Dumb, probably drunk kid knocks on an off-duty cop’s door, then runs away. The cop comes out in street clothes, hunts the kid down in his squad car, then lays him over the hood while he calls for backup. According to the cop, the kid then jumps the cop, smacks the cop’s head on the pavement, and reaches for the cop’s gun. So the cop kills him. The kid’s only prior was a 2007 DUI conviction.
I guess the first question here is why you jump in your squad car to hunt someone down for such a petty infraction. And why you make an arrest for it. And why you need backup.But putting all that aside, the ensuing narrative doesn’t smell right, either. Why would a kid who seemed to have his life in order knowingly take on a cop on the side of the road, in front of witnesses?
Then there’s this:
The Sheriff’s Office did not release details about the case Monday, but officials say they expect the investigation into the actions of Deputy Carlos Verdoni, who shot Spann, to be completed by the end of this week.
The inquiry into the shooting is divided into two parts: a criminal investigation of the shooting; and an administrative look at whether Verdoni followed procedures when he left his home in shorts, a T-shirt and sandals to track down the pranksters who banged on his door and ran off…
Sheriff’s officials are investigating the shooting even though it happened within the Venice city limits. The Sheriff’s Office says it handles all officer-involved shootings in the county, except for those in the city of Sarasota, through an agreement with the smaller police agencies.
Sheriff Tom Knight has said that he believes Verdoni’s actions were justified and that the investigation will clear the nine-year veteran.
So three days after the incident, and days before the investigation is complete, the guy in charge of the department conducting the investigation says he already knows the cop will be cleared. You’d think he’d at least pretend to be impartial.
Maybe this kid had something illegal in his house, and wrongly decided it would be better to kill a cop than subject himself to a possible search. Maybe he just had a moment of derangement. Or drunken idiocy. So yeah, maybe this shooting was entirely justified. But given that Sheriff Knight already seems to have made up his mind, I’m not sure how much stock we should put into his department’s investigation.