“Justified” Murder

Eli Rivera

Surprise, surprise – the New Hampshire Attorney Genital’s final report on the officer involved homicide of Julio Angel DeJesus concludes that

KPD members James Lamoureux and Eli Rivera were justified in their use of deadly force on the night of April 17th.

The incident began at Diversified Computers on West Street in Keene, where police responded to an attempted burglary involving DeJesus and two other individuals.  When police arrived, DeJesus took off in his vehicle, and Lamoureux took off in pursuit.  According to the report:

The pursuit continued through the city. During the pursuit Mr. DeJesus’s stolen Mercedes ran through stop signs and red lights, failed to turn on its headlights, exceeded speeds of 80 mph in 30 mph zones, and nearly collided with a number of on-coming vehicles.

The pursuit ended on Marlboro Street, when DeJesus exited the vehicle and began to flee on foot.  Lamoureux followed suit and chased the suspect around the residence at 345 Marlboro.  DeJesus then got back into his vehicle, turned on the engine, supposedly backed up the car so that it was pointed towards Lamoureux, and began to pull forward.  It was at this point that Lamoureux claims he believed that his life was in danger and he fired his gun, referred to in the AG’s report as his “duty weapon”, at the vehicle as it drove towards him.

As Officer Lamoureux fired, he moved to his right to get out of the path of the Mercedes. The Mercedes brushed his clothing as it continued onto the sidewalk, running down the street sign for Prescott Street. The Mercedes preceded towards Marlboro Street, east-bound, which intersects with Main Street.

That night there were a large number of pedestrians and cars in the downtown area. Officer Lamoureux believed that if the vehicle continued, the public was in danger of serious bodily injury or death based upon how Mr. DeJesus had operated the vehicle during the earlier pursuit.

What the report doesn’t explain is how the public was in any more danger at that point than when Lamoureux began the pursuit to begin with.  If Lamoureux and the KPD were so concerned about the public, perhaps they shouldn’t have engaged a fleeing suspect in a high speed chase in the first place.  If someone is desperate enough to run from the cops, do you really think he’s going to be worried about the fashion in which he is driving the vehicle?  I am quite certain that there were a large number of pedestrians and cars in the area when the entire disaster started, just as there were when it ended.  Where was Lamoureux’ concern for the public then?

Rivera, who joined the chase in the area of Main Street and Route 101, witnessed DeJesus swerve into the wrong side of the road and almost hit an oncoming vehicle.  One wonders if DeJesus had hit that oncoming vehicle and killed an innocent person, would the KPD’s engagement in the high speed chase still have been “justified”?

Out of nine shots fired between Lamoureux and Rivera, only one bullet from Lamoureux’ gun actually struck and killed DeJesus.  If a stray bullet would have hit and killed an innocent person, would that have been “justified”?

Of course, Lamoureux, Rivera, and the other KPD members involved all had the same story: DeJesus was using his car as a weapon and had tried to run them over.  However, DeJesus had already passed Lamoureux and Rivera and was fleeing the scene when they actually turned around and kept shooting at the vehicle as it continued down the road.

This doesn’t sound like self defense to me; what it sounds like is that Lamoureux and Rivera shot a fleeing man in the back and are now trying to justify their behavior with fake concern for the public, when really they were the ones putting the public in danger in the first place with their reckless, irresponsible, and careless actions.

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