In a ten day span there were three incidents where homeowners shot at or pointed a gun at individuals that had knocked on the door, rang the doorbell, or mistakenly driven down a rural residential driveway.
There is no fathomable reason why these incidents occurred in such a tight time span – but this is a trend that needs to stop.
Notice that as we go over these cases – each one gets worse as the days progress. The actions of the homeowners somehow become more aberrant and shocking to a reasonable conscious.
Do not shoot at a vehicle that turned around in your driveway.
Do not exit your home toting a gun while pointing it at everything that moves like you are part of Seal Team 6 clearing Bin Laden’s hideout.
It’s a knock at the door. Calm down, hero. You are likely not that controversial or important. It probably isn’t Walter White. Just because this is the most exciting thing that has happened to you this month – does not give you a license to turn a knock at the door into an unnecessary killing.
This occurs more often than one may think. Here are some of the reasons why
- A caller may give the 911 operator the wrong address.
- The 911 operator may type in the wrong address or otherwise give the dispatcher an incorrect address.
- The dispatcher may type in the wrong address or otherwise give responding police officers an incorrect address.
- Police officers may type the wrong address into their GPS system
- Even if the officer types the address into the GPS correctly – the GPS may default to a more popular similar address. (ex. 500 Cedar SE, instead of lesser traveled to 500 Cedar NE).
- Once on scene the officer may not be able to read the numerical addresses on the house – especially at night.
- The house may not even have a posted numerical address.
- Sometimes officers purposely knock on the doors of neighbors/potential witnesses in an effort to get more information about a situation prior to making contact with involved subjects.
a. In most instances this is considered thorough and thoughtful.
In this case officers knocked on the door of the wrong address unintentionally and announced their presence as “Farmington Police” three times in a matter of 1 minute and 26 seconds.
There was no answer at the door and officers asked dispatch over the radio to confirm the correct address and they backed away from the front door. At that point the door swung open and the 52 year-old-homeowner (Robert Dotson) emerged holding a firearm. Mr. Dotson pointed the gun in the direction of the police officers. An officer gave the command of “Hands up!”
I understand why the homeowner answered the door armed with a gun if he was not sure who had been knocking at his home. But I do not understand why the gun was pointed at the police officers. If Mr. Dotson was unsure of his target – the weapon should not have been pointed. Or, he should have looked out of the window until he was sure.
I also understand why the police officers shot Mr. Dotson. When a gun is pointed at you – there is no time for discussion or de-escalation. Your life may have only moments left to it.
The officers should not face criminal charges in this case. The use of force was objectively reasonable. The city will likely pay millions in a civil lawsuit and the Police Chief (Steve Hebbe) has already issued a public apology to the family.
It is not a violation of department policy or law for the police officers to go to the wrong house. This is an honest mistake that can happen to anyone. In this case the officers announced who they were and after less than 90 seconds walked away from the front door to try and figure out the situation with the dispatcher. The actions from the police officers in every way was objectively reasonable.
Attorney Ben Crump (who is not involved in this case) made the following statement on Twitter, “Robert Dotson was with his family when police killed him after responding to a call at the wrong address. There’s NO excuse for a mistake like this — Robert’s family will forever have to carry this trauma. Farmington PD MUST take responsibility for this absolute tragedy.”
On April 13, 2023 in Kansas City, MO a sixteen-year-old named Ralph Yarl drove to a residence to pick up his younger brothers. Mr. Yarl was asked by his mother to pick his siblings up from an address on “115th Street”. By mistake Mr. Yarl went to a nearby residence with the same numerical but on “115th Terrace”.
This was around 10:00 p.m. and Mr. Yarl rang the doorbell of the residence and woke up the 84-year-old homeowner (Andrew Lester). Mr. Lester came to the door and shot his .32 caliber revolver within a few seconds of opening the door. Mr. Yarl was struck in the head and fell to the ground. While on the ground Mr. Yarl was shot a second time, in the arm, by Mr. Lester. Mr. Yarl was thankfully able to run away and received help from a neighbor.
After four days in the hospital he was released to the care of his mother. Mr. Yarl suffered serious injuries and his recovery will be long and painful.
Mr. Lester was arrested and charged with two felonies – assault in the first degree and armed criminal action.
There is a factual dispute between Mr. Yarl and Mr. Lester on what was said and what occurred just prior to and during the shooting. That factual dispute will be the concern of a jury. What we do know is that Mr. Yarl was unarmed and rang a doorbell in an effort to pick up his younger siblings. Mr. Yarl posed no immediate threat to Mr. Lester and the criminal charges are appropriate.
Before Mr. Yarl was out of the hospital attorney Ben Crump descended into town and made the following statement, “We’ve been retained by Ralph Yarl & his family following the unjustifiable shooting of the 16-yo by an unidentified white male assailant. @MerrittForTexas & our legal team demand Clay County prosecutors & law enforcement swiftly identify, arrest, & prosecute the man responsible!”
On April 15, 2023 twenty-year-old (Kaylin Gillis) was shot and killed after she and a few of her friends had accidentally turned into the wrong driveway while looking for a friend’s home in rural upstate New York.
Ms. Gillis was a passenger in a vehicle when the sixty five-year-old homeowner (Kevin Monahan) fired two shots from his front porch at the vehicle – as it was driving away and back towards the main road. One of the shots fired by Mr. Monahan hit the vehicle and struck Ms. Gillis. Ms. Gillis sustained a fatal gunshot wound.
Mr. Monahan has been charged with second-degree murder and is not cooperating with investigators.
Ms. Gillis and her friends never exited their vehicle and posed literally zero threat to Mr. Monahan. The charges are appropriate. The actions of Mr. Monahan were abhorrent.
Attorney Ben Crump did not comment on this case as it did not involve a police officer and both the offender and victim were white.
Unchallenged Narratives (until now)
Attorney Ben Crump often makes dishonest statements about events. For example, in his statement on the case in Farmington, NM – he left out the fact that Mr. Dotson exited the home and pointed a gun at police officers before he was shot. Now, if Mr. Crump believes that the police shooting was not justified – he is of course entitled to that opinion. But, why purposely omit literally the most relevant fact when communicating to his millions of Twitter followers?
This is what we find so infuriating. The dishonesty.
According to Mr. Crump when the police unintentionally go to the wrong address he stated, “there is NO excuse for a mistake like this.”
Also, according to Mr. Crump when Mr. Yarl went to the wrong address – he publicly called for the homeowner to be arrested and charged – before any facts of the case were known, before the homeowner gave a statement, and before the homeowner was even identified.
Think about how dishonest – if police officers and a sixteen-year-old do the exact same thing – Mr. Crump publicly states that the police officers are 100% at fault and the sixteen-year-old is 0% at fault.
I believe that the homeowner was wrong in both instances. This is consistent logic. And consistent logic is a signal of an honest interpreter of current events.
Mr. Crump assigns blame to someone based on their race and/or job title. Not based on the facts of a case. This is harmful and can only further divide us along racial lines and facilitate hostility with police officers.
Imagine profiting off of such manufactured division?
We should all be disgusted.
When I say that Mr. Crump is a dishonest grifter – this is exactly what I am talking about. This is merely one piece of evidence. Check out our article on his sophisticated system for shaking down communities (Anatomy of a Grift).
If someone rings your doorbell or knocks at the door and for some reason you are startled or terrified by this. Just don’t answer!
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