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Charlotte Officer Fired for Shooting Suspect

July 16, 2008  | 

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer was fired after a reviewboard today determined she unjustly shot a man at a Central Avenue gasstation.

Officer J.S. Curlee, a former dispatcher who graduated from thepolice academy in November, shot Brian Jarod Howie once in the arm andchest while responding to a backup call May 7. He survived.

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Comments (9)

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

wolfva @ 7/16/2008 10:27 PM

The man reached for an area which could have concealed a weapon after being told not to move, gets shot, and the officer is fired? Are officers supposed to wait now until they actually see a weapon? Or are fired upon first? Asinine, to say the least. She should not have been fired.

bella4 @ 7/17/2008 5:58 PM

I am baffled by the outcome of J.S. Curlee being fired. After the suspect was told to leave his hands on the wheel and comply with directions the suspect still reached for something in the center console. Should she have waited to see if it was a gun and until he shot her first at point blank range? I feel as though this is a terrible decision by the review board! I have family members that are police officers and to know that their peers cannot stand behind them is truly dismaying. In this case it feels like evil wins again. Perhaps someone can better explain to me what does give an officer a right to discharge a weapon because I'm not sure that I completely understand. I'd appreciate any feedback.

guitar player @ 7/17/2008 9:49 PM

I wonder if the board's thinking was influenced by the ABC's officer using a taser. I worry these cases will make an officer hesitate before using deadly force. Or use a taser where a gun should have been used. Unless we do not have all the information, at first look deadly force was justified.

tdg260 @ 7/18/2008 4:07 AM

I think the officer made the right decision to deploy the deadly force option as a back up to the TASER. This is what the TASER course teaches.

The bottom line is the suspect didn't do what he was told. He made an aggressive move that appeared that he may have been reaching for a weapon. The odds were high that the ABC officer would have had the proper probe spread (or both probes hitting him) needed to incapacitate the suspect. It is difficult to get such a probe contact on a seated subject without modifications.

Officer Curlee did an excellent job. I hope she is able to get her job back.

orville @ 7/18/2008 5:30 AM

If the individuals were not breaking the law in the first place, none of this would have happened. The fact that they were also in possession of narcs...go figure. They are probably going to turn around and sue the city, the dept., the officers and anyone else they can get money out of. This does pass on a bad message to the criminal element. Live by the unwritten rule. It's better to be judged by 12 than be carried by 6.

321 @ 7/18/2008 7:17 AM

What the?? Is there more to this story that we can't see? From what is presented here there does not appear to be justification for Officer Curlee being fired. Everyone has to operate on what was in the officer's head at the time the trigger was pulled. If the officer believed she was in fear of imminent mortal danger then she did the right thing. Many a suspect has been (and will be) shot reaching to an area where a gun could be concealed. No police officer should compromise their safety by reacting too late when a suspect is making a bad choice... it could be fatal for us.

tonypcman @ 7/18/2008 7:52 AM

Orville said: "It's better to be judged by 12 than be carried by 6." I totally agree! With as rutheless, and concious free as criminals are today, I sincerely believe that this officer felt her life was in emminant danger. They dont pay LEOs enough as it is, let alone making them be target practice for pathetic excuses for humans, called criminals.

editor @ 7/18/2008 8:00 AM

Readers: We picked up this article from the Charlotte Observer. Without contacting the Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD, we have no way of knowing further details on this incident. I think the most important information here is that Officer Curlee was fired, not prosecuted. As the story describes it, if she had a reasonable belief that she or the ABC officer were in danger of serious bodily harm or death from this suspect's actions, then as I understand Graham v. Connor, she had the legal right to defend herself. However, departmental policy and the law are two different things. A little background on CMPD may help you to understand the situation. The city has a new chief, following retirement of previous chief. Over the last few years, there have been at least two controversial officer-involved shootings in Charlotte. That could have something to do with this action. I will try and get you more details on this case, but I am currently swamped on the August issue of the print magazine. Thank you for reading And thank you for your great responses. BTW, if anyone reading this is from the CMPD, maybe you can shed some light on what really happened in this case.

Morning Eagle @ 7/18/2008 9:27 AM

Okay, so we do not have all the facts yet. But what we do have still makes this sound like another case of brilliant Monday morning quarterbacking by people who are paid more than the officer but were not on the scene and were not face to face with this drug dealing scum and have to make the instantaneous judgement call that he could be reaching for a weapon to use against her. If J.S. Curlee wants to pursue a career in law enforcement I hope she can find a position in a department that has a chain of command and a chief with the courage to back their officers when they act responsibly in potential deadly force situations. Sadly, in the politically correct an law suit crazy world that has been created in this country it appears that such departments and chains of command are becoming more rare every day.

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