The facts are basically as follows: Harrison was working a detail off-duty, in uniform, escorting a funeral. Temple broke the funeral procession and Harrison pulled him over to issue him a citation. They stopped in the parking lot of an Auto Zone store. During the traffic stop, a scuffle ensued between Harrison and Temple. Temple was on top of Harrison and Harrison was calling for help. A witness, Perry Stephens, 56, responded to Harrison's aid. Stephens retrieved a firearm and shot Temple five times; four to the torso, once to the head. Harrison also shot Temple once, in the torso. Temple died of his wounds.
Now, black elected officials and community leaders are asking the Justice Department for an independent investigation of the shooting.
“The events of Feb. 17 were tragic for this community,” said state Rep. Michael Jackson, D-Baton Rouge, who also is president of the East Baton Rouge Parish Black Elected Officials. The group’s members helped organize Monday’s news conference.I'm sure that Temple's family loves him and mourns his loss. However, there are a couple of questions I think should be answered:
“Temple was not a hardened criminal … he came from a loving family … therefore we stand here wanting answers.” Jackson said the group knows a lot about Temple but little about Stephens. Col. Greg Phares of the Sheriff’s Office has said Stephens came to the aid of Harrison after hearing the police officer yell for help.
Jackson also said the group knows little about how the fight between Temple and Harrison began. Phares has said the fight started after Harrison, who was off-duty and working as a motorcycle escort for a funeral procession, wrote Temple a ticket for a traffic violation.
1. Why is it that Temple thought he could break into a funeral procession without getting a traffic ticket?
2. When stopped, was Temple's impulse control so poor that he felt compelled to get into a scuffle with a police officer? Why not just take the ticket and get on with your life?
3. When Stephens showed up to assist Officer Harrison, why did Temple feel compelled to continue the scuffle, especially when Stephens began shooting? That sounds like a good time to get medical attention, not continue scuffling with the police officer.
We do know that Temple, who might not have been a "hardened criminal" was in fact, no stranger to the criminal justice system. He was on probation for domestic violence. It seems he;
barged into the apartment of his ex-girlfriend’s mother and tried to take his 4-month-old child. When the child’s mother, Karlyn King, resisted, Temple grabbed her by the neck and pushed her against a wall, a sheriff’s crime report says.Sounds like poor impulse control to me.
I'm sure the Justice Department will do a good job in their investigation. I'm also fairly sure that Stephens will be exonerated. From what I have read in the papers and seen on the internet, Stephens did what he had to do. It is a truism in law enforcement that if you have to shoot someone, you are going to wind up in Court. That is just part of the deal. If you shoot someone, you get sued.
However, once Stephens is exonerated, he should immediately get his own lawyer to sue the estate of George Temple for mental anguish and psychological trauma associated with having to shoot Temple. He should name as co-defendants everyone who asked for an independent investigation. Stephens didn't ask for this problem. He probably saved the life of a police officer. Rather than Temple's estate being enriched, Stephens should be reimbursed for the time, anguish, and trouble he is being put through. Who better than Temple to reimburse him?