against suspect's
Winston Hayes was cornered in Compton in 2005 after a car chase. Officers fired 120 times.
By John Spano, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 6, 2008
Winston Hayes knows it was probably the "biggest mistake" of his life when he led Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies on a low-speed chase through a Compton neighborhood three years ago: He was driving under the influence, evading arrest and was shot at 120 times by deputies during a wild incident captured by a freelance cameraman and televised on newscasts nationwide.
"Mr. Hayes is accepting full responsibility for the mistakes he made that evening," Hayes' attorney, Brian Dunn, told a jury Tuesday at the opening of a civil trial on the incident.
What Hayes, 46, now wants is for the 10 deputies who opened fire to pay him for their own actions May 9, 2005.
Jurors are being asked to consider whether the deputies' misconduct and lack of fire control was so egregious that it overshadowed the crimes Hayes committed.
County officials have conceded that mistakes were made. After the shooting, Sheriff Lee Baca said the use of deadly force was excessive and handed out suspensions ranging from two to 15 days. The department also tightened its shooting policy, and nine of the deputies involved publicly apologized for putting residents in harm's way.
According to sources, county lawyers sought to settle with Hayes for $500,000, but he wanted more.
On Tuesday, Deputy County Counsel Dennis M. Gonzales said deputies were justified in shooting at Hayes because they legitimately feared for their lives when it appeared he was going to run them down with his sport utility vehicle.
The trial is about "a tragic monster incident that was created by one man -- Winston Hayes," Gonzales said.
Jurors were shown a clip of a video made by a freelance photographer, who captured the shooting. It showed deputies maneuvering on foot and in squad cars around Hayes' SUV, followed by a heavy burst of fire. A deputy is shown slipping to one knee, then quickly getting back up. The SUV moves very slowly and taps a police car, coming to a halt. Then there is another burst of gunfire.
Dunn argued that the deputies weren't properly trained and ignored the training they were given. Deputies were taught to avoid shooting at vehicles, and if they fired, to fire in two- and three-round bursts, "then stop and reassess," Dunn said.
"Many of the deputies fired until they could not fire again, reloaded, and kept firing," Dunn said. "The force used was excessive, unnecessary, and most important, it was deadly force."
On the night of the incident, deputies were investigating a report of shots fired in Compton. Hayes' vehicle, authorities said, was similar to the one described in the shots-fired report. As deputies approached Hayes' SUV, he fled, leading them on a slow-speed chase around the neighborhood.
An audiotape was presented of a deputy monitoring the situation from a helicopter. She told pursuing deputies that Hayes' white Suburban was moving "very erratically" and was involved in a series of near misses with police vehicles. Later, she warned deputies on the street below:
"It looks as though he's actually aiming to hit deputies. You guys watch yourselves. He's aiming to hit you."
Hayes was shot several times during the barrage of gunfire but survived his injuries. A deputy was also hit in the crossfire, but the round struck his bulletproof vest.
Hayes has admitted using "primo" -- cocaine laced with marijuana -- before the incident, authorities said.
On Tuesday, jurors saw a video taken in a hospital emergency room 90 minutes after the shooting in which Hayes tries to refuse medical treatment and calls the doctors "devils" dozens of times.
Hayes is expected to testify that he was in his vehicle near his home when he heard shots fired. According to his attorney, Hayes fled because he didn't know the men were deputies. Dunn said Hayes admits he should have stopped when squad cars with sirens and flashing lights and pursued. Instead, he drove for 10 minutes, until he was "cornered" on a residential street, Dunn said.
"He made probably the biggest mistake of his life -- not stopping immediately," Dunn told jurors. Hayes, an ex-convict, recovered from his injuries, pleaded no contest to evading arrest and was sentenced to three years in prison. He was released in September 2006 after serving 452 days. Hayes' criminal record shows five convictions in Los Angeles for misdemeanor resisting arrest, and prosecutors said they were prepared to present evidence of more arrests in Ventura and Orange counties.
L.A. County Superior Court Judge Rose Hom ruled that only one of the resisting arrest convictions may be introduced as evidence, finding the other incidents were too dissimilar to the 2005 chase to be useful to jurors.
The backgrounds of the deputies also have been at issue: Dunn said that at least four of the deputies involved had personal service histories that included the use of deadly force. But that information was also unlikely to be presented to the jury.
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02-06-08, 12:18 PM #2Corporal
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That city and some of the surrounding cities are the scariest I have ever been in.. I can totally understand the deputies actions after riding with them a few times... it is a literal "Urban Jungle" there... don't get me wrong there are nice areas... but most of the "clients" are ruthless... I wish the jury could go out and ride with those deputies for a few hours to see what they have to deal with on a daily basis... It is not Mr. Rogers neighborhood.
This guy was aiming at the deputies... he was high on narcotics.. and he was not going down without a fight... screw him... he doesn't deserve a dime...
02-06-08, 10:36 PM #3
This is a bad idea that will lead to more Monday morning quarterbacking of leo decisions. This will lead to people wanting to sue officers b/c they were upset the way an officer handles a ticket.
Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:
"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat
"Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway
The opinions given in my signatures & threads DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "Five-0" on Officerresource.com
02-07-08, 12:35 AM #4
What those guys did was wrong......................... ..they should've aimed just a little higher. Typical turd trying to get something for nothing. What the public doesn't understand is how quick a guy can get off 10 rounds. 10 deputies x 12 rounds each = 120 rounds. That could be done and over with in seconds."When you stop learning, you deny yourself the opportunity to grow." ~TDSA Tulsa~
"Anyone who gets in a fair fight…..has no tactical skills"
"We're entirely surrounded, those poor bastards. They've got us right where we want 'em. We can shoot in every direction now." ~General Chesty Puller~
"I firmly believe that you live and learn, and if you don't learn from past mistakes, then you need to be drug out and shot." ~R. Lee Ermy~
02-07-08, 12:58 AM #5
The standard is called "objective reasonableness" by the USSC. The only "actions" of the arrestee that should be weighed are the offensive actions which could have placed the "reasonable" officer in fear of recieving great bodily injury. These are weighed given the perceptions, observations, training, and experience of the officers themselves, and have nothing whatsoever to do with the perception of the offender. Deadly force was used, however without regard for the number of rounds fired, your only consideration is whether it was warranted. There is no "overkill" consideration. The offender's assaults against the officers were halted, without resulting in his death. His reward is that he continues to breathe, whether he deserves to or not. Fact overrules fiction or supposition everytime.
Sorry, your honor. You're the illegitimate son of an ambulance chaser unless you use this USSC standard, and you don't get points for political grandstanding.
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
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Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly. - Lovelace
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