Back to Chesapeake

Monday, February 11th, 2008

This morning, the Virginian-Pilot has a long profile of suspect Ryan Frederick. He certainly doesn’t seem like a dangerous cop killer. Friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family describe him as a friendly, decent, hard-working guy who’d had some rough times. By 28 he had already lost both parents, and most recently, his grandmother. He’d also recently gotten engaged. They reiterated that Frederick was an avid gardener. None say they had any knowledge of him selling drugs. Neighbors say there was little in the way of traffic at Frederick’s home. Seems this raid took square aim at an occasional, recreational pot smoker.

In fact, the only negative passage in the entire profile comes from a guy who knows nothing at all about Frederick:

Officers are still in shock three weeks later, said Jack Bider, president of the Chesapeake Fraternal Order of Police and a friend of Shivers.

"Here we have a citizen, not only a citizen of Chesapeake, but a police officer trying to make a living, and this guy shoots through a door," Bider said. "Let’s remove the police factor out of it. What if it was a Girl Scout knocking at his door on this cold and rainy night and she slips on his porch and falls onto the door? Is he going to shoot through the door then?"

Shivers was trying to "make a living" by breaking into the home—after dark, with a weapon—of a man guilty of nothing more than a misdemeanor. Also, Frederick may have shot through the door, but according to press reports thus far, he shot as Shivers was attempting to crawl through one of the lower panels, which suggests it had been kicked in. Let’s be clear, here. This was a home invasion. It would take an awfully large girl scout to mimic what Frederick must have heard that night by simply tripping and falling.

Over the weekend, I noted that the local news station whose anchor organized a fundraiser for Det. Shivers’ family failed to note in the story that the police failed to find the marijuana operation they were looking for when they raided Frederick’s home. They seem to have corrected that, now, though there’s no mention of the earlier omission.

Thanks to reason commenter Rimfax for setting up a Wiki with an archive of posts on the Frederick case. Catch up here.

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21 Responses to “Back to Chesapeake”

  1. #1 |  The Profiler | 

    Does this list describe Ryan Frederick, or the police?

  2. #2 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    Once again, “Because its my job” carries no weight. And I’m sure they were politely knocking at the door. Strangley enough, I’ve never heard of a girl scout slipping and busting down a door OR selling cookies after dark. That must be ONE hefty girl scout. The chief is obviously trying to put the old “won’t someone PLEASE think of the children” spin on things. I would submit that our children are in more danger of cops busting into their house and shooting them than they are from Frederick sneaking out to his garage and having an occassional bowl/bong hit/joint.

    I’ve got an idea…how about you cops go arrest someone that’s actually a menace to society. You could probably start within your own departments.

  3. #3 |  scottp | 

    What if it was a Girl Scout knocking at his door on this cold and rainy night and she slips on his porch and falls onto the door?

    Man, what a lame analogy.
    I had not heard that Shivers was crawling through the bottom door panel. If he was, that doesn’t sound like a smart thing to do. Particularly considering he didn’t know who or what was on the other side of the door.

  4. #4 |  KBCraig | 

    From the article:

    In March 2003, Frederick’s mother died from an overdose of medication that a doctor had prescribed to her for back problems.

    Wow. A legal drug, legally prescribed by an M.D., can cause death? And less than one ounce of marijuana, which has caused zero deaths, justified SWAT raids?


  5. #5 |  Observant Bystander | 

    “But Bider, of the Fraternal Order of Police, still thinks about Shivers. ‘It’s going to live with us for the rest of our lives,’ he said. ‘You can’t shoot through a door.'”

    This statement reminded me of the Peyton Strickland case and made me wonder: what happened to the police officer in North Carolina who shot and killed Strickland through a closed door after another police officer made a loud noise with a battering ram? The officer thought the noise of the battering ram was a gunshot and opened fire through the door, killing Strickland. I don’t think our Humble Agitator reported the final word on this case to us.

    The outcome is that the officer was charged (maybe over-charged), odd things happened with the grand jury, and in the end, he was not indicted. He was fired, however.

    In this case, the police union didn’t think shooting through a door justified the criminal prosecution, and I don’t see anywhere where the union said the officer should have been prosecuted for a lesser offense, such as involuntary manslaughter instead of voluntary manslaughter. I assume the union didn’t think any charges were appropriate (though I am happy to be corrected if anyone knows otherwise). The Star News reported:

    “Other statements were released by the N.C. Fraternal Order of Police and the N.C. Police Benevolent Association. “The Fraternal Order of Police is very pleased that the second grand jury reached the same correct result that the first grand jury reached,” part of the statement says.

    NCPBA Executive Director John Midgette said in a prepared statement that Long had already been cleared by the first grand jury, which was “disrespected” by the decision of the state attorney general’s office to present evidence to a second one.

    “All North Carolina officers must continue to work in fear of these multiple legal attacks on officers and their profession,” Midgette said. “Respect for law enforcement continues to erode.”

  6. #6 |  Michael Chaney | 

    People tend to be glossing over the fact that any marijuana that was found in Frederick’s house was incidental to the situation. They were not busting in trying to find his bong and stash. Instead, they were looking for a growing operation in his detached garage. They were there looking for something that didn’t exist, and frankly the possession charge should have (and may have) required a separate warrant.

    There are plenty of questions, mainly why someone broke in without stealing anything, then the cops show up busting the door down a few days later. Obviously, the burglar is the one who told the cops about the pot-growing operation. But why didn’t he steal anything? Was there just nothing of value? Or was he sent in to do a little recon?

    It’s sad that these questions won’t be answered, because the people who should be investigating it are instead trying to cover up their actions, and frankly may have had more involvement than we know.

  7. #7 |  Michael | 

    The way I see it, if a person was crawling through a bottom of a door where a panel was broken out, (his head sticking out) then I would assume that even if SWAT, or POLICE, was written across his back, it would not be visable to the “perp”, (using the term loosely). And, considering the situation, it would be the best target, for the home’s terrified occupant, to shoot at. If someone is breaking into your house and they were armed, a head shot would be the most effective use of a pistol or a shotgun, against the dangerous intruder. So much for protective BODY armor! And to say the guy shot through the door woud require that he be shot in the body armor and not the head. If shot COMING through the door, then it would sound like he was shot when already in the house. What a difference one little word will make in the defense of Mr Frederick.

    Will the people ever realize how stupid the police action was? Who knows! It just seems stupid to continue these tactics for this war against the public. Stop the SWAT raids! And, use them for what they were developed, where a paramilitary action is needed, barricaded snipers and such!

  8. #8 |  LibertyPlease | 

    “Respect for law enforcement continues to erode.”

    I think The Profiler’s link to the characteristics of a sociopath seems to capture the LEO community’s and its members’ behaviors. Rational people should lose respect for law enforcement as their collective behavior demands shame.

    Some of those traits of sociopaths:

    – Grandiose Sense of Self
    – Pathological Lying
    – Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
    – Need for Stimulation
    – Callousness/Lack of Empathy (for victims)
    – Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
    – Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility

  9. #9 |  MikeT | 

    Is it too much to ask of the police and the groups that support them, to just admit in cases like this that it was a tragedy? If there is anything that makes decent people dislike the police, it’s their inability to admit that they were wrong, even when there is no legal liability for them, and to try to blame others for everything. By now a lot of people are starting to realize that these sort of people wouldn’t have lost any sleep if it had been just Frederick that got killed that night, unless there was the threat of a lawsuit. It’s just business to them when a regular citizen gets killed by their mistake.

  10. #10 |  Brit | 

    What if it had been a known carrier criminal with crimes including armed robbery and murder who kicked in Frederick’s door and started crawling through? If Ryan Frederick had shot him would he be charged with Murder One or Self Defense?

    This police tactic of bashing in doors at night is just what criminals do? How is anyone supposed to KNOW it’s the police? And why hasn’t law enforcement gotten the idea that this practice is not working? Oh, wait a minute, it doesn’t work for the CITIZENS s so it doesn’t matter. It works for the police and that’s all that is important.

  11. #11 |  Brit | 

    This police tactic of bashing in doors at night is just what criminals do?

    OOPS! That was not a question, it was a statement….period.

  12. #12 |  Loren | 

    And to say the guy shot through the door woud require that he be shot in the body armor and not the head.

    Shivers wasn’t shot in the head.

    Multiple news reports (including the one linked to in this post) have stated that he was struck by a single bullet, which hit him in the arm and chest. In other words, it sounds like Shivers was shot through the armhole of his vest.

  13. #13 |  Dangerman | 

    When are we going to require Helmet-Cams for these no-knock raids? It seems that a whole lot of questions would be answered if there was a video of the event unfolding.

  14. #14 |  Whim | 

    You would think that a Helmet-Cam would be a logical documentation of the police actions during such a raid.

    However, a independent video record of No-Knock or Knock-and-Smash-the-Door-Down raids is undesirable from a police point of view.

    They prefer that it be their word. vs. the word of a Dead Man.

    Or, the word of 8-12 police vs. one frightened out of their gourd suspect.

  15. #15 |  Frank | 


    The tactical error made was in Fredrick admitting to having personal use amount of weed. If it were me, I would have claimed to not be a user, and all weed found was planted by police after the fact.

    After all, we have an Atlanta narc squad as a precedent.

  16. #16 |  TC | 

    I read that Girl Scout quote in the comments section of the VP, after one of the early articles.

    I find it interesting to reread the exact same words in another.

    Either Bider, read it or possibly it was his words in the comment section. Oh and he got torn apart in the following comments as well!

  17. #17 |  TC | 

    Oh and I can only hope that most of those making comments will become the jury of 12 for Ryan!

  18. #18 |  Loren | 

    The tactical error made was in Fredrick admitting to having personal use amount of weed. If it were me, I would have claimed to not be a user, and all weed found was planted by police after the fact.

    Yep. Because nothing better helps your argument about being the innocent victim of police excess than flat-out lying to the cops and the press afterwards.

  19. #19 |  Mike Schneider |

    After the shooting, a second search warrant was executed . Police seized a Bersa “Firestorm” .380-caliber handgun, three bullet casings and ammunition from the house, according to court documents. Police also took a broken door, a television set, a pry bar, a battering ram, a shoe and a flashlight.

    Erm, why would the cops take his television set?

    Was it a big-screen Hi-Def model?

  20. #20 |  Hannah | 

    “What if it was a Girl Scout knocking at his door on this cold and rainy night and she slips on his porch and falls onto the door? ”

    Hahahahaha! How long has it been since anyone has even had a Girl Scout come knocking on there door at night? Let alone on a cold and rainy night by themselves. Now a days they aren’t suppose to go out a sell by themselves. Now who’s trying a “think of the children” ploy? That’s why you see so many of them outside stores selling cookie and have parents at there work places asking if anyone wants to order any. Sorry but that just cracks me up. My husbands family was big on boy scouts and girl scouts so I’ve been looking at all of the rules and how they’ve changed over the years.

  21. #21 |  Montie | 

    Of course its perfectly ok when the roles are reversed and its a police officer shooting through the door at the occupant.

    This was proven in North Carolina last year when Peyton Strickland was killed by a member of the “Special Tactics” team who seemed to think that the noise of the battering ram his own team was using inches away from him was Strickland shooting at them.

    I’ve got to think this would have come up in a manual or training exercise.

    While no girlscouts were present in the house, I don’t appreciate the fact that they had to empty a clip into a 19 yearold and then kill his dog.