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Cops shoot, kill teen girl who used stolen car to plow into police

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By Stephen Owsinski

While most kids would be attending or preparing for school, one 16-year-old girl and four of her teen friends hung out in an alleyway, in a stolen car. When confronted by Denver police on Monday morning, the tragic end of a young life ensued and a Denver cop was transported to the ER with a line-of-duty injury.

Denver police officers engaged in an investigation regarding the teens who were occupying a “stolen auto.” According to Denver police Chief Robert White, this incident commenced after a report of a “suspicious vehicle in the alleyway” was received by Denver police dispatchers. According to Chief White, the first officer on scene discerned the vehicle was reported as “stolen.” A back-up officer arrived.

Denver police stated that, as they approached the stolen car, the driver accelerated at them, striking and injuring one of the two officers. That is when a stolen piece of property investigation changed to a fear-for-life situation, compelling police to open fire. Although the stolen auto was occupied by five teens, only the driver was struck by return fire. Denver police say the driver, Jessica Hernandez, 16, intentionally drove at them from behind the wheel of a stolen automobile. She succumbed to her injuries.

Naturally, the aggressor’s age is concerning. However, it does not replace one particularly-involved harsh factor: two cops were targeted by the operator of a 2000-plus contraption; a weapon of huge proportion. Driver actions define intent. One cop was almost obliterated by the vehicle. Denver police Chief White admits both police officers opened fire and that none of the other four teens were harmed. Each was interviewed; no charges were imposed.

Life-threatening actions against an armed public servant will, unfortunately, result in potential life-ending scenarios. Similar cases (using automobiles to mow down police) are not uncommon.

Statutes authorizing police officers to defend their lives with deadly force if necessary are quite clear; the use of force is influenced by perpetrator actions, no matter their age or any other demographics. Tantamount is officer survival, not the suspect’s motives, mood, facial expressions, or other dynamics geared at spearheading a car at two cops.
Specifically as it relates to law enforcement, Colorado law delineating deadly-use-of-force follows:

18-1-707 Use Of Physical Force In Making An Arrest Or In Preventing An Escape, Section 2. A peace officer is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person for a purpose specified in subsection (1) of this section only when he reasonably believes that it is necessary: (a.) To defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force; or (b.) To effect an arrest, or to prevent the escape from custody, of a person whom he reasonably believes:
(1.) Has committed or attempted to commit a felony involving the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon; or (2.) Is attempting to escape by the use of a deadly weapon; or (3.) Otherwise indicates, except through a motor vehicle violation, that he is likely to endanger human life or to inflict serious bodily injury to another unless apprehended without delay.

Guns and knives are used to kill cops. So are automobiles. No vest can stop one. No defensive tactics can wrestle one into submission. Therein is the crux of the matter. A driver’s intent to plow down a police officer or two will culminate in deadly force, as seen in this Denver-based case. Needless to say, no LEO harbors a peaceful conscience from such a tragedy. This matter encompasses a potion of emotion, for all parties involved.

Denver police preliminary reports indicate that one of the teens in the stolen car intimated Hernandez panicked and opted to flee when she saw police approaching. Perhaps fact-based, forensic-laden, investigative results will paint a more clear picture to alleviate any pre-conceived notions. From cursory information made available by Denver police officials, and review of the Colorado statute governing deadly use-of-force by police, the variables correlate.

A small faction of Denver police have been donning body cams for the latter months of 2014. Chief White stated his department has ordered 800 body cameras to be distributed to patrol officers throughout 2015. It is not known if the police officers involved in this case were wearing body cams.

Sadly, many lives were impacted by these tragic circumstances. Now, it is time for the system to sift through the details, consider pertinent factors, and underscore findings. Pending the investigative conclusions, and as protesters rally for criminal charges levied against the police, both Denver officers involved in this shooting have been placed on customary “administrative leave.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. Age has nothing to do with it at all! She stole a car, attempted to kill an officer by running him over, u think that is ok because she is 17? She got what she deserved!! She stole the car in the first place!! People need to wise up and the police need to take back the streets!!

  2. Hmmm, days after one has taken the time to CYA (Cover your assets). My personal take, I pray for revelation of the truth. We as a whole deserve to see heroic actions that saves lives verses “quick draw McGraw” actions and CYA explanations after the fact. Surely we as taxpayers deserve to see the results of “superior police Training with alternative means to deadly force” we are told is being given. I personally have experience and seen so much blatant arrogance from this department I have lost a sense of protection, loyalty and trust of the very people we are paying to protect us. I feel like we need protection from the police. Sad times we are living in… I am praying for a revitalization to the department. One we can trust in again, one with “Heart for the people”.

  3. Death of Denver Teen Jessica Hernandez Killed By Police Ruled a Homicide …. Coroner’s report contradicts police account in Jessica Hernandez killing …. Murdered By L E O’s.

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