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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Use of Force Unnecessary in Champommier Killing

More and more questions coming out on the deadly and tragic shooting by LA Sheriff's deputies of Granada Hills teen Zac Champommier last month.

Champommier was in a Studio City parking lot at the same time a plain-clothes multi-jurisdictional police operation was underway.  Police had accosted a suspicious man in the parking lot who they believed was casing vehicles at the shopping center.  While this was happening 18 year old Zac, a suburban kid who probably never saw a bunch of un-uniformed officers waving guns before, got scared and decided to get the hell out of there.  In his exit Champommier bumped one of the plainclothes officers with his car.  

Sheriff's deputies assuming Champommier may have been an accomplice to the other man decided to shoot first and ask questions later killing the youngster, rather than perhaps just seek to disable the vehicle and halt the pursuit.

Now the man who the police had accosted is speaking out saying that police were slow to identify themselves leading him to think there were gang members about to attack him and that Champommier did not speed off but drove away slowly.

This blog has been supportive of law enforcement and realizes it's a dirty job none of us would be willing to do. That being said any profession has it's "cowboy" element and it appears that was in play here.  One must question why the officers were meeting in a busy upscale shopping center where their mere presence amongst folks not use to such a scene could be risky.  And were the officers so amped up into a pack mentality that their approach to investigating a man checking out cars was way over the top creating intense fear in a naive young boy nearby?

Indeed much is to be investigated here and hopefully some answers will come out.

No matter those answers, an innocent life has been lost and a community has been ripped apart.

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Anonymous Anonymous said:

Let's have the full quote from the LA Times article, shall we?

Douglas Ryan Oeters, who was being detained by police in the parking lot before the shooting, said Zac Champommier's car struck the Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, sending him over the hood and onto the ground. Oeters, however, said the young man was driving slowly and did not pose a deadly threat.

If you throw someone over the hood, that sounds kinda contradictory to saying that this did not pose a deadly threat.

And, consider the source.

I hope there is a full, extensive investigation.

July 13, 2010 1:51 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Oeters was arrested that evening and released on $20,000 bail. He told The Times he was from Ohio and had recently moved to Los Angeles with hopes of selling a screenplay. Records show that Oeters had at least one other brush with the law. In Ohio, he was convicted of a charge related to soliciting sex from a minor, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

July 13, 2010 1:53 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

If he was driving slowly then how was it a threat?

And I knew it would be a matter of time before someone brought up the gay smear. Who knows and who cares about that. Both men were legal adults.

The bottom line here is that a bunch of amped up cops way overreacted.

Why didn't they either shoot out his tires OR chase him?

July 13, 2010 2:56 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What gay smear? ???

July 13, 2010 3:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

You people know what you're doing. You're pointing out that Oeters had some kind of past issue in Ohio for having sex with a young guy. We've seen you on other blogs. Very sad.

July 13, 2010 3:51 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The article doesn't say whether he solicited a male or female.

Who are "you people"?


July 13, 2010 3:59 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

3:51 is basically correct.

July 13, 2010 4:31 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

But that's kind of a distraction. We've yet to see anything yet why the deputies just wailed off with guns shooting Zac rather than other approaches.

July 13, 2010 4:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Higby- Shooting a gun is using deadly force. There has to be a justification for that level of force to be used which would be the actions of the suspect, in this case the 18 year old.

Therefore, the alternative of shooting out the tires as the police officer response to the situation would not be called for. The issue would be only, "Did the suspect's action(s) rise to the level of being deadly force? If so, there's the justification for the shooting. I don't believe that shooting out tires would be the appropriate response to "deadly force" directed to officers. I would like to know if shooting out tires is ever an appropriate response and if it is taught in police academies anywhere.

This calls for some complete investigation since there's a lot implied and not clearly established as fact. What precisely happened is crucial in assessing responsibility.

July 13, 2010 9:43 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Isn't a "gay smear" what you use as a lubricant?

Somebody ask Phil.
He must know.

No, SMEAR is what Phil tried to do to James Andion, and now to Steven Box. That must end.

July 13, 2010 9:56 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Shooting tires is NEVER and approved or appropriate tactic, that's the make belief of movies and the bullshit that liberals spew.

Of course this is a tragedy and a thorough investigation will have to determine whether the cops responded with appropriate lethal force to what they reasonably perceived as a lethal threat.

In a situation like this there is simply not enough time for the cops to second guess whether driver of the car that sent the officer flying over the hood was panicking, or trying to escape by knocking cops down with his car.

It does appear that Zac was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and his reason for being there is odd.

July 14, 2010 12:29 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

9:43 Trigger-happy cops are out there and get excited at the chance to shoot someone. That's the way it is. That's why they're cops. They're jerks.

Deadly force by a car driving slowly? Deadly force because he hit a cop? Maybe he was just trying to get out.

I'm not sure how the gay issue comes into play here.

July 14, 2010 1:40 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Witness L A has good coverage and comments from personal friends.

July 14, 2010 8:13 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

agogiThanks for following this story. Two things are clear about Zac: 1. He would never intentionally hurt another, 2. He was a very cautious and responsible driver. How he would have reacted upon viewing the landscape of armed plainclothes police who appeared to be undifferentiated from better dressed thugs, is much less clear.

The essence of the matter is whether Zac's car and conduct presented an imminent threat of serious bodily injury/death to the officers involved. The preliminary evidence is mounting that the use of deadly force was unjustified for the following reasons:
1. Zac's wound suggests the fatal shot was from the side (i.e., facing the driver's side door)
2. Since the deputy who was struck was essentially unscathed and fell off top the side of the vehicle, he was out of harm's way (of course, the description from sheriff's log 160 defies the laws of physics)
3. The eye-witness account completely contradicts the law enforcement claim that Zac's car "sped up" and "rammed" deputies, indicating that it probably would have been just as easy to move aside as it was to reach for the guns and end this person's life.

Since the law enforcement agencies are claiming that events unfolded such that deadly force the ONLY option, their story deserves scrutiny from above. To allow for the LASD to investigate their conduct make a mockery of our justice system.

It is time to find out if we are indeed a nation of laws and not men.

July 17, 2010 9:24 PM  

Anonymous Pattie said:

Just saw your piece. Thanks for publicizing the matter.

One question I have is why did the deputies detain the older man (Oeters) for simply looking into car windows? The last I heard, there's nothing unlawful about that.

Another question is why did it take several hours for Carol Champommier to be notified about her son? Certainly, Zac had his driver's license on him.

I hope there is a full, extensive, but most importantly, impartial investigation. Asking law enforcement to look into this matter would be like having the fox...

July 21, 2010 6:18 PM  

Blogger Mike said:

This was an intentional killing. Whether or not it was murder is up to a jury to decide. To get there, we need DA Cooley to step up and do what's right.
Fact: There are three sets of two skid marks left by Zac's car. In other words, the very last thing Zac Champommier did was to avoid injury to the deputy who placed himself in Zac's path. That was most likely the very person who killed him. That shows Zac's humanity and the officer's lack thereof.
2. The shooters were occupying Zac's 9:00 to 6:00 positions. In other words, there was no one in Zac's 12:00 to 3:00 position. Moreover, Zac was parallel to a fence on his left. He couldn't have turned around if he wanted to. In other words, they offisers had plenty of options but chose DEADLY FORCE first.

They extinguished one of this world's best and brightest young men. There needs to, first, be an independent investigation. Then, there needs to be a trial of those officers, a criminal trial.

July 27, 2010 11:47 PM  

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