In the case of Billey Joe Johnson, suicide is neither painless or the truth. Although an investigation is currently underway, the preliminary reports of the death Billey Joe Johnson are wanting and filled with many unanswered questions. What is even more disturbing is the supposed chronology of the circumstances leading to his death as told by the officer making the routine traffic stop.
Billey Joe Johnson (17), a gifted George County High School running back, was shot to death on following a traffic violation on Monday morning in Alabama. Sheriff Garry Welford, has been reported as saying that it is not sure as to whether or not his death was "simply" an accident or the result of suicide. Billey's mother, however, insists that her son's death was not the result of suicide and the Alabama chapter of the NAACP concurs:
But the state chapter of the NAACP said its own investigation had determined that Johnson did not commit suicide. Curley Clark, the group's vice president, said the organization would have a second, independent autopsy performed on Johnson's body, with results expected to be announced later this week.
Clark said the NAACP's findings did not preclude the possibility that the shooting was an accident. But he said that based on interviews with people who knew Johnson and on physical evidence, there was nothing to suggest Johnson was in the state of mind to kill himself.
In that report, Deputy Joey Sullivan wrote that he was traveling west at 5:34 a.m. on Dec. 8 when he saw a red truck run a red light and head south on Mississippi 63. He turned on his blue lights and saw the truck run a four-way stop on 63. A little bit later, the truck pulled into a parking lot, Sullivan wrote.
“A black male got out of the vehicle and advised me that the reason he ran the stop sign was that he was on the way home because his mother was sick,” Sullivan wrote.
“I ask for his drivers license and advised him to have a seat in his vehicle while I check his license out. When I went back to my vehicle I picked up the radio to call it in and heard a gun shot and glass breaking. I looked up and the black male fell on the ground, and the gun he had in his hand fell on top of him. I called dispatch and advised them that the subject had shot himself to send me some help.”
1. Is it common practice in Alabama for the driver to exist the vehicle when stopped for a traffic violation prior to being told to do so by the officer? (In the two states in which I have resided, drivers must remain in the vehicle. Getting out of the vehicle unless told to do so means trouble. Getting out of the vehicle when told to do so typically means you're about to be arrested.)<
2. Did the officer do a visual scan of the inside of the vehicle? (Even in routine traffic stops, po-po typically does a visual scan of the vehicle for weapons, contraband, and anything else that might be suspicious. And this practice seems to be a must when stopping those violating the DWB law.)
3. Where was the gun? (Trunk? Underneath the seat? Where? Must have out of the officers line of sight)
4. Did the officer watch Billey get back in the vehicle or did he simply return to the squad car obviously turning his back to Billey?
5. When did the officer "see" the gun on top of Billey? Immediately after hearing the shot? While on the radio? Or when investigating what occurred?There are many more questions begging answers to this tragedy. But, while I am trying my best "not to go there", it is extremely difficult not to do so. The report of this tragedy given by Officer Sullivan defies the logic of any rationale thinking person.
and now old SjP ain't got nothin' more to say...
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