Fruita cops shoot man dead

Behind yellow police line tape, a officer takes photographs and collects evidence Saturday at the scene in the 100 block of Hollyberry Way in Fruita where an adult male died early Saturday during a shooting involving three Fruita Police officers following a traffic stop.



A Mesa County sheriff’s deputy moves the police tape as he widens the scene Friday night where a man died in an officer-involved shooting west of the corner of Hollyberry Way and south Mesa Street in Fruita.



Three Fruita police officers fatally shot a man early Saturday during a traffic stop, but couldn’t confirm whether he was armed or explain why he was shot while allegedly running away from police.

The man, whose name has not been released, “for some reason” tried to flee the scene after he was stopped at 12:40 a.m. Saturday, Fruita Police Chief Mark Angelo said.

In addition to whether the man was armed, significant questions such as why the man was pulled over by police, where that traffic stop occurred or if he posed a threat to officers or the public were not addressed by either Angelo or Mesa County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin.

“What we know to this point, which is very, very brief, is that the individual ended up leaving the vehicle for some reason and got to a location in the 100 block of Hollyberry, and the officers were involved in a shooting of that subject,” Angelo said.

Benjamin is quoted in the Denver Post as saying officers on the scene believed the man had a gun, but she later told The Daily Sentinel the investigation was looking into whether he was armed.

“(That’s) part of the investigation currently being done by the critical incident team,” Benjamin said by email Saturday. “They are investigating the possibility of the suspect being armed, yes. The suspect ran from officers during the attempted traffic stop.”

Angelo and Benjamin said the officers and several other witnesses were being interviewed by a critical incident team made up of officials with the Fruita and Grand Junction police departments, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Benjamin said investigations of such officer-involved shootings are standard procedure.

She said that the investigation “will be a long process,” adding that the officers were not injured in the incident.

Colorado State Patrol Trooper Josh Lewis said he had no details on the incident, but said the State Patrol was not involved.


COMMENTS

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I am generally sympathetic to law enforcement because so many of the people they deal with are the dregs of society. Having said that, I have never seen a story quite like this one. It has all the appearances of shoddy enabling “journalism” designed to give the law enforcement establishment time to make up a story they think will fly with the public, and decide what spin to put on it.
We don’t get to know the name of the man who was killed or any of the cops involved in the shooting. Why not?
Did the man have a gun, yes or no? It’s a simple question, quite easy to answer truthfully, unless you’re trying to find out what the witnesses saw so you can decide whether or not to plant a false “throw down” weapon.
Something is wrong if three professionally trained police officers can’t handcuff one man, put him in a patrol car, and take him to jail relatively uneventfully.
Since there were three gun-carrying cops and the alleged “perp” was running away, if the man was not armed, it’s not a very persuasive argument to pretend that the police were afraid for their lives.
Then there is the issue that we don’t get to know why the man was stopped, and what, if anything, he was wanted for.
In my opinion, the Sentinel reporter should have taken the police spokespersons to task for not providing the crucial facts of the story. At least that way the Sentinel could say they asked, but the police refused to answer. The way the story was written makes it look like the Sentinel is helping the cops cover up for shooting an unarmed and unwanted man who did nothing more than run from the police during a traffic stop.
There is the question, of course, why the guy ran in this age of the full-blown American “national security” police state. Surely most people know that’s a very dangerous thing to do. Was he wanted? Was he drunk or high on drugs?
Let’s not be naive here: if the police and their symbiotic buddies in the press had any facts with which to demonize the alleged perp and convict him in the media prior to trial, it would have found its way into the story. No such facts appeared, so it is logical to presume it is likely that no such facts exist.
All things being as they are, it looks like what we may have is most likely an unconstitutionally excessive use of force. It will be fascinating to watch the story unfold.

As I was saying, something is definitely “rotten in Denmark”. Compare the conflicting facts between the Sentinel’s original version of the story written by Charles Ashby, and KJCT’s updated version of the story at http://www.kjct8.com/news/man-identified-in-fruita-pd-fatal-shooting/-/163152/20597242/-/103kjodz/-/index.html.
In one version of the story the “perp” is running away (implicitly on foot) and the officers shot him, not knowing whether or not he was armed. In the second version of the story, the “perp” is a sovereign-citizen type who drove to a trailer with the cops not in pursuit, and then after the cops found him, he came out of a trailer, made statements “consistent to the ideology of those associated with the Sovereign Citizen movement who do not recognize established government entities,” and pointed a gun at the officers who then fired multiple times and killed him.
That is all too cutesy by half. Why not say what the alleged statements specifically were, instead of just strategically tangentially demonizing arguably all pro-constitution, limited-government movements? I am surprised the police spokespersons didn’t choose to demonize the Teaparty movement instead of the Sovereign Citizen movement. Maybe because the Teaparty movement is too popular.
It is self-evident that there is NO WAY the two conflicting sets of facts in the two conflicting versions of the story can both be true at the same time. Accordingly, I call “B.S.!” It definitely looks like somebody is lying about something. Question is, 1) who, 2) about what, and 3) why?
At least we get to know that it now looks as if the alleged “perp” was Lewis Pollard, age 61, of Fruita, and the three police officers were Sgt Kevin Paquette, Officer Andrew Courtney, and Officer Steve Lentz.
The main question I have is: exactly how did the establishment media come up with two such conflicting versions of the story? In my opinion, a truthful answer — as in “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” — to that question would definitely be in the public’s best interests.

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