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The Washington Post broke the news this morning that the police department’s ShotSpotter sensor system indicates that off-duty Officer James Haskel was first fired upon before he pulled the trigger on 14-year-old DeOnté Rawlings.
Haskel, as you may recall, had gone out looking for his stolen minibike on the night of September 17. He claims that after he and another off-duty cop allegedly spotted Rawlings with the bike, Rawlings opened fire. Haskel then allegedly engaged in a running gun battle with the youth. The battle ended with Haskel fatally shooting Rawlings in the back of the head.
While this may hurt the Rawlings’ family’s court case—-they have since sued over the shooting—-the Post reports that ShotSpotter’s findings have never been entered into evidence in a local court case. And the sensor’s data cannot say if it was Rawlings who fired at Haskel.
The Post went on to write: “Gregory Lattimer, the attorney for the Rawlings family, called the analysis of the sensor data ‘pure poppycock,’ and he repeated his contention that the officers acted improperly. ‘The facts are the facts,’ he said. ‘DeOnté Rawlings didn’t have a gun and didn’t shoot anybody.’
Whether Lattimer has a secret witness up his sleeve, we don’t know. Whether the cop really did engage in a running gun battle, we don’t know that either. Nor do we know how the cop ended up shooting a kid in the back of the head. The sensor program just analyzes pings not human behavior.
All we can do is predict that these findings can only mean one thing: The U.S. Attorney’s Office will be exonerating Haskel.