On August 23rd, UNC student Courtland Smith was killed by Archdale, NC police officers at in a traffic stop. It all started when Smith called 911 and told the operator that he was depressed and wanted to kill himself. He also told the operator that he had a 9mm pistol. He repeatedly told the dispatcher he wanted officers to stop him. During the call he was driving his Toyota 4-Runner SUV.
“I’m trying to kill myself on I-40,” Smith told the 911 operator in slow, halting and slurred speech.
The operator asked Smith a series of questions to try and figure out where he was and what kind of car he was driving. The dispatcher continued to talk to Smith until Archdale police officers caught up to his Toyota 4-Runner in Randolph County.
He was still on the call when the police officers shot him 4 times when he made a “suggestive move” at the stop.
In a recording of radio traffic, officers yelled at him to stay in his SUV.
A few seconds later, and officer called in: “Subject down! Subject down!”
“He got out of the car and made a suggestive move towards his pocket which the police interpreted as a move to get a gun,” the reports says. “They then fired on him and he was hit in the abdomen/chest.”
The autopsy, released today, found that Smith had suffered gunshot wounds to the lower abdomen, the left thigh, the upper back and a fourth bullet that passed through his left forearm into his upper abdomen.
Smith was the chapter president of the UNC-Chapel Hill Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity
The NC State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the death. The Archdale Police Department has placed the officer who shot Smith – Jeremy Paul Flinchum – on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. A second officer at the scene – whose name was not released – is also on leaveSource: abclocal.go.com
It is obvious that Smith was depressed, suicidal and drunk. Despite his intention to kill himself, he wanted the police officers to stop him but instead got killed by them. Does this mean that our police officers tend to be more trigger-happy than understanding? Do they follow – “shoot first and then ask questions?”.
He wasn’t a convicted felon, murderer, serial killer, rapist, etc. but a kid who needed some help.