Dauric wrote:The article goes in to a little more backstory detail, but the overall incident makes sense really. One might not -want- it to make sense but the general string of events holds together.
Rambunctious youth vandalizes a police car with his underwear, control-freak of a police officer snaps and decides to use his job authority to put the youth "in his place", things escalate until they get out of hand and the officer double-taps the kid (shot to head and chest).
According to the article, Hill (the youth) was not merely putting up a fight - he was actually on top of Gillespie, to the point where a bystander (Crews) rendered assistance. The three of them rolled into a ditch, where the fight presumably continued - and that was the point when Gillespie drew his weapon and fired.
The reason Gillespie decided to go "on duty" over a minor prank can be explained by his background described in the article - he's a power-obsessed asshole. But that doesn't explain why he let the two who actually did the prank go, and decided to arrest the one who hadn't actually done it. Also doesn't explain why Hill keeps fighting after being pepper sprayed, hit in the head with a baton, and even after rolling into a ditch with an additional person.
Crews made a statement indicating that he believed that the officer felt legitimately threatened by Hill.
My guess... there was an ongoing beef between Hill and Gillespie, even bigger than what the article talks about, and Gillespie used the incident as an excuse to get one up on him. Hill fought back, probably far harder than expected, and the result was a fatal shooting.
As for the legal fallout - or lack thereof - the family was awarded a cash payout because the department knows the incident should have never occurred in the first place. But, from a strictly legal point of view, if Hill was legitimately presenting a threat (as indicated by Crews) there really isn't anything they can charge Gillespie with and make it stick; and they really can't even fire him without it becoming a union issue. Investigating a trivial crime out of sheer pettiness isn't illegal, or even a violation of policy; and once an arrest is underway, no matter how stupid the reason for the arrest might be, an officer has a legal right to use lethal force to defend himself.