In yet another police shooting, police officers in Wilmington, Delaware, have shot and killed a handicapped man, who was sitting in his wheelchair. According to police, they approach him and say “drop the gun” and “hands up” and when the man did not raise his hands, the police shot him. The man then essentially falls out of his wheelchair and onto the ground, and this is when he ends up dying as a result of the barrage of bullets coming at him from the weapons of the police, and now people, including the mother, want to know why.
The handicapped man was Jeremy McDole, who was armed with a .38 caliber gun, and the police chief is defending the cops who shot the man saying that McDole did not comply with the request to drop his weapon when the cops told him to do so. Apparently, the man had used the gun earlier on inflicting himself with a wound as well. Chief Bobby Cummings said that the officers fired at the man because he was beginning to remove the gun from his waist, and that when he was told to drop the weapon he instead kept reaching for it, and the officers were concerned for their own safety. There is a video of the incident, although Cummings said even though he knows it is out there he has not authenticated it yet.
According to the handicapped man’s mother, she said that the video shows him having his hands just in his lap, and she said that her son did not produce or pull a weapon. You can hear a witness in the footage saying “put your hands up” and then someone say “He’s reaching again” although it’s not really clear what the man was doing just before the police shooting happened. Interestingly enough, both the police chief and the handicapped man’s mother spoke at the same news conference. The man’s mother said that the shooting was “unjust” and she wants to know why it happened and wants police to be held accountable.
There is a lot to this story and now the mayor wants answers, because the events from before the shooting happened could lead to the questions being answered as to why it all happened. Cummings said that there was a call around 3 pm that said a man was suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and that the man was still armed. There were quite a few cops who responded and saw McDole sitting in his wheelchair, they all had their guns pointed toward him at this point. They demanded he let go of the weapon, although the video does not indicate whether the gun was really in his hands when the police showed up. Then, there was a couple of seconds of silence, and this is when the Wilmington police chief Cummings said that McDole began moving towards his waistband to retrieve the weapon.
That is when the cops engaged the man in the wheelchair, and he then ended up dead as a result of the cops firing on him as they claim self defense because he was going for his gun. The mayor of Wilmington, Dennis Williams, said that they will get to the bottom of this police shooting, and that the family is going to be notified during each and every step of the investigation and process. Although the mayor did not seem to be too supportive of one side or the other, he did agree with the handicapped man’s mother and said he wanted answers as to why this happened and how it happened.
It is not known at this time whether the handicapped man was living at home with his mother or whether he was living on his own or in a home, and it’s not clear if the man had any brain injuries or trauma that could have made him less likely to understand the commands from the officers. The mother did not go into too much detail, at least not yet, as to the severity of her son’s injuries and handicap, and did not say how the man had a gun or whether the gun was legally purchased.
There are still quite a few questions that are not being answered at this point in the investigation from both sides of the issue, as there is still a lot we don ‘t know about the man in the police shooting such as what type of self-inflicted injury he had, whether he was suicidal and trying to kill himself, or whether he accidentally had shot himself prior to the incident. It is not known whether or not the cops were aware the man was handicapped, and if they knew, whether or not they did anything to help him if he was unable to get onto the ground or raise his hands up, or if they just saw him not doing this as not being compliant, even if he physically could not comply due to his handicap.
For now the mayor is promising a thorough investigation into why this handicapped man was killed by the cops and whether or not the situation was handled properly given the man’s situation. This is not the first time that a handicapped man has been killed by the cops. This type of police shooting has happened quite a few other times within the past few years, even when there is a weapon involved it seems to always end up progressing into a situation that it doesn’t have to if the cops had just tried to help and understand the person who might be physically and mentally disabled. There will likely be more information coming out in the next couple weeks that will help investigators know whether this is a case that should have charges filed as a result against the officers.