He didn’t comply. So they killed him.
The armored vehicles — and the heavily armed deputies inside them — were there to find and capture the armed carjacker.
Instead, they found a different black man, Donnell Thompson.
As the carjacker hid in a house several blocks away, Thompson slept in a stranger’s yard.
He was 27 years old but possessed the mental faculties of a much younger man. He loved Uno, Michael Jackson and the Lakers. He was so gentle and shy he went by the nickname Little Bo Peep, his family told the Los Angeles Times. He had a clean record and was unarmed.
From inside one of the armored vehicles, however, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies knew none of this. When Thompson didn’t respond to commands, the deputies detonated flash-bangs. When he still didn’t move, they hit him with foam bullets.
And when he allegedly ran toward them, a deputy atop the armored vehicle opened fire with an assault rifle, striking Thompson twice in the torso.
The journalism from the Washington Post on these incidents tends to be exemplary. They tell the victim’s story. They don’t simply reprint PD press releases.
There will be a lawsuit. A few officers may be held accountable. But it also shows that disability-specific training is not going to solve this kind of incident. Better response has to be built into the baseline.