California Police Officer Who Shot DUI Suspect Won’t Face Charges
On Thursday, it was announced by the prosecutors that a California police officer will not face criminal charges who accidentally shot a driving under the influence suspect in the neck.
The incident happened in November when the officer shot the suspect in a chase.
The footage recorded by the dash cam was shown in court when Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said no charges would be filed against Officer Patrick Feaster, a five-year veteran of the department.
According to a report by Action News Now, Feaster started chasing a Toyota early Thanksgiving morning when he saw the driver was driving at a high rate of speed.
The driver of the Toyota was identified as 26-year-old Andrew Nicholas Thomas, who drove through a bar parking lot without its headlights on when the chase began.
At some distance from the parking lot, the Toyota ran a red light and turned before hitting the median and overturning.
23-year-old Darien Ehorn, wife of Thomas, was also travelling in the Toyota. She was thrown out of the vehicle and died in the accident.
The video shows Thomas climbing through a window to escape from the overturned motor vehicle.
Feaster drew his .45 caliber semi-automatic gun when Thomas got out of his patrol car, according to the Investigators. The video showed that the officer moved towards Thomas and the gun discharged, hitting Thomas in the neck before he slumped back into the vehicle.
A report by Action News Now also showed that the gunshot wound on the neck could lead him to be paralyzed for life.
Thomas had a BAC level of 0.15 percent; he was hospitalized and was expected to face charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
According to Ramsey, Feaster did not immediately tell that he fired when backup approached the accident spot.
According to Ramsey, Feaster notified his commanding officer about the discharge only after Thomas’ gunshot wound was found. As the commanding officer suggested an investigator return to Canteena and try to find out if Thomas had been shot at the bar, Feaster revealed that he may have shot Thomas. Ramsey said nearly 11 minutes passed before any other officers, medics or firefighters learned Thomas had been shot, according to Action News Now report.
According to Ramsey, the proof in the case shows the shooting to be accidental. He added, “This shooting is not justified, but also not criminal. The dash cam video shows Officer Feaster was not prepared for and was surprised by the guns firing. The pistol discharges in mid-stride and the officer both flinches his head to the right and does a stutter step indicative of an officer not prepared for nor intentionally firing his pistol.”
In a press release, Ramsay said, “The officer’s reaction on the dash cam video and his statements to protocol investigators confirm an honest belief that he did not intentionally fire his pistol.”
Feaster told his colleagues that evening; he didn’t know why the gun went off. An internal investigation is still pending and Feaster is on paid administrative leave.
News Source: www.FoxLa.com