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Monday, April 22, 2013

El Cajon, California Police Officer Shot Bicycle Rider Raymond Goodlow in the Face

     At ten in the morning, while on routine patrol in the San Diego County city of El Cajon, a police officer saw Raymond Goodlow riding his bicycle on the sidewalk in violation of the municipal code. It was Friday, April 19, 2013.

     From the police car, the officer told the homeless man to pull over and stop. Goodlow ignored the order and pedaled into a used car lot. The officer got out of the cruiser and chased Goodlow down on foot.

     What should have been a minor, routine police stop took an ominous turn when the officer instructed Goodlow to move his hand away from his waistband. When the cyclist failed to respond to the order, the officer shot him in the face.

     Paramedics rushed the bleeding man to a nearby trauma center where doctors diagnosed him with a non-life threatening gunshot wound.

    At the site of the shooting, among pieces of Goodlow's clothing that had been cut off by the emergency personnel, investigators found two knives. (I assume they belonged to Goodlow.) The officer who shot this man is on paid administrative leave pending an internal review of the shooting.

     Routine police-citizen encounters like this should not result in the use of deadly force. Because the officer feared that Goodlow was armed with a handgun, police investigators will probably classify the shooting as justified. But that doesn't mean deadly force was necessary in this case, or that the shooting reflects ideal police work. Because Raymond Goodlow was a transient without influence in the community, this police involved shooting will probably not raise much of a stir. 

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