In a California officer involved shooting from Thanksgiving, the Butte County District Attorney has decided not to press charges against the officer because the shooting was “accidental.”
We are pro-law enforcement here at Uncle Sam’s. Law Enforcement was my career for 31+ years. But seeing this video made me sick. This was not exactly “accidental,” it was extremely poor judgment.
The traffic accident
Paradise, California officer Patrick Feaser noted a Toyota Forerunner “careening” out of the parking lot of a local bar on Thanksgiving. He followed the vehicle in his patrol car as it ran a red light and then struck the median and flipped. That was the only “accident part.” The driver’s wife was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene.
Dashcam footage from Officer Patrick Feaster’s patrol car shows an overturned SUV that had flipped over early Thanksgiving morning, after hitting the median. As the driver, identified as 26-year-old Andrew Thomas, struggles to exit the SUV through the window, Feaster approaches and shoots him in the neck.
The shot hit Thomas in the C7 and T1 vertebrae, and could lead to him being paralyzed for life.
Not justified, but not criminal
The District Attorney said it was ‘not justified, but not criminal.’ When the viewed the video they said this,
“The dash cam video shows Officer Feaster was not prepared for and was surprised by the guns firing. The pistol discharges in mid-stride and the officer both flinches his head to the right and does a stutter step indicative of an officer not prepared for nor intentionally firing his pistol. Additionally, officers normally train to fire a minimum of two shots. There was no second shot and the officer immediately holstered his weapon after the discharge.” Butte County Prosecutor Michael Ramsey
Feaser testified that he drew his gun because he thought Thomas was going to flee. That part is understandable, but to casually shoot him in the neck is not.
The officer did not immediately notify anyone that he had discharged his weapon. According to all the reports, it was nearly 11 minutes before anyone even knew that Thomas had been shot, and that was only AFTER other officers were dispatched to the bar to see if he had been shot there.
When the District Attorney spoke of “training,” that officers were “trained to shoot a minimum of twice,” they are also trained to render aid to victims. He did not do that for either victim. He only shot once, but his actions afterwards are incomprehensible.
Note in the video that Feaser never bothers to attend to Darien Ehorn, Thomas’ wife, who lay injured on the ground by the car. A citizen knelt beside her.
Feaser walked over to the car and looked in to see the shooting victim. When he notified his dispatch- finally- he didn’t mention his gunshot. He did not make any effort to retrieve the victim.
No proper thought
Patrick Feaser did not think before he pulled that trigger. He did not properly size up the situation, and treated him as a fleeing felon instead of a drunk driver. Though the video shows that he was unnerved by what he did, it was an horrific example of poor judgment.
An internal investigation is being conducted by the Paradise, California police department. Feaser is on administrative leave until the completion of that investigation. Thomas is expected to face Vehicular Manslaughter and Drunk Driving Charges.