POLICE CAR VIDEO REAFFIRMS YORK COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, LAW ENFORCEMENT GONE ROGUE
Springettsbury Township Police Department, and York Count District Attorney, Refuse to Stop Police Officers from Repeatedly Violating People’s Civil Rights, Permitting Injury and Death
YORK COUNTY, Pa. (Dec. 18, 2014) – Police officers in York County, Pennsylvania – once the capital of the United States and symbol of liberty – are again in the spotlight, after police officers are captured on video using excessive force, shooting a man in the side and back 11 additional times, after they had already shot him four times in an effort to take him into custody. The victim died as a result of his injuries. This comes on the heels of the same police department paying $500,000 to settle two civil rights lawsuits after officers were caught – again on their own patrol car video – beating a handcuffed female in the backseat of a police car, and severely beating a man in the street. And, because York County District Attorney Tom Kearney refuses to take action against these rogue police officers, the officers remain on patrol.
In the latest incident, on December 29, 2012, police officers from the Springettsbury Township Police Department in York responded to Kmart, 1094 Haines Road, to investigate an alleged retail theft incident. Upon arrival, the officers encountered Todd W. Shultz, age 40, and attempted to take him into custody. Shultz ignored the officers’ commands and refused to permit the officers to place him in handcuffs. Shultz produced a butter knife, and while on the ground, made slow swiping motions at the officers. Officers repeatedly told Shultz to drop the knife, and attempted unsuccessfully to subdue him with a Taser and baton strikes. Shultz rose to his feet, produced a common table knife and a pair of scissors, and walked toward Officers Gregory T. Hadfield, and James A. Miller, at which time they fired four bullets into the front of his body.
National civil rights attorney, Devon M. Jacob, of Jacob Litigation, who represents Mr. Shultz’s Estate and family, states that what happened next is both shocking and unlawful. In a federal lawsuit filed today on behalf of the Estate, Jacob claims that upon being impacted by the first four bullets, which did not cause fatal injuries, Shultz stopped walking and turned away from Hadfield and Miller. Jacob claims that despite the fact that Shultz had turned away from Hadfield and Miller and was not moving, when Shultz did not comply with repeated directions to “drop it,” Defendants Hadfield and Miller fired eleven (11) more bullets into Shultz’s side and back, and continued firing, even after Shultz dropped the knife.
After the shooting ended, the Defendants failed to render any medical aid to Shultz. After at least two minutes, it appears from the video that Defendant Hadfield checked Shultz for a pulse. Despite the fact that numerous Township police officers arrived on scene, no Township officer provided Shultz with any emergency medical care. Instead, for over five minutes, Township officers left Shultz to bleed to death on the pavement until the ambulance arrived.
“This was an unlawful killing that resulted from the failure of Springettsbury Township, the Chief of Police, and the District Attorney to enforce proper policies and to provide appropriate training,” said Jacob, himself a former police officer who spent 10 years defending law enforcement personnel in civil rights cases. “This is just more of the same in the Township, only this time, someone is dead,” said Jacob, referring to the two prior civil rights lawsuits filed by Debra Williams and Steven Landis. In Williams, Officers Chad Moyer and Gregory Hadfield are on video punching, slapping, and choking a handcuffed and emotionally distressed Williams in the backseat of a police vehicle. In Landis, Officer Chad Moyer is on video slamming an unarmed Landis to the ground, kneeing him in the ribcage, and breaking five of his ribs, while Officer William Polizzotto tasers Landis. In March of 2014, the Township paid $500,000 to settle the Landis and Williams cases.
“The Township’s only response was to discipline Officer Moyer for using profanity while he dispensed his beatings. Apparently, punching a handcuffed mentally ill female in the face is accepted conduct in the Township, as long as you are polite about it,” said Jacob. “This police department is running rogue, because District Attorney Kearney refuses to prosecute police officers who violate the law. In this case, Mr. Kearney issued a press release that concluded, ‘the actions of the officers in using deadly force in response to Mr. Shultz’s decision to advance while displaying a deadly weapon was reasonable,’ despite the fact that the video of the shooting clearly establishes that Mr. Shultz was not advancing when he was shot the final 11 times,” said Jacob.
“This type of unlawful oppressive conduct is not tolerated in neighboring counties, such as Cumberland and Dauphin, where district attorneys seek justice for all, even when it means prosecuting members of the law enforcement community,” said Jacob. “Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Wolf lives in York County. Hopefully, he will take note of what is occurring around the nation and in his own backyard.”