Man fires to defend family (at cop)


Man does something stupid, fired a warning shot at people in his back yard.
Turns out they are cops, who had not identified themselves. The cops were responding to the next door neighbors complaint of someone in her downstairs, and were actively searching.

What charge against the man, Watson
- being stupid with a gun is not available ...

"[ Prosecuting Attorney Earle Mobley] admits Watson did not know police were in his backyard, but prosecutes him anyway for misdemeanor reckless handling of a fire arm.

“You cannot fire indiscriminately through the window,” Mobley said.

And a judge agreed. Watson was found guilty. So he appealed the decision, and a second judge declared a mistrial"

He then asked for a jury trial.

"“This can’t be doing your job. You come in my backyard, try to open my door, open my window and flash red laser beams on my chest because you thought I was the burglar, and I thought you were the burglar,” Watson said.

The seven-person jury bought that, and found Brandon Watson not guilty, after deliberating only 47 minutes."

"When 10 On Your Side [The news] asked Mobley about the juror’s comment, that the Commonwealth failed to prove Watson was reckless, he simply said, “I just disagree with that point.”

The jury thought Watson showed restraint by only firing one shot."

As with all news stories, this does not get all the information. And in general I am skeptical of the police. But you can't be firing at shadows, figures or movement. Know your target. It could have been neighborhood kids with laser pointers. And he wasnt' charged with attempted murder on the cops.
Glad he walked away free in the end but a little sense on the prosecutors part would have saved everyone a lot of time. "You come in my backyard, try to open my door, open my window and flash red laser beams on my chest because you thought I was the burglar, and I thought you were the burglar,”
There are several lessons to be learned here most important being when in someones back yard don't try to open their door, then open their window, then shine a laser on their chest. I'm sorry, but I probably would have shot too. Last thing I want in my house is a burglar that is a gun fanatic (laser). You do not need to see the face of an individual before you can shoot. It is all about what this person is DOING. And this person was breaking and entering. If your going to enter a home, where someones kids sleep, do the right thing and knock on a door, wake them up, and ask to come in. In the long run everyone will be more happy that you used some common sense.


The Heretic

I think the differentiating factors here were the laser sights and the door rattling.

LEOs need to be more careful in this regard. The laser sight means they were pointing their guns at him. The home owner shot through the window, but the LEOs were ready to shoot through the window too or the laser sights would not have been on his chest. How did they know who they were aiming at, it could have been a kind inside their for all they knew. They are just as responsible for what they aim at as the homeowner is.

That said, I think the homeowner was in the wrong.

But there is such a thing as contributory negligence, and I believe that applies here.

As I said, LEOs need to be more careful about where they are, which house they are entering (stop making assumptions), listening to what people say, announcing themselves, and where they point their guns.

Some years ago I would have sided more with the homeowner in believing what the LEOs said, but increasingly I have seen LEOs covering for themselves - this is especially coming to light with video cams recording their actions and coverups being made in spite of evidence to the contrary.


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